Service Trailer Brake System (Meaning, Causes & Solutions)

Did you notice the service trailer brake system message on your dashboard and are wondering what it means, what caused it, and how to fix it? If so, you are on the right page because we have the answers you need.

This article explains what the service trailer brake system message means, what triggered it and how you can easily fix this problem.

This article also provides answers to some questions you might have about your trailer brakes.

Let’s get started!

What Causes Service Trailer Brake System Error Message

1. Blown Fuses

A blown fuse is one of the major reasons why the service trailer brake system message comes on.

When you suspect a fuse is blown, turn off your car and look under the dashboard for the main fuse box. The second fuse box is usually located under the hood. Consult your owner’s manual for details on locating each.

After locating the fuse, inspect it. If there is a visible gap in the fuse wire or a dark or metallic smear inside the glass, the fuse is blown and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

2. Fray Wires

Fray wires are another reason the service trailer brake system message comes on. Detecting and fixing fraying wires is a complicated job that should be handled by a professional.

A frayed wire can cause extensive damage to your vehicle, so it’s smart to get it fixed up as soon as it is noticed.

3. Bad Relay Switch

A bad relay switch can cause the service trailer brake system light to come on. Fortunately, the cost of fixing a relay is cheap. However, finding and replacing a relay switch can be tricky.

To replace a faulty switch, you need to find the particular switch that matches the faulty switch in your vehicle. When you have done that, find the groove behind the wheel frame and take it off.

When the groove is removed, replacing the relay switch can be done easily.

Also Read: Trailer Running Lights Not Working (Causes & Solution)

Service Trailer Brake System Quick Fix

  1. Check the related fuse and replace them if they are blown.
  2. Clean all trailer connections, including the TBCM connectors,
  3. Apply a little dielectric grease to the main trailer harness, check the connections, and plug it back in.
  4. Replace the relay on the driver’s frame rail close to the rear axle.
  5. Finally, replace the relay assembly.

Check out this video for more tips on how to fix the service trailer brake system message

Different Types of Trailer Brakes

1. Surge Trailer Brakes

This hydraulic brake is easy to use and features an easy-to-understand interface that allows drivers to control the trailer in an effective and safe way.

In addition, hydraulic brakes are designed to reduce the weight of a vehicle’s cargo, which in turn reduces braking time.

In addition, the momentum of accelerating or decelerating a car helps activate the brakes, thanks to something known as pressure theory, where force is transmitted through compressed gas at great speeds – thus allowing for sudden stops that don’t burn up all your pads.

In other words, the mechanism requires minor effort. However, these brakes have one major drawback: you will have less control over the car’s direction.

2. Electrical Trailer Brake

The trailer brakes have an electric part. Pads are made up of electromagnetic drums and use energy from the controller to be able to brake safely.

It is possible to modify it according to your driving style. If a controller manages the trailer’s braking functions, you can have better control over the car while driving, but it will also be more expensive.

However, installing this feature is worth it since having better control can help you to enjoy a safer drive.

Also Read: Service Brake Assist (Meaning, Causes & Fixes)

How to Reset the Service Trailer Brake System Message

A trailer’s brakes are constantly being put under pressure and can fail at any moment. In some instances, you may notice the brake isn’t working.

If this is the case, it would be necessary to service or repair these brakes. This task would require minimal skill, effort, and expertise, meaning that you could do the job independently without needing to hire a professional mechanic.

If you’re going to be working on car brakes, it’s a good idea to have some proper tools.

Fortunately, there will not be a lot of tools needed for this specific task: One flat-head screwdriver and one hose clamp should do the trick.

So, when you have all the tools you need to accomplish this task, you can do it as follows:

The first step to achieving good results is carefully reading the car’s manual. You may notice that identifying parts might prove quite easy or even fun! You may also determine how best to go about them.

Step 1

Remove the wheels and open the brakes. Afterward, you’ll need to locate the wheel adjuster, and you can find it where the brake is located. The wheel adjuster must be attached to the brake shoes.

Step 2

Continue to fasten the adjuster until the car’s wheels can no longer be rotated. This task can be completed with the adjuster or a screwdriver.

Step 3

Bring the wheels back to a point where they can spin quickly and without resistance.

Resetting the trailer’s brakes is easy. Just follow the steps above, and you’ll only need to do it once or twice before you can do it on your own.

It is a common problem with brakes, making maintenance and repair necessary.

By learning how to reset the brakes instead of calling a professional every time, you can save money in the long term because you won’t have to pay for constant repairs anymore.

You will find that the work you do on your vehicle is more fun, and you can make significant savings over the regular fixed costs.

Service Trailer Brake System light

Frequently Asked Questions – Service Trailer Brake System

What Does It Mean When Your Truck Says Service Trailer Brake System?

The “Service Trailer Brake System” error message may appear on the factory-integrated trailer brake controller models. The problem is sometimes due to a problem with the trailer brake module (ITBC) or wiring, and it will prevent power from being transmitted to the trailer brakes.

How Do You Reset a Trailer Brake Controller?

To reset your trailer brake controller, you need to unplug it from the connection and wait briefly. This will restore the factory settings.

Is There a Fuse for the Trailer Brake System?

The trailer brake controller is powered by this 30 amp fuse situated in the fuse box inside the vehicle’s engine compartment.

What Does It Mean When It Says Service Brake System?

The service brake system message indicates that the vehicle’s brake module, wire harness, and other related parts are either not working properly or have failed altogether. Hence, there is no way to send power to your trailer’s brakes to stop it.

How Do You Diagnose Trailer Brakes Not Working?

You’ll need to ensure that the brake pedals in your vehicle’s wiring work properly. You’ll also need a circuit tester to check whether or not the brake pedal activates the trailer’s brake output wire. If you’re having issues activating the correct wires with your brakes, there may be something wrong with the vehicle wiring itself or on your trailer.

Why Is My Service Brake System Light On?

The service brake system light indicates that the vehicle’s brake module, wire harness, and other related parts are either not working properly or have failed altogether. Hence, there is no way to send power to your trailer’s brakes to stop it.

Conclusion – Service Trailer Brake System

If your trailer has an integrated trailer brake controller (ITBC), you may see an error message, “Service Trailer Brake System.” This message indicates that the vehicle’s brake module, wire harness, and other related parts are either not working properly or have failed, so there is no way to send power to your trailer’s brakes to stop it.

You might be experiencing problems if you receive a message saying, “service trailer brake.” However, sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate between a serious and a minor problem.

Therefore, it is important that you have it fixed immediately whether or not you have an attached trailer because delaying will only make things worse.

Always remember to check the fuses and possibly all the wires first because they may be the cause of your problems.

If the issue continues, contact the nearest trailer brakes, specialist. If your vehicle is still under warranty, contact your dealer as soon as possible.

The manufacturer’s warranty will cover any servicing, and you will not be charged any additional fees.

Leave a Comment