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Sticker or sensor box? 2021 Ford F-150 Pro Trailer Backup Assist changes


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.

What happened to the sticker?

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.

Wait the sticker is coming back?

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.

The bottom line on 2021 Ford F-150 Pro Trailer Backup Assist

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.

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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  1. Dave Prince March 9, 2022

    did the Ford guy say if the Job 2 and after trucks will still work with the Yaw sensor if you already have one on your trailer? I can’t use the stickers due to the location of my propane tanks on the travel trailer… which made the sensor kit nice. My early build ’21 came with the kit and I still have the trailer part on my travel trailer. Just want to understand if i CAN use the already installed sensor.
    Dave P

    1. Tim Esterdahl March 17, 2022

      I didn’t hear one way or another on that. Sorry.

      1. Robert Spano March 26, 2022

        Hello. Do you know the TSB # for the Job 1-2 updates that was referenced?

        Many thanks!

        1. Tim Esterdahl April 4, 2022

          I don’t think there was a TSB. It is just an internal thing with Ford.


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