NISSAN XTERRA 2011 N50 / 2.G Owners Manual
Page 221 of 339
The transfer case 4WD shift switch is used to
select either 2WD or 4WD depending on the
driving conditions. There are three types of drive
modes available, 2WD, 4H and 4LO.
The 4WD shift switch electronically controls the
transfer case operation. Rotate the switch to
move between each mode, 2WD, 4H and 4LO.
To change into or out of 4LO, the vehicle
MUST be stationary, shift the shift selector
to N (Neutral) position, and for automatic
transmission vehicles depress the brake
pedal or for manual transmission vehicles
depress the clutch pedal. The switch must
be depressed and turned when changing
into or out of 4LO.
●When parking, apply the parking brake
before stopping the engine and make
sure that the 4WD shift indicator light is
on and the ATP warning light goes off.
Otherwise, the vehicle could unexpect-
edly move even if the automatic trans-
mission is in the P position. ●
The 4LO indicator light must stop blink-
ing and remain illuminated or turn off
before shifting the transmission into
gear. If the shift selector is shifted from
the (N) position to any other gear when
the 4LO indicator light is blinking, the
vehicle may move unexpectedly.
●Never shift the 4WD shift switch be-
tween 4LO and 4H while driving.
● The 4H position provides greater trac-
tion. Avoid excessive speed, as it will
cause increased fuel consumption and
higher oil temperatures, and could
damage drivetrain components.
Speeds over 62 MPH (100 km/h) in 4H is
● The 4LO position provides maximum
power and traction. Avoid raising ve-
hicle speed excessively, as the maxi-
mum speed is approximately 31 MPH
(50 km/h) .
● When driving straight, shift the 4WD
shift switch to the 2WD or 4H position.
Do not move the 4WD shift switch when
making a turn or reversing. ●
Do not shift the 4WD shift switch (be-
tween 2WD and 4H) while driving on
steep downhill grades. Use the engine
brake and low automatic transmission
gears (D1 or D2) or manual transmis-
sion (1st gear or 2nd gear) for engine
● Do not operate the 4WD shift switch
(between 2WD and 4H) with the rear
● Do not drive on dry hard surface roads
in the 4H or 4LO position. Driving on dry
hard surfaces in 4H or 4LO may cause
unnecessary noise and tire wear.
NISSAN recommends driving in the
2WD position under these conditions.
● The 4WD transfer case may not be
shifted between 4H and 4LO at low am-
bient temperatures and the transfer
4LO position indicator light may blink
even when the 4WD shift switch is
shifted. After driving for a while you can
change the 4WD transfer case between
4H and 4LO.
When driving on rough roads, ● Set the 4WD shift switch to 4H or 4LO.
● Drive carefully according to the road surface
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When the vehicle is stuck,● Set the 4WD shift switch to 4H or 4LO.
● Use the Electronic Locking Rear Differential
(E-Lock) system (if so equipped) . Turn the
switch ON while the vehicle is stationary and
apply the throttle to try to free the vehicle.
● If it is difficult to free the vehicle, rock the
vehicle back and forth between reverse and
● If the vehicle is stuck deep in mud, place
stones or wooden blocks under the tires.
Then try the recovery procedures above. Tire
chains may be effective.
●Do not spin the tires excessively. Tires
will sink deep into the mud, making it
difficult to free the vehicle.
● Avoid shifting gears with the engine
running at high speeds as this may
4WD shift switch operations
● Shift the 4WD shift switch to either the
2WD, 4H or 4LO position, depending on
● If the 4WD shift switch is operated
while making a turn, accelerating or
decelerating or if the key switch is
turned off while in the 4H or 4LO posi-
tion, you may feel a jolt. This is not
When the vehicle is stopped after mak-
ing a turn, you may feel a slight jolt
after the shift selector is shifted to N or
P. This occurs because the transfer
clutch is released and not because of a
●When driving straight, shift the 4WD
shift switch to the 2WD or 4H position.
Do not move the 4WD shift switch when
making a turn or reversing.
