Honda Pilot Brake Controller: 9 Helpful Tips (Explained)


Are you considering getting a brake controller installed in your Honda Pilot? Well, on this page, we are going to talk about everything that you need to know about how they work, how to buy one and, perhaps more importantly, how you are going to get one installed in your vehicle.

So, let’s just jump right in, shall we?

What Does a Brake Controller Do?

FIrst things first, what does a brake controller actually do? Do you need one in your vehicle?

Well, if you are towing anything with your Honda Pilot, we do suggest that you get a brake controller installed.

In many cases, it is a legal requirement if you plan on pulling a trailer over a certain weight or length. However, even if it is not a legal requirement in your state, it is still a whole lot safer to have a brake controller than not having one.

The job of a brake controller, as the name suggests, is to control brakes, specifically in the trailer being towed. The idea is that when the towing vehicle brakes, the brakes on the trailer will be triggered at the same time.


This way, everything is a lot safer, and you won’t end up causing a rather nasty accident out there on the road.

The brake controller works through a small sensor built into the controller. When the sensor detects that the vehicle is braking, it sends a signal through the 7-way connector at the back of your vehicle. Your trailer will be plugged into this.

Read also: Trailer Brake Controllers: 25 Facts You Should Know (Explained)

How Do You Buy a Brake Controller for a Honda Pilot?

Firstly, as with all products that you can purchase, we suggest that you try to stick to the top brands when you are buying a brake controller for your Honda Pilot.

This way, you will be able to ensure that whatever you purchase, you are going to be happy with. You should also read reviews. To be honest, there is not that much difference between the various brake controller features out there.

They are simple gadgets. You just need to make a choice between the type of brake controller that you want. This is split into two categories.

Read also: Tekonsha Wireless Brake Controller: 11 Facts You Should Know (Explained)

Wired Brake Controllers

These brake controllers are the traditional brake controllers. They are going to be physically wired into your vehicle. They are the cheapest option, but they are going to be a bit tougher to install.

You may have to make a few modifications to the inside of your vehicle to get them to work. Although, in the case of the Honda Pilot, they should be simple enough to install, even if you do not know how to work with vehicles.

Wireless Brake Controllers

Wireless brake controllers are the route to go down if you want something that is easy to install, although they are a bit more expensive.

The idea of a wireless brake controller is that they communicate via a Bluetooth signal with your mobile device, or a controller built into your vehicle.

Unlike wired brake controllers, wireless brake controllers sit outside of your vehicle. They can be removed at any time.

This makes them ideal for those people that may not be towing all that much, or regularly switch the vehicles that they are driving in.

You will often find wireless brake controllers used in businesses as it saves a whole lot of cash not having to install a brake controller in every vehicle.

How Do You Install a Brake Controller for a Honda Pilot?

We are going to assume that you already have a 7-way connector installed on the back of your vehicle. If you do not, then this is not a project that you are going to be able to tackle on your own.

You will need to speak to a mechanic to help you, preferably one that specializes in working on towing vehicles.

This is because the electrical work is going to be a touch too intricate to do at home if you do not know what you are doing.

Installing a Wireless Brake Controller

Installing a wireless brake controller in your Honda Pilot is going to be the simplest option. You will need to start by installing a mount for the controller in your vehicle.

This is simple. The controller will then plug into the cigarette lighter for power. Also simple.

The wireless brake controller will plug directly into the 7-way at the back of the vehicle. The plug that comes out of the trailer will then plug into the wireless brake controller. You are then done.

Wired Brake Controller

This is where things get a little bit trickier.

You will need to purchase a wiring kit for the Honda Pilot. These should be affordable and you can purchase them at the same time that you purchase your brake controller.

You will need to find a place to mount the brake controller in your vehicle. Preferably, this should be close to the steering wheel so that you are going to be able to reach it in an emergency.

The wired brake controller will then need to be plugged into the wiring just behind the kick panel close to the steering wheel i.e. where all the other wiring is. It should be pretty easy to work out which connector matches up to the wired brake controller.

Read also: Curt Wireless Brake Controller: 9 Facts You Should Know (Explained)

How Much Does it Cost to Install a Brake Controller in a Honda Pilot?

Assuming that you do not need to have a 7-way adapter installed at the same time, you can expect it to cost around $100 to have the braking controller installed in your vehicle, exclusive of the equipment cost.

Read also: What Is The Average Cost To Install Trailer Brake Controller – (Facts & Numbers)

How Do You Set-Up a Brake Controller for a Honda Pilot?

In order to set up the brake controller in your Honda Pilot, you will need to follow these steps:

Attach the Trailer and Turn the Brake Controller On

This should be simple, we hope. The trailer will plug into the 7-way (or the wireless brake controller if you are going down that route).

If you do not know how to turn on your selected brake controller, then read the instruction manual.

Drive the Vehicle

You now want to head to a bit of flat road where you can reach 20mph without causing any issues i.e. you won’t be irritating other drivers on the road.

So, find a place to drive.


Once you have hit 20mph, you will need to brake. You should observe what the trailer does during this time.

Adjust the Gain

If the trailer was slow to stop in comparison to your vehicle, then you will need to turn up the setting known as ‘gain’ on your brake controller.

The gain is the amount of pressure that the brakes should be applying to the trailer. If you have a heavy trailer, then the setting will need to be higher too.

If the brakes locked up, then you will need to turn that gain setting down and retest the vehicle.

Remember, as you are driving the vehicle, you will notice that you have to switch the gain up.

This is because the brakes will heat up over time, and thus they need to apply more pressure to have the same gripping power.

Read also: How To Set a Trailer Brake Gain? 6 Easy Steps (Explained)

Troubleshooting Honda Pilot Brake Controller Issues

There isn’t a lot that can go wrong with any brake controller. This is because they are really simple pieces of equipment.

Perhaps the only issues that you will run into will be the brakes locking up or the trailer brakes not responding quickly enough. However, these issues are easy to solve by adjusting the gain. We have already spoken about that.

If there are power issues, then there may be a wire short somewhere. This isn’t really a problem that you are going to be able to fix yourself, though. Well, not unless the problem is immediately obvious. 

In some cases, your brakes may lock up in reverse. This is often due to a wire short in the 7-way. The reverse light indicator overlaps with the brake signal.

So, the brakes lock up. The easiest way to solve this is to look at the 7-way and see whether there are any overlapping bare wires. If there are, fix the problem by separating the wires. It should take minutes.

Honda Pilot Brake Controller Install >> Check out the video below:


To be honest with you, a Honda Pilot brake controller is a really simple device to have in your vehicle. There isn’t a whole lot that can go wrong with one, and they are always going to be simple gadgets to install.

Despite their simplicity, though, these are easily the most important gadgets that you can have installed in your vehicle.

Without a brake controller installed, every time you drive on the roads with a trailer attached, you are putting yourself at risk of a serious accident.

Once you have a brake controller installed, it is a piece of kit that will last years. You can think of it as an investment!


Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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