The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the U.S. equivalent of Transport Canada, has opened an investigation into the Honda Pilot, 2016-throught-2019 editions. The reason? More than 200 incidents have been documented involving a problem with the vehicle's auto start/stop function.
In the reported cases, the engine simply didn't restart after it turned off at a stop sign, red light or in heavy traffic, leaving owners stranded in place.
According to Honda, the problem could also affect other of its models equipped with the Pilot’s 3.5L V6 engine and 9-speed automatic transmission; those include the Honda Odyssey minivan and Acura’s TLX sedan and MDX SUV.
“The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 221 complaints and several field reports alleging an issue with the Auto Start/Stop feature on 2016-2019MY Honda Pilot vehicles. The complaints allege that the engine fails to restart on its own from a complete stop at a traffic light or road intersection with the Auto Start/Stop function engaged. Some of the complainants allege that a jump was required for the vehicle to restart. The subject vehicles are equipped with a 3.5L engine coupled with a 9-speed automatic transmission.”
- NHTSA report
Information held internally by Honda corroborated complaints submitted to the NHTSA by some owners, prompting the agency to open an investigation. This represents the first step that could lead to a recall; there is no mention of a campaign at this time, but should it be determined that the problem is potentially widespread, that will follow.
If you are ever a victim of this situation, you now know that you are not alone, which will allow you to be more informed once you visit your dealer.
We will be monitoring this issue closely and will come back to you with more details if NHTSA concludes a recall is warranted.