How to Back Up a Small Utility Trailer

A utility trailer is usually a small, single-axle trailer used for general purpose hauling. A utility trailer can come in handy for moving household goods, transporting motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles or hauling lawn and garden equipment. You can purchase inexpensive utility trailers at home or farm centers, or you can rent one by the day at rental centers. Towing a small trailer is quite easy to get the hang of until it comes to backing up. By following a few simple techniques you should be able to back a small utility trailer satisfactorily.

  • Always use a spotter when possible. Have someone stand where they can see the rear of your trailer when you are backing to make sure there are no obstacles in your path. Make sure the spotter is in your line of vision in case they need you to stop suddenly.

  • Back slowly. Do not get in a hurry as short utility trailers will jackknife quicker than a longer trailer.

  • Do not use your mirrors, if possible, when backing, as mirrors show a reverse view and may confuse you if you are not used to backing a trailer. Look out the rear window of your vehicle to check your progress if it is not obstructed.

  • Place one hand around the steering wheel rim at the bottom. Move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go. Make slow, gradual movements. Do not make sudden or quick steering movements.

  • Stop the vehicle immediately if the trailer starts to jackknife or if the rear of the trailer is coming around to face the front. Pull forward to straighten out the trailer and try your maneuver again. Place your hand on top of the steering wheel and follow the trailer’s movements once it is finally going in the intended direction.