2011 NISSAN Towing Guide 8 will allow the chains/cables to drag on the ground.
Do not use S-hooks for attaching, as they may become un-hooked and are illegal in many
states. To avoid damage to the bumper and chains/cables when making a sharp turn, do not
attach the chains/cables too close to the coupler. Consult your trailer manufacturer for the
proper location of the chain/cable attachment to the trailer.
REAR VIEW MIRRORS
In many cases, a trailer can block your rear vision when you are using only the standard
NISSAN rear view mirrors. These mirrors were not designed for towing. “Extended” mirrors
specifically designed for trailer towing should be used when your rearward vision is
obstructed. Before using these mirrors, make certain that they comply with state and local
regulations. Telescoping Tow Mirrors are available as an accessory for certain Nissan vehicles.
Contact your NISSAN dealer for details.
On a trailer with electric brakes, a breakaway switch can automatically activate the trailer
brake system if the trailer becomes separated from the tow vehicle. Should the trailer become
detached, a breakaway switch may help prevent the trailer from wandering into another lane.
A breakaway switch relies on the power of a trailer battery, so make sure it is not
discharged. Never use the breakaway switch to “park” the trailer on a grade. The battery
would eventually discharge and release the brake, allowing the trailer to roll. Be sure to leave
enough slack in the tether on the breakaway switch to turn corners without binding. If you do
not, the electric trailer brakes will lock-up and not release. See your trailer manufacturer for
proper installation of a breakaway switch that is compatible with your trailer braking system.
Trailer lights should comply with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations, and should
be in proper working order at all times. A trailer’s taillights, stoplights, and turn signal lights
must be wired into the tow vehicle’s electrical system.*
Most trailers operate on a four-wire system in which the stoplights and turn signal lights
utilize the same wire. Most all NISSAN vehicles have separate wires for the stoplights and turn
signal lights, therefore a device called a “converter” is needed.** Specifically, a “powered
* Vehicles equipped with LED taillights require that wiring be connected at a specific location. For
assistance in hooking up trailer lights, contact your NISSAN dealer or a professional supplier of
** Armada, Frontier, Pathfinder, and Titan vehicles are pre-wired for trailer lighting and do not require a
2011 NISSAN Towing Guide 22
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 it should accidentally become 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.
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.