Honda Pilot Keyless Start System Problem

The keyless start problem is common among Honda pilots, particularly 2016 and 2017 models, even Honda knows it. So if you want to buy or already purchased this model, you have to know about Honda pilot keyless start system problem.

The keyless start system can occur in a Honda pilot due to a worn-out fuse, dead battery, faulty brake pedal, or software issues. To fix the issue, you can consult with the dealer as they may solve the problem even by extending the warranty. Otherwise, you have to hire an expert mechanic or troubleshoot yourself. 

Reasons of Honda Pilot Keyless Start System Problem

Below are some common reasons that can cause keyless start system problems on your Honda pilot along with potential solutions:

1. Burned out Fuse

A burn-out fuse in steering wheel may also cause this keyless start system problem. To check the fuse box, find out a small crack side along the dashboard that is placed left side of the steering wheel. Open the box using a screwdriver and there should be lots of fuses. 

Burned out Fuse

Check the backside of your pulled panel as there is a diagram that’ll help you find the desired fuse. If there is no diagram, check your car’s owner’s manual to determine the right one. After finding the right one, pull it out.

Its two sides should be connected by a metal strip. If the section has been broken, it might be causing the problem. If so, you have to replace the fuse that’ll cost around $10. If the fuse is fine, check for other things. 

2. Keyless Internal Unit Problem

If you are getting a keyless start system problem massage on your Honda’s dashboard and check fobs and all the fuses, inspect the keyless internal unit. If this part gets damaged, your car can show the error message frequently. It can’t be solved by disconnecting the battery. So possibly the key fob transmitter and receiver get damaged that need replacement. 

Keyless Internal Unit Problem

3. Died battery

Insufficient key fob voltage can also cause this keyless start system problem. To determine this, check the battery in the fob. If it dies, the system won’t work. The other signs of a dead battery are poor signal strength, clicking, and inconsistent results.

If so, you have to replace the battery which can cost around $3.70 to 9.00 depending on the style of the fob. To replace the battery, take the key out of the fob, open the two pieces, and remove the battery. Then insert the new battery and put everything in their places. 

4. Brake Pedal Issues

The keyless start system works when you depress the brake pedal. But sometimes it can be hard to apply sufficient force to push the brake pedal particularly the brake lever becomes loose. If so, it can cause the keyless start system problem. To fix this problem, adjust the cables. 

Brake Pedal Issues

5. Software Issues

If your Honda’s keyless start system malfunctions when pushing the button multiple times, it can be a software issue. In this case, you have to reset the software using the key fob. Simply exit and re-enter your Honda using the remote so your car can pick up new signals and fix the previous issue. 

6. Faulty Wires

If you experience a keyless start system problem whenever push the start button and notice the engine won’t crank at a time, it can be the result of faulty wires. Possibly the wires burned out and the battery can’t deliver enough power to the mechanism and causing this problem. If so, replace the wires. 

Faulty Wires

7. Cold Weather

The keyless start system is highly temperature sensitive. So you can experience this issue more often in the winter season. In this case, give your Honda vehicle a bit more time so it can warm up and disappear the error message. So, turn your Honda and allow it to idle for around 30 seconds before start driving.

8. Deactivate the Start/Stop System

Possibly you’ve deactivated the start/stop system accidentally causing the keyless start system problem. If so, you can easily fix disappear the error massage by turning on the system. To do so, locate the “A’’ button in the center console and push it to the on position.

Deactivate the Start/Stop System

If the button is already in the ON position, other things may cause the issue. Possibly the faulty start/stop system causing the problem. If so, you have to replace the start/stop system which we’ll discuss briefly in the next section.

How to Replace the Stop/Start System to Solve Keyless Start System Issue

The stop/start system often causes a keyless start problem. Hence, Honda recently recommends replacing the faulty stop/start problem to fix the issues. Follow this process to replace the stop/start system to fix the keyless start system problem:

Remove the Dashboard Panel

First, you have to remove the dashboard panel from the passenger side and then the canter panel. To remove the passenger side’s dashboard panel, Unscrew the clips to take the dashboard panel off the passenger side. The panel is quite thin, so remove it carefully, particularly in cold weather. 

