What Is “RSCA” on a Toyota Tacoma? (Explained)

The Tacoma's roll-sensing curtain airbags (RSCA) are an important safety feature designed to protect occupants during a rollover crash, but it could be mistakenly activated in some situations.

Key Points:

  • RSCA stands for "roll-sensing curtain airbags."
  • RSCAs are positioned in the interior above the front and rear doors.
  • RSCA can be toggled on or off with a button on older Tacomas.
  • Consider turning RSCA off when your Tacoma is being towed or when off-roading.
  • Extreme angles during off-roading could be mistaken for a rollover and trigger the RSCA.

Many advanced technologies are included with today’s Toyota Tacoma, sometimes making understanding them even more challenging. One example is the RSCA button. If you aren’t familiar with this feature, we don’t want you to push that button without knowing what it does.

In this guide, we explain the RSCA system and what the RSCA button does. We also evaluate the system’s importance and provide direction on how to turn RSCA on or off.

What Is the RSCA System?

RSCA stands for Roll-Sensing Curtain Airbags. These side curtain airbags are positioned above the front and rear doors. 

Advanced sensors in the RSCA system detect unusual wobbling or rocking by the truck, indicating the truck is about to roll over. When the sensors determine that rollover is imminent, the system deploys the side curtain airbags to protect the driver’s and passenger’s heads and upper bodies.


What Does the RSCA Button Do?

Toyota allows drivers to control whether or not the RSCA system is activated. You can turn the RSCA system on or off by pushing the button on older Tacomas.

Usually, this button is found on the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel. It’s labeled “RSCA.” Look for more information in your owner’s manual if you have trouble finding it. Some Tacomas do not have an RSCA button at all which means it cannot be turned off.

When the system is deactivated, the curtain airbags will not deploy. This leaves occupants unprotected during a rollover incident. 


When to Turn RSCA On/Off

In most cases, it’s best to leave the Roll-Sensing Curtain Airbags system enabled. It works seamlessly with the other safety features to protect you during a rollover. The average driver has no reason to turn this feature off.

Here are some scenarios when we suggest it may be best to turn off RSCA. 

  1. Consider disabling RSCA when transporting your Tacoma on a trailer or flatbed. You don’t want the sensors confusing the truck’s bobbing and weaving, and thinking the truck is rolling over.
  2. Consider disabling RSCA when off-roading or driving on rough terrain. The sensors may mistake the jostling around for a rollover accident, and the airbags could deploy. 

If the airbags were to deploy unnecessarily, it could block the driver’s vision. Additionally, it’s going to startle the driver. On top of that, you have the repair costs to consider after the incident. 

(4th Gen Tacoma)

Why RSCA Is Important

truck rollover

Roll-Sensing Curtain Airbags were first introduced on the 2002 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer. It’s been a trusted safety feature for over two decades, so it makes sense that Toyota includes it in the Tacoma lineup.

The advanced RSCA sensors detect when the truck is about to roll over, so the side curtain airbags can be deployed before injuries occur. With this protection, injury to the head is reduced. The system also limits the damage done to the torso when impacting the door as the truck rolls.

However, the system isn’t foolproof. It can be triggered when off-roading because the sensors mistake extreme angles for a rollover incident. The most significant danger here is that airbags go off when they aren’t needed, leading to other complications. 

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Advanced Safety Measures for Your Protection

The Toyota Tacoma has the latest entertainment and comfort features for an enjoyable ride. Beyond that, the manufacturer works hard to ensure that occupants are always protected, even though most of that technology gets overlooked. 

With the RSCA system, you know there’s more protection in the case of a rollover accident. While you hope this never happens, it brings peace knowing there’s a reduced chance of injury. It’s just one more reason to love your Taco. 

Given the importance of the Roll-Sensing Curtain Airbag system for driver and occupant safety, we believe it’s critically important for drivers to leave the RSCA system engaged (button on).

In only a few rarely occurring circumstances, it makes sense to turn off the system — even then, it’s a case-by-case situation.

We value our readers and want you all to remain safe, so please keep the RSCA system on your Tacomas active.

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