The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a safety investigation into the 2005 Honda Pilot sport-utility vehicle after a consumer complained the SUV would suddenly stop without touching the brake pedal.
Safety engineers with the Office of Defect Investigations at NHTSA believe the possible fault with the SUV's anti-lock brake systems may be tied to the electronic stability control, or ESC. The control system, standard on the 2005 Honda Pilot, automatically activates when sensors detect slippage or other unstable movement.
ODI has identified 185 related complaints in its database, but there have been no reported injuries or accidents due to the odd brake behavior. ODI investigators will work with Honda engineers to determine if an official safety recall of the estimated 88,000 Pilots are needed. In 2006, Honda modified its system with a fault detection algorithm and other countermeasures, but NHTSA advises that the newer ESC modulator is not backwards compatible.
Investigation: 2005 Honda Pilot - Anti-lock brakes Action #: PE12028 [NHTSA]
Government Investigates 88,000 Honda Pilots for Faulty Brakes [NY Times Wheels Blog]