C0161 Chevy Silverado | Cause and Solution

Chevy Silverado encounters issues that trigger the ABS warning or check engine light. The problem is the C0161 code, which can cause these lights to illuminate and lead to confusion and frustration for drivers. This code is related to the ABS of your vehicle and indicates a problem with the brake control module. Here we will explore what exactly the C0161 Chevy Silverado code means and what steps you can take to diagnose and address the issue. By understanding this code and its potential implications for your vehicle’s safety and performance, you can be better equipped to handle any problems that arise with confidence.

Cause and Solution of C0161 Chevy Silverado:

There are several potential causes for a C0161 code in a Chevrolet Silverado, and it’s essential to explore all possible avenues when diagnosing the issue. Factors that could contribute to this problem include:

  • A malfunctioning ABS TCS brake switch.
  • Damaged connection circuits.
  • Other issues that may be present.

By carefully examining these potential causes, mechanics can identify the root of the problem and take steps to address it effectively. Whether it’s a faulty switch or another underlying issue, understanding the factors that can contribute to a C0161 code is critical to resolving this common Chevy Silverado problem.

C0161 Chevy Silverado | Cause and Solution

Faulty ABS Brake Switch:

Having a properly functioning Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) can make all the difference during an emergency. This crucial safety feature is designed to restore traction to your tires, allowing you to steer and avoid obstacles in high-pressure situations. Without ABS, your brakes would lock up and send you skidding into danger.

When ABS malfunctions, it can cause many problems that compromise your safety on the road. A typical symptom of a faulty ABS brake switch is usually a pumping sensation when driving. This occurs because the system is attempting to compensate for a lack of traction that isn’t happening.

A telltale sign of ABS malfunction is an unusual clicking noise even without engaging the brake pedal. You may experience erratic behavior from your vehicle while braking or notice that your brakes lose traction during heavy braking situations.


The ABS, or anti-lock braking system, helps prevent your wheels from locking up during sudden stops, providing safer and more controlled braking. If you’re experiencing issues with your Silverado’s ABS, you may wonder how to fix it. Pull the release lever under the steering wheel and remove the fuse box panel. Once you can access the fuse box, locate the ABS fuse and pull it out for inspection. Check if it’s blown; if so, replace it immediately. After replacing a blown fuse or checking that an intact one is in place, ensure every wheel of your Silverado has cable connections.

Faulty TCS Brake Switch:

Traction control is a vital safety feature in modern cars that detects when the wheels lose grip on the road. This system works by using sensors to monitor the speed of each rotation and adjust power delivery accordingly to prevent slipping. A faulty ABS can affect the TCS brakes. When this happens, symptoms may include braking inconsistently, illumination of the check engine light, and failure of the traction control switch to work correctly. The cause of TCS brake failure is a faulty TCS brake switch. This switch sends signals to the car’s computer when you apply pressure on your brakes or release them.


When your car starts showing signs of trouble, it’s natural to want to fix the issue yourself. Attempting DIY repairs without proper knowledge can do more harm than good. It’s always best to take your vehicle to a dealership or a trusted repair shop for an accurate diagnosis. These professionals have the expertise and equipment to diagnose your car’s problems accurately.

Once diagnosed, many issues can be repaired easily by these professionals. Problems like worn-out brake pads, clogged air filters, or faulty spark plugs can be resolved quickly with professional help. By taking your vehicle for timely servicing and repairs, you can keep it running smoothly and avoid expensive replacement costs in the long run.

Bad ABS/TCS Electrical Connection:

The C0161 code is a common issue many car owners face, and it occurs when there is damage to the ABS TCS electrical connection circuits. These circuits are critical in ensuring that the ABS TCS sensors function correctly, essential for safe driving. When there is an issue with these circuits, the ABS TCS lights will turn on, indicating a problem in the system.

The root of the problem lies in bad electrical connections within the circuitry. Such links can occur due to corrosion, faulty wiring, or damaged components, among other reasons. The resulting C0161 code indicates that something has gone wrong with this crucial aspect of your car’s safety system and needs immediate attention from a professional mechanic.


Replacing damaged wires is crucial for maintaining the safety and reliability of an electrical system. One effective way to identify damaged wires is by visually inspecting the circuits that connect them. It involves examining the wiring connections for signs of corrosion or fraying insulation. A visual inspection can help detect any loose or broken links before they cause a more significant problem.

Open or Shorted Brake Switch Harness:

The brake sensor is responsible for detecting the movement of the brake pedal and communicating this information to the car’s electronic control module (ECM). There are times when the brake sensor can malfunction, causing it to stick open or be shorted due to problems with the electrical connection.

When this happens, a C0161 code will appear on the dashboard, indicating an issue with one of the components in the braking system. Several factors, including a faulty switch harness, a damaged wiring connector, or a corroded electrical connection, can cause it. In some cases, it may also be caused by wear and tear on the sensor itself.


If your brake lights aren’t working correctly, it can create a dangerous situation on the road. There are steps you can take to fix this problem.

  • Inspect the brake light switch. This is usually located under the dashboard near the brake pedal. 
  • Remove the faulty brake switch. It requires some essential tools and knowledge of how your car works. 
  • Using eye safety glasses during this process is essential if anything flies up into your eyes unexpectedly.
  • Brake switches are an integral part of your vehicle’s braking system, so it’s crucial to ensure they’re always working correctly. A faulty brake switch can cause the brake lights not to work, putting you and other drivers on the road at risk. Installing a new brake switch is easier than you think.
  • Install a working brake switch, take your new one, and attach it in place of the old one using its mounting hardware. 
  • It’s essential to replace the blown fuse as soon as possible.

Look only as far as this video will guide you through the entire process from start to finish. 

Final Verdict:

The C0161 Chevy Silverado code can be a source of annoyance and confusion for Chevy Silverado owners same as like U0073 Chevy Silverado and Code U1041 Chevy Silverado. By taking the time to understand what it means and how to diagnose it, you can avoid potentially serious problems with your vehicle’s braking system. If you notice your ABS warning light or check engine light coming on, don’t hesitate to take action and address the issue. With some knowledge and effort, you can keep your Chevy Silverado running smoothly and safely for years.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the functions of the brake sensor?

The brake sensor detects when the brakes are applied and sends a signal to the control module. This information determines how much pressure to apply to the brake pedal and helps prevent skidding and loss of control.

How do I remove the brake sensor from a car?

Brake sensors are typically held in place with clips or adhesive. If the sensor is removable, it can be removed by prying it off the metal bracket. If the sensor is not removable, a mechanic may have to remove the entire brake system to replace it.

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