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October 25, 2001

Trailer Trick

By applying some practical ingenuity, you'll never need a second person to guide your truck's hitch to the trailer.

Singlehandedly lining up your vehicle's tow-hitch ball with your boat's trailer-hitch coupler can be a hit-or-miss operation, especially if you're backing a truck with a topper shell. I've solved this problem by placing matching range-finder marks, visible in the inside rear-view mirror, on the upper part of the truck's rear window and the camper top's rear window using felt-tip marker.
To line up with the trailer, raise the trailer's coupler a couple inches higher than the height of the hitch ball and lean a tall broom handle against the coupler. From inside the vehicle, line the two window marks up with the broom handle in the rear view mirror and back up. When the hitch ball knocks over the broom handle, the hitch ball should be directly below the coupler.
This also works on pickups without toppers by making a mark centered on the top of the tailgate.

- Stanley Valeski
Rockledge, Florida