The Nissan frontier is a perfect example of the combination of sleeky design, strength, space, and advanced technology that characterizes modern trucks.
To make it even better, the robust build of the engine and the car itself make for a perfect towing experience.
But before you go towing, there are some major considerations to make.
Without knowing the towing capacity, can cause severe damage to your engine, the car’s body, tires, and the likes.
I’m about to tell you all you need to know about your Nissan frontier, its towing capacity, and things you should do to improve your towing experience.
Let’s get started.
Learn About How Much Can a Nissan Frontier Tow
The amount a Nissan frontier can tow depends on the cab configuration and mechanical structure.
In terms of the cab configuration, those whose cab configuration is full-sized and extended possess a higher towing capacity.
While single cab versions have the lowest towing capacities.
For the machine structure, different parts of the truck are responsible;
The Axle Loading
A small amount of the weight of the trailer would rest on the axle.
Hence, it must be strong enough to carry it.
When towing, the trailer exerts extra weight on the tyres.
The tyres must have sufficient air pressure to carry extra weight without wearing out.
The brakes of the car may not be a significant factor if the trailer is braked.
However, if the trailer isn’t braked, then the brakes of your truck must be strong enough to support the extra weight of the trailer and load.
Any load from 750 kg and above must be on a braked trailer.
The trailer is definitely going to exert pressure downwards.
The suspension must be strong enough to support the stress from it.
The torque and horsepower of the engine affect the towing capacity.
It affects the car’s ability to speed up and climb a hill when carrying a load.
The features mentioned have a joint effect on towing capacity.
An important factor that determines the cab configuration and mechanical structure is the generation of your Nissan Frontier.
And there are three generations: first, second, and third generations.
The Towing Capacity of First-Generation Nissan Frontier
The first-generation Nissan Frontier begins from the first model in 1997 to the one in 2004.
Initially, they were based on the hardbody.
After the first one in 1997, they made upgrades to subsequent models.
First-generation Nissan Frontiers have a low towing capacity.
This is due to three factors; the engine, cab configuration, and mechanical structure.
The Cab configuration was initially only a single cab. Later, they added king cab configurations.
The 2001 model marked the first shift to the crew cab.
The engine had some progressive upgrades.
For the first model in 1997, the engine had 143 horsepower, 2.4 liter, and 4 cylinders.
They later upgraded this to a V6 engine of 180 horsepower and 3.3 liters.
With a towing capacity of just 3500 pounds and below, it’s fair to say that first-generation Nissan Frontiers have a low towing capacity, compared to subsequent generations.
Although you can add some accessories to increase the towing capacity, I wouldn’t advise such.
The Towing Capacity of 2nd Generation Nissan Frontiers
If you drive any model made from 2005 to 2023, then it falls under the second generation.
For the second generation, there are radical changes in the cab configuration and mechanical structure.
These changes – as one would expect – give them a higher towing capacity than the previous generation.
In terms of cab configuration, they still kept the king cab while the single cab does not feature.
They introduced the crew cab in this generation.
The engine options include:
- 4-litre, V6 with 261 horsepower
- 5 litre, 4-cylinder engine, with 152 horsepower
- 3 litre, V6 turbo diesel, with 240 horsepower
- 8-litre V6 engine, with 310 horsepower
Because of these upgrades, the second-generation Nissan Frontier has a towing capacity of 6500 pounds.
And can reach 6720 pounds.
This is more than enough to pull a camper (weighs 5200 pounds).
The Towing Capacity of Third-Generation Nissan
This is the all-new 2023 model of the Nissan Frontier.
The 3.8L V6 engine, with 310 horsepower that’s in the 2020 model, is still maintained.
However, there are upgrades to the interior decor, design, suspension, and technology.
At 6720 pounds, the towing capacity is still the same as the 2020 model.
How Does the Towing Capacity of Nissan Frontier Compare With Other Brands?
The towing capacity of the Nissan Frontier ranks above some brands. But some others rank higher.
A distinguishing feature of this truck is its stylish design.
Although it may not look sturdy like the Nissan frontier, it still serves its purpose.
There are two variations:
One has a 2.5L four-cylinder, with 191 horsepower.
The upgraded one comes with a 2.5L turbocharged engine, with 281 horsepower.
The normal version has a towing capacity of 3500 pounds.
But the model with the engine upgrade has a towing capacity of 5000 pounds.
In either case, the towing capacity is lower than that of the second and third-generation Nissan frontiers.
But it still bests the first-generation Nissan Frontier.
This truck has a towing capacity that’s like the Nissan Frontier.
But it surpasses it by a few hundred.
The base model comes with a four-cylinder engine, with 159 horsepower.
The upgraded model has a 3.5L V6 engine, with 256 horsepower.
The base model can tow a maximum of 3500 pounds.
While the upgraded model has a towing capacity of 6400-6800 pounds.
2023 GMC Canyon
This is a large pickup truck, which has a towing capacity that’s higher than the Nissan Frontier (3rd generation).
But, it costs more.
It comes with a 2.5L engine with four cylinders and a horsepower of 200.
The towing capacity is 7700 pounds.
The cab configuration is a crew cab with four doors.
And a 3.5-litre V6 engine, with 280 horsepower.
The cab configuration and engine specifications give it a low tow rating.
The towing capacity is put at 5000 pounds.
How Do Nissan Frontier Older Models Hold Up Their Numbers Today?
The towing capacities of older models are limited.
This is because of limitations in their engine capacity, which has been worked upon in recent models.
For models from 1997 to 2004, the towing capacity is capped at 3500 pounds.
Trying to tow above this limit can cause serious damage to the truck.
Because their engines cannot bear the of towing enormous weights.
