How to reverse a trailer

by | Sep 26, 2019 | Trailer Tips

For many people, one of the scariest things about towing a trailer is having to reverse it. However despite the fear, you are going to have to put it in to reverse at some point. Reversing a trailer takes lots of practice, but here is a quick guide from Belco to get you started.

These 4 simple steps will help you to reverse your trailer into these common locations

  • driveways
  • boat ramps
  • Bunnings’ carparks
  • the local tip
  • camp sites
  • back yards

and more!

Step 1 – Get ready

Drive your trailer in a straight line until it’s directly behind the car and pointing directly straight to where you are wanting the trailer to end up. This is the biggest and most helpful tip.

Moving your steering wheel to the left will cause the trailer to go right. Moving your steering wheel to the right will steer the trailer to the left. Sounds simple right?

Graphic showing three steering positions for reversing a trailer.
Graphic depicting the viewing angle of a trailer from the side mirrors of a vehicle.

Step 2 – Vision

Roll down your windows and make sure you have a clear view through your side mirrors.

Use your side mirrors to keep track of your trailer’s movements.

Before you start, note how much trailer appears in each mirror, that way you will know when you are straight!

Step 3 – The Wheelbarrow

If you’ve ever had to navigate your way around the garden with a wheelbarrow full of dirt, you’ll understand the concept of this next step.

When you want to turn the wheelbarrow to the right, you have to move the handles to the left and vice versa.

When it comes to steering your trailer, the method is the same.

Graphic showing how a trailer is steered when reversing.
Graphic showing a vehicle with a trailer, in preparation for reversing into a car space.

Step 4 – Take your time

Place the car into reverse. Keep the steering wheel straight and very slowly reverse. Because the trailer is unstable, it won’t track directly behind the car.

You will start to see more trailer appear in one of the side mirrors, and less in the other. When that happens, turn the steering wheel toward the mirror with more trailer in it. This will help correct it’s course.

Continue reversing slowly, making minor adjustments with the steering wheel if necessary, to get you where you need to be.

Graphic showing a vehicle with a trailer having successfully reversed into a car space.

Be careful of the jack-knife!

A jack-knifed trailer can cause damage to both the towing vehicle and the trailer.

To prevent this from happening, it’s important when backing up to go slowly!

You can correct excessive turns by pulling forward and trying again. It’s OK to try again!

Graphic showing a vehicle with a trailer that has jack-knifed while reversing.

Enjoy your Belco Trailer – Safely