How to Use Traction Control on a Toyota Tacoma

Traction control keeps your Tacoma gripped to the road, but there are some situations where you'll want to turn it off.

Wondering how to use traction control on your Toyota Tacoma? You came to the right place. The Toyota Tacoma is an excellent truck with great features. The traction control feature specifically was first introduced for the 2004 model year.

So let’s get into the rest of the details. I will tell you what traction control does, how to turn it on and off based on the year of your Tacoma, and situations where you’d want to keep traction control off, and I’ll answer some frequently asked questions.

What Does It Do?

tacoma in snow

Traction control is a safety feature designed to help keep a good grip between the truck’s tires and the road. It keeps your car from spinning out of control and maintains good traction.

A sensor on each wheel recognizes when a wheel is moving faster than the vehicle’s speed. So if you are driving on wet or icy roads and a wheel starts to spin out, the sensor will pick up on it and slow it back down. You may notice a slight jolt when it does this, but that indicates that traction control is kicking in and doing its job.

It’s a powerful safety feature that has been mandatory in vehicles since 2012.

How to Turn It On/Off

Traction control comes turned on by factory default, but you can turn it off. Depending on the year of your Tacoma, the way you turn it off varies.

If traction control is not working or switched off, a warning message will display itself on the multi-information display (MID). You may also see a message saying “TRAC OFF,” “VSC TRAC,” or an icon of a car with lines.
In most model years, the traction control toggle button is to the left of the steering wheel on the dashboard.

2012-2024 Toyota Tacoma

With the newer model Tacomas comes more ease and accessibility when turning the traction control on and off. It will vary depending on whether you have a 2WD or a 4WD model.

2WD models and 2WD mode on 4WD models: To the left of the steering wheel or on the ceiling, locate the traction control button. Press and hold it to turn it off. Doing so will also disable VSC and Trailer Sway Control. To re-enable all systems, simply push the button.

4WD mode on 4WD models: The traction control button is found to the left of the steering wheel or on the ceiling. Press it to turn the traction control off and on. Push and hold the button to disable VSC and Trailer Sway Control. Push the button again, and all systems will re-enable.

2007-2011 Toyota Tacoma

In the 2007-2011 model year Tacomas, switching the traction control off is simple.

To the left of the steering wheel, there’s a button to toggle it on and off. There are no disconnecting wires for these Tacomas.

2004-2006 Toyota Tacoma

Since traction control was first used in the 2004 model year Tacomas, it makes sense that they didn’t have an easy way to turn it off. So if your Toyota Tacoma is 2004-2006, here’s how you turn it off.

You will have to look under the hood. There is a connector in the engine that you can unplug to turn it off and reattach to turn it back on. Once reattached, it will turn back on when you start the vehicle.

Here’s a video explaining it:

When to Turn It Off

tacoma in mud

While traction control is an important safety feature, there are a few situations you might find yourself in that warrant turning traction control off.

When driving or stuck in snow, ice, or mud, it may be beneficial to turn your Tacoma’s traction control off. Traction control works by stopping the wheel from moving when it detects it may be slipping. So if you are stuck in the mud, it may not help to have traction control cutting power to your tires.

If Your Traction Control Light Is On

There are several reasons why the traction control light may be on:

  • You’ve disabled traction control
  • There is an engine error (your check engine light will be on too)
  • Traction control is not working properly

NOTE: If the traction control icon is flashing, you are slipping, and the traction control system is kicking in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we’ve gone over how traction control works and how to turn it on and off, you might still have some questions.

On. Unless there is a situation where you are stuck in mud or snow, it is safer to keep traction control on.

Yes. You can leave traction control on at all times, especially if you don’t often drive in severe conditions.

It means traction control has been turned off. This message displays if you have turned off traction control or if, in model years 2004-2006, you unplugged the connector in the engine.


I’m glad you stopped by to learn more about your Toyota Tacoma. Traction control is a simple feature on your truck and doesn’t require any hands-on effort to enable.

In newer model years, it is easy to switch on and off as needed. But the main takeaway is that you shouldn’t need to switch it off very often.

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One Comment

  1. TDHofstetter says:

    There are other times to turn it off. For example, I just had the traction control in my Tacoma fail, locking up one of my rear wheels in a grocery-store parking lot lane. The situation resolved spontaneously after I shut the truck off and started it again. At the time I didn’t even think about traction control… but that’s the only explanation I can come up with, since I drove it seven miles home afterwards without any incident.