2021 Honda Pilot Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, powertrain and suspension among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

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There are few SUVs as popular as the 2021 Honda Pilot. This large SUV is a favorite among busy families because of the spaciousness and feature-filled cabins. Even the automaker claims the lineup is “refined at every level.” However, it doesn’t take long for customers to be disappointed in what they receive. With a faulty electrical system, malfunctioning powertrain, defective suspension and dangerous tires, this Pilot needs to go back to the factory for more revisions.

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Problems with the Electrical System

From running the car battery to keeping the radio playing, the electrical system has an important job. Yet, the new Pilot models fall short of many expectations.

One Edmunds review states, “I owned a 2012 Pilot and it was amazing. Felt safe and overall quality was good.  Fast forward to 2021.  Overall interior quality is cheap. The Info center is a dud.  Constantly loses phone connection. Wireless charging works when wants.  On sunny day  you will have issues with sun reflection of info screen with sunroof open.   First week the fan blower motor in front and rear had issues with high pitch.  Took 6 months for Honda to replace rear.  Still waiting for front.  Ride is rough.  Rubber around passenger doors pops off. TRULY DISAPPOINTED!”

It turns out there are some major recalls that customers are currently dealing with. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V439000 states that the software to the instrument panel might be incorrect, leading customers to see the wrong information. It can tweak the speedometer, oil pressure and gear selector position, just to name a few. Additionally, NHTSA Campaign Number 20V440000 says that the rearview camera may not display the right image. All of these problems combined lead to more danger on the road, proving there is nothing “refined” about this SUV.

2021 Honda Pilot Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Service Brakes
Power Train
Lane Departure: Warning

Powertrain Problems

Having a smooth-shifting SUV is essential to getting the kids off to school or commuting into the city. Yet, there have been a lot of issues with the powertrain that makes the ride unenjoyable.

Another Edmunds customer wrote, “The gear buttons, it has a time lag before it actually shifts into gear.  I hate this feature so so much!!  Getting it into low gear is ridiculous.  It takes 2 to 3 steps with 2 to 3 different buttons.  On slick roads, which I travel on much of the time, this is insanely inefficient.”

Sadly, Honda has chosen not to share any information about the powertrain complaints. Instead, the company plans to keep customers in the dark, allowing them to think the Honda Pilot is ready to go when it should be sitting in a junkyard.

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Problems with the Suspension

The ride of the Pilot is also causing problems. Whether it is rough or it becomes noisy, many customers are taking to the internet to get the word out there.

Here’s one example on the Edmunds website. “I have had my Pilot for 6 months and it sounds like a wagon from the 1800’s. The suspension is wearing out so quickly that it worries me what problems it will bring in the future. I live in the city and I don’t take it off road. So I don’t know why it’s been giving me so many problems and the dealership is no help just put off my parts for a month and still nothing. I feel like they are trying to play one on me on the warranty.”

Even more alarming is Service Bulletin #APaS09172020 that discusses how dealers were told to stop selling some Honda Pilot models because of a sub-frame issue. How do new SUVs get to the dealership with this level of defect and what caused it in the first place? Clearly, this lack of oversight reveals why customers cannot trust the Pilot to get them to a destination safely.

Tire Problems

Further proving the point is the issue with the tires. Of all that’s gone wrong with the 2021 Pilot, this might be the most alarming.

One NHTSA complaint reads, “Tire size 245/50R20102H Cross Contact LX Sport on Honda Pilot 2021. Vehicle was purchased in late June 2021, tire side wall exploded on 8/5/21. There was no pot hole, etc. Just exploded with about a 5 inch gash in the sidewall. There are recalls all around the date my tires were manufactured, however, somehow there is no warranty on mine?? I have a receipt where I paid a Honda Dealership $341.82 for the repair. I did not repair the rim, but it is also slightly damaged. When the explosion happened, I almost hit another car in the lane beside me. I had to really hold onto the wheel to keep it in my lane.”

The complaint  goes on to say “I am VERY concerned for my safety and my kid’s safety as I now have to ride on the same tires with similar dates of the recalls. I saw where there was a recall of these tires in Nov 2020, and then again in Feb 2021 where thousands more were affected….except nothing about mine. Strange. Attempts at dealing with the dealership or Continental have not worked at all. There were no reports filed, no attempts to even look at the situation. If my tire did the same thing as the recall, then there should be a recall on that tire as well. But how do you start a recall??”

There is a recall on some models. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V725000 states that some Continental tires were over cured, creating a sidewall break while driving or belt edge separation. Both of these conditions can lead drivers to lose control of the Pilot. Maybe it’s time for customers to chart their own path without the help of a Honda Pilot.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Honda pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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