Towing: How-To Back Up and Park a Trailer

Hi, my name is Stuart. I’m gonna try to
show you how to back up a trailer today. The key term that I want to make sure
everyone knows about is the hitch ball. The hitch ball is on a lot of cars and
you’ll see it’s what is underneath this cover right here. It’s what the trailer grabs onto and
connects itself to the car. The trailer will pivot on the hitch ball as you turn
the car back and forth and the main thing you want to avoid is what’s
called a jackknife situation and that’s what we kind of have set up here. If we
were to back the car up another eight inches or a foot, a very short distance,
you could imagine as the bumper comes backwards, it would collide with
with the tongue of the trailer and cause some damage to your car and to the trailer,
so if we can avoid that, I think we’ll be okay. The key for me when I’m trying to
explain to someone how to back up a trailer, is to get them to imagine that
it’s like a wheel barrel that you’re pushing but instead of pushing the
wheelbarrow with your hands, you’re pushing the trailer with the hitch ball
of your car and so the key to doing this is being able to control and know where
you want the hitch ball to be turning and pushing the trailer from. If I
want to get the trailer to go to my left I have to move my body to the right. My body in this case is
supposed to be the hitch ball, so if I want to get the trailer now to move to
the right I have to get my body or the hitch ball
to the left, so that’s how I have to push it. If i
want to make the trailer go this way to the left of the passenger
side, of the left I guess, then I need to get the hitch ball to the right of the
trailer and i’ll turn the steering wheel to do that. Now that I’ve started going that
way, if i want to make the trailer just continue in this arc and follow it
around I’m going to need to back that wheel the other way and if I want to get
the trailer to switch directions I gotta lock the steering wheel out all
the way in that direction so that I can get the hitch ball on the other side of the trailer.
Again, to avoid a jackknife, now I have to turn the wheel, yet again, the
other direction but it’s kind of like doing these exaggerated movements when
you’re pushing a wheelbarrow you just kind of got to get your hitch ball where
it needs to go.

82 Replies to “Towing: How-To Back Up and Park a Trailer

  1. The video cut off before the explanation. The speaker said it was like pushing a wheelbarrow, but instead of pushing…. that's where to message ended. Please post the whole version.

  2. You know, I think I'm just gonna have my uncle teach me maybe his dad…. Or I'll take classes….I'm not gonna do it based off these videos..

  3. all you have to do is grab the bottom of the steering wheel and move it in the direction you want the trailer to go…..old trucking trick

  4. This guy is an idiot. He's facing backward to do this instead of using his mirrors, he says left when he means right, he says "the other side" for both sides and severely overcompensates for every move. I don't believe this fellow could back his car into a garage the way he drives, let alone navigate a trailer backwards.

  5. Actually both techniques can be used based on your vehicle and the situation. I used to be a spotter for semi trailers at 2 places and I currently own 2 personal trailers pulled by my personal vehicle. If a trailer is real high, you will have to use your mirrors because you may not get the best view for the path of travel in reverse. Also, at times, the mirror view is best so that you can see what is dead to the left or right of the trailer when backing up verses just looking behind you.

  6. True, but what a lot of people leave out when teaching about backing up trailers is that you always want to allow for what I refer to as "bob" room. "Bob" room" is my made up term for allowing your tow vehicle to have space to the left and right of the vehicle when making the counter steering moves backing up a trailer. When people are not aware of this, they will hit the tow vehicle against something because they were focusing on the trailer exclusively.

  7. Lol this guy makes it look so easy. Its no,t its a pain in the ass, if you don't do it all the time. Like backing around a curve, longer than normal , around other vechiles/objects, or in tight spots. Its just one of those things that takes time and practice to master.

  8. dude you are going to confuse MOST people.. As a tow truck drive/ trainer been teaching people for about 20 years..

  9. Not to be mean or anything but you should watch the video "Backing up a Horse Trailer: How to get over your T.R.A." on YouTube. You will learn from them a much better way of explaining all this. Then record a new video based on their clearer and more understandable presentation. Upload the new one as the official UHaul How to Back Up a Trailer video, and then delete this one. You will have much more credibility with the public, then. I'm serious! Again, not trying to be mean. But the video, as you now have it, is terrible. Daniel Engstrom (below) is correct.

  10. This is a BASIC " get the job done" video that does the job.  Nobody will become proficient in backing small trailers from watching ANY video.  Go out and practice in an open area and you will get the hang of it.  Small trailers turn very quickly so only turn the steering wheel in small increments.

  11. i'm from the UK and here you can only tow up to 750kg or a trailer weighing more than this as long as the combined weight of the vehicle and trailer does not exceed 3,500kg, on a normal car license, any trailer weighing above this must have brakes and you need to have a trailer license to tow a trailer up to 3,500kg, anything above this is considered to be a commercial vehicle, its a safe system and the USA needs it


  13. The most useful tip I found for backing up a trailer was the following:
    "One neat trick is to steer from the bottom of the steering wheel. Then turning the wheel to the right makes the trailer go right and vice versa. As you get better you’ll develop a feel for which method you prefer."

    from here:

  14. I had a fully loaded 4×8 Uhaul enclosed trailer that I was pulling with my mini van and pulled into the wrong driveway of a business that was next to the storage place I was supposed to turn into. I didn't have enough room to make a U-turn in the parking lot and tried for about 10 minutes to back the trailer out without hitting vehicles in the parking lot. I just couldn't do it, so I just unhitched the fully loaded trailer, turned the damn thing around, then pulled my mini van around and in front of it, then hooked it back up and drove back onto the street and into the parking lot where I was supposed to be. LOL

  15. larry! even you are full  of it.! get off your lazy ass & look where you want to go. for obstructions. plan the path of the left trlr tire. SIMPLY  BACK UP KEEPING THE LEFT TRLR TIRE IN THAT PATH. TURN STEERING WHEEL AS YOU BACK UP. IF THAT IS THE WRONG WAY, TURN THE STEERING WHEEL THE OTHER WAY! JESUS , THIS IS SO DAM SIMPLE.  just stop thinking about which way to turn the steering wheel. unless you r the kind o person that wont move ur thumb after hitting it with a hammer!

