You would be hard-pressed to find a vehicle on the road today without cruise control. This invaluable feature makes driving long distances easier but can also cause problems if not used properly. Understanding why your cruise control has stopped working allows you to quickly fix the problem for a more enjoyable drive.
While this fault can cause problems with the cruise control system itself, it could also have an effect on your vehicle’s acceleration. That’s why you want to get it checked out as soon as you notice a problem. Let’s take a quick look at the reasons first.
The most common reason your cruise control stops working is due to a blown fuse or a faulty brake pedal switch. It can also be caused by problems with the throttle control system or ABS. On older cruise control systems, this may be caused by a broken vacuum line.
Here is a more detailed list of possible causes of cruise control malfunctions:
Causes that the cruise control stopped working
1. Blown fuse
All vehicle electrical systems are controlled by fuses. Your cruise control system is connected to a fuse that can blow in the event of a short circuit or failure. Without a good fuse, the cruise control cannot work at all.
Fortunately, finding and replacing a blown fuse is not difficult. Look in your owner’s manual to find the fuse that matches your cruise control technology.
2. Defective brake pedal switch
The brake pedal switch is responsible for turning the brake lights on and off, depending on the position of the pedal. Cruise control systems are designed to deactivate each time the brake pedal is pressed.
Since the cruise control is wired into the brake pedal switch, any malfunction can prevent it from working. When the brake pedal switch malfunctions, the car thinks the brakes are on, causing the system to shut off automatically. Not only that, but your car’s brake light can also get stuck, leaving confused drivers in your wake.
3. Defective speed sensor
Speed sensors are located on each wheel or differential. The purpose of these sensors is to monitor wheel speed to determine if traction control is needed.
Speed sensors are also part of the cruise control system. When a sensor fails, the cruise control may stop working and the speedometer may also act strangely.
If there is a problem with a speed sensor, it will often show up with an ABS warning light or a check engine light on the dashboard.
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4. Electrical problems
The cruise control system is electronic, with many components working together to make the system work. If the cruise control is not working, you want to check if the wiring harness and associated connectors are faulty.
You must also ensure that the voltage source is supplying enough power to the system. Even the smallest fault can cause cruise control failure. In many cases, there may be a problem with the cruise control lever or buttons that prevent the cruise control from engaging.
If the cruise control buttons are located on the steering wheel, it could also be due to a faulty clock spring behind the steering wheel.
Check the system with an OBD2 scanner for cruise control-related trouble codes.
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5. Damaged vacuum actuator, hoses, or cable (old speed controller)
If you drive an older vehicle with cruise control, you may have a problem with the vacuum actuator or the cable that connects to the throttle. If the vacuum hoses or actuator has been damaged, the cruise control will stop working completely.
Additionally, the cable connecting the actuator to the throttle must be in good condition. If it is broken, the cruise control will fail.
What is cruise control?
Cruise control was first introduced in automobiles in the 1950s. However, it took many years before it became a staple of modern vehicles. Cruise control is a function used when driving at a constant speed.
This electrical system allows you to set a predetermined speed and take your foot off the accelerator. If you are on a long trip, the fatigue is less because you don’t have to try to maintain speed. Cruise control can also help save fuel because the vehicle uses less fuel when driven regularly.
On newer cars, you may be able to find adaptive cruise control, which is smart technology. Adaptive cruise control allows you to cruise at a set speed but also helps you maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front of you by using sensors. With conventional cruise control, you have to take control when the car in front of you slows down, but that’s not the case with adaptive cruise control.
Cruise control repair cost
The cost to repair your cruise control system depends on the cause of its failure. If you need to replace a cruise control or brake switch, you could spend between $125 and $350, including parts and labor. However, the cost of changing a fuse is only a few dollars and you can do the replacement yourself in seconds.
On the other hand, when something major fails, like the actuator, you may be stuck with a much higher repair bill. In some vehicles, the cost to replace a cruise control actuator can be more than $700. These costs increase if you drive a luxury vehicle or a vehicle that is difficult to obtain parts for.
It may not immediately seem important to you to fix faulty cruise control, but this faulty system can affect other aspects of performance. You may start to notice acceleration problems or problems with the speedometer. To play it safe, it is always best to get your cruise control repaired as soon as you notice a problem.