NISSAN ALTIMA 2017 L33 / 5.G Towing Guide
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TOW MODE (IF EQUIPPED)
Tow Mode is recommended when towing a heavy trailer or hauling a heavy load, in stop-and-
go traffic, rolling terrain, or a busy parking lot. Driving the vehicle in Tow Mode may affect fuel
economy and transmission/engine driving characteristics. See your vehicle owner’s manual for
additional information about Tow Mode.
HILLS – UPGRADES
As the incline increases, if your vehicle is equipped with an automatic transmission — it is
designed to select automatically the correct gear for the best towing comfort and
performance. To maintain speed or avoid up and down shifts, manually shift to a lower gear as
The added weight of a trailer places an increased load on the engine and cooling system, so
monitor your coolant temperature gauge and automatic transmission fluid temperature gauge
(if equipped) carefully. At the first sign of overheating, pull to the side of the road. See IF
YOUR ENGINE OVERHEATS later in this section for more information.
HILLS – DOWNGRADES
WARNING - While going downhill, the weight of the trailer pushing on the tow vehicle
may decrease overall stability, and may deteriorate overall handling characteristics, which
could result in an accident, property damage, serious injury or death. Therefore, to maintain
adequate control, reduce your speed and shift to a lower gear. If your vehicle is equipped with
Tow Mode, see your vehicle owner’s manual for information about the use of this function.
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.
AUTOMATIC CRUISE CONTROL
WARNING – In order to maintain a safe distance to the vehicle ahead to avoid the
possibility of accidents, property damage, serious injury or death, never use the Intelligent
Cruise control (ICC) system while towing a trailer or other vehicle. If the ICC sensor cannot
detect the reflector on the vehicle ahead, the system may not function properly.
IF YOUR ENGINE OVERHEATS
“A moderate increase in engine operating temperature is normal when towing a trailer.” If,
however, the coolant temperature gauge reading is abnormally high, if you are experiencing a
significant loss of power, or if you hear unusual engine noises,* the engine may be overheating
and you should immediately take the following steps:
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2017 NISSAN Towing Guide 21
1. Carefully pull your vehicle safely over to the side of the road, out of traffic. Apply the
parking brake and move the gearshift lever to NEUTRAL (manual) or PARK (automatic).
DO NOT STOP THE ENGINE.
2. Turn off the air conditioning and, after opening all the windows, turn the heater on to
maximum hot and the fan to its highest speed, and exit the vehicle. The heater core in your
vehicle is just like a miniature engine radiator and will provide an extra cooling surface to
help reduce engine temperature.
3. If the temperature does not drop or continues to increase, stop the engine immediately.
4. Being cautious of traffic, step out of the vehicle and, from a safe distance, look for steam
underneath the engine. If you see steam or leaking coolant, stand clear to avoid being
burned and shut off your engine immediately and allow it to cool. If there is no steam, open
WARNING - To avoid the danger of being scalded, do not open the hood if steam is
coming out. Never remove the radiator cap when the radiator is hot. If the cap is removed
under these conditions, pressurized hot water/coolant may spurt out, possibly causing
5. As soon as the engine has cooled (well below normal operating temperature), visually
inspect the drive belts for damage or looseness. A loose belt reduces water pump
WARNING - Be careful to keep your hands, hair, jewelry, and clothing clear of the
running drive belt and other moving parts when inspecting the engine and radiator to avoid
being burned and to avoid personal injury, or death. Keep in mind, too, that if your vehicle is
equipped with an electric fan motor, it may start without warning any time the coolant
temperature is high. Also, check to see if the cooling fan is running, and inspect the water
pump, radiator, and radiator hoses for leaks.
