tire pressure NISSAN PATHFINDER 2006 R51 / 3.G Towing Guide
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2006 Nissan Towing Guide 2
The first thing to keep in mind when renting a trailer is to rent only from professional
companies that specialize in towing and towing equipment. More than likely, these
representatives will have some experience in selecting and fitting the towing equipment
that is appropriate for your Nissan vehicle.
When renting, make sure you have your owner’s manual on hand so that you can check
the towing capacities for your specific vehicle. Never rent a trailer that exceeds these
capacities, and make sure that any other equipment you rent is sufficient for your loaded
While you’re there, ask questions: How much does the trailer weigh? What is the trailer
tongue load? How much weight will the trailer hold? What type of brakes is it equipped
with? All of these items have an effect on whether your Nissan vehicle is capable of safely
pulling that trailer or piece of equipment.
Make certain that all trailer stoplights, taillights, and turn signals are hooked up and
operate correctly, and that all safety equipment is properly installed. Check the safety
chains/cables, tie-downs, etc.
Carefully inspect the condition of the trailer and equipment. Are the tires worn
excessively? Are the tire pressures correct? Are there broken welds, missing bolts or
pieces? All these factors can also affect your safety.
Towing safety should be a high priority when choosing and renting equipment, and this
is especially true concerning hitches. Never rent a clamp-on-type hitch. Since Nissan
bumpers not specifically marked for towing are not designed for trailer loads, using this
type of hitch may cause damage to your vehicle and could result in trailer separation during
towing. Tow only with a permanent-type hitch.
Purchase towing items such as hitches and hitch balls only from your Nissan dealer or a
professional supplier of towing equipment.
If you are intending to use your vehicle to tow a trailer you already own, first determine
the trailer’s weight when fully loaded. This will tell you if, in fact, your vehicle is capable of
pulling this amount of weight. In addition, it will also help you purchase the right type, style,
and class* of hitch and other equipment.
*See the SPECIFICATIONS section of this guide for equipment class information specific to your
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2006 Nissan Towing Guide 14 TIRE PRESSURE
When towing a trailer, increase tow vehicle tire pressures to the recommended cold
specifications. You’ll find these figures in the owner’s manual and on the tire pressure chart
located in the vehicle. Trailer tire condition, size, load rating, and inflation pressure should
be in accordance with the trailer and tire manufacturer’s specifications.
Towing can dramatically alter the handling and performance characteristics of your vehicle.
Plus, it puts increased strain on the engine and drivetrain. Therefore, it is always a good
idea to approach towing from the standpoint of safety — whether you’re purchasing
equipment or actually pulling the trailer.
Always make sure your vehicle’s towing capacity is adequate for the trailer you intend to
tow. Buy or lease only quality equipment, and have it installed only by professionals.
In addition, be certain that you have all of the equipment needed for safe towing,
including safety chains/cables, electric trailer brakes, electric trailer brake controller,
breakaway switch, extended rear view mirrors, and so on. All of these items have been
discussed in a previous section of this guide.
With regard to vehicle maintenance, you should follow a more frequent schedule, and
check fluid levels, pressures, tire condition, etc., more often when on the road. See your
owner’s manual for details.
LOADING YOUR TRAILER
Taking the time to load and balance your trailer properly will improve overall handling and
minimize the strain on your tow vehicle. Incorrectly loaded trailers tend to sway or swing
from side to side, upsetting vehicle handling. Careful loading and balancing can help
eliminate these problems.
As mentioned earlier, conventional trailer tongue load should fall between 10-15% of
the total trailer weight, and king pin load — if using a 5th wheel or gooseneck trailer —
should be between 15-25% of the total trailer weight. Excessive tongue/king pin load can
actually push the vehicle down in back, lifting the front wheels to a point where traction,
steering response, and braking are severely reduced. Insufficient tongue/king pin load can
cause instability, which may lead to “tail wagging” or jackknifing.
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2006 Nissan Towing Guide 15 With this in mind, proper loading is
extremely important. When loading a trailer,
60% of the total cargo weight should be
positioned in the front portion of the trailer
and 40% in the back. Then, the load should
be adjusted until the proper tongue/king pin
load ratio is achieved.
The trailer load should be balanced
equally from side-to-side. Unequal side-to-
side loading can negatively affect handling
and braking. Once in place, all cargo should
be firmly secured to prevent shifting. If the
load should shift abruptly during braking or
cornering, it could quickly affect the
handling of your vehicle and cause a very
Finally, do not carry flammable materials,
such as gasoline, in your trailer. In the event
of an accident, an explosion or fire could
ENSURING VEHICLE/TRAILER STABILITY
Improper loading, excessive or insufficient trailer tongue/king pin load, overloading,
excessive trailer weight, poorly designed trailer suspensions, crosswinds, and poor
maintenance are all things that can affect the stability of your vehicle/trailer combination.
If swaying does occur, check the cargo load for proper balance and distribution to
ensure proper trailer tongue/king pin load. In addition, check the condition of the
suspension and shocks, as well as the tires, tire pressures, and wheel bearings on both the
tow vehicle and the trailer. If swaying occurs because of high winds or poor weather
conditions, wait until these conditions improve before resuming your trip.
If the swaying continues and you feel your trailer is suitably balanced and within the
towing capacity limits of your vehicle, discontinue towing and consult your Nissan dealer or
trailer manufacturer to determine the problem. Most important, do not tow until the problem
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2006 Nissan Towing Guide 16 VEHICLE SPEED
Some states have specific regulations and speed limits for vehicles that are towing trailers.
Always obey these ordinances. Remember to reduce your speed in unsafe or less-than-
ideal road conditions or weather. When towing a trailer, braking distances increase while
handling agility decreases. Always leave yourself an extra margin of distance to respond to
Never allow passengers to ride inside a trailer while it is being towed. Not only is this
unlawful in most areas, passengers could be seriously injured during sudden trailer
movement or in an accident. In addition, trailers may allow fumes from the tow vehicle to
leak inside. This could result in carbon monoxide poisoning from the engine exhaust.
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 as well.
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 don’t 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 home.