How to Use Cruise Control Like a Pro
Posted on July 16, 2021
We’ve all been there; you’re cruising down the road, doing your thing, taking in the sights and then you think to yourself, ‘why am I working so hard?’ You’ve been giving your ankle a workout but you can set that foot to the side and press the cruise control button on your steering wheel to let your car do the heavy lifting of the whole driving thing.
As self-driving cars continue to loom on the horizon it’s a little bit tough to imagine that the ubiquitous cruise control feature has been around since 1958. Chrysler has the honour of being the company to introduce the feature, which most people consider about as much as the tires on their car, they’re so used to it.
What is cruise control?
Despite what many people may believe, cruise control’s job is not to drive for you but it’s to maintain a constant speed for your vehicle so you can give your gas pedal foot a rest. This ubiquitous feature is controlled your vehicle’s computer system on all modern vehicles and it monitor’s your vehicle’s speed and adjusts accordingly to maintain your chosen speed.
How does this help you? Especially on a long drive when you may have a tendency to lose some of your focus on the minute details of your drive, keeping within the speed limit of the road you’re on could become a challenge. Cruise control will eliminate any worry that you may have about going over the speed limit so you can be sure to avoid flashing lights in your rear view mirror and an unnecessary fine.
How to use cruise control?
Some apprehension is usually involved the first time a person utilizes the cruise control feature. And rightly so, it’s a feature that you engage while in motion, so having a basic understanding of how to correctly use it is certainly prudent. The main thing that first-timers bump up against is the question of how to turn the feature off. The main thing that you should know is that pushing down on either the brake or the clutch will immediately disengage the cruise control function and you’ll be back in control of your speed.
Cruise control will generally be engaged via a button on your steering wheel. Once it’s engaged, a ‘set’ button will allow you to choose the desired speed that you want the cruise control to maintain. If you want to increase the speed, there is usually a button marked by a plus sign (+). To decrease there is a minus sign (-) located adjacent to the plus sign that will bring down the running speed after it has been set in increments of 1km/hour.
There is also a ‘cancel’ button, which will disengage the feature without applying the brake. A ‘resume’ button will bring you back to the speed that you last engaged.
Some vehicles have their cruise control engagement located on a lever that is attached to the steering wheel column, adjacent to your turn signal stalk. This type of cruise control feature may be operated by re-positioning the lever rather than using buttons. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will offer more insights!
What is Adaptive Cruise Control?
Many modern cars have an adaptive cruise control system. And you thought that maintaining your car’s speed was interesting enough as it was, right? Well, think again. Adaptive cruise control sometimes referred to as ‘active cruise control’ kicks up the tech to give you an unrivaled cruise control experience. You’ll find this feature on many new luxury vehicles, or just vehicles that offer incredible value for their price, such as the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L.
Adaptive cruise control is engaged in a similar fashion as conventional cruise control but it also relies on radar, cameras, and sensors to detect other vehicles that are ahead and around you as you are driving. The adaptive cruise control setting will allow you to maintain a set distance from the vehicles around you as it monitors and maintains your desired speed. Some systems even have the ability to brake, come to a standstill, and accelerate again with surrounding traffic.
At that rate, the car actually is basically driving itself! You can relax and take in the sights as your adaptive cruise control system does the heavy lifting.
Semi-Autonomous Cruise Control
The most advanced cruise control system currently available is semi-autonomous cruise control which allows a degree of self-steering by combining adaptive cruise control with lane assist. The system is not full automation though! It will sound alarms and tell you to get your hands back on the wheel if they’ve been off of it for more than a few seconds at a time. Some systems allow for functions as advanced as lane changes but be aware that it is always recommended that you keep your hands on the wheel!
Can you have cruise control installed?
The vast majority of modern vehicles come cruise control equipped but in the off chance that your vehicle doesn’t have cruise control and it’s a feature that you’d like to add to your vehicle, it is certainly possible! Aftermarket cruise control kits are available and their installation is relatively simple. The CarHub parts team would be happy to source and supply the cruise control system that is perfect for your vehicle.
How to install cruise control?
Cruise control installation is relatively simple! You’ll need to have some mechanical acumen but there are many guides available online about how to do this properly. Here’s the basic step by step:
- Unhook the battery
- Move the airbag out of the way
- Find the cruise control connection wire
- Attach the engagement switch
- Install the cruise control computer
- Calibrate the computer
It’s not rocket science but it’s also not nothing. Do you want to make it easy? Bring your vehicle to the CarHub service department and let a licensed service technician take care of all of your cruise control installation!
It’s a feature that most people take for granted but it could also be the difference between a great, relaxed ride or one that will cause some consternation on the road. Cruise control allows you to monitor and maintain your fuel efficiency, it makes for an even, comfortable ride and decreases the risk of incurring unwanted speeding infractions.
In short, it’s a must-have feature for any vehicle!
Want to discuss cruise control benefits and all other car-related inquiries with a professional today? Book an appointment or stop in at one of our stores for the full rundown on all things cruise control!