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I got my PRIUS (2008) stuck in the snow on a very slight
incline, and was kind of embarrassed because front wheels would not hardly turn because the computer thinks the tires are slipping and so it keeps the tires from turning.
I was stuck in the snow and ended up driving in reverse
to get myself up the hill. I later did some research because I thought there had to be some way that I could disable that feature just to get me out of that snow.
I found it on the internet and tried it and it works great: Here are the directions I found and they work perfectly on a 2008 Prius.
These steps must be completed within 60 seconds.
Step 1: Set the ignition switch to ON, not READY. To do this press the power button two times, without pressing the brake pedal.
Step 2: While the transmission is still in park (P), fully press the gas pedal two times.
Step 3: Apply the parking brake to ensure that the vehicle will not move during this step. Put the transmission in neutral (N) --use the lever to put it in neutral, and you will only accomplish this with one foot on the brake-- and after that fully press the gas pedal two times.
Step 4: Put the transmission back in park (P) --by pressing the (P) BUTTON- and fully press the gas pedal two times. The car will display “!”--in red-- in the upper left corner of the LCD screen.
Step 5: Press the brake pedal and press the ignition button once. You will now see that little exclamation
mark in the top left of the display screen. The car will now have full power and can scream out of the snow.
BTW,, if you turn the car off,, and then turn it back on normally,, the Prius will go back to it original state with the traction control functioning normally. Use this information at your own risk.
If these steps are followed correctly, the vehicle will start with the traction control system defeated.