2005 Honda Pilot Probed For Braking, Steering Issues

October 15, 2012

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has begun a preliminary investigation into certain 2005 model year Honda Pilot SUVs for potential braking and steering issues.

An estimated 87,803 Honda Pilots from the 2005 model year may be involved.

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened the preliminary evaluation, PE12028, after an April petition to the NHTSA to investigate unexpected vehicle deceleration or steering pull caused by inappropriate electronic brake application.

The April consumer petition requested the NHTSA to initiate a defect investigation into an alleged stability control failure in a 2005 Honda Pilot. As the petitioner wrote, “in the malfunctioning of these systems, steering failures occur and the brakes apply involuntarily.”

The Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system in the 2005 Honda Pilot integrates braking control strategies for anti-lock braking, traction control, electronic stability control and brake assist functions. According to PE12018, “Allegations of unexpected braking appear to be related to inappropriate action of the brake assist (BA) function.”

ODI analysis of 185 complaints as well as information from Honda has identified “fault conditions that may result in false detection of a panic stop by the BA system, resulting in unexpected, severe brake application.”

The agency notes that Honda implemented countermeasures in the 2006 model year Pilot VSA modulators, but these are not interchangeable with the 2005 model year parts.

The steering anomaly allegations appear to be related to the inappropriate action of the VSA stability assist function. The ODI has identified 20 complaints that appear to be related to inappropriate VSA activation.

This is the second NHTSA preliminary investigation into the Honda Pilot in one week’s time. Last week, as we reported, the safety agency opened a probe into the 2003-2004 Honda Pilot SUV and Odyssey minivan for alleged ignition interlock defects.

Preliminary investigations may or may not result in an eventual safety recall.

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