What does a TRAC do on a 4Runner?


What does a TRAC do on a 4Runner?

If you’re like me, when you consider buying a new vehicle, you want to know about all the features. This is what led me to do a lot of research on the safety system that many of these vehicles boast. Turns out, it’s more than just a cool extra.

What does a TRAC do on a 4Runner?

The traction system works to keep you safe and helps to provide extra traction when driving in slippery conditions by allowing the ABS system to brake or slowing the engine to ensure that all four tires stay on the road and reducing slippage.

Want to know more? I did, too. Keep reading to find out what else you need to know about this safety feature.

The Questions I Had – And the Answers I Found

When you find that you’re interested in a vehicle, it’s pretty common to want to know all you can about it before you choose to make the purchase.

It seems like any kind of car, truck or SUV is expensive, so it makes sense that we want to make sure that whatever we choose will be a great fit for us for years to come.

Since I’m not one of those people that loves the car-choosing-buying process, I wanted to be absolutely certain that I knew everything I could about any vehicle I chose to buy.

I’m a natural researcher. When I have a question, I ask. Or I search. And then, if I’m still not sure, I’ll talk to a pro to find out even more. Why? Well, let’s just say, I’m really not a fan of buyer’s remorse. So, of course, I did like I always do and dug deep to find out all I could about the 4Runner.

After taking a look at the features that this vehicle offers, I especially thought a traction system sounded really great, but I felt like I needed to know so much more. It turns out

  • Does it come standard with all 4Runners? This is important, you don’t want to see a feature and have to pay extra for it. Or, at least, you don’t want to be unprepared to pay extra for it. Luckily, new models all come with what Toyota calls the Star Safety System. It includes six features, like anti-lock brakes, brake assist, stability control, smart stop technology, electronic brake force distribution, and TRAC.
  • Is it on used 4Runners, too? Since I wanted a new vehicle, I wasn’t worried about this one too much, but my sister has wanted one forever, but she wanted a pre-owned one. I found that this is pretty much a standard safety feature for at least the last few model years. So, for those that aren’t excited about the idea of buying a brand new car, but like some of the features, pre-owned might be a solid choice.
  • Is it hard to use? Since I’m not big on making some huge switch in driving modes before I take off, I wanted to know if this feature was easy to use, or if it would be more of a hassle than it was worth. This is where I discovered that if you have a 4 wheel drive, and you’re into off-road driving, then you’re going to want to have Active Trac, which is different than it’s standard cousin. We’ll talk more about Active Traction in a moment, but for now, you should know that it is automatic.
  • Is the traction system automatic? Yes, it is totally automatic. You don’t have to do anything to make it work. It’s just there, so even if you just get in, start it up and drive, you’ll see it in action when the roads get tough to drive. It’s not a feature that can be turned off, either, so it’s always going to be working behind the scenes.
  • What about Active Traction, or A-TRAC? If you are buying a 4 Runner for the off-road capabilities, this is what you’re really going to be interested in. This is really cool because when you’re slipping on mud or wet surfaces and you have this feature switched on, Active Traction Control is going to monitor your wheels and apply brakes to a wheel that is slipping so the power can go to the other three.
  • Is the Active traction system automatic? The driver has to activate this feature by putting the vehicle in 4 low, and neutral before turning on this feature. It’s kind of like the 4wd of the late ’80s and early ’90s, but sophisticated to today’s standards. When you’ve got it turned on, though, you’re likely to find that less time stuck in the mud means a lot more time having adventures. You should know that this comes standard in some 4 wheel drive models, but not all of them. So, if you’re interested, you might have to specifically request it.
  • What is the main difference between a TRAC system and an A-TRAC system? This one might seem self-explanatory but bear with me because you’re going to find both when you search it. The safety system itself comes standard in most Toyotas. It’s a solid safety feature. The A-TRAC system is found on 4wd models for more intense conditions that might require the use of the tougher 4×4 options. While it isn’t needed for safety, it is highly beneficial in the management of slippery terrain.
  • Do 4 Runners with this option cost more than those without? This is one safety system comes standard with all 4 Runners and has for quite a long time. This means that there are no comparable vehicles without this feature.
  • Do vehicles with A-TRAC cost more than those that don’t have it? Any time you buy a 4wd vehicle, you’re likely going to pay a bit more than if you chose a vehicle without it. However, since A-TRAC comes standard with some 4×4 models, you won’t find a price increase because of this safety feature alone.

Should a Safety System be the Only Reason you Choose a 4Runner?

After taking the time to explore the options, prices, reviews, and ratings of this vehicle, I was hit with the biggest question of all: Should a safety system be the deciding factor in my choice of SUV?

Safety is huge, but it came down to some other factors, too. Like, was I planning to take my vehicle off-road? It wouldn’t be the first time, so I would definitely feel better knowing I had 4wd capability.

For many, the 4wd question just doesn’t come up. The safety of a vehicle, though, does. So, this is where I found myself. Did I want to commit to a vehicle based on a traction control option? Essentially, yes. I did.

Personally, I was going to go with a 4wd, and wanted the Active Traction, too, but knowing that I had the all the time, down the road, headed to the grocery store in slightly slick conditions safety feature was enough to push my decision.

Sometimes, you just have to have the confidence of knowing that the vehicle you’re driving is going to do what it takes to keep you getting to and from safely.

A-TRAC – The System in a Nutshell

If you’re looking into a 4 Runner, there are two different types of Traction control systems that you will find mentioned. For those with 4wd, the A-TRAC system is a game-changer on difficult terrain. In short, it locks a slipping wheel so the other three get the torque they need to keep you moving and in control.

For those that don’t have a 4×4, the traction system that the 4 Runner offers helps to keep the vehicle safely on the road and avoid slipping and sliding, even when the roads are less than ideal.

 Both features can help a driver to feel safe, in control, and confident in any situation.

John Nelson

You can find John stringing a hammock from the back of his SUV to a tree camping in the outdoors most weekends during warmer weather. John loves the outdoors and the freedom four-wheel-drive vehicles offer.

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