Toyota Tacoma: How Fast Can You Drive In 4 Wheel Drive?

The Toyota Tacoma is well known for having one of the best four-wheel drive (4WD) systems in the market right now. This 4WD system gives drivers an unexplainable kind of joy when they leave the tarmac for the dirt road on their off-road adventures.

It is at this moment when they engage 4H (four-wheel-drive high), the true power of the Tacoma is unleashed. The 4WD system in the Tacoma is so good that it gives you a sense of sure-footedness when driving. You almost feel as if you can drive at any speed with 4H engaged. But how fast can you really drive with 4WD engaged? That is what we seek to find out below.

How Fast Can You Drive In 4 Wheel Drive Toyota Tacoma?

So, how fast can you go with 4 wheel drive in action in the Toyota Tacoma? With 4H engaged, it is advisable that you drive below 60 mph. Additionally, when using 4H, you should make sure you are on a low traction surface. When driving on steep declines and inclines, rock crawling, or doing technical obstacles, it is important that you switch to 4L as this mode delivers maximum power and maintains maximum traction on the wheels.

The low traction surfaces where you should be engaging 4H on your Toyota Tacoma include icy conditions, sand, dirt roads, and muddy tracks. As the name suggests, you do not want to be speeding on these low traction surfaces even though the roads are straight and flat.

The 60 mph is a speed limit and not the recommended speed you should be doing. This is in a bid to keep you and all occupants in the Tacoma safe at all times. Driving at high speeds makes stopping, turning, and maneuvering in emergency conditions take longer to execute and are much more difficult when on a low traction surface.

In this article, we shall look into detail the things you need to remember when engaging 4L and 4H. Additionally, we shall also highlight the right process of engaging your 4WD system and how it is to drive the Toyota Tacoma in both the 4H and 4L modes.

What features does the Toyota Tacoma have to aid me in off-road situations?

A standard Toyota from the factory comes loaded with safety and handling features that make it a safe truck for work or family. It comes with features such as a front antiroll bar, large 17-inch wheels, and brake actuated limited-slip differential. These features might give you the confidence to drive over the recommended maximum speed of 60 mph.

Other features that come with the standard Tacoma include electronic stability, 4-wheel Anti-lock braking system, traction control, and Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) forward-collision sensing, which make this an off-roading legend.

Even with all these features that are specifically designed to keep you safe in case the worst happens, drivers should not drive above the recommended speeds or push the vehicle too far that they ignore the laws of physics.

How is it to drive the Toyota Tacoma in 4H?

The Tacoma takes to off-roading as a fish takes to water. The Four-wheel drive High setting (4H) can be selected in the Tacoma as long as you are driving below 50 mph. Once the 4WD system is engaged, you will hear and physically feel the system go into action. This should happen within seconds and will be followed by an increase in traction.

The Tacoma has an approach angle of 29 degrees and a departure angle of 24 degrees which means that you should be able to drive through really rocky and hilly terrains. The Tacoma comes with a ground clearance of 23.9 cm, which is equivalent to 9.4”, which is a comforting figure, especially when you are going through boulders.

The Tacoma seems to be born for off-roading with all these specifications, but you should be going outside the off-roading tracks if you don’t have to. You can keep the 4WD footprint as low as you can by staying on the tracks and respecting nature.

How is it to drive the Toyota Tacoma in 4L?

Unlike driving in 4H, before you engage 4L, you must first bring your Tacoma to a complete stop. When switching from 4L back to 4H, you again have to bring the vehicle to a stop, move the lever back to neutral before moving it back to either 2H or 4H.

The 4L setting should only be used in really bad conditions when the terrain is rocky and uneven and when the traction is really low. A good way of knowing whether you should use 4L or stick to 4H is by using the following trick.

You should compare the speed you are doing in 4H and in 1st gear. If you can’t be able to drive faster in that stretch of road you are in, in 4H, than you can in 1st gear, then it is safe to switch to 4L. You should also be able to do so without damaging your truck or the track you are driving on.

In this case, switching to 4L will deliver more power to the wheels by not straining the drive train and engine. Additionally, using 4L makes stalling harder by keeping the revs high. This is done by using lower gear ratios that maintain a high rev count on the engine.

How do I engage 4H (Four wheel drive) on my Toyota Tacoma?

Changing from 2H to 4H is relatively easy on the Toyota Tacoma. The first step is making sure that you are doing less than 62 mph (100km/h). The next step involves turning the four-wheel control switch from 2H to 4H. This can be done by moving the switch fully in a clockwise manner.

The instrument panel should show a lit-up 4WD indicator that confirms your selection. If by any chance the 4WD indicator is still blinking, continue driving straight ahead while decelerating or accelerating.

A buzzer should sound when you are doing more than the recommended 62mph (100km/h) or if there is a problem with your vehicle. If you are doing above the recommended speed, be sure to slow down. If the buzzer is still sounding, stop your truck completely and switch the control switch back to its former position and make sure the 4WD indicator light has gone away.

It is important to note that you shouldn’t switch your vehicle from 2H to 4H if there is slipping on the wheels. You should make sure before you engage 4H that the wheels that were spinning have stopped.

How do I engage Low range (4lo) on my Toyota Tacoma?

If you own an automatic transmission Tacoma, you first have to bring your vehicle to a complete stop by pressing on the brake pedal and holding your foot here. Next, you have to move the gear selector to the Neutral position.

After doing so, you then have to push the small button on the four-wheel-drive control switch and turning it fully in the clockwise direction.

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If you own a manual transmission Tacoma, you don’t necessarily have to bring your Tacoma to a complete stop, but you have to reduce and make sure your speed is below 2mph (3km/h). Make sure that there is no input on the clutch.

You then have to press the button on the four-wheel-drive control switch and move it fully in a clockwise direction.

If the 4wd indicator keeps flashing or the buzzer sound keeps on repeating itself in both the automatic and manual transmission, you can repeat the above-mentioned procedures. For the manual transmission, however, it is advisable you repeat the process when the vehicle has come to a complete stop.


6o mph is the recommended speed at which you can safely engage the four-wheel system without damaging your vehicle. It is advisable to stay below this speed limit in order to protect yourself, the truck, and all its occupants.

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    1. Jon, thanks for the comment. Not AI, but in 2021, I hired a writing agency to help me with content. This is one of their articles. I still have several articles they created that I need to rewrite or delete. This article does not get that much traffic so it is still on the list to update. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention so I can either fix it, or remove it until it can be properly updated. Thanks again!