2000-2020 Nissan Pathfinder Towing Capacity Resource Guide

The Nissan Pathfinder is another typical SUV, but when I was researching the towing capacity, I was quite surprised by the ratings that were specified and thought that a resource guide was needed.

There wasn't much change in the specs for the Pathfinders over the years but the capacity did vary from generation to generation and it would be worth checking out what your specific model is capable of, just in case.

Overview of the Data For the Nissan Pathfinder:

Engine Choices: The engines did not differ much from 2000-2019 and in fact, most of the time a 6 cylinder was used, except for 2008-2012 models that did have a 8 cylinder option.

The engine that was equipped was not specified in any of the tables for the Pathfinders and it really didn't make all that much of a difference for the most part, except for those 2008-2012 models.

Configurations: There weren't many variations in the way of total capacity due to 2WD vs 4WD models but there was a big difference in capacity for 2000-2004 models when comparing the specs to manual vs automatic transmissions. It was 1,500 lbs. which is a lot more capability and can make a huge difference in what you can pull.

Towing Capacity: The towing capacity for the Nissan Pathfinders was pretty similar from 2000-2019 and really didn't differ much. The capacity numbers ranged from 3,500 lbs. to 7,000 lbs. all-in-all but the average capacity for most models hovered around 5,000-6,000 lbs.

2020-2017 Models:

The towing capacity for the Nissan Pathfinder's made from 2020-2017 was an even 6,000 lbs. maximum, with a max. tongue weight of 600 lbs. The maximum GCWR was set at 11,000 lbs. even for the model, making calculations fairly simple.

2013-2020 Pathfinder Image

There were no engines specified in the 2020-2017 model's charts, as you can see but they are equipped with a 3.5L (V6).

It is important to note that for model years 2020-2017, Nissan requires that a trailer that weighs over 3,500 lbs. must have its own braking system installed in order to safely pull the load with your Pathfinder.

2017-2019 Nissan Pathfinder Towing Chart

2013-2016 Models:

The maximum towing capacity for the 2013-2016 Nissan Pathfinders was set at the 5,000 lb. mark, according to the owner's manuals, which is quite a bit lower than the 2017-2019 and 2008-2012 models.

2013-2020 Pathfinder Image

With 10% of that load being 500 lbs., that was the maximum tongue weight that was suggested, along with a lower GCWR of 10,000 lbs.

2013-2016 Nissan Pathfinder Towing Chart

2008-2012 Models:

The 2008-2012 Nissan Pathfinders had a little bit different towing capacity from other years, set at 6,000 lbs. and 7,000 lbs. maximum weight. The difference is due to the engine configuration, one being a V6 and the other being a V8 model.

2005-2012 Pathfinder Image

The max. tongue weights are set at that normal 10% figure and the GCWR was also different, set at 11,133 lbs. for the V6 model and 12,570 lbs. for the V8 model.

2008-2012 Nissan Pathfinder Towing Chart

2005-2007 Models:

Nissan Pathfinders that were made from 2005-2007 had the same towing capacity (6,000 lbs. max.) for both the 2WD and 4WD models.

The maximum tongue weight was also the same at 600 lbs. max. and the GCWR was set at 11,133 lbs. max.

2005-2012 Pathfinder Image
2005-2007 Chart

2000-2004 Models:

The 2000-2004 Nissan Pathfinders had a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. maximum for models equipped with manual transmissions and a 5,000 lb. maximum capacity for automatic transmissions.

2000-2004 Pathfinder Image

The tongue weight limits were set at the 10% mark yet again, having a maximum weight for manual transmissions set at 350 lbs. and 500 lbs. max. for automatic transmissions.

The GCWR was set at 8,000 lbs. and 9,500 lbs., the lower rating for the manual transmission models and the higher one for models equipped with the automatic transmission.

2000-2004 Chart

Trim Levels And Tow Packages Offered...

There were many different trim levels that were offered over the years and each model year seemed to have slightly different availability when it came to tow packages and the Pathfinder trim levels.

Below is an example of two different model years that I looked up, the 2020 models (top picture) and a 2016 model (bottom pic) and you can see that they are different.

The rectangular box indicates a standard option, which means you did not need an upgraded package in order to have the tow equipment installed and some models required additional packages to be purchased in order to have tow equipment options.

So, you will want to make sure that you take a look at your specific model years brochure to verify if your specific trim level had a tow package option available and what those options were. I was able to find these two brochures online by searching for the model year and adding the word "brochure".

Pathfinder Trim Level Options

Pathfinder Trim Level Options

Pathfinder Trim Level Options 2

Take A Look At The GVWR and GAWR Figures!

All of the charts I found in the manuals had the GCWR listed for the different models, which was a very convenient feature to have included but you should also know what the GVWR and GAWR's are too and these were not included in the charts.

Where Can I Find These?

The GVWR and the GAWR specs are usually listed on the certification label, which can be found somewhere on the driver's side door jamb area (with the door open).

On the label, you will see a lot of important information listed like tire size and pressure, along with the VIN and this is also where you will find the GVWR specs and both front and rear GAWR specs.

Pathfinder Vmvss Label

Pathfinder VMVSS Label

The GVWR is important because it is the total amount of weight that your vehicle is capable of holding, which usually includes the vehicle itself (with all fluids), all passengers and cargo and optional equipment that may be mounted on the vehicle somewhere.

The GAWR is a more rare metric that most people tend not to use, in general, but it's still important you take these weight ratings into consideration when calculating weight specifications as a whole.

Do I Need Trailer Brakes?

Most people don't realize that when they tow heavier trailers, most manufacturers will recommend some sort of trailer brake system to ensure that you can safely stop your vehicle with the added weight that is now attached behind it. 

Nissan does recommend that if your trailer weighs 3,500 pounds or more, then you need to have that trailer equipped with its own independent braking system, separate from your vehicle braking system. Below is a little snippet of what I found in the 2020 owner's manual...

Pathfinder Trailer Brakes Warning

It is important to note that some model years have different recommendations when pulling trailers over specific weights.

Some examples of this are when towing a trailer over 5,000 lbs., a weight distributing hitch is needed or a brake system on the trailer needs to be equipped if the weight is over 3,500 lbs. and so on.

Refer to your Pathfinder's owner's manual for specif requirements on certain trailer weight accessory requirements.

Resources For The Nissan Pathfinders That May Come In Handy:

Below is a list of all of the Nissan Pathfinder owner's manuals that I found online and gathered data from to get all of the needed information on the Pathfinder's towing specs. Other people might find it useful as well.

Last updated on May 10th, 2021 at 02:06 pm

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