The Honda Pioneer 700 is known for its reliability and reputation for being quality-built. It is an excellent vehicle for getting work done around the farm or just going for a fun ride with the family. With so many great things to say about the side-by-side, it can be easy to overlook some of its drawbacks.
Many problems occur from lack of maintenance and can happen to any vehicle. They include engine or transmission failure and general wear and tear. If you are buying a used Pioneer, make sure to check brake pads and burned-out wires. Also, check the oil, as old oil can lead to engine damage.
Here are some common Honda Pioneer 700 problems:
- The engine does not start
- Performance issues
- Transmission problems
- Restricted shifting
- Erratic oil reading
- Loss of power
- Differential lock not working
Apart from known issues, this guide will also cover Honda Pioneer 700 pros and cons and customer reviews. These should help you decide if the Pioneer is the right vehicle for you.
Honda Pioneer 700 Problems
1. The Engine Does Not Start
Many things can cause the engine not to start, such as a blown fuse, the transmission not in neutral, loose battery cables, or a swamped engine. It could also be due to the natural tendency of the battery’s fluids to thicken when the weather gets extremely cold, not allowing sufficient voltage to travel through.
To fix, you may need to plug the battery (view on Amazon) into a battery charger to boost it before taking your Pioneer 700 out for a spin in sub-zero weather conditions. Likewise, your owner’s manual provides instructions to start up your quad, given different situations. Refer to page 193 if your starter motor does not work or if you can hear it working fine, but the engine does not function.
2. Performance Issues
Symptoms for this issue range from pinging sounds to erratic engine runs or misfires. If the engine starts, but you notice that it is not running well, it may relate to oil temperature, the Octane rating of your gasoline, or sooty exhaust.
To fix, follow the appropriate steps in checking your oil temperature indicator on page 200 of your service manual, use the suggested fuel, or inspect your fuel filter for any obstructions. Most performance issues for the Honda Pioneer 700 entails seeing your dealer – so do not feel frustrated if you have done these initial steps and still can’t resolve the problem.
3. Transmission Problems
Sometimes the gear can feel stuck as if it is starting in a higher gear than it is supposed to and may happen until the Honda warms up. You may need to change your oil (provided oil viscosity already checks out, and you are not using motor oil in place of transmission oil). Or if it is conditional (happening only during cold weather), then housing the unit may be a potential solution versus concluding it as a real transmission issue.
If all other gears work except for 1st, that could attribute to a shift fork, clutch, or shifter mechanism problem. Worst-case scenario, you may have to tear your gearbox apart to identify and fix the root cause.
4. Restricted Shifting
Pre-loved Pioneers (typically those with over 8,000 miles) seem to have difficulty shifting to 3rd gear, especially in cold weather. Sadly, changing the oil and oil filter makes little to no difference in resolving this issue, which leads most Pioneer owners to blame it on the vehicle’s poor air filtration. During winter, let the quad pre-warm or run while hauling short distances. If not, you may have to tinker with the accelerator or change the angle sensor (for fully automatic ones) to get things to work.
Additionally, make sure to check on any shift pin falling out in the transmission or for defective micro switches if you have the Honda Pioneer 700-4 or any deluxe model with a paddle shift.
5. Erratic Oil Reading
This error stems from using engine oil with the wrong lubricity for your Honda Pioneer 700. To avoid this, you must take note that your Honda has a semi-dry-sump design and requires following proper oil check procedure to get the most accurate reading. It would be best to heed manufacturer recommendations and use Pro Honda GN4 4-stroke oil SAE 10W-30 with an API Service Classification of SG or higher (stay away from oils labeled as energy- or resource-conserving).
If you start with a cold motor, let the machine idle for about three minutes, shut it down, and let it sit a few minutes more before checking the oil. Outside of this condition, expect oil reading fluctuations.
6. Loss of Power
Power loss is one of the 2017 Honda Pioneer 700 problems that commonly happens to units with little mileage. Symptoms include the machine not upshifting when traveling an incline and bogging down when going downhill at speeds of 15 mph or more. Other tell-tale signs are seatbelt switch engaging and air cleaner sucking oil. Honda dealers say that this is a pervasive problem caused by a worn camshaft, which Honda has not addressed yet.
My advice is to take your quad to the nearest dealer at the first sign of this problem. If the dealer says otherwise, then that is when you should check on all other possible culprits like spark plugs, air filter, spark arrestor, muffler, valves, and fuel injector.
7. Differential Lock Not Working
One of the rarer Honda Pioneer 700 problems is when the differential lock does not work for the front tires. It can be a tad confusing, as you will not get any dash lights flashing any issues. You would even get an indication that your 4WD and differential-lock mode are both engaged. While most Honda owners speculate this to be a cable issue, the actual cause is the quad’s front-drive axle popping out of the output shaft. Although not fully confirmed but doing a lot of rock crawling could attribute to its occurrence.
Other Honda Pioneer 7 problems include the poorly shaped skid plate for the 2014 models. Honda recalled both two- and four-seater Pioneers as the skid plate hoarded debris and dried vegetation. This led to severe fire hazards when ignited by the heat of the adjacent exhaust system.
Camshaft problems are rampant for Honda Pioneer 700-4 models that dealers often blame on poor air filter maintenance. The cause being a damaged flywheel key slipping slightly on the shaft makes more sense, but Honda has not affirmed nor corrected this flaw to date.
