pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
31,750 miles
Total Complaints:
22 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. not sure (17 reports)
  2. service bulletin 17-014 - update software/flush transmission (5 reports)
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2016 Honda Pilot:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

Get free help with your lemon!
close ad

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Honda dealer.

problem #22

Jan 012019

Pilot EXL 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

My 2016 Honda Pilot felt like the transmission was slipping while accelerating or going uphill at times The RPM would also vary 100-200 RPM at the time. I took the vehicle to the local Honda dealer and explained the symptoms to the service advisor. She was familiar with the issue. She told me that the technician would drive the vehicle with a computer hooked to it to record what was happening. They confirmed the problem and fixed the issue under warranty. The solution was TSB 17-014 (software update and transmission flush). Total time at the dealership was about four hours. The vehicle drove much better after the fix. She also told me that Honda was extending the warranty to 80,000 miles and eight years to cover this issue.

- Norman W., Kerrville, US

problem #21

Nov 012017

Pilot LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles

Jerking started after I had the vehicle for about 1 year. Most noticeable accelerating from a stop under 40 MPH or in high torque, low RMP (heading up hill) at low speed. Reading complaints on this site helped me recognize that there was a risk that the dealer would "not be able to reproduce the problem". I drove it to the dealer on 8/31/19 (50000 Miles) and filmed the tac jerking back and forth with my phone and then panned to the fact that I was driving by the dealership. I showed the service rep the video when I dropped the car off to prove that they should be able to reproduce the problem on demand without any special driving conditions.

Dealer called me back about 3 hours after I dropped it off and said that the car was fixed. The service document said that the following: "The judder was caused by deteriorated transmission fluid. The transmission fluid deteriorates quicker than expected when it is exposed to intermittent high heat loads under specific driving conditions.

Check if the software has been updated. If the software has not been updated, take an automatic transmission snapshot, review the data, and confirm that the judder is coming from the torque converter. Then forward it to the Tech Line. If the snapshot ind...

Flush the ATF (ATF DW-1)"

The service rep said that they did a software update and flushed the transmission. They retested and that everything should be good. Additionally, they said that the are extending the warranty on this issue to 8 years 80,000 miles.

I drove the car home and clearly the issue has been fixed. Perfectly smooth driving. I will update if this happens again.

- Roper S., Pittsburgh, US

problem #20

Sep 092019

Pilot LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

Honda knows that there is a problem with the transmission that causes the fluid to overheat. The overheating issue leads to a “judder” in the transmission. The car accelerates in a very jerky way especially between 30 and 50. This is a big safety issue if you are trying to pass someone. As soon as the vehicle reaches 80,000 miles Honda will no longer cover the so-called “repair” which is to flush the burnt transmission oil multiple times. This costs almost $400. If you have this problem please report it to NHTSA at 1(888)327-4236. Honda knows they have a defective transmission and, instead of fixing it, they are passing the transmission flush cost on to the buyers. A recall should be issued before someone gets killed trying to pass in a vehicle with a faulty transmission. Please let NHTSA know if your Honda Pilot transmission is shaking!!!!!!! The more people that notify them, the higher the chance it will be resolved.

- David H., Chattanooga, US

problem #19

Jul 152019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

Just bought my 2016 Pilot on July 3, 2019. Not long after, within two weeks the transmission started jerking. I was bringing the car in to the dealership anyway so I mentioned it to them. When I came back to pick it up I was told it was a computer update that had not been completed. They said they completed the update and all should be fine. Within two days the problem is occurring again. I am leaving for a business trip tomorrow so I will be calling them on Monday to complain again and set another date to have it fixed. I will update my post if new information is obtained.

- Susan M., Gettysburg, PA, US

problem #18

Jun 022019

Pilot EX-L 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

Purchased from reputable used car dealer and the Pilot is in perfect condition with only 28K miles. 6-Speed transmission intermittently will start shifting very harshly, from 1-2 and 3-4 and maybe others. It happens either on a hot engine/transmission or cold, right from the start. Only every few days or so. We have found that shutting the car off and restarting fixes the problem. Plan to take it to the dealer since it has the 60K mile drivetrain warranty.

- Steve H., New Market, US

problem #17

May 012019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

My brother in law has many certifications as a Toyota mechanic. He drove me to the airport and told me I had a transmission problem. He then went home and looked it up that it needed a software update.

I called DCH Honda they can't be bothered and were only good to sell me the car. Joyce Honda said there was an update service bulletin. I spoke to Jen and Rosa today from Honda. Rosa is located in California and refused to give me her supervisor at first then said can't return phone call for 24 hrs. Who do I believe

My brother in law said if I do not get the updated software I will need a new transmission.

Any one else have their rpm needle going up and down as they drive. Hesitation?

