Honda‘s largest SUV, the Pilot, entered the market in 2002 and was aimed primarily at North American buyers. With three rows, the spacious interior of the Pilot is one of the main attractions of this vehicle. The 2022 model is a popular option on the market thanks to its impressive fuel economy and capable powertrain.
On the other hand, a used Honda Pilot can be a decent option for buyers on a budget. But not every model year Pilot is worthy of your hard-earned dollar. Without further ado, let’s look at the Honda Pilot’s worst years, its problems, and everything you need to know before buying one on a used market.
2005, 2013 and 2016 are among Honda’s worst pilot years
According to the Car Complaints website, the 2005 Honda Pilot has more than 140 registered owner complaints, and nearly half of them relate to the SUV’s drivetrain system. According to these reports, the radiator cooling line leaked into the transmission and totaled it. Some owners spent as much as $3,730 to swap out the entire transmission for a new one, while others simply scrapped the car. The average mileage with transmission failure is 122,250 miles.
Another commonly reported problem involves the 2005 Pilot’s powertrain. Several owners have complained about the engine mounts loosening and breaking prematurely, costing an average of over $800 to repair. “Engine mounts replaced at less than 70k, now needing to be replaced again at 112k. Seems very unusual and no warranty for first replaced,” one owner said on Car Complaints.
The 2013 Honda Pilot has an issue with the white paint peeling off on various panels. The problem is that the manufacturer forgot to cover some panels. Therefore, peeling occurs regardless of whether the vehicle is kept in a garage or not. Owners spent between $800 and $1,200 to repaint various parts of their 2013 Pilot.
Several owners of the 2013 Honda Pilot equipped with the 3.5 liter V6 engine have faced excessive oil consumption. Reports indicate that the engine consumes one liter of oil every 1,000 miles.
Transmission jerks and failures are the most common 2016 Honda Pilot problem. Dealers advise owners to change transmission fluid every 30,000 miles to avoid transmission failure, but the manufacturer’s suggested interval is much longer. A failed transmission can cost upwards of $5,000 to replace.
Finally, some 2016 Honda Pilot owners have mentioned issues with the fuel injector. “Yesterday the engine light warning came on: Emissions System Problem. prematurely worn fuel injectors,” one owner said, expressing frustration with his vehicle. Replacing fuel injectors costs over $1,000.
A Honda rider can go over 150,000 miles with proper maintenance
According to reputable automotive sources online, a Honda Pilot typically lasts between 150,000 and 200,000 miles with the stock engine and transmission. That is, of course, if the vehicle is properly maintained. According to the Kelley Blue Book website, the average driver in the United States drives about 14,000 miles per year; that translates to 10 to 14 years of service for the Honda Pilot.
Other competitors, like the Toyota Highlander, have no problem delivering 300,000 miles of reliable service.
It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule to keep the Honda Pilot operational. Some of the essential services include:
- Every 15,000 km: check all fluids and inspect brakes, brake lines, steering and suspension.
- Every 30,000 km: change air cleaner element, change spark plugs if necessary and check valve clearance.
- Every 45,000 miles: replace engine coolant, inspect brake fluids and replace if necessary.
According to the Repair Pal website, the Honda Pilot costs around $500 to maintain each year, which is average for its class. Other SUVs, like the Ford Explorer, can cost up to $200 more.
Avoid problematic Honda Pilot model years if you buy one on the used market
The Pilot is certainly not the most durable vehicle made by Honda. While proper maintenance can extend the life of the Pilot to 200,000 miles, if you’re the third or fourth owner, you should expect major overhauls around the 100,000-mile mark.
Most 2005 models have over 100,000 miles on them. You should also skip the 2013 and 2016 models due to serious issues with the powertrain.
Other Honda SUVs, such as the CR-V, can boast over 300,000 miles on the odometer, hence safer options to buy used. Whichever car you choose, be sure to check the engine and transmission with a trusted mechanic to avoid buying a lemon.
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