How to Park on a Hill Like a Pro – Plus Helpful Hill Parking FAQ

Parking on flat ground can be difficult enough. But adding in a hill can add in a whole new level of complexity. Plus, if you get it wrong there is a chance that the car will roll away.

If you are planning on parking on a hill, there are a few things that you should know beforehand. This will make the process a lot smoother. Keep reading to learn the techniques that will make parking on a slope a lot easier.

How to Park Uphill

The first thing to consider is how you will handle parking uphill. Let’s look at how to handle this scenario.

How to Park Uphill with a Curb

There are two components to parking on a hill. First, you’ll need to get into the spot. When parking on the street this will often mean a parallel park. Then, you’ll need to make sure that your car is secure.  Here are the steps you need to get into the parking space:

  1. Find an appropriate space. Make sure that it will be large enough to fit your car. Remember to leave a little extra space in front and behind the vehicle.
  2. Use your indicators to show you intend to park.
  3. Check your mirror and blind spots for potential hazards.
  4. Turning the wheel, backing into the space. As you’re doing this, remember to turn the wheel in the opposite direction to the way you want to go. For example, if you want to go left, turn to the right. Also, as you’ll be traveling downhill, it’s important to be more active on the brake.
  5. Move forward, straightening up the car. This should put you into the space. Check how close you are to the curb. You’ll need to be a maximum of 18 inches from the gutter.
  6. Put a manual car into neutral or an automatic into park and apply the handbrake.

Once you’ve got into the space, you’ll need to make sure that you are securing the car. On a hill, with a curb, this means turning your wheels to the left. You’ll want to push the wheel as far as you can, getting a full lock. In this case, if the parking brake fails, the car will hit the curb. Ideally, it will then act as a chock, stopping it from rolling even further downhill.

It should be noted that some people opt to take this a step further. They will gently roll forwards until the car hits the curb. Then, they will put it in park. This gives them the peace of mind that the car isn’t going to roll away.

Next, you’ll need to get out of the space. This should be an easy process. You’ll need to put on your indicators and check your mirrors. Do a shoulder-check to make sure that no one is in your blind spot. Then, turn the wheel to the right and slowly pull out of the space.

How to Park Uphill without a Curb

Getting into the spot, you’ll need to follow the same procedure described above. However, when it comes to securing the car, there is a different procedure. On a hill without a curb, you’ll need to turn your wheels to the right. In this case, there is no curb to catch the wheels if the car starts to roll. Because of this, the car will move off the street.

This will help protect drivers; however, it can mean that the car rolls into a house. This is less than ideal. Because of this, you should make sure that you are applying the handbrake securely. If the handbrake is broken, you might need to check the wheels. This will stop it from rolling away.

How to Park Downhill

Sometimes, you will need to park your car at a downhill angle. Though this can be a big challenge, it isn’t impossible. Whether it has a curb or not will determine how you proceed. Let’s look at both of these possibilities and how you can deal with them.

How to Park Downhill with a Curb

Let’s start by looking at how you will be able to get into the spot when you are parking downhill. In this case, you will need to follow this series of steps:

  1. Find a suitable parking space. When selecting your space, you’ll want to make sure that there is plenty of space to fit your car into. This is doubly important if you need to parallel park.
  2. Put on your indicators and pull into the space. Pressing the brake is even more important when parking on a hill. You don’t want the car to move too fast because you risk losing control of the vehicle.
  3. Straighten up. If you need to parallel park, you might need to reverse into the space. As you are doing this, it might be necessary to use a little acceleration. This will give you a boost to get up the hill.

Once you are in the parking space, you’ll need to do a few extra steps. This will stop it from rolling away. The best way to prevent this is by parking with your wheels facing toward the curb. If the brakes fail, it should act as a chock, stopping your car from rolling away. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll be able to keep your car from rolling into the middle of the road and causing an accident.  

When you are ready to pull away, you will need to put on your indicators, check your mirrors and blind spots. Turn your wheel in the direction that you want to travel. Then you can ease out of the space.

How to Park Downhill without a Curb

When it comes to parking without a curb, you’ll need to follow a similar procedure to get into the space. You’ll also want to turn your wheels towards the side of the road. This will ensure that the vehicle doesn’t swerve into the road.

But, without a curb to stop it, there is a risk that the car could run off the road and damage property. If you are concerned that your brakes will fail, you might want to check the wheels.

How to Park a Manual Car on a Hill

cars to Parked on a Hill

Normally, when you are parking a manual car, you will want to leave it in neutral. However, when you are parking on a hill, you will need a slightly different procedure. If you are parking uphill, you should place the car into first gear. When you are parking downhill, you should put it into reverse. This will offer more resistance if the handbrake fails and might be enough to stop the car from rolling.

As always, it’s important to make sure that you apply the handbrake. If you notice that your handbrake is starting to have problems, visit the mechanic as soon as possible. You don’t want to risk it failing and having your car roll away.

How to Park an Automatic Car on a Hill

You will need to leave your automatic car in the parked gear. This will be marked by a ‘P’ on the gearbox. This will lock the transmission, making it harder for the car to roll away. After you do this, it’s common for your car to move a few inches. This is normal and doesn’t indicate a problem. You’ll also want to make sure that you are applying the handbrake. As in a manual, if you start to see signs of a handbrake problem, take the car to the mechanic as soon as possible.

