2016-2020 Honda Pilot Under NHTSA Investigation for Engine Failures

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
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Owners of these vehicles may want to disable their stop-start system until Honda and NHTSA end their investigations.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

What's happening

The 2016-2020 Honda Pilot is under investigation by the federal regulator for engines that may not restart when they're supposed to.

Why it matters

Owners of affected vehicles may find themselves stranded at an intersection if the stop-start system fails as mentioned in NHTSA's documents.

What's next

Honda and NHTSA will continue their investigations and issue a recall if warranted.

The is a solid midsize crossover, but no vehicle is immune to problems, and a new investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is determining whether or not there's a widespread issue with these cars' stop-start system .

NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation is currently investigating the 2016-2020 Honda Pilot for an issue where the vehicle's 3.5-liter V6 may not restart. There are approximately 195,000 examples of these vehicles across the country, and it's unclear how many may be affected by the problem. To date, NHTSA has received 221 complaints related to this specific malady. All the vehicles in question have the 3.5-liter V6, a nine-speed automatic and the stop-start system found on Touring and Elite trims.

The issue in question comes from the stop-start system, which is meant to improve fuel economy by shutting the engine off when the vehicle comes to a stop. According to NHTSA's investigation document, the Pilot's engine may not restart when it's supposed to, leaving owners with a seemingly dead vehicle. The document points out that some owners needed a jump-start in order to get the vehicle moving again.  

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NHTSA's documents state that it's working closely with  to investigate the issue. Also, Honda noted that other models with the same powertrain may also be affected, such as the , and , but this investigation only covers the Pilot at the moment.

"We are aware that the NHTSA has initiated a Preliminary Evaluation regarding the operation of Auto Start/Stop System in 2016-2020 Honda Pilot vehicles," a Honda spokesperson said in a statement. "Honda will cooperate with the NHTSA through the investigation process, and we will continue our own internal review of the available information."

So what's the next step? Honda and NHTSA will continue working to determine just how pervasive this problem is. Honda may choose to initiate a recall before the investigation concludes, or NHTSA may petition Honda to begin one.