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I have a 2017 Pilot and about 20K I started to smell transmission fluid from vents when I didnt have recirculate button on for ac after driving for a bit. Brought it to dealer and they said my fluid was dirty and that I should have changed it at 15k. Never heard this before. They couldnt tell me why I was smelling the fluid. They made up some bs story that there was oil from last oil change which I know was not true because I did oil change at my shop and I know for a fact it was clean and not oil spilled. So they raped me for $350 for transmission fluid change and reprogram of atf. So I still had the smell after that. I made the mistake of not calling honda usa to complain. Now I have 60k on the truck and smell is still there. Drove my dad's 2019 Pilot with 18k on it and it also had that smell. Wondering if anyone else experienced this smell in 3rd generation pilots. The vent setting needs to be set on outside air with heat or ac on.
 

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Any update on this? I’m having a similar problem. Just bought a 2018 pilot and the smell comes through the vents briefly when come to a stop after the engine is well warmed up. It does smell somewhat like transmission fluid. Dealer couldn’t find any leaks and inspected everything. Took it back again and they still don’t know what it is. Don’t know what to do.
 

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The tranny likely has a vent port, so it’s possible you could be smelling that. I’d also look for a coolant leak as well. Both tranny fluid and coolant have sweet scents to them.

Perhaps after you drive home smell under the hood while the engine is still running (tranny in park, emergency brake set) and sniff around to pinpoint the source of the smell.
 

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Thanks for replying. The dealer looked at the breather tube and it had a cap on it that is still intact. They didn’t think that was the issue.
Last night we opened the hood after a trip with the engine running and you can’t smell anything after you come to a stop. It’s like it happens only when you first come to a stop and then it doesn’t happen until you come to a stop again. Maybe next time the car is warmed up I’ll get someone to drive it up the driveway with the hood open to try and pin point it better.

I thought it might have been the brakes but they hardly smell and the smell is completely different down there.
I’ve been messaging a person on these forums as well who has the same problem and he is saying that the dealer had to replace a part in the transmission but I don’t know what yet. Will post if they can remember/find the receipt.
In the meantime, if anyone else has had a similar issue and got it fixed or if anyone has any other ideas, greatly appreciate it. My wife is pregnant so the smell/fumes is a real concern.
Thank you.
 

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I've been searching for a solution to this too. I thought I was smelling burn off from the mess I made installing a transmission cooler a few months ago, but the occasional smell persists. I've checked the level so many times I'm fairly certain it is not overfilled.

Even when I have a chance to jump under the hood right when the smell crops up, I still haven't been able to pinpoint it. Very frustrating!
 

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I've been searching for a solution to this too. I thought I was smelling burn off from the mess I made installing a transmission cooler a few months ago, but the occasional smell persists. I've checked the level so many times I'm fairly certain it is not overfilled.

Even when I have a chance to jump under the hood right when the smell crops up, I still haven't been able to pinpoint it. Very frustrating!
I’ve been messaging someone on these forums that had the same issue and he said the dealer had to replace a part in the transmission. Waiting to find out what part. Really hoping they can find out.
That’s interesting you still couldn’t pinpoint when you jumped right under the hood. It wasn’t stronger near the breather tube at all was it?
The dealer checked our fluid and he said it is the right level. So they didn’t think that was it either.
 

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I have a 2017 Pilot and about 20K I started to smell transmission fluid from vents when I didnt have recirculate button on for ac after driving for a bit. Brought it to dealer and they said my fluid was dirty and that I should have changed it at 15k. Never heard this before. They couldnt tell me why I was smelling the fluid. They made up some bs story that there was oil from last oil change which I know was not true because I did oil change at my shop and I know for a fact it was clean and not oil spilled. So they raped me for $350 for transmission fluid change and reprogram of atf. So I still had the smell after that. I made the mistake of not calling honda usa to complain. Now I have 60k on the truck and smell is still there. Drove my dad's 2019 Pilot with 18k on it and it also had that smell. Wondering if anyone else experienced this smell in 3rd generation pilots. The vent setting needs to be set on outside air with heat or ac on.
FWD or AWD? If it has one, check the transfer case for leaks and fluid level.
 

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FWD or AWD? If it has one, check the transfer case for leaks and fluid level.
Thanks for post. It’s AWD. You think fluid is too high or low? I’ll ask the dealer to check.

Does transfer case fluid smell like transmission fluid at all?

There are no leaks on the garage floor and dealer checked for leaks twice and they said they can’t find any. I’ll still ask again. I’m pretty desperate.
 

