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3 Situations to Turn Off Traction Control in Your Toyota Tacoma

Traction control prevents your vehicle wheels from spinning. Here are 3 cases where you may want to turn it off.

Most vehicles these days are equipped with traction control. And for good reason.

Traction control helps your vehicle maintain traction by preventing the wheels from spinning.

Our Toyota master diagnostic technician, Ali Mohagheghi, was kind enough to take time and explain traction control and how it works. He used both a 2021 Toyota Tacoma and a RAV4 Hybrid for his demonstration.

How traction control works

2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Barcelona Red profile view

A Toyota Tacoma, along with most other vehicles, is equipped with speed sensors that gauge how fast each of the four wheels is spinning. When you encounter mud or heavy rain or ice or snow, one or more of the wheels can start spinning faster than the others. Traction is lost in this process.

The Tacoma speed sensors detect this spinning. Your vehicle will apply brakes and reduce engine power to the spinning wheels, thus allowing your truck to continue moving forward (like the Toyota slogan reference?) without sliding around.

VIDEO: Discuss how traction control works and when to turn it off.

But there may be times when you choose to turn traction control off.

Your vehicle more than likely has a “traction control off” button, and it is located somewhere in your interior cabin. In a 2021 Tacoma this button is located to the left of your steering wheel. In a 2021 RAV4 Hybrid you will find this button in the center just below your temperature controls.

If your Toyota Tacoma is stuck

You have probably heard the term “rocking your car” before. Especially if you live in colder climates that have a lot of snow. Like Michigan where I am from.

When you get stuck in snow, you may need to rock your car or truck back and forth to get yourself out of this predicament. Press your “traction control off” button, and your vehicle is now able to more freely rock back and forth between Drive and Reverse. This may help free your Toyota Tacoma or RAV4 Hybrid or other model from its snowy or muddy mess.

2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Barcelona Red profile view front end

Turning traction control off works in this way if there is harder ground beneath the snow or ice or sand. However, it will typically not work if there is only soft ground below. Like more and more mud. Your wheels will continue spinning and it may require more drastic ways to get out. Like being towed.

Using locking rear differential is another tool you can use to get unstuck.

Going up a slippery hill in your Tacoma

If you encounter a steeper hill that is muddy or icy, your wheels may start spinning as you accelerate up the hill. In this situation, you may want to turn traction control off.

Your wheels may dig through the slippery stuff and hit harder ground underneath. This will give you additional traction to get up the hill.

Having Tacoma parking lot fun

Many of us have done donuts in snowy parking lots growing up. It is a ton of fun having your Tacoma or other vehicle spin in circles in the snow. Now that I am older – kids do not try this at home. I would never endorse such antics and mischief.

Safety systems like traction control are not designed to let your vehicle spin out in snowy circles.

Remember, your Toyota Tacoma default is to have traction control turned on.

It is possible that turning this system off may be a way to have a little parking lot fun. As long as it is safe and will not harm any person, any vehicle, or property.

Time for your thoughts on traction control

Have you ever turned your vehicle traction control off? And if so, what situation was it?

How does your Toyota Tacoma do in the snow and sand? Have you had to turn traction control off in a Tacoma? Or maybe a Toyota RAV? What other car?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story.

READ MORE: Discussing next-gen Tacoma redesign ideas.

READ MORE: What needs a redesign more: Toyota 4Runner or Toyota Tacoma?

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