● Do not shift the 4WD shift switch while
driving on steep downhill grades. Use
the engine brake and low automatic
transmission gears (D1 or D2) or
manual transmission (1st gear or 2nd
gear) for engine braking.
● Do not operate the 4WD shift switch
with the rear wheels spinning.
● Before placing the 4WD shift switch in
the 4H position from 2WD, ensure the
vehicle speed is less than 62 MPH (100
km/h) . Failure to do so can damage the
● Never shift the 4WD shift switch be-
tween 4LO and 4H while driving.
Starting and driving5-27
Page 223 of 339
4WD shift indicator light
The 4WD shift indicator light is located in the
The light should turn off within 1 second after
turning the ignition switch to the ON position.
While the engine is running, the 4WD shift indi-
cator light will illuminate the position selected by
the 4WD shift switch.● The 4WD shift indicator light may blink
while shifting from one drive mode to
the other. When the shifting is com-
pleted, the 4WD shift indicator light
will come on. ●
If the 4WD warning light comes on, the
4WD indicator light goes out.
If the 4WD shift indicator light indication
changes to 2WD when the 4WD shift
switch is shifted to the 4H position at low
ambient temperatures, the 2WD mode
may be being engaged due to malfunc-
tioning drive system. If the indicator does
not return to normal and the 4WD warning
light comes on, have the system checked
by the nearest NISSAN dealer.
4WD warning light
Warning light Comes on or blinks
Comes on There is a mal-
function in the4–wheel drive system
slowly The difference in
wheel rotation is large
The 4WD warning light is located in the meter. The 4WD warning light comes on when the igni-
tion switch is turned to ON. It turns off soon after
the engine is started.
If any malfunction occurs in the 4WD system
when the ignition switch is ON, the warning light
will either remain illuminated or blink.
If the 4WD warning light comes on, the 4WD
shift indicator light goes out.
A large difference between the diameters of front
and rear wheels will make the warning light blink
slowly (about once per two seconds) . Change
the 4WD shift switch into 2WD and do not drive
If the warning light comes on or blinks
slowly during operation, have your ve-
hicle checked by a NISSAN dealer as
soon as possible.
● Shifting between 4H and 4LO is not
recommended when the 4WD warning
light turns on.
5-28Starting and driving
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●When the warning light comes on, the
2WD mode may be engaged even if the
4WD shift switch is in 4H. Be especially
careful when driving. If corresponding
parts are malfunctioning, the 4WD
mode will not be engaged even if the
4WD shift switch is shifted.
● Do not drive the vehicle in the 4H or 4LO
position on dry hard surface roads. Driv-
ing on dry, hard surfaces in 4H or 4LO
may cause unnecessary noise, tire wear
and increased fuel consumption.
If the 4WD warning light turns on when
you are driving on dry hard surface
– in the 4H position, shift the 4WD shift switch to 2WD.
– in the 4LO position for automatic transmission vehicles, stop the ve-
hicle and shift the shift selector to
the N position with the brake pedal
depressed and shift the 4WD shift
switch to 2WD. – in the 4LO position for manual trans-
mission vehicles, stop the vehicle
and shift the shift selector to the N
position with the clutch pedal de-
pressed and shift the 4WD shift
switch to 2WD.
● If the warning light is still on after the
above operation, have your vehicle
checked by a NISSAN dealer as soon as
● The transfer case may be damaged if
you continue driving with the warning
light blinking. The E-Lock system can provide additional trac-
tion and should only be used when a vehicle has
become or is becoming stuck. This system oper-
ates by electronically “locking” the two rear drive
wheels together, allowing them to turn at the
same speed. The system is used when it is not
possible to free a stuck vehicle even when using
the 4LO position (4 wheel drive vehicles) .
When added traction is required, activate the
E-Lock system by pushing the switch ON. See
“Electronic locking rear differential (E-Lock) sys-
tem switch” in the “Instruments and Controls”
section. Once the system fully engages, the indi-
cator light in the instrument panel will remain ON.
When the system is activated, both rear wheels
will engage, providing added traction.
The rear wheels may momentarily slip or move to
engage the system, and the system will only
engage up to approximately 4 MPH (7 km/h) .