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Thanks for replying. The dealer looked at the breather tube and it had a cap on it that is still intact. They didn’t think that was the issue.
Last night we opened the hood after a trip with the engine running and you can’t smell anything after you come to a stop. It’s like it happens only when you first come to a stop and then it doesn’t happen until you come to a stop again. Maybe next time the car is warmed up I’ll get someone to drive it up the driveway with the hood open to try and pin point it better.

I thought it might have been the brakes but they hardly smell and the smell is completely different down there.
I’ve been messaging a person on these forums as well who has the same problem and he is saying that the dealer had to replace a part in the transmission but I don’t know what yet. Will post if they can remember/find the receipt.
In the meantime, if anyone else has had a similar issue and got it fixed or if anyone has any other ideas, greatly appreciate it. My wife is pregnant so the smell/fumes is a real concern.
Thank you.
The cap on the tranny vent should have holes on the bottom side to allow for pressure (along with tranny fluid smell) to escape from the transmission. Otherwise it’s just a hose with a plug on it. Some vent caps are fully open and some have a one-way pressure valve built into them.

Hopefully you get it sorted out soon since gotta keep the pregnant wife happier than a non-pregnant wife. Congrats by the way.🥳
 

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Check the wheel temperatures with the back of your hand after driving for some time. I know you said you didn’t think it was the brakes but brake smell occurs when stopped. Maybe you have a caliper that’s stuck or the parking brake is dragging. If one wheel is significantly warmer than the others, suspect a dragging brake on that wheel.
 

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Thanks for post. It’s AWD. You think fluid is too high or low? I’ll ask the dealer to check.

Does transfer case fluid smell like transmission fluid at all?

There are no leaks on the garage floor and dealer checked for leaks twice and they said they can’t find any. I’ll still ask again. I’m pretty desperate.
I don't know if it's high or low, but it's worth checking. It's gear oil so it shouldn't smell like transmission fluid, but I've never really smelled it so I can't say for sure. Sorry.
 

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If you’ve ever smelled gear oil there is no mistaking it for transmission fluid. Gear oil smells like rotten eggs.
 
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I have a 2017 Pilot and about 20K I started to smell transmission fluid from vents when I didnt have recirculate button on for ac after driving for a bit. Brought it to dealer and they said my fluid was dirty and that I should have changed it at 15k. Never heard this before. They couldnt tell me why I was smelling the fluid. They made up some bs story that there was oil from last oil change which I know was not true because I did oil change at my shop and I know for a fact it was clean and not oil spilled. So they raped me for $350 for transmission fluid change and reprogram of atf. So I still had the smell after that. I made the mistake of not calling honda usa to complain. Now I have 60k on the truck and smell is still there. Drove my dad's 2019 Pilot with 18k on it and it also had that smell. Wondering if anyone else experienced this smell in 3rd generation pilots. The vent setting needs to be set on outside air with heat or ac on.
Check that your coolant bottle is not over filled and that the cap is secure.
 

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Thanks for replying. The dealer looked at the breather tube and it had a cap on it that is still intact. They didn’t think that was the issue.
Last night we opened the hood after a trip with the engine running and you can’t smell anything after you come to a stop. It’s like it happens only when you first come to a stop and then it doesn’t happen until you come to a stop again. Maybe next time the car is warmed up I’ll get someone to drive it up the driveway with the hood open to try and pin point it better.

I thought it might have been the brakes but they hardly smell and the smell is completely different down there.
I’ve been messaging a person on these forums as well who has the same problem and he is saying that the dealer had to replace a part in the transmission but I don’t know what yet. Will post if they can remember/find the receipt.
In the meantime, if anyone else has had a similar issue and got it fixed or if anyone has any other ideas, greatly appreciate it. My wife is pregnant so the smell/fumes is a real concern.
Thank you.
Did you ever find out what transmission part was replaced?
 

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I have started noticing hot transmission fluid smell after 20K as well. There are no leaks. It seems that it's more common if I park after climbing a very steep and long hill by my house and the car/transmission doesn't get a chance to cool down on a flat road. I notice less smell if I arrive using a flat road route.
 

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I have the same issue. Were you able to identify the issue?
For demo3210 it was the heat shield or pad that goes under the vehicle to catch oil drippings. It was saturated so when it got hot it burned off. Dealer overfilled the t-fluid and I guess it just ran out the vent tube onto that pad.
 

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Did you ever find out what transmission part was replaced?
He said it was the torque converter they had to replace. My issue ended up being a t fluid saturated heat shield / pad under the car. Dealer had overfilled fluid I guess. They replaced that and drained the fluid 4 times. No problems now. I had to get Honda Corporate involved as well and they sent out an engineer to diagnose the problem. Took 5 trips to the dealer.
 
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