How to Park On Inclined Roads Like a Pro

How to Park On Inclined Roads Like a Pro

Updated on June 12 2024

If parking a vehicle on level ground is not challenging enough, it’s a different story when parking on inclined roads. Granted, parallel parking and reverse parking are probably the toughest to master for most drivers, but there are certain things to keep in mind when parking uphill or downhill.

Most modern vehicles come equipped with hill-start assist or hill-descent control (or both) to prevent the car from rolling forward or backward when on a slope. If your car has those, use them when parking on a hilly incline. But even then, here are steps on how to park your vehicle on inclined roads safely.

How to Park Uphill

It’s not easy to pull into an empty parking space on uphill surfaces. The laws of gravity are against you, and you need precise braking and throttle inputs to prevent your vehicle from rolling down the hill while parking.

Step 1: Find an open slot, pull over, and park the vehicle.

Step 2: After parking the car, keep your right foot on the brakes and turn the steering wheel away from the curb.

Step 3: Back up a bit until the front wheel is slightly touching the curb. In this way, your vehicle will not roll into oncoming traffic in case the parking brake fails or disengages while the car is parked (it happens).

Step 4: Engage the parking brake or e-brake.

Step 5: Put the gear selector in Park (automatic) or Neutral (manual).

Step 6: Turn off the engine.

Step 7: If you have a manual car, step on the clutch and shift to first gear or reverse as an added safety precaution.

How to Park Downhill

Similar to parking a vehicle on an uphill road, parking downhill is a challenging endeavor. However, there are things you can do to make it easier and safer for everyone.

Step 1: Find an empty slot and park the vehicle.

Step 2: After parking, keep your right foot planted on the brake pedal and turn the steering wheel towards the curb.

Step 3: Slowly lift off the brakes until the front wheel is slightly touching the curb. This method prevents your car from rolling downhill if the brakes fail while the vehicle is parked.

Step 4: Engage the parking brake or e-brake.

Step 5: Put the gear selector in Park (automatic) or Neutral (manual).

Step 6: Turn off the engine.

Step 7: Don’t forget to shift to first gear or reverse before departing the vehicle (if you have a manual car).

How do I park my car on a hill without a curb?

There are instances when inclined roads or parking spaces will have no curbs on the sides. If this is the case, the general rule is to use a wheel chock. Try finding a piece of wood or large rock and place it behind the rear wheels to help support the weight of your car while parked. Another thing to remember is to turn the front wheels to the right before turning off the engine.

Will parking on inclined roads damage my vehicle?

Not exactly. Parking on inclined roads will not damage your vehicle per se, but it could induce more wear and strain on the engine, transmission, and brakes. Also, parking your car facing uphill or downhill might cause all vital fluids to accumulate on one side of the engine or transmission, making it challenging to lubricate internal moving parts during cold starts.

Tips to Remember When Parking Uphill or Downhill

  • Always maintain a safe distance from other vehicles in the front and back. Avoid parking too close to other cars.
  • Keep your car’s brakes healthy. Replace worn-out brake pads and brake shoes immediately to avoid accidental brake failure. In addition, make sure the parking brake or hand brake is in perfect condition all the time.
  • If you have an SUV, pickup truck, or if your vehicle is carrying heavy cargo, it’s best to avoid parking on inclined roads. But if you can’t help it, make sure to bring along a heavy-duty wheel chock for added safety and security.
  • If you have an automatic car, avoid holding the vehicle over inclines using Park. Always engage the hand brake before moving the gear lever to Park. This method prevents damaging or deteriorating the parking pawl or pin that locks the transmission in the Park position.


Parking your car on level ground is a safer bet. But if you have no choice but to park uphill or downhill, remember the tips above to have total peace of mind.