Honda Pilot & Keys: 12 Questions Answered (For Newbies)

The Honda Pilot key fob gives its owners access to a wide variety of convenient functions and tricks.

With the push of a button, the Pilot’s key fob allows you to perform simple functions that make it easier to access, lock, and start your car.

In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about Honda Pilot and its key fob, including the functions, battery, and maintenance.

Honda Pilot Key Fob Buttons, Functions, and Tricks

Some of the functions and tricks of the Pilot key fob are:

Locking/Unlocking the Vehicle

The function is the most used and one of the most basic functions of the Pilot key fob.

It allows you to lock and unlock the car from a distance. With just a press of the lock/unlock button, the car opens at a go.

The Pilot will beep and blink lights to inform you that the doors are unlocked.

Remote Start

Some Pilot models like 2019 and 2020 are equipped with a remote start function on their fob buttons.

To use the remote start, press the lock button for five seconds and then press the remote start button. 

The car will blink the indicator lights to let you know it is now on and will stay that way for the next 10 minutes. You can use the remote start to cool the Pilot’s temperature before entering the vehicle, especially during the summer.

However, ensure that you park the car outside in a well-ventilated area if you want to use remote start. Doing this will help you avoid the buildup of carbon monoxide, which can be lethal in high concentrations.

How Much Does an Extra Key Cost?

The cost of Honda Pilot key fobs ranges from $150 to $300.

The price range depends on some factors, including:

  • Key type
  • Year manufactured
  • Availability of key code to cut a new key
  •  Time of the day
  • Your location, and
  • If the Pilot uses the original ignition or not

Which Batteries Do Honda Pilot Keys Use?

The Pilot key fobs are powered by a small flat key fob battery.

The Pilot key fob battery is the CR-2032, a 3v lithium-ion battery that costs about $5.

You can get the battery from different manufacturers such as Sony, Panasonic, Energizer, and Duracell.

The Pilot’s key fob batteries are usually long-lasting. They can last for about two to three years before you will need a replacement.

Check here for the best deals on Honda Pilot key fob batteries on Amazon.

Signs of Bad Key Fobs Batteries

Dead key batteries mean the fob chip will also lose power. This can render the fob useless unless reprogrammed directly by the car manufacturer.

Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to the signs of bad key fobs batteries. Here are some of the signs of bad key fob batteries:

Reduced Signal Strength

The Pilot’s key fob can send a signal up to 50 feet to perform its functions. Most Pilot owners use the key fob as they walk away or are approaching their car.

However, as the battery wears out, the coverage range and signal strength of the fob transmitter reduces drastically.

If you notice that your key fob does not unlock your car, lock your car, or open the trunk from a distance, it’s probably time to replace the battery.

Multiple Clicks Needed to Unlock the Doors

A Pilot key fob that is fully functional will be able to open the doors and the trunk in just a single click.

It gets frustrating when it takes more effort to unlock the doors of the car. This is a clear sign that the battery has worn out and needs to be replaced.

The key Fob Does Not Work Consistently

A key fob in perfect condition works perfectly anytime.

But when there is an inconsistency in its function, that’s a distinct signal of a bad battery. At that point, you may need a replacement.

Also check out our article about how long the Honda Pilot lasts.

Can You Change the Key Battery Yourself? (Dead Key)

It is possible to change the Pilot’s key fob yourself. To change the battery of the Pilot’s key fob, there are some basic things you need to do. Follow these steps:

  1. Carefully loosen the small screw that holds the key fob together with a jeweler’s screwdriver.
  2. Loosen the screw in a counterclockwise direction while applying downward pressure to prevent it from stripping.
  3. Place the screw in a safe place.
  4. At the edge closest to the metal ignition key, open the back cover of the fob.
  5. Gently remove the plastic hook that holds the back cover of the key fob in place. The plastic hook is by the bottom edge which is near the red “Panic” button.
  6. Set the back cover aside in a safe place.
  7. Open the remote control unit to access the bad fob battery.
  8. Use small flathead screwdriver to pry out the dead battery from the socket. In this process, avoid damaging the metal electrical contacts.
  9. Insert a new CR-2032 3-volt coin cell battery into the holder with the right electrical contact. The right electrical contact is the negative side facing up while the positive side facing down.
  10. Insert the plastic hook at the bottom of the key fob cover back.
  11. Then carefully snap together the back cover and front part of the key fob.
  12. Fix in the screw and tighten it in the clockwise direction.

