Popular for its utility, cavernous interior, and frugal fuel consumption, the Honda Pilot is a favorite for families across the US.
A cousin to the Honda Odyssey, the Honda Pilot is perfect for anyone looking for a capable family hauler.
In this piece, we discuss the longevity of the Honda Pilot.
Here is the short answer about how long Honda Pilots last:
If you treat a Honda Pilot well by using it responsibly and giving it regular maintenance, it should last for 250,0000 to 300,000 miles. In years, that is about 16 to 20 years of reliable service if you drive for an average of 15,000 miles per year like most Americans.
How Many Miles Can You Expect from a Honda Pilot?
The Pilot SUV is one of the many models to come from Honda, the Japanese automaker regarded as the standard for reliability. As such, it’s only natural that Honda Pilots have such impressive longevity.
The model ranks among an iSeeCars list of vehicles that can last 200,000 miles. However, testimonials from owners have shown that the average Honda Pilot can last beyond that mark.
From what owners say, religious maintenance should be enough to get your Honda Pilot past the 300,000-mile mark.
For some, getting 300,000 miles out of a vehicle–SUV or not–may seem unrealistic. But the reliability of the Honda Pilots means it’s possible to reach such high miles on your vehicle.
Yes, some older Pilots had issues with premature transmission failures; but Honda has sorted this out.
If you buy a recent model year Honda Pilot and give it adequate maintenance, it will last long before it packs up.
How Soon Should You Expect Rust on a Honda Pilot?
Rust is a fairly common problem on most vehicles and can be dangerous if it affects key components.
From what we can tell, Honda Pilots don’t rust early–you’d probably get rust only after the first six to ten years of ownership.
However, when the rust arrives, it can be serious. For example, a common problem on the early Honda Pilots was the rusting of the rear subframe.
Reportedly, the subframe could rust out and detach from the undercarriage, making the vehicle unsafe to drive.
An interesting side to the complaints of frame rust on the Honda Pilots is that many of the affected owners live in the Salt Belt of the US.
Typically, the Salt Belt refers to areas where roads get salted in winter as an ice-melting procedure.
Salt particles on the road can contact parts of the undercarriage, including the frame, and cause corrosion. This would explain the high incidence of rust on the undercarriage of Honda Pilots in such areas.
Left unchecked, rust in the undercarriage can affect important components like the subframe and suspension. This can put you and your family at risk.
Thus, we recommend protecting your Honda Pilot against rust by rustproofing your car, especially if you live in the Salt Belt.
Please also read our article about driving the Honda Pilot in snow and winter.
How Long Do Honda Pilot Last Compared to Similar Car Models?
Below, we discuss how the Honda Pilot’s longevity compared to other car models in the segment:
Honda Pilot vs. Ford Explorer
Both the Honda Pilot and the Ford Explorer are quintessential family SUVS: they have enormous interiors and impressive cargo carrying ability.
However, a factor that differentiates the two models is reliability.
The Honda Pilot is reputed for its dependability and can last up to 300,000 miles. On the other hand, the Ford Explorer will only give you about 250,000 miles.
Honda Pilot vs. Hyundai Santa Fe
Although the Hyundai Santa Fe is a great midsize SUV, it won’t give as much miles as the Honda Pilot. Compared to the Pilot’s 300,000-mile offering, the Hyundai Santa Fe will give you 200,000 miles at best.
Honda Pilot vs. Toyota Highlander
Since both models come from manufacturers renowned for reliability, it only makes sense that they have the same lifespan.
According to owners, you can get up to 300,000 miles from a Toyota Highlander. This is about the same number of miles you’ll likely get from a Honda Pilot, so we guess both models are tied in terms of durability.
Honda Pilot vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee
Our research suggests you will get the same number of miles from a Honda Pilot and a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Maintained properly, both models will give you 300,000 miles with ease.
The difference between both models lies in their design and performance credentials. The Honda Pilot is mostly a family-friendly vehicle designed for regular driving.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is an able family hauler too, but it can handle off-road driving better than the Pilot.
As both models have the same lifespan, your choice will depend on what type of driving you do.
For regular highway drives, the Honda Pilot is suitable; for the occasional off-road adventure, the Grand Cherokee will serve you excellently.
Make sure to also read our article about driving the Honda Passport in snow and winter.
How Reliable Is a Honda Pilot?
While the Honda Pilot is fairly reliable, its reliability borders on the average–especially if we take reliability ratings into consideration.
The Pilot’s average reliability ratings are mostly because of newer models that have had a few niggling issues. Older models generally have better reliability.
For example, J.D. Power has given the last two model years a 2.5/5 score for reliability. However, the preceding model years mostly received a 3/5 reliability rating from J.D. Power.