Once the vehicle is free, the system should be
turned OFF and driving resumed.
The Anti-Lock Brake (ABS) system is disabled
and the ABS light illuminates when the E-Lock
system is ON. Also, the Vehicle Dynamic Control
(VDC) system is disabled and the VDC light
illuminates when the E-Lock system is ON.
ELECTRONIC LOCKING REAR
DIFFERENTIAL (E-Lock) SYSTEM (if
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●Never leave the E-Lock system ON
when driving on paved or hard-surfaced
roads. Turning the vehicle may result in
the rear wheels slipping and result in an
accident and personal injury. After us-
ing the E-Lock system to free the ve-
hicle, turn the system OFF.
● Use the E-Lock system only when free-
ing a stuck vehicle. Try the 4LO position
before using the E-Lock system. Never
use the E-Lock system on a slippery
road surface such as snow or ice sur-
face. Using the E-Lock system when
driving in these road conditions may
cause unexpected movement of the ve-
hicle during engine braking, accelerat-
ing or turning, which may result in an
accident and serious personal injury.
●After using the E-Lock system, turn the
switch OFF to prevent possible damage
to driveline components from extended
● Do not drive the vehicle at speeds faster
than 12 mph (20 km/h) when the system
is engaged. Doing so could damage
● Do not turn on the E-lock system while
the tires are spinning. Doing so could
damage drivetrain components.
5-30Starting and driving
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●Do not stop or park the vehicle over
flammable materials such as dry grass,
waste paper or rags. They may ignite
and cause a fire.
● Safe parking procedures require that
both the parking brake be set and the
transmission placed into P (Park) for
automatic transmission models or in an
appropriate gear for manual transmis-
sion models. Failure to do so could
cause the vehicle to move unexpectedly
or roll away and result in an accident. Make sure the shift selector has been
pushed as far forward as it can go and
cannot be moved without depressing
the foot brake pedal.
● Never leave the engine running while
the vehicle is unattended.
● Do not leave children unattended inside
the vehicle. They could unknowingly ac-
tivate switches or controls. Unattended
children could become involved in seri-
1. Firmly apply the parking brake.
2. Manual transmission models: Place the shift selector in the R (Reverse)
position. When parking on an uphill grade,
place the shift selector in 1st gear.
Automatic transmission models:
Move the shift selector to the P (Park) posi-
3. To help prevent the vehicle from rolling into traffic when parked on an incline, it is a good
practice to turn the wheels as illustrated.
● HEADED DOWNHILL WITH CURB:
Turn the wheels into the curb and move the
vehicle forward until the curb side wheel
gently touches the curb.
● HEADED UPHILL WITH CURB:
Turn the wheels away from the curb and
move the vehicle back until the curb side
wheel gently touches the curb.
● HEADED UPHILL OR DOWNHILL, NO
Turn the wheels toward the side of the road
so the vehicle will move away from the cen-
ter of the road if it moves.
4. Turn the ignition switch to the LOCK posi- tion and remove the key.
PARKING/PARKING ON HILLS
Starting and driving5-31
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The power assisted steering uses a hydraulic
pump, driven by the engine, to assist steering.
If the engine stops or the drive belt breaks, you
will still have control of the vehicle. However,
much greater steering effort is needed, especially
in sharp turns and at low speeds.
If the engine is not running or is turned off
while driving, the power assist for the
steering will not work. Steering will be
harder to operate.The brake system has two separate hydraulic
circuits. If one circuit malfunctions, you will still
have braking at 2 wheels.
Vacuum assisted brakes
The brake booster aids braking by using engine
vacuum. If the engine stops, you can stop the
vehicle by depressing the brake pedal. However,
greater foot pressure on the brake pedal will be
required to stop the vehicle and stopping dis-
tance will be longer.
Using the brakes
Avoid resting your foot on the brake pedal while
driving. This will overheat the brakes, wear out the
brake pads faster, and reduce gas mileage.
