When the 2021 Ford F-150 hit the dealer lots, there was a change in how the Pro Trailer Backup Assist functioned that nobody seemed to know anything about. Now, this change is going away. Here is what is going on.
Starting with the 2021 F-150, the Pro Trailer Backup Assist, the name for the system designed to help you back up a trailer easier by using a knob mounted on the dash instead of the steering wheel, came with a new way to hook it up to your trailer: a sensor box or yaw rate sensor.
The idea is you mount this box to the trailer and then plug in a sensor wire into the truck. In just a few minutes, as I demonstrate in the video below, you can start backing up your trailer through using the system.
While this system has its critics from those “who know how to backup a trailer,” it is a nice feature for those who seldom backup trailers or, in my case, have a short wheelbase trailer that can jackknife in a heart beat. In this case, it’s nice to have a system help you back them up.
For those who remember when this system came out a few years ago, there was a black-and-white checked sticker instead of the sensor box. This sticker was placed on the trailer, the back-up camera identified the sticker and then measurements were taken and entered into the truck computer. After this process was complete, you could then use the Pro Trailer Backup Assist as it was designed.
The sticker is arguably more complex to setup, however, it is a one-and-done setup. Plus, it’s much cheaper to get more stickers than the yaw rate sensor, which can run upwards of $300 per unit.
For customers with multiple trailers, having the sticker is worth the time invest to save hundreds of dollars.
Thanks to a fan of ours, there is a technical service bulletin saying by year end, the sticker is returning to 2021 Ford F-150 models. For clarification, I reached out to Ford and got this response from Dawn McKenzie, Ford Truck Communications Manager:
“Job 1 trucks include both the stickers and the yaw rate sensor. When the software is released for J1 customers, the truck can use either the stickers or the yaw rate sensor.
Job 2 trucks will just include the stickers, as the trucks will function with those from the factory. (Job 2 trucks are those being produced this summer).”
I suspect part of this is consumer response to buying the yaw rate sensor box, and another part is the ongoing semiconductor shortage forcing automakers to scale back some of the technology they are putting into their vehicles.
While this news is great for customers with multiple trailers or who didn’t like the idea of leaving a yaw rate sensor on their trailer year-round, it is going to make for some confusion for some owners down the line wondering if they need the sticker or the box. I suspect, they will go with the much cheaper sticker, and this yaw rate sensor box will go the way of the Dodo.