Cruise Control Not Working?

Are you living in the Tacoma area and experiencing issues with your cruise control? Here are some of the possible reasons why.

What is Cruise Control?

Cruise control is a helpful way for you to maintain speed while on the road. Your cruise gives your feet a break from the pedals while also saving you gas. It does this by controlling the throttle and using several components within the car through a servomechanism to gauge how much fuel the engine needs and gradually injecting said fuel as needed to maintain a consistent speed. Since this process is gradual and automated, no excess fuel is injected, saving you gas in the tank (and adding more time before your next visit to the pump).

The details of what your cruise control system does depend on your make and model. While some systems control speed and require drivers to change lanes or slow down with traffic, some newer systems automatically steer vehicles away from other cars or adjust speed depending on traffic.

When anything stops working it can be an inconvenience, and the same is true for your cruise. However, though a malfunctioning cruise control may not seem like cause for alarm, often times it can point to more serious issues elsewhere in your vehicle.

Five Possible Reasons Your Cruise Control Isn’t Working

  1. Issues with your electrical system can cause your cruise control system to malfunction. Since the cruise system runs through electricity, any loose wires, faulty voltage, or disengaged connectors can all hinder the system from functioning properly.
  2. A blown fuse can also spell trouble for your cruise control system. With some cars a blow fuse in the actuator circuit can keep the system from working correctly.
  3. Your cruise switch may might be another reason why your system isn’t working right. This switch is what sets your cruising speed. It communicates between the engine and the module to maintain your desired speed. If there are any issues in communication between this switch and the rest of the system it can lead to a dysfunctional system.
  4. Your check engine light may be disengaging your cruise control. Some cars are wired to disengage the cruise system as a safety measure when the check engine light is on.
  5. Breaks lights can also keep the system from working properly. On some vehicles a blown break light can disable the cruise system. It’s also worth noting that some headlights (such as LED’s) that use less electrical current than standard headlights can sometimes confuse the system into thinking a break light is blown.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is city-traffic-drive-P99HMRR.jpg

Signs to Look For

You don’t have to be blindsided by your cruise control giving out. There are subtle but clear signs that there are impending issues with your cruise control. These look like:

  • an inability to maintain speedy when cruise is engaged.
  • sudden surges in speed with cruise is engaged.
  • generalized engine problems. Since many cruise control systems are built directing into the engine, any issue with your engine can effect your cruise system either directly or indirectly. A leak into the vacuum-driver servomechanism can cause engine issues that range from decreased fuel economy to lowered power output.

Tacoma Based Help

If you’re experiencing issues with your cruise control come to Courtesy Auto and Tire Repair in Tacoma. We’re located right next to the Tacoma Mall and ready to help out!

Need more information on why you should come to Courtesy? Visit out “Why Choose Us?” page and see why you should make Courtesy Auto and Tire Repair of Tacoma your top choice for any work on your car!

For more information on how your cruise control works visit the “How Cruise Control Works” page over at howstuffworks.com.