How to Backup a Trailer the Easy Way!

How to Backup a Trailer the Easy Way!

Written by Ray Repic
October 6, 2023

Backing up your trailer for the first time can be a little complicated; it is not correctly connected to your vehicle, which makes it much harder to control when turning. In this article, we will walk you through the necessary steps, tricks, and tips to properly backup your trailer like a pro.

Hook Up Your Trailer

how to backup a trailer

The very first thing you are going to do is connect your trailer to the ball hitch; if you don't do this correctly, you are risking your container coming loose on the road and possibly causing a significant accident. Once you have placed the trailer on the ball, connect the chain. The chain should make an X across.

Why a chain? The chains ensure that if the trailer disconnects from the ball hitch, it will still hold together, giving you enough time to stop and address the problem. Without the chain, your trailer may get loose and spiral into the road. Always double-check and make sure that the latch on the connecting part is still closed and secured! This will keep your trailer secure and make sure the lock won't come off. Once you have completed the above steps, connect the pin and lock the entire mechanism into place; without the pin, your trailer may bump into your truck.

Hand Placement

how to backup a trailer

If you are used to placing your hand on the upper part of your steering wheel, you should know that it makes it much harder when backing up your trailer. When you are in reverse and turn left, your trailer goes right, and when you turn your steering wheel right, your trailer will naturally go left. Fix this situation by simply holding your steering wheel from the bottom area instead of the top.

Use Your Mirrors

Effective use of your mirrors is one of the fundamental skills when it comes to safely and confidently backing up a trailer. Properly adjusted mirrors can be your eyes on the sides and rear of the trailer, allowing you to monitor its position and trajectory as you navigate the intricacies of trailer backing. Here's how to make the most of your mirrors:

Adjust Your Mirrors: Begin by adjusting your side mirrors to provide the best possible view of both sides of the trailer. Ensure that you can see the entire width of the trailer, as well as a portion of the road behind it. You want a balanced view that minimizes blind spots.

Check for Obstructions: Before starting your maneuver, take a moment to check that there are no obstructions or obstacles in the area where you plan to back up. Clear any potential hazards from your intended path.

Understand Mirror Movements: Learn how your trailer responds to steering inputs. When you turn the steering wheel to the left, the rear of the trailer moves to the left, and vice versa. Understanding this relationship is crucial for making precise adjustments.

Use Your Side Mirrors: Focus primarily on your side mirrors as you back up. These mirrors provide a clear view of the trailer's position relative to the road, curbs, and other objects on both sides. Monitor how close the trailer is to these reference points to ensure you're on the right track.

Check the Rearview Mirror: Your rearview mirror is also valuable for keeping an eye on the trailer's alignment with the tow vehicle. It can help you confirm that the trailer is tracking straight or provide early warnings of any misalignment.

Taking It Slow

Face it. Towing your trailer as a beginner is difficult. Backing up is something that only gets better with practice! Enough practice will make you more confident, less stressed, and overall better at towing a trailer. Be sure to take it slow, look into your side mirror for reference of your trailer placement, and if your trailer is moving the wrong way, pull forward to straighten out and try it again!


Have a trailer wider than your vehicle? No problem! Use the fender wheel of your truck and fender of your trailer to connect the dots and use it as a reference point. If you have a backup camera installed, it will help tremendously! Just do not stare into it too long; make sure you are keeping your eyes on your surroundings by looking it to your mirrors as well.

Practice Makes Perfect

Reversing in a straight line is easy, but let's be real; you won't always have the option to do so. You must practice turning your trailer when backing up. While driving in reverse and turning to correct the position of your trailer, you can see through your windows. Roll your window down, place your arm on the windowpane, and pop your head out if it makes it any easier! Never be afraid to step out of your vehicle if you feel the need to look at your progress. It can be a little embarrassing to do so in a large crowd, where you feel all eyes on you. Don't let that get to you; every single person watching had the same struggle and experience at some point in their life!

Ask Somebody To Help

If you have a friend or trust a nearby stranger, ask them for some help if you need it! You might be surprised at how many people are happy and willing to take a minute to assist you. This helper will be especially helpful if you are backing up on the passenger side or if you need to make a tight squeeze through a severe angle.

Longer trailers are a little bit easier to backup than shorter!

Practice these steps over and over until you feel confident, and you will be ready to hit the road, knowing that you're safe and prepared. If you are transporting any cargo on the trailer, be sure to tie-down everything to prevent damage to the load, or worse, damage to other vehicles on the road! We offer a wide range of heavy-duty tie-down straps you can check out here on our website.

Featured Product: Trailer Hitch Locking Pin

 The safest and most effective way to secure your precious trailer and prevent theft is with the Rhino USA locking trailer hitch pin. It comes in two different sizes and fits all class III, IV, and V hitches.

As always, reach out to our team at Rhino USA with any questions you may run into while reading this guide. Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and we hope you have an awesome day!

rhino usa tow strapFAQ's

How to lock a trailer hitch?

The best way to lock a trailer hitch is by using a locking trailer hitch pin or trailer coupler lock kit. Both of these methods are very effective ways to lock your trailer or trailer hitch and prevent your trailer from theft.

Trailer hitch pin lock vs trailer coupler lock

When it comes to securing your trailer, two essential tools are trailer hitch locks and trailer coupler locks. Each serves a distinct purpose, and understanding the difference between them is crucial for safeguarding your trailer and its contents. Rhino USA offers top-quality products in both categories to ensure your peace of mind during every journey.

Trailer Hitch Lock:

A trailer pin hitch lock is designed to protect the connection point between your trailer and your vehicle's hitch receiver. It prevents unauthorized removal of the trailer from the hitch, making it an excellent theft deterrent. Rhino USA's line of trailer hitch locks includes robust options crafted with durability and security in mind. They come in various sizes to fit different hitch receivers and provide reliable protection whether you're parked or on the move.

Trailer Coupler Lock:

On the other hand, a trailer coupler lock secures the hitch ball and coupler latch on your trailer. This lock ensures that your trailer remains firmly attached to your tow vehicle during transit, preventing accidental detachment. Rhino USA offers a range of trailer coupler locks that are easy to install and highly effective. They're engineered to fit various coupler sizes, providing a snug and secure fit for worry-free towing.

Choosing the Right Lock:

  • Use a Trailer Hitch Lock when you want to deter theft or prevent someone from disconnecting your trailer from the hitch receiver, especially when parked or unattended. Rhino USA's hitch locks offer peace of mind in such situations.

  • Opt for a Trailer Coupler Lock when you need to ensure that your trailer stays securely hitched to your vehicle during travel. Rhino USA's coupler locks are designed for easy installation and reliable performance on the road.