Towing safety

Trailer hitch

Choose a proper hitch for your vehicle and trailer. A genuine NISSAN trailer hitch is available from a NISSAN dealer. Make sure the trailer hitch is securely attached to the vehicle to help avoid personal injury or property damage due to sway caused by crosswinds, rough road surfaces or passing trucks.

WARNING

Trailer hitch components have specific weight ratings. Your vehicle may be capable of towing a trailer heavier than the weight rating of the hitch components.

Never exceed the weight rating of the hitch components. Doing so can cause serious personal injury or property damage.

Hitch ball

Choose a hitch ball of the proper size and weight rating for your trailer:

The required hitch ball size is stamped on most trailer couplers. Most hitch balls also have the size printed on top of the ball.
Choose the proper class hitch ball based on the trailer weight.
The diameter of the threaded shank of the hitch ball must be matched to the ball mount hole diameter. The hitch ball shank should be no more than 1/16´´ smaller than the hole in the ball mount.
The threaded shank of the hitch ball must be long enough to be properly secured to the ball mount. There should be at least 2 threads showing beyond the lock washer and nut.

Sway control device

Sudden maneuvers, wind gusts and buffeting caused by other vehicles can affect trailer handling. Sway control devices may be used to help control these affects. If you choose to use one, contact a reputable trailer hitch supplier to make sure the sway control device will work with the vehicle, hitch, trailer and the trailer’s brake system. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for installing and using the sway control device.

Class I hitch

Class I trailer hitch equipment (receiver, ball mount and hitch ball) can be used to tow trailers of a maximum weight of 2,000 lb (907 kg).

Class II hitch

Class II trailer hitch equipment (receiver, ball mount and hitch ball) can be used to tow trailers of a maximum weight of 3,500 lb (1,588 kg).

CAUTION

Special hitches which include frame reinforcements are required for towing above 2,000 lb (907 kg). Suitable genuine NISSAN hitches for pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles are available at a NISSAN dealer.
The hitch should not be attached to or affect the operation of the impact- absorbing bumper.
Do not use axle-mounted hitches.
Do not modify the vehicle exhaust system, brake system, etc. to install a trailer hitch.
To reduce the possibility of additional damage if your vehicle is struck from the rear, where practical, remove the hitch and/or receiver when not in use. After the hitch is removed, seal the bolt holes to prevent exhaust fumes, water or dust from entering the passenger compartment.
Regularly check that all trailer hitch mounting bolts are securely mounted.

Tire pressures

When towing a trailer, inflate the vehicle tires to the recommended cold tire pressure indicated on the Tire and Loading Information label.
Trailer tire condition, size, load rating and proper inflation pressure should be in accordance with the trailer and tire manufacturers’ specifications.

Safety chains

Always use a suitable chain between your vehicle and the trailer. The safety chains should be crossed and should be attached to the hitch, not to the vehicle bumper or axle. The safety chains can be attached to the bumper if the hitch ball is mounted to the bumper. Be sure to leave enough slack in the chains to permit turning corners.

Trailer lights

CAUTION

When splicing into the vehicle electrical system, a commercially available power-type module/converter must be used to provide power for all trailer lighting. This unit uses the vehicle battery as a direct power source for all trailer lights while using the vehicle tail light, stoplight and turn signal circuits as a signal source. The module/converter must draw no more than 15 milliamps from the stop and tail lamp circuits. Using a module/converter that exceeds these power requirements may damage the vehicle’s electrical system.

See a reputable trailer dealer to obtain the proper equipment and to have it installed.

Trailer lights should comply with federal and/or local regulations. For assistance in hooking up trailer lights, contact a NISSAN dealer or reputable trailer dealer.

Trailer brakes

If your trailer is equipped with a braking system, make sure it conforms to federal and/or local regulations and that it is properly installed.

WARNING

Never connect a trailer brake system directly to the vehicle brake system.

Pre-towing tips

Be certain your vehicle maintains a level position when a loaded or unloaded trailer is hitched. Do not drive the vehicle if it has an abnormal nose-up or nose-down condition; check for improper tongue load, overload, worn suspension or other possible causes of either condition.
Always secure items in the trailer to prevent load shift while driving.
  Keep the cargo load as low as possible in the trailer to keep the trailer center of gravity low.
Load the trailer so approximately 60% of the trailer load is in the front half and 40% is in the back half. Also make sure the load is balanced side to side.
Check your hitch, trailer tire pressure, vehicle tire pressure, trailer light operation, and trailer wheel lug nuts every time you attach a trailer to the vehicle.
Be certain your rearview mirrors conform to all federal, state or local regulations. If not, install any mirrors required for towing before driving the vehicle.
Determine the overall height of the vehicle and trailer so the required clearance is known.

