How to Reset Your Service Side Detection System

By Jed Lehman •  Updated: 05/02/22 •  9 min read

Wondering how to reset the service side detection system alert in your vehicle? You are in the right place.

Modern vehicles have many sensors and indicator lights. When one of these sensors fails or becomes blocked, it can cause an indicator light to become illuminated on the dashboard.

A common example of an indicator light is the “check engine” light, which appears on the driver’s side of the dashboard.

The service side detection system also has an indicator that lets drivers know that the system is not functioning properly.

But what does this light mean, and how so you reset it?

We are going to take you through what you need to know about the service side detection system and how to reset it.

Skip ahead:

What Is the Side Detection System? 

These systems use radar and indicator lights to alert drivers to vehicles, pedestrians, and other hazards that can’t be seen by the driver in the side mirrors. 

Some side detection systems have lights that appear on the dashboard and mirrors.

Certain side detection systems are advanced enough to allow vehicles to automatically change lanes and notify the driver if road lines are crossed.

Depending on the vehicle, indicator lights can be followed by audio alerts.

How Do Side Detection Systems Work?

Side detection systems are a recent innovation, which means that not every car has them.

It’s also important to note that side detection systems can work differently depending on the vehicle.

That said, most side detection systems work in similar ways. Their purpose is to alert the driver to potential hazards they can’t see. As stated earlier, side detection systems use radar. 

The radar can warn drivers of risks that occur on the vehicle’s side or behind it (still on the side).

how to reset service side detection system

To alert the driver, many vehicles have orange lights that glow on the driver’s and passenger’s mirrors.

Some vehicles, like the GMC Denali, also have indicators that appear on the radio screen.

Signs of a Faulty Side Detection System

The reset side detection system light is the simplest way to determine if there is a problem with the side detection system.

However, if the indicator light does not appear on the dashboard there are other ways to determine if the side detection system needs to be reset.

These can be found below:

If you’re experiencing one or more of these problems, there’s a good chance that the side detection system is faulty and needs to be reset.

What Causes Side Detection System Problems?

The service side detection uses sensors and radar, which is complicated technology.

Any issue with the technology can lead to problems with side detection.

While some problems can be fixed by resetting the side detection system, other issues require repairs to the sensors that create the side detection system.

We’ll take you through some of the causes of side detection system problems.

Sensor Problems 

Sensor problems are the main cause of side detection systems.

Due to the radar system controlling many sensors and modules, an issue with one of the sensors can make the side detection system fail.

When the system fails, an alert will appear on the dashboard. Sensor problems can also cause the indicator lights on the mirror to fail and render the system inaccurate.

If the mirrors don’t have water damage or physical damage, there’s a good chance it’s a sensor issue.

Sensor issues should be fixed by the dealer to prevent unnecessary labor costs.

Software Problems 

For a side detection system to work efficiently, the sensors need to communicate with each other.

This means that the right-side and left-side mirrors need to send data. To send this data, side detection systems use a type of software.

One example is the Tech 2 software used by GMC Acadias, Enclaves, and Traverse models in 2013.

With these vehicles, there was a failure between the right and left side mirrors. The issue was that there was no communication with the right-side object detection sensor module.

While Tech 2 software has been updated and changed since 2013, software problems can make it necessary to reset a side detection system.

If all of the sensors are functioning properly and there’s still an issue, it’s likely a software problem.

Water Damage 

Mirrors are sealed to prevent water from reaching the electronics.

If water manages to breach the mirror, it can damage electrical components and sensor modules.

When sensors are damaged by water, the side detection system needs to be repaired and rest. So, check your mirrors to see if there is any water damage.

You’ll have to open the mirror to check for water.

Damage to Mirrors 

Physical damage can happen to a vehicle’s driver and passenger side mirrors in the event of an accident.

Mirrors that are impacted directly will need the sensors to be repaired and reset. When a vehicle is rear-ended, similar damage can occur to sensors located near the rear bumper.

