Honda first began producing the Pilot in 2002, and has manufactured thousands of them since that time. However, just because it is a popular SUV does not mean that consumers have not reported some problems with it. As noted by Repair Pal, the Honda Pilot is prone to a few specific issues, including the following.
Some Honda Pilot models have oil leaks
Honda engines are sometimes cast with a porous engine block that makes it highly susceptible to leaking. In particular, the 2003 model year is especially prone to oil leaks, prompting Honda to release a service bulletin addressing the issue.
In some cases, Honda has even been known to cover the cost of repairs because of the faulty design. However, you should never assume this will be the case, and should, therefore, be prepared to cover the expense of any repairs when buying a used Honda Pilot.
Problems with fender liner
Some Honda Pilots are equipped with a faulty front inner fender liner. This liner has been known to warp under high heat. In that case, it can become deformed, and may even rub against your front tires.
This can cause significant tire damage or even a blowout if not addressed in time. Frequent rubbing may shred your fender liner as well. Replacing the inner liner will rectify this problem so that it is no longer an issue, and is also a relatively inexpensive fix.
Rough or difficult starting
Owners of model years 2003-2017 may sometimes notice their engine runs rough or is difficult to start. At the same time, the vehicle’s check engine light may come on. This is normally due to a faulty EGR valve, which causes a rough idle and triggers the check engine light to come on.
You may also experience vibrations and a reduction in fuel economy, while being unable to pass emissions testing. In some cases, cleaning the valve will resolve the issue; however, most owners will only experience relief once they have completely replaced the EGR.
Wiring harness problems
Wires inside the Honda Pilot’s headlight harness will sometimes overheat. This causes the low beams to fail completely, in which case you will be forced to drive with only your high beams. Some vehicles will also experience leaks inside the vehicle from an improperly sealed side marker light wire harness.
To correct the low beam issue, you will need to replace the low beam wire, the combination light/turn signal switch, and possibly even the combination switch connector. Eliminating a leak will require you to reseal the wiring harness at the location where it passes through the vehicle’s cabin.
None of these are easy DIY fixes, and will therefore likely require a professional mechanic.
Noisy or rough suspension on the Honda Pilot
The Pilot is equipped with two stabilizer bars. These bars are held to the rest of the vehicle’s suspension with two stabilizer bar links. When these links become worn, you may have difficulty steering, especially in turns. You might even notice a knocking or clunking noise coming from your front suspension, particularly when driving on bumpy surfaces.
To eliminate this problem, you will need to replace both of your stabilizer bar links. Doing so is not only a matter of improved handling, but also one of safety.
Despite the fact that consumers have reported numerous problems with the Honda Pilot, J.D. Power has nonetheless rated this SUV as average for reliability.
Accordingly, it is possible to get a great deal on a used Pilot, particularly if you know what common problems you should look out for. Keep the above factors in mind when deciding if this vehicle is a good fit for you.