Trailer towing tips

In order to gain skill and an understanding of the vehicle’s behavior, you should practice turning, stopping and backing up in an area which is free from traffic. Steering stability, and braking performance will be somewhat different than under normal driving conditions.

Always secure items in the trailer to prevent load shift while driving.
Lock the trailer hitch coupler with a pin or lock to prevent the coupler from inadvertently becoming unlatched.
Avoid abrupt starts, acceleration or stops.
Avoid sharp turns or lane changes.
Do not use the Blind Spot Warning (BSW) system (if so equipped).
Do not use the Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system (if so equipped).
Always drive your vehicle at a moderate speed. Some states or provinces have specific speed limits for vehicles that are towing trailers. Obey the local speed limits.
When backing up, hold the bottom of the steering wheel with one hand. Move your hand in the direction in which you want the trailer to go. Make small corrections and back up slowly. If possible, have someone guide you when you are backing up.

Always block the wheels on both vehicle and trailer when parking. Parking on a slope is not recommended; however, if you must do so:

CAUTION

If you move the shift lever to the P (Park) position before blocking the wheels and applying the parking brake, transmission damage could occur.

1. Apply and hold the brake pedal.
2. Have someone place blocks on the downhill side of the vehicle and trailer wheels.
3. After the wheel blocks are in place, slowly release the brake pedal until the blocks absorb the vehicle load.
4. Apply the parking brake.
5. Shift the transmission into P (Park).
6. Turn off the engine.
To drive away:

1. Apply and hold the brake pedal.
2. Start the engine.
3. Shift the transmission into gear.
4. Release the parking brake.
5. Drive slowly until the vehicle and trailer are clear from the blocks.
6. Apply and hold the brake pedal.
7. Have someone retrieve and store the blocks.

When going down a hill, shift into a lower gear and use the engine braking effect.

When going up a long grade, downshift the transmission to a lower gear and reduce speed to reduce chances of engine overloading and/or overheating.
  If the engine coolant rises to an extremely high temperature when the air conditioning system is on, turn off the air conditioner. Coolant heat can be additionally vented by opening the windows, switching the fan control to high and setting the temperature control to the HOT position.
Trailer towing requires more fuel than normal circumstances.
Avoid towing a trailer for the first 500 miles (800 km).
Have your vehicle serviced more often than at intervals specified in the recommended maintenance schedule in the NISSAN Service and Maintenance Guide.
When making a turn, your trailer wheels will be closer to the inside of the turn than your vehicle wheels. To compensate for this, make a larger than normal turning radius during the turn.
Crosswinds and rough roads will adversely affect vehicle/trailer handling, possibly causing vehicle sway. When being passed by larger vehicles, be prepared for possible changes in crosswinds that could affect vehicle handling. If swaying does occur, firmly grip the steering wheel, steer straight ahead, and immediately (but gradually) reduce vehicle speed. This combination will help stabilize the vehicle. Never increase speed.

Do the following if the trailer begins to sway:

1. Take your foot off the accelerator pedal to allow the vehicle to coast and steer as straight ahead as the road conditions allow.

This combination will help stabilize the vehicle.

Do not correct trailer sway by steering or applying the brakes.

2. When the trailer sway stops, gently apply the brakes and pull to the side of the road in a safe area.
3. Try to rearrange the trailer load so it is balanced as described earlier in this section.

Be careful when passing other vehicles. Passing while towing a trailer requires considerably more distance than normal passing. Remember the length of the trailer must also pass the other vehicle before you can safely change lanes.
Down shift the transmission to a lower gear for engine braking when driving down steep or long hills. This will help slow the vehicle without applying the brakes.
Avoid holding the brake pedal down too long or too frequently. This could cause the brakes to overheat, resulting in reduced braking efficiency.
  Increase your following distance to allow for greater stopping distances while towing a trailer. Anticipate stops and brake gradually.

Do not use cruise control while towing a trailer.
Some states or provinces have specific regulations and speed limits for vehicles that are towing trailers. Obey the local speed limits.
Check your hitch, trailer wiring harness connections, and trailer wheel lug nuts after 50 miles (80 km) of travel and at every break.
When stopped in traffic for long periods of time in hot weather, put the vehicle in the P (Park) position.
When launching a boat, don’t allow the water level to go over the exhaust tail pipe or rear bumper.
Make sure you disconnect the trailer lights before backing the trailer into the water or the trailer lights may burn out.

When towing a trailer, the transmission fluid should be changed more frequently.

For additional information, see the “8.

Maintenance and do-it-yourself” section earlier in this manual.

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