To help reduce brake wear and to prevent the
brakes from overheating, reduce speed and
downshift to a lower gear before going down a
slope or long grade. Overheated brakes may
reduce braking performance and could result in
loss of vehicle control.
While driving on a slippery surface, be
careful when braking, accelerating or
downshifting. Abrupt braking or accel-
erating could cause the wheels to skid
and result in an accident.
● If the engine is not running or is turned
off while driving, the power assist for
the brakes will not work. Braking will be
When the vehicle is washed or driven through
water, the brakes may get wet. As a result, your
braking distance will be longer and the vehicle
may pull to one side during braking.
To dry the brakes, drive the vehicle at a safe
speed while lightly pressing the brake pedal to
heat up the brakes. Do this until the brakes return
to normal. Avoid driving the vehicle at high
speeds until the brakes function correctly.
Parking brake break-in
Break-in the parking brake shoes whenever the
stopping effect of the parking brake is weakened
or whenever the parking brake shoes and/or
drum/rotors are replaced, in order to assure the
best brake performance.
POWER STEERING BRAKE SYSTEM
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This procedure is described in the vehicle service
manual and can be performed by a NISSAN
ANTI-LOCK BRAKING SYSTEM
●The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is a
sophisticated device, but it cannot pre-
vent accidents resulting from careless
or dangerous driving techniques. It can
help maintain vehicle control during
braking on slippery surfaces. Remem-
ber that stopping distances on slippery
surfaces will be longer than on normal
surfaces even with ABS. Stopping dis-
tances may also be longer on rough,
gravel or snow covered roads, or if you
are using tire chains. Always maintain a
safe distance from the vehicle in front
of you. Ultimately, the driver is respon-
sible for safety.
● Tire type and condition may also affect
– When replacing tires, install the specified size of tires on all four
wheels. – When installing a spare tire, make
sure that it is the proper size and type
as specified on the Tire and Loading
Information label. See “Tire and
Loading Information label” in the
“Technical and consumer informa-
tion” section of this manual.
– For detailed information, see “Wheels and tires” in the “Mainte-
nance and do-it-yourself” section of
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) controls the
brakes so the wheels do not lock during hard
braking or when braking on slippery surfaces.
The system detects the rotation speed at each
wheel and varies the brake fluid pressure to pre-
vent each wheel from locking and sliding. By
preventing each wheel from locking, the system
helps the driver maintain steering control and
helps to minimize swerving and spinning on slip-
Using the system
Depress the brake pedal and hold it down. De-
press the brake pedal with firm steady pressure,
but do not pump the brakes. The ABS will oper-
ate to prevent the wheels from locking up. Steer
the vehicle to avoid obstacles.
Do not pump the brake pedal. Doing so
may result in increased stopping
The ABS includes electronic sensors, electric
pumps, hydraulic solenoids and a computer. The
computer has a built-in diagnostic feature that
tests the system each time you start the engine
and move the vehicle at a low speed in forward or
reverse. When the self-test occurs, you may hear
a “clunk” noise and/or feel a pulsation in the brake
pedal. This is normal and does not indicate a
malfunction. If the computer senses a malfunc-
tion, it switches the ABS off and illuminates the
ABS warning light on the instrument panel. The
brake system then operates normally, but without
If the ABS warning light illuminates during the
self-test or while driving, have the vehicle
checked by a NISSAN dealer.
The ABS operates at speeds above3-6MPH(5
- 10 km/h) . The speed varies according to road
Starting and driving5-33
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When the ABS senses that 1 or more wheels are
close to locking up, the actuator rapidly applies
and releases hydraulic pressure. This action is
similar to pumping the brakes very quickly. You
may feel a pulsation in the brake pedal and hear a
noise from under the hood or feel a vibration from
the actuator when it is operating. This is normal
and indicates that the ABS is operating properly.
However, the pulsation may indicate that road
conditions are hazardous and extra care is re-
quired while driving.●
ABLS system uses automatic braking to
transfer power from a slipping drive wheel to
the wheel on the same axle with more trac-
tion. The ABLS system applies braking to
the slipping wheel, which helps redirect
power to the other wheel.
