Crawl Control For Toyota Trucks

Many new buyers have often heard about Toyota’s feature Crawl Control and might not know exactly what kind of system it is or what it offers. Here I will explain as best I can, what Toyota trucks come with the feature, what it does, and how to use it.

Currently as of now, The Toyota Trd Pro and all other models do not offer the Crawl Control option. As of 2020 in the US Toyota’s only vehicles that offer this option is the Toyota Tacoma and the 4Runner. Only a select few models of the Tacoma are equipped with Crawl Control.

What is Crawl Control

Crawl control per Toyota, is a support system, that allows for travel on extremely rough off road terrain at a fixed minimal speed, without the need to press the accelerator or brake. It minimizes the loss of traction the vehicle has and reduces slipping, when driving through or becoming stuck on off road surfaces.

This allows for the truck to free itself almost autonomously. Currently out of the 2020 Toyota lineup only the Tacoma Trd Pro and Tacoma off-road package come with Crawl Control. Not all of the off-road package Tacoma’s come with Crawl Control I believe only the one’s with automatic transmissions do.

In previous Toyota models the FJ-cruiser did indeed come with the Crawl Control option. The 2014 FJ-cruiser had about the same curb weight as the modern Tacoma’s about 4,300 to 4,400 lbs. One reason reason why the Toyota Tundra does not have Crawl Control is perhaps it weighs significantly more than the Tacoma with a curb weight of 5,600.

This my not be why, but a lighter vehicle like the Tacoma of the FJ-cruiser does get stuck in ways that a heavier vehicle does not. I am in no way saying the Tundra does can not get stuck, but it is not typically found in the same situations on the Tacoma.

I wished the crawl control package did come as an option for the Tundra like it does the Tacoma Trd Pro, maybe one day it will. It is rumored that the FJ-cruiser is coming back and will most likely have Crawl Control as an option. We will only have to wait and see if that’s the case.

The 5th gen 4Runner, which is the 2009 to 2020 present does have some models that come equipped with Crawl Control. The Craw Control option comes with the 4Runner TRD Pro, TRD Off-Road, and TRD Off-Road Premium.

How Crawl Control Works

(L) LowRock, Heavy Gravel if going downhill
between Low and MediumSome rock and uphill terrain
(M) MediumMogul and uphill terrain
Between Medium and HighSnow and some gravel if going uphill some mud
(H) HighSnow, grass, slippery mud, sand

These are the controls and they can only be operate if certain conditions are met. The shift lever must be put in Drive, Reverse, or any other gear. It cannot stay in Park or Neutral.

The driver’s door most be closed and the Front-Wheel drive control lever must be in L4.

The Crawl Control system will be disengaged when the vehicle speed exceeds 15 mph. The control light will flash until the speed is lessened. It will also cancel if the brake system begins to overheat, which is possible if being ran for a long time.

If the Automatic Transmission begins to overheat, stop the vehicle until the transmission fluid temperature light goes off.

Things To Look Out For

The engine may make a sound that is odd when the vehicle begins moving or after the vehicle is started. This is normal and is to be expected. There may be vibrations that could be felt through the body of the truck or the steering and a motor sound could be hard after it comes to a stop. These are all normal occurrences, per Toyota.

These directions for use have been the same for every Toyota vehicle in the past that has the Crawl Control Package. Toyota states that the conditions for which Crawl Control may not operate well are extreme inclines, extreme uneven surfaces, and Slippery of snow covered roads which is to be expected.

You must make sure that the system is fully engaged and the indicator light stays on during use, if it begins to flash Crawl Control is being stopped by something and you must find out what before it will engage. More than likely you will only want to be using crawl control if you get stuck. It is amazing at getting you out of some back situations.

This is not always the case though, I do know some drivers who like to use the Crawl Control option any chance they get in an Off-Road situation. I would play with it if I could on the way up to my cabin if it gets rough enough.

There are some good video demonstrations put out there from Toyota that give a good short demonstration.

Is Crawl Control Worth It

There are many off-roaders who may find or feel that Crawl Control is gimmicky and not worth it. Buying a particular model of Tacoma or 4Runner trim level can be very expensive and not have many other differences in terms of performance and compared to the other trim levels, or either other vehicles.

Some who have used it for years have found that it’s better than using a winch to get your truck out of a tough spot, some of which will not always get it out anyway, then you’re stuck using a winch regardless. I could still understand why many would like to have a winch on their truck especially if they do a lot of Off-Roading. Many will say they could do the same thing being in 4LO and 1st gear, while others will say there is no comparison.

Crawl Control itself is very similar to A-TRAC on cruise control, the A-TRAC system uses spin sensors on each of the wheels to stop their spin that may steal the other wheels traction needed to move the vehicle. The computer does even more by shifting into the appropriate gear and uses the correct throttle control, which would be difficult to do manually. Jeeps have a similar function by using aftermarket throttle cables controlled by hand, but does not quite have the same exact effect.

Overall, most people will not find themselves ever needing it, I encourage most owners to play around with it and do a little testing to see if they enjoy using it at all, especially if you already have a vehicle with it. The TRD Sport and the TRD Off-Road are very similar in price and the Off-Road comes with Crawl Control so if you’re interested in having it, that may be the truck to check out.

Josh Gallardo

Josh is a product enthusiast trying to help everyone fine the things they need.

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