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What Is ASL in Cars? How Can You Tell the ASL Buttons Apart?

  • Cars Explained
  • Ray Sanders
  • 4 minutes

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If you enter a Jaguar such as an XK, you will notice a button labeled opposite the red starter button. What is it, then? Depending on the make and type, ASL in cars may serve different tasks. Let’s find out what these are. 

ASL in cars can either mean Automatic Speed Limiter or Automatic Sound Leveling. While the former is seen in brands like Jaguar and Volvo, you can find an audio leveling feature in JBL infotainment systems in Toyota cars like the RAV-4.  

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Automatic Speed Limiter or ASL in cars

If your car has an ASL – Speed Limiter feature, you’ll be able to find the ASL button on the steering wheel or close to the gear shifter. You can gather more information about this feature in the owner’s manual of your car. 

The ASL button in cars activates an Automatic Speed Limiter. This function, found on some Jaguars and other vehicles, caps how fast you can go. The car will accelerate up to the maximum speed the driver has set. After that, the vehicle’s top speed is limited until the ASL feature is disabled. 

You can use this feature on your long-distance journeys for a comfortable cruise speed that doesn’t tire you. Moreover, The Automatic Speed Limiter feature can also help you avoid speeding tickets in areas where you have no clue what the speed limits are.

ASL in audio means Automatic Sound Leveling.

In the context of sound, “ASL” stands for “Automatic Sound Leveling.” This function will automatically adjust your stereo’s volume based on a few factors you set. For example, this can make the audio coming out of the stereo louder if traveling at high speeds. The ASL in cars is not a common feature, but it can be found on some top-end models.  

In Toyota cars that use a JBL infotainment system, the ASL expands as an Automatic Sound Levelizer. This system maintains a consistent volume level by adjusting the sound according to the driving conditions. With the convenience of ASL in cars, you won’t have to adjust the volume every time to drive through different terrain. It is similar to the Automatic Sound Levelling system found in older Toyotas and comes with four settings: LOW, MID, HIGH, and OFF. Considerable volume differences can be felt once you cruise at a certain speed, like, 20mph. 

How does ASL in cars work?

A microphone inside the car detects ambient noise levels and automatically adjusts the car’s audio system’s output (mostly the volume) to match. Noise from the road, the tires, the wind, and other sources tends to rise when a car approaches highway speeds. As your speed increases, the sound system responds by increasing the loudness of your sound system, and vice versa as you slow down. How much of an adjustment you want it to make is controlled by the high, medium, and low settings (sensitivity). 

The ASL automatically compensates for increases in ambient noise, which boosts the volume of your stereo system. In addition, the ASL amplifies the sound as the volume in your car rises. Instead of manually adjusting the volume when the car is too loud, the ASL feature takes care of everything. 

The ASL feature in cars allows you to pre-set your volume. Possible options include low, medium, and high. In addition, you can toggle the ASL feature in most cars using an on/off switch. However, technological advancements, such as noise-canceling sound systems, will likely render ASL in cars obsolete in the near future. 

ASL buttons: How to tell them apart?

Understanding that cars have two ASL functions—a speed limiter and a sound leveler—is helpful, but it still doesn’t answer the question of how to tell which ASL button does what. It may seem most straightforward to check the owner’s manual, but good old-fashioned common sense can often get you the answer. If the ASL Button sits in a common area, such as by the wheel or the cruise control, it is likely to function as a speed limiter. The proximity to the audio controls suggests it is for sound leveling purposes. 

asl in cars


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