Towing safety

Trailer hitch

Your vehicle may be equipped with an optional trailer tow package. The trailer tow package includes a receiver-type frame mounted hitch. This hitch is rated for the maximum towing capacity of this vehicle when the proper towing equipment is used. Choose a proper ball mount and hitch ball that is rated for the trailer to be towed. Genuine NISSAN ball mounts and hitch balls are available from your NISSAN dealer.

If your vehicle is not equipped with the optional trailer tow package, check the towing capacity of your bumper hitch or receiver-type frame mounted hitch. Choose a proper hitch for your vehicle and trailer. A genuine NISSAN trailer hitch is available from your 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 the 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.

Ball mount

The hitch ball is attached to the ball mount and the ball mount is inserted into the hitch receiver.

Choose a proper class ball mount based on the trailer weight. Additionally, the ball mount should be chosen to keep the trailer tongue level with the ground.

Weight carrying hitches

A weight carrying or “dead weight” ball mount is one that is designed to carry the whole amount of tongue weight and gross weight directly on the ball mount and on the receiver.

Weight distribution hitch

This type of hitch is also called a “load-leveling” or “equalizing” hitch. A set of bars attach to the ball mount and to the trailer to distribute the tongue weight (hitch weight) of your trailer. Many vehicles can’t carry the full tongue weight of a given trailer, and need some of the tongue weight transferred through the frame and pushing down on the front wheels. This gives stability to the tow vehicle.

A weight-distributing hitch system (Class IV) is recommended if you plan to tow trailers with a maximum weight over 5,000 lbs (2,268 kg) .

Check with the trailer and towing equipment manufacturers to determine if they recommend the use of a weight-distributing hitch system.

NOTE:

A weight-distributing hitch system may affect the operation of trailer surge brakes. If you are considering use of a weightdistributing hitch system with a surge brake-equipped trailer, check with the surge brake, hitch or trailer manufacturer to determine if and how this can be done.

Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for installing and using the weightdistributing hitch system.

General set-up instructions are as follows:

1. Park unloaded vehicle on a level surface.

With the ignition on and the doors closed, allow the vehicle to stand for several minutes so that it can level.
2. Measure the height of a reference point on the front and rear bumpers at the center of the vehicle.
3. Attach the trailer to the vehicle and adjust the hitch equalizers so that the front bumper height is within 0 - .5 inches (0 – 13 mm) of the reference height measured in step 2. The rear bumper should be no higher than the reference height measured in step 2.

WARNING

Properly adjust the weight distributing hitch so the rear of the bumper is no higher than the measured reference height when the trailer is attached. If the rear bumper is higher than the measured reference height when loaded, the vehicle may handle unpredictably which could cause a loss of vehicle control and cause serious personal injury or property damage.

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 (1,587 kg).

Class III hitch

Class III trailer hitch equipment (receiver, ball mount and hitch ball) can be used to tow trailers of a maximum weight of 5,000 lb (2,268 kg).

Tire pressures

● When towing a trailer, inflate the vehicle tires to the recommended cold tire pressure indicated on the tire placard.
● Trailer tire condition, size, load rating and proper inflation pressure should be in accordance with the trailer and tire manufacturer’s specifications.

Safety chains

Always use suitable safety chains 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 powertype 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 that 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 retailer 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 retailer. Vehicles equipped with the optional trailer tow package are equipped with a 7-pin trailer harness connector. If your trailer is equipped with a flat 4-pin connector, an adapter will be needed to connect the trailer lights to the vehicle. Adapters are available at auto parts stores and hitch retailers.

Trailer brakes

When towing a trailer load of 3,500 lbs.

(1,587 kg) or more, trailers with a brake system MUST be used. However, most states require a separate braking system on trailers with a loaded weight above a specific amount. Make sure the trailer meets the local regulations and the regulations where you plan to tow.

Several types of braking systems are available.

Surge Brakes -The surge brake actuator is mounted on the trailer tongue with a hydraulic line running to each trailer wheel. Surge brakes are activated by the trailer pushing against the hitch ball when the tow vehicle is braking. Hydraulic surge brakes are common on rental trailers and some boat trailers. In this type of system, there is no hydraulic or electric connection for brake operation between the tow vehicle and the trailer.

Electric Trailer Brakes -Electric braking systems are activated by an electronic signal sent from a trailer brake controller (special brakesensing module). If electric trailer brakes are used, see “Electric trailer brake controller” in this section.

Have a professional supplier of towing equipment make sure the trailer brakes are properly installed and demonstrate proper brake function testing.

WARNING

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

example

example

Electric trailer brake controller

Trailers equipped with electric brakes may require the installation of an aftermarket trailer brake controller.

Your vehicle is equipped with a connector and jumper harness that is specifically designed to be used when installing an aftermarket brake controller.

To install the electric trailer brake controller jumper harness, perform the following procedure:

1. Open the driver door. Move the seat to the rearmost position.

2. Locate the jumper harness connector under

2. Locate the jumper harness connector under the lower portion of the instrument panel.

The connector is taped to the wiring harness 1 as indicated.

● The connector is marked with a white tag with “elec brake conn”.

Wire color designation for electric trailer brake controller jumper harness.

3. Peel off the tape and connect the jumper

3. Peel off the tape and connect the jumper harness to the connector .
4. Release the parking brake.
5. Install the aftermarket electric trailer brake controller according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Pre-towing tips

● Be certain your vehicle maintains a level position when a loaded and/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.
● Always drive your vehicle at a moderate speed.
● 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 selector 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. Start the vehicle.
2. Apply and hold the brake pedal.
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.

● While going downhill, the weight of the trailer pushing on the tow vehicle may decrease overall stability. Therefore, to maintain adequate control, reduce your speed and shift to a lower gear. Avoid long or repeated use of the brakes when descending a hill, as this reduces their effectiveness and could cause overheating. Shifting to a lower gear instead provides “engine braking” and reduces the need to brake as frequently.
● If the engine coolant temperature rises to a high temperature, refer to “If your vehicle overheats” in the “In case of emergency” section of this owner’s manual.
● Trailer towing requires more fuel than normal circumstances.
● Avoid towing a trailer for your vehicle’s first 500 miles (805 km).
● For the first 500 miles (805 km) that you do tow, do not drive over 50 MPH (80 km/h).
● 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.

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.
● Use the Tow Mode or downshift 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.
● NISSAN recommends that the cruise control not be used 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 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, final drive gear oil should be replaced and transmission oil/fluid should be changed more frequently.

For additional information, see the “Maintenance and do-it-yourself” section earlier in this manual.

Tow mode

Using tow mode is recommended when pulling a heavy trailer or hauling a heavy load. Press the TOW MODE switch to activate tow mode. The indicator light on the TOW MODE switch illuminates when tow mode is selected. Press the TOW MODE switch again to turn tow mode off.

Tow mode is automatically cancelled when the ignition switch is turned OFF.

Tow mode includes the following features:

● Grade logic — Adjusts transmission shifts when pulling a trailer or hauling a load up a grade.
● Downhill Speed Control (DSC)—automatically downshifts when driving down a grade with a trailer or heavy load to help control vehicle speed.

Driving the vehicle in the tow mode with no trailer/load or light trailer/light load will not cause any damage. However, fuel economy may be reduced and the transmission/engine driving characteristics may feel unusual.

When towing a trailer, final drive gear oil should be replaced and transmission oil/fluid should be changed more frequently.

For additional information, see the “Maintenance and do-it-yourself” section earlier in this manual.

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