RCTA Toyota meaning — Everything You Need To Know

Toyota, the Japanese sweetheart known for producing high-quality cars with long-term high-value resale, is still doing everything possible to keep you and me safe on the road. They have been researching ways to keep drivers and pedestrians safe for decades now, and their cars have continuously achieved high results in crash safety tests by the Euro NCAP.

One such way they are doing this is with the invention of the RCTA and BSM safety features. But what do RCTA and BSM Toyota mean? Let’s find out.

Rear Cross-Traffic Alert

What does Toyota RCTA mean

The RCTA stands for rear cross-traffic alert, and it is one of the essential safety features in Toyota cars that works in unison with the BSM system. The RCTA feature automatically activates once you shift into reverse — using the BMS’s radar sensors to detect cars at either the rear end of the vehicle, reducing the chances of accidents when backing out.

RCTA Toyota meaning on Rav4, RCTA Toyota meaning on Camry, and RCTA system on any Toyota model are the same. However, rear cross-traffic alert on Hyundai and other car makes and models may have slight changes as to how the system operates.

How does RCTA work?

To back out safely from a parking slot, you need to reverse slowly to avoid a collision, especially since other cars parked beside yours may prevent you from seeing clearly.

When you shift your car to reverse, the RCTA system activates automatically and begins to detect rear cross-traffic objects approaching either side of the rear side of the car using the BSM’s radar sensors. If the RCTA system detects a vehicle or any object, it’ll alert the driver by illuminating a warning light on the pertinent side mirror along with a beeping sound.

Also, your car multimedia or rear backup camera system will project the approaching vehicle on the screen — showing its direction.

When activated, the RCTA feature typically functions when you are reversing at 5 or higher MPH and when the approaching car is moving between 5 to 18 MPH.

What Toyota car uses the RCTA?

Here’s a list of Toyota car models and trim versions that have the BSM and RCTA safety systems.

  • 2018 Avalon Limited Hybrid, XLE premium Hybrid limited, XLE premium, and Touring
  • 2019 Avalon Limited/limited Hybrid, XSE/XSE hybrid, LXE/LXE hybrid, and Touring
  • 2018 C-HR XLE Premium
  • 2019 C-HR Limited and XLE
  • 2019 to 2019 Camry XLE/XLE hybrid, XSE, SE/SE hybrid, LE/LE hybrid
  • 2019 Corolla Hatchback XSE and SE (BSM only)
  • 2018 to 2019 Highlander Limited/Limited hybrid, XLE/XLE hybrid, SE, and LE plus
  • 2018 to 2019 Landcruiser
  • 2018 Mirai
  • 2018 Mirai four and four touring
  • 2018 Pirus Prime advance
  • 2018 RAV Platinum, Limited/Limited hybrid, SE/SE hybrid, Adventure, and XLE/XLE hybrid
  • 2019 to 2019 Sequoia SR5, TRD sport, Platinum, and Limited
  • 2018 Sienna XLE and Limited
  • 2019 Sienna SE, LE, XLE, and Limited
  • 2018 to 2019 Tacoma TRD Pro, TRD off-road, TRD sport, and Limited
  • 2018 to 2019 Tundra 1794 edition, Platinum, Limited, and SR5.

The information regarding Toyota vehicles that use the RCTA and BSM systems is limited to 2019 vehicles. This means that other newer models, even those that I did not list here, like the 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023, may still feature this safety system.

How do I turn off the RCTA light in my Toyota?

The Rear cross-traffic alert and the blind spot monitoring system are essential safety features built to reduce the chances of collisions. Why will someone ever want to deactivate it? However, if you ever want to, here’s a simplified guide on how to turn off RCTA on Toyota.

  • Start the vehicle
  • Navigate to the multi-information display (MID) settings screen
  • Locate the RCTA/BSM setting
  • Toggle it to turn it off.

How do I turn on the RCTA light in my Toyota?

The blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems are active by default. They automatically detect objects when taking a turn, changing lanes, or when backing out of a parking spot. If you or someone else has mistakenly switched off the system, here’s how you can turn it on.

  • Start the vehicle.
  • Navigate to the MID menu screen
  • Find the RCTA/BSM setting
  • Click on the RCTA to turn it on.

However, keep in mind that on some vehicles, you cannot turn off the RCTA and BSM individually. Some Toyota cars have a dedicated physical button on the dash that enables you to activate/deactivate the RCTA/BSM function.

