Why is My Cruise Control Not Working?

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Cruise control is a handy feature—and it’s downright essential if you frequently drive long distances. If it stops working on you, there are several possible culprits, including a blown fuse, faulty brake pedal switch, and throttle system issues. 
Cruise control keeps your car at a steady pace, maximizing gas mileage and preventing driver fatigue. It’s annoying to have your cruise control not working, and even more frustrating when you can’t determine the cause.
Here, car insurance genius and car super app Jerry explains the most common reasons for cruise control not working so you can get your car back up and running (or should we say cruising) in no time.
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Why does my cruise control not work?

There are a few possible causes your cruise control is not working, and some are more common than others. The most common causes of cruise control not working are a blown fuse, a faulty brake pedal switch, and a defective speed sensor.

Blown fuse

Your cruise control is an electrical system, and all electrical systems in your car are controlled by fuses. If something draws too much power from a circuit, it can cause the fuse to blow, which means it overloads and breaks. Then the electrical circuit can’t be completed, and the system (like your cruise control) won’t work.
To fix a blown fuse, disconnect the battery, locate the fuse panel, identify the blown fuse (it may be discolored, but if you don’t spot one, your owner's manual can tell you which is which), and remove it. Then replace the blown fuse with a new one, and reconnect the battery before testing.
A blown fuse will usually cost around $10–$20 to fix at home (this is the cost of the part). In the shop, it’ll cost around $110-$140 for parts and labor.

Faulty brake pedal switch

Since your cruise control is designed to disengage when you hit the brakes, it is tied to the function of the brake pedal switch. The brake pedal switch turns on and off the tail lights when you brake, and when the switch doesn’t work, the system acts as though the brakes are engaged all the time. This means the brake lights don’t turn off and the cruise control doesn’t turn on.
To fix a faulty brake pedal switch, disconnect the battery, find the switch (above the brake pedal), remove the wiring connector, remove the switch, and replace it with a new one. Reconnect the battery and test.
The cost of a brake pedal switch is around $15-$45. If you do this repair in the shop, it will cost $105-$195 depending on your car.

Defective vehicle speed sensor

Cruise control maintains your car’s speed, so if the speed sensor isn’t working, your cruise control won’t either.
The vehicle speed sensor is located on the transmission. To fix a defective speed sensor, follow these steps: 
  • Disconnect the battery
  • Disconnect the electrical connector
  • Unbolt and remove the speed sensor
  • Coat the new speed sensor’s O-ring with transmission fluid
  • Install a new speed sensor 
  • Reconnect the battery and test
The cost of a vehicle speed sensor is $149-$166. Doing this repair in the shop, you’ll spend between $255 and $300.

Less common (but still possible) causes of cruise control not working

If your cruise control isn’t working but it’s not one of the above reasons, it could be a problem in the throttle system or a broken vacuum line.

Throttle system

Cruise control works by adjusting the position of the throttle. If there is any problem in the throttle system, it may affect the cruise control. Problems can include vacuum leaks, actuator issues, faulty pivots or valves, and more.
If you think the problem is in the throttle, it’s best to have a mechanic look at it because there is such a range of potential suspects.

Broken vacuum line

Older vehicles with cruise control involve the vacuum actuator and vacuum lines in the cruise control system. If you have a broken vacuum line, the cruise control won’t work.
To replace a broken vacuum line, pop the hood, locate the vacuum line (it may be under the engine cover), remove the hose clamps, remove the vacuum hose, route the new vacuum hose, and install the new vacuum hose.
The cost of a new vacuum hose is between $8 and $25. Getting this repair done in the shop will cost upwards of $100.

How can I save on car insurance?

If the cost of repairs has you down, don’t worry. You can save big on car care and car insurance by signing up for Jerry.
Jerry is the #1 rated insurance app because it makes comparison shopping a breeze (and saves drivers a ton of money—around $887 per year!).  Enter your info in 45 seconds, and Jerry’s team of experts will find you the best deals from top insurance companies without sacrificing coverage. You’ll save time, money, and effort, and the only thing you lose? High insurance costs.
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FAQs

First, you have to determine why your cruise control isn’t working. It could be as simple as a blown fuse, which can be repaired at home. More complex causes of cruise control not working—such as throttle system problems—probably need to be handled in the shop.
This again depends on the cause of your cruise control not working. A simple repair like a blown fuse or a leaky vacuum hose will cost around $10. Other issues like a faulty brake pedal switch can still be repaired at home, and it will cost around $40. If you have to get a bigger repair done in the shop, you’ll be looking at costs around $200.

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