The Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) pre-collision system came standard for the 2018 model year. The system sensors, including a radar sensor in the front emblem (or below on the TRD PRO grille) and automatic braking. Other features, such as adaptive cruise control, come standard on most TSS-equipped vehicles.
Tacoma owners are their own breed, like the Jeep Wrangler crowd. As a result, the introduction of sophisticated electronic safety systems caused a stir on the forums. It made (former) Toyota salesmen like me suspicious.
"How could Toyota cave to the government and install these finicky computer nannies? Pre-collision assist, are you serious? I don't want a computer touching my brakes!" Valid criticism, or so I thought. Now, you're also wondering how to disable the Toyota Safety Sense pre-collision system.
2018 was a sad, sad year for those of us who preferred the classic Tacoma. For one, Toyota discontinued the most legendary drive train combination of all time: Access cab, 2.7L 4-cylinder, 5-speed manual transmission. If I'd known they'd abandon it, I wouldn't have sold mine.
Nonetheless, you've come to find out if it's possible to disable the pre-collision system on a Toyota Tacoma. The answer is yes, you can—but you definitely shouldn't. Here's why.
HOW THE TSS PRE-COLLISION SYSTEM WORKS
The Toyota Safety Sense pre-collision system works. It's reliable. Remember, this is coming from me—someone who complains about power windows and hates electric fuel pumps on principle. Here's how it works.
TSS on the Tacoma uses a radar sensor in the front emblem. The sensor detects when the vehicle moves too close to an object. It alerts the system to apply the brakes. Other features on the Tacoma include pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, and lane departure alert (not assist, yet).
Or something like that. Anyway, if the computer thinks you're about to tag the crusty cargo van or pedestrian at the stoplight, it'll alert you and automatically hit the stop pedal. Pretty neat when you think about it.
WHEN TSS DOESN'T WORK
Like any machine, there are times when TSS doesn't work. To my surprise, I never encountered a condition where it failed, but certain conditions occasionally caused it to disable itself. System effectiveness varies, and relies on certain conditions to be effective. Under some circumstances, the computer shuts the system down on its own.
Certain Weather Conditions
If the radar sensor is covered in mud or ice, it probably won't work correctly. Toyota (being Toyota) already knew this, so they designed the system to shut down in conditions where it won't operate correctly.
TSS is also affected by speed. It shuts off when you're going too fast or too slow for it to work effectively.
When You Disable It
You can disable some features of the TSS system without modifying the vehicle, and make adjustments to others.
When It Fails
This is the primary concern of many Tacoma owners. Those of us who've been around old cars know that everything eventually malfunctions.
Does Adaptive Cruise Control Work on the 6-Speed Manual Tacoma?
Adaptive cruise control works well on the 6-speed manual Tacoma. It allows shifting and downshifting, and re-accelerates (or decelerates) even if you use the clutch. Cruise control turns off automatically under excessive load, so don't forget to shift. You can also switch back to standard cruise control if you prefer.
HOW TO DISABLE THE TOYOTA TACOMA PRE COLLISION SYSTEM [DISCLAIMER]
Disclaimer: Don't do this. The TSS system works, and disabling it could harm you and other people. On top of that, you could get screwed by insurance. That said, it'll stop working if you unplug the radar sensor in the front.
Many guys did exactly that before TRD PRO grilles with the sensor cutout became available. If the computer doesn't detect the sensor, it won't just jam the brakes randomly. It'll disable the pre-collision system, throw a code, and a warning light on the dash.
It's easy to disable the system, but it's not easy to get yourself out of the trouble it could cause. Here's why you shouldn't disable the pre-collision feature, and how I learned to love Toyota Safety Sense.
WHY YOU SHOULDN'T DISABLE THE PRE-COLLISION SYSTEM
Although it's easy, you shouldn't disable TSS or any feature by unplugging stuff. That's like pulling the ABS fuse, which, in most cases, is also dumb.
Insurance might hold you responsible for disabling a 'prevention' system.
It might actually save you from a crash.
Toyota holds the keys to your warranty.
Most Tacoma grilles now accept the radar sensor.
Remember, lawyers exist only to redistribute the contents of your savings account. Why risk crashing to make your car look cooler? Actually... I'll leave that one up to you. But still, there may be severe unforeseen consequences to disabling a system like this. If you don't want it, just by a 2016 or 2017 Tacoma.
I LEARNED TO LOVE TOYOTA SAFETY SENSE
The reason I went from hating TSS to loving it was simple. It never failed; it made driving more comfortable. Adaptive cruise control worked flawlessly and impressed many friends. Automatic high beams left something to be desired on flat Nebraska roads, but it worked.
The system never behaved erratically, even when I beat the hell out of the car offroad. Lane departure alert is an alert; it doesn't touch the steering wheel. Plus, you can turn it off, and the car remembers your settings.
The hardest thing to admit is that sometimes, technology doesn't make everything suck more. Down the road, we'll see if the Tacoma pre-collision system is a nightmare to deal with. Until then, it works fine; just drive it.