The Toyota RAV4’s “Rock & Dirt” Mode

Inside the Toyota RAV4, there are several driving modes to choose from. With some models, you can choose Rock & Dirt mode. What is this RAV4 drive mode good for and how does it get activated?

I discuss the purpose of the Rock & Dirt mode. Additionally, I illustrate how to use it, whether you have the switches or a dial selector.

toyota rav4 drive mode dial

What It Is

Rock & Dirt mode is not suitable for normal driving situations. It’s designed to use when driving on a bumpy road, such as an unpaved forest road.

With Rock & Dirt mode on, the system senses wheel slippage and regulates spinning. To control the vehicle, the engine throttle is adjusted, force is applied to the brakes and power is distributed appropriately.

Because the vehicle is better controlled, the drive force is maximized. To improve performance across the rougher roads, fuel efficiency diminishes when compared with Normal mode.


How to Use It

Using the RAV4 Rock & Dirt mode is self-explanatory. You can find instructions in your owner’s manual or follow our simple instructions. Read the guidelines based on whether your Toyota SUV has buttons or a dial multi-terrain selector.

Turning ON (Button):

toyota rav4 rock & dirt selector switch

Locate the Rock & Dirt button on the multi-terrain selector panel. It’s located on the second row of options, below the Normal, ECO and Sport modes.

Press the Rock & Dirt button to activate this drive mode.

Turning ON (Dial):

toyota rav4 rock & dirt mode selector

With the dial selector, enable Rock & Dirt mode by turning the dial to the right. Once the drive mode turns on, the dial illuminates.

Turning OFF (Button):

Once you are done with Rock & Dirt mode, you can switch it back to Normal. Simply press the “Normal” button or switch to another drive mode that suits you.

Turning OFF (Dial):

With the circular dial, you don’t need to turn it to return to normal. Instead, press the “Push Normal” button found in the middle. Once the system is back in normal mode, the dial no longer lights up.

When to Use It

Before you use Rock & Dirt mode, familiarize yourself with some helpful tips. You can find further information in the owner’s manual.

    • Activate Rock & Dirt mode on roads that are uneven, such as dirt or off-road paths
    • It helps gain traction when the road surface is loose
    • Use this mode when driving over trenches or anywhere where the wheels slip
    • Designed to be used up to 16 mph

While using this drive mode, fuel efficiency naturally decreases.

Additionally, you may notice these problems while using Rock & Dirt mode. These occur in normal circumstances.

  • Steering wheel vibrations
  • Vehicle vibrations
  • Noises from the engine compartment

Any other symptoms should be evaluated by a professional mechanic or Toyota dealer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rock & Dirt mode is designed to provide better traction across uneven surfaces, such as dirt roads. It prevents wheel slippage and distributes power better, but only works at lower speeds.

RAV4 drive modes depend on the trim level and the model year. Some RAV4 models have a normal, sport and ECO mode, along with the snow, EV, trail, Rock & Dirt, and Mud & Sand modes.

In most driving conditions, the normal mode is best. If you want better fuel efficiency, you may prefer ECO, while sport is designed for maximum performance.

Yes, each of the drive modes offers a different benefit. Try out the drive modes to determine which you like best.

Rock & Dirt Mode for Better Traction

If you head off-road or down dirt roads in your RAV4, the Rock & Dirt mode can offer a lot of benefits. Experience better traction when the wheels start to slip by activating this mode.

Once you see what Rock & Dirt mode is capable of, you may use it more often. It provides more capability and allows for a diverse driving experience.

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