Although you can increase the towing capacity with accessories, you shouldn’t do so.
It’s best to follow the directive of the manufacturers.
If you intend to tow larger weights, you can go for the second or third generations.
Nissan Frontier Towing Capacity
1. Know Your Limits
Every truck has its towing capacity. Take care to check beforehand before you choose your load.
If the load you’re carrying exceeds the towing capacity of your truck, then you might have trouble on your hands.
Sometimes, your model might have over one tow ratings, depending on the trim.
Hence, make sure you know your trim level too.
2. Use the Correct Hitch
Your truck may not come with a hitch attached. In that case, you’ll have to find the right hitch that would fit your vehicle.
To get the best hitch for your vehicle, consult the dealer.
They would advise you on the hitch to go for, that can support the weight you wish to tow.
Now, this is important: the weight rating on the hitch must match or exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle.
And attach the hitch to the vehicle’s frame and not the bumper.
The ball on the hitch must be an exact match for the trailer’s coupler.
This is a must-do, to avoid accidents.
3. Check the Tyres of The Trailer And Your Vehicle
Before you go on the road, inspect the tyres of the trailer and vehicle.
Make sure they aren’t deflated. Because it could cause a bad towing experience and burden your engines.
The pressure on the tyres should match the pressure rating of the manufacturers.
You should also check your spare tyres.
You’ll need them, especially if you’ll be traveling to a far destination.
Finally, don’t exceed the speed rating for the tyres of your vehicle and trailer, and try as much as you can to not exceed it.
4. Check Your Side Mirrors
If you’re towing a large load, chances are that it would block your view.
To make your view better, adjust your side mirrors.
If that doesn’t work, then invest in tow mirrors.
5. Pack Properly
You wouldn’t want the tow-load to be concentrated on the left or right of the trailer.
Also, 60% of the tow-load should be to the front of the trailer.
6. The Lights Are Important
Check all your lights: brake lights, running lights, turn signals, and hazard lights.
Make sure they are working optimally.
7. Choose the Right Type of Trailer
Towing trailers are open or enclosed.
Those that are open are perfect for loads of irregular shapes.
But the closed one is perfect for loads of regular shape or is brittle.
8. The Brakes Must Be in Optimal Condition
For large loads of 750 kg and above, it’s best to use trailer breaks.
Also, the emergency breakaway cable must be properly affixed to the tow vehicle.
01. What Are the Types of Towing Capacity?
Braked Towing Capacity
This is the maximum weight your car can pull when the trailer has its brake system.
Here, the brake of the trailer will be connected via a cable to the car.
Unbraked Towing Capacity
In this case, this is the towing capacity of your truck, when the trailer lacks its own brakes.
Here, your brake takes the responsibility of bringing the additional weight of the trailer to a stop.
It’s important to note that any weight above 750kg needs its own brakes.
The braked towing capacity is always higher
02. What Is the Difference Between Towing Capacity and Payload Capacity?
The difference is simple:
Payload capacity refers to how much the truck can carry in its bed while towing capacity is how much it can pull.
In summary, payload capacity refers to carrying capacity while towing capacity, means the same as pulling capacity.
When calculating payload capacity, the weight of the car is considered.
But, gasoline and any other fluid that the car needs to run effectively is excluded.
Since the weight of whatever you’re pulling rests on the axels of the trailer and not that of your car, the towing capacity far exceeds the payload capacity
03. How Can I Know the Towing Capacity of My Nissan Frontier?
You can consult your driver manual to get the towing capacity.
If you can’t find it in the manual, you can check on the jam at the driver’s door or on the company’s website.
04. How To Calculate the Towing Capacity of Nissan Frontier?
To calculate it is simple.
But first, there’s a need to define some terms:
This is how much the car weighs when it’s empty.
However, it includes the fuel and any other fluid in the car.
If we exclude the fluids, then it becomes the dry weight.
Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating or Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCVWR Or GCWR)
It’s the highest a vehicle can weigh, along with the trailer and any loaded cargo in the car and trailer, and passengers.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
This is the highest safe weight a vehicle can carry.
It includes the cargo, passengers, the empty car (curb weight), accessories, and the tongue weight of a tow trailer.
But excludes the load.
The difference between GCWR and GCVR is that the GCWR includes the trailer and the load it carries.
While GVWR excludes the trailer and its load.
The towing capacity is:
Towing capacity = GCVWR- curb weight
05. Can I Tow More Than the Towing Capacity?
It’s not a direct yes or no.
You can do so if you include accessories.
However, it’s not advisable to do so. It’s better to stay within the limits of the towing capacity.
But if you need to tow a larger load, it’s better to upgrade your Nissan frontier to a model with higher towing capacity.
06. Does Add Airbags to Suspension Increase Towing Capacity?
The simple answer is a hard no.
This is because manufacturers have rated other parts of the mechanical structure of your truck for a specific towing capacity.
Although you’ve added extra bite to the suspension, other parts such as the braking and cooling system will suffer.
07. How Close to The Towing Capacity Is Safe?
You can tow up to the towing capacity limit, put by the manufacturers.
But for safety, it’s best to adhere to the 80% rule.
It states that “you should not exceed 80% of the towing capacity of your vehicle”.
Take, for example, your truck has a towing capacity of 7000 pounds.
To use this rule, you shouldn’t exceed 6000 pounds.
Towing can be a pretty risky activity. But when you adhere to the towing capacity put forward by manufacturers, you are assured of your safety.
In addition, all models of the Nissan Frontier have their towing capacities. Hence, if you need to pull heavier loads, consider going for a truck that matches that towing capacity.
In fact, check the towing capacity of a car you want to buy and decide if it matches what you’ll be towing. If there’s no match, then go for another.