Hill Descent Control System: My Car Does What

Hill Descent Assist

Helps keep you at a steady speed when driving down a hill or other decline.

What It Does

What It Does: Steady the car’s speed when driving down a hill.

What It Does Not Do: Manage a car’s speed going up a hill.

Help on the Downhill Drive

Quick Guide


Reduce your speed before you enter a decline or uneven terrain.


The hill descent assist helps maintain a safe speed without you needing to use the brakes.


Brake or steer to safety if a hazard enters your downhill driving path.

How it works


This feature keeps helps keep your vehicle at a pre-determined safe speed when traveling downhill or on very uneven terrain. This allows you to focus more on scanning the downhill path for potential hazards.


This feature works with your vehicle’s existing braking systems to block you from going past a certain speed while traveling downhill or on unsteady terrain. If your car begins accelerating past a safe downhill speed, this feature will further apply the brakes.


First, you need to activate your hill descent assist, which is typically found somewhere on your dashboard near your vehicle’s traction control button. Some versions may be activated from your multifunction display or in your terrain management control’s dial.
As you are about to enter a decline, reduce your speed below your feature’s activation threshold. The hill descent assist will ensure your vehicle doesn’t reach an unsafe declining speed by further applying the brakes if needed.


  • Don’t attempt to travel down hills or other declines that are steeper than you would normally attempt to traverse when using hill descent assist.
  • Some versions of hill descent assist will activate your brake lights when it activates; if yours doesn’t, make sure to continue lightly holding the brake to ensure drivers behind you know you may be gradually slowing.
  • When driving downhill, scan the road ahead for any dangers and be prepared to steer to safety if necessary.

Question & Answers

How quickly can I go downhill with hill descent assist?

This feature is designed to prevent you from entering an unsafe speed while you travel downhill or on uneven terrain. The feature is intended to assist you in maintaining control of the vehicle, by traveling at a safe speed downhill.

Most cars differ in their allowable operating range for hill descent assist, with some allowing you to go as slow as 3 mph or as fast as 38 mph.

Will hill descent assist work while I’m reversing?

Some versions of this feature will operate while traveling downhill in reverse, such as reversing out of a driveway that was built on a hill. Other versions of this feature will not work in reverse, however, so check your owner’s manual or with your vehicle’s manufacturer to determine whether it can work in reverse or not.

How does hill descent assist make me safer?

Downhill driving can be unpredictable and dangerous – especially if it’s an extended decent, even on multi-lane roads. This feature uses the engine and transmission to “down shift” to help keep the vehicle speed under control so you don’t rely solely on the brakes. Using your brakes continually for an extended period of time may result in overheating, which could result in brake failure.



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