2011 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 only the highest-quality towing and safety equipment you can find.
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
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 for the towing capacities of 2011 NISSAN vehicles produced at the time of
Towing Guide publication. 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
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.
2011 NISSAN Towing Guide 14 For example, to determine the proper trailer tongue load for a 1,500-lb. trailer, multiply the
weight of 1,500 lbs. by 10% to arrive at a figure of 150 lbs. 5th wheel and gooseneck trailer
king pin load must be kept between 15-25% of the actual trailer weight, within the limits of
the king pin load allowable.
Some trailer types may require different trailer tongue loads for safe towing. Always follow
the trailer manufacturer’s recommendations for proper trailer set-up and trailer tongue load.
Keep the trailer tongue load within the maximum trailer tongue load allowable. Additionally,
make sure the vehicle has the payload capacity available for the trailer tongue load.
Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual to view the maximum conventional trailer tongue load
listed for your vehicle.
NOTE – The vehicle weight ratings (GVWR, GAWR, GCWR, etc.) must not be
exceeded, regardless of trailer or hitch type.
HITCH & TRAILER HEIGHT
It is important that your trailer floor and tongue ride as level as possible. This will help prevent
over-angling, bottoming-out, and improper tongue load and load transfer. Therefore, the hitch
or trailer tongue must be adjusted during the initial vehicle/trailer fit-up to ensure a level ride.
Ball mounts are available in different configurations to adjust the hitch ball height.
When towing a trailer, increase the tow vehicle tire pressures to the recommended cold
specifications. You will find these figures in the vehicle owner’s manual and on the tire
pressure chart located in the vehicle. Trailer tire condition, size, load rating, and inflation
pressure must be in accordance with the trailer and tire manufacturer’s specifications.
2011 NISSAN Towing Guide 23
A ball that connects the trailer to the tow vehicle hitch and 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 TONGUE/COUPLER The part of the trailer that extends forward to meet the tow vehicle, and also
carries the coupler assembly.
LOAD 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.
Provides an electrical connection linking the tow vehicle’s electrical system
to the trailer’s system.