2006 Honda Pilot Towing Capacities

When I think of the Honda Pilot, I only think of a passenger SUV and don't really associate the vehicle with towing capacity due to its smaller frame, but after doing the research on the 2006 Honda Pilot, I was thrown back at how much it could actually haul.

I looked through the owner's manual and the brochure for the 06 Pilots and organized all the information in one article and tried to make it as easy to read as possible. My hope is that it can be a resource guide for those of you out there that want to know how much weight you can pull behind these SUVs. 

Always read through your owner's manual to get familiar with your vehicle and to make sure you would hear two Honda's recommendations when it comes to towing or anything else regarding your vehicle.

2006 Pilot Overview


Overall Towing Capacity:

The overall towing capacity for the 2006 Honda Pilot range from 0-4,500 lbs. and this depended on the number of passengers in the vehicle and what type of trailer you were hauling.


The capacity went down, according to how many people you had in the vehicle and if you had eight people in the vehicle, you had no more capacity left, according to the charts. There was also a 1000 lb difference between a boat trailer and all other trailers too.


Engine Options: There was only one engine option for the 06 Pilots, and this was a 3.5 L engine, which had six cylinders. Since there was only one engine, it made it pretty easy to determine your maximum trailer weight rating in the charts.


Trim Levels: There were three different trim levels to choose from for this model year SUV and these were: the LX, the EX and the EX-L models. The trim level you had equipped on your vehicle did not seem to affect the overall trailer weight ratings.

Assumed Weight: There was not an assumed weight that Honda specified, but since their charts used the number of people in the vehicle to determine the overall maximum trailer weight capacity you can haul, it made it simple to determine your maximum trailer weight and eliminated a lot of calculations that you would usually have to do.

The Charts:

There were different charts listed in the owner's manual for the 2006 Honda Pilots, which I took screenshots of and posted below. The two different charts have different maximum trailer weight rating specifications, too, depending on the number of occupants in the vehicle and what type of trailer you are hauling.

The top chart has maximum trailer weight ratings listed for boat trailers and, as you can see from the chart, the maximum trailer weight rating ranges from 0 pounds and goes all the way up to 4,500 pounds, with a 10% tongue weight rating limit.

The chart below that has a maximum trailer weight rating of 3,500 pounds, which was 1,000 lbs. less than what we saw with the boat trailer chart and had a range of 0-3,500 pounds overall, depending on the number of people in the vehicle.

2006 Honda Pilot Towing Chart

Tongue Weight Rating:

The maximum tongue weight rating that was provided in the owner's manual was also a bit different than what I usually see for other vehicle manufacturers, as there were two different specifications listed with different percentages listed for those specs, as well.

If you were pulling a boat trailer behind you, then the maximum tongue load on your vehicle should be between 5 and 10 percent of the total trailer weight For any other type of trailer, the maximum tongue weight rating ranged from 8% and went all the way up to 15% of the total trailer weight.

2006 Pilot Tongue Weight Rating

Tongue Weight Rating

Trailer Brakes:

Trailer brakes are a requirement for all vehicle manufacturers and for the 06 Pilots, they were required if your trailer weighed in excess of 1,000 lbs., which is quite a bit lower than we see on some of the newer vehicles made nowadays, where they usually require trailer brakes or trailers that weigh over 2,000 lbs.

2006 Honda Trailer Brakes

Trim Levels:

There were three different trim levels for the 06 pilots and these were listed as: the LX model, the EX model and the EX-L models. There didn't seem to be any correlation between the trim level that you had equipped and the maximum trailer weight capacityno, only the number of people who have the vehicle and what type of trailer you were pulling behind you.

GVWR, GCWR and GAWR Figures:

GCWR: I was also able to find the gross combined weight rating listed in the owner's manual, that states all models had a 9,700 lb. limit, which I assume applies to all models and trim levels. 

There are a couple of notes in the manual that states that this weight rating is only applicable to models that have the transmission and power steering coolers installed on the vehicle and that the gross combined weight rating must be reduced 2% for every 1000 ft of elevation, starting at 1,000 ft.

2006 Pilot Gcwr

GVWR& GAWRs: The gross vehicle weight rating and gross axle weight ratings for both the front and rear axles are listed on the vehicle itself on a little sticker call the certification label or safety certification label. This is pretty typical of most vehicle manufacturers, as the safety certification label is a mandatory requirement, but you can find all kinds of information on this little label, not just the gross vehicle weight rating and gross axle weight ratings.

Certification Label: I was able to find an image in the owner's manual that shows you where the certification label is located on the 06 Pilots, and it looks like it is listed on either the driver side door or door jamb, which should be visible when you open the door.

2006 Pilot Certification Label Location

Certification Label Location

Do I Have A Transmission & Power Steering Cooler?

The charts I have posted on this page regarding the maximum trailer weight capacities state that in order to achieve the specified weight ratings, you must have the transmission and power steering coolers equipped on your vehicle. I never found anywhere in any of the literature that stays that this was an optional package that had to be purchased though, so I'm not really sure how you would verify whether you had these installed on your vehicle.

Your best bet would be to take it into a dealer to see if they can verify if you had these two components installed. I assume if you did not have these installed on your vehicle then you had no towing capacity at all, but I was not able to find any information about that either, so when I do, I will update this post as soon as possible to keep it up-to-date.

Other Notes I Found:

There were some other notes that I found in the owner's manual that talked about pulling a trailer off-road, which I thought was quite interesting and not really mentioned by any other vehicle manufacturers, and how using a weight distributing hitch is not recommended for these model year Pilots.

I always recommend reading through your owner's manual to get familiar with your vehicle because you can always find little tidbits of information like this that I found that Honda recommends that you should be aware of.

2006 Pilot Towing A Trailer Off Road
06 Pilot Weight Distributing Hitch Warning

Helpful Links:

All the research for this article came from two primary sources, the 2006 pilot owner's manual and the 2006 brochure for the Honda Pilots, that I linked to below. The owner's manual came directly from Honda's website, but I had to use a third party source for the brochure, as Honda does not seem to carry them anymore, but the information is accurate.

I linked to these two resources below for those of you out there that want to check them out yourselves.

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