The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the 2016-2019 Honda Pilot earlier this month after more than 200 reports from owners that their auto stop/start feature left them stranded after failing to restart the engine. According to Honda, the issue may also impact other models equipped with the Pilot's 3.5-liter V6 and nine-speed automatic transmission, including the Honda Odyssey, Acura TLX & Acura MDX.
"The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 221 complaints and several field reports alleging an issue with the Auto Start/Stop feature on 2016-2019MY Honda Pilot vehicles," NHTSA's report says. "The complaints allege that the engine fails to restart on its own from a complete stop at a traffic light or road intersection with the Auto Start/Stop function engaged. Some of the complainants allege that a jump was required for the vehicle to restart. The subject vehicles are equipped with a 3.5L engine coupled with a 9-speed automatic transmission."
Honda's internal data corroborated the complaints submitted to NHTSA by customers, prompting the regulator to open an investigation — the first step toward what might become a recall campaign. Auto stop/start was offered only on higher-end Pilot trims for the model years in question, however the population could expand or contract prior to a recall being issued. While automakers provide compensation programs for work performed to address recalls before they've formally been announced, at this point there's no guarantee that a recall will happen. Until then, customers should sit tight and wait for further guidance from Honda.