Hitching Trailers with a Back-up Camera - 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 LT Crew Long-Term Road Test
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2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 LT Crew Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500: Hitching Trailers with a Back-up Camera

January 30, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Back-up cameras like the one found in our 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 aren't just for safety, though that's seen as the main benefit by many people. Turns out they're useful for many other more routine driving tasks that involve alignment and tight quarters.

The list includes routine parking, particularly if you like to reverse into spaces, as I do. Also on the list is parallel parking, which is a bit like playing "Operation" with cars and curbs.

And then there's towing, specifically the part where you're backing up to connect to the trailer before you head out. But all such cameras are not created equal when it comes to this.

The Silverado's guidance line overlay does not pivot as you crank the wheel, but that's actually helpful when one is attempting to align the truck with the trailer, especially when you're still 20 or 30 feet away.

Near the end of the hitching process it's common to overshoot the ball by an inch, at which point it's necessary to shift back into Drive and edge forward a bit. GM understands this and keeps the camera running throughout.

This behavior seems so patently obvious I shouldn't need to point it out. But a Toyota Tundra backup camera will wink out at the precise moment you shift out of reverse due to an overly conservative (and thoughtless) corporate interpretation of laws designed to prevent TV-watching on screens visible to the driver while traveling down the road in a forward gear.

No one is going to drive at 2 mph just so they can watch a DVD. GM's common-sense approach allows their back-up camera to be a useful towing aid. Our Silverado's camera winks out when a very low forward speed threshold is met. I think it matches the one that triggers the auto door-lock function.

Point is, folks that tow need to know that back-up cameras aren't universally suited to this activity.

Try this on your next test drive: Shift into reverse to activate the camera, then go back into drive and take note of when it winks back out. You may want to move on to another brand if it happens as soon as you move the lever out of reverse. If you're like me you'll want to see the image linger for the first foot or two of forward travel.

GM's products are among those that have this part right.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 14,322 miles


Comments

  • jeepsrt jeepsrt Posts:

    My '12 Raptor does the same thing, stays on while in drive and shifting back into reverse, it's a nice feature.

  • GM sucks at build quality but they usually have those cool "why didn't I think of that" features. Edmunds recently did a post on the HUD in the Mazda 3 and how useful it is but GM first offered this technology in 1988. 26 years ago. Touchscreen controls for audio, climate and car functions in the 1986 Buick Riviera. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems that displayed individual pressures in the 1997 Corvette. The most little known contribution GM made to automotive history was GM's Assembly Line Data Link. It was created in 1980 as way to make sure the computer worked on the assembly line. It was never intended to be used outside the factory and there was no special equipment to use the connection The only thing the dealer or customer could do was jump 2 pins in the connector with a small piece of metal and the check engine light would blink a code that would indicate a problem with the few systems it could monitor. Sound familiar. Years later this was adopted as On Board Diagnostics.

  • GM sucks at build quality but they usually have those cool "why didn't I think of that" features. Edmunds recently did a post on the HUD in the Mazda 3 and how useful it is but GM first offered this technology in 1988. 26 years ago. Touchscreen controls for audio, climate and car functions in the 1986 Buick Riviera. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems that displayed individual pressures in the 1997 Corvette. The most little known contribution GM made to automotive history was GM's Assembly Line Data Link. It was created in 1980 as way to make sure the computer worked on the assembly line. It was never intended to be used outside the factory and there was no special equipment to use the connection The only thing the dealer or customer could do was jump 2 pins in the connector with a small piece of metal and the check engine light would blink a code that would indicate a problem with the few systems it could monitor. Sound familiar. Years later this was adopted as On Board Diagnostics.

  • @jeepsrt, the coolest thing about the Raptor is that Ford thought about installing a camera on the front of the truck. It operates a low speeds for rock crawling.

  • @jeepsrt, the coolest thing about the Raptor is that Ford thought about installing a camera on the front of the truck. It operates a low speeds for rock crawling.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Thanks for that perspective, allthingshonda - people frequently forget that stuff the General pioneered.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Thanks for that perspective, allthingshonda - people frequently forget that stuff the General pioneered.

  • kevm14 kevm14 Posts:

    Yeah my 93 Caprice will blink out engine codes, ABS codes or even airbag codes by jumping different pins in the ALDL. I do all my data logging for engine tuning via that port. It was the wild west before OBD-II. Some manufacturers didn't even have the port inside the car.

  • kevm14 kevm14 Posts:

    Yeah my 93 Caprice will blink out engine codes, ABS codes or even airbag codes by jumping different pins in the ALDL. I do all my data logging for engine tuning via that port. It was the wild west before OBD-II. Some manufacturers didn't even have the port inside the car.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    I can understand backing up to the trailer when its loaded but why can't you roll the trailer to the truck for the last foot or two? From what little I can see from the pic its a single axle boat trailer so at best it weights 800-1400 lbs which is easily moved by hand.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    I can understand backing up to the trailer when its loaded but why can't you roll the trailer to the truck for the last foot or two? From what little I can see from the pic its a single axle boat trailer so at best it weights 800-1400 lbs which is easily moved by hand.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    So is Edmunds clearing out most people comments now or is this a website bug?

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    So is Edmunds clearing out most people comments now or is this a website bug?

  • dan_acosta dan_acosta Posts:

    "The Silverado's guidance line overlay does not pivot as you crank the wheel." The guidance lines do move when the wheel turns on my 14 Sierra. Are you sure they do not turn on the Silverado?

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