  16. also dont use the mirrors. un less you are looking at right trlr tire. allways plan your turn before you get in a situation.make sure you are going to back up BEING ABLE TO SEE  LEFT TRAILER TIRE WITH OUT THE MIRRORS. dont  forget the right front  fender of your car/truck. .people ask me ""how do you know which way to turn the wheel…" i say that i dont know, i just turn it , and if that is wrong way , then i turn it the other way. daahhh which way did he go""peter rabbit""

  17. Thanks for the wheelbarrow analogy. NOW things are making sense. I have to learn to pull a 25" trailer soon (including backing it up). I'll be taking it to an empty car park to practice, but have been reading/watching instructions on backing up while I wait for the registration, etc. All the "put your hands here and turn the other way" instructions weren't making enough sense before. Now I understand what they meant.

  18. I've never seen any UHaul trailer look as pretty as the one in this video.  Why aren't they all like that?!

  19. Stumbled upon this video by accident, was looking for the newest movie trailers and ended up here. However, this was a very well made and extremely informative video. I particularly enjoyed the bird's eye view shot of the hitch ball. Next time I have to use a trailer I will defiantly brush up with this video. Heck, I might even give it a watch the next time I have to use a wheel barrel 😉 Thumbs up!

  20. Backing up is best explained as…. align the trailer with the tow vehicle so each trailer fender is seen in each tow vehicle mirror. with the steering wheel straight imagine the tow ball at 12 o'clock on the steering wheel and the trailer rear bumper at 6 o'clock or the bottom of the steering wheel. Place your hand at 6 o'clock or the bottom of the wheel and make your hand move where ever you want the "rear" of the trailer to go. Longer trailer take longer time for corrections to take place. Shorter trailers correct faster, always go slow! feel free to top comment me cause this is the BEST way!

  21. Put your hand on the bottom of the wheel, now move your hand the way you want the trailer to go… it is that simple

  22. hey thanks u so much for this video I love the idea of thinking of it as a wheel barrel I watched a bunch of videos 20+ min long n still couldn't understand it n u did it in less then 3 minutes n I got more out this video then the longer ones I just started a job today n I have to latch on a 30 foot trailer n drive it around all day n I could not back up to save my life but now with this video I understand it a lot better thanks alot

  23. Is it true that this specific trailer in the video cant be used with a 2005 Ford Explorer? I only need this type of trailer and don't need a 15' truck. Please advise

  24. I just remember that whatever way the back of my front tires are facing, is the direction the trailer is going to go.

  25. Dont do what they say and look out your back window, you need to use your side view mirrors so that you can see where the trailer is going, you cant do that looking out your back window, all you will see is the trailer and not what its about to hit

  26. In the Air Force, we had to back aircraft into hangers, with limited clearence. The aircraft was 300,000 pounds, and about 150 feet long and wide. Try backing it around a corner and between permanently positioned stands with only 6 inches of clearance at any given point. Add in three pivot points, and let the fun begin. Tow tractor was 50k pounds with coordinated or standard steering.

  27. So I'm moving and renting a trailer for the first time. As he said his name, I was like I used to clean this guys pool. Lol. Nice house and pool.

  28. You should always treat the rear tires like they are the steering tires of the trailer. Don't worry about the hitch ball as is stated in this video. At least that is the way I learned from my father and uncles who all drove tractor trailers.

  29. I have driven a trailer across the country three times, but have never been able to figure out how to back up. After watching this video, I still do not.

  30. My Dad taught me many years ago how to back up a cart or trailer and it's a simple concept. It has helped me for many years. And now that I work for a storage facility that is a U-Haul Dealer as well it certainly has come in handy having to back trailers into parking spots…He told me " Put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and turn it the way you want the trailer to go. If you want the trailer to go to the right, grip the bottom of the steering wheel and turn it to the right. Do the same thing if you want the trailer to go to the left." Now that it is second nature to me the hand goes on top of the steering wheel. But for the general public this task can be intimidating and disastrous if you don't know how to do it. Hope this helps someone out there!  Denise

  31. I have anxiety and I messed up like 10 times trying to backing up my trailer at the land fill. Man I was sweating bullets in embarrassment.

  32. Good wheelbarrow comparison. You could also say it is like pushing a child’s wagon by the long handle instead of pulling.

  33. You missed the best trip for turning a trailer. Just place your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, so you just turn left to go left and vice-versa. Boom!

  34. i know how to tow and back up and all this idk why im watching this lmao. i think watching people tow a trailer for the first time is the funniest thing when they dont have the best driving either. people that can drive no problem never freaking out about trailers ever

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