It’s a good idea to put the handbrake on before you put it into the park. Take it off once you have switched into drive. This ensures that the weight of the car is resting on the handbrake, rather than on the transmission.


How to Park on a Hill to Nail Your Driving Test?

Parking on a hill can be difficult at the best of times. But when you are under the pressure of a driving test, it can be even more challenging. The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to make sure that you nail the procedure and get your license. These tips are:

  • Practice before the test. Get to know your car and how it handles. This will let you know how much pressure you need to put onto the accelerator to get it to go up the hill. You’ll also get familiar with the correct procedure.
  • Take a mock exam. Most driving schools will offer a mock driving exam. This will simulate the conditions that you will face when you take the test, so you know what to expect.  
  • Use your indicators and check blind spots. These are some of the most common mistakes that beginners make on their tests. Under the pressure of a hill park, it can be easy to forget these little details. But they can be the difference between passing and failing the exam.
  • Make sure that the wheels face the right way.
  • Apply the brakes firmly. 

One of the biggest issues that you will face when parking on a hill is the risk that the car will roll backward. This will happen when you forget to put on the handbrake after pulling into the park. Whether this will be enough to cause you to fail your test will depend on the circumstances. If you notice it moving back and you get it under control instantly you won’t have any issues.

However, if you hit another vehicle, that’s often an instant failure. Also, you might be in trouble if the car endangers a pedestrian. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm. If you feel yourself getting flustered, just take a breath and re-focus on the procedure.

Can Parking on a Hill Drain your Car Battery?

If you are planning on parking on a hill for an extended period you might have a few concerns about how they will affect the car. More specifically, how it will impact the battery. The good news is that leaving your car on a hill often won’t have any effect.

Sometimes, though, it can be possible to misdiagnose a battery problem. For example, you might notice that your car is turning over but isn’t starting. This might not be caused by a battery. It might be because of a problem with the spark plug. However, if there isn’t a lot of fuel in the tank, the angle of the hill might be moving it away from the pick-up. This makes it seem as though the tank is empty.

The only other time when parking can cause problems is because the battery goes flat. This will happen if left for an extended period, regardless of whether or not you are parking at an incline. Often, it will take two weeks before you need to turn it on and drive around the recharge it.

Is Parking on a Hill Bad for your Car?

The battery isn’t the only concern that people have when parking on a hill. For example, some people are concerned about the stress that the hill will be placing onto the brake and suspension system. Usually, these worries will be unfounded. But there are a few potential problems that you may face, these are:

  • Inaccurate fluid readings. When you are parking on a hill, the fluids will lie at an angle. This can make it hard to get an accurate sense of how much is left in the car. The good news is that once you start driving again, the problem will sort itself out again.
  • Pressure on the brakes. If you are routinely parking your car on a steep hill, the additional pressure could begin to take a toll on the braking system. It can sometimes make them wear out faster. If they start squeaking as you go around the corner it’s a good indication that the brake pads need to be replaced. 

Another element to consider is the way that you are parking an automatic car on a hill. Many people put the car into ‘park’ first, then apply the handbrake. However, this can often be a bad idea. This is because of the way this gear works. The pawl, which is a small metal pin, is used to block the transmission. This stops the car from moving anywhere.

Parking at an incline can cause problems for the transmission. This could be the reason why you hear a clunking sound when changing from park into drive. The bigger problem, though, is the pawl might be bent out of shape. These issues can manifest as a grinding noise when you are changing gears. This can be a very expensive problem to fix.

Thankfully, there is an easy way for you to overcome this problem. In this case, you will need to put the handbrake on first. Then, put the car into park. When you are ready to move off, shift into drive mode before releasing the handbrake and driving away. This ensures that the weight of the car is placed onto the brake, rather than the pawl.  These problems won’t affect a manual car, as there is no way of locking the transmission.

How to Park Down Your Car on a Slope?

Sometimes, you will have an angled driveway or the car park bay is on a slope. In this case, you will need to follow a few simple steps to park safely:

  1. Pull into the spot.
  2. Turn off the engine
  3. Apply the handbrake. Once you have done this, ease off the car’s brake. This will allow you to confirm that it has engaged properly.
  4. Put it into park or neutral.
  5. Turn the wheels. To decide which way you want to turn them, think about what will happen if the parking brake was to fail. Try to avoid having the car driving out onto the road.

This will be a good procedure for most people. Though, if you want more peace of mind you can dig out small grooves on the driveway where the wheels will sit. This will ensure that the car doesn’t roll away.

Alternatively, you might want to keep a set of wheel chocks in your car. Stick these under your tires.  These can come in very useful when dealing with a steep incline. They will be able to protect your car if your handbrake fails. 

Is it Better to Park Facing Uphill or Downhill?

Whether you opt to park up or downhill is up to you. The direction the car is facing won’t have any impact on its performance. The most important thing to remember is to angle your tires correctly, to make sure that there is no chance the car rolls into the road.

Final Thoughts

Parking your car on a hill can often be a challenge. Getting into the spot will put your steering skills to the test, particularly if it is a steep road. Thankfully, the basics of parking on a hill are easy to understand. At first, putting the theory into practice will be daunting. But, the longer you spend behind the wheel, the more comfortable you will become.


I do this because I love helping save you time and money, by searching for free, or at least the cheap places to park.

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