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2005 Honda Pilot brakes suddenly activated

Our daughter was cruising down the freeway at 60 MPH, with her foot on the gas pedal, when her brakes were suddenly and fully activated, 3 times in rapid succession, bringing her to a stop. Numerous lights on the dash panel flashed during the braking. Her dealer is dumbfounded, but investigating the matter with Honda USA. Is this possibly a computer glitch or faulty master cylinder? Any ideas/suggestions would be appreciated.

What lights were flashing? CEL, OD, Brakes, Battery, ABS, Seatbelt, Airbag? It would help.

I doubt it was the brakes. Even with ABS or traction control, there isn’t anything in the brake system to make then apply like that with no input from your foot. I suspect a transmission problem. If you have a bad bearing in the transmission, it could be causing the drive wheels, like the front axle, to intermittently lock up or jerk. Of course, you’ll hear the bearing growl as well.

This is an impossible result but it actually happened so we can’t rule out anything.

At this stage none of us can do anything more than guess. My guess would be a faulty ABS controller. Since the car is already at the Honda dealership and they are diagnosing, all we can do is wait for your further report. I hope you keep us informed; we may then be able to advise others.

Also, be sure to file a report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), via their website. If multiple instances of the same defect are reported, that will accelerate NHTSA’s investigation of the defect.

Even if you have already paid for a repair, a subsquent NHTSA-mandated recall campaign can result in a refund of the repair fees that a vehicle owner paid–as long as the vehicle owner persists with the manufacturer.

Thanks for the many responses and useful info. I neglected to mention that this very same problem happened to another 2005 Honda Pilot in Sep 2007. See CarSpace Forum post #6757 I also posted to CarSpace (#6761) and hope to hear back from atpcll - I really need to reach atpcll!

I think the only thing that could activate the brakes (besides your foot) is the power brake booster.

Craig58 is going to love this thread. :slight_smile:

I know some cars out there utilize a sonar system as part of the cruise control, and will apply the brakes if it senses you are getting too close to the car in front of you. It will apply up to 80% braking power, or somewhere around that, and bring the vehicle to a halt if it senses “danger” and the driver does not apply the brakes themselves. I wonder if the Pilot has this system and if it malfunctioned and is what caused the braking.

My guess is the stability control possibly malfunctioned. It is not activated by the brake pedal whatsoever like ABS but uses the brakes.

UPDATE 5/16/2008: HondaUSA has taken charge since there have been 1 or 2 other occurrances nationwide. Samples were taken of all vehicle fluids and sent to a lab for analysis. In the meantime, my daughter has been furnished a free loaner car. Will post again as the story unfolds.

This just happened to my car (Aug. 1, 2009). I was going 45 miles an hour and the car braked exactly like yours. It was so scary! I would have been rear ended if there had been anyone behind me. My dealership looked at my brakes and said they were find, they wanted me to pick the car up. What did they ever find out was the problem with your vehicle? I am terrified to drive it again if they don’t fix it. Please reply! Has this happened to anyone else? Thanks!

HELP HELP HELP! I am a single mom whose 2005 Pilot has done this three times. Now they are saying it will cost thousands to fix. I don’t want to say much right now. Please email our family

if you have help. I am so scared to drive this vehicle with a child in it. Honda acts as if ‘this is a total surprise’ and I am filing a complaint NHTSA. I cannot believe this is happening, Honda is usually so safe and quick to fix issues. Extensive research shows hundreds having the same problem, but no solutions. Thank you.

We have had this problem several times. Two dealers “cannot reproduce”. The last time it happened to my wife and she had the car towed. They put in new front pads and rear brakes since the brakes were worn. I don’t thing that will solve the problem since it happened in all weather conditions. Is there any solution?

I too have an 05 Honda Pilot that brakes suddenly by itself. Brings the car to a dead stop. Please tell me where you are in the process? I have posted the safety issue with the NHTSA. Would everyone please post their outcomes? Please contact me via email if you have had this problem too. I would like to see Honda respond to this problem.

Same here, my wife and son were almost rear-ended on a busy highway. Brake system failures were indicated by the car’s computer but, it all checked out okay so no repairs were indicated nor made. Honda America said that they had never heard of this before and did nothing as the dealer recommended nothing be done.
I filed with the NHTSA in Nov. and was told today that I should be getting a report in a week or two.

Please see the rest of this thread and contact me. Please post your outcome.

Please post your outcome. Please email me.

Of those who have had the problem with their Pilot braking sudenly without pushing the pedal, have you had repairs and if so did they work?

Honda is saying that (based on their inspection at my house) the ABS/VCS/TZS modulator and the brake switch should be replaced on my Pilot and in doing so the repair should correct my concerns with the vehicle. Anyone have any or all of these repairs done and if so, did it work?

If anyone has had the sudden braking again after “repair”, please please post. I do not want to get into this vehicle with my family ever again if this repair doesn’t work.