Can You Flat Tow A Honda Pilot?

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Going on a trip in a motorhome can be tiring when it comes time to maneuver through city streets and five-lane highways. For this reason, many people consider towing a second vehicle on the back of the RV. If you happen to own a Honda pilot and want to know whether or not you can flat tow it behind another vehicle without damaging it, then you are at the right place.

According to Honda, the 2006 Pilot and onwards models cannot be flat towed behind a motorhome. Flatbed towing is preferred for taking it along on a journey in case of an emergency. With the front wheels off the ground, dolly towing is only allowed in the 2wd drive models only.

Even though the Honda Pilot can not be flat towed behind a truck or motorhome, it doesn’t mean it still can’t be brought along on a trip. Below we discuss the other ways to tow the new models of the Honda Pilots. In addition, we cover flat towing the older Honda Pilots (2005 and earlier).

Gray Honda Pilot car moving on the street, Can You Flat Tow A Honda Pilot?

How To Tow A Honda Pilot

Most of the cars that come equipped with an AWD system aren’t capable of being flat towed. A vehicle’s ability to be flat towed also depends on the configuration of the transmission lube pump.

For example, suppose the transmission lube pump is connected with the engine. In that case, the vehicle cannot keep the transmission lubricated with the engine being shut off. Flat towed behind another vehicle. Similar is the case with the Honda Pilot; hence both the AWD and 2WD variants cannot be flat towed without causing any transmission damage.

Honda Pilot in a motorshow

Flat Towing (For 2005 And Earlier Honda Pilots)

Flat towing is the method of towing a vehicle with all four of its wheels on the ground. It is also sometimes called dinghy towing.

Flat towing can easily be done on the Honda Pilots from 2005 and earlier, but you would need to install some towing equipment first to help attach your SUV to the motor home. It is wise to have a strong base plate for your SUV that attaches to its chassis on the front end and would then be mounted to a suitable tow bar attached to the rear of your motor home.

Also, consider attaching safety chains to secure the connection between the two vehicles. You would also need some electronic equipment to control the brake lamps of your SUV and make them in sync with the motor home. A supplemental braking system would also be required for the SUV to apply the SUV’s brake as the motor home brakes in proportion.

After installing the necessary equipment for towing, you would need to follow the correct procedure to flat tow your SUV.

  • Start the engine.
  • Press on the brake pedal. Move the shift lever through all its positions.
  • Shift to D, then to N. Let the engine run for three minutes, then turn it off.
  • Release the parking brake.
  • Leave the ignition switch in ACCESSORY (I) so the steering wheel does not lock. Make sure the radio and any items plugged into the accessory power sockets are turned off so you do not run down the battery.

If you tow more than 8 hours in one day, you should repeat the above procedure at least every 8 hours (when you stop for fuel, etc.). Also, Honda forbids you to flat tow the Honda Pilot at speeds above 65mph to avoid any damages to the transmission.  

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Dolly Towing (For All FWD Honda Pilots)

Dolly towing a vehicle is the method of towing a vehicle with two wheels on the ground. It is mostly the front wheels that have the power in a 2wd vehicle. Therefore, it is recommended that you dolly tow the front-wheel-drive Honda Pilots with the front two wheels off the ground.

You would first need to get yourself a dolly that can withstand the curb weight of the Pilot, which is around 4000lbs. Also, make sure that the braking light receptacle on the RV and the Dolly match up to connect the RVs brake lights with the Dolly easily. Finally, you would also want to make sure that the Dolly mounts up safely onto the RV hitch.

After connecting the Dolly onto the RV, you would first want to park on a flat surface to drive up your Pilot onto the Dolly. Drive your Honda Pilot onto the Dolly, making sure it is exactly in the center and put the transmission into the park. Follow the instructions of the dolly manufacturer to safely secure the front wheels of the vehicle with the Dolly. After securing the vehicle on the Dolly, you should move on mounting the extra set of brake lights, if any, on the body of the car. Mostly such lights are magnetic and stick onto the back of your car easily.

You can now safely drive the RV with the Honda Pilot dolly towed on its back to your destination.

New off-road car Honda Pilot 3 generation black in winter off-road in the forest

Flatbed Towing (for all Honda Pilots)

Flatbed towing a vehicle is towing a vehicle with all of its four wheels off the ground. The vehicle being towed is parked on a trailer, and the trailer is pulled along by the towing vehicle. Honda states it as the best way to transport the Honda Pilots.

You would need a flatbed trailer large enough to house your vehicle and carry its weight over a long journey. Make sure the size of the ball on your RVs hitch matches up with the trailer, and the hitch is able to pull the weight of the vehicle. Also, check the trailer brake receptacle on your RV matches with the brake light adapter of the trailer for easy deployment.

To connect the trailer onto the RV, raise your trailer by using a jack and back your RV making sure the ball on the hitch aligns perfectly with the ball housing. Now slowly lower down your trailer until the jack is free and the trailer’s weight is onto the hitch. Secure the connection as per the trailer’s manufacturer’s instructions. Also, strap on some safety chains in a cross for added safety. Connect the lights on the trailer by plugging the brake lamp connecter to the RV’s trailer brake receptacle.

After safely connecting the flatbed trailer onto the RV, drive your vehicle onto the flatbed, making sure that only 10-15 percent of the weight is shifted onto the ball, also known as the tongue weight. It will prevent your SUV nose from lifting and will make sure the steering response remains the same. Generally, it is best to park the vehicle over the axel on your flatbed trailer.

New brutal male Honda SUV pilot in winter off-road.

Can You Flat Tow A Honda Pilot 2019?

No, you cannot flat tow a Honda Pilot 2019 as per the instructions from Honda. Doing so would damage the transmission on your Honda Pilot regardless of it being an All-wheel Drive or Front-wheel drive model.

What Year Honda Pilot Can Be Flat Towed?

Honda Pilot from the year 2005 and before could be flat towed easily. You can follow the procedure as mentioned above to flat tow your Honda Pilot behind any vehicle easily.

Can You Tow A 2021 Honda Pilot Behind A Motorhome?

Yes, you can tow the Honda pilot behind a motorhome. It is best recommended to flatbed tow the Honda Pilot according to the manufacturer. But you can also dolly tow a front-wheel-drive Honda Pilot safely.

What Honda Vehicles Can Be Flat Towed?

Apart from the older models of the Honda Pilot (2005 and older), Honda CRVs from the year 2007-2014 are flat towable.

To carry your Honda Pilot along with your motor home on the trip, you would probably need to dolly or flatbed tow it unless you are lucky enough to own a 2005 or older model.

In Closing

Gray Honda Pilot car moving on the street, Can You Flat Tow A Honda Pilot?

When properly set up for towing, the Honda Pilot makes an excellent vehicle to bring along on road trips. However, if the convenience of flat towing is appealing to you, it may not be the right vehicle. Nonetheless, if you are willing to get a 2005 model or earlier, that might be the ticket. Hondas are known for their reliability, and finding one with 250-300k miles is common, so buying one with under 150k miles will still have plenty of engine life and won’t have as big of an impact on your wallet.

If you enjoyed this article on how to tow a Honda Pilot, you might also like these:

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