The Honda Pilot receives a middle-of-the-pack rating from RepairPal–it gets a 3.5/5 score and ranks 13th out of 26 midsize SUVs for reliability.
Sure, the reliability of newer models may be average; however, the Pilot remains one of the most reliable midsize SUVs you can buy.
If not, the Pilot wouldn’t be in the iSeeCars ranking of cars kept by owners for over 15 years.
According to the ranking, about 12.6 percent of Honda Pilot kept their cars from more than 15 years–1.6 times the average.
Also read our article about how long the Toyota Highlander lasts.
The Best and Worst Years for Honda Pilot
The 2003 Honda Pilot holds the ignoble title of the worst model year. This model year has the most complaints within the Pilot lineup and also the most recalls.
The biggest problem with the 2003 Honda Pilots was transmission failure.
Per reports, a defect could let the transmission lines run into the radiator, causing catastrophic transmission failure. The problem usually occurred after the 100,000-mile mark and cost a hefty sum of $3,470 to fix.
In comparison, the 2018 Honda Pilot is the best model year in the Pilot lineup. This model has few reported problems and also receives a better-than-average 3/5 reliability rating from J.D. Power.
What About Recalls for These Models?
Since it started production in 2003, the Honda Pilot has been involved in 33 recall actions. The 2003 and the 2005 model years hold the joint record for most recalls within the lineup. We have listed recall numbers for each model year below:
- 2003: 11 recalls
- 2005: 11 recalls
- 2004: 10 recalls
- 2011: 9 recalls
- 2010: 8 recalls
- 2009: 7 recalls
- 2012: 7 recalls
- 2006: 6 recalls
- 2007: 5 recalls
- 2008: 5 recalls
- 2013: 4 recalls
- 2016: 4 recalls
- 2014: 1 recall
- 2018: 1 recall
- 2019: 1 recall
Honda Pilot Model Year List
Here are the model years for the Honda Pilot:
- 2003 Honda Pilot
- 2004 Honda Pilot
- 2005 Honda Pilot
- 2006 Honda Pilot
- 2007 Honda Pilot
- 2007 Honda Pilot
- 2008 Honda Pilot
- 2009 Honda Pilot
- 2010 Honda Pilot
- 2011 Honda Pilot
- 2012 Honda Pilot
- 2013 Honda Pilot
- 2014 Honda Pilot
- 2015 Honda Pilot
- 2016 Honda Pilot
- 2017 Honda Pilot
- 2018 Honda Pilot
- 2019 Honda Pilot
- 2020 Honda Pilot
Are Honda Pilots Expensive to Maintain?
For a midsize SUV, the Honda Pilot is inexpensive to keep running.
From estimates, you will spend an average of $542 annually on maintenance for a Honda Pilot. In comparison, the average midsize SUV costs around $573 in annual maintenance costs.
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
Driving style is the biggest factor influencing the life of your Honda Pilot brakes. If you drive frequently in an urban area with plenty of stop-and-go traffic or an area with hilly roads, your brakes will wear faster.
Alternatively, if you drive frequently in a rural area or on the highway, your brakes will last longer.
On the average, you can expect 30,000 to 70,000 miles from the brakes on your Honda Pilot.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
The OEM tires on a Honda Pilot can last anywhere between 30,000 to 50,000 miles. Your frequency of driving will largely determine the lifespan of your tires.
If you are searching for quality tires for your vehicle, check out our article on Goodyear Tires.
How Long Do the Transmissions Last?
The transmissions on many Honda vehicles can last up to 120,000 miles with proper maintenance. Some earlier models suffered from premature transmission failure; thus, we’d advise regularly inspecting the tranny for signs of trouble.
How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?
If your Honda Pilot used iridium or platinum spark plugs, they should last up to 100,000 miles. But you should absolutely change them if they show signs of failure at an earlier point.
What About Insurance Cost?
The Honda Pilot is actually inexpensive to insure–a detail sure to delight families. It costs about $1,644 annually or $137 per month to insure a Honda Pilot.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Honda Pilot
Here are ways to improve the durability and longevity of your Honda Pilot:
- Owners advise using synthetic engine oil (specifically Mobil 1) to preserve the engine and prolong the vehicle’s life.
- You should install a transmission filter and flush the transmission fluid every 15,000 miles.
- If it’s an older model, consider replacing the radiator. It could fail and cause transmission fluid to mix with coolant, which will damage the transmission. Given that transmission replacement is expensive, you may be forced to abandon your car if the tranny fails.
- Avoid towing more than the specified limit–you will only damage the transmission and engine this way.
- Ensure you maintain your Honda Pilot according to the schedule in your service manual.