How to Spot Cruise Control Failures in Your Car



Cruise control is a fantastic feature of your car that comes in handy on long road trips. With the simple press of a button, you can control your car’s speed and give your foot a much-needed break from the gas pedal.

The last thing you want to be dealing with is cruise control failure while on the highway. With that in mind, let’s discuss the purpose of your vehicle’s cruise control system, signs and causes of cruise control failure, and where to go when your cruise control encounters problems.

Purpose of Cruise Control

Cruise control is a handy feature on your vehicle that is a helpful tool for road trips and driving on highways. It helps ease the foot fatigue that comes with pressing on the gas pedal after so many hours of driving on the highway.

When you initiate cruise control, the system locks the gas pedal into position to maintain your current speed. Not only does this give your foot a break, it prevents you from getting lead-foot and accidentally going over the speed limit, which can result in a speeding ticket. Today’s vehicles contain a wireless cruise control system that communicates with the internal computer, calculating your current speed and then locking into it.

Your vehicle’s cruise control is located on your turn signal or on the steering wheel itself and can be activated with a press of a button once you reach your desired speed. Once cruise control is set, you can slowly release your foot from the acceleration pedal.

There is a time and a place for cruise control usage, specifically on longer trips and when traveling on highways where speed limits are between 55 to 75 miles per hour.

Signs of Cruise Control Failure

There are a few key signs of cruise control failure. Should you suspect either of these, you’ll want to take your car to your trusted service and repair center to have the problem diagnosed and repaired:

  • The Cruise Control Light Doesn’t Illuminate: Your vehicle’s cruise control light should illuminate the moment you turn cruise control on. If the light doesn’t come on, there is likely a problem with the switch or another component of the cruise control system.
  • Your Vehicle Cannot Maintain a Set Speed: The purpose of cruise control is to allow you, the driver, to maintain a set speed while on long car trips, specifically on highways with higher speed limits. If your cruise control cannot maintain a set speed, there is something wrong with your cruise control system.

Causes of Cruise Control Failure

There are some common causes of cruise control problems, most of which are easily fixed by a trusted mechanic. Take a look at the list below to self-identify some causes:

  • The Cruise Control Switch Wears Out: Simply put, your vehicle’s cruise control switch can wear out over time and stop working.
  • Brake Light Switch Issues: Cruise control is deactivated when you hit the brake pedal. If the cruise control system cannot detect the brake light, it will deactivate automatically until the brake light switch is fixed.
  • Blown Fuse: Your vehicle’s cruise control system is protected by fuses. If a fuse is blown, it will cause the cruise control system to turn off until it is fixed.
  • Vehicle Speed Sensor Failure: Most vehicles have speed sensors that transmit information about your vehicle’s speed to the cruise control system. Should a speed sensor fail, your cruise control will automatically deactivate, as it cannot detect the speed you are going in order to lock it in.
  • Electrical Issues: If you’ve exhausted all other possibilities as to why your cruise control stopped working, you may be dealing with electrical issues. There are various electrical components connected to the cruise control system, and the cause could be faulty connectors or wiring.
  • The Check Engine Light is Illuminated: When your car detects a problem with the engine, it automatically disables your cruise control to prevent further problems. Hence, your cruise control won't work if you're experiencing engine problems.

M Service is Here to Help

When it comes to cruise control failure, M Service has you covered. We’ve been proudly serving the Walnut Creek, CA area since 1984. We specialize in servicing European model vehicles. Our highly-trained technicians can diagnose and fix your cruise control problems and have you ready to make that next long trip in no time. Call us today to schedule your appointment.


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