What does "Trac Off" do?

I have a 2006 Scion xB. I have the option to turn off the traction by pushing the Trac Off button once the car has started. What is the advantage, if any, in doing this?

Doesn’t your Owner’s Manual discuss this topic?

It could help sometimes to turn the traction control off when you are stuck in gravel or snow.

It means your traction/stability control is off. The manual , should say something about using that switch when in deep mud or ditch when spinning your tires and not decreasing throttle automatically may be an advantage. page 104 or 207, can’t remember.

Clearly, it is unreasonable to expect most to read the whole small manual for the item that is often their second most expensive purchase.

This allows owners to “burn their way up their driveways” when it’s icy and they don’t want to walk that last 50 feet…Without this “feature” the car won’t let you do that…

I did read the manual. It was unclear to me. Thanks for replying.

It does. I was just wondering if it is easier on the car, or one would get better gas mileage with it off. Thanks for replying

It’s best to leave it on just about all of the time.


As you know now, it has no affect on mileage and is only activated when needed. Like out accelerating an older Honda element that doesn’t have it from one light to another.

The only time our 98 Windstar’s Owner’s Manual recommended disabling Traction Control was if it was necessary to rock the vehicle using forward and reverse to get unstuck in mud or snow. Turning it off lets the driver spin the wheels a bit to get unstuck.

We never had the need to turn it off in the 8 years we had the van.

Ed B.

Traction control activates when you have one or more drive tires lose traction. Depending on the make different things happen. On my Ford when t/c starts the ABS applies the brakes in an alternating fashion. If that does not cure the slipping the the engine cuts out therefore limiting the rpm’s. This slows doen the tires and traction can be regained.

When the trac off lights up the t/c has been deactivated. Leave it on, it does not hurt anything.

Why turn it off? SOMETIMES when stuck in snow the extra umphh you get from high revs can get you out. The trade off might be wasted gas and a premature trip to the tire store.

This allows owners to “burn their way up their driveways” when it’s icy and they don’t want to walk that last 50 feet

In many places in snow country, on street parking is prohibited during snow storms and during the early morning hours in order to maintain some separation between snow removal equipment and cars. Parking in the driveway isn’t optional.

Don’t take it personally. Many people who ask questions here don’t bother to read the manual. It’s frustrating for those of us who try to help. (But you could point out ahead of time that you read the manual and found it to be unclear.)

It’s the traction control. I leave mine off when it’s dry out, but turn it on in the wet. Basically it keeps your drive wheels from spinning. Some cars have more conservatively tuned traction control than others.

It allows you to do burn-outs if you have enough power.

The switch disables your traction control. There is usually no reason for the average driver to turn this off. I do turn mine off sometimes when it’s really slippery out to avoid having it run excessively—it’s really only needed for me when trying to go up a slippery driveway with a significant grade.

I have an older car though, and the traction control isn’t that effective. On your newer vehicle you may have stability control, and if it’s linked to the traction control, you don’t want to be turning that off unless you’re doing autocross with the car.

If you have stability control as well, it goes off too, which is a bad idea. Otherwise ,it’s inconsequential what you do till in mud/deep snow.

Thanks. A very clear explanation.