Troubleshooting a Tekonsha Brake Controller: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re a trailer owner, having a reliable brake controller is essential for safe and efficient towing. One of the leading brands in the industry is Tekonsha. Their Brake Controllers provide proportional braking, ensuring smooth and effective control over your trailer’s electric brakes.

However, like any electronic device, there may be times when you encounter issues with your Tekonsha Brake Controller. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through troubleshooting steps to help resolve common issues and ensure your brake controller operates optimally.

Common Issues with Tekonsha Brake Controllers

Before we delve into the troubleshooting process, let’s identify some common problems that you may encounter with a Tekonsha Brake Controller:

  1. Brake controller not working at all:
    • Possible causes:
      • Power source issues: Check the power supply and connections to ensure the proper voltage is being supplied to the brake controller.
      • Physical damage: Inspect the brake controller for any visible damage or loose connections.
      • Compatibility: Verify that the brake controller is compatible with your vehicle’s electrical system.
  2. Uneven or inconsistent braking:
    • Possible causes:
      • Incorrect settings: Ensure that the brake controller settings are properly adjusted for smoother and more consistent braking.
      • Trailer issues: Inspect the trailer’s brake system for any problems such as worn brake pads or damaged wiring.
      • Calibration: Verify that the brake controller is calibrated correctly for your specific trailer’s weight and braking requirements.
  3. Error codes or warning lights:
    • Possible solutions:
      • Consult the user manual: Refer to the Tekonsha Brake Controller manual for specific error code meanings and troubleshooting steps.
      • Check wiring connections: Inspect the wiring connections between the brake controller, vehicle, and trailer for any faults.
      • Resetting the brake controller: Reset the brake controller by disconnecting the power source and reconnecting it after a few minutes.

Now that we’ve identified the common issues let’s move on to troubleshooting these problems.

Testing the Brake Controller

The first step in troubleshooting your Tekonsha Brake Controller is to perform a basic test to ensure it is functioning properly. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Connect the trailer to your vehicle, ensuring that all the electrical connections are securely plugged in.
  2. Activate the manual override on your brake controller. This will manually engage the trailer’s brakes without relying on the vehicle’s braking system. Observe if the brakes engage on the trailer or not.
  3. Take your vehicle for a test drive with the trailer attached and pay close attention to the braking performance. Make note of any abnormalities or inconsistencies you notice.

By conducting this simple test, you can determine whether there are any glaring issues with your Tekonsha Brake Controller.

Checking the Electrical Connections

One of the most common causes of brake controller malfunctions is poor electrical connections. To address this, follow these steps:

  1. Inspect all wiring harness connections between your brake controller and your vehicle’s electrical system. Ensure that all connections are secure and free from corrosion or damage.
  2. Use a multimeter to check for proper voltage supply to the brake controller. Measure the voltage at both ends of each wire to identify any potential voltage drops or irregularities. The voltage should match the specified range recommended by Tekonsha.
  3. Check if there are any loose or damaged wires within your vehicle’s electrical system that could interfere with the proper functioning of the brake controller.

By thoroughly examining and ensuring proper electrical connections, you can eliminate faulty wiring as a potential cause for brake controller issues.

Pro Tip: Creating a visual wiring diagram or using color-coded labels for easy identification can simplify future inspections and troubleshooting processes.

Adjusting Brake Controller Settings

Tekonsha Brake Controllers typically come with adjustable settings to fine-tune braking performance according to your specific towing needs. Here’s how you can adjust these settings:

  1. Refer to the user manual provided by Tekonsha for instructions on accessing and adjusting the brake controller settings.
  2. Adjust the gain or sensitivity setting to achieve the desired braking response. This setting determines how aggressively the brakes are applied when you engage the brake pedal in your tow vehicle.
  3. Fine-tune the output voltage setting to ensure smooth and proportional braking. The output voltage should match the recommended settings for your specific trailer weight and size.
  4. Experiment with different settings and take your vehicle for a test drive after each adjustment. This will help you find the optimal settings that provide safe and comfortable braking for your towing setup.