- Carolyn K., Andover, US

problem #16

Apr 012018

Pilot Touring

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I have only been able to replicate the issue while it tries to upshifts from first gear to second with revs past 4000 and then letting off the accelerator as it shifts to second gear. Tech says nothing is wrong even though we went for a test drive.

- npolite, Drexel Hill, PA, US

problem #15

Aug 102018

Pilot EX-L 3.5L V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Pilot had no known issues until the transmission started the jerk/stutter. It started not too long after the 30k service. I was going up a freeway on ramp and immediately noticed the car struggling/jerking a bit until I got up to speed. A huge telltale sign of it was watching the RPM needle jumping as the RPMs were going up. It is supposed to be a linear increase as the RPMs go up. After I let off the gas (speed of traffic already) the problem went away. It happened once in a while after that but I never was able to recreate it on demand. It always happened at random times while accelerating. I took it into the dealer at my 35k service and mentioned it to my service advisor. He said he is familiar with what I described and will have the tech check it.

Apparently, a few days prior to my appointment, the service advisor had a 2017 Pilot that had the issues I described for a short amount of time before experiencing transmission failure due to a sensor issue

After the service was done, my advisor informed me the tech was unable to recreate the problem I described so nothing was done. My advisor told me to continue to drive the vehicle until the problem persists, then bring it back. He said any warranty repairs that the transmission needed has to be allowed by corporate first. If the tech doesn't see the problem, corporate would not allow the warranty repair. My advisor told me to wait it out instead of fixing it out of pocket.

A few months have passed and it seems the problem is getting worse (40k miles). I haven't been able to get it to happen on demand still, but notice it occurs much more often when the vehicle is going up an incline or after it has been driven for a while. The most recent one was going up a street with a gradual incline (for those of us who are familiar San Francisco, going up Fulton street from Ocean Beach to 25th Ave). It jerked/stuttered much more violently while climbing the hill and accelerating from a complete stop. The problem got a little better after a short meal break before disappearing again the following day. I can't seem to get it to happen consistently enough in order to get a video of it. Now I am just driving it until it happens on demand but hoping I wont get stranded from sudden transmission failure.

A friend described the feeling as though the vehicle was struggling to either switch gears or produce enough power for the appropriate gear. It is like you skipping a gear when driving manual, instead of going from second to third, you go straight to fourth/fifth. The problem seems to stop when the you force the transmission to downshift by pressing the gas harder, but once you let off it feels like it struggles for a moment to find the right gear to be in.

Waiting for another week to see if it gets worse before making an appointment again. I don't want to waste my time leaving my vehicle to them in hopes they see the problem.

- Kin L., San Gabriel, CA, US

problem #14

Oct 092018

Pilot EX-L AWD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles

Started jerking around 30 mph like teenager was learning to drive a stick shift. It progressively was getting more frequent but sometimes after turning the car off and restarting it, it would not longer do it. As it got worse I had planned on bringing it in but then all the warning lights went off for Transmission and Emission warnings. I had the vehicle towed to the dealer. They ran diagnostics, said the computer needed an update and then sent me on my way saying that should solve the problem.

Update from Oct 29, 2018: On 10/17, the following week, the car started jerking again as it was shifting gears. It is time consuming and frustrating to be bringing a 2 year old vehicle back and forth from the dealership for repairs. Brought it in and this time they flushed the transmission fluid and perform S/B 17-015, 17-018, 17-026, 17-042 and 17-044

They did provide a courtesy vehicle, but it is never big enough for my neighborhood carpool so not only am I dealing with missing work for this, I also am having to jump through hoops to either swap driving days or borrow larger cars to get kids back and forth. Moms....i know you feel me, right!?

Update from Oct 29, 2018: Oct 21st whiling driving errands with my daughter the vehicle does the same jerk again at around 30 mph. I call Monday morning 10/22, they arrange to come and pick up my pilot and drop off a courtesy car for me at my home. The tech I talked to that morning said that I would be getting a new transmission.

Tuesday I speak with another technician that says they can't see any incidents on the computer and that they cannot duplicate the problem. They say they are driving it occasionally trying to recreate the jerking I describe. Wednesday we were planning on taking the AWD pilot up to the Mountains but of course we don't want to drive an unreliable vehicle. They decide to keep it for the week and keep driving it.

Today is Monday the 29th. They just delivered my car back to me, after having it a week and apparently did not perform any type of repairs, updates or maintenance on the vehicle. Nothing. I would never buy a Honda again after this experience. I did a quick search here and on other sites and this is apparently a common problem with the Pilots.

- Kristi C., Orlando, FL, US

problem #13

Sep 032018

Pilot EX AWD 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,400 miles

Purchased Honda Pilot EX AWD November 2015. No mechanical problems until 9/3/2018. Transmission worked fine until this date, then while shifting it felt like I drove over a pot hole in the road.