If you find leaking coolant, a loose or missing drive belt, or an inoperable fan, turn off the
6. If no leaks are apparent and all other components appear to be operating properly, when
the engine has cooled to its normal operating temperature; check the coolant level in the
reservoir tank with the engine running. Add coolant to the reservoir tank in accordance to
owner’s manual, if needed. At this point, if repairs are needed, go to the nearest NISSAN
dealer. See the IN CASE OF EMERGENCY section of your vehicle owner’s manual for
additional information on overheating.
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NOTES – All NISSAN vehicles have an engine protection mode, which helps reduce the
chance of engine damage if the engine coolant reaches a specified temperature. See your
vehicle owner’s manual for details.
1 Maximum Trailer Weight values are calculated assuming a base vehicle with driver and any
options to achieve the rating. Additional passengers, cargo and/or additional optional
equipment will add weight to the vehicle and reduce your vehicle’s maximum towing
capacity and trailer tongue load.
2 Use of a weight-distributing hitch system is required when towing over 5,000 lbs.
3 The Maximum Trailer Weight and Gross Combined Weight ratings for 5th wheel and
gooseneck trailer towing are the same as specified for conventional trailer towing.
4 Most states require a separate braking system on trailers with a loaded weight above a
specific amount. Check local regulations where you plan to tow. A 4 or 7-pin type
connector trailer wire harnesses may be required for use with trailer brakes (available
Other Recommendations and Information – Towing performance and speed are affected by
vehicle payload, tow weight, road grades, and weather conditions, including high
temperatures. See your vehicle owner’s manual for details.
HITCH Located just forward of the rear axle centerline, this hitch uses a king pin to
serve as the pivot point for the trailer.
BALL MOUNT A bar that holds the hitch ball and is inserted into the hitch receiver. Also
commonly called a drawbar.
BREAKAWAY SWITCH A safety device using a trailer battery that automatically applies the trailer’s
brakes if the trailer accidentally becomes separated from the tow vehicle.
A breakaway switch may be used with both electric or surge trailer brake
BUMPER HITCH A reinforced bumper designed to accommodate a hitch ball.
BRAKES When the brakes on a tow vehicle are applied, an electric current is sent to
an actuator, which applies the trailer’s brakes.
BRAKE CONTROLLER A device that controls the electric trailer brakes.
GOOSENECK HITCH Located just forward of the rear axle centerline, this hitch uses a ball to serve
as the pivot point for the trailer.
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WEIGHT RATING (GAWR) The maximum amount of weight each vehicle axle (front and rear) is
designed to safely carry.
WEIGHT RATING (GCWR) The maximum allowable combined weight of the vehicle and trailer,
including passengers and all cargo.
WEIGHT RATING (GVWR) The maximum allowable weight of the vehicle, including passengers, cargo,
fuel, hitch, trailer tongue load, and any optional equipment.
LOAD The amount of trailer (5th wheel or gooseneck) weight pressing down on the
tow vehicle hitch.
A ball that connects the trailer to the tow vehicle hitch that provides the
means by which the trailer pivots during cornering. Available in a number
of sizes and weight capacities, it must correspond to the trailer coupler
size, and have a sufficient capacity rating for the trailer being pulled.
RECEIVER HITCH A frame- or structure-mounted hitch with a receiver that allows removal of
the ball mount.
SAFETY CHAINS/CABLES Provides an emergency connection between the tow vehicle and the trailer,
should the trailer become disengaged for any reason.
Hydraulic-type braking system activated by inertia. As the tow vehicle
begins to brake, the trailer pushes against the hitch ball, consequently
activating the trailer brakes.
TRAILER LIGHT CHECK The system allows you to visually check the trailer brake lights as you cycle
through them, controlled by the Intelligent Key.
TRAILER TONGUE/COUPLER The part of the trailer that extends forward to meet the tow vehicle, and
carries the coupler assembly.
The amount of trailer (conventional) weight pressing down on the tow
HITCH SYSTEM Type of hitch system that helps shift the trailer tongue weight to all trailer
tires and the tow vehicle front tires. Strongly recommended when towing
trailers with a Maximum Trailer Weight greater than 5,000 lbs.