● On 4WD models the ABLS system operates
in both 4H and 4LO modes. If 4WD mode is
engaged, the ABLS system operates for
both drive axles. On 2WD vehicles, the
ABLS system operates on the drive axle
● The ABLS system is always ON. In some
conditions, the system may automatically
turn the ABLS system off. If the system is
automatically turned off, normal brake func-
tion will continue. ABLS will function even
when the VDC system is turned OFF.
● The ABLS does not operate if both wheels
on a drive axle are slipping.WARNING
●The ABLS system helps provide in-
creased traction, but will not prevent
accidents due to abrupt steering opera-
tion or by careless driving or dangerous
driving practices. Reduce vehicle speed
and be especially careful when driving
and cornering on slippery surfaces. Al-
ways drive carefully.
● Do not modify the vehicle’s suspension.
If suspension parts such as shock ab-
sorbers, struts, springs, stabilizer bars,
bushings and wheels are not NISSAN
approved for your vehicle or are ex-
tremely deteriorated, the ABLS system
may not operate properly. This could
adversely affect vehicle handling per-
formance, and the slip indicator light
● If brake related parts such as brake
pads, rotors and calipers are not
NISSAN recommended or are extremely
deteriorated, the ABLS system may not
operate properly and the slip indicator
light may illuminate.
● If wheels or tires other than the NISSAN
recommended ones are used, the ABLS
system may not operate properly and
the slip indicator light may illuminate.
ACTIVE BRAKE LIMITED SLIP (ABLS)
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The Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system uses
various sensors to monitor driver inputs and ve-
hicle motion. Under certain driving conditions,
the VDC System helps to perform the following
functions:● Controls brake pressure to reduce wheel
slip on one slipping drive wheel so power is
transferred to a non slipping drive wheel on
the same axle.
● Controls brake pressure and engine output
to reduce drive wheel slip based on vehicle
speed (traction control function) .
● If the 4WD transfer case is shifted into 4LO
indicator light will come on and
the VDC system will be turned off. See “Us-
ing four wheel drive (4WD)” earlier in this
● Controls brake pressure at individual wheels
and engine output to help the driver maintain
control of the vehicle in the following condi-
– understeer (vehicle tends to not follow the steered path despite increased steer-
– oversteer (vehicle tends to spin due to certain road or driving conditions) The VDC system can help the driver to maintain
control of the vehicle, but it can not prevent loss
of vehicle control in all driving situations.
When the VDC system operates, the
cator in the instrument panel flashes so note the
● The road may be slippery or the system may
determine some action is required to help
keep the vehicle on the steered path.
● You may feel a pulsation in the brake pedal
and hear a noise or vibration from under the
hood. This is normal and indicates that the
VDC system is working properly.
● Adjust your speed and driving to the road
See “Slip indicator light” and ”Vehicle Dynamic
Control (VDC) OFF indicator light” in the ”Instru-
ments and controls” section.
If a malfunction occurs in the system, the SLIP
indicator lights come on in the instru-
ment panel. The VDC system automatically turns
off when these indicator lights are on.
The VDC OFF switch is used to turn off the VDC
indicator illuminates to indi-
cate the VDC system is off. When the VDC switch is used to turn off the
system, the VDC system still operates to prevent
one drive wheel from slipping by transferring
power to a non slipping drive wheel. The
indicator flashes if this occurs. All other VDC
functions are off and the SLIPindicator will not
The VDC system is automatically reset to on
when the ignition switch is placed in the off
position then back to the on position.
The computer has a built in diagnostic feature
that tests the system each time you start the
engine and move the vehicle forward or in reverse
at a slow speed. When the self-test occurs, you
may hear a clunk noise and/or feel a pulsation in
the brake pedal. This is normal and is not an
indication of a malfunction.
● The VDC system is designed to help the
driver maintain stability but does not
prevent accidents due to abrupt steer-
ing operation at high speeds or by care-
less or dangerous driving techniques.
Reduce vehicle speed and be especially
careful when driving and cornering on
slippery surfaces and always drive
VEHICLE DYNAMIC CONTROL (VDC)
Starting and driving5-35