Hilux How To: Using the Four-Wheel Drive System

The new Toyota Hilux has a switchable four-wheel drive system that allows you to make the most of Hilux’s agile handling and powerful engine, whatever the conditions.

To discover how to operate Hilux’s four-wheel drive system, watch our short film or read on below for more details.

For normal on-road driving, select H2 (high speed, two-wheel drive) mode for the best fuel economy and comfort.

If you are driving off-road or on snow and ice, select H4 (high speed, four-wheel drive) mode to engage four-wheel drive. The system can be switched from two- to four-wheel drive while on the move, at speeds of up to 62mph.

Turn the control switch from H2 to H4, and the indicator light will flash (pictured below) and then remain illuminated when H4 mode is engaged.

Hilux 4WD - Switching from H2 to H4

To tackle steep, slippery hills you’ll need the maximum power and traction of L4 (low speed, four-wheel drive) mode, which uses low gear ratios to deliver unrivalled traction and pulling power.

To shift from H4 to L4 mode, your Hilux needs to be stationary. For vehicles with a manual transmission, depress the clutch, or for automatic transmissions, select neutral (N).

Next, push and turn the control switch to engage L4. The ‘4LO’ indicator light will flash (pictured below) and then remain illuminated when L4 mode is engaged.

Hilux 4WD - Switching H4 to L4

Moving back through the modes is simple. Disengage L4 while Hilux is stationary, by depressing the clutch (manual) or selecting neutral (automatic) and turning the switch back to H4. The ‘4LO’ indicator will flash and go out.

Switching from H4 to H2 can be done while you’re on the move. Turn the control switch from H4 to H2 and the H4 dash indicator will go out.

To download an owner’s manual for your Toyota vehicle and to access other owner benefits, please visit My Toyota.


  1. What could be wrong when the 2017 hilux is in H2 mode but the 4×4 light keeps blinking? And won’t turn on.permanently as indicated when you switch to H4 or L4?

    1. Hi Wazingwa,
      Thanks for getting in touch. It would appear that you have shifted to L4 whilst the vehicle was moving and the transfer box actuator gearing has broken.
      We’d advise going to your nearest dealer and for the first failure, it will be covered by warranty. When you visit your dealer you should be shown how to operate the shift mechanism as well.
      Hope this helps.

  2. Hi I am thinking of getting a 2017 hilux Invincible automatic gearbox in what is written above it says you can change between H2 and H4 and back to H2 while travelling but I thought when I was at a test drive last month they said you had to be in neutral to shift mode thanks for any help

    1. Hi G,
      Thanks for getting in touch. After speaking with our Technical team, we can confirm that you are able to do this, however there are set conditions such as the vehicle speed that must be adhered to.
      The Owner’s Manual, which is accessible online or on the My Toyota portal will have the full details of this procedure, so we’d advise that you consult this. There is also an important process for switching to L4 – the vehicle must be stationary.
      Hope this helps.

  3. can i drive all the time in h4 and in high speeds like 160 km like 2015 fortuner ? because i like driving in full time 4wd

  4. Hi i have a Toyota Hilux 2009 automatic transmission
    what Could be the problèm when I engage the 4wd there is no indicator light appear but the 4wd works properly.thanks

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      If the light is not showing then it is not fully engaged / working correctly. All 4 wheels will spin – but when load is applied it will not operate correctly.
      We’d advise going to you local dealer to get any DTCs checked.
      You can find your local dealer here: https://www.toyota.co.uk/find-your-dealer.

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for getting in touch. We can confirm that it is driven by the rear wheel. Thanks.

  5. Hi

    I have a Toyota Hilux 2009 when I engage the 4 wheel drive no light appear and the front wheel doesn t lock.

    When I disconnect the electrical plug from the front differential lock actuator the light 4 wheel drive appear again.

    Do you think the front differential lock actuator is défective?

    Is the purpose of the front differential lock actuator is to lock the front wheel?




  6. Hello,
    I drive a Toyota hilux 2012/13 model manual transmission.
    Yesterday the 4 wheel drive sign on the dashboard just started flashing. Not the regular green sign that comes on when you engage the 4wheel drive but instead a red sign (looks exactly like the green sign ) and has been flashing continuously since then even the car is driving fine for now.
    Kindly advise

    1. Hi Muyi,

      Thanks for getting in touch. The flashing of this warning light indicates a system malfunction. We would therefore recommend for you to take the vehicle to your local Toyota centre for diagnosis. You can find your local Toyota centre via this link:



  7. Hi i have a 2007 sr5 hilux – there is no button, switch or hub lock to select 2h 4h or 4L how do i engage 4×4
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Geoff,

      Thanks for getting in touch. If you could please provide a VIN number then we will be able to assist you further.


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