engine coolant NISSAN CUBE 2011 3.G Towing Guide
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2011 NISSAN Towing Guide 17 VEHICLE MODIFICATIONS
Vehicle modifications — beyond those required for proper hitch installation, wiring hook-up, or
adding extended mirrors — 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.
When towing, bring tools including, 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. 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 home.
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.
Š Abrupt maneuvering can unbalance the load and reduce the handling and stability of your
tow vehicle. Plan ahead and make lane changes and turns smoothly.
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2011 NISSAN Towing Guide 19 the trailer to the right, move the wheel to the right. All movements of the wheel should be done
in small increments. Of course, backing up should be done only at very slow speeds. For large
trailers that obstruct your rearward vision, have someone outside the vehicle act as a “spotter”
to guide you along.
A tow vehicle and trailer can be an unwieldy combination in a small area, so always try to park
where you will have a relatively easy time maneuvering. Once parked, always block the wheels
on both the tow vehicle and the trailer.
Parking on a slope is not recommended. If, however, you must park on a slope and your
vehicle is equipped with an automatic transmission, there are some precautions you should
Š Have someone block the wheels once the tow vehicle and trailer are in position and being
held by the vehicle’s brake.
Š Next, apply the parking brake and only then move the gear lever into PARK. If you move the
lever into PARK before blocking the wheels and applying the parking brake, it may be
difficult later to shift out of PARK. Transmission damage may also occur.
An engine will lose about 4% of its performance for every 1,000 feet above sea level that you
travel. If you will be towing in high altitudes, it is a good idea to allow more time than usual due
to the engine’s reduced performance.
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. 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, your vehicle — if equipped with an automatic transmission — is
designed to automatically select 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
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2011 NISSAN Towing Guide 20 (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
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. 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
Do not use cruise control while towing a trailer.
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, or 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:
1. 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
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. The heater core in your vehicle is just like a
miniature engine radiator and will provide an extra cooling surface to help reduce engine
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
* See your vehicle owner’s manual for additional indications that your vehicle may be overheating.
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2011 NISSAN Towing Guide 21 the hood. Never remove the radiator cap when the radiator is hot. If the cap is removed
under these conditions, hot water/coolant under high pressure may spurt out, possibly
causing serious injury.
5. As soon as the engine has cooled to its normal operating temperature, visually inspect the
drive belts for damage or looseness. A loose belt reduces water pump efficiency. 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. Also check to see if the
cooling fan is running, and inspect the water pump, radiator, and radiator hoses for leaks.
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. If you find leaking coolant, a
loose or missing drive belt, or an inoperable fan, turn off the engine immediately.
6. If no leaks are apparent and all other components appear to be operating properly with
the engine cooled to its normal operating temperature, check the coolant level in the
reservoir tank with the engine running. Add coolant to the reservoir tank if needed. At this
point, if repairs are required, go to the nearest NISSAN dealer. See the IN CASE OF
EMERGENCY section of your vehicle owner’s manual for additional information on
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 required to achieve the rating. Additional passengers, cargo and/or 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 recommended 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 ordinances. 7-pin connector trailer wire harnesses are
required for use with trailer brakes (available separately).
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.