What’s That Button: Part IV

The latest Lexus models offer a wide array of advanced technology and safety features that often have new and repeat Lexus owners asking themselves “what’s that button” or “how do I just get _____ to work?”.  Our in-house Vehicle Technology and Delivery Specialists will personally go over every new feature on your Lexus and are always available to answer any question you may have, but if you just want a quick overview on some of the most asked about buttons in the new Lexus models, then keep reading…

What’s that button: (Brake) Hold


The Brake Hold button is located near the push button Start/Stop that you use to turn your Lexus on (see above) and is a standard feature on the most new Lexus including the GS, LS, RX, LX and NX.  The brake hold button is great to use when you are stopped in traffic or anytime you want to give your foot a rest while waiting at a light.

Once the vehicle is stopped, the skid control ECU applies hydraulic pressure to the wheel cylinders that is appropriate for the gradient condition of the road surface. If the vehicle moves while Brake Hold is operating, hydraulic pressure is increased to keep the vehicle stopped. Thus, Brake Hold maintains the hydraulic pressure at all four wheels, keeping the vehicle stopped, which reduces the burden on the driver to keep the brake pedal depressed. While this function is operating, the skid control ECU also automatically illuminates the brake lights. Brake Hold automatically releases the wheel cylinder pressure when the driver presses the accelerator pedal. The system is designed to operate on mild grades only and will not operate on steep grades. The Brake Hold function is activated by the driver and can be turned off, if so desired.

What’s that light:  “BRAKE”

There can be a few reasons why you see a red “BRAKE” indicator light on your multi-information display.  One could be that the parking brake is not yet fully released.  And, if you are driving a Lexus that does not have the Auto Parking Brake feature, like the Lexus GX 460, CT200h or IS sedan or convertible, then you may need to find then press down on the parking brake so to ensure the brake is fully released.

How do you know if you have AUTO Parking Brake?

If you see a button labeled AUTO (pictures below) then you know you have Auto Parking Brake feature.  So, if you have Auto Parking Brake and the above mentioned “BRAKE” indicator light displays then this light is on for another reason entirely.  Your best bet is to have our Service Team check it out- just in case fluid levels are down – which is one possible cause for the BRAKE light to display.

Auto Parking Brake

A different BRAKE Light…

If you see red flashing lights that say “BRAKE, BRAKE” while driving, then this BRAKE light is more than likely your Pre-Collision System at work.   When or if your Lexus with Pre-Collision detects a possible front collision – which happens from time to time if you’re driving at a faster rate than the object or vehicle in front of you is moving, then you will see this “BRAKE, BRAKE” light flash across the driver’s display accompanied by a beeping noise.  The light and the beep is how your Pre-Collision System alerts and allows you to either slow down or make any needed adjustment to avoid the collision.  If you do not brake or a collision is imminent then the system will apply the brakes so to stop the vehicle and hopefully avoid any collision altogether.  Read more about the Pre-Collision System here.


 What’s that Button: LDA


Have you seen the above button on your Lexus GX460?  If you have the button labeled “LDA” like the GX above, then you know you have Lane Departure Alert and the Driver Assistance Package that is available on the Luxury model GX460.  Lane Departure Alert is pretty self explanatory based on its name but if you’re curious as to how this works…

 A camera behind the rearview mirror monitors the vehicle’s position relative to the lane markers on the road. It alerts the driver if the vehicle approaches a line without the turn signal being engaged. The alert consists of an audible tone and indicator in the multi-information display that shows which lane marker (to the left or the right) the Lexus is approaching. The alerts prompt the driver to correct the vehicle’s lane position.  

Want to know which 2017 Lexus models will come with Lane Departure and Lane Keep Assist?  Check out the chart below.


What’s that Button: TRAC (OFF)/VSC cut-off switch


The 2016 Lexus GS, IS, LS, NX and RC will have a TRAC off button (pictured above) and looks like car with skid marks with the text “OFF” right below the icon.  You may wonder why Lexus would have this button so easily accessible and when you would ever want to turn off such a helpful feature like Traction Control?  South Texas and San Antonio Lexus drivers may never need to use this feature, but it does come in handy if you drive in the snow.  One press of the switch turns off the Traction Control (TRAC). Pressing and holding the switch turns off the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). Turning off one or both systems can help a driver free a vehicle that is stuck in snow or mud. The systems automatically reset the next time the car is started or if the driver presses the switch again.

Another button that is easily recognizable is the SNOW Mode switch (pictured above).  Many Lexus vehicles feature a SNOW mode switch on the center console that provides graduated throttle action for driving on slippery roads. SNOW mode improves start-off and acceleration performance on slippery road surfaces, such as on snow when the wheels may spin and when engaged, SNOW mode will be shown on the multi-information display when activated.

Why would I use that: Paddle Shifters


Paddle shifters are located right behind the steering wheel of most sport models and is a standard feature found on the 2016 Lexus GS, IS, LS and RC coupe.  You will also see them on the RX F SPORT and NX FSPORT models.  These shift levers behind the steering wheel allow the driver to select a certain gear by tapping a paddle. With the console in manual (M) mode the driver can manually select and hold a gear.

Why would you use this feature?  Paddle shifters provide the enthusiast driver with more control over the drivetrain. They allow the driver to manually shift the transmission without taking his or her hands from the steering wheel. In “M” mode, the transmission responds to the paddle shifters with faster gear changes.

Shift to “M” mode and put those paddle shifters to work.  Lexus RC F pictured.

Have a question on any other button or feature in your Lexus?  Let us know since we would love to help!  Email jbrennan@nplexusdominion.com or swing by North Park Lexus at Dominion for a one-on-one tutorial with our vehicle technology specialist.




One thought on “What’s That Button: Part IV

  1. Max McMillon

    What is the “P” button in the center console right next to the rear sunshade button on a 2015 Lexus Sport used for?
    Max McMillon


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