Honda Idle-Stop Problems Just Got Worse

Honda’s idle-stop system has been under scrutiny from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To date, it has received 220 idle-stop complaints. Honda owners are experiencing a number of issues with the system that shuts off the engine instead of idling, and then restarts the engine when the accelerator pedal is pushed down. Now, Honda is looking at a class-action lawsuit related to the idle-stop issue. 

Which Honda models are part of the lawsuit?

2019 Honda Pilot Elite
2019 Honda Pilot Elite | Honda

A class-action lawsuit was filed this week by owners who allege the feature doesn’t work. In fact, not only do some Honda models not start back up but pushing the Start button doesn’t start them as well. Honda models involved include the 2016-2020 Honda Pilot, Odyssey, Acura TXL, and Acura MDX, according to Car Complaints

The lawsuit comes just as the NHTSA began an investigation of the system earlier this month. This investigation originally involved only Honda Pilot models. Honda says it has received similar complaints about the Odyssey, Acura TLX, and MDX. Those models, as well as the Pilot, are now part of the lawsuit.

Here’s how Honda describes its idle-stop system, “The Honda idle-stop feature maximizes your fuel efficiency when your vehicle is idling. If you’re stationary for more than two seconds, such as in stop-and-go traffic, the engine will shut off; many of the vehicle’s functions, such as the A/C, will continue to power on smoothly. Merely release the brake to start up the engine again!”

Would it help to switch off Honda’s idle-stop?

2016 Honda Pilot
2016 Honda Pilot | Honda

Owner’s can shut off the idle-stop feature. “In certain traffic conditions, the idle-stop function may not be desirable. So the driver has the opportunity to easily switch off the system with a button located at the rear of the transmission’s shift-by-wire control unit.”

Florida owner Hamid Bolooki filed the class-action lawsuit and describes what happens with his 2016 Honda Pilot. The problems first surfaced in 2018. With the Honda stopped, the engine shut off. But pressing the accelerator pedal did not restart the car. And continually pressing the Start button didn’t start the engine, either. 

In the ensuing years, this situation has happened over 20 times. “It has caused Mr. Bolooki and his family to be unexpectedly immobile in the middle of city traffic, with vehicles driving around their stranded automobile, making egress dangerous, if not impossible,” the lawsuit states.

Can’t the dealers fix the problem?

2016 Honda Pilot
2016 Honda Pilot | Honda

Is Your Car’s Start-Stop System Hurting You in the Long Run?

Taking his Pilot to the dealership was of no help. Technicians said Honda was aware of the problem but offered no fix. So the car has been subject to the idle-stop problems right up to now. The lawsuit also alleges that though Honda has known about the problem, it won’t issue a recall, won’t extend the warranties, and won’t offer repairs to stop the issue. 

The biggest concern expressed in the lawsuit was the danger that drivers and passengers are subjected to by sitting idle in traffic.