Brand New 2010 Honda Pilot Died on the Road Friday

I live in the Boston area and bought a brand new 2010 Honda Pilot Lx from Herb Chambers Honda in Westborough two months ago. Last week I brought it to Boch Honda because of a new clicking noise and Boch is closer to me. They isolated the noise to the back head area, called Honda tech line and were told it was part of the break in. Wait until the break in oil is changed. On Friday 11/20, the Pilot with 3100 miles on it died on the freeway in RI. I had it towed to Boch and they told me there was a multiple cylinder error and a VTM4 error code. As a prelimary step, Honda authorized them to look at the cylinders, a 17 hour labor procedure? Should I be looking for Honda to give me a new pilot? Is this realistic? Will the new car engine ever be the same? I really don’t know what to do here or how to do it. I feel like I’m spitting into the wind.

The dealer has all rights to investigate and repair the car. Their paying for the fix, and maintaining the warranty. They will never agree to replace the Pilot unless they cannot fix the problem, and those odds are way long. Even if they have to replace the engine with a new one. At least I hope they provided you with a loaner, since it looks like they’ll have this car through the Thanksgiving holiday.

There is a Lemon Law in your state, but your repair problems are not yet at the point of you being able to qualify for a settlement under that statute. Right now, you have to rely on the multiple warranties that came with the car. Give the dealership and the factory reps a chance to resolve the problem. If they can’t then you may qualify for a Lemon Law settlement.

However, as the old saying goes, “The Devil is in the details”. In order to educate yourself regarding the specifics of the Lemon Law in your state, go to:

Sounds like a valve train problem. I’m sure they will fix it, either replacing the assembly, and the head if it was damaged, and possibly the engine (or at least rebuilding it) if any of the pistons were damaged. This is definitely something you want to have the dealer do. Ask them to write down their diagnosis in detail and post it back here before they fix it. If there was valve train failure, the biggest risk I see is that they just fix the problem, and don’t address potential damage to the head and/or pistons. Depending on the clearances involved in this specific motor, valve train failure can cause a piston or two to slap a valve and become damaged. They might try to ignore such damage and just repair the head, for example, but the damaged piston(s) will be a liability in terms of long term engine performance. If they tell you they are going to replace the head, tell them you want to inspect the pistons before they put the new head on. Literally, ask them to take you out into the shop and let you look at the tops of the exposed pistons. With a car this new, they should be pristine, with no marks on them. Also look at the cylinder walls to see if there are any scratches visible. If there are, tell them, you want that repaired as well, and if they won’t do it, call Honda. And if they won’t let you inspect the pistons, call Honda as well. They’ll probably say something like, our insurance doesn’t allow for anyone other than employees in the shop area, but don’t buy it.

I would want to be personally involved with this; would want to be present at the appropriate time when the cylinders are being looked at. Hondas do not have steel cylinder inserts; instead use treated aluminum and I would want to see that the cylinder bores are in perfect condition if the engine will not be replaced.

I am content in the knowledge that our 08 V6 and 09 4 cyl GM cars with aluminum engines use steel cylinder inserts.

GM learned their lesson about Alumasil engines with the Vega…Honda has yet to learn…

" Last week I brought it to Boch Honda because of a new clicking noise and Boch is closer to me. They isolated the noise to the back head area, called Honda tech line and were told it was part of the break in."

The BS started a week ago and it will continue as this drama plays out…

Thanks for the excellent advice and information. It turns out that a cam shattered and Honda is going to replace the engine with an engine from the factory. This is coming from CA so it will take about a week to arrive.

The camshaft is usually cast iron and will sometimes break, but not often. We used to break old ones by dropping them on the floor. It’s just bad luck that yours broke.