Where is the rear cross-traffic alert sensor located?

The rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA) system uses radar sensors like the FCW system—which are located close to both rear ends of your car bumpers to detect cars, bikes, or motorcycles coming from either side of the rear end of the car. These sensors look like a button. Typically, the RCTA uses the same sensors as the BSM system.

These sensors are designed to detect cars coming from the adjacent end of your car. They may not detect pedestrians or cars coming directly from your back.

rcta toyota meaning toyota

RCTA Toyota problems and solutions

The rear cross-traffic alert system can become faulty or develop issues. When that happens, the system may be inoperative or malfunction. Here are the common problems of the RCTA you should watch out for and what to do in such situations.

Problem 1: RCTA is inoperative or not working


If the rear cross-traffic alert system is not working, the first thing to do is to check if the system has been deactivated. It could be you, or someone else have turned it off by mistake. Follow the guide above and switch it back on. Also, check if there’s any light on the dashboard indicating that the system is malfunctioning.

Problem 2: False alarms


If the RCTA system is constantly giving false alarms, there’s a high chance that the sensors are having interference. Locate and clean the sensors from dirt, mud, snow, or debris.

If you start noticing the problems after installing any aftermarket accessories, such as the bumper guards, it could be that it is interfering with the system’s operation. Also, if you installed an aftermarket rear cross-traffic alert system, there could be interference. You can either re-adjust the installation or remove them entirely.

Problem 3: Adverse weather conditions


Most safety features in cars that use radar and wave sensors to detect your surroundings do not work effectively under heavy rain, snow, or fog. So, if your rear cross-traffic alert system is not working under heavy rain, snow, or fog, do not panic. It is absolutely normal. All you have to do is—drive your car as you would without the system.

Problem 4: System malfunction


If the system displayed a malfunction light or warning message on the dashboard, it could be that one of the system components is faulty. Contact your dealership or mechanic to check and address the problem.

What is the difference between BSM and RCTA?

What’s BSM Toyota meaning, anyway? It is a blind spot motoring system that detects oncoming cars or objects in the blind spot area of your car by using radar sensors mounted on the car bumpers. Once it detects an object, it’ll illuminate a warning light on the pertinent side mirror with a beeping sound.

The difference between BSM and RCTA is that the blind spot monitoring system detects when driving forward, while the RCTA detects objects when backing out. However, the BSM is a topic for another day.

Pros and cons of rear cross-traffic alert

While the rear cross-traffic alert system helps to avoid collision when backing out, it has its pitfalls. Let’s look at the benefits and weaknesses of this safety system to see if it is really worth it.


Improved safety: The rear cross-traffic alert is a safety feature that helps detect oncoming vehicles, motorcycles, or bikes that you may not see when backing out—especially in a crowded parking lot, reducing the chances of a collision.

Convenience: The rear cross-traffic alert system serves as an extra eye when backing out. With the system in place, you can back out conveniently, knowing that the system will alert you of any inconveniences or obstacles.

Peace of mind: Another merit of the RCTA system is the peace of mind you get when backing out. Knowing that you have an extra eye that will notify you in case of any chances of a collision, you will have peace of mind when backing out of any parking lot.

Accident prevention: Common sense will tell you that the primary purpose of the rear cross-traffic alert system is to prevent accidents, or, at least, reduce the chances of getting involved in an accident when reversing to the barest minimum.


Over-reliance: Since the RCTA system serves as an extra eye to drivers, some drivers may always rely on the system and forget to manually check their surroundings when they are backing out and thus increasing the chances of an accident.

Limited range: Another drawback of the RCTA system is its limited range. For example, Toyota’s rear cross-traffic alert only detects vehicles moving at 5 to 18 mph — it will not detect cars moving above this range.

False alarms: Like every other alarm system in a car, the rear cross-traffic alert system may malfunction and start giving false alarms. This will cause the RCTA to be nothing more than a nuisance. It can also cause distractions to you when backing out.

Final Words

If you have been reading to this point, no doubt, you have known RCTA Toyota meaning. RCTA is one of the safety features in Toyota that keeps you and other road users safe on the road, especially when backing out of a parking lot.

The rear cross-traffic alert system uses radar sensors to detect vehicles parked adjacent to yours when backing out at a speed between 5 and 18 mph. With the pros and cons listed in this article, I believe you can confidently say if the safety system is worth it, based on your driving style.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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