How to Put Your Rear Brakes into Service Mode

Have you ever needed to service the rear brakes on your car but found it tricky because the brakes engage every time you try to work on them? Putting the rear brakes into service mode is the solution. This handy trick disengages the rear brakes so you can freely access the brake components without anything activating while your hands are in there.

Putting your rear brakes into service mode only takes a few minutes. We’ll walk you through the complete process step-by-step. We’ve also included some visual guides, safety tips, and frequently asked questions to make servicing your rear brakes as smooth as possible.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:

  1. Check owner’s manual for service mode instructions specific to your vehicle’s make, model and year.
  2. Engage parking brake and put automatic transmission in park or manual in neutral.
  3. Turn ignition switch to ON position but do not start engine.
  4. Press and hold brake pedal and parking brake switch, then quickly turn ignition OFF and back ON.
  5. Keep holding pedal and switch until ignition remains ON again.
  6. Release pedal and switch to engage service mode. Rear brakes are now disabled.
  7. Access brake components carefully using all appropriate safety procedures.
  8. When complete, turn ignition OFF and back ON to exit service mode. Rear brakes reengage for normal driving.

Step-By-Step Guide to Put Rear Brakes in Service Mode

Follow this simple step-by-step guide to safely put your rear brakes into service mode:

1. Check Your Owner’s Manual

The first step is to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual. They usually include specifics on enabling service mode for various vehicle systems, including the brakes.

Manufacturers have different methods for engaging service mode depending on the:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Year of your vehicle

So check the owner’s manual for your exact vehicle type. Follow those instructions closely.

2. Prep Your Vehicle

Once you know the correct service mode sequence for your vehicle, prep your car:

  • Ensure the parking brake is engaged
  • Put the transmission in park (for automatics)
  • Put the car in neutral (for manuals)

This prevents the vehicle from moving while you’re working.

3. Turn On Ignition

The next step is to turn your ignition switch to the ON position but do not start the engine.

Most vehicles need the ignition on for service mode. Make sure all warning lights and indicators on your dashboard illuminate as normal.

[Having issues getting your car into service mode? Use our car diagnostic tool checker]

4. Override the Brakes

Now for the most important part, overriding the rear brakes!

You must follow the overriding sequence from your owner’s manual to enter service mode correctly.

In most vehicles, this includes:

  1. Pressing and holding the brake pedal
  2. Doing the same for the parking brake switch
  3. Quickly cycling the ignition off and back on

Keep holding the brake pedal and switch until you return and hold the ignition in the ON position again.

5. Release the Brakes

Finally, release the brake pedal and parking brake switch.

The vehicle computer disengages the rear brakes after a few seconds. Congrats, your rear brakes are now in service mode!

Rear Brake Service Mode Engaged

With the system override complete, you have full access to the rear brake components without risk of anything suddenly activating.

Be very careful working inside the brake housing. Ensure you:

  • Secure the rear wheels with wheel chocks so the car cannot roll
  • Have gloves and eye protection
  • Follow all standard shop safety procedures

And don’t leave the vehicle unattended while in service mode.

When you’re done, simply turn off and back on the ignition to exit service mode. The rear brakes reengage as normal.

Now get in there and finish your brake service!

Common Rear Brake Service Mode FAQs

Some other common questions about engaging rear brake service mode include:

What if rear brake service mode isn’t working?

If the rear brake service mode fails to engage, double check that you entered the correct sequence from your owner’s manual. Also ensure the battery is sufficiently charged to activate service mode. There is often a short window in which to successfully enable service mode, so try completing the override sequence more rapidly.

Is there a rear brake service mode fuse?

Most vehicles do not have a specific fuse for service mode. Instead, power cycling the ignition switch overrides the brake computer system directly.

Do I need any tools to active service mode?

No special tools are needed since the service mode is built into the vehicle computer. Manually overriding the brakes by turning the ignition on and off engages service mode.

Is rear brake service mode bad for the vehicle?

When properly used, service mode does not harm brake components. However, you need to make sure to exit service mode after finishing work and before driving the vehicle regularly again.

Still have questions? Consult your owner’s manual or mechanic for vehicle-specific advice.


Temporarily disabling your rear brakes makes servicing them much easier. No more getting your hands or tools caught in things that activate while trying to work!

Just remember:

  • Check your owner’s manual service mode instructions
  • Override the brake computer with ignition cycles
  • Engage service mode and safely access components
  • Exit service mode afterwards

Following those simple steps allows quick access to perform rear brake inspections, cleaning, repairs, or replacements without anything hindering you.

Use this handy rear brake service mode guide to breeze through your next brake system DIY!

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