Electrical Problem in 2007 Honda Pilot

Hoping to solicit some of the broader wisdom about a problem with my 2007 Honda Pilot… apologies in advance for the length, but I’m not car savvy so want to ensure that I give relevant details.

Purchased the car in April 2007. Was fine until sometime mid-January 2008. At that time, the car mysteriously shut off while I was sitting at a stop sign. No engine stalling sensation, just dead - lights on the panel go out, RPMs drop straight to 0. Car restarts fine. I worry, but it doesn’t happen again for a while…

A month or so later, car does the same thing again. Again while the car is at rest. I make an appointment to take the car into the dealership for several days later. In the interim, the car experiences the same symptoms 4-5 times. But my major safety concern is that at one point, the car dies mid-drive. I was going about 30 mph when this happened, and all went dead, including what seemed to be the power steering. Again, after veering off the road, coming to a stop, and then putting it in park, I was able to successfully start the car again with no problems.

The dealership had a technician drive it home and he (of course) experienced no problems. They reported that they reprogrammed the ECM (electric control module) parameters and re-learned the idle.

Not at all to my surprise, the problem resurfaced again this morning, and again in mid-drive (this time, at about 40mph). I watched the speedometer drop from 40 to 0, RPMs drop to 0, and all console lights go out. Again, restarted with no problem.

At no time has the check engine light illuminated.

I have looked for a pattern, but have not been able to identify one myself. This has happened after driving 1 mile or 10 miles, in the cold (30 degrees) and warm (70 degrees), with certain features on and off (heat, A/C, radio, windshield wipers, etc).

To be honest, I am skeptical that I will ever be willing to put my 3 year old son (not to mention myself) in this car again, but I was interested in any comments folks might have on (a) this type of problem and (b) the work that the dealership did when I first took it in.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.


First off - this is a safety concern and I would not put your 3 year old in the car until you solve it - nor would I drive the car anywhere but straight to the dealer. I would tell the dealer you are concerned about safety and putting your child in the car because this happens at highway speeds. Ask for a loaner and let them keep your car until it’s fixed.

Start reading the text of the Lemon Law for your state. Very soon, you will likely qualify for settlement under that statute, but since these laws differ slightly from state to state, you need to find out the details for your state.

The bottom line is that this is a significant safety defect, and if it cannot be rectified after X number of attempts by the dealership, you will qualify for a settlement. Now is the time to educate yourself about the details!

That sure sounds like a safety issue to me. It also sounds like it may turn into a lemon issue. Check out: http://www.lemonlawamerica.com/

Take it back to the dealer. Insist on talking to the service manager. Tell them they did not fix the problem. Explain that it’s intermittent and potentially dangerous if the car cuts off at highway speeds. Tell them you want the service manager to drive the car for a few days (and give you a loaner) until they experience and can diagnose the real problem. Intermittent stuff like this is a major pain in the butt to find, so try to be patient, but keep records of all dealer visits and don’t take no for an answer. It will almost certainly turn out to be a bad relay or ignition switch or something fairly simple, it’s just going to be a hassle for someone to find it because it isn’t easy to reproduce. Once they find the real problem I’m sure the fix will be good and permanent.

Check out your state’s lemon laws, but don’t threaten and berate the shop, just let them know you are aware of the laws.

This type of problem is known. Some earlier year Honda’s, and other makes, have experienced stalling. This kind of problem can (and has) resulted in safety recalls for those earlier times. It might take Honda a while to recognize this as a recallable problem on the 2007 Honda Pilot. Honda can decide to do something without there being a recall. Talk to the regional Honda representative. You can, also, lodge a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission.

The best clues to solving this problem is noting what is and isn’t working when the trouble occurs. This will help the tech pin point the area that is having trouble. Since you state that the dash warning lights and gauges turn off when this trouble occurs I would check the ignition switch and any power relays in the ignition circuit. Also check the power buss to that area for any loose connections. You may be able to find the trouble by tapping on suspected areas of trouble using a screwdriver handle.

Loose or dirty battery connections have to be eliminated as a cause by cleaning and tightening. Throttle position sensors on Fords used to do this. The list goes on, bad computer… We can only hope that the problem gets discovered some day.