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The Nissan Altima probably isn't the first vehicle you think of when it comes to towing. However, can it tow a trailer if you don't have any other option? We have done the research on your behalf to answer that question in this post.
The Nissan Altima has a max towing capacity of 1,000 lbs. However, with the smallest trailers averaging around 500 lbs dry weight, it isn't recommended to use an Altima to tow. While it is possible to tow a trailer with the Altima, there are several risks to using a small sedan like the Altima for towing purposes.
Just because the dealer says the vehicle has a specific max towing capacity doesn't always mean it can handle the weight safely. Furthermore, small sedans like the Altima aren't exactly made for towing, even with their max towing capacity of 1,000 lbs. Nonetheless, in this article, we will discuss what you can tow with a Nissan Altima and precautions to take before you hit the road, so read on!
Can A Nissan Altima Pull A Trailer?
The Nissan Altima can tow a trailer if the towing weight is 1,000 lbs or less. Anything above that, and it's not recommended for this small sedan to attempt without some risky maneuvers (e.g., exceeding the max speed). The usual reason why people on forums say you can't pull with an Altima is that its frame isn't sturdy enough.
If you don't want to damage your vehicle and need a trailer for some light work around the house or a lawnmower, for example, then you should be fine if you have a proper tow package installed. However, still, tow with caution and double-check your trailer weight before adding anything else to it.
The Nissan Altima's frame is robust enough to handle under 1,000 lbs. Some items like heavy furniture or an ATV can easily exceed this weight limit.
There are many reasons why you shouldn't tow most trailers with a Nissan Altima despite the 1,000 lbs max weight; this car is not designed to do it. Here are a few reasons why the Nissan Altima should not be used for towing:
Nissan never meant the frame of this vehicle for towing and especially not at high speeds around corners, which can dramatically shift weight distribution between the trailer and your car. In addition, the added strain put on suspension components over time can weaken them and damage the vehicle.
Because of the added weight of a trailer, you can expect more wear from all of your vehicle components. This is why it's not recommended to exceed 60 mph at all costs when towing, as it can cause damage quickly if you don't adhere to this rule.
Another risk that you need to consider before attempting this kind of activity is the safety of yourself and your passengers. Towing is different from driving on the road at average speeds with nothing else attached to your Altima. If you get in an accident while trailer hopping, it's easy for there to be damage not only to you but to other people on the road.
One of the risks of towing with this small sedan is that it will wear out your transmission much faster due to the added weight. If you're using an automatic, then expect shifting problems after a while.
Another risk is the weight distribution; more weight on one side of a vehicle (especially while traveling at high speeds) can be dangerous and turn over easier than you think. If the weight is too far back on the trailer or vehicle, it can shift to one side while you turn. This is tough on the suspension, and if it's not made for it, your Altima may get damaged.
The Nissan Altima is an excellent choice for a daily driver because it has an excellent power-to-weight ratio, but that's precisely the problem. This car is lightweight and won't last long if you constantly push its limits.
Is pulling a trailer bad for your car?
Well, it all depends on what you're towing, the tow package setup, and how fast you drive with it. For example, if your car isn't meant for the task, there's a good chance that it will sustain damage over time due to the forces put in place by turning, braking, and accelerating with a trailer attached to it.
If you want to tow, that's your choice, but keep in mind that plenty of other vehicles out there can handle towing better than an Altima. If you want to tow, it's best to invest in a truck or SUV that can handle this activity's demands.
How do you know what size hitch to get?
To find the right hitch for your vehicle, you will need to take note of the curb weight and the gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of your Altima. This number is located on a sticker near your spare tire.
If you can't find it, then contact your Nissan dealership for this information. Once you have all of these weights, go to a reputable hitch dealer and tell them the numbers. They will help you determine the exact size that you need for your Nissan Altima.
Can a Nissan Altima tow a pop-up camper?
The Nissan Altima isn't a good choice for towing a pop-up camper. Some of the lightest pop-up campers like the Coachman Clipper or OPUS OP2 still weigh over 2,000 lbs. Unfortunately, the maximum tow rating for the Altima is 1,000 lbs. This means you won't be fine towing one of these campers.
If you own a Nissan Altima and want to go camping, then take a tent! Nowadays several tents are not only large but also are pretty comfortable. In addition, several companies make rooftop campers for small cars. For example, Thule makes one that is budget-friendly and accommodates two adults.
Can a Nissan Altima tow a U-Haul trailer?
A lot of U-haul trailers are just too heavy to be towed by an Altima. If you have items that need transporting, then you have options. The best thing that you can do is rent one of the larger U-Hauls. The other option is to have someone drive your Nissan Altima while you tow the trailer with one of their other vehicles.
U-Haul's smallest trailer is a 4x8 with an empty weight of 850 lbs, so if you don't put anything in, you could use a Nissan Altima to tow it. However, no one rents a U-Hual just to tow around empty. U-Haul states that their 4x8 is excellent to be towed behind any vehicle, but that isn't necessarily true. It won't take much to be over the Altima's max towing capacity of 1,000lbs.
If you need to rent a U-Haul, you will be better of renting one of the trucks. The trucks come in different shapes and sizes, so you can find one to fit your stuff.
In addition, if you are traveling by yourself, you can tow your Nissan Altima behind the U-Haul truck. U-Haul will be able to provide a dolly trailer you can rent to put your Altima on. This is going to be your safest and most convenient option for moving your items.
Overall, having a small car can be inconvenient when it comes time to move large or heavy objects. However, it doesn't mean that you are entirely out of luck. First, ask a friend or neighbor if you can get help by borrowing their SUV or truck. If that doesn't help, you can always reach out to a trailer rental company like U-Haul. They will be able to solve your problem. It will cost money to rent, but it's better than the repair bills you could face if you damage your Nissan Altima when trying to tow.
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Have you towed with a small car? Then, tell us what setup you used below!