WIRING HARNESS Provides an electrical connection linking the tow vehicle’s electrical system
to the trailer’s system.
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At NISSAN, we back everything we build. Therefore, we are proud that every NISSAN is
protected by some of the best New Vehicle Limited Warranties, including a 36
month/36,000-mile basic coverage. 2017 models also feature 60 month/60,000-mile Limited
Powertrain Warranty, (with the exception of 2017 Nissan U.S. TITAN and NISSAN NV which
has a 60 month/100,000-mile Basic New Vehicle Limited*, and a 60 month/100,000-mile
Powertrain Warranty coverage*). NISSAN warranties are completely transferable if you should
sell your NISSAN.
If you want additional peace of mind, we proudly offer the NISSAN Security+Plus
Protection Plan. This plan offers quality mechanical protection long after your New Vehicle
Limited Warranty expires. The Security+Plus Vehicle Protection Plan is backed by NISSAN
and designed exclusively for NISSAN owners. From a variety of plans available, you can
choose the one that best fits your driving needs (up to 7 years/100,000 miles!). For the
maximum coverage, you will want to opt for Security+Plus Gold
Whichever plan you choose, coverage is available throughout the United States. Repair work
will be done at authorized NISSAN dealers by NISSAN-trained technicians utilizing Genuine
NISSAN Parts. For more information about Security+Plus Vehicle Protection Plans, contact
your participating NISSAN dealer.
The quality of Genuine NISSAN Parts and Accessories is backed by the integrity of a
Genuine NISSAN Replacement Parts and Accessories Limited Warranty. If purchased within
the basic coverage period of 36 month/36,000 miles, Genuine NISSAN Parts and
Accessories are covered by the remaining period of the warranty. If the remaining period is
less than 1 year/12,000 miles (or if the vehicle warranty has expired), then Genuine NISSAN
Accessories are covered by their own 1-year/12,000-mile Limited Warranty. See your
NISSAN Warranty Information Booklet or ask your NISSAN dealer for specific details.
* For complete warranty details, read the 2017 NISSAN Warranty Information Booklet or see your
nearest NISSAN dealer.
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CONCERN FOR YOUR SAFETY
NISSAN urges you to always use your seat belt whenever you drive. Also, please make sure
all passengers are buckled up. Keep in mind that air bags are a supplemental restraint system
and must always be used in conjunction with a seat belt.
In addition, a rear-facing child restraint must never be used in the front passenger seat if
the vehicle is equipped with a front passenger air bag. Children 12 and under should ride in
the rear seat properly secured in child restraints, booster seats, or seat belts, according to
their size. See your vehicle owner's manual for more details.
At NISSAN, our commitment to your satisfaction extends well beyond building a full line of
quality products. It begins with people dedicated to designing vehicles to satisfy your needs.
Then, building them to standards that are beyond your expectations. Our nationwide network
of nearly 1,100 dealers will help you select the NISSAN that is right for you.
For further assistance, search our Web site at www.NISSANUSA.com. For NISSAN dealer
locations or for more information on this and other NISSAN products, call 1-800-239-8810.
Or, call 1-800-NISSAN-1 for answers to product-related issues and solutions to your
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All illustrations and specifications in this document are based on the latest
product information available at the time of publication. Please see your Owner’s
Manual for important safety information and system operation limitations. NISSAN
North America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time, without prior
notice, in materials, equipment, specifications, and models, and to discontinue
models or equipment. Features and equipment in your vehicle may vary
depending on model, trim level, options selected, order, date of production,
region or availability. Therefore, you may find information about features or
equipment that are not included or installed on your vehicle. For information on
availability, options or accessories, contact your NISSAN dealer.
NISSAN, the NISSAN Brand Symbol, “Innovation that excites” slogan, and
NISSAN Model Name(s) are NISSAN trademarks.
Publication: November 2016 ©2017 NISSAN North America, Inc.