tire pressure NISSAN VERSA 2008 1.G Towing Guide
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 14 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.
See the SPECIFICATIONS section of this guide or 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 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 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.
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.
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 15 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
vehicle 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
As mentioned earlier, conventional trailer tongue load must fall between 10-15% of the
total trailer weight. King pin load — if using a 5th wheel or gooseneck trailer — must be
between 15-25% of the total trailer weight.
Excessive tongue/king pin load can actually
push down the vehicle 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
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
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 16 the handling of your vehicle and cause a very unsafe situation.
Finally, do not carry flammable materials, such as gasoline, in your trailer. In the event of an
accident, an explosion or fire could occur.
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 and 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 is
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 emergency situations.
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
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 17 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 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
If you’ve 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 stability of your tow
vehicle. Plan ahead and make lane changes and turns smoothly.
If possible, before you actually hit the open road, practice towing in a large uncrowded area
such as a stadium or shopping center parking lot. Become especially familiar with backing up
a trailer — the maneuver many people find most difficult.