Like most SUVs, the Honda Pilot features running boards on either side of the vehicle. Most owners don't pay much attention to the running boards on their Pilots, but they are extremely functional. Like any other car part, they also need to be maintained and replaced on occasion. Here's everything you need to know about your Honda Pilot's running boards.
The Running Boards and Their Connectors
Your Pilot's running boards are two flat bars that run along the side of your vehicle just below the doors. The running boards act as steps, allowing you and your passengers to comfortably step into and out of your Honda Pilot. This is especially important if you ever have older passengers riding with you, as they may find it difficult to step into your vehicle without a running board to use.
Since it has to bear substantial amounts of weight when it is used, the running board is connected directly to the underside of your car. The parts of the connecting system used to secure running boards include:
Without this connective system, your running boards wouldn't be able to support the weight of a passenger getting in or out. In order for people to safely be able to step up onto them, the running boards need to be fully secured to the rest of your vehicle.
How Can a Running Board Wear Out?
After reading about the parts of a running board's assembly, you might be wondering just how such a simple, motionless set of parts can possibly go bad. Like most external car parts, the answer to how and why running boards wear lies in the weather they are exposed to. Wet, hot, humid climates are typically worse for body parts than very dry climates, as the increased humidity can cause slight rusting to occur over time.
By far the worst enemy of your running boards and the connecting brackets that secure them to your car, however, is road salt. Laid down every year on streets and highways throughout the Midwest, New England and other places with heavy snowfall, road salt can cause severe corrosion over time. The lower a given part is on a car, the worse the salt exposure and damage will usually be. Wheel wells, floor pans and running boards, therefore, are among the parts that are most likely to corrode because of salt.
Knowing When to Replace Your Running Boards
How long it will be before your running boards need replacing will depend on many different factors, including how much driving you do and the climate in your local area. If you do minimal driving in a dry, hot climate, you may never need to replace them. If you have a long commute in an area that receives heavy snowfall each year, a set of running boards could last you as little as 10 years.
The most obvious sign that you need to replace your Honda Pilot's running boards is heavy rust on the exposed metal parts connecting them to the vehicle. When the brackets that hold a running board in place begin to rust, there's very little that can be done to save them. If it's only surface rust, you may be able to remove it with an abrasive like steel wool, but if it has progressed beyond the surface of the metal, it will eventually compromise the structural integrity of the bracket.
If you don't check your brackets for rust, you might also find that your running boards are starting to give way when they are stepped on. Generally, this indicates that either part of the board itself or one of the holding brackets has rusted through. When this is the case, you should find out what has happened and make repairs as soon as possible. If left unchecked, this problem could result in the running board falling off completely.
How to Replace Running Boards
Replacing a set of running boards is fairly simple. Because they are static parts, the running boards can be removed and replaced simply by disconnecting them from the brackets that hold them in place. Generally, it will also be a good idea to remove and change the brackets as well, as they are often affected by salt damage.
Be aware that removing running boards, though not difficult, may be somewhat labor intensive. You may have to work in small spaces. If you aren't very familiar with the bracket system that holds your running board in place, refer to an exploded view of the board and its connectors. A full diagram should let you see exactly what you need to do to remove and replace your Honda Pilot's running boards.
After removing the old boards and brackets, simply bolt the new ones in. The only difficulty you may encounter with changing your running boards is the fact that the nuts and bolts can also rust over time. This being the case, they can sometimes be very difficult to get loose. If needed, try applying a rust-removing chemical spray overnight to loosen them before removing them. If your bolts are too rusted for even chemical lubricants to work, you may need to cut them or use a heat torch to break them loose.
Why Should You Use OEM Running Boards?
Like many parts, you'll find aftermarket running boards that claim to be able to fit your Honda Pilot. In many cases, the fit of such aftermarket parts will be a little off, forcing you to modify them to properly install them on your vehicle. Even if these boards do fit properly, however, they won't have the same quality and durability as genuine Honda factory parts. This is why it's important to get your new running boards from a certified OEM Honda parts dealer.
If you need new running boards or other factory parts for your Honda Pilot, check out the huge selection we carry here on G1Parts.com. From seats to engine components, we've got all of the genuine Honda parts you need to repair and maintain your Pilot year after year.