2023 Honda Pilot Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Safety issues relating to the electrical system and various other components are the main causes of complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Sergei Lemberg

Introducing the first fourth-generation Honda Pilot, the automaker announced that it was “the largest and most powerful SUV in Honda history.” But complaints to the NHTSA tell a story of multiple safety issues. Owners talk about electrical system problems one owner believes makes the 2023 Pilot a “killing machine.” They describe how an undiagnosed problem keeps knocking the vehicle into Park so they can’t move forward, and how the Pilot doesn’t recognize the key fob while it’s moving. And, there’s more.   

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2020   2021   2022

Most Common Problems with the 2023 Honda Pilot

Complaints about the 2023 Honda Pilot to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) are very varied. But, what many of them do have in common are safety issues.

A total of five components and systems are identified as faulty in NHTSA complaints as at early July, 2023. These are the electrical system, lane departure, the power train, steering, and visibility. There are also safety issues identified in the “unknown or other” category.

The electrical system ranks as potentially the most dangerous problem, with one of the complainants stating the vehicle is “dangerous and unsafe to drive.” But the complaint issued as a visibility problem is the one that reports injuries – when the sunroof exploded.

2023 Honda Pilot Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Seat Belts
Air Bags

Serious Electrical System Problems

Electrical system issues focus on multiple error messages. There are no explanations, but one concern is that the automaker’s anti-lock braking system (ABS) appears to be implicated. According to the Honda Info Center, the ABS uses sensors at the wheels of their vehicles to send “wheel-rotation speed data to an electronic control unit (ECU).” This is described as a great safety feature when the ECU detects wheel lockup because the vehicle brakes.

Electrical System Complaints

When a 2023 Honda Pilot Elite owner had major issues in May 2023, he must have found it disconcerting to discover that the cause was an “ABS Sensor that went bad.” That’s bad enough, but in his complaint he states that he’d been told the part needed for the repair might only be delivered in August 2023.

What happened was that on two occasions, “everything went dead. The dashboard lit up with every warning under the sun in terms of electrical failures.”  These failures included power steering (Steering Assist reduced), an anti-lock brake problem (Brake performance may be reduced), a vehicle stability assist system problem (Reduced traction and handling), a hill start assist problem, a TSA system problem. Ultimately, he was told to see his dealer and, because there was a “Hill Descent Control system problem,” to apply brakes when descending.

“I believe (that) major problems with the design of the sensors/electrical circuitry might exist. But, I will leave that to the experts.”

Another owner was told by the dealership that “there was a battery failure, a wheel sensor failure, and possibly other things going on as well. The car was rendered useless.”

Additionally, like the previous Pilot, the ABS had stopped working, there were multiple transmission failures, traction control failures, power steering failures, brake failures, total sensor failures, and overall these “rendered the car dangerous and unsafe to drive.

“The car became a heavy, metal, killing machine with zero safety features.”

The owner wasn’t able to open the trunk and the memory seats didn’t function.

While the dealership confirmed “a major flaw,” the SUV had been with them for weeks with no resolution. “The vehicle has been inspected by the manufacturer repeatedly. The dashboard lit up like a literal Christmas tree. There was around 15-20 warnings on the dashboard.”

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Problems with the Sunroof Exploding

There is only one complaint that reports an exploding sunroof, but the driver was injured when it happened, so it’s worth mentioning. The SUV was very new and had only 600 miles on the clock.

According to the complaint, the owner’s wife was reversing out of their driveway when the “glass sunroof suddenly exploded and shattered, causing glass shards to fall into the cabin of the vehicle.” She “sustained bruising and small lacerations to the neck and back area,” but didn’t need medical attention.

Steering Problems

If your vehicle has steering problems, these can lead to all kinds of incidents.

In May 2023, a couple who owned a 2023 Honda Pilot experienced three similar incidents. Every time, the vehicle veered towards either cyclists, a vehicle on the oncoming lane, or a tractor. Unable to identify what was causing this safety issue, the owners took the Pilot to the dealership and had the lane departure feature removed.

But, of course, that doesn’t solve the issue. Honda states in its manual that the Lane Keeping Assist System “provides steering input to help keep the vehicle in the middle of a detected lane and provides tactile and visual alerts if the vehicle is detected drifting out of its lane.” How does this explain a 2023 Pilot getting pulled back to cyclists when there was no oncoming traffic? And how does it explain the vehicle being pulled “towards the oncoming lane” when there was a motorcycle approaching?

Another complaint regarded as a steering issue involves a “clicking noise coming from the steering column.” The owner of a 2023 Pilot states that this is what happened after driving on the highway for about 15 minutes after the engine had warned up. Fearing “an unknown danger to those in the car and around the car,” the owner took the SUV to the dealership. They inspected it but couldn’t work out what the problem was and the issue remained “unresolved.”

In this case, the vehicle manufacturer engineer, who was contacted telephonically, suggested they check whether other vehicles of “the same year, model, and trim level” had the same issue. But because the dealership was unable to supply this information, the case was to remain open!

Safety Issues Can’t Be Repaired by Dealer

This scenario is illustrated above. But it happens all too often, and for many different reasons.

In June 2023, a 2023 Honda Pilot owner was trying to back out of a parking spot at a restaurant when the vehicle shuddered to a stop four or five times. Each time it would go back into Park.

“We finally backed up enough to put it in Drive and it continued to do the same thing in Drive. We shut the car off and cranked it again. It still would slam back into Park from Drive at least twice more. We are now concerned with this as a safety issue in addition to it being a defect. What if it decides to return to Park and we are going 60 mph?”

Because the dealer couldn’t replicate the problem, they said they couldn’t repair it!

What To Do if Your 2023 Honda Pilot is a Lemon?

How do you know if your 2023 Honda Pilot is a lemon? There is, unfortunately, no handbook that can tell you. But, if you have issues that cannot be resolved, and which affect your use and value of your SUV, there’s a possibility that it may be a lemon.

Every year, manufacturers pay out or settle with lemon vehicle owners who discover they have faulty cars. Lemberg Law has been helping vehicle owners for many years by negotiating settlements on their behalf.

If you’d like us to assess your case, free of charge, contact us by calling our Helpline or filling out a contact form. Ultimately, the law says that Honda must pay the legal fees for lemon law cases, so it’s not going to cost you a cent.

Sergei Lemberg

About the Author:

Sergei Lemberg is an attorney focusing on consumer law, class actions related to automotive issues, and personal injury litigation. With nearly two decades of experience, his areas of practice include Lemon Law (vehicle defects), Debt Collection Harassment, TCPA (illegal robocalls and texts), Fair Credit Reporting Act, Overtime claims, Personal Injury cases, and Class Actions. He has consistently been recognized as the nation's "most active consumer attorney." In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid before the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case Duguid v. Facebook. He is also the author of "Defanging Debt Collectors," a guide that empowers consumers to fight back against debt collectors and prevail, as well as "Lemon Law 101: The Laws That Lemon Dealers Don't Want You to Know."

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