Worst Honda Pilot Years To Avoid (5 Common Problems)

How do you love your SUVs? Decently rugged, spacious, good engine, and high reliability? If these are all you want, the Honda Pilot checks all the boxes. Also, the Honda Pilot looks classic in its design and can accommodate up to seven (7) passengers.

But while the Honda Pilot is generally good and recommendable, you should be aware of its problematic model years. In other words, it is important to know the Honda Pilot years to avoid and why you do so.

The worst years for the Honda Pilot are 2003, 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2016. The main reason you should avoid these Honda Pilot years is that they typically break down at low mileage and the repair cost is usually high.

Honda Pilot Overview

The Honda Pilot is a sturdy, off-road capable midsize crossover SUV manufactured by Honda since 2002. Currently, the Pilot is Honda’s largest SUV and is truly a superior ride for the family. Thanks to the high suspension, you can drive a Pilot through rough paths.

There are quite many reasons to buy the Honda Pilot, including its affordability. The SUV is currently in its third generation and got a new facelift for the 2019 model year.

Also, with the 2021 model year, the Honda Pilot now comes standard with a 9-speed automatic transmission; notwithstanding, there are many engine options available.

See Also: Worst Honda CRV Years To Avoid

Worst Honda Pilot Years To Avoid and Why

Apparently, a lot of people have owned and driven the Honda Pilot for many years, and over those years, several complaints have been reported on different Honda Pilot models.

As gathered by CarComplaints, hereunder are the most problematic Honda Pilot years to steer clear of.

  • 2003 Honda Pilot
  • 2005 Honda Pilot
  • 2009 Honda Pilot
  • 2011 Honda Pilot
  • 2013 Honda Pilot
  • 2016 Honda Pilot

Well, even though you’d still find Honda Pilots made in these years on the roads today, it is best to avoid buying them because they’d probably cost you a lot on repair.

To clarify this claim, the most typical problems Honda Pilots produced in the years listed above are explained below.

Common Honda Pilot Problems

1. Window/Windshield Cracks

  • Models Affected: Reported most on 2005, 2006, and 2007 model years

2005, 2006, and 2007 Honda Pilot models received a high number of complaints about the windows, accessories, and windshield. Commonly reported problems include: power window failure, window regulator failure, and the floor rugs are always wet.

These problems are reported to occur from 50,000 miles upwards, and the average repair cost is $300. Windshield and window accessories problems were also reported in other model years, but the numbers are low.

2. Interior Accessories / Electrical Components Failure

  • Models Affected: Mostly reported on 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2013,2016, and 2019 model years

Over 300 complaints were reported on these indicated Honda Pilot model years. The most indicated problems include door and window trims coming off, connectivity issues, radio system problems, the key won’t go into the ignition, ignition switch failure, and pretty many others.

In fact, interior accessories faults are the highest-reported problems with the Honda Pilot. However, some owners were kind to indicate that they started experiencing most of these issues after crossing the 110k mile range. The average cost of fixing Honda Pilot interior accessories problems is $520.

3. Transmission Problems

  • Affected Models: Higher complaints in the 2003, 2005, and 2016 mode years

The rigidity of the transmission system of any vehicle is one of the core deciding factors of how long the car would last.

For Honda Pilots, some specific model years seem to come with problematic transmissions. Commonly reported transmission issues include: severe jerking, fluid leaks, and irreparable failure.

Other minor transmission problems are reported on these Honda Pilot models, but the issues typically occur after 120,000. In most cases, the only way to fix a Honda Pilot transmission fault is to get a new transmission, which makes the average repair cost for Honda Pilot transmission problems $3,000.

4. Engine Problems

  • Affected Models: 2009, 2010, 2013, 2016 Honda Pilot years

Well, for all the model years mentioned here, the common engine problem is excessive oil consumption. The Honda Pilot made for these years reportedly consumes a lot of oil – even though you’re using the OEM-recommended engine oil.

You’d get to reduce the duration between oil changes multiple times to ensure your Honda Pilot’s engine never lacks oil. If you wait longer for an oil change, you may end up having a “knocked” engine, which is far more expensive to replace/fix.

Other engine problems include misfiring, hesitation during acceleration, noisy operation, spark plug problems, and engine not starting up. The average repair cost of these problems is $3,500.

5. Body / Paint Problems

  • Affected Models: Reported mostly on 2011 thru 2014 model years

You wouldn’t love to buy a new (used) Honda Pilot SUV, and the paint starts chipping and peeling off after some time, not even up to a year. Well, that’s why you should avoid these specific Honda Pilot model years.

Owners of these model years allege that the SUV’s paint chips and peels off after some time. However, some people had hit over 100k miles before facing the paint problem. The average cost of fixing a Honda Pilot’s paint/body problems is $1,500.

Best Honda Pilot Years To Buy

Alright, we’ve already discussed the Honda Pilot years to avoid and why you should do so. Now, what is the best model years to go for? Well, there are several “good” models years of the Honda Pilot, which offer more reliability, features, and comfort.

Hereunder is a quick list of the Honda Pilot years to consider when in a dealership’s lot.

  • 2004 Honda Pilot
  • 2006 to 2008 Honda Pilot
  • 2010 Honda Pilot
  • 2012 Honda Pilot
  • 2015 Honda Pilot
  • 2017 Honda Pilot
  • 2018 Honda Pilot
  • 2020 Honda Pilot
  • 2021 Honda Pilot

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Honda Pilot Worth Buying?

From all indications, yes, the Honda Pilot is a worthy midsize SUV you can buy. It provides enough space for the family and does not compromise cargo space. The Honda Pilot is a desirable SUV with all the decent features you’d need in a car of its class – just stay off the “worst” model years.

Is Honda Pilot Really Reliable?

RepairPal ranks the Honda Pilot in the 13th position out of 26 other midsize SUVs in its class and also gave the Honda Pilot a 3.5 out of 5.0 reliability. Overall, the Honda Pilot is a reliable ride that can last for a pretty long time.

Is Honda Pilot Expensive To Maintain?

On average, you’d spend up to $600 annually in maintenance for your Honda Pilot. This implies that Honda Pilots costs around $6,000 – $7,000 in maintenance over the first 10 service years. Yes, the Honda Pilot is slightly expensive to maintain.


Summarily, this article clearly explains the worst Honda Pilot years to avoid, as well as mentions the best model years to choose from. The Honda Pilot is a cool, desirable ride – even though the exterior design is no match to its competitors like the Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Tucson, and Kia Sportage.

Honda Pilots can last up to 15 years or 250,000 miles if maintained properly and driven carefully. But then, it is important to note that the Honda Pilot is linked with interior accessories problems that occur at low mileage. Ensure to scrutinize any used Honda Pilot you’re going to buy.

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