2009 Nissan Towing Guide 9 lights, therefore a device called a “converter” is needed.* Specifically, a “powered converter”
must be used, as a converter of this type creates only minimal additional electrical demand
(draw) on the vehicle lighting circuits, which helps to ensure protection for the vehicle’s
Always check for correct operation of the taillights, stoplights, and turn signal lights every
time you connect a trailer for towing. Never replace vehicle fuses with fuses of a higher
amperage rating than the original.
NOTE – Improper or poor quality trailer harness wiring may affect your vehicle’s electrical
system. Use only a Nissan approved wiring harness, or consult your dealer or a professional
supplier of towing equipment for compatible equipment.
As with hitches, several types of braking systems are available. Most states require a separate
braking system on trailers with a loaded weight above a specific amount, therefore you should
check to ensure you comply with all regulations. Have a professional supplier of towing
equipment demonstrate proper brake function testing.
NOTE – Never connect a hydraulic trailer brake system directly to the vehicle hydraulic
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 brake-sensing module). If electric trailer brakes are
used, Nissan recommends all-electronic actuation because with this system it will not be
necessary to tap into the tow vehicle’s hydraulic system.
For your convenience, Armada, Frontier, Pathfinder, and Titan vehicles are pre-wired to
accommodate most popular electric trailer brake controllers. A wiring harness** is either
included with your vehicle or available from your Nissan dealer. This harness provides electric
trailer brake controller input and output connections to the vehicle wiring. See a professional
supplier of towing equipment for electric trailer brake controller availability.
*Armada, Frontier, Pathfinder, and Titan vehicles are pre-wired for trailer lighting and do not require a
See the SPECIFICATIONS section of this guide for wiring harness information specific to your
2009 Nissan Towing Guide 17 VEHICLE MODIFICATIONS
Vehicle modifications — beyond those required for proper hitch installation, wiring hook-up,
and necessary cooling system upgrading — are not recommended for any Nissan vehicle
being used for towing purposes. Changes to the drivetrain, suspension, exhaust systems,
frame structure/unibody, or other vehicle components are not necessary for towing within the
limits described in this guide. These changes may diminish the reliability and longevity of your
vehicle and possibly void warranty coverage.
It is always a good idea to travel with a special tool kit when towing. In addition to tools, it
should contain flares, a flashlight, emergency reflectors, jumper cables, extra fuses, extra
radiator coolant, oil, and easily replaced spare parts such as taillight bulbs. You should also
carry spare tires for your tow vehicle and trailer, as well as a jack suitable for use on the trailer.
Be aware that not all automotive jacks can be used safely on a trailer.
BEFORE STARTING OUT
Before starting out on a trip, make one last inspection of the tow vehicle and the trailer. Are
the tire pressures correct? Are the safety chains/cables securely in place? Is the cargo tied
down securely? Do all the lights work? Is the coupler properly attached over the hitch ball and
secured using a locking pin? Is the breakaway switch hooked up and functioning properly?
Are vehicle and electric trailer brakes working properly?
Make a checklist of key items to be inspected, and do not forget the basics. When towing,
vehicle engine oil, transmission oil, and coolant should always be checked before starting out.
Finding a potential problem while in your driveway is better than discovering it miles from
If you have never towed a trailer before, be aware that it does take getting used to. To begin
with, towing noticeably affects your vehicle’s performance:
Š It will not accelerate as quickly — an important point to keep in mind when merging onto a
Š It will not stop as quickly. Leave more room than usual between you and the traffic ahead,
and brake sooner when coming to a stop.