As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

What Does DAC Mean on Toyota Highlander?


Cars come with different features that optimize their performance in different situations. In four-wheel drives like Toyota Highlander, DAC is one of those features. So, what does DAC mean on Toyota Highlander?

DAC stands for Downhill Assist Control which is a system designed to support drivers when descending on a sloppy road.

When activated, the DAC system maintains a speed of 5km/h which ensures the car’s stability when descending sloppy roads or slippery surfaces.

This article sheds light on the DAC system in Toyota Highlander and all you need to know about its functionality.

What Is DAC In Toyota Highlander?

Toyota four-wheel-drives such as the Toyota Highlander come with driver-assist sensors that increase safety and efficiency. One of those sensors is the Downhill Assist Control.

DAC button Toyota

The DAC system applies braking force to control the car’s speed when descending a sloppy or slippery road.

Although modern cars come with anti-lock brakes which is a computer system that lets the brake determine which wheel needs more power. DAC system is nevertheless a good addition to cars, especially for cars that ply more wet, bumpy, and steep roads.

What Is A DAC Switch?

The DAC switch is the control button that regulates the car’s speed when you’re driving down a slope. The DAC system ensures that the car doesn’t go beyond 15 mph and it also switches the four-wheel-drive control to an L4 position.

Where Is The DAC Button Located?

You can find the DAC button on the left side of the steering wheel. Once you press the DAC button, the DAC light will indicate on the dashboard to let you know the DAC system is active. Then you can proceed to drive down a hill at low speed without needing to use the brakes.

How To Use The Downhill Assist Control

To use the DAC system, you can follow this comprehensive guide.

  • Firstly, you need to stop when you’re about to drive down a sloppy or slippery road. Locate the DAC button on the left side of the steering wheel and press it. You need to ensure you stop the car because it’s not advisable to press the DAC button while driving.
  • After pressing the DAC button, the green DAC icon on the dashboard will flash a few times before it stays on. If the icon continues to flash, it means something is wrong with the DAC system.
  • Once the DAC system is active, the active traction control will work with the anti-lock braking system to keep the speed below 15 miles per hour. This will enable you to concentrate on the path and steering wheel instead of trying to manage the car’s speed.
  • You should note that while the DAC is active, you shouldn’t touch the brakes because it will automatically turn off the DAC system . When you reach the end of the slope, you can slow down and press the button to turn off the DAC system.

To get proper knowledge of the DAC system, it’s better to first test it on a safe road. After getting a hang of it, you can then use it when driving in snowy mountains or on an extremely steep slope.

Is Toyota Highlander Good In Snow?

Toyota Highlander is an efficient car for snowy areas. It’s equipped with several safety features that make it capable of performing in snow and slippery roads.

Some of the safety features that increase the functionality of the Toyota Highlander in the snow include the Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Traction Control.

What Gear Goes Downhill Automatic?

If your Toyota Highlander has an automatic transmission, you can use the “L” or “D2” when going downhill.

If you’re using the brake frequently while driving downhill and you begin to smell the brakes burning, you should park the car. The smell of the burning brake is a strong one so you can’t miss it.

What Are The Conditions The Downhill Assist Control System May Not Work?

There are certain conditions the DAC system might fail to activate or shut down. You will be able to tell that the DAC system is not working when the DAC icon keeps flashing.

The situations in the DAC system may not work include the following.

  • When the shift lever is in 1 range, S mode, or R, the DAC system will not work. 
  • If you notice that you’re driving at a speed that exceeds 15 mph (25 km/h) then the DAC system has stopped working.
  • When you hit the brake pedal, the DAC will automatically stop working even if the DAC indicator icon is still on.
  • If you switch off the DAC system while it’s active, it will automatically stop working.

When the DAC system stops working, the DAC icon will flash during the cancellation period which can last a few seconds. After which the Icon will go off when the DAC system fully shuts down.

Downhill Assist Control System Operation Sound

Once the DAC system is active, you will notice a change in the engine sound. You may also notice that the brake pedal pushes back when the DAC system is active.

None of these signs suggest a malfunction with the DAC system or the car. They are simply standard signs of an active DAC system.

However, when the DAC system works for too long, the brake actuator will begin to overheat. In such a situation, the DAC system will stop functioning.

When you notice that the DAC icon starts flashing, you should stop using it until it stays on. If it doesn’t stay on, you should press the DAC button to switch it off. You can actually drive without the DAC system so you don’t have much cause to worry. 

If the slip indicator comes on

The continuous flashing of the DAC icon might suggest a problem with the system. You can go to a Toyota specialized workshop or contact your Toyota dealer to fix the problem.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top