Honda Pioneer 700 Reviews
Here is a summarized list of what testers and enthusiasts have to say about the Pioneer – these include Honda Pioneer 700 4 reviews, comments left in forums, and ATV magazine features:
Honda Pioneer 700-4
- The downhill assist works great (engine braking system) and makes driving seem easy and stable.
- Its smaller size and short wheelbase make it perfect for off-roading and taking tight turns.
- It comes with a standard front bumper and doors, which helps cut down on aftermarket expenses.
- It matches the 1,000-lb dump bed capacity of its bigger-displacement counterparts.
- Standard doors, safety nets, and three-point belts protect rear-seat passengers. They also enjoy more legroom than is available in the front seat.
- Stock tires hook up well, are sturdy, and have good sidewall tread.
- QuickFlip rear seat setup is innovative and helps limit the vehicle’s overall length.
- The unit is shaft-driven, meaning there are no belts. This eliminates the fear of damaging a belt.
- The Pioneer can feel a bit underpowered in steep areas. The transmission provides only drive, neutral, and reverse with no high-low range. A low gear would be nice to have, especially if you live in high-elevation areas.
- There is no power-steering or tilt-wheel, which could benefit riders who use the quad for hauling or other hard work. It can be noisy, and the engine is not to blame. It mostly comes from rattling doors, the front, and the rear-differential grinding sound.
- Power-steering is probably unnecessary if you are doing light work around the yard and daily driving, but it would be nice to have.
- The seating construction makes it difficult to service the unit when needed. It compels the owner to bring the vehicle to the dealer for repairs that a skilled mechanic could have otherwise taken care of if the seats were constructed differently.
- The instrument gauge can be tough to see due to its size and position behind the steering wheel. It would have been better if it were in the center of the vehicle dashboard for easier viewing.
- Apart from the cargo bed, there is not a lot of storage. There is a small space under the hood, glove box, cup holders, and a small area under the front seat and behind the back seat, but it is not much and seems to be wasted space.
- The engine is center-mounted and can give heat, which squeamish passengers may not find pleasant.
Honda Pioneer 700
- The downhill assist works great (engine braking system) and makes driving seem easy and feel stable.
- Deluxe trims with paddle shifters provide a smooth, confident feel.
- Power steering and smart weight distribution make the 2017 Honda Pioneer 700 predictable and easy to maneuver.
- Honda addressed the squeaking noise issue of older models with its 2017 release.
- All Deluxe Honda Pioneer 700 models feature Electric Power Steering or EPS.
- Deluxe and four-seater trims had better transmission as they came with manual and automatic shift modes. The rest of the versions (including pre-2017 versions) only came in fully automatic mode.
- Despite the 2WD/4WD modes, big bumps can still bottom your vehicle’s front end, especially if you speed down the trail.
- The lack of adjustability in the suspension is a turn-off for experienced riders. The gas-charged shocks offering only spring preload adjustment feel inadequate.
- Sometimes, the QuickFlip seating safety latch impedes the cargo bed from releasing completely.
Generally, Honda Pioneer 700-4 owners are happy with their purchase and find that the machine performs better even compared to a Yamaha or a Polaris of the same class. They love that it has a traditional transmission compared to the competition’s CVT and that it does not burn a ton of gas or become annoyingly loud when put around.
Most of them have had zero problems with the wheeler but recommend having valves adjusted and following regularly scheduled maintenance for upkeep’s sake. Accessories-wise, these riders advise adding front fender flares for splash protection each time you go for a ride in the muck.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Honda Pioneer 700 top speed? The advertised top speed of the Honda Pioneer 700 is 45 mph with the rev limiter. However, the actual top-end you will hit depends on the road conditions. Even on the pavement, you may reach only 30 mph on stock if you are traversing twisty curves.
- What are some of Honda Pioneer 700 accessories? Some accessories you can add are a hardtop, windshield, rear panel, and electronics. You can also purchase front and rear aluminum A-arm guards, front and rear bumpers, and a Superwinch (view on Amazon). You can have these included in your package when buying from the dealer or purchase a UTV windshield (view on Amazon) online.
- What is the Honda Pioneer 700 price? The list price ranges from $10,500 – $10,999, while the Honda Pioneer 700-4 costs between $11,699 and $12,399, depending on the year. Their average retail price is not that far from the MSRP, only decreasing by approximately $3,000 regardless of the model year. More recent models hold their value better than older ones. Expect to add another $5,000 to your expenses if you add all available accessories to the package.
Conclusion – Honda Pioneer 700 Problems
In summary, here are the most common Honda Pioneer 700 problems:
- The engine doesn’t start
- Performance issues
- Transmission problems
- Restricted shifting
- Erratic oil reading
- Loss of power
- Differential lock not working
Most of these issues are undeniably a result of riders not fully understanding the operating mechanisms. While some problems are totally out of the owners’ control, others can be easily addressed through proper care for the quad and adherence to scheduled maintenance. Interestingly, these issues were prevalent with 2014-2017 models but seemed to reduce dramatically with more recent Honda Pioneer versions.
Online tutorials, Honda forums, and the riding community provide a wealth of support for nouveau riders and serve as an excellent platform for enthusiasts and savants to share their expertise in resolving these issues. However, their collective hope is that Honda takes notice of the problems reported through those channels, as some are left unattended, which may cause unnecessary frustration for Honda’s avid followers.
That said, the Honda Pioneer 700 and 700-4 are still highly capable machines that excel both as a workhorse and a recreational/sporty vehicle. The convenience and versatility that these quads offer make them stand out against the competition. You have chosen the right wheeler if you are looking for a multipurpose UTV built to last.
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.