This terrible "Clunk" and "Jerk" repeated every time the transmission shifted, until reaching higher gears. I'd say it clunked from 2nd to 3rd gear...really bad.

Took car into Honda, they couldn't find anything and recommended changing the transmission fluid. This service was done, and the transmission has worked fine until yesterday, October 28, 2018, when it "clunked" again at low speed. Again, just like you hit a pot hole in the road.

Today, October 29, 2018, the transmission is working smoothly again.

As with all the complaints above, I can't take it back to Honda unless it's not working properly. They will just say they can't find anything. I've decided to wait until the problem is consistent, then take it back to Honda.

If someone has gotten their transmission problem solved, please post how the dealer eliminated your problem of "clunking, jerky" shifting. Thanks!

- Leon H., Burton, OH, US

problem #12

Oct 212018

Pilot Touring V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Driving on the interstate car all of a sudden acts like its in neutral, then jerks hard back into gear. Transmission problem light comes on. I pull over, shut it off then emission system light comes on and stays. I contact Honda, carry it back and they inform me they cannot find any problems, continue to drive it and if it happens again let them know. I find this unacceptable. If a car had been directly behind me when it all of a sudden wouldn't accelerate, this could have caused a major accident.

- Michelle M., Hinesville, US

problem #11

Apr 082018

Pilot EXL AWD V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

I purchased a 2016 Honda Pilot EXL AWD on 12/31/2016. It was running great for about a year, then my husband once asked me, "why does your car jerk when accelerating?" I thought he was joking because I never felt it and I am the one who drives the car most of the time while he only drives maybe once or twice a week. He couldn't recreate the problem so we blamed on the gas that he put last time from arco (I usually use Shell or Mobil). Some time went by and my car was doing fine until one morning the jerking occurred on my way to drop off my kids. The jerking was significantly felt. There were several times. I told my husband about it and it happened that the car was running on arco gas again at the time. So, we decided not to use arco gas on this car anymore. Unfortunately, it was not because of arco's gas (my apologies to arco). My Pilot started jerking on all kinds of gas, Costco, Shell, etc. The most recent event was yesterday 8/26/2018. Our family was driving on a local road and when the car accelerated to about 30-40MPH, it jerked and everyone felt it. Then the jerking repeated all the way to our destination. I got really worried because the car was running on Shell gas! I immediately researched 2016 Honda Pilot problems using my phone and guess what? I am not alone!!! I cannot believe a Honda would have a transmission problem. I have scheduled an appointment with a local Honda dealer tomorrow. I will update once I have it checked by the dealer.

Update from Aug 28, 2018: So I brought the car to a dealership knowing that the technician won't be able to recreate the problem. Obviously, at the end of the day, they told me there is nothing wrong with the car! They said they've checked transmission oil and it was all fine. They've run the computer check and nothing showed up. So they wouldn't even do the SERVICE BULLETIN 17-014 like other owner mentioned! My choices are, leave the car at the dealership until they can recreate the problem, which nobody knows when? Or start looking for a new car. BTW, honda does not provide loaner unless it is a recall. So how can they expect their customers do without their vehicle? The advisor told me my car still has a lot of time before the warranty runs out, just bring it back when the problem gets worse.

Update from Sep 2, 2018: 9/2 The car stared jerking again this morning, but unfortunately it’s a Sunday again so I couldn’t drive it to the dealership directly. Hope next time it happens it won’t be on a Sunday!!

- Lezli F., Rosemead, CA, US

problem #10

Oct 312017

Pilot EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,567 miles

It's comforting to know I'm not the only one! My Pilot first started lurching into 2nd gear on 10/31/17, then not again until 11/16, and again 11/18. I'm calling the dealer tomorrow and fully expect the "we can't recreate it" response, so I'll be printing out everyone else's experience from this website. The short-term fix is to pull over, shut the car off, and turn it on again, but like everyone else, I paid plenty of money for this car and plan to drive it for 10 years. This can't continue.

Update from Dec 4, 2017: Visited dealership service on 12/4/17 and technician felt the judder. They performed service bulletin 17-014 to update the software and flush the transmission. The technician told me the transmission fluid was running hot and causing the judder and the generally rough performance I was also noticing. (It felt like I was on graded pavement nearly all of the time, even though the jerking only happened intermittently.) . Car is now running smoothly. SERVICE BULLETIN 17-014 is the key. Thanks to all who commented!

Update from May 16, 2018: Sigh. It's starting again. The transmission felt sluggish for about a week, and today the car lurched again. I guess this will require a service visit every 6 months.

Update from May 21, 2018: They flushed the transmission 3 times and drove it in between. Now I wait.

