Honda Speaker Problems: Popping & Crackling

Class Action Investigation

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

Lemberg Law is investigating complaints regarding faulty audio system and speaker problems relating to various Honda Odyssey, Passport, and Pilot models manufactured from 2018 to 2022. Vehicle owners are reporting popping or cracking noises from their speakers and sometimes a total lack of sound from the audio system.

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Is there a problem with the Audio System and/or Speakers in Honda Vehicles?

There are serious problems with Honda audio systems that occur in Odyssey, Passport, and Pilot models. Honda acknowledges that certain vehicles have communication issues that cause popping or crackling from the speakers. They also recognize problems that result in no sound coming from the audio system. And they identify network loss messages and display issues.

Honda supplies information publicly, in the form of dealer messages, service news articles, various technical service bulletins (TSBs), and owner notification letters. These are all referenced as manufacturer communications in the various vehicle categories on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.

As NHTSA points out, vehicle manufacturers must, by law, provide them with all communications that they issue to dealerships.

Some communications refer to only one model vehicle, while others reference two or three. But the symptoms and probable causes given are essentially the same. They commonly blame a loose connection in the MOST bus network.

As a result of all these issues, American Honda has extended the warranty for certain 2018-20 Odyssey, 2019-20 Passport, and 2019-20 Pilot vehicles.

A dealer message issued on February 18, 2021, states: “This warranty extension covers communication issues in the MOST bus network where the vehicle may have popping or crackling (sound) from the speakers, no sound from the audio system, a Network Loss message, or display issues.”

What Honda Vehicles Have Audio Sound or Speaker Problems

There are countless complaints on the NHTSA website about audio sound problems experienced by Honda owners of various models and years. The primary issues involve speakers that make popping or crackling noises, and sound systems that don’t work or simply shut down.

Honda has been aware of these issues since at least March 2019 when it sent out a ServiceNews Article referenced in an NHTSA campaign, ID Number 10155369. This asks dealers if they are “hearing a popping or crackling from the speakers” of:

  • Honda Odyssey 2018-2019 and Pilot 2019 vehicles except for the LX
  • Honda Passport 2019 vehicles except for the Sport

They warn, “This may be due to a connection issue in the MOST bus network, which can be identified by the unique red and green connectors at each component of the infotainment system.”

According to NHTSA ID Number 10201442, a more recent Job Aid bulletin, sent out in September 2021, updates information on the MOST business network failures that cause communication issues. It also supplies troubleshooting information for common problems they have identified. NHTSA 10201442 also states that the problem affects 3 Honda models and a total of 5 years:

  • Odyssey 2018-2022
  • Passport 2019-2021
  • Pilot 2019-2022

Despite all the paperwork, including TSBs, the issues have been recurring for more than 4 years. With this in mind, we’re going to look more closely at complaints and reports that relate to the three problem models.

2018-2022 Honda Odyssey Speaker Problems

These are just a handful of the many complaints made by Honda Odyssey owners. They all say the problems recur, which is a possible sign of a lemon.

The owner of a 2018 Odyssey from Arizona states:

“The infotainment system has been a problem since about day 30 of owning the car. It will cut out, say check tuner, the speakers crackle. Originally this was attributed to the auto on/off feature, but now the whole system shuts down.”

The owner of a 2018 Odyssey from California states:

“After driving (the) vehicle for 2½ minutes, (the) entertainment system, rear entertainment screen, and parking sensors stop working. The speakers make loud popping sounds that will not go away even when you try to power off (the) radio/entertainment system. Turning the vehicle off was the only way to stop the sound.

“Once restarted, everything would work for 2½ minutes and the same thing would happen. The speakers popping were very loud and distracting. Screen with (the) backup camera and parking sensors stopped working, making the vehicle not drivable.”

The owner of a 2019 Odyssey from Pennsylvania states:

“Frequent loud crackling noises come from the speakers followed by a network connection lost error message on the screen. And then the screen will go black and eventually the system will reboot. This will happen repeatedly while driving and does not depend on the state of use of the infotainment system (It can be off and still happen).”

The owner of a 2020 Odyssey from Virginia states:

“While driving on interstates and local roads, the onboard ‘infotainment’ system continually emits loud popping, crackling sound (sounds like things hitting the windshield), resulting in distraction and confusion while driving.”