By properly adjusting these settings, you can optimize the performance of your Tekonsha Brake Controller for a smoother and more controlled towing experience.

Calibrating the Brake Controller

Calibrating your Tekonsha Brake Controller is an important step to ensure it accurately applies the appropriate level of braking force based on your specific towing requirements. Follow these steps for calibration:

  1. Consult the user manual for specific calibration procedures as they may vary depending on the model of your Tekonsha Brake Controller.
  2. Typically, calibration involves setting the brake controller to a specific weight distribution and brake force based on your trailer’s specifications.
  3. Refer to your trailer manufacturer’s specifications to determine the recommended calibration settings for optimal braking performance.
  4. Follow the calibration steps outlined in the user manual precisely to ensure accurate calibration of your brake controller.

By calibrating your Tekonsha Brake Controller correctly, you can ensure that it operates effectively, providing consistent and safe braking power for your trailer.

Inspecting Your Trailer’s Brake System

Another important aspect of troubleshooting brake controller issues is inspecting your trailer’s brake system. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Check the condition of your trailer’s brake pads or shoes. Look for signs of wear or damage such as uneven wear patterns or excessive lining thickness.
  2. Inspect the brake wiring and connections on your trailer for any loose or damaged components. Ensure that all connections are securely fastened and free from corrosion.
  3. Verify that your trailer’s brake system is properly adjusted. Consult your trailer’s manual for instructions on how to adjust the brakes correctly.

A well-maintained trailer brake system is crucial for maximum braking efficiency and contributes to the overall performance of your Tekonsha Brake Controller.

Resetting the Brake Controller

If you have tried all the above steps and are still experiencing issues with your Tekonsha Brake Controller, resetting it may help resolve any temporary glitches. Here’s how you can reset it:

  1. Disconnect the power source to the brake controller. This can be done by removing a fuse or disconnecting the battery.
  2. Wait for a few minutes before reconnecting the power source. This pause allows for any residual electrical charges to dissipate.
  3. Reconnect the power source and test your brake controller again.

Resetting your Tekonsha Brake Controller can often clear any temporary issues and restore it to proper functionality.

Seeking Professional Assistance

If you have followed all the troubleshooting steps outlined in this guide and are still unable to resolve the issue with your Tekonsha Brake Controller, it may be time to seek professional assistance. A qualified technician will have the expertise and specialized tools necessary to diagnose and repair complex brake controller problems.

Professional assistance may be necessary for advanced troubleshooting, repairs, or if you are unsure about performing certain tasks yourself. They can provide more in-depth support, ensuring that any underlying issues are properly identified and addressed.

Maintenance and Care Tips

To keep your Tekonsha Brake Controller in top condition, follow these maintenance tips:

  1. Regularly inspect your brake controller and its connections for signs of wear or damage. Look for loose wires or corroded connections.
  2. Clean your brake controller and its connections periodically to remove any dirt or debris. This will help prevent corrosion and ensure optimal electrical conductivity.
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, if available, to maximize the performance and longevity of your brake controller.

By following these maintenance tips, you can prolong the lifespan of your Tekonsha Brake Controller and ensure it operates reliably for years to come.


A Tekonsha Brake Controller is an essential component for safe and efficient towing. By familiarizing yourself with the common issues, troubleshooting techniques, and maintenance tips laid out in this guide, you now have the knowledge and confidence to troubleshoot any problems that may arise with your brake controller.

Remember to always refer to the user manual provided by Tekonsha for specific instructions that apply to your particular brake controller model. In instances where professional assistance is needed or if you’re unsure about performing any tasks, don’t hesitate to reach out to qualified technicians who can help diagnose and resolve complex issues.

With a properly functioning Tekonsha Brake Controller, you can tow with peace of mind, knowing that you have full control over your trailer’s braking system. Happy towing!

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