Everything you Need to Know About Trail Control in the Ford Bronco

The Ford Bronco comes equipped with specialized trail driving modes that make off-roading significantly easier. Mastering their use allows you to traverse extremely tough terrain with precision and control. This comprehensive guide covers everything Bronco owners need to know about getting the most out of Trail Control, One Pedal Drive, and Trail Turn Assist.

What is Trail Control mode?

Trail Control is a game-changer for off-road driving. It lets you set and maintain a precise slow speed between 1–20 mph so you can fully focus on steering and positioning the Bronco. Here’s an overview of how Trail Control works:

To activate, press the button on the of the center console mode selector. Accelerate to your desired low speed, then press SET+ to set. Trail Control takes over throttle and braking to hold that speed, allowing you to crawl steadily uphill, downhill, or on flat ground.

bronco trail control activation button

Use the SET+ and SET- buttons on the steering wheel to fine tune the set speed up or down. For example, if you start bouncing over rocks, reduce the speed until you’re stable. To disengage, press the brake or press SET- until the set speed reads OFF.

The “Set” buttons on the steering wheel are used to adjust Trail Control’s speed

Trail Control shines when you need to carefully traverse technical obstacles like large rocks, deep ruts, mud, or sand. It provides consistent speed control so you can look ahead and focus on placing your wheels precisely. I’ve found it gives me much more control and reduces stress when tackling technical obstacles. I don’t have to constantly ride the brakes or worry about rolling back.

However, remember you still need to brake manually to fully stop or slow faster when required. Trail Control won’t automatically brake the Bronco to a halt.

How is Trail Control Different Than Cruise Control?

Cruise Control is designed to maintain higher speeds on pavement. Trail Control is specialized for low speeds and off-road maneuvers. They use different control logic tailored to their different functions.

The main difference I’ve noticed is that Trail Control allows more wheel slip, which is helpful on loose surfaces. Cruise Control tries to minimize wheel slip. Trail Control also integrates with the Bronco’s off-road systems, while Cruise Control does not.

Are There Any Limitations With Trail Control?

The main limitations are that Trail Control only works at low speeds and it won’t brake for you. It’s designed for speeds below 20mph. You need to brake normally to fully stop or slow down faster if needed.

Also, Trail Control works best in 4WD modes. You have to be going under 9mph to use it in 4L and under 20mph in 4H. I recommend switching to 4L or 4H before activating Trail Control for off-road use.

Using One Pedal Drive in a Ford Bronco

One Pedal Drive is an optional extension of Trail Control specialized for technical rock crawling or deep sand. It works in 4L or 4H and allows you to accelerate and brake entirely with the accelerator pedal.

I’ve found One Pedal Drive makes traversing extremely technical rock crawl sections easier. You don’t have to transition between the brake and gas. Just modulate the accelerator to finely control your speed. It helps you inch along at an ultra-slow and steady pace.

Here’s how to use it: Press the Trail Control button when in 4L or 4H to switch on One Pedal Drive. Pressing the accelerator pedal speeds you up as normal. As you lift off, One Pedal Drive progressively brakes the Bronco to control your speed, all the way to a complete stop if you fully release the pedal.

You can still use the brake pedal as needed for more aggressive braking. One Pedal Drive just reduces the need to constantly ride the brakes across rough terrain. Modulating the accelerator pedal alone provides amazing control at ultra-low rock crawling speeds.

Tight Turning With Trail Turn Assist

The Trail Turn Assist feature is useful when maneuvering the Bronco at low speeds. It can reduce the turning radius by applying brake pressure to the inside rear wheel.

To operate, press the Trail Turn Assist button when in 4L or 4H at under 12 mph. As you approach full left or right steering lock, Trail Turn Assist automatically braces the inside rear wheel to tighten your turn. This reduces the amount of forward space needed to swing the nose around. It’s extremely helpful when negotiating tight trails or obstacles.

Troubleshooting Trail Control Functions

Getting error messages for your trail driving aids? Here are some common issues and solutions:

  • Reduce Speed To Enter Trail Control – Lower your speed below 20 mph to activate Trail Control. It only operates under 20 mph.
  • Trail Control Not Available with Park Brake Applied – Fully release the parking brake before attempting to switch on Trail Control.
  • Trail Control Fault See Manual – A system fault is detected. Take your Bronco to an authorized dealer for diagnosis and repair.
  • Trail Control To Activate Select Gear – Shift into drive (D) or reverse (R) to use Trail Control. It cannot be activated in park (P) or neutral (N).
  • Trail 1-Pedal Drive Active Use SET Button for Trail Control – You have One Pedal Drive on. Press the SET buttons to switch to standard Trail Control.

Soon these trail driving aids will feel like your best friends out on the rugged trails! With Trail Control by your side, you can push the Bronco’s off-road abilities to awesome new limits. Just take some time to get familiar with the setup steps and operational tips covered here. Then get out there, engage that 4WD, and let the Bronco’s smart Trail Control give your off-roading skills a huge adrenaline-pumping boost!

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