Toyota Corolla B Gear Explained! (Don’t Do This!)

Do you often wonder what the B in the gear system of the Toyota corolla stands for? Although it may seem like a new complex feature, it is not difficult to understand and appreciate.

In this context, the B stands for Brake or Engine Braking in the simplest term. Toyota Corolla B gear allows maximum braking power to your engine while going uphill.

While looking at the gear, you may get confused about what it means. How to use it? What are its advantages? Is it driver-friendly? If you have such questions in mind, read on!toyota_corolla_b_gear.jpeg

People purchase electric vehicles because they don’t run on gasoline or diesel. In the same way, hybrid cars are purchased because of their fuel efficiency.

Each letter on the gearshift on your car denotes a particular gearbox setting. Most of these letters are certainly familiar, but this gearbox letter could be entirely new for you.

Most hybrid vehicles’ shifter knobs feature an additional gear – B that helps handle the transmission effectively. This article will tell you all that you need to know concerning the B mode in Toyota Corolla.

What are Hybrid Vehicles?


The B gear in the Toyota Corolla or any other hybrid car functions as a lower gear that serves a unique role, much like shifting a manual gearbox to a lower ratio on a long downhill route. While descending a hill in B gear, the vehicle’s speed is slowed due to increased engine drag.

A hybrid car functions as both an electric and a gasoline car because it combines at least one electric motor with a gasoline engine. Its system simultaneously works to recapture energy using regenerative braking. [1]

Sometimes it is the electric motor that does all the work; other times, it’s the gas engine, and in some situations, they work together. This results in less gasoline being burned and, therefore, better fuel economy.

A high-voltage battery pack (separate from the car’s 12-volt battery) supplies electricity in all hybrids. This electric power is constantly being replenished by capturing the energy typically lost to heat generated by the brakes in typical cars.

(This is achieved through its regenerative braking system.)  The gas engine also contributes to charging and maintaining the battery.

Toyota Hybrids combine the power of petrol engines and the fuel savings of electric motors to give you lower emissions without waiting for the battery to be charged.

How Does the B Gear System Work?

The B gear produces drag for your vehicle. This drag now creates a maximum braking force in the automatic transmission of your hybrid vehicle. This works when you’re moving downhill, and the car returns to a low gear that enables the vehicle to brake at a low level.

All this works together to ensure that your vehicle descends continuously without the repeated application of the brakes. It also charges your battery and also helps you to move on an inclined surface as well. [2]

Pros of Toyota Corolla B Gear:

  • The B gear in your Toyota corolla car will slow your descent on a slope in any gear.
  • It helps recharge hybrid batteries due to the conversion of energy that would have otherwise been converted to heat in your car.
  • It is known as downshifting gear in hybrid cars because it helps you to slow down, whereas, in other cars, you might not control the speed of your car with the help of gears.
  • This gear boosts your engine’s power and helps your vehicle carry weighty loads.

Cons of Toyota Corolla B Gear:

  • Since it slows down speed, it can affect your car’s driving distance/mileage.
  • Toyota Corolla B gear will cause issues while climbing hilly roads or flyovers.
  • You should not use B gear when the car is at a higher speed or when you want to drive at fast speeds.

Differences between L and B gears

PRNDL is the usual letter of automatic gearboxes. By this, we mean Park (P), Reverse (R), Neutral (N), Drive (D), and Low Gear (L). The lower gear ‘L’ is replaced by engine braking ‘B’ in cars like Toyota Corolla.

With L, you can only drive on lower ratios between first and second, but B will allow you to use engine braking and conserve the brake lifespan.

When To Use B Gear in Automatic?

Knowing when you should shift into the B gear in an automatic vehicle can save you from assuming your hybrid battery is currently being recharged when it is not.

The B mode can be used to change into a lower gear like a manual gearshift. However, driving down a steep hill with only the brake pedal causes premature brake wear and also overheating.

The B mode is meant to be used the same way you would downshift to a lower gear in the traditional transmission. However, when descending a long steep hill, slowing down your vehicle with only the brake pedal can stress the brake and cause accelerated brake wear.

In a worst-case scenario, the brake fluid may overheat, causing it to boil and fail. The solution to this problem in a manual transmission is to use a lower gear to help the brake slow down the vehicle.

Read Also: CVT Transmission Problems

How to Switch to B Gear?

B shifting is quite simple, even if you’re speeding down a mountain or driving on the highway in low gear. But first, you’ll need to reduce your speed and shift into a lower gear so that you can comfortably cruise.

Once you’re driving at a lower speed, select B on the shifter knob, you won’t need to apply the brakes while shifting the knob.

Loud engine revving sounds will be heard because of this. Don’t panic when you hear this; it’s normal. When an engine makes a loud noise, it spins swiftly to maintain a steady pace without applying the brakes.

Of course, you can change from D to B. In short, the only way one can change to B is if you were already on D.

You can’t shift from P to B, but you can shift from B to P.

Almost every car equipped with B mode has complex electronics that will prevent you from making a wrong gear shift. So, you shouldn’t worry about selecting the wrong gear because that’s almost impossible with most automatic transmissions.

For example, if you try to shift from D to R, the vehicle will put the gear in Neutral (N). However, the automatic transmission won’t allow the change as it could damage it and even cause a collision.

Toyota Corolla Brake Hold

The Toyota corolla automatic gear transmission features a brake hold which engages your vehicle’s brakes, which allows you to remove your foot from the brake pedals.

This feature works best for city drivers driving through a drive-thru or pulling up at a stop light. Once this feature is engaged, you can take your foot off the brakes, and your vehicle won’t move until you press the gas.

Most Efficient Way to Drive a Hybrid Car


Driving style can affect the overall performance of a vehicle. Since hybrid vehicles are equipped with more sensitive features than conventional gasoline-powered cars, and bad driving habits significantly reduce performance.

Use Ev mode on short distances: Running in EV mode will utilize only the battery’s power. It will improve your overall driving efficiency. Keep the car in EV mode as much as possible.

That said, it’s most efficient when driving short distances at low speeds. Switch to this mode when backing out of a garage or going to a nearby location. How far you can drive your vehicle in EV mode will depend on your Toyota model.

Use Eco mode on highways: this mode increases fuel economy and reduces the accelerating speed. However, before using each driving mode to harness your driving experience, you should know what you want.

The Eco mode does not alter the vehicle’s engine power. It only reduces acceleration levels, thereby reducing fuel consumption. Switch to this mode on highways, especially when you’re not converting your vehicle to a beast on the road to enhance fuel economy.

Avoid hard braking:  Abruptly pressing down on the brake pedals harms all vehicles. In hybrid cars, it can result in loss of engine power—the frequent pressure on the brake drains stored electricity. In addition, the hard and repeated pressure on the brake will prevent the regenerative braking system from recovering lost energy.

Coast when possible:  Coasting will help you maximize your driving efficiency. Driving without feeding the vehicle with gas will enable you to run without gas or stored electricity.


Now that you know that the B gear is not as complex as imagined, and it’s actually very driver-friendly. Don’t hesitate to switch to that gear when coasting down hills.

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