How to disable traction control on a Prius

With reported snow on the way in the UK and several weeks of cold icy weather due, I was looking around for Prius winter driving tips.  One topic kept coming up, the lack of a switch to disable traction control on the Prius.

What is traction control?

Traction control is a safety feature which helps the vehicle make use off all of the traction available, if you try accelerating quickly on a slippery road, the traction control light will light up and the wheels will spin whilst the car works to gain traction.

If the car keeps spinning on the spot, you may end up digging a deeper hole and wearing down your tyres unnecessarily whilst going nowhere – not ideal!

Why does traction control matter in winter weather?

If the roads are slippery and icy, the Prius will struggle for grip and you will not be able to move.  I have found that the traction control on the Prius is quite sensitive.  From reports online, the Prius is terrible in the winter.

In the generation 3, generation 2 and generation 1 Prius vehicles, there is no switch to disable traction control – I don’t know why but that is the way it is.  In the generation 4 Prius vehicles, there is a dedicated switch so these drivers can simply press the button to disable traction control.

How to disable traction control on the Prius?

The process is easy if a little fiddly, it involves peddle presses and button presses.  The instructions are:

  1. Ensure the foot brake is on during the whole process
  2. Press the POWER button twice
  3. Press ACCELERATION/GAS pedal all the way down, release and repeat (total twice)
  4. Press and hold BRAKE pedal and put gear into NEUTRAL
  5. Press ACCELERATION/GAS pedal all the way down, release and repeat (total twice)
  6. Press PARK button and press ACCELERATION/GAS pedal all the way down, release and repeat (total twice)
  7. Press BRAKE pedal and hold, press POWER button
  8. Process complete, release foot brake.

The display will show the yellow skid traction control light constantly and will show maintenance mode.  To reset the process, switch off the car completely.  If you want to re-do the process, switch off and start again.

Hope this helps with your Prius this winter ❄️❄️

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