How Do Traction Control (TRAC) and A-TRAC Work?

January 30th, 2018 by


You’re ready to head toward the mountain on your next adventure, but you’re not sure if your vehicle is equipped to drive safely in snowy or slippery road conditions. Fortunately, Toyota offers certain safety features such as Traction Control that provide assistance when necessary.

But what exactly is traction control? This feature comes standard in Toyota’s Star Safety System, and some 4-wheel-drive Toyota vehicles come equipped with “A-TRAC” or Active Traction Control. Traction Control provides assistance when wheel slippage is detected, helping you accelerate safely and efficiently in slippery conditions.

How does TRAC work?

Your vehicle’s TRAC system works by constantly monitoring the tires, and when they begin to slip, the TRAC system provides extra traction and grip that is necessary to accelerate safely and efficiently on slippery or wet surfaces. The system does this by either applying the brakes or slowing down the engine in order to maintain contact between the tires and the road. This feature is standard on all Toyota vehicles with the exception of the Yaris iA.

What is A-TRAC?

So, you love off-roading and you love your Toyota – so why not use your all-wheel-drive the way it was designed to be used? A-TRAC stands for “Active Traction Control” and comes standard on some of Toyota’s 4-wheel-drive models.

While you have to manually turn this feature on and off, once it is on, it automatically detects wheel spin and distributes torque between front and rear wheels to suppress unnecessary wheel spin and control skidding. A-TRAC detects when one or more wheels have lost traction and automatically applies the brakes to the wheel with no traction, allowing it to send power to the wheel with traction.

In order to activate A-TRAC, you must first put your vehicle in neutral, shift into 4LO and press the “A-TRAC” button.


What happens when A-TRAC is off?

Chances are, you’ve either been in a vehicle, or seen a vehicle, that has had trouble accelerating from a stop in certain driving conditions. A-TRAC is essentially a more heavy-duty version of the standard traction control system and was designed with off-roading in mind. When A-TRAC is turned off, your vehicle may have a harder time adapting to off-road conditions, and you will most likely experience more wheel spin than when A-TRAC is activated.

What vehicles come equipped with A-TRAC?

While the A-TRAC system isn’t available on every 4-wheel-drive Toyota, it is available on some. If you’re someone who enjoys the outdoors, off-roading and getting your Toyota dirty, you may want to invest in a vehicle that comes equipped with A-TRAC.

Here is a list of all vehicles that come equipped with A-TRAC.

-Tacoma TRD Off-Road V6 4WD Double Cab Short Bed

-Tacoma TRD Pro Double Cab Short Bed

-4Runner SR5 4×4

-4Runner SR5 Premium 4×4

-4Runner Limited 4×4

-4Runner TRD Off-Road 4×4

-4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium 4×4

-4Runner TRD Pro 4×4

-Land Cruiser AT

Posted in Service