Honda Pilot Towing Capacity

Honda Pilot Towing Capacity – The Complete Year-by-Year Guide

Maybe you own a Honda Pilot and you’re looking to buy a new toy that needs to be towed. Or maybe you’re looking to buy a Honda Pilot and you’re curious to know if it is capable of towing one (or more!) of your existing toys. Either way, you need to know what the correct Honda Pilot towing capacity is before you make a decision.

The Honda Pilot was first introduced in 2003 and has gone through five major model changes over the years. For each model change, towing capacity was impacted. Below are the groupings of each model year update.

  • 2003 – 2005
  • 2006 – 2008
  • 2009 – 2011
  • 2012 – 2015
  • 2016 – 2022

It’s important to know model designation is not related to towing capacity in any way. So whether you have an EX, LX, Elite, etc. it doesn’t matter.

The factors that DO play a role in towing capacity are:

  • Drivetrain configuration of your Pilot  (4WD, AWD, or 2WD)
  • Number of passengers you’ll be transporting when towing
  • Whether or not an automatic transmission fluid cooler is installed (2003-2008 models, 2012-2015 2WD models, 2016-2022 AWD models)
  • Whether or not a power steering fluid cooler is installed (2003-2008 only)
  • What you’ll be towing – either a boat or “all other trailers” (2003-2008 only)
2003 honda pilot

2003 through 2005 Honda Pilot Towing Capacity

For the model years 2003, 2004, and 2005 the Honda Pilot was only available with a 4WD drivetrain. Therefore, all Pilots of this era had the same towing capacities – 4,500 lbs for boat trailers and 3,500 lbs for all other trailers. In both cases, the maximum tongue weight is 450 lbs. 

This is important! In order to use a 2003-2005 Pilot for towing, a power steering fluid cooler and an automatic transmission fluid cooler must be installed by a Honda dealer. 

Honda published two different capacity tables – one for boats, the other for all other trailers. 2003-2005 Honda Pilot towing capacity decreases with every added passenger you transport in the vehicle. The below tables show the specifics

2003-2005 Honda Pilot Towing Capacities for Boat Trailers

Number of OccupantsMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs)Maximum Tongue Load (lbs)
24,500450
34,500450
44,500450
54,300350
64,100220
72,000100
8DO NOT TOWDO NOT TOW

2003-2005 Honda Pilot Towing Capacities for All Other Trailers

Number of OccupantsMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs)Maximum Tongue Load (lbs)
23,500450
33,500450
43,300450
53,100350
62,700220
71,200100
8DO NOT TOWDO NOT TOW

All information shown here was taken directly from Honda Pilot owner’s manuals. If you are overly cautious and would rather not listen to me, a random internet car guy, here are the direct links to the corresponding Honda Pilot owner’s manuals if you’d like to check for yourself:

2003 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2004 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2005 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2006 honda pilot

2006 through 2008 Honda Pilot Towing Capacity

In 2006, Honda introduced a 2-wheel drive version of the Pilot. So now there’s a new variable to consider when looking at towing capacities.

4WD Towing Capacity

4WD towing capacities remained the same as the previous generation (2003-2006) – 4,500 lbs for boat trailers and 3,500 lbs for all other trailers. 

Once again, in order to use a 4WD pilot for towing, a power steering fluid cooler and an automatic transmission fluid cooler must be installed by a Honda dealer.

2WD Towing Capacity

For the 2WD model, towing capacity is published as 3,500 lbs. Honda doesn’t state if there are different towing capacities for boat trailers vs all other trailers on 2WD models. Nor does Honda publish data regarding towing capacities with different numbers of passengers in 2WD models like they do for 4WD Models. 

Here are data tables for years 2006-2008 of the 4WD model:

2006-2008 4WD Honda Pilot Towing Capacities for Boat Trailers

Number of OccupantsMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs)Maximum Tongue Load (lbs)
24,500450
34,500450
44,500450
54,300350
64,100220
72,000100
8DO NOT TOWDO NOT TOW

2006-2008 4WD Honda Pilot Towing Capacities for All Other Trailers

Number of OccupantsMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs)Maximum Tongue Load (lbs)
23,500450
33,500450
43,300450
53,100350
62,700220
71,200100
8DO NOT TOWDO NOT TOW

All information shown here was taken directly from Honda Pilot owner’s manuals. If you are overly cautious and would rather not listen to me, a random internet car guy, here are the direct links to the corresponding Honda Pilot owner’s manuals if you’d like to check for yourself:

2006 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2007 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2008 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2009 honda pilot

2009 through 2011 Honda Pilot Towing Capacity

Honda did its next redesign on the Pilot in 2009. In this redesign, both a heavy duty automatic transmission fluid cooler AND a heavy duty power steering fluid cooler came stock on the vehicles out of the factory.

So what does this mean? There’s no need to have the dealer install these components on your 2009-2011 Pilot like you would have to do for Honda Pilot model years 2003 through 2008.

Honda also revised towing information with regards to boat trailers vs. all other trailers. Instead of publishing separate Honda Pilot towing capacity tables, Honda states the following: 

“Recommended tongue load should be 5-10% of the total trailer weight for boat trailers, and 8-15% of the total trailer weight for all other trailers.”

