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Why Is My Cruise Control Not Working? Causes & Cost to Fix

CarPart  ·  April 6, 2023

Why Is My Cruise Control Not Working? Causes & Cost to Fix

The cruise control feature is especially helpful and convenient on long drives. The system keeps the vehicle moving at a steady speed without you minding the accelerator the entire time. Considering how it’s such a straightforward feature, why would it stop working?

A cruise control system can stop working due to (1) a mechanical problem (2) a blown fuse (3) a damaged speed sensor (4) a faulty brake pedal switch or (5) electrical problems. Repair costs can start at $100 and go beyond $500, depending on the affected part, labour costs, and the car brand and model.

Finding your cruise control not working isn’t the end of the world, but it’s undoubtedly something you’d want to fix sooner rather than later. Learn about the possible reasons for a failed cruise control and what you need to fix them.

How Do Cruise Control Systems Work?

You’ll be better equipped in diagnosing or fixing cruise control failure if you understand how it is supposed to work. Let's quickly recap what cruise control systems are and how they function.

Cruise control is a driver-assist feature that maintains your vehicle’s speed even when you take your foot off the accelerator. That’s a helpful feature, especially when driving long distances, as it gives your leg a break from holding the pedal down continuously.

Despite its presence in the market for decades now, few vehicles have it as a standard feature. The few models that come with it have one of three types, i.e.:

You can learn more about how cruise control systems work by reading our in-depth guide here.

For now, though, we’re focusing on when cruise control systems stop working. You’ll know your car has that problem when you experience any of these symptoms:

Experiencing one or more of the above means your cruise control system is faulty or has failed. You’ll want to have a technician troubleshoot it for you.

Why Isn’t My Cruise Control Working?

When you find your cruise control not working, the root cause is one of the following:

1. Mechanical Problems

The first reason your cruise control stops working is a mechanical problem. Although newer cruise control systems are heavily computerised, they still use mechanical parts to function correctly.

That’s especially true with older vehicles relying more on mechanical than electronic parts.

For example, there might be a faulty actuator or a damaged cable (linking the actuator to the throttle). Besides that, the system might also have a leaking or damaged hose.

Mechanical faults are typically fixed by replacing the affected part with a new one.

2. Blown Fuse

Cruise control systems require electrical power to function correctly. So, if the system stops working despite its components being in excellent condition, the problem could be a blown fuse.

When a fuse blows, it prevents electrical current from flowing to the cruise control system’s circuit. That’s why you’ll experience problems like the system not engaging or the warning light appearing on your dashboard.

You’ll find the cruise control fuse inside the fuse box, along with all the others your car relies on. Replace it with an identical fuse to restore power to the circuit and get it working again.

3. Damaged Speed Sensor

You might already know that your car has several speed sensors on its wheels or differentials. Those sensors are designed to measure the speed of each wheel and feed that information to the car's onboard computer.

That wheel speed data is used to inform the traction control system. However, the cruise control system also uses that data for its operations.

A damaged speed sensor will send the wrong data about wheel speed, assuming it sends any data at all. Unfortunately, that will also disrupt the cruise control system and stop it from working correctly.

A failed speed sensor needs troubleshooting to find the correct solution. For example, the issue could be a loose or cut wire connection, or you might need to replace the affected sensor with a new one.

4. Faulty Brake Pedal Switch

A faulty brake pedal switch could also be the reason for a cruise control system that isn't working.

The primary purpose of the brake pedal switch is to turn on your brake lights when you step on the pedal. That way, drivers behind you will know your vehicle is slowing down or going to stop.

You might think that one doesn’t have anything to do with the other, but think again, because the brake pedal switch and cruise control are directly connected.

Your cruise control system is designed to deactivate when you step on the brake pedal. The system knows you’re doing that because it’s connected to the brake pedal switch.

As a result, a stuck or faulty brake pedal switch can continuously deactivate your cruise control system and prevent it from working correctly.

Fixing that problem will require you to replace the brake pedal switch.

5. Other Electrical Issues

Last but certainly not least, your cruise control system can stop working due to other electrical issues. That’s because the system requires electrical power to function, so the lack of it will stop the system from working.

For example, a burnt or damaged wire could have stopped supplying power to the system. Alternatively, an electrical fault like a power surge or short circuit could have also damaged the system.

Fixing that problem will require a thorough electrical system diagnosis and repair by a trained technician.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix My Cruise Control?

The price to fix your cruise control varies greatly. For example, the price you pay when you have a Toyota cruise control not working will differ from the repair cost of a Renault Trafic cruise control.

The price will depend on a few different factors, such as:

A minor repair (e.g. replacing a faulty brake switch) could be roughly $100 to $400, while something more intensive could go above $500. Remember that these costs are typically higher for imported or luxury vehicles, as most repairs usually are.

The best thing you can do is call a few workshops and get a precise quotation for your particular vehicle. That way, you’ll know exactly how much to pay to fix your cruise control problems.

Start by using the Directory at CarpartAU to find the nearest workshops in your area. Then, use the contact details on the Directory to call them and get estimates for your cruise control repairs.

Once you find the best deal, bring in your and have them resolve the problem for you.


By Ray Hasbollah

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