Tips on How to Back Up with a Trailer or Boat
Ford just announced that their new Pro Trailer Backup Assist feature will be making its way to their pickup line for the 2016 model year. The feature takes the stress out of backing up with a trailer or boat attached, as it allows the driver to control a knob that steers the trailer. Without the confusion of using the steering wheel to turn the vehicle, and the trailer, with the knob, the only thing that needs to be steered is the trailer. It helps to make driver’s look like pros when backing into the boat launch.
Although the feature is extremely helpful, we understand that not everyone owns a Ford F-150 with the Pro Trailer Backup Assist feature, so we thought that it would be helpful to provide you with a few tips on how to back up with a trailer or boat attached. If you are doing things the old fashioned way, we have a pretty good feeling that a few of these guidelines will allow you to improve your craft.
- Practice in an empty parking lot. Trying to master the art of backing up with a trailer when the boat launch is full and there is a line of people behind you does not make things any easier. Go to a parking lot and pay attention to what the trailer does as you turn the wheel so that you are more comfortable maneuvering the rig when it comes time for the big performance.
- When backing up, place your hand at the six-o-clock position and move your hand in the direction that you want the rear end of the trailer to go. This will help you to avoid turning the wheels in the wrong direction and helps to eliminate some of the confusion of the process.
- Go slow. Don’t jerk the wheel too quickly, and make sure to keep your lead foot at home. If you bring speed into the equation, there is more potential for disaster. Take your time and get out to check where you’re at if you need to. Going slow is a lot better than trying to go too fast and ruining your weekend excursion before it even begins.
- Backing up in a straight line is far easier than trying to back up a trailer on a turn. If you have the space, pull around and line yourself up with the place that you need to go. From there, you can just slowly back up and correct the trailer if need be. If you can avoid the dreaded S-turn, we definitely recommend it.
- Use a spotter. Unless you like to fish alone, try to bring someone along and kick them out of the vehicle as soon as you need to start backing up. Just be sure to instruct them on what to do. Make sure that they can see your face in the side mirror and that you can hear them. The spotter will do no good if they are directly behind the boat or trailer where you cannot see or hear them.
As we said, there is a way of just forgetting about all of these tips. The Pro Trailer Backup Assist feature is the answer to all of your problems with backing up when a boat or trailer is attached. If you want to see what the feature can do, be sure to schedule a test drive of the 2016 Ford F-150 here at Matt Ford. Believe us when we say that you will never want to try and do it the old school way ever again.
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