Nissan Altima: Trailer towing tips - Towing safety - Towing a trailer - Technical and consumer information - Nissan Altima Owners ManualNissan Altima: Trailer towing tips

In order to gain skill and an understanding of the vehicle’s behavior, you should practice turning, stopping and backing up in an area which is free from traffic. Steering stability and braking performance will be somewhat different than under normal driving conditions.

● Always secure items in the trailer to prevent load shift while driving.
● Lock the trailer hitch coupler with a pin or lock to prevent the coupler from inadvertently becoming unlatched.
● Avoid abrupt starts, acceleration or stops.
● Avoid sharp turns or lane changes.
● Always drive your vehicle at a moderate speed.
● When backing up, hold the bottom of the steering wheel with one hand. Move your hand in the direction in which you want the trailer to go. Make small corrections and back up slowly. If possible, have someone guide you when you are backing up.

Always block the wheels on both vehicle and trailer when parking. Parking on a slope is not recommended; however, if you must do so:

CAUTION

If you move the shift selector to the P (Park) position before blocking the wheels and applying the parking brake, transmission damage could occur.

1. Apply and hold the brake pedal.
2. Have someone place blocks on the downhill side of the vehicle and trailer wheels.
3. After the wheel blocks are in place, slowly release the brake pedal until the blocks absorb the vehicle load.
4. Apply the parking brake.
5. Shift the transmission into P (Park).
6. Turn off the engine.

To drive away:

1. Start the vehicle.
2. Apply and hold the brake pedal.
3. Shift the transmission into gear.
4. Release the parking brake.
5. Drive slowly until the vehicle and trailer are clear from the blocks.
6. Apply and hold the brake pedal.
7. Have someone retrieve and store the blocks.

● While going downhill, the weight of the trailer pushing on the tow vehicle may deteriorate overall handling characteristics. Therefore, to maintain adequate control, reduce your speed and shift to a lower gear. 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.
● If the engine coolant temperature rises to a high temperature, refer to “If your vehicle overheats” in the “In case of emergency” section of this owner’s manual.
● Trailer towing requires more fuel than normal circumstances.
● Avoid towing a trailer for your vehicle’s first 500 miles (805 km).
● For the first 500 miles (805 km) that you do tow, do not drive over 50 MPH (80 km/h).
● Have your vehicle serviced more often than at intervals specified in the recommended Maintenance Schedule in the “NISSAN Service and Maintenance Guide”.
● When making a turn, your trailer wheels will be closer to the inside of the turn than your vehicle wheels. To compensate for this, make a larger than normal turning radius during the turn.
● Crosswinds and rough roads will adversely affect vehicle/trailer handling, possibly causing vehicle sway. When being passed by larger vehicles, be prepared for possible changes in crosswinds that could affect vehicle handling.

Do the following if the trailer begins to sway:

1. Take your foot off the accelerator pedal to allow the vehicle to coast and steer as straight ahead as the road conditions allow. This combination will help stabilize the vehicle – Do not correct trailer sway by steering or applying the brakes.

2. When the trailer sway stops, gently apply the brakes and pull to the side of the road in a safe area.

3. Try to rearrange the trailer load so it is balanced as described earlier in this section.

● Be careful when passing other vehicles. Passing while towing a trailer requires considerably more distance than normal passing. Remember, the length of the trailer must also pass the other vehicle before you can safely change lanes.
● Use the Tow Mode or downshift the transmission to a lower gear for engine braking when driving down steep or long hills. This will help slow the vehicle without applying the brakes.
● Avoid holding the brake pedal down too long or too frequently. This could cause the brakes to overheat, resulting in reduced braking efficiency.
● Increase your following distance to allow for greater stopping distances while towing a trailer. Anticipate stops and brake gradually.
● NISSAN recommends that the cruise control not be used while towing a trailer.
● Some states or provinces have specific regulations and speed limits for vehicles that are towing trailers. Obey the local speed limits.
● Check your hitch, trailer wiring harness connections, and trailer wheel lug nuts after 50 miles (80 km) of travel and at every break.
● When launching a boat, don’t allow the water level to go over the exhaust tail pipe or rear bumper.
● Make sure you disconnect the trailer lights before backing the trailer into the water or the trailer lights may burn out.

When towing a trailer, final drive gear oil should be replaced and transmission oil/fluid should be changed more frequently. For additional information, see the “Maintenance and do-it-yourself” section earlier in this manual.

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