The new 2021 Ram 1500 trucks (including the TRX) can be equipped with an optional ‘Trailer Reverse Steering Control’ system. This system is designed to help the driver backup and steer a trailer. I put it to the test with the help of this new Ram TRX.
In this video, I backup a trailer by myself while making three 90-degree turns and going down a narrow alley. Next, I complete the exact same route by using the automated reverse steering system. The trailer I using is our flat-deck Iron Bull. It’s a 22-foot tandem axle trailer with an 18-foot deck.
The TRX is a big and wide truck, but the side mirrors and the rear camera provide good visibility around this trailer. When backing up and steering by myself, I completed the course without too much trouble. I had to pull forward twice in order to adjust my line.
Before Ram’s new trailer steering system can be used, it needs to be calibrated first. The system relies solely on the reverse camera to understand the angle of the trailer. It does not use the blind-spot monitor radar system. Actually, our TRX TR1 is not equipped with a blind-spot monitor. Calibration is relatively simple. It requires you to drive forward a short distance and make two “hopefully 90-degree” turns. Once the computer is happy, it gives the driver a signal message in the gauge cluster, and a solid amber light on the console – next to the steering knob. Next, simply shift the transmission into Reverse, let go of the steering wheel, and operate the brake & throttle to backup. There is no need to place a sticker on the trailer frame, no need to measure anything, and no need to enter any data into the truck’s computer.
Of course, it’s much more than that. You still have to be totally aware of the surroundings in order not to run the trailer or the truck into any obstacles. I liked how the Ram is able to keep the truck and trailer straight while backing up down the alley. I quickly learned that Ram’s backup system is not as aggressive as I would be if I was steering by myself. I needed to begin the turn sooner than I am normally used to. (I have been backing up trailers for about 18-19 years.) The automated system would not turn as sharply as I wanted it to. After a couple of adjustments, I completed the entire course.
I think this system can be helpful for somebody who is not used to backing up trailers, especially in a situation like a boat launch ramp. However, if you are expecting it to navigate the tightest places, it will still take some time to get used to it.