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Hello all. I recently traded in my 2013 Pilot EX-L for a 2020 EX-L. The particular vehicle we purchased turned out to have a few hundred miles on it already which the dealer explained was because it was a "dealer trade" from the southern part of my state. They said this was normal as it was not put on a car carrier and was driven from dealer to dealer and was still considered a new car. This is my first ever new car purchase.

After the test drive I noticed an odd smell coming from the vehicle and was told this was normal for brand new cars due to the factory coatings and it would wear off after it was driven for awhile.

The following week the smell did not get any better. I called the dealership and spoke to someone in service. I mentioned that it smelled kind of like maple syrup and they echoed the same thing about the coatings needing to "burn off."

Next week we needed to take a 2600 mile road trip to California due to a death in the family. I figured this drive would definitely get rid of the smell.

During the trip I parked at a grocery store in the morning to get ice to top off a cooler. I left the wife and kids in the car with it idling with the A/C on since it was over 90F outside. When I came back about 10 minutes later they were complaining that the A/C was blowing warm air. I looked at the temperature gauge and it was above the 3/4 mark. I switched from A/C to maximum heat, rolled down the windows, and headed for the interstate. The temperature almost immediately went back down to below 1/2 before I even made it to the on-ramp. I figured there was something funky going on with the radiator fan and decided not to park idling like that again and contact the dealership when I got back home. A week later we made the long trip home with no issues.

A couple days later we were in a fast food drive-through that was taking a little longer than normal and the same thing happened with the A/C not blowing cold air and the temperature gauge creeping up above 3/4. Again I turned on the heat full blast. By the time we got our food a warning came up on the display about the engine overheating. A couple minutes later we were able to get moving again and the temperature went back down to below 1/2 and the warning went away shortly after. We then actually drove directly the the dealership as it was very close but the service department was gone for the day.

The following Monday we brought it in to the Service Department. They suspected that there was a coolant leak due to a blueish white residue splashed on the underside of the hood and on the engine cover. We had noticed this before but assumed this was windshield washer fluid from someone spilling some down onto a fan when refilling the reservoir.

They were able to reproduce the overheating and ran the engine until it went above 3/4 again but could not see any coolant leaking. They topped off the coolant and pressure tested the coolant system which passed. They kept it running for about an hour but were still unable to reproduce the leak. They cleaned the engine bay and asked us to keep an eye on it and call them if we had problems again.

Nine days later I noticed a slight amount of residue on the engine cover again but did not experience any overheating issue and the coolant overflow level was normal. After another ten days the coolant level in the overflow was down about a half-quart from where it was when they topped it off.

I called the service department and arranged to have it brought in for further inspection. After keeping the vehicle for several days they were still unable to find the source of the leak.

They also informed me they were advised by Honda to perform a compression test, which it failed.

They are now tearing apart my brand new Pilot and replacing the head gasket!

The service manager advised me to call Honda Motor and get a case started which I have done.

The peace of mind I intended to have by purchasing a brand new Honda vehicle are shot. Even after the repair I will constantly be wondering if I can depend on it to safely get my family and I from point A to point B.

So my questions are:
  • Has anyone else had issues like this with their brand new Pilot?
  • How did this happen? (I am now questioning what happened on that 200+ mile dealer trade journey.)
  • Could there there be permanent damage to the engine?
  • Will these repairs show up on the Carfax report affecting its value?
  • What are my options to restore faith in the dependability of my car?
 

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Hello all. I recently traded in my 2013 Pilot EX-L for a 2020 EX-L. The particular vehicle we purchased turned out to have a few hundred miles on it already which the dealer explained was because it was a "dealer trade" from the southern part of my state. They said this was normal as it was not put on a car carrier and was driven from dealer to dealer and was still considered a new car. This is my first ever new car purchase.

After the test drive I noticed an odd smell coming from the vehicle and was told this was normal for brand new cars due to the factory coatings and it would wear off after it was driven for awhile.

The following week the smell did not get any better. I called the dealership and spoke to someone in service. I mentioned that it smelled kind of like maple syrup and they echoed the same thing about the coatings needing to "burn off."

Next week we needed to take a 2600 mile road trip to California due to a death in the family. I figured this drive would definitely get rid of the smell.

During the trip I parked at a grocery store in the morning to get ice to top off a cooler. I left the wife and kids in the car with it idling with the A/C on since it was over 90F outside. When I came back about 10 minutes later they were complaining that the A/C was blowing warm air. I looked at the temperature gauge and it was above the 3/4 mark. I switched from A/C to maximum heat, rolled down the windows, and headed for the interstate. The temperature almost immediately went back down to below 1/2 before I even made it to the on-ramp. I figured there was something funky going on with the radiator fan and decided not to park idling like that again and contact the dealership when I got back home. A week later we made the long trip home with no issues.

