Cruise control is one of those perks that we tend to take for granted in modern vehicles. But just like any other part of the car, it can fail. Its failure can even be dangerous in some situations. We’re going to discuss some of the reasons behind cruise control failure as well as how to deal with it when it happens to your car.
The Purpose of Cruise Control
If you don’t often drive long distances, you probably don’t use cruise control alot. It’s designed to help ease stress and relieve a driver’s foot and leg during long drives on highways. Using it during a commute with stop and go traffic in a city would be pointless. Because of this, you might think that cruise control failure isn’t that big of a deal. All it means is that you won’t be able to use that particular system, but everything else about the car will be fine, right? Not necessarily.
The systems of a car are highly interconnected, which means that a seemingly insignificant issue can be an early warning sign for a bigger problem that you shouldn’t ignore. In the case of a faulty cruise control system, it can point to issues with acceleration or even your engine.
Four Reasons for Cruise Control Failure
In modern cars, cruise control is one of many interconnected electronic systems that we’ve come to take for granted, like auto-lock mechanisms and power windows. Because of that, if something is going wrong with other electrical components in your car, there’s a chance the cruise control might be affected too.
The reasons for cruise control failure can range from something as serious as a weakening car battery or malfunctioning electronic control unit to a relatively simple problem like a faulty wire or a blown fuse. Here’s a list of some of the most common culprits of cruise control failure:
- Problems with the brake pedal switch: Cruise control systems are designed to automatically turn themselves off when the driver steps on the brake. To do that, the cruise control needs to be able to tell when the driver is pressing on the brake. If the sensor does not work, the cruise control won’t be able to tell when it needs to turn off. To prevent this, the system defaults to an off position and will not work again until the sensor or brake pedal problem is fixed.
- A blown fuse: In most vehicles, there is a fuse connected to the various electronic systems in a car. When the fuse that controls that part of the car blows, those electrical systems will stop working.
You can usually find fuse boxes pretty easily in either the trunk or the glove box of your car. If you notice any blown fuses you can replace them or get them replaced.
- Faulty vehicle speed sensor: A car’s cruise control works by detecting what the car’s speed is when you set it. Then it makes the necessary adjustments to keep the car moving at that speed for as long as cruise control stays on. Without the vehicle speed sensor, it can’t do that. It could make the car accelerate or decelerate way too much, which can be dangerous. To protect against this possibility, the cruise control will deactivate if it can’t sense the vehicle’s speed.
- Check engine light: If other problems are going on with a car’s engine or transmission, the ECU may automatically disable certain unnecessary systems, like the cruise control, to prevent further damage until the issues can be fixed. If your check engine light comes on, it’s generally a bad idea to ignore it. Take your car to an experienced mechanic as soon as you can for an inspection. The fix might be quick, easy, and inexpensive!
How to Deal with Cruise Control Failure If It Arises
Anytime you’re having trouble with your car, it’s best to take the vehicle to a repair shop and have an experienced auto repair technician take a look at it. If you try to fix your car’s mechanical problems, it could end up creating bigger and more expensive issues down the line.
When you need help with cruise control failure or other issues with your car, come visit us at Hayes European. Conveniently located for customers in Santa Cruz, Aptos, Soquel, and Capitola, California, our expert mechanics will ensure your car is repaired properly with fair pricing. Come see us today to find out why we’re the best in our specialty.