High-speed collisions can also shake free components and disconnect essential components that allow the side detection systems to communicate.

We recommend taking your car to the dealer to thoroughly diagnose side detection system issues.

How to Reset the Service Side Detection System 

Resetting the side detection system can be tricky because it can need to be reset for many reasons.

The good news is that there are some simple steps you can follow to reset the side detection system if you don’t want to deal with the indicator light on the dashboard. 

1. Check for Recalls 

Side detection systems have become popular over the last few years. While these systems are reliable, many vehicles have had issues with their side detection systems, and they typically occur in bulk.

Many manufacturers have even placed recalls on vehicles with faulty side detection system sensor modules. To save time and money, you should check for any recalls on your vehicle.

You can do so by checking or by checking the manufacturer’s website. It’s also a good idea to check the mail because most manufacturers send the owner a letter about the recall.

2. Turn Off the Vehicle 

Before doing any work on your vehicle, make sure you turn the engine off. You should also remove the key from the ignition and disconnect the battery from the engine.

When you disconnect the battery, you remove the risk of shocking yourself when working on electrical components.

3. Check for Debris and Water 

Sensor modules can become damaged or blocked by water and debris. When these sensors are blocked, the side detection system won’t function properly.

Moreover, the indicator light “reset side detection system” can appear on the dashboard. If the light is on the dashboard, you should start by looking at the mirrors.

To begin, clear any mud or debris from the surface of the mirror.

A thick layer of mud on the mirror can make the side detection system less responsive. 

If the problem is not resolved after cleaning the surface of the mirror, remove the mirror and look inside. Discard any dirt from inside the mirror and check for water damage.

If the inside of the mirror is moist, the components might need to be replaced. Dry off the components and test the side detection system.

Unfortunately, if the side detection system continues to fail, components will need to be replaced.

4. Replace Damaged Sensors 

If you have the sensors to repair the service side detection system, replace the sensors in the mirror. When replacing sensors for the side detection system, we recommend repairing both sides.

The software interacts with the sensors, so having the same sensors makes it easier for the side detection system to communicate.

These are complex systems that use radar to identify potential problems, so we recommend having dealerships replace the components for you. 

5. Reset the Side Detection System 

When the damaged sensors are replaced, it’s time to connect the battery and test the side detection system. To test and reset the side detection system, you need to leave the engine running for a few moments.

If everything is in working order, the “service side detection system” indicator will disappear.

Every vehicle is different, so some older models might require driving at highway speeds for a few miles to reset the side detection system.

You should also make sure the indicator lights appear on both mirrors. Normal highway driving for a few miles is recommended, even if the side detection system resets on its own.

6. Use an OBD2 Scanner to Reset the Side Detection System 

Another way to reset the side detection system is to use an OBD2 scanner. These are devices that can read error codes produced by a vehicle’s ECU.

When the reset side detection system light appears on the dashboard, an error code is sent to the ECU, which causes the indicator light to become illuminated. Using an OBD2 scanner to clear the error code can remove the dashboard indicator light.

We only recommend doing this if the sensors are working properly but the light on the dashboard won’t go away. 

Keep in mind that the side detection system is an important component of many modern vehicles that alerts you to hazards; if you can’t reset the system on your own, we recommend enlisting the help of a mechanic.

Final Thoughts  

The side detection system is in charge of warning you to potential road dangers.

While it can be annoying to deal with indicator lights and audio alerts, modern side detection systems prevent thousands of accidents from happening each year.

Resetting your side detection system can keep you, your passengers, and even your vehicle safe. 

So, make sure your side detection system is working properly before turning the indicator light off.

If necessary, take your vehicle to a mechanic to have them replace the sensors and radar systems.

Jed Lehman

Jed Lehman is a born gearhead who has been working on cars since he could crawl. He inherited his love for auto from his grandfather who owned a maintenance shop in Carlsbad, California. Jed is the driver behind Gearshift, and started this site to provide straightforward, helpful automobile information. From maintenance tips to product reviews, you can find it all here.