Service trailer brake system on Chevy Silverado

Service Trailer Brake System On Chevy Silverado

Are you bothered by the Service Trailer Brake System on your Chevy Silverado pickup truck? You are not the only one! Many truck owners have the same experience when towing a trailer, and we must admit it is annoying.

Service Trailer Brake system error message appears on the dashboard when there is a problem with the system components. It can be as simple as a blown-out fuse or as complex as a faulty controller.

Read on for detailed information about what causes it and how to fix and reset it!

Service trailer brake system on Chevy Silverado
Service trailer brake system on Chevy Silverado

What Is The Service Trailer Brake System On Chevy Silverado?

The Service Trailer Brake System on Chevy Silverado serves only one purpose; detect any problem related to your trailer brakes. It monitors the functionality of brake controllers, trailer wiring, and power input into the controller.

Once the system detects a problem, it generates a fault code that should help you or the mechanic know the cause for an easy fix. Unfortunately, related codes may be missing from your truck’s computer. That can be frustrating!

In many cases, it requires a compatible OBD2 scanner to pull out the code. Without it, you may need to work blindly to fix the issue. Troubleshooting such a problem becomes challenging because the causes vary from blown fuses to a faulty controller.

The trailer brake system gets into action when you press the brake on your tow vehicle. It receives the electronic signals from your truck’s brakes to effectively activate the electronic braking system of the trailer. The trailer also slows down when you brake.

What Does The “Service Trailer Brakes” Message Mean?

The Service Trailer Brakes message alerts you of a possible problem with the trailer braking system or its controller. It may cut the power flow to the trailer.

This error message appears on Chevy Silverado models equipped with an integrated trailer brake controller (ITBC). As mentioned, it represents an issue within the trailer brake module or any component in the system that hinders power transmission to your trailer brakes.

Using your Chevy Silverado to tow with this message can cause an accident. You can continue to drive your truck, but not for hauling. Consider seeing a mechanic or contacting your dealer to help figure out the cause of the problem and figure it.  

"Trailer Brake System" message
“Trailer Brake System” message
Credit: PowerSports (Youtube)

What Triggers This System’s Errors On Chevy Silverado?

The Service Trailer Brake error message informs you of an imminent problem in the trailer braking system. Its causes are many, and unless you can figure it out, it can be a daunting task.

This error message appears on your Chevy Silverado dashboard when the trailer braking system ceases to work. That can be due to low battery voltage and current, open or short circuits, blown-out fuse, faulty controllers, corroded cables, loose connections, etc.

If the system generates a diagnostic trouble code (DTC), it becomes easier to find the exact cause and fix it. Otherwise, it will be a trial-and-error method to locate the source of the problem. That can be frustrating if you don’t fix it after replacing several components.

And according to dealers, your Chevy Silverado may fail to generate any DTC related to the Service Trailer Brake message. That means you will start troubleshooting the problem blindly. So, what should you do? What is the best approach?

Troubleshooting the "Service trailer brake" message on Chevy Silverado
Troubleshooting the “Service trailer brake” message on Chevy Silverado

Check The Trailer Brake Control System

Your trailer brake control system may be the culprit. You can locate it on the side panel of your Chevy Silverado truck. However, the position can vary depending on the model. Refer to your truck’s repair manual to know where it is.

Check if the trailer brake control system has signs of damage or if broken. You will need to replace it with a new one. The process is as easy as opening the side panel and replacing the faulty controller with a new one.

Sometimes you don’t have to replace the control module. It may just be dirty, and cleaning can restore it. You should try this approach before the costly procedure of replacing the entire control module.

Check The Fuse

The trailer brake system controller receives an electrical signal through a fuse. You will find this fuse in the power distribution box under the hood. The system may also have multiple fuses in some models. So, you should also check the park lamp fuse. This is also in the power distribution box and is marked as INT PRK.

Replace any blown-out fuse as a solution to the problem.

Check The Manual Trailer Brake Switch  

A damaged manual switch can trigger the Service Trailer Brake message on the dashboard. Take apart the dash on the side panel to check the witch and replace it if it is not in good condition.

Service The Trailer Brake System

Failing to service your trailer brakes can have a devastating effect on the system. They may stop working as they should, triggering the service trailer brake system message on the dashboard. But how do you know when to service your trailer brakes?

Many warning signs that tell you trailer brake service is overdue exist. They include the following:

  • The trailer fails to stop as quickly as it should
  • Strange noises coming from the brakes
  • Brakes become unresponsive or mushy
  • The brake pedal sinks to the carpet

Servicing your trailer brake system on time can save you from the annoying error message.

How To Reset Service Trailer Brake System?

How to reset service trailer brake system
How to reset service trailer brake system

Resetting the Service Trailer Brake System requires three steps, outlined as follows:

  • Connect the trailer wiring harness as well as the brake controller to calibrate
  • Go to personal settings and adjust it to maximum output
  • Customize the trailer sensitivity stage according to your need and activate the brake manually.

If you still have the problem after resetting the Trailer Brake System, contact your mechanic or dealer for further assistance.

READ MORE: Service Theft Deterrent System On Chevy Cruze


The Service Trailer Brake System message means there is a problem with the electronic brake system of your Chevy Silverado pickup truck. Its most common causes include a blown-out fuse, open wire, low voltage, faulty controllers, corroded cables and connectors, and many others. The best action when the error message appears on your dashboard is to scan the vehicle for stored DTC and fix it before you can use your truck for towing.

READ MORE: Reduced Engine Power Message On Chevy Impala

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