A couple days later we were in a fast food drive-through that was taking a little longer than normal and the same thing happened with the A/C not blowing cold air and the temperature gauge creeping up above 3/4. Again I turned on the heat full blast. By the time we got our food a warning came up on the display about the engine overheating. A couple minutes later we were able to get moving again and the temperature went back down to below 1/2 and the warning went away shortly after. We then actually drove directly the the dealership as it was very close but the service department was gone for the day.

The following Monday we brought it in to the Service Department. They suspected that there was a coolant leak due to a blueish white residue splashed on the underside of the hood and on the engine cover. We had noticed this before but assumed this was windshield washer fluid from someone spilling some down onto a fan when refilling the reservoir.

They were able to reproduce the overheating and ran the engine until it went above 3/4 again but could not see any coolant leaking. They topped off the coolant and pressure tested the coolant system which passed. They kept it running for about an hour but were still unable to reproduce the leak. They cleaned the engine bay and asked us to keep an eye on it and call them if we had problems again.

Nine days later I noticed a slight amount of residue on the engine cover again but did not experience any overheating issue and the coolant overflow level was normal. After another ten days the coolant level in the overflow was down about a half-quart from where it was when they topped it off.

I called the service department and arranged to have it brought in for further inspection. After keeping the vehicle for several days they were still unable to find the source of the leak.

They also informed me they were advised by Honda to perform a compression test, which it failed.

They are now tearing apart my brand new Pilot and replacing the head gasket!

The service manager advised me to call Honda Motor and get a case started which I have done.

The peace of mind I intended to have by purchasing a brand new Honda vehicle are shot. Even after the repair I will constantly be wondering if I can depend on it to safely get my family and I from point A to point B.

So my questions are:
  • Has anyone else had issues like this with their brand new Pilot?
  • How did this happen? (I am now questioning what happened on that 200+ mile dealer trade journey.)
  • Could there there be permanent damage to the engine?
  • Will these repairs show up on the Carfax report affecting its value?
  • What are my options to restore faith in the dependability of my car?
Ask for a new vehicle
Or
Ask for a new engine
Or
Ask for a really long warranty you can live with
 
  • Like
Reactions: ys1219 and Sha93

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2005 Honda Pilot, 191,000 miles
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Ask for a new vehicle
Or
Ask for a new engine
Or
Ask for a really long warranty you can live with
With the high production factories That vehicles are built in nowadays, there will always be some that don’t go together right or malfunction in some way. If they are standing behind you and supporting you and helping you, I’d say that is a win. Ya it sucks, ya it’s a bummer. But In the end you’ll be taken care of. Auto manufacturers aren’t perfect!
 

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2016 EXL AWD Nav with sensing , 2008 Corolla SE
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Overheating can cause some serious damage to the engine and it could have warped the heads. I would be pressing for a new engine or better still, a new vehicle. This sort of issue should not happen on a new vehicle especially a Honda.
 

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With the high production factories That vehicles are built in nowadays, there will always be some that don’t go together right or malfunction in some way. If they are standing behind you and supporting you and helping you, I’d say that is a win. Ya it sucks, ya it’s a bummer. But In the end you’ll be taken care of. Auto manufacturers aren’t perfect!
Yes, keep thinking positive. 😣
 

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I had a similar situation about 15 years ago. Happened on a 1 year old Volvo. The service advisor told me the coolant was leaked into the transmission. Ended up replacing the whole transmission and some cooling parts. "til this day, I still don't understand how can coolant goes into a transmission??
 

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I had a similar situation about 15 years ago. Happened on a 1 year old Volvo. The service advisor told me the coolant was leaked into the transmission. Ended up replacing the whole transmission and some cooling parts. "til this day, I still don't understand how can coolant goes into a transmission??
Likely transmission line runs through the radiator.
 

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2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 2013 Honda Pilot EX-L
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To answer one of your questions, I don’t think that kind of repair would affect resale value. Most people don’t care as long as the car is functional. I however would not except a 2020 car with a few hundred miles needing a head gasket. I would do everything in my power to get a new (comparable) car because honestly it would be hard for me to trust it.

Note, I wouldn’t be asking for a Touring or Elite, but an exact replacement of the car you purchased—EX-L. If they can’t give me a new car, I would except a VERY lightly used (less than 5,000 miles) vehicle with the best warranty available. If you must take the car back, I would get in writing that any further engine damage related to overheating would need to be covered for X miles plus HondaCare for free. I understand not all automakers are perfect and there’s always a chance mistakes can get made so I wouldn’t swear off Honda because it would happen anywhere. Hopefully they’ll make you whole.
 
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