You are thinking about buying a boat, but you only have a Nissan Frontier for pulling it. Is the Frontier enough? We have done some research and have information to help you make your decision.
The towing capacity for a Nissan Frontier, since 2013, is between 3,500 and 6,720 pounds, depending on the year and model. As long as you have a tow package, that is enough towing capacity to pull many of the popular recreation boats — but not all.
Keep reading to find out more about towing with a Nissan Frontier. To safely tow with your Nissan Frontier, you have to know the towing capacity for your model and the weight of what you are towing. We will take a look at some boats that the Nissan Frontier can easily pull. We will also look at other common things that your truck can tow without worry.
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A Look Back at Towing with the Nissan Frontier
Below is a glimpse of the towing capacity information for the Nissan Frontier. For specific information about your vehicle, consult the owner's manual or the specification sticker located inside the driver's door. If you no longer have the manual, no worries. They can be found back through 2013 on the Nissan website.
The current 2022 Nissan Frontier comes standard with a 310 horsepower 3.8L V6 engine with 9-speed automatic transmission and a heavy-duty frame. Needless to say, it is made for light-duty towing. These features give it a towing capacity between 6,460-6,720 pounds across the models.
For these years, the number of models of Nissan Frontier varies between options such as a crew cab or king cab, 2WD and 4WD options, and 4-cylinder versus 6-cylinder engines. The lowest tow capacity is 3,500 on the 2WD 4-cylinder king cab and ranges up to 6,500 on the 2WD 6-cylinder king cab.
The older models have a little less towing capacity, but overall the numbers have remained fairly consistent over the years. Most models are in the 6,000-pound towing capacity range except those with the low-end 4-cylinder engine.
When towing a boat or any other load, safety has to come first. Make sure that your vehicle and tires are in top condition. Check to make sure all lights on your vehicle and trailer are working. This should be part of your pre-trip inspection that includes checking safety chains and pins to ensure all are secure. You should check every time you pull out.
You may need to add additional braking or brake controls. When you need to stop, you want to ensure that your load does, too, especially in an emergency. You never want the force of your load pushing you, compromising the stability of your vehicle and load.
Consider this Curt Brake Control that works on most trailers.
What size boat can a Nissan Frontier tow?
A Nissan Frontier can safely tow any boat under its stated towing capacity. However, a general rule of thumb is to choose a boat about 2,000 lbs under the towing capacity. This allows room for weight miscalculations. It also means you don't risk overextending your truck.
Boats range from personal canoes and kayaks to large houseboats. With your Nissan Frontier, it is best to stick with small to medium boats. When calculating your total tow weight, don't forget to account for the engine, trailer, and other cargo.
Avoid larger boats that overload your truck, causing possible damage to the suspension and other truck components. Beyond damage to your truck, you can damage your load or, even worse, cause damage to another driver.
Can a Nissan Frontier pull a pontoon boat?
Spending a day on the water relaxing sounds great, and a pontoon boat is a perfect place to do it. So, gather the family or friends. Then get the Nissan Frontier ready, hook to the pontoon, and head for the water. Oh, and don't forget the sunscreen!
A Nissan Frontier should have no issues towing an average pontoon boat. The average dry weight of a pontoon boat and single axle trailer is between 2,750 -3,600 pounds. The engine can add up to another 600 pounds. Then add on all the stuff you need for fun and safety.
Below is a list of popular pontoon boats and their dry weights. This does not include the trailer or the engine.
- Sunchaser Eclipse 8523: 2,100-3,445 pounds
- Trifecta C Series: 1,440-2,015 pounds
- Avalon Catalina: 1,850-2,450 pounds
- Sylvan Mirage Cruise: 1,875 -2,881 pounds
- Manitou XT: 3,805 - 4,505 pounds
Can a Nissan Frontier pull a bass boat?
Another great way to relax on the water is fishing. So go ahead and hook up your bass boat to your Nissan Frontier and head out! There shouldn't be an issue with towing capacity.
The average bass boat (dry weight) with a single axle trailer weighs between 1,300 - 2,500 pounds. Again, don't forget the engine. Also, remember that fishing does require equipment that you have to factor into your towing capacity - rods, trolling motor, gasoline, coolers, tackle, nets, safety equipment, etc.
It all adds up. Not to mention the water and weight of the fish in your live well. While it all seems small, the collective weight can make a difference.
When looking at specs for boat weight, you have to look at the total package weight, not just the boat's dry weight or wet weight. The dry weight is the boat only. The wet weight is the boat, fuel, and motor. The total package weight will include the boat, gas, motor, and trailer. If you look only at the boat's dry weight, you will underestimate the weight significantly and risk overloading your truck.
One thing to consider if you are concerned about boat weight is aluminum versus fiberglass. An aluminum boat will generally weigh less, so if towing capacity is a concern, you might make aluminum your choice.
Below is a list of popular bass boats and average package weight.
- Ranger Z52OR: 3,500 pounds
- Ranger RT188P: 1,460 pounds (plus engine)
- Bass Tracker Classic XL: 1,705 pounds
- Triton 21XRT: 2,050 pounds (plus engine)
- Nitro Z19: 3,500 pounds
What can a Nissan Frontier pull?
A Nissan Frontier has the towing capacity to pull many things for work or recreation.
Below is a list of a few common possibilities that the average person might need to tow. Each of the items on this list is easily within the towing ability of most Nissan Frontiers.
- Uhaul 6x12 cargo trailer: maximum weight, including trailer 4,400 pounds
- Jet Skis: average weight for jet skis, 400-1,200 pounds, plus 200-500 pounds for trailer
- Motorcycle on a trailer: average motorcycle weight, 350-650 pounds, plus 300-800 pounds for the trailer
- Lawnmower on a trailer: average riding lawnmower weight, 300-1,000 pounds, plus 300-1,100 pounds for a small open utility trailer
- ATVs on a trailer: average four-wheeler weight, 372-927 each, plus 300-1,100 pounds for a small open utility trailer
- Another small car or SUV on a tow dolly: average weight of car 3,280/average weight of SUV 4,800, plus 400-800 pounds for the dolly
- Small camper: 500-4,500 pounds
While the Nissan Frontier is suited to haul many smaller boats, it is best to avoid larger boats like sailboats, ski boats, bay boats, cabin cruisers, or speed boats.
One should also be careful with campers and trailers. While many fall within the towing capacity, larger, longer campers, especially those with slideouts, should be avoided.
Flatbed trailers hauling heavy equipment and livestock trailers are also not a good idea. These larger, heavier loads are better left to the full-sized and even heavy-duty trucks.
What is the best vehicle to tow a boat?
This really depends on the size of the boat. A heavy-duty truck is great for towing but really is overkill for the average fishing or pontoon boat. You have to determine if the high price tag, decreased fuel economy, and massive size are really necessary. If you are towing lots of heavy cargo or your boat is extremely large, then heavy-duty is probably the way to go.
However, for most people, a mid-size or compact truck like the Nissan Frontier or a full-sized truck that can tow an average of 8,000-13,000 pounds is sufficient for towing the type of boat that you would frequently tow to the water.
The Nissan Frontier is a mid-size truck with adequate towing capacity for many things that the average person would want to tow. However, it is best to always check the towing capacity for your specific model and verify the total weight of whatever you need to tow. This will help you avoid any damage to your vehicle and creating any unsafe conditions on the roadway.
For even more information about your Nissan Frontier, check out How Much Weight Can A Nissan Frontier Carry?
Also, consider reading Can A Nissan Frontier Tow A Travel Trailer?