Are You Using Trail Turn Assist Properly?

Jun 01, 2023

image: Ford

Recently, two Bronco owners started posts in the forums after being denied a warranty claim. Both centered on Trail Turn Assist and missing plug welds in the axle tubes. Other outlets picked up the news, and many of the Bronco owners following the threads expressed concern about using the Ford technology and the state of their Dana rear axles.

Additionally, this news has led people to ask why a vehicle the manufacturer shows as easily altered has components not covered when the customer does in fact do modifications. Let’s get into it by first discussing what Trail Turn Assist is, what Broncos it is on, how to engage it, and precautions using it.

Trail Turn Assist: The Basics

Trail Turn Assist (TTA) is an off-road feature on Broncos with the 10-speed automatic transmission. The tech reduces the turning radius of your vehicle by applying the brakes to the inside rear wheel in low-speed, high steering-angle maneuvers.

Use it to get through switchbacks and around obstacles without executing multi-point turns. You can see it in action below.

Using Trail Turn Assist

Trail Turn Assist is part of what Ford calls the Off-Road Hero Switch Pack, a series of available buttons on the dashboard for features that help you stay in control while driving –– front and rear lockers, stabilizer bar disconnect, and more.

Find the following information, and more on it, in your Bronco owner’s manual.

To engage TTA, start with your transfer case in four-wheel drive high (4H) or four-wheel drive low (4L). Press the TTA hero switch on your dash. TTA will be on but not activate until:

  • Vehicle speed is less than 12 mph (19.3 km/h).
  • Rear differential is fully unlocked.
  • Steering wheel is almost fully turned to the left or right.

You’ll know it’s on by the hero switch being lit up and from TTA icons on the instrument panel: When TTA is on, one of two indicators will be displayed, depending on the direction of the vehicle’s last turn. When the feature is available but not in use, the indicator will be gray. When the feature is active the indicator will be green.

You can turn off TTA by doing any of the following:

  • Pressing the TTA button again.
  • Selecting a two-wheel drive high (2H) or four-wheel drive auto (4A).
  • Turning on the rear locking differential.

Trail Turn Assist Limitations

  • You cannot use TTA with the rear differential engaged. If the system detects that the rear differential has recently been engaged, it may not activate TTA until it can confirm that the rear differential is disengaged.
  • If the vehicle’s rear differential is engaged when pressing the TTA button, the rear differential will attempt to disengage to allow for TTA operation.


  • If Trail Turn Assist doesn't activate after unlocking the rear differential, the rear differential may not be fully disengaged. When possible, turn off the rear locker while driving straight before using TTA. If you are already in a tight turn when you encounter this situation, driving the vehicle for a short distance in reverse could allow the differential to fully disengage.
  • If you're getting a “Trail Turn Assist Not Available See Manual” error, a TTA system malfunction could be present. If the condition persists, please see your dealer.  

Trail Turn Assist Precautions

  • Do not use TTA on dry, hard surfaced roads. Doing so can produce excessive noise, increase tire wear and may damage drive line or braking components. TTA is only intended for slippery or loose surfaces.
  • You may hear noise from the anti-lock brake system while trail turn assist is active. This is normal operation.
  • Be mindful of Tread Lightly! principles and protect the trail you’re on. TTA is there to be used, but it can cause rutting and damage to the terrain.

Lift Me Baby: Warranty Denied Due to Modified Vehicle

So, back to the discussion surrounding Ford’s encouragement of modification and owners using the Bronco “as intended,” i.e., taking it off-road: Some Bronco owners feel like Ford wants them to modify their vehicle but are frustrated when a dealer won’t touch their no-longer stock Bronco. 

While Ford has added the phrase “Lift Me Baby” to the wheel well liners, pause before doing modifications. Understand that your changes to your Bronco may cause damage to other components if not considered holistically and executed properly, and upfitting your vehicle may put strain on parts in a way Ford has not allowed for.

“Ford does extensive durability on all features, Trail Turn Assist included,” says Lauren Putnam, Strategy and Transformation Lead, Ford. “Trail Turn Assist is also on other models in the Ford lineup like F-150, which has some of the highest durability and engineering validation standards in the company to be ‘Built Ford Tough.’ These tests ensure not only durability, but quality and dependability. This same technology is on Bronco and is highly tested to be Built Wild.”

Two things are true: The Bronco may be Built Wild, but parts will fail if you mod your vehicle incorrectly. If you’ve added larger tires, heavier wheels, etc., and not upgraded other suspension components as needed, you may want to avoid using Trail Turn Assist –– or don’t be caught off guard if your dealer won’t cover a failure under warranty and you’re left with the repair cost out of pocket.

“Owners of Broncos who have lifted and upfitted wheels should be cautious when using this feature,” says Putnam. “With any modification you run the risk of unintended damage to the stock components and parts. When upfitting parts and specifically tie rods, steering gears, brakes, and other driveline components, it would be more likely that there could be a failure if not appropriately upfitted to the wheel and tire size guide. Things to consider when making modifications are those listed above, lift/clearance, ball joints and other suspension components. Ambassadors Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Loren Healy have a great ‘How To Bronco: Lift Kit Options' video that covers a lot of the basics of running larger wheels and tires, the lifts needed, and other parts.”

However, before you feel like you now must keep it stock forever, remember that aftermarket parts aren’t always an immediate warranty void, per Ford. And according to Special Service Message 51524, Ford expects you to take your Bronco off-road, use the tech on it, and will support you as you use the vehicle within the published guidelines.

image: Bronco6G

If you haven’t read through applicable sections of the owner’s manual and warranty guide online, you may want to do so to see areas of coverage and the allowed years in service/mileage.

Additional Bronco Guidance

The Bronco Nation team highly encourages all Bronco owners and eligible Sport owners to attend a Bronco Off-Roadeo. These experiences will begin to show you your vehicle’s capabilities, give you a chance to ask the off-road experts questions, and help you get familiar with confidently using the tech in your vehicle –– and they are a ton of fun.

Get out there, have a great time with your Bronco, make changes you feel will help you in your ownership experience, and ask for help from people in the community if you’re not sure of an outcome before doing so!


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