Signs of a failing cruise control and how to use it properly

Jun 13, 2019 | Same topic: Handy maintenance tips
What happens when the cruise control of your vehicle is not working?

Continuous innovation of automobiles is geared towards durability, ease of driving, and practicality. Speaking of innovations, the car manufacturers are developing many safety features for a modern car that sport a new function that makes long drives easier and not troublesome for the car’s engine. This is what we refer to as cruise control.

1. What is cruise control?

Long drives are tiring and can get uncomfortable as minutes and hours pass by. Modern cars have cruise control which makes long destination drives a little less tiresome for both the driver and the engine.

Cruise control is a control system that provides accurate maintenance of speed as indicated by the driver. This is made possible by the linkage of the throttle-accelerator pedal. Activating cruise control is much like flicking the lights switch on or off. However, in the process, the CCM or cruise control module records the speed to which the vehicle is driving in and automatically controls it through the throttle body.

Cruise control

Cruise control is a control system that provides accurate maintenance of speed as indicated by the driver

When external environment or forces, such as wind or hilly areas, speed up or down the vehicle, the CCM works by maintaining the initially recorded speed through an increase or decrease of the throttle body. The next time you’re on a long drive, your cruise control actually helps you along the way. But, what if you have an inoperable one at hand? What can you do about it and what could be the causes of such an unfortunate circumstance?

2. Why is my cruise control not working?

Depending on how each cruise control system is designed, there are a lot of reasons that your system is not functioning. Philkotse.com has prepared some of the most common causes that you can check before bringing your vehicle in for a holistic check-up and repair.

Fuses and Relays

As mentioned, each vehicle has its own mechanism when it comes to the cruise control system. There are cases when relays and fuses are installed to provide protection on the control actuator circuit. If your relays are damaged or if the fuse has blown, you’ll have an inoperable cruise control system.

car relays

If your relays are damaged or if the fuse has blown, you’ll have an inoperable cruise control system.

Spiral cable

Some car manufacturers would mount the switch for the cruise control system on a vehicle’s steering wheel. Given that when wiring is faulty (short circuit and other electrical concerns), the switch can never contact the cruise control module.

Brake light switch

Motorists would know that a simple toggle on the brakes would automatically cancel the brakes. In some cases, when a system is unable to detect the brake light switch, the cruise control will be disengaged.

Brake light switch

When a system is unable to detect the brake light switch, the cruise control will be disengaged.

Control Switch

Since a vehicle is subject to wear and tear, there will come a time that internal damage is done to the parts of the internal system that is responsible for a cruise control switch to contact the CCM. When this happens, the CCM may react inappropriately.

Man fixing the steering wheel

There will come a time that internal damage is done to the parts of the internal system

Vacuum leaks

There are still a lot of motorists that use the older model of vehicles. Older vehicles use vacuum actuators for controlling the throttle body when the cruise control is activated. Seeing that vacuums rely on airtight pipes or tubes, having a leak would automatically disable your cruise system.

Vehicle speed sensor

Another main factor to check when your cruise control isn’t working is the vehicle speed sensors present in your car. These systems are interconnected with each other. When one part cannot relay information or connection is lost, the CCM cannot detect vehicle speed accordingly. Therefore, disabling your vehicle’s cruise control.

>>> Learn more about 10 Must-know Car Engine Sensors

3. The do’s and don’ts of cruise driving

It is a given that motorists now rely on cruise control. It has become a helpful function, and a lot of modern vehicles now are equipped with this feature. However, as much as you would like to rely on it for a long and tiring drive, there are still a lot of considerations you need to ponder.

Do keep your feet on the pedals

You may ask, what’s the purpose of activating cruise control when I still have to step on the pedals? Basically, you can still rest without straining your feet muscles. When you’re on cruise control, you don’t need to step on the accelerator. However, this doesn’t mean that you let your guard down.

man steeping on the brakes

When you’re on cruise control, you don’t need to step on the accelerator.

Do keep your eyes open on the surroundings

Rest if you must, but in doing so, you have to be vigilant and aware of what might surprise you. Just activate cruise control if you want to save your energy for a more challenging portion of the drive, but resting is not an excuse to do distracting things like using the phone or maybe, taking a nap.

Maintain your speed limit

The thing about cruise control is that you can go at a certain speed and maintain with minimal driver's input. But, it is easy to get lost in the wonder and forget that you’re supposed to follow the speed limit law in the Philippines. When you go over speeding, you run the risk of getting caught by cops or traffic enforcers or be involved in a nasty accident.

drive slow

Drive slow = Be safe!

Don't let go of the steering wheel

Much like how your feet still need to be near the pedals, your hands should be placed on the steering wheel too. At all times! Your steering wheel renders you the capability to maintain your direction despite being swayed by road-leveling and other factors. Also, it’s like letting your guard down when you let go of it. What if you need to make a sharp turn to the right because of an emergency situation?

The good thing about innovations and technology is that it makes lives more manageable. Although it may come to the point of replacing human beings for mundane tasks, one that can never be switched with intelligent devices is the function of driving. With a lot at stake, an individual should never fully rely on technology especially that human lives are at risk when driving.

Follow Philkotse.com for helpful driving tips and stay safe behind the wheel!

Source: Hanna Miel Sanchez