Toyota AWD system malfunction 2WD Mode engaged (Solved)

How to fix a Toyota AWD system malfunction

A vehicle built by the Toyota manufacturer can be an impressive vehicle with many bells and whistles and important assist technologies like automatic parallel parking and cameras and sensors in the back to help back up.

But a vehicle is a machine that needs a lot of maintenance and will develop issues from time to time. One common issue with Toyota vehicles made in the last 7 years is the AWD system malfunction.

So how will you know if there is an issue with the AWD system?

The warning sign will appear on the dashboard or on the vehicle’s computer screen. The warning will read:

“AWD system malfunction 2wd mode engaged visit your dealer”

The vehicle is trying to tell the driver there is an issue with the dynamic torque control and the vehicle’s All Wheel Drive. 

Issues that cause the AWD system to malfunction

Issues that cause the AWD system to malfunction

There could be several problems causing issues with the dynamic torque control, including low fluid level, an issue with the wiring harness, or shifter linkage. 

Maybe the gas cap is loose, the vehicle has not been turned on for several days and the engine is not starting. There could also be an issue with a battery. Lastly, there could also be an issue with the sensors. 

The all-wheel-drive system depends on the sensors and the feedback that it gathers while the vehicle is on and moving. If the sensors are faulty, then the information that it receives from the sensors is faulty. 

There could be no issue with the parts at all and it might be the sensor that is sending out false information.

If you have never heard of shift linkage, it is related to the gearshift or the gear selector in a vehicle transmission and the car cables that are connected to them. 

The cable could have come loose or become damaged. First, you need to use your repair manual to find the fuses. You’ll need a multimeter and then you’ll have to replace the multimeter on each wire to see which wire is no longer working.

Sometimes, the wire that is not working is extremely hot. Whatever color the wire is, the new wire must also be that color.

If the malfunction is due to low fluid level, then you need more brake fluid in your braking system. 

First, buy a brake fluid that is designed for your vehicle. 

Then, open and drain the master cylinder reservoir. Place a towel in the reservoir and wipe down any remaining fluid. Then add the new brake fluid into the cylinder reservoir until the fluid level hits the full line. Replace the cat and screw it in tight.

How to fix the AWD System

How to fix the AWD System

In order to fix an AWD system malfunction, reset the computer and remove the warning, take your vehicle to a technician. 

There are many reasons why the AWD system malfunction warning could suddenly turn on, and the driver will need diagnostic tools to communicate with the vehicle’s computer system to learn which issue it is.

But if you consider yourself handy and you know your way around cars, you can fix some of the issues that caused the AWD system to malfunction.

If there is an issue with the wiring harness, then you can try to replace it. In many cases, it is only one wire that is broken. But just one broken wire can damage all of the wires and mess up the harness.

What is the 2WD mode?

When there is an issue with the AWD system, the vehicle will automatically shift to the 2wd System. Since AWD means all-wheel drive, this means 2wd means two-wheel drive.

If a vehicle is in 2WD mode, the vehicle will only power the back or front wheels. It will not send power to all four wheels. You’ll still be able to drive your vehicle if 2wd mode is engaged, but you won’t have the full control that comes with AWD mode.

What is the Toyota AWD system?

What is the Toyota AWD system?

In the last decade, Toyota has ramped up its development Technologies and added several different types of Technologies to help their customers Drive and reach their destination safely. 

One of these new technologies is their patented Toyota AWD system. AWD stands for All Wheel Drive. All-wheel drive means that the powertrain sends power to all four of the wheels. 

The AWD powertrain either sends power to each wheel consistently or by demand. Now, do not think that all-wheel drive is the same as four-wheel drive. 

An All-wheel-drive powertrain automatically sends power to all of the wheels. The driver does not have to do anything.

However, four-wheel drive is commanded by the driver and its main purpose is to provide more traction to both the front and rear tires. 

Vehicles that have 4-wheel drive are more stable and can handle uneven roads, potholes, and off-road terrain better than vehicles powered by all-wheel drives.

Using a system of sensors, placed around the brakes, throttle, steering control, and transmission, the AWD system can improve a vehicle’s cruise control, acceleration, deceleration, and performance when driving through uneven terrain. Torque control is also included as part of the AWD system.

Vehicles that design for areas that experience a lot of snow will often have four-wheel drive, as they are better to drive through and navigate through fix snow, black ice, slushy snow, and other dangerous winter conditions.


There could be several issues that are causing the AWD system to malfunction. It could be due to a battery issue, low fluid levels, not enough oil, an issue with the sensors, or a malfunctioning wiring harness.

Some people experience this issue when they have not turned on their vehicle for several weeks. When the AWD is no longer working, then the 2WD mode will engage. With 2WD mode, the vehicle will only send power to the two back tires or two front tires. The all-wheel drive is turned off. 

  • Eric Williams

    I'm the founder of Daily Car Tips. I wrote articles in the automotive industry for more than 10 years, published in USA and Europe. I love sharing my knowledge and insights with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on this journey as we explore the exciting world of cars together!

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