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. Hi i have a hilux LN107, 3L from 1993.
    Ive got some issues with 4*4. Basically electrical problem.

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      We would recommend contacting the Toyota distributor in your region for further help with your enquiry.

      1. Hello,

        Just trying to establish whether the newest Hilux Active single cab has the switchable H2 – H4 – L4 modes as I noticed it comes with the rear differential now.

        Many thanks

      2. Hi Ollie,
        Our technical team have advised that the vehicles will have the option to switch from 2wd TO 4wd H&L.

  2. Hello, I’ve been looking at a few Hilux locally to replace my ageing L200. Would it be possible to find out if the Hilux could be used in 4wd on hard surfaces like my L200 could or is the 4wd for slippery surfaces only?

    Would it also be possible to find out if the Hilux has a diff lock?

    The Hilux I’m interested in is a Hilux 2.5D-4D 4WD HL2 reg SD61 TSY and is being sold by a local dealer.

    I don’t have the VIN number.

    Just looking for more information before enquiring further about the Hilux.

    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Dave,
      Thanks for getting in touch with us.
      4 Wheel Drive is only recommended on surfaces that permit the tyres to slide, such as offroad, icy, or snow-covered roads.
      Regarding the diff lock, we would recommend checking the exact specification of the Hilux with the Toyota centre selling the vehicle.

      1. I had a problem getting my Hilux 2017 out of low ratio 4WD. I tried all the tricks…turning off the engine then on.
        Reversing, turning wheels left and right.
        Nothing worked, so I was forced to drive in Low Ratio 4wd for 9h at 3000 revs and no faster than 80 kph from Calvinia to Cape Town…a 6h journey
        Not a pleasant experience.. On leaving it off
        for about 10mins it then righted itself.
        Maddening and gratifying all the same time

      2. Hi Robert,
        Thanks for your comment.
        We are only able to advise on UK specification vehicles.
        Please contact Toyota in your region.

    2. the 4wd system can be used up to 62 mph in 4h mode for snow and icy conditions.and yeah the hilux has a rear diff lock that can be engaged under 5mph.if that helps

      1. Good evening everyone’s
        Please I’m having problem with my Toyota hilux by shifting gear instead of showing D it we showing me D3 I don’t know what to do now

      2. Hi there,
        Thanks for your comment.
        As we are only able to advise on UK specification vehicles, we would recommend contacting Toyota in your region for further advice.

  3. Hi everyone, have got a Toyota hilux G 2015 d4d 4×4 and its 4WD did not working. Can anyone advice on how to resolve the problem. I tried to engage into 4H/4L but did not functioning even the indicator on the dashboard is not appearing. i brought it to some electrician to check the ADD, Computer 4WD Control and accordingly, it’s all working.

    1. Hi Abet,
      Thanks for your comment.
      We can only advise on UK specification vehicles, so we would recommend contacting the Toyota distributor in your region for further help with your query.

  4. My hilux revo 2016 flashing 4lo with the abs light on sometime it come out but start whenever I try to switch from 4×4 drive have leave it overnight it will come out

    1. Hi Shane,

      If you beleive there is something wrong with your vehicle, we recommend taking it to a Toyota specialist in your region.


  5. Hello, there I have a question for a customer of mine we normally do driven service. We drove that TOYOTA HILUX 24 D 150 INVINCIBLE X 4WD CrewCab Pick-up Model 2018 for 92miles with absolutely no issues. But after we delivered it we had a call saying that we had damaged the vehicle by driving it on 4×4 mode and it had started banging like a bus. My question is could be a problem driving on 4×4 mode for 92miles and if yes what could it happened and why?

    Many thanks in advance

      1. Hi, we are transport company and we only transport the vehicles. can please answer that: Can we drive a Toyota Hailux on 4×4 mode on normal roads and will that affect some how the vehicle?


      2. There are three driving modes. H2, H4 and L4. H2 and H4 can be used in normal road driving. L4 should only be used off-road at low speed. Thanks

  6. Hi everyone, have got a Toyota Hilux GD6 2018 4×4 and whenever I’m driving offload with my H4 or L4 engaged, the car gives me a bug sound (supposedly at gears) with a flushing H4/4L indicator light on the dashboard. This happens mostly when on the move and tyres intersects heavy sand or bumpy sandy area. Kindly advice. Thank you.

  7. Hi team,

    I have a hilux 4×4 2016.
    I normally use H2 most of the time on the road. But when it rains, the road is slippery and my “rear wheels skid” (the truck end swing) while turning left or right.
    Can I use L4 to prevent this? Or drop the gear to S1?


    1. Hi Rod,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Hilux in the UK has H2, H4 and L4 drive modes. Over here, you can use H2 or H4 for normal road driving, not L4. L4 is for off-road low speed driving.
      Not sure what S1 is, but that’s not something that we get on Hilux here.
      Please contact Toyota in your region for assistance.

  8. Hi, my 2017 hilux. When driven in 4H with no diff lock is very rigid and hard to manoeuvre, i expected this with diff lock engaged but not without? makes it hard to manoeuvre around lanes where I need 4wd, iv come from permanent 4wd vehicles
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Ash,
      Thank you for your feedback.
      However, we would recommend taking your Hilux to your nearest Toyota Centre if you believe there is a fault.
      Please let us know if we can assist you further.

      1. Hi Ash,
        Thanks for your reply.
        There will be a noticeable difference between 2H and 4H, the drive train and chassis react differently as traction is increased. Tyre pressure setting and condition can also be a factor here to consider.
        We would advise you to refer to the online owners manual and use the different drive modes accordingly.

  9. Hi. I just bought a 2017 Hilux Invincible (SR5) and I noticed that it makes two slight clicks when I engage 4hi and two more pronounced clicks when I select 4lo. Everything seems to be working fine, but am wondering if these clicks are normal.


    1. Hi Simon,
      If you think there is an issue with your Hilux, we would recommend contacting your Toyota Centre.

  10. Hi. I’ve just bought a UK 2022 Hilux Invincible 2.8.
    The manual says I should drive 10 miles a month in 4wd mode to keep the front axle lubricated. However, the manual also says that 4wd is not suitable for hard dry surfaces as this can cause damage.
    So do I have to go off-road for 10 miles every month?

    1. Hi Tom,
      Congratulations on your new Hilux, thank you for choosing Toyota.
      As per the owners manual, short periods of off road driving will benefit the system.
      We hope this helps.

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