NISSAN ALTIMA 2013 L33 / 5.G Towing Guide
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NISSAN TOWING GUIDE
Table of Contents
What Is Right for You
Preparing Your Vehicle
The 2013 NISSAN Towing Guide provides information for currently available 2013
NISSAN vehicles. This publication will be amended as new vehicles are introduced.
For important safety warnings, please read and follow your vehicle owner’s manual.
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2013 NISSAN Towing Guide 1
SAFETY IS PRIORITY ONE
Obviously, your first concern should be safety. Your vehicle was designed to be used primarily
to carry passengers and cargo. Always remember that towing a trailer places additional loads
on your vehicle’s engine, drivetrain, suspension, steering, braking, and other systems.
Therefore, be certain that your vehicle can meet the demands of the towing application you
have in mind.
Rent or purchase towing equipment that complies with established industry standards and
state and federal safety regulations. Reinforced tow hitches designed especially for certain
NISSAN vehicles are available from your NISSAN dealer. Hitches for other NISSAN models –
If Nissan recommends towing with that vehicle - should be bought from and installed by a
professional supplier of towing equipment.
Finally, it is important to follow the towing capacity limit set for your specific vehicle, and to
ensure that your vehicle is in top mechanical condition, especially the tires, brakes,
suspension, and engine cooling system. See your vehicle owner’s manual for details.
NEVER EXCEED THE ESTABLISHED TOWING CAPACITY
Towing capacities vary from vehicle to vehicle. See the towing information in your vehicle
owner’s manual to confirm the towing capability of your NISSAN vehicle and it’s towing
capacity. Use this data to help select the proper NISSAN vehicle to meet your anticipated
towing needs, and refer to it when renting a trailer or other piece of towing equipment.
EQUIP YOUR NISSAN FOR TOWING
The frequency and type of towing should influence the manner in which you equip your vehicle.
If you plan to tow often, either for recreation or work, select the engine size, transmission type,
suspension, and towing capacity that are best suited to your requirements. This guide can
help you select that equipment.
If, on the other hand, your towing will be infrequent, choose the NISSAN vehicle and
equipment that best meets your day-to-day needs. Be careful not to exceed the towing
capacity on those few occasions when you do tow.
READ THIS GUIDE BEFORE YOU TOW
This guide was designed to provide an overview of safe towing practices. Here, you will find
information on towing equipment, safety, proper loading and driving techniques, towing tips,
and much more.
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2013 NISSAN Towing Guide 2 It is also a good idea to discuss your towing requirements with either your NISSAN dealer or a
professional supplier of towing equipment before you equip your NISSAN vehicle for towing.
Finally, there are state and local laws on towing that you should review to ensure compliance
with all regulations.
Special Note: Do not use your new vehicle to tow a trailer or haul a heavy load for
the first 500 miles (800 km). Your engine, axle or other parts could be damaged.
For the first 500 miles that you tow a trailer, do not drive over 50 mph and do not
make starts at full throttle. This helps your engine and other parts of your vehicle
wear in at heavier loads.
The first thing to keep in mind when renting a trailer is to rent only from professional
companies that specialize in towing and towing equipment. More than likely, specialized
companies hire professional staff that can assist you in selecting and installing the proper
towing equipment for your NISSAN vehicle.
When renting, make sure you have your vehicle owner’s manual on hand so that you can
reference the towing capacities for your specific vehicle. Never rent a trailer that exceeds
these capacities, and make sure that any related towing equipment you rent will be sufficient
for the loaded trailer.
While you are there, ask questions. How much does the empty trailer weigh? How much
weight will the trailer hold? What is the trailer’s tongue load? With what type of brakes is it
equipped (if any)? All of these factors have an effect on whether your NISSAN vehicle is
capable of safely pulling that type of trailer or piece of equipment.
Make certain that the trailer stoplights, taillights, turn signals, and brakes (if equipped) are
connected and are operating correctly, and that all safety equipment is properly installed.
Check the safety chains/cables, tie-downs, etc.
For safer operation, carefully inspect the condition of the trailer and towing equipment.
Specifically, check to make sure the tires are not worn excessively and are properly inflated.
Make sure there are not any broken welds, missing bolts, and that the hitch components are
Towing safety should be a high priority when choosing and renting towing equipment,
including hitches. NEVER RENT A CLAMP-ON-TYPE HITCH. Your vehicle’s bumpers are
not designed for using this type of hitch. Using it will damage your vehicle and could even
result in the trailer separating from the towing vehicle; this can cause death or serious injury.
To avoid this, use only a permanent-type hitch.
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2013 NISSAN Towing Guide 3 PURCHASING
If you are buying a travel or boat trailer, be sure that your NISSAN vehicle has the towing
capacity to pull it. Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for detailed information regarding the
towing capacity of your specific vehicle. Your vehicle owner’s manual should ALWAYS be
referenced before making any towing decisions.
Naturally, you will want to select the towing and safety equipment that adheres to your
state’s and federal safety regulations. And if you plan to tow often, consider convenience.
Quick-disconnect trailer light connectors and ratchet-type tie-downs, for example, make the
job go faster and easier and are usually worth the extra small investment. Purchase towing
items such as hitches and hitch balls only from your NISSAN dealer or a professional supplier
of towing equipment.
If you are intending to use your vehicle to tow a trailer you already own, you must ensure
that your loaded trailer remains well within your vehicle's towing capacity as specified in the
vehicle owner's manual. In addition, you should purchase the right type, style, and class* of
hitch and towing equipment to properly adapt the trailer to your vehicle.
RIGHT FOR YOU
TYPES OF EQUIPMENT
Towing requires a variety of equipment, and, depending upon the application, there can be
several types or styles of each piece of equipment. Working with your NISSAN dealer or a
professional supplier of towing equipment, it should be relatively simple to determine the
proper type of equipment for your specific vehicle given the intended application. This section
explains the most common pieces of towing equipment available.
Whichever type of hitch you use, it should be firmly bolted to your vehicle, and should be of
the appropriate weight class for the equipment you intend to tow. In addition, keep the
following in mind:
Š Do not modify the vehicle’s brake or exhaust systems or its body structure/frame when
installing the hitch.
* Refer to your owner’s manual for the equipment class information specific to your vehicle.
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