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Does Towing Capacity of a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Increase if Hitch is Rated Higher than Vehicle

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I have a 2013 Pathfinder and I’m looking for a hitch. In reading the expert reply below from another question, is this saying that the towing capacity for my vehicle will safely increase to 6,000 lb with the draw-tite hitch? Or, just the hitch can handle it? If my vehicle can, are there any other modifications needed for the vehicle to do it safely? Thanks! PREVIOUS EXPERT REPLY “The actual towing capacity of a vehicle is a function of both the vehicle itself, as rated by the auto maker based on the specific equipment included, and of the particular hitch that is installed. Although all the hitches we offer for your 2013 Pathfinder are the 2-inch type, these have varying towing capacities. For instance, Curt class III hitch # C13126 is rated for 4000-lbs towing, but if used along with a weight distribution WD system such as the Reese # RP66084 the hitch capacity increases to 5000-lbs. The Draw-Tite class IV hitch # 76031 is rated for a maximum of 6000-lbs towing.”

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Expert Reply:

In the answer you referenced the Expert is referring to the capacities of the hitches only. The towing capacity of your 2013 Nissan Pathfinder will not increase with a hitch installed. The vehicle capacity is whatever is stated in the vehicle owner's manual. You will always go by the lowest rated component in the system. So, for example, if the vehicle is rated for 5,000 pounds and the hitch # 76031 is rated for 6,000 pounds you are still limited to 5,000 pounds even though the hitch is rated higher.

According to the vehicle owner's manual:

Maximum Towing Capacity(*1) 5,000lb. (2,268 kg)
Maximum Tongue Load 500 lb. (227 kg)
Maximum Gross Combined Weight Rating 10,000 lb. (4, 536 kg)

*1: The towing capacity values are calculated assuming a base vehicle with driver and any options required to achieve the rating. Additional passengers, cargo and/or optional equipment will add weight to the vehicle and reduce your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity.

So basically if you take the 10,000 pound gross combined weight rating and subtract from that the weight of the vehicle when loaded with cargo, fuel, and passengers, the remainder is how much weight you can tow.

Out of the available hitches I recommend Curt hitch # C13126 because once installed it will be the least visible (only the receiver will be visible) and because it covers the towing capacity of the vehicle if you were to use weight distribution. I have linked a video showing installation of this hitch for you.

I also recommend etrailer ball mount kit # 989900. It comes with 2 ball mounts; one with a 3/4 inch rise or 2 inch drop and one with a 2-3/4 inch rise or 4 inch drop. It also includes a 1-7/8 inch ball, 2 inch ball, hitch pin with clip, and a storage bag.

If the ball mount kit does not have the right rise or drop to tow the trailer level, use the link I have included that explains how to measure to choose a ball mount to tow the trailer level.

And for wiring you can use kit # 118273 to add a 7-Way trailer connector to the rear of the vehicle or # 118670 if the trailer has a 4-Way connector. I have linked videos of both of these kits for you as well. For mounting brackets you can use # PK12711U with # C57202 to mount the 7-Way or # 18144 to mount the 4-Way.

I mentioned weight distribution earlier. Weight distribution helps to redistribute the trailer tongue weight to all axles of the tow vehicle and trailer and makes the rig more stable and provides a better towing experience. If interested I have included a link to our help article that tells you everything you could ever want to know about weight distribution.

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