As a car owner, one of the warning lights that you might get is the “service trailer brake system” check light.
These warning lights are displayed to notify you that there’s a fault somewhere in the car system that needs attention.
In this context, there has been a detachment of the trailer brake system probably as a result of wiring or other errors.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the meaning of a service trailer brake system alert, its meaning, and possible ways to fix it.
Service Trailer Brake System – Meaning
Trailer Brakes are installed when towing a vehicle to give the driver sufficient control of the towing vehicle.
Trailer Brakes help control the vehicle being towed by regulating its speed, and it’s usually located on the dashboard where the driver can easily access it.
The service trailer brake system warning message is an indication that the car has been disengaged from the towing trailer.
This could occur when the vehicle being towed doesn’t have enough power, therefore, making you unable to control the brakes from the dashboard.
You might also encounter difficulties trying to stop the vehicle, loud noises when you brake, with malfunctioning lights.
Service Trailer Brake System – Causes
Before the service trailer brake system warning light will turn on, there should be an issue in the wiring harness of the trailer brake, a blown fuse, a faulty brake light switch, or a bad trailer brake control switch.
Continue reading as I explain each of these causes;
1. Damaged Trailer Brake Wiring
When the wiring harness of the trailer brake goes bad, there’ll be difficulty relaying data to other connected components.
It’s important to perform a visual inspection to find out the exact wire that’s at fault for getting it fixed and replaced.
Failure to do this will ignite the service trailer brake system warning light.
2. A Blown Fuse
A fuse helps monitor and regulate the amount of power that gets into the system. If a voltage higher than the one a fuse can withhold gets to it, it’ll get blown up.
In most cases, this issue could be fixed by replacing the blown fuse with a new one but if the incident occurs frequently then there might be a greater issue hiding somewhere.
3. A Faulty Brake Light Switch
If the brake light switch fails or becomes faulty then the warning light will ignite.
This can be fixed by replacing the old brake light switch with a new one. They’re located on the brake pedal.
4. Faulty Trailer Brake Control Switch
The trailer brake control switch is often located beneath the dashboard (located under the steering wheel for Chevrolet) and is prone to failure because it’s not in frequent use.
The first thing to do is to check the connectors and clean dirt, dust, and cobweb that might have gripped them.
This should clear the warning light but if the reverse is the case then replace the old brake control switch immediately.
5. Defective Sensor
The brake system makes use of sensors to relay information to all components of the system.
When a component fails to send back signals due to a bad sensor, the warning light will illuminate to notify the driver.
Most times, the light could be associated with several other errors, it’s best to scan them out using an OBD-II scanner.
You can also seek the attention of a professional mechanic if the cause of the warning light remains unidentified.
How to Reset Service Trailer Brake System
Depending on your car model, the service trailer brake system warning light will likely go out after some time if fixed.
However, to Reset the warning light you can make use of an OBD-II scanner to reset the system.
- Connect an OBD-II scanner to a port beneath the steering column
- Turn the ignition to the “ON” position
- Click on the “Read” option on your OBD-II scanner
- Select the “Erase/Clear” option on the scanner
- You can now disconnect the scanner and turn off your car.
An alternative method you can use to reset the service trailer brake system warning message is by removing the negative terminal of the battery, waiting for some time then reconnecting the battery.
Is there a fuse for the trailer brake system?
Installed in the fuse of a trailer brake system is a 30 amp fuse that controls the power supply to it.