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How do you back up a trailer? Answered

I absolutely can not back up a trailer.  We use trailers all of the time, from hauling rocks after rock hunting to setting up for a craft show.  I'm doing great going forward.  However, I can not back up on my own.  Sometimes it is impossible to "pre-plan" my path so that it includes no backing up.



Maybe you can try a front hitch wen you have to backup in a small place


8 years ago

almost every trailer/tow vehicle combination is different and thus unique. Someone who can back a 25' car trailer down a twisting driveway and into the garage may well be curseing the maker of a seadoo trailer afer jackknifing a dzn times (been there) The best combo is like a tractortrailer rig, short tow vehicle and long trailer, the worst (and almost impossible to back) would be a 20' uhaul truck with their smallest trailer or a crewcab long bed p/u with the aforementioned seadoo trailer. Personally regardless of what combo Im backing (and Im not saying its right, just my preference) I use one hand on the top center of the steering wheel, then either looking over my shoulder if possible or using the mirrors I "drive" the trailer. Ok,, none of that really helped did it... you've gotten some great advice already, the best would be 2 practice in a parking lot (use some empty plastic trash cans or even 2liter bottles)

Just note that the "rules" are different for a two wheel (single axle) and a four wheel (two axles, the front one steerable). The four wheel trailer involves you turning the steering wheel in the direction you want to go, but recognize the trailer reacts slowly, but exponentially to your input. With a single axle you turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction you intend. But it all requires that you start backing up with the trailer and all its wheels lined up with the wheels of the towing vehicle.. So if you find the trailer going different than you intend, pull forward to re-align the trailer.

Thank you one and all! Amazingly, I had not thought of practicing in a parking lot. My SO does it so easily with and without a trailer, that he does not understand my struggle. I once had to wake him up from a dead sleep to get me out of a situation where there was construction, and a road I turned down was blocked. You would think that would be enough incentive to teach me. However, he does it so automatically that I don't think that he knows how to teach me. GLO

Also, if you have difficulty seeing the trailer and what it is doing from your vantage point behind the wheel, try attaching one of those bright orange safety flags that you see on bicycles and mobility scooters to each of the back corners of it.
This will help you see the angle of the trailer as it moves.

Have a look at these.  Then practice in an open parking lot so you won't hit anything.

Once you get the hang of it you will be able to put that trailer exactly where you want it.

Going forward, it's easy because the trailer just follows the back of your car. It may not take exactly the line you expect, but it averages out OK. Going backward, you need to steer the _trailer_. If you want the trailer to point to the right, the back of your car needs to move to the left, just as if you were handling a wheelbarrow or a small cart by hand. This is an unstable system; you need to continuously adjust and it's easy to overcompensate. Until you are VERY experienced, be prepared to periodically stop and drive forward a bit to straighten things out before trying again. Not as easy as it looks. Lots and lots and lots and LOTS of practice. This is a large part of why schools exist for drivers of large trucks. You may want to spend some time practicing in an empty parking lot.