Also for this new design, Honda published full towing capacity charts for 2wd Pilot models.  

Here are the full 2009-2011 Honda Pilot towing capacity charts for both 4WD and 2WD models:

2009-2011 4WD Honda Pilot Towing Capacities

Number of OccupantsMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs)Maximum Tongue Load (lbs)
24,500450
34,300400
44,100330
54,000270
63,800190
72,000100
8DO NOT TOWDO NOT TOW

2009-2011 2WD Honda Pilot Towing Capacities

Number of OccupantsMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs)Maximum Tongue Load (lbs)
23,500350
33,300300
43,100230
53,000200
62,800150
72,000100
8DO NOT TOWDO NOT TOW

Disclaimer time again…. All information shown above was taken directly from Honda Pilot owner’s manuals. If you are overly cautious and would rather not listen to me, a random internet car guy, here are the direct links to the corresponding Honda Pilot owner’s manuals if you’d like to check for yourself:

2009 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2010 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2012 honda pilot

2011 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2012 through 2015 Honda Pilot Towing Capacity

2012 brought the next model redesign for the Pilot. The automatic transmission fluid cooler that was once standard on 2WD models has become optional. Towing capacity is limited on models without the cooler. If you have a 2WD Pilot without the cooler and need higher towing capacities, you can have the dealer install one for you. Numbers are as follows:

2012-2015 4WD Honda Pilot Towing Capacities

Number of OccupantsMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs)Maximum Tongue Load (lbs)
24,500450
34,300400
44,100330
54,000270
63,800190
72,000100
8DO NOT TOWDO NOT TOW

2012-2015 2WD Honda Pilot Towing Capacities (models WITHOUT dealer-installed automatic transmission cooler)

Number of OccupantsMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs)Maximum Tongue Load (lbs)
22,000200
3-8DO NOT TOWDO NOT TOW

2012-2015 2WD Honda Pilot Towing Capacities (models WITH dealer-installed automatic transmission cooler)

Number of OccupantsMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs)Maximum Tongue Load (lbs)
23,500350
33,300300
43,100230
53,000200
62,800150
72,000100
8DO NOT TOWDO NOT TOW

Disclaimer time again…. All information shown above was taken directly from Honda Pilot owner’s manuals. If you are overly cautious and would rather not listen to me, a random internet car guy, here are the direct links to the corresponding Honda Pilot owner’s manuals if you’d like to check for yourself.

2012 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2013 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2014 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2015 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2016 honda pilot

2016 through 2022 Honda Pilot Towing Capacities

2016 was the next redesign year for the Honda Pilot. On non-2WD models, the drivetrain changed from 4WD to AWD. These two terms are not synonymous. If you’re not familiar with the difference, check out this article from Car and Driver for a good explanation. 

Towing capacity gets a little complicated for 2016-2022 models. While Honda touts an increased maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lbs for the 2016-2022 Pilots, this is only achieved if you have the once again optional, dealer-installed automatic transmission fluid cooler. Note that the previous generation 4WD Pilot had the ATF cooler installed standard from the factory.

Out of the factory, the 2016-2022 AWD Pilot’s towing capacity actually decreased from the previous year to 3,500 lbs (down from 4,500). 

2WD towing capacities slightly increased for the 2016-2022 models. Honda provides no information about ATF coolers for 2WD models. But their posted towing capacities mirror those of the previous generation 2WD models with an optional ATF cooler installed. 

Here is the detailed Honda Pilot towing capacity data for 2016-2022:

Towing Capacities for 2016-2022 AWD Honda Pilots WITH optional ATF Cooler

Number of OccupantsMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs)Maximum Tongue Load (lbs)
25,000500
34,750475
44,500450
54,250375
64,000250
72,500125
8DO NOT TOWDO NOT TOW

Towing Capacities for 2016-2022 AWD Honda Pilot Models WITHOUT optional automatic transmission fluid cooler installed

Number of OccupantsMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs)Maximum Tongue Load (lbs)
23,500500
33,250475
43,000450
52,750375
62,500250
72,250125
8DO NOT TOWDO NOT TOW

Towing Capacities for 2016-2022 for 2WD Honda Pilot Models

Number of OccupantsMaximum Trailer Weight (lbs)Maximum Tongue Load (lbs)
23,500350
33,250325
43,000300
52,750275
62,500240
72,250115
8DO NOT TOWDO NOT TOW

Disclaimer time again…. All information shown above was taken directly from Honda Pilot owner’s manuals. If you are overly cautious and would rather not listen to me, a random internet car guy, here are the direct links to the corresponding Honda Pilot owner’s manuals if you’d like to check for yourself.

2016 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2017 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2018 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2019 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2020 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2021 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

2022 Honda Pilot Owner’s Manual

Conclusion

So that wraps up all towing capacities for every production year Honda Pilot. Pay very close attention to the optional power steering coolers and automatic transmission coolers. If you are unsure if your Pilot (or the one you are looking to buy) has these components installed, ask your Honda dealer, local mechanic, or gearhead friend to verify. You don’t want to over stress your transmission by towing a load that’s too heavy. 

All photos used in this post provided courtesy of the American Honda Motor Co.

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