The owner of a 2021 Odyssey from Virginia states:

“The ‘infotainment’ system turned off stating ‘network connection lost.’ The speakers then started making a VERY loud crackling sound that could not be controlled with the volume button. It was very distracting to the driver – (it) sounded like rocks hitting the windshield. When the infotainment system was off, the blindspot monitor and backup camera stopped functioning. This has happened several times.”

Odyssey Technical Service Bulletins & Other Documents

The first notifications to dealerships early in 2019 told of “popping or crackling” from the speakers of Odyssey vehicles. By mid-July 2020, notifications said: “no sound from the audio system,” as well as “network loss message and/or display issues.”

From only affecting the 2018 Odyssey, the most recent TSDs and other correspondence describe exactly the same issues for every model year since including 2022. These include NHTSA campaigns with ID Numbers

In addition to continually identifying a connection issue in the MOST bus network, communications state it could also be a harness/wiring issue. A ServiceNews Article sent out to dealerships on May 21, 2019 (NHTSA ID Number 10163187) alerts dealers to a YouTube video and online forums that offer a fix for the audio unit staying on when the ignition is turned off.

“This fix has you run a Hardware Auto Detect from the diagnostic screen. There’s just one problem with this fix: if you run it with the audio unit in this failed state, it causes a No Audio Connection or Radio Unavailable message and a loss of sound! If you get any vehicles in for this issue, find out if your customer tried this fix. If they did, advise them to not run it again.”

There is a link to the most recent September 2021 Job Aid above that relates to all trim levels of Odyssey models from 2018 to 2022. It states: “A typical failure in the MOST Bus Network will cause a no-response condition from the infotainment system with the center display unit going blank. Any component or connection failure within the network can cause this condition. If you see any audio functions or information in the gauge control module, the blank screen may just be a display issue and not a network failure.”

2018-2022 Honda Passport Speaker Problems

Here are some of the complaints made by Honda Passport owners. They all echo the issues experienced by Odyssey owners.

The owner of a 2019 Passport from Georgia states:

“While the car is in motion the speakers make a loud crackling and popping noise. The car audio fails with an error message that says ‘radio unavailable’ or ‘network communications lost’. This causes all audio to quit working, along with the backup camera, navigation, and Bluetooth.”

The owner of a 2019 Passport from Ohio states:

“The infotainment system fails, sometimes reboots. Cracking and popping precede it usually – sounds as if it’s coming from speakers. The complete infotainment LCD fails – goes black.”

Passport TSBs & Other Documents

While most of the Odyssey TSBs and other documents also relate to Passport and Pilot models, this TSB is specifically for the 2021 Passport and Pilot.

Nevertheless, the symptoms are the same. “There is a popping or crackling from the speakers or no sound from the audio system. You may also see a Network Loss message and/or display issues.” Similarly, the possible cause is cited as “a loose connection in the MOST bus network.”

Here is a link to another TSB for only the 2019-2021 Passport and Pilot models. This includes reference to the warranty extension. There were several others, but again, the symptoms and probable causes are the same.

Like the Odyssey, the first notification about popping and crackling from the speakers was via NHTSA ID Number 10155369 issued on March 19, 2019.

2018-2022 Honda Pilot Speaker Problems

Here are some of the complaints made by Honda Pilot owners. It appears that some parts needed to fix the problem are on back-order, which seems to be delaying repairs.

The owner of a 2019 Pilot from Massachusetts states:

“Having crackling noise coming from the front dash of my car which interferes with the radio and the screen of my radio. Seems to be the electrical problem but if it’s shutting down the radio it’s possible that it could totally shut down my car while driving. It has become a safety issue.”

The owner of a 2019 Pilot from Florida states:

“Our 2019 Honda Pilot has been making static-like popcorn popping sounds for some time. My wife went into labor and we were rushing to the hospital in the pouring rain driving on the highway, and the popping sound started again and all the electronics shut down. I was unable to see the speed, navigation, etc. and it felt quite dangerous. We took the car in for a service and we were told that a reset had been performed and all the electronics should function normally.

“Just this past Friday, I was driving my daughter in the car after the issue was supposedly fixed, and the popping started again. I asked her to video the sounds, and moments later she got a second video of all the electronics shutting down again. Very frightening.”

The owner of a 2020 Pilot from Iowa states:

“The infotainment system makes a popping/crackling sound. The dash display and infotainment display flicker on and off at times. This condition impedes the use of user-controls and feedback systems.