What to Do When Key is Stuck in the Ignition

There might be several reasons why the key might be stuck in the ignition. Here are three common reasons that might lead to the stuck key and what to do about them:

  • Steering Lock: Pilots are equipped with steering locks. So when the steering locks, the key might get stuck in the ignition. Here, all you need to do is to wiggle the steering wheel to unlock it and release the key.
  • Parking Lock: This is an automated lock for Pilot cars to prevent the driver from leaving their seat without putting the transmission in park mode. If your key gets stuck, ensure you check your Pilot to see if the gear is on park.
  • Bad key: This can include bent keys, keys with debris from food or other substances, and rusted or worn keys. All these conditions can cause a key to get stuck in the ignition. Try applying a small amount of lubricant on the key to get it unstuck. However, the best solution is to replace the key.

If you tried all the above without success, don’t pull the key out with force. You might break the cylinder that way. What you need to do is to have an expert get the key out of the ignition.

We also have a comprehensive article about the Honda Pilot’s lighting system.

3 Popular Pilot Key Fob Covers

Below, we describe three popular types of key case covers based on their material:

  • Plastic key fobs cover:
    These are very popular and come in diverse colors. It serves as a protective case for the key fob but can get broken easily.
  • Silicone key fobs cover:
    These provide all-round protection for your Pilot keys. The silicone material provides an improved handgrip and keeps the signal strength of the key intact. However, some people may not like the generic design of these key fob covers.
  • Leather key fobs cover:
    The leather key cover is durable and stylish. However, it can easily get stained by food and can soak in moisture if exposed to water.

Click here for the prices of Honda Pilot key fob covers on Amazon.

How to Find the Key Codes for Lost Keys

To find the key codes for lost keys, check your user manual. You will need the key codes to replace a lost key.

If you don’t have the user manual, you will need to go to a dealership to get your key codes. All you need to do is to provide proof of ownership of your Honda Pilot.

Most dealerships will give you the key codes for free so you can cut another one for your vehicle.

What To Do If the Key Won’t Turn?

There are basic things to do if your key won’t turn in the ignition. Inspection of the car functions or the key can rectify the problem:

Inspection of the car

  1. Check if the steering is on lock. If so, wiggle the steering back and forth while you try to turn the key.
  2. Check if the car is in park mode if you drive an automatic Honda Pilot. Cars with automatic gears are programmed in a way that the ignition won’t turn if the car is not in park or neutral. If that is the issue, put the car in park or neutral then turn the key.

Inspection of the key

  1. Check the key for damages. The key won’t turn if it is bent or damaged by excessive wear, broken teeth, or rust. If it is damaged, then the key won’t turn because it does not have the same configuration as the ignition cylinder. The best bet is to replace the key.
  1. Check if the key has something stuck in it. If this is the case, the debris stuck on the will have the same effect with the cylinder as a damaged key. Things can get stuck on the key easily. For example, if you use it to open a package, the tape might get stuck on it. The adhesive on the tape can block the teeth of the key, and this can make it stuck.

If you find debris on the key, remove it from the ignition and clean it properly.

In case this does not rectify the issue, you can wiggle the key back and forth while in the cylinder. If this works, that means the key teeth are worn and needs replacement.

If all this does not work, get professional help. Get your mechanic to check the key and the cylinder for any issue.

Please also read our article about the Honda Pilot in snow and winter driving. 

My Key Won’t Go In the Ignition

There might be several reasons why the car won’t go in the ignition. But we will highlight two major reasons that might lead to this issue.


Dirt is the major reason that can prevent a key from going into the ignition.

If this is the issue, clean the dirt off the key and insert it back into the ignition.

Sometimes, the dirt might be in the ignition. Use an electric cleaner or an air cleaner to remove the dirt. If it works, it is advisable to change the cylinder as it can get worse later.

Damaged key

A damaged key can also be difficult to insert into the ignition. Check for bends or worn teeth on the key.

If the key is bent, try straightening it with a wooden or rubber hammer. Get a replacement for a worn key.

The best solution in most cases is to get an expert to check out the ignition cylinder.

What To Do If Keys Are Locked Inside a Honda Pilot?

If you locked the car keys in your Honda Pilot, here are things you can do to gain access to the vehicle:

  • Ask someone in the car to press the unlock button on the door handle, if a person is in the vehicle.
  • Use the spare key if you are close to it.
  • Open the door with a straightened wire hanger and an inflatable wedge.

Honda Pilot Key Immobilizer Explained

The Pilot immobilizer is a security system that protects your vehicle from theft. It works by preventing fuel from getting to the engine.

If an improperly coded key or other device is used to start the engine, the immobilizer will disable the fuel system, preventing the vehicle from starting.

Was this article helpful? Like Dislike

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)