It’s an American tradition – cruising down the highway, the radio blaring and the windows rolled down to enjoy the warm, sunshiny day. Except when you go to hit the cruise control to maintain your speed, nothing happens. The cruise does not seem to be working even though it was fine just the other week. What can possibly go wrong with a cruise control button? In reality, there are a lot of things that can go wrong, just like any other electrical system on the car you drive. How you treat that cruise control button will determine a lot of how well your system works in the future.
For people who drive on the highway a lot, they might just leave the cruise control button set to on all of the time. That way, whenever they feel the need to set the speed, they just have to flick one more button and it is on. But this habit can be damaging for the cruise as it is always on and at the ready. Being always on and not used can wear out the control mechanisms of the system.
Another habit people have with cruise control is stepping on the brakes to disengage the speed control instead of turning it off. Is that method safer that turning the system on or off at the controls? The answer depends on who you ask. Conservative mechanics say that if you are going to engage the speed again as soon as the person ahead of you moves, then it is fine. It is easier and faster to hit resume than it is to turn the system off, start it all over again.
Other mechanics say that tapping the brakes can wear on a system. Just slightly. The systems are so advanced these days, however, that it would take a lot of starting and stopping to cause any sort of wear and tear on a system. Cars are built with a lot of great features that are meant to last for the life of the car and the cruise control is one of them.
If the cruise control does not seem to hold the speed or engage, then it might be worth taking it in to an auto shop. There could be a wire disconnected or a short in the system that requires an easy fix to get it up and running again. Cruise control is a great feature to have so it is worth the expense to get it fixed on your car. You never know when, but having the speed set could prevent you from getting a ticket since you know where the speed is set and can focus on the road and not the speedometer!