How to Back Up a Trailer

Backing up a car is easy. You just spin the steering wheel in the counter direction that the back end of the vehicle needs to end up. Backing up a trailer is completely different. It requires skill and knowledge. Follow these steps to learn how to back up a trailer.


  1. Back Up a Trailer With a Spotter

    • 1

      Enlist the help of a spotter to assist you if you have to back into a tight space or there are hazards present such as children or animals. This is also a good idea if you're new to backing up a trailer.

    • 2

      Establish hand signals if you're using a spotter. Do exactly what the spotter says because he or she is the one that can see the direction the trailer is heading.

    • 3

      Have your spotter stand at the front of the vehicle. You need to be able to clearly see him as he guides you in. Use cones to mark the area where you want the trailer to end up.

    • 4

      Keep your window down and radio off so you can hear the spotter and stay focused. Put your hand at the 12 o'clock position on the steering wheel. Turn the steering wheel in the direction the spotter points.

    Back Up a Trailer Without a Spotter

    • 5

      Try to always back up from the driver's side. You will be able to see where your trailer is heading. Try not to back up from the passenger's side because it's nearly impossible. This is your blind side and you cannot see where the trailer is going.

    • 6

      Inspect the areas around your trailer for children, branches, utility hookups or other hazards.

    • 7

      Mark a path in your line of sight. This is best done using large orange cones.

    • 8

      Place your hand at the 6 o'clock position on the steering wheel. If you want the trailer to go to the left gently guide your steering wheel to the left as you reverse. If you want to go to the right turn your wheel gently to the right.

    • 9

      Stop and get out occasionally to check your progress until you're comfortable backing up a trailer. With a little practice you can back up a trailer into a parking spot like a pro.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always have somebody watch behind your trailer if there are children or pets present so they don't run back there unseen.

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