Update from Oct 12, 2018: The car started lurching again on 6/4/18. I immediately called the dealer who contacted Honda. I took the car in and left it there for a week. (They provided a rental car to me.) . They ran a bunch of diagnostics and drove it 70 miles but did not experience any lurching, and nothing came up on the diagnostics. It's now 10/12/18 and I haven't had any lurching, but I still expect to. It's sporadic and seems unrelated to gas, weather, conditions, etc.

- susanyoz, Langhorne, PA, United States

problem #9

Aug 012017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,000 miles

My car starting jerking when I accelerated between 25 and 30 mph; the jerking stopped once my speed exceeded 30 mph. I took it to dealership that said they "fixed it" by updating some software. When I drove it off the dealership's lot, it happened again so I turned around and they look at my car again and said it was all OK now. A few days later, the jerking motion started again and I brought it back to dealership. They couldn't recreate the problem and it hasn't happened in the last month or so. Not sure if it's really fixed at this point, time will tell.

- Anne H., Overland Park, US

problem #8

Jul 312017

Pilot EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

My 2016 Honda Pilot is jerking intermittently. It has happened twice now when I am accelerating, it significantly jerks/bucks when switching gears and makes a loud noise (like I hit something). It continues to happen until I shut the car off. When I restart, it runs fine for days, then the problem occurs again. I will take the car into the dealership this week. I really don't want to hear that they can't recreate the problem thus can't fix it. If anyone has had this problem and had it resolved, can you please send me a comment?

- Kim G., Macungie, PA, US

problem #7

Oct 272016

Pilot Elite

  • Automatic transmission
  • 280 miles

Have brought the new Honda Pilot Elite into dealer at least 3 times, complaining of transmission lurching forward on small hills, significant jerking downshifting. On two occasions, the car became stuck in D2 and would not shift out of gear until I pulled the car over, put in park and turned car off and on again. Honda "unable to duplicate the problem"

- hatemypilot, Annandale, US

problem #6

Feb 162017

Pilot EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles

This car jerks a lot when it reaches 27 MPH. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. The dealership has finally noticed this issue and is willing to fix this. I will update you guys on this. This should be a recall since a lot of this cars have this issue. This is an EX-L 4WD.

- Pedro C., West New York, NJ, US

problem #5

May 152017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,741 miles

At about 25/30 mph, my car jerks. At first I thought it was a pot hole, but then it did again, and again. I've been to the deal twice now and of course they can't duplicate it.

Update from Jun 1, 2017: Got a call from the deal today who informed me that the problem was Code PO990, diagnosed to front transmission pressure sensor that was broken from an accident but not repaired. We are awaiting the part. I'll update if this solves the problem.

- Dawn C., Buffalo, NY, US

problem #4

Feb 072017

Pilot Touring

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

The transmission on this vehicle has been horrendous from day 1. The 9-speed transmission chews through multiple gears just getting off the stop line and sounds like you're starting a F1 race. Then there's the lovely effect of being thrown down a hill. When you start down the hill the transmission will hold you back, similar to most other vehicles on the road, but at a random point it will switch to a fast acceleration and rocket you down the hill if you aren't prepared to jam the brakes.

This concern has been brought up to the dealer multiple times and each time we are told the effects we are experiencing are by design. When asked if anything can be modified to eliminate these supposed helpful occurrences we are told no.

Do NOT purchase a Honda with the 9-speed transmission. You'll regret it every day you drive your vehicle!

- Sean S., Pittsburgh, PA, US

problem #3

Nov 132016

Pilot EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles

New Honda Pilot 8/2016. At about 4K miles, several fault codes threw. Check Engine, Oil Change Warning, Flashing dash lights. Motor and trans went into "Limp Mode" Super hard shifting. Took to Michael Hohl Honda in Carson. Dealer reset fault codes and sent me on my way. 12/1/2016 Re-Occurrence, but this time the trans is hard shifting at 25-35MPH to the point of damage to the drive train, and transmission. Car is at dealer till they can reproduce the issue. Horrible Virus in the electrical brain that controls the shifting and safe operation of car. Cannot recommend the Honda Pilot.. This is not good.

Update from Dec 15, 2016: Still at dealer try to duplicate the issue.

Update from Dec 16, 2016: 12/16/2016. After having the car 5 days, the hard shift and limp mode issue occurred for the dealer. Now they do not think I'm another crazy owner..!! They have already installed the software updates 2 visits ago, so now what? Stay tuned..

Update from Feb 8, 2017: just as an FYI, dealer had issues duplicating the hard shift problems. we ended up selling the pilot at 8K miles. just did not trust the car any longer w/ random shifting problems.

- lampeman, Incline Village, NV, US

Read the next 2 complaints »