“The vehicle went in for service on October 15, 2021, to have a technical service bulletin update implemented. The vehicle started exhibiting the issue again on February 9, 2022, in a much more extreme and severe way. It went back for service on February 15, 2022, to have the original work ‘inspected’. The dealer said everything was fine and did nothing.

“Honda has implemented a couple of Technical Service Bulletins, but no permanent fix has been implemented. The dealer mentioned that they apply this TSB to approximately 2 Pilots per day.”

The owner of a 2020 Pilot from West Virginia states:

“I was driving and a LOUD cracking popping noise started coming from the dash. The stereo went dead and the instrument panel went dead. I was startled at the noise and almost lost control of the car. I can’t see my speed or other functions of the car. Honda has no permanent fix for this.”

The owner of a 2021 Pilot from California states:

“Our Pilot is brand new – we started noticing popping and cracking sounds from the dashboard. It is pretty loud. We thought it was possibly the radio but it continues with the radio off. We thought it was the dashboard contracting/expanding but it happens in all weather. It has become increasingly loud and consistent and now any sounds from the stereo, regardless of input, skip and glitch and we turn it off and the popping and cracking sound continues seemingly from the speakers. We took it to the dealership for repair but they said they can’t repair it. This is not acceptable for a new car.”

The owner of a 2021 Pilot from Virginia states:

“Loud popping and crackling noise emitting from speakers. Cannot turn them off, and causes major interruptions in navigation, radio, (and) entertainment. Dealer said Falkra wiring is faulty, but is back-ordered, and could not even give us an estimate of when it would arrive. Essentially told us to suck it up. But it is more than distracting (my daughter actually said it gives her a headache) and I’m worried about larger (safety) issues if the wiring is indeed faulty. What if my other electrical systems malfunction as well?”

Pilot TSBs & Other Documents

The Honda Pilot is included in all the TSDs and other documents issued for the Honda Platform, see above.

What Should You Do If Your Honda is Experiencing Speaker Problems?

Lemberg Law is investigating audio system and recurring speaker problems relating to several Honda Odyssey, Passport, and Pilot models from 2018 to 2022. If you have identified a similar issue, we’d like to encourage you to join our class action investigation. All the information we can glean will help your case and others like yours.

All you have to do right now is fill out our contact form or call us for a free case evaluation. It won’t cost you anything now or later. That’s because the law will make Honda pay the legal fees for your claim if it goes to court.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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
9 COMMENTS
  • Lisa W

    My 2019 honda passport has the same crackling / popping sound coming from the windshield area. It start randomly then goes away. I asked the dealership about it and they say they would need to see it doing it to work on it. Unfortunately it is never doing it when near there during business hours. It has recently started then the radio and screen shut off twice in the last week. It comes back on only after the car is shut off and restarted. I am saddened to see that this appears to be a problem that can’t be fixed from what I am reading.

  • SarahC

    This is happening to Acuras as well. I hope Acura gets added to the lawsuit b/c my 2021 Acura TLX has had this issue on & off since shortly after purchasing it. The dealer repaired the fakhra or whatever was in the first bulletin about a year ago and the issue went away but it has returned & now the dealer won’t do anything until they hear the problem (which of course the issue goes away when I go there). I am dropping the vehicle off to the dealer next week & getting a loaner for them to evaluate.

  • Jef S

    i have a 2016 Honda Pilot with the same issue – crackling and popping noises with the speakers.

  • Victor R

    2021 Honda Pilot. Crackling/popping noises from the sound system. It’s something that takes my focus off the road. It’s Really distracting. Highly upset about this!

  • Jada

    I have a 2022 Honda pilot… and I’m having real problems… popping noise.. screen Blink off at times and I can hear Static noise at times when I switch gears….

  • Lorri D

    Our 2020 Passport has been serviced for this issue several times. It started up again today 10/08/22 after several months of it being “repaired”.

  • Mark D

    We have a 2019 Honda Pilot Elite on a four-year lease due to expire in December of this year. The crackling and popping of the speakers just started this month. At first it was very loud and distracting. However, the last two or three times I have driven the car the noises are very sporadic and barely noticeable. I plan on taking it to the dealer tomorrow and was not happy to read that Honda has no fix for the problem. Guess who I won’t lease my next car from?

  • Ramanathan N

    I have a Honda 2022 Pilot with this problem

  • lashae

    2020 honda pilot front speakers are crackling.

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