Which Honda Pilot Years to Avoid and Why? (Explained)

There are few automakers with a better reputation than Honda when it comes to SUVs. However, no Honda SUV is flawless, and the Pilot has had more than a few bad years in production. If you’re looking for a long-lasting and trustworthy SUV, you’ll want to be aware of the Honda Pilot years to avoid and why.

But don’t worry; in this article, I have got you covered.

I will go through which years to avoid, the most prevalent issues that make certain vehicles less consistent, and which Honda Pilot models are worth your hard-earned money.

Honda Pilot Years to Avoid

The Honda Pilot had a rocky start with the 2003 model, which, regrettably, has adhered to the model name for quite some time. Having said that, certain model years are considerably more consistent, and others aren’t.

Here are the Honda Pilot years to stay away from, and we’ll explain why in the next section.

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

Common Problems With The Honda Pilot

Here are some of the most typical Honda Pilot issues, so you can make an educated decision about which model you want to drive.

Transmission Failures

The gearbox breakdown issue is arguably the most significant of all the issues that Honda Pilots face. Fortunately, this issue is primarily restricted to the 2003 model, however, there have been a few isolated transmission failures in later Pilot models.

Transmission failure is one of the most expensive repairs your automobile might require, so taking on a vehicle with this problem is a major commitment. Worse, transmission breakdowns in traffic can make it difficult to maintain control of a car and perhaps cause a collision.

Excessive Oil Consumption

Excessive oil consumption is a very typical problem with SUVs, and it’s also a concern in a few Honda Pilot model years. This isn’t a big deal if you know your model is going to start using oil, especially after 100k miles, but it might be a big deal if you don’t know it’s going to happen.

The major issue is that low oil may harm your engine and cause it to overheat, but only if you allow it go too low in general.

This may be avoided by keeping a can of oil in your trunk and filling it out every couple of weeks, just like an oil leak. Excessive oil use, on the other hand, may burn a hole in your wallet and make your car much more difficult to repair over time.

Peeling Paint

Peeling paint is mostly an aesthetic concern, but it may lead to more significant issues if you live in an area where there is a lot of rain or rust.

We don’t think peeling paint is significant enough to prevent you from buying a car, but you should be aware that you may need to have it repainted at some time.

Recurring Fault Codes 

Except when a repeating fault code reveals a true problem, recurring fault codes are typically more annoying than harmful.

These occur when your Pilot’s sensors detect a problem that does not present. Recurrent fault codes are normally easy to notice, either by yourself or by your technician, but the issues arise when you receive a valid fault code after your Pilot has taught you not to pay attention to them.

You may do inadvertent harm to your car in these situations merely because you mistook a valid fault code for another false alarm.

Fuel Injector Failure

Another typical problem with Honda Pilots is fuel injector failure, which may be a costly repair. This issue is more prevalent in newer Honda Pilot vehicles, particularly the 2016 ones, in contrast to the other faults that are more prevalent in early-generation versions.

This problem is especially aggravating because it usually appears around 60k miles, making it an early part failure for most automobiles.

Because the cost of repairing it might be several thousand dollars, this is a concern you should study before buying a Honda Pilot.

Given that the Honda Pilot has been in production since 2003, this list is rather short. However, as you can see, they had to sort out several design flaws after the initial release.

It didn’t help that many buyers were apprehensive about the safety and efficiency of SUVs in general in the early 2000s, making it an especially challenging moment to introduce a new model SUV.

Even said, some of the Pilot’s flaws were well-deserved. Let’s take a look at some of the most prevalent issues that these models encountered.

Which Years are Safe to Buy Used?

There are lots of other Honda Pilot models to pick from if you want something a little more trustworthy than the types we’ve already covered.

While the Honda Pilot has a few major flaws, the majority of its models have proven to be dependable and long-lasting.

Reliable Honda Pilot Models:

  • 2004 Honda Pilot
  • 2006 Honda Pilot
  • 2007 Honda Pilot
  • 2008 Honda Pilot
  • 2010 Honda Pilot
  • 2012 Honda Pilot
  • 2014 Honda Pilot
  • 2015 Honda Pilot
  • 2017 Honda Pilot
  • 2018 Honda Pilot
  • 2019 Honda Pilot
  • 2020 Honda Pilot

All of these options are long-lasting, dependable, and have a very low frequency of part failures and other difficulties that plagued the previous Pilot versions.

In light of this, the 2010 Honda Pilot is a decent choice among older Honda Pilots. It has many of the contemporary conveniences that the 2009 model offered, but it also has certain dependability enhancements that make it a better long-term bet.

You’d be well served by practically any model released between 2015 and 2020, except for the 2016 release.


If you have made it to this part of the article, you already know which Honda Pilot years to avoid and which ones are reliable.

Considering the design flaws, research, and customer reviews, it is suggested that you ignore the mentioned Honda Pilot years to save you from any inconvenience and your hard-earned money.

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