4 Reasons the Cruise Control Stopped Working on your Car by Carlsen Subaru, Serving San Francisco

Reasons the Cruise Control Stopped Working

Virtually every modern car is equipped with the convenience of cruise control. This system can automatically modulate the throttle to maintain a speed that you set -- so you can focus on the road and not worry about the speedometer.

While this is a mechanical system on most cars, modern technology has created drive-by-wire systems and adaptive cruise control, which are even more complex. We'll go over what can cause these systems to stop working, so you know what to expect when you visit Carlsen Subaru for a repair. As you'll see below, some of the components essential to the cruise control are also essential to other functions of your car. A faulty cruise control system might seem like something you can just ignore, but there could be more severe underlying problems worth addressing. Let us help at the Carlsen Subaru service center in Redwood City.

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Reason #4: Severed Cruise Control Cable

While modern cruise control systems are entirely computer controlled, the mechanical cruise control found on many cars still on the road today uses a simple cable to manipulate the throttle body. The engine's computer sends a signal to a servo to open the throttle more when acceleration is required or close it to enable coasting. The servo then pulls on a cable attached to the throttle body, just like the cable attached to the gas pedal. If that cable breaks, the cruise control system may turn on, but it won't do anything. Our technicians can install a new cable so you can keep on cruising!

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Reason #3: Bad Vacuum Actuator

Older cruise control systems are controlled using a vacuum actuator. As the engine computer determines that more or less speed is needed, it sends a signal to the actuator. A change in vacuum pressure will open or close the throttle body, changing how much fuel is getting to the engine and how much or how little you're accelerating.

If that actuator goes bad and cannot hold a vacuum properly, the cruise control system won't be able to manipulate the throttle to adjust your speed -- meaning it just won't work. Thankfully, most newer cars won't run into this problem.

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Reason #2: Blown Fuses

Whether your car still uses an old-fashioned cable linkage to the throttle body, or it's a modern drive-by-wire system, a blown fuse will still cause the cruise control to stop working. A surge of electricity in the system can cause the fuse to blow, and prevent your cruise control from working. Installing a new fuse should fix the problem, but if the replacement fuse blows, a professional technician should take a close look at the whole system to find the cause of the surge.

Reason #1: Bad Speed Sensor

The engine's computer has to know the speed your car is traveling in order to know when to give it more gas or ease off the throttle. If the speed sensor goes bad, the engine computer won't get the information it needs to operate the cruise control, and it won't work.

Without a working speed sensor, your car can develop other problems, too! The transmission may shift erratically or not go into the highest gear. You might also notice the check engine light activates in the dash. Getting a new speed sensor installed is essential to getting the performance you expect from your car. Luckily, this little component is relatively quick and inexpensive for our talented technicians to replace.

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Carlsen Subaru

480 Veterans Blvd
Directions Redwood City, CA 94063

  • Sales: 650-365-6390
  • Service : 650-365-6390
  • Parts: 650-365-6390
  1. Carlsen Subaru

    480 Veterans Blvd
    Redwood City, CA 94063

    • Sales: (888) 520-5916

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