What is the Cruise Control Cable all about?
The cruise control on most new models is operated by the drive-by-wire system, or the electronic throttle actuator. Before that, cruise control systems utilized a cruise cable that ran from the cruise control servo to the throttle body on fuel injected vehicles or the carburetor on non-fuel injected designs. The cruise control cable is a multi-strand wire inside a rubber-coated flexible metal sheath. One end of the cable is connected directly to the cruise control servo, and the other hooks into the throttle body pivot with a small metal ball on the end of the cable. When a cruise control speed is set, the vacuum-operated or electric servo pulls the cruise control cable and maintains the set speed with minute adjustments. The cruise control cable is routed in a wide arcing pattern so it does not become kinked, which would restrict the cable’s movement inside the sheath. If the cruise control cable is seized or kinked, it will not move freely inside the metal sheath. It can cause the engine to race when the cruise control is deactivated at the cable and doesn’t return to its unset position, instead holding the throttle open. If the ball on the end of the cruise cable breaks off, the cable will no longer attach to the throttle body and the cruise will not set at all.
Keep in mind:
- If the cruise control cable becomes stuck or the throttle will not respond while cruise control is enabled, you can cancel the set speed by turning off the cruise control with the off switch.
How it's done:
The cruise control cable is verified that it needs to be replaced. The battery is disconnected. The throttle cable cover is removed to access the cable.
The defective cruise control cable is disconnected from the throttle and cruise control actuator.
The new cruise control cable is installed and connected to actuator then the throttle.
The throttle cover is reinstalled and battery is reconnected. The cruise control cable is checked for operation.
The vehicle is road tested to ensure proper operation of the cruise control.
The cruise control cable is prone to seizing and can be lubricated when it gets stiff. It would be prudent to include the cruise control cable lubrication in your older vehicle’s maintenance checks. Have one of our expert technicians check the cruise control system if you are having issues, and replace the cable if necessary.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Cruise Control Cable?
- Throttle will not adjust while cruise control is set
- Cruise control will not set at all
- Engine may race if the cruise control cable gets stuck
How important is this service?
If the cruise control is not operating at all due to the cable, there is no urgency to have it repaired. However, if the throttle is racing due to a cruise control cable issue, have it repaired soon.