How to Reverse a Trailer

March 19 2021
safely reverse a trailer

Having to reverse a vehicle can sometimes become an agitating experience. This experience gets doubled if you have something attached to your car.

However, the concept of backing up a trailer is quite simple, especially once you have a little practice and the right towbar fittings in Perth. Understanding how it works ahead of time can make the process easier.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can reverse a trailer.

Step 1: Ask a Passenger to Guide Outside the Car

Having a passenger work as your spotter is very helpful. Another pair of eyes behind the trailer can see things that you cannot. You can even use short-range radios to make communicating a lot easier.

Before reversing, remind your spotter to also lookup. Spotters can be easily preoccupied with the obstacles they see on the ground that they can forget to check above for wires and tree limbs. Be careful of leaning trees that you might miss as it can cause damage to your rig on the roofline.

Step 2: Wind Down Windows and Adjust Side Mirrors

Prior to backing up, make sure you wind down your windows so you have a clear view of your surroundings. You should then adjust your mirrors as it is going to be crucial in helping see behind you.

Ensure that the mirrors are adjusted so you have a clear view of the backside of your trailer.

Step 3: Think of the Opposite Reaction

One major reason why most people find reversing with a trailer hard is because the turning of the wheel in one way results in the trailer moving in the opposite.

The key here is to hold the steering wheel from the bottom. This allows you to see the direction of the wheel where it is turned and will now match the trailer’s travel direction.

Make sure you go slow and do not be afraid to step out of the vehicle to check the progress.

Step 4: Go Back, Follow the Curve, and Straighten Up

Next, you want to shift into reverse gear and begin turning right while you slowly ease backward. This is going to move the rear of your tow vehicle to the left and the back of the trailer to the right. This places the trailer and the tow vehicle in a rightward arc.

You should then straighten the steering wheel so that it points to where the tow vehicle and trailer can stay constant. Think of it like reversing in a circle.

If you took it easy, the trailer should line up with the designated parking spot. Go ahead and straighten the wheels further until both the tow vehicle and trailer are in line. You want them to be effectively 90 degrees from your starting position.

Continue reversing with small adjustments as needed. If the trailer is turning too tight, lock the wheel in its opposite direction to correct the tail to the left. Don’t stress out if you have to drive forward to correct, the principles remain the same.

You will also find that having to back up a larger trailer or one with an extended tow bar is easier. The longer distance between the axle and coupling means that the adjustments are less drastic.


Those were the steps that can help you reverse a vehicle with a trailer attached to it. If you need to back up with a trailer frequently, you need to make sure that you have the right equipment in hand to stay safe.

West Coast Towbars can provide you with the products that can help you tow properly. Check out our tow bar fittings in Perth today!

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