Remove the Dashboard Panel

To take out the center panel of the dashboard out, unclip it from over the radio. There should be a connector that sits close to the center pane. Disconnect it too. 

Detach the Temperature Sensor

Pull the dashboard panel from the driver’s side using one hand. There should be a temperature sensor attached to the panel back. Disconnect this sensor carefully. 

Then unscrew the three screws in the dashboard’s center using a screwdriver and remove the trim. If there are any chips or harness connectors, remove them all. 

Remove the Start/Stop Switch

This switch assembly looks like a black cylinder that is around 4 inches long. Remove the switch from the dashboard’s center by pulling it. 

Remove the Start/Stop Switch

Install a New Assembly

Insert your new switch slowly into the hole from where you pulled the old one. Reconnect all the chips or harness connectors and replace the center trim. Then reattach the temperature sensor to the dashboard of the driver side and reconnect the two dashboard parts back in their places. 

How to Program Honda Key

If you need to replace the Honda key fob to fix the pilot keyless start system problem, you’ll also have to reprogram the key system to make it functional. However, the reprogramming process is quite simple and you can perform it easily and quickly. The process is:

How to Program Honda Key
  • Enter your car and close all the doors. 
  • Insert the key and turn on the vehicle. Press the lock button on your key fob and hold it for one second.
  • Release the button and turn the fob key to the off position. Repeat this process two times.
  • Once done, wait until the doors start locking and unlocking automatically. If the lock starts cycling, the car is in programming mode.
  • Turn the key to the off position to exit the programming mode.

Related Article: Honda Civic Brake System Problem

What to do if your Honda Pilot Shows the Keyless Start System Problem Massage?

Firstly, try to start your Honda Pilot by holding the fob on the start button and pushing the key with the fob. If it doesn’t work, focus on the most common reasons that can cause keyless start system problems. So if you have the skill and confidence troubleshoot those issues and find the underlying issue and treat it accordingly.

For example, if the battery died, replace it immediately. But if the keyless start system malfunctions due to wet electric components, put a fan inside your Honda pilot and let it die for 24 hours. You should also install a soak shield rope to protect the door from getting wet. This way the computer on the door side will also remain safe.

If the faulty sensor causing the issue, take your Honda Pilot to the dealership so they can replace it for free if the car is under warranty. Honda should fix the keyless start problem even after passing the warranty as their system is problematic. If they don’t fix it, it’ll cost around $1000 to solve this issue at an automobile repair shop. After that, install a dash protector in your car to avoid causing this issue in the future.


Why is the keyless entry on my Honda Pilot not working?

It can happen due to faulty start/stop switches as it’s a known issue for Honda pilots. The other possible reasons are low key fob battery voltage, bad key fob, or low car battery voltage. If the battery system is low, there will be a weak signal that the system sensor won’t be able to pick up. 

How to reset the keyless start?

To reset the keyless start, insert the ignition key and press the start button without pushing the brake pedal. Then push the lock button. Turn the ignition key back to the off position within 5 seconds of turning the car on. Do this at least three times to start resetting the keyless start system. 

Can you manually start a keyless car?

Yes. Cars that use keyless entry come with a key slot to allow starting the car manually. The key slot is located under the start button of the vehicle or on the steering column’s plastic cap. Remove the plastic top and start the engine manually using a physical key.

Final Words

Though Honda still not recalls this issue, if you experience this Honda pilot keyless start system problem, consult with the dealer. If they don’t help, inspect your vehicle keeping our provided clues in mind. But before hiring an expert, try to fix the problem by replacing the battery, resetting or updating the software, or warming the car. It can save you hundreds if works.

My name is Tom Vanderbilt. I am an automotive expert and renowned for my profound knowledge of automobiles. I have made significant contributions to the industry through my experience and expertise. I have a natural curiosity and fascination for cars. My journey is to explore the intricate dynamics between people, their vehicles, and the ever-evolving transportation landscape.

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