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Honda Pilot Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids (What You Need To Know)

Honda Pilot Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids (What You Need To Know)

We’ve already written a lot about the Honda Pilot. From its fuel requirements to the most common issues reported by owners, we’ve already taken several deep dives into this vehicle.

But today, we’re going to discuss transmissions of the Honda Pilot that it has used throughout its evolution. So let us begin.

In the first (2003-2008) and second (2009-2015) generations, the Honda Pilot primarily used a 5-speed automatic transmission. By the third generation (2016-present), Honda transitioned to advanced 6-speed and 9-speed automatic transmissions, showcasing technological progression.

The above explanation describes a compact overview of different transmissions used in the Honda Pilot. Undoubtedly, it is insufficient to understand them.

We will go through them through different dimensions for a comprehensive understanding. First, we will see the durability factor, followed by the prices of various transmissions. We will then see the issues drivers face during the shelf-life of those transmissions. Later on, we will look at the differences between those transmissions. In the end, though, we will share with you the reference to help you get the transmission fluid. So, let us dive straight into it.

What Transmissions Has The Honda Pilot Used?

We go through different transmissions the Honda Pilot has used throughout its journey.

First Generation (2002–2008)

  • 5-speed (BVGA/PVGA) automatic

Second Generation (2008–2015)

  • 5-speed PN3A automatic

Third generation (2015–present)

You can learn more about the 2023 Honda Pilot transmission in this quick video:

How Long Does A Honda Pilot Transmission Last?

The service life of the transmission is contingent on the regularity of maintenance and pattern of use by drivers. Roughly, you can expect the average transmission of the Honda Pilot to last 120,000 miles. Keeping the fluid levels to the top and fixing the issues straight away can ensure the smooth running of the transmission.

How Much Does A Honda Pilot Transmission Cost?

It is natural to know the costs of different transmissions when you want to replace your transmission. Thus, we provide you with the prices below to help you choose the one you need.

  • 5-speed BVGA automatic: $2,295.00 (MidWestTrans)
  • 5-speed PN3A automatic: 940.76 (eBay)
  • 6-speed Honda H6 automatic
  • 9-speed ZF 9HP automatic: $3250.00 (Europeantransmissions)

Common Honda Pilot Transmission Problems

The transmission exhibits different types of issues during its life cycle. Here we see a few problems regarding various transmissions of the Honda Pilot.


  • There are complaints of a gear failure with the transmission that can end up with a transmission lockup. As a result, it may potentially lead to an accident.
  • Another issue is overheating that can affect some gears. The transmission is susceptible to permanent damage, provided that a driver does not address the issue on time.
  • There is a complaint that the transmission began shuddering after it traveled 180,000+ miles. In reverse, sometimes, some clunking sound was also heard, and on the gear indicator, there was a flashing D light. However, adding the fluid, later on, eliminated all the shudder.
  • Another common problem is an overheating torque converter. A worn TC check valve often causes the condition. Excess heat builds up as the worn valve diminishes the pressure in the torque converter.


  • The PN3A transmission is overall robust. However, it is susceptible to some minor issues. For instance, a driver may experience slipping gears or jerking. Although these things are less worrying, they can give a tough time to car owners. 
  • It is essential to keep an eye on the transmission fluid. Metallic particles and sludgy fluid can lead to consequential damages.


  • The transmission is prone to jerking persistently. So, it can take away the enjoyable driving experience. Moreover, it can also lead to unpredictable and unsteady acceleration.
  • At low speeds, there may also come problems with strange sounds. The vehicle goes through trouble with acceleration with these clunking sounds on top of the jerking.
  • Another one of the more common complaints drivers often have is transmission slipping.


  • A driver can experience several problems because of a defect in the transmission. It includes unexpected jerks, lurches, harsh gear shifts, and sudden transmission failure.
  • There are also complaints that the transmission defect can lead to problems with the gear system. Consequently, it results in grinding and the inability to shift gears.
  • There may also come issues with the accelerators because of the transmission defects. For instance, a driver can experience a sudden loss of power or premature wearing of transmission components.

Differences Between Transmissions

The BVGA is a 5-speed automatic transmission. It leverages a torque converter to transfer engine power instead of a clutch in the sense of a manual transmission. It provides five speeds forward and one reverse, and it has a total fluid capacity of 7.8 liters.

The PN3A is a 5-speed automatic transmission. Instead of a clutch, it also uses a torque converter to pass on engine power. Similarly, it also provides five speeds forward and one reverse, and it has a total fluid capacity of 8.1 liters.

The H6 is a 6-speed automatic transmission. It also uses a torque converter rather than a clutch to transfer engine power. However, it provides six speeds forward and one reverse, and it has a total fluid capacity of 5.2 liters.

The ZF 9HP refers to a 9-speed automatic transmission. A torque converter also transfers the engine power in this gearbox. However, it provides nine speeds forward and one reverse, and it has a total fluid capacity of 6.5 liters. It is robust and is surprisingly compact for a nine-speed transmission. It is used in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles.

Transmission Fluids And The Honda Pilot

The essential step in ensuring the smooth running of the transmission is resolving the problems without delay. It is good to change transmission fluid every 45,000 miles when changing it. Meanwhile, it is worth noting that different transmissions demand different fluid types. Some transmissions can even exhibit enormous problems when they swallow an incompatible fluid. For your ease, we provide you with the source below. It will help you get the fluid fitting to your transmission.

Closing Thoughts

The Honda Pilot has seen a significant evolution in its transmission choices over the years, moving from a 5-speed automatic to more advanced 6-speed and 9-speed versions.

To appreciate the depth and intricacies of these transmissions, it’s essential to look beyond their basic specifications. By examining factors like durability, cost, user-reported issues, and nuanced differences, we can gain a holistic understanding of their performance and role in the Honda Pilot’s journey.

And, as always, ensuring proper maintenance through appropriate transmission fluid is key to the longevity and smooth operation of these systems. With the right care, you can expect the Honda Pilot to last well over 200,000 miles, and keeping the transmission in great shape is a critical part of that.


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