The NHTSA Opens Up Investigation on Ongoing Honda Pilot Engine Failures

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened up an investigation earlier this month concerning 2016-2019 Honda Pilots. The issue concerns the Pilot’s automatic start-stop system in which the SUV doesn’t turn back on after a complete stop.  

NHTSA reported over 220 complaints from Honda Pilot owners

2019 Honda Pilot Elite
2019 Honda Pilot Elite | Honda

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The Office of Defects Investigation at the NHTSA received 221 complaints from owners of 2016-2019 model-year Honda Pilots. The feature in question is the automatic start-stop feature that shuts down the engine when coming to a complete stop and then automatically starts it up again when the brake pedal is released. The auto start-stop feature is a fuel-saving system in which shutting down the engine for short amounts of time during every drive will save fuel and emissions.

However, many drivers reported that their vehicles don’t turn back on after shutting off. As you can imagine, this is a pretty big safety hazard in most situations. Also, in some cases, owners reported that their Honda Pilot needed a jump start to start back up. The Drive notes that the need for a jump start is an interesting piece of the puzzle.

If the Pilot needs a jump start after shutting down, in general, then there’s a possibility that the battery is old or too weak to restart the car. In that case, it’s possible that some of the cases may be due to the car’s battery, while others may be experiencing something different.

Communication between Honda and NHTSA shows that it may not be a battery issue

2019 Honda Odyssey front view
2019 Honda Odyssey | Honda

Honda has communicated with the NHTSA about the issue and revealed that other models have experienced the same issue. Some Honda Odyssey, Acura TLX, and Acura MDX models are subject to the same problem. It makes sense, considering all three of those models share the same J35 V6 engine and 9-speed automatic transmission.

Chris Martin, a spokesperson for Honda, told Automotive News that the automaker is aware of the situation and is looking into it. “Honda will cooperate with the NHTSA through the investigation process and we will continue our own internal review of the available information,” Martin said. So far, the issue concerns 194,731 vehicles in the U.S.

Will Honda issue a recall on the issue?

2018 Honda Pilot interior
2018 Honda Pilot interior | Honda

It’s more than likely that Honda will eventually release a recall on the affected vehicles. Especially considering the Japanese automaker has already publicly acknowledged the issue and is working with the NHTSA. If you currently own a Honda Pilot, Odyssey, or one of the potentially affected Acura models, then pay attention to any further developments in the situation.

If your car is experiencing the described issue, then you can report it via NHTSA’s website or contact your local Honda dealer for more information. If you would rather take matters into your own hands for now, then you can always have the battery checked by your local dealer, mechanic, or auto parts store. You never know, it could just be a faulty battery. But we’ll find out soon.

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