Toyota B Gear on Corolla & Prius: Meaning & When To Use It

Wondering what the Toyota B gear means on your Prius or Corolla and when to use it? We will explain everything you need to know about the Toyota B gear.

Toyota Corolla B Gear

If you drive a hybrid Toyota Corolla or Prius, you may wonder what the B is next to the D on your gear shifter. Is this meant to be used all of the time or just in certain circumstances? It’s critical that you understand the Toyota B Gear before you shift into it.

That’s why our experienced technicians have put together a helpful guide showing you what the B gear is and when it should be used. We also cover the pros and cons of this system right before we answer your most-asked questions. 

What Is The Toyota Corolla and Prius B Gear?

The B Gear on a Toyota Corolla or Prius stands for Brake, and it is meant to create more drag on the car when going downhill. It generates maximum braking force in your hybrid Toyota. The additional friction created between the road and wheels is used to slow you down and recharge the battery at the same time.

The B gear isn’t beneficial when driving on the highway in normal traffic conditions. During this time, it will only use too much fuel because of the added drag created. 

When To Use The Toyota Corolla & Prius B Gear?

Toyota Shifter

With a regular automatic transmission, the gears below the D are lower gears. They are very similar to the B gear because more engine drag is created, allowing the vehicle to slow down. For this reason, the best time to use the Toyota B gear is when you are heading down a steep incline.

To use the B gear on a Toyota Prius or Corolla, follow these tips.

  1. Slow down: To ensure maximum safety, you need to slow the vehicle down. 
  2. Switch to the B gear: Press the B button on the gear shifter knob. 
  3. Prepare: The engine will initially rev at first. This could be distracting if you aren’t used to it. The vehicle is also going to slow down.

Once you are done using the B gear, switch it back to D. You don’t want to continue using this gear in normal driving conditions. 

If in doubt, use the B gear the same way you would use lower gears in your car. Lower gears aren’t just for heading downhill but also for pulling heavy loads. However, it’s unlikely you’ll be carrying too much equipment in your Prius or Corolla, as this isn’t a very large car. 

Pros of Toyota B Gear

Just because the Toyota Prius or Corolla comes with a B gear doesn’t mean you always want to use it. Let’s review a few of the top advantages of the B gear so you know when it’s helpful. 

1. Good for Driving Downhill

Toyota Corolla Nature

As you start heading downhill, the car could start to move faster than what you want. Instead of riding the brakes, you can use the B gear to slow down.

This gear allows you to maintain safe speeds when going down a steep descent. The increased drag reduces how much you need to brake while on the hill. 

2. Recharges Batteries

Your hybrid Corolla or Prius needs to get power to keep the batteries in optimal condition. One way to recharge the batteries is to use the B gear.

When in B gear, the hybrid batteries start recharging. With the increased engine drag, regeneration occurs. 

How do hybrid batteries recharge without the B gear? The battery packs reclaim energy through regenerative braking. As you brake or coast, the electric motor that normally drives the wheels now works as a generator to charge the batteries. The kinetic energy from the friction is turned into power that creates energy. With a normal car, this kinetic energy would have been lost as heat.

Additionally, the gas engine charges the batteries while you drive. It’s similar to the setup of the alternator and the starting battery. 

3. Reduces Need for Brakes

The B gear ensures you don’t need to ride the brakes. With the help of engine braking, your conventional brakes remain in better condition.

If you were to rely solely on the brakes, you would need maintenance more frequently. Just imagine all of the potential money you can save on brake pads and rotors simply by using them less. The brakes could also overheat, which is all avoided with this system.

Cons of the Toyota B Gear

The B gear can provide a lot of support to the hybrid driver, but it’s not meant for constant use. In some ways, it has some serious disadvantages, although many of them aren’t a big deal. Here are just a couple of reasons you won’t want to use it.

1. Hurts Fuel Economy

When the car is in B gear, engine drag is increased. During this time, you can expect the car to use more fuel than during regular travel. 

Depending on how it is used and for how long, you may not notice the difference. On the other hand, it could drop fuel economy rapidly, costing you a lot more at the pump.

2. Adds Battery Strain 

Toyota Prius Battery Replacement

When going downhill with the B gear, you are going to charge the battery. This is a great way to get more efficiency out of the vehicle.

However, if you use it during normal driving conditions, the battery won’t be charged. In fact, it may prevent the battery from holding a charge. 

3. Reduces Speed

If you are driving at higher speeds, the B gear is going to cause problems. The sudden change in speed can lead to skidding.

To prevent this from happening, you want to lower the speed of the vehicle before switching to B gear. Otherwise, the ride could get very jerky during the transition. 

What Is The S Gear in my Toyota Corolla?

Your Toyota may include both a B and S gear, depending on the Toyota model. You can find out what gears your model has in the Toyota owner’s manual. While B stands for Brake, the S gear means Sport.

It works opposite of the B gear. Instead of slowing speeds down, it’s going to speed up the performance. When using this gear, the vehicle operates more like a sports car, especially when going through twists and turns. 

The similarity between the two is that they both can use more fuel. The B gear uses more fuel because of the drag, while the S gear burns through gas because it increases the power. For this reason alone, neither of them is recommended for everyday driving situations. 

What is the B on my gear shift on a Toyota Camry?

If you drive a hybrid Toyota Camry, you may see the B gear. This gear stands for Brake and it’s used to slow down the engine speeds, especially while heading downhill. It creates more drag, so you don’t need to use the brakes as much and the battery gets a recharge. 

How do you drive in B mode?

As you start going down a hill, you want to slow your speed down as much as possible. Switch into the B gear and prepare for speeds to be harnessed further. Once you have gotten to the bottom of the incline, put the car back into Drive to enjoy the road normally. 

What is gear B used for?

The B gear is used on Toyota hybrid models and it stands for Brake. Activate this gear when heading downhill to alleviate the need for brakes. Because of the added engine drag, you’ll also achieve some added battery recharging for increased efficiency. 

What does B stand for in a Toyota Corolla?

The B gear means Brake. With your hybrid Toyota Corolla, this gear is used to reduce the need for braking while heading downhill. With added engine drag, speeds are reduces and the battery will be recharged. It’s not meant to be used for normal highway driving. 

Conclusion

There are a lot of neat features available with your hybrid Toyota Prius or Corolla, including the B gear. If you haven’t used the B gear previously, it’s time to learn how. Now that you’ve read our handy guide, you should have a better understanding of this special gear.

Start practicing with it as you head downhill. You will get the hang of it after some practice and it may become one of your favorite features over time. Just remember to switch out once you hit the open road again or the drive will be severely hindered. 

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