5 Causes Of Service Rear Vision System Warning

A ‘service rear vision system’ message is a notification that the backup camera has failed. The failure is often due to a blown fuse, broken wire, faulty wiring harness, software glitch, or a defective camera. 

What is the Rear Vision System and ‘Service Rear Vision System’ Warning?

The rear vision system is part of General Motors’ active safety features. It provides a view of what’s behind the vehicle every time the driver engages the reverse gear. It also displays a trajectory and distance line to aid the driver when backing up the vehicle. 

The system components include a rear camera, some cables, a video processing module (VPM), and a display screen. The breakdown of any of these components triggers the failure of the system. 

The failure causes the display of a black or blue screen with a ‘service rear vision system’ message when the driver puts the vehicle in reverse. Besides the message, the failed system may also throw a B127B or a B127E diagnostic code. 

Recently, General Motors issued a recall for some SUVs because of a faulty cable, causing the rearview camera to stall. 

Causes and Possible Fixes for ‘Service Rear Vision System’ Warning

Below are the common reasons and the possible fix for the failure of the rear vision system. 

Blown fuse

The fuse for the rear camera is the first thing you should inspect whenever the camera stops working. A fuse contains protects electrical components from getting swamped during an electrical surge. 

The failure of the corresponding fuse will invariably cause the rear camera to stop working. So, check out for a blown fuse before investigating other possible causes of the failure. The type and location of the rearview camera fuse often vary depending on the vehicle’s model. 

But it is usually a 10 amp fuse located in the fuse box under the front passenger side dashboard or under the hood. You can always refer to your owner’s manual or the fuse diagram on the fuse cover to locate the fuse.

Locate the fuse and check that it is still working. If it is in good condition, you can proceed to investigate other possible causes.

Faulty wire

A faulty wire connection can cause the rearview camera to malfunction. The cables send the video footage to the display screen. They include: 

  • A Power wire that supplies power to the camera
  • A Signal wire that sends video images from the camera to the infotainment screen
  • A ground wire
  • A shield wire

Over time, these wires could become frail, especially at the point they enter the tailgate. This causes a skewed wire contact, resulting in the failure of the rear vision system. 

The solution is to trace the wire to the point where the wiring harness connects to the rear camera. This is to find the point where the wire broke. If, after tracing the wire, you couldn’t find any breakpoint, you may have a broken display module or camera. 

Bad wiring harness

The wiring harness connects to the rear camera and transmits the images to the video module. 

Unlike wires that are protected by insulating tape or plastic sleeving, the harness doesn’t have any protection. And while the harness is usually hidden inside the tailgate, some trucks have theirs left a bit exposed. 

The exposure of the harness makes it vulnerable to water and mud, leading to corrosion. Corrosion accelerates the failure of the harness, invariably disrupting the system’s connection.

While inspecting the system’s wiring for frail or cut signs, you should also check the harness. It must be free of corrosion, dirt, or mud that could cause premature failure. You should also check that the harness clicks when plugged into the connector. 

A broken or corroded wiring harness is a sign that it has gone bad and is due for replacement.  

Dirty or broken camera

A broken or obstructed camera lens can also set off the ‘Service Rear Vision System’ warning. The camera activates every time the driver engages the reverse gear. 

The quality of the camera lens deteriorates after an extended period of use. And it is often from continuous exposure to extreme temperatures, moisture, or humidity. Dirt on the camera can also obstruct the view causing the camera to stop working. 

Thus, an obstruction or failure of the camera’s lens would prevent the camera from capturing clear footage.

Software issues

A glitch in the rear vision system software can also cause the backup camera to malfunction. 

The problem is even more common with recently released GM trucks. And it was identified as a software anomaly in the Video Processing Module (VPM). The company advised that reprogramming the module would rectify the problem. 

So, if you drive a recent-generation GM truck and can’t find what triggered the failure of the rear camera, you may want to look into the system’s software. 

Reflashing the VPM is not something we recommend you do yourself. There is an increased risk of damaging the control module if you don’t get the process right. 

How Much Will It Cost to Fix ‘Service Rear Vision System’ Message?

Fixing a malfunctioning rear vision system may cost between $20 to $750. The price largely depends on the failed component and the type of repair needed. 

As you might imagine, replacing a blown fuse wouldn’t be as expensive as getting a new rear camera. Labor cost is another factor that greatly influences the total cost of repair. You will save on the extra labor cost if you make the repair yourself. 

Final Thoughts

The failure of one of the components of the rear vision system will cause it to malfunction. The system notifies the driver of the failure by displaying a black or blue screen with a ‘service rear vision system’ message. 

Oftentimes, something as little as a blown fuse could have caused the malfunction. But a broken camera, faulty cable, bad wiring harness, or a software glitch can also trigger the system’s failure.

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