Choosing the best tires for your Honda Pilot can seem like a daunting decision. Tires only come around every few years and are an expensive part of maintenance for any vehicle.
Finding which tires are best for your Pilot will depend on your lifestyle, driving habits, budget, and more. This guide will help you find what’s best for your needs. It could be you’re one of the few who fit the general use scenario that Honda had in mind when choosing an original equipment choice for tires. Or you could be very different. Or somewhere in between. Our overview of the best tire options for the Honda Pilot considers uses, costs, and more. This should help narrow choices down for you.
What tires are on my Honda Pilot? The current generation Pilot is sold in multiple trims with two tire sizes:
We’re recommending three tires each for the 18- and 20-inch wheels available on the current-generation Honda Pilot. These recommendations are based on consumer reviews, fit, tread life, and budget categories.
Tires should be replaced at five years of age or when their tread runs thin. Most people are aware that tires become less effective as miles are put on them. There are numerous tricks (some of them kind of weird) for determining if your tires are beyond their tread life. We recommend keeping it simple and just using the built-in wear bars that tires have as an indicator and talking to a tire professional when you believe they’re getting close.
Time, however, is something most people don’t relate to tire wear. Every tire sold in the United States is required to have a DOT number embossed on it and that number includes the tire’s date of manufacture. After five years, the compounds in tires can begin to break down. Especially protection from the sun’s UV rays. At about five years of age, tires can begin to “dry out” as those compounds fail. The DOT number will have three groups of four numbers each and is located near the tire’s sizing information. The third group of four numbers is the made-on date for the tire.
The first two numbers are the week of the year the tire was made and the last two are the year. So a tire labeled 3019 will have been made on the 30th week of 2019, making its five-year mark on the 30th week of 2024 (July 22-28, 2024).
Most drivers, however, need not be too concerned with the date their tires “expire” from age. Most drivers cover between 12,000 and 15,000 miles per year on their vehicle. So your Pilot’s factory tires are likely to expire from tread wear before that five years is up. When buying tires, tread life can be generally predicted using the tire’s Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG). This is provided by the manufacturer voluntarily and is a standard in the industry.
The UTQG rating is a simple code that includes expected tread life, traction, and high temperature resistance. The rating starts with a three-digit number, and two sets of letters (AA, A, B, or C). For example, a tire with a rating of 500 A A would have the following characteristics:
The original tires Honda chose to put on your Pilot may be good enough and it’s a no-brainer to just go with them again. Honda chose those tires based on the generalized need of most drivers of the Pilot, Honda’s relationships with manufacturers, fuel economy returns, and costs.
Your use, however, may not be the same as the generic uses Honda predicted for buyers and you probably don’t have a business relationship with a tire manufacturer to consider. You may need more snow ratings for your tires. Or maybe you’re lucky and need less. You may also need or not need off-road/all-terrain tread. Maybe you need more highway life instead. Stopping power may be a more important consideration for you. That varies the need a lot and is a reason to consider something other than the OEM option.
Most Honda Pilot models will have 17-, 18-, or 20-inch wheels, depending on the year of the vehicle’s manufacture. To move from a smaller tire size to a larger one or from a larger wheel size to a smaller one (or any combination of this), it’s important that the total diameter of the tire itself remains consistent. If that changes, then so do several things with your Pilot that may be more important than just “my speedometer is off.”
A larger diameter means less turns for the same amount of speed. It also means a different turning radius, different stopping length, and a change in ride quality and stability. Similarly, a smaller diameter has those effects as well.
This is why any Honda Pilot of a given model year, even if offered with different wheel sizes, will have the same overall tire diameter. The sidewalls of the tire get smaller to compensate for the larger wheel or vice versa.
But there are reasons to change wheel sizes on a vehicle, including your Pilot.
Downsizing wheels has its advantages. Benefits include:
Going up in wheel size has its benefits:
Tire sizes are important as well. Learning how to read those in order to not only purchase the right replacements, but also figure out what to get should you change wheels, is an important skill. Luckily, it’s pretty simple. Here’s a rundown using the 245/50R20 201H tires that come standard on the 2020 Honda Pilot with 20-inch wheels:
Tires also have general attributes given by the category they belong to. Tires for the Honda Pilot, for example, will be rated as touring, all-season, or all-terrain. Here are the common tire categories used for passenger vehicle tires:
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That depends on what kind of driving you do, but the Yokohama Geolander A/T G015 is an excellent choice.
It varies depending on which year and trim level you have. It could either be the Bridgestone Dueler HP Sport AS, or the Continental Crosscontact LX Sport. Both are decent choices when it’s time to replace.
Check inside your driver’s side door for a white and yellow label that will tell you the exact tire pressure recommendations for your Honda Pilot model. That tire pressure can also change depending on the load of passengers you’re carrying, as well as the cargo load. Note that the pressure on the tire itself is never the correct setting, but rather a maximum.
Rotating tires is more about the tire than it is about the car. A typical rotation interval is somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 miles, though specific cars and tires may change those numbers some. The Pilot can be either front-wheel or all-wheel drive, so the tire rotations may vary according to the wear those drivetrains can have.
Your Pilot should have come equipped with a spare tire and changing tools. In this case, you already have everything you need to physically change the tire, but you may want to carry an extra roadside emergency kit with an upgraded lug wrench, jumper cables, and emergency markers just in case.
Several online retailers like Tire Rack offer regular discounts and free shipping for their tires. Their sites also have tire fit guides and pricing estimators to help you understand what you’re buying.
Most online tire retailers have free shipping or reduced shipping cost when you choose to have them installed at a partner shop. The retailer may have an arrangement with a local tire chain or installation center and can ship the tires there for free.
Retailers like Tire Rack offer fast shipping and can often have tires to your preferred installer in as little as two days. Many others, like Discount Tire Direct, offer the same fast and free shipping. It also depends on where you live. If you’re in a large metro area, close to a distribution center, it should be relatively quick. If you live 5 miles from East Moosejaw, it might take a little longer.
Some shops will offer free installation when you purchase tires from them, and online retailers often promote the same deal for people who choose to have installation done at one of their partners. If you do find yourself paying for tire installation, expect to pay between $15 and $50 per tire, depending on what is needed. That money pays for mounting and balancing the tire to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.
The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is independent of your tires but should be checked at regular intervals to ensure no damage or malfunctions are occurring. Your local tire shop can perform this check as part of normal tire rotation or installation.
Yes! You can find the right fit, tread pattern, and speed rating on nearly any online retailer’s site. They sometimes offer specials and rebates around the time when people start looking for winter tires (late fall).
It’s certainly not a requirement to buy your tires and wheels from the same place, but you’re more likely to get a deal on the package if you buy from the same place. Check the retailer’s specials and decide from there. You may also find a better deal ordering either the tires or wheels online and buying the other component from your local shop.
Yes, and in some cases, rebates are offered alongside discounts on the tires. It’s important to ask questions and understand what you’re getting, so be sure to chat or call the retailer before ordering if the rebates are unclear.
Ordering your tires online vs. the shop will save you money