How to Reset Your Service Trailer Brakes in 5 Just Few Steps

If your lively hood depends on your truck, then knowing how to maintain it is also an essential aspect. One of the more common occurrences is your service trailer setting off. This can easily cost you over $100- $150 at a garage, why pay so much when you can do an easy DIY that’ll cost you below $50.

It’s a pretty simple process that requires tools that are readily available at any hardware store. We’re going to give you a step by step breakdown on how to service your trailer brakes. But before that, let us learn about trailer brakes.

How to Reset Service Trailer Brake

Types of Trailer Brakes

There are two types of trailer brakes available in the market; these are surge brakes and electric brakes.

• Surge Brakes

These use a simpler self-contained hydraulic braking system; this relies mainly on the weight of the trailer and its momentum to help with braking. They don’t rely on an electrical component; rather, it uses basic physics of compression to help transfer pressure to the brakes that, in turn, get the vehicle to a halt.The simple mechanism means they require minimalistic effort. However, nothing is perfect; one of their major cons is the driver has limited control over the vehicle’s braking.

• Electrical Brakes

As the name suggests, there are electrical components that you’ll find in action on these brakes. Electrical power flows into the electromagnetic drums; in turn, this allows the brake pads to operate. With an electrical system, your brakes are customizable, allowing you to tune them according to your driving style. However, to ensure the proper functionality of the brakes, a brake controller must be installed. Here’s where the problem lies as these electrical components need to be replaced time after time.

Resetting Your Brakes

The service brake message on your trailer may pop up from time to time. Most of the time, you can expect somethings not right with the brakes and needs a tune-up. This is something you can do right from home.

Tools Required

Some simple tools will be enough for the job, such as a brake adjustment tool; if you don’t have that, then a flat head screwdriver will do you good. Except that you’ll need the basic tools that are provided to help you take off the wheel.


  • Before you start, get a good look at the instruction manual; each manufacturer does things differently; this will help you not mess up your truck.
  • Carefully remove the wheel to expose the brakes.
  • Get a hold of the “star wheel” adjuster located on your brakes. This should be attached to the brake shoes.
  • Next, using your brake adjustment tool or your screwdriver, tighten the adjuster till you are unable to spin the wheel.
  • Then take it back to a position where the wheel starts spinning freely again, without any resistance.

That’s how simple the entire process is, and it should take you no more than 20mins each wheel to get the brakes to reset. While you are resetting your brakes, be it electric or surge, it gives you a great opportunity to have a look at the electromagnetic elements, the drums, and shoes to see if anything needs replacement.

Recurring Problems

If you’re constantly greeted by the service trailer brakes message even after servicing your brakes, then it seems like you’re barking up the wrong tree. But that doesn’t mean you have to go running to an overpriced mechanic just yet. This is a common recurrence with an even simpler fix.

Blown Fuses

To start to check for blown out fuses, this is one of the most common reasons for the problem to prevail. You can simply swap out the fuse for a new one at an extremely low price. It won’t require you to break open your toolbox, all you’ll need to open is the hood of your vehicle.

Fray Wires

This one’s a bit serious and might require a mechanic to take a look if the problems are too extreme. Fray wires can be dangerous and might cause extended damage to your vehicle, so it’s recommended to get them fixed up as soon as possible.

Relay Switch

A problem with this requires a pretty cheap replacement. However, replacing them can be a bit tricky. You’ll have first to find a relay switch that matches your vehicle. After which you’ll have to locate its groove allocated behind the frame of the wheel and remove it. Once removed, replacing them is like putting together Lego bricks.

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Technology helps make our lives convenient. Nevertheless, it doesn’t look foolproof. The ‘service trailer brakes’ is a message most truck drivers get. Yet, it’s hard to differentiate if the problem that’s occurring is serious or not.

This ‘HOW TO RESET SERVICE TRAILER BRAKE’ tab should be enough to solve most of your brake-related problems.

However, if the problem still seems to persist, then having your brakes checked out at the mechanics is a viable opinion.

John D. Archer

John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.

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