How To Reset Your Service Trailer Brake

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How to reset your service trailer brake? The most logical and simplest choice is to get the trailer brakes serviced. Of course, it’s not the only way. 

Depending on what type of trailer brake system you have on the trailer will determine the next course of action. 

This article will teach you about resetting your service trailer brake, whether surge or electric. By the time you follow our step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to expertly  reset your service brake trailer.

Let’s get started.

What Is A Trailer Brake? 

A trailer brake is a device used on trailers, usually attached to the trailer's rear axle, although some are attached to the tongue. It is used to help control the trailer's speed when it is not connected to the towing vehicle. 

The trailer brakes are connected to a lever that is controlled by the driver, who can use it to apply or release the brakes.

Surge Brakes

Surge brakes are found on trailers. They are used to increase the braking power of the trailer. Manufacturers install surge brakes on trailers to respond to the air brakes on the tow vehicle. 

Surge braking supplements other braking systems and helps to keep the trailer from swaying. Surge brakes can also be used to stop the trailer if the air brakes fail.

Electric Brakes

Electric trailer brake systems are typically used on heavy haulers such as semi-trucks and trailers used in construction The way they work is that a magnetic force is created which is then attracted to a steel plate in the brake drum. 

This creates a friction that slows down the trailer and ultimately stops it. They are able to stop a trailer quickly and reliably, even on steep terrain. These brakes are also great for making tight turns and other maneuvers that could be difficult for vehicles with traditional brakes.

Tools Required 

Doing work on a trailer brake system doesn't mean you need to have all sorts of specialty tools. However, there are some basics that you will want to consider having on hand. While you don't need to own all of them, if you want to get the job done right, you will need at least one.

At a Minimum, Have the Following Tools Handy:

  • Tools to remove the trailer wheel
  • Flat head screwdriver or brake adjustment tool
  • Starwheel adjuster
  • OBDII Scanner

How To Reset The Service Trailer Brake

Before you start, check for the usual problems that might trigger a service trailer brake error:

Fuses and Relays:

Damaged fuses and relays are a common problem of any and every type of vehicle, even if it’s a trailer. Checking them before you start pulling off your wheels will save both time and stress. 

Check for blown fuses according to your trailer manual and replace them if necessary. Perform the same checks on your relays. 

Old and Worn Out Wiring:

Electrical shorts can occur at any time, especially during extensive use of your trailer. Be sure to check the wiring system thoroughly on both your trailer and your vehicle. If you find wiring damage on the trailer or your  vehicle, you may  need to get them to a mechanic. 

Consult Your Trailer Manual

It should go without saying, but make sure you have your trailer owner’s manual handy. Check for any special instructions if needed.

Wheel Removal

The wheel removal will be next. Stabilize your trailer and remove the first wheel. Go ahead and inspect your brakes while you have the wheel off. 

Be sure to take a good look at the brake pads. They could be worn, which will trigger your service trailer brake error light. Replace them if needed.

Starwheel Adjuster

The starwheel adjuster is used on most modern day trailers in the US. It is the way that the brakes are set on most commercial trailers. The star wheel adjuster consists of a star wheel that is attached to a threaded rod. 

The star wheel is then attached to the trailer's brake line. When the threaded rod is turned with a socket wrench, it moves the star wheel forward or backward. The adjustment either adds or removes tension to the wheel. Tighten and then loosen the rod until there is no tension on the wheel. 


Reinstall the wheel. Repeat the entire procedure per wheel. 


Is There a Fuse for Trailer Brakes?

Is there a fuse for trailer brakes? Yes, the fuse is located in your vehicle. Depending on your model, your vehicle’s fuse box could be located in the glove compartment or even the engine bay.

How Do You Reset a Trailer Brake Controller?

How do you reset a trailer brake controller? Before you begin, for safety, make sure that the trailer is set to neutral and disconnected from the tow vehicle. 

Next, de-power, or unplug the controller connector. Leave unplugged for a few minutes and reconnect power to the controller. This procedure resets the trailer brake controller


Conclusion- Wrap up

And that’s it, you’ve just learned how to reset your service trailer brake. We hope you enjoyed this article. We’re certain that by providing you with a step-by-step tutorial, you should now be confident when performing this important check. Happy Braking!

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