The cruise control cable is the steel braided cable that the cruise control system uses to hold the throttle open during operation. The cruise control cable is not much different in appearance, build, or mode of operation, other than the regular throttle cable that is attached to the accelerator pedal on many vehicles. The cruise control cable, however, is instead attached to the cruise control module which will pull the cable and open the throttle to maintain vehicle speed and acceleration when the cruise control is set and engaged. The cable is simple in build and operation. However, when it has any issues, this can cause problems and can even disable the cruise control system. Usually a bad or failing cruise control cable will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem that should be serviced.
Accelerator pedal gets stuck
One of the first symptoms commonly associated with a problem with the cruise control pedal is an accelerator pedal that gets stuck. If the cruise control cable gets stuck or binds it may cause the throttle to stick open, which will cause the accelerator pedal to get stuck or require considerable effort to apply. This may cause the vehicle to jerk during acceleration or when the cruise control is activated.
Cruise control does not function
Another common symptom of a problem with the cruise control cable is a cruise control system that does not function. If you set the cruise control and notice that it does not maintain speed or acceleration, this may be a sign that the cable has possibly failed. If the cable snaps or falls too far out of adjustment, it will not be able to hold the throttle open and will disable the cruise control function. This problem can also be caused by a problem with the cruise control module or motor, so a proper diagnosis is recommended to determine the exact cause of the problem.
The cruise control cable is a very important component of the cruise control system and without it, the feature will be disabled. If you suspect your cruise control cable may be having an issue, or is in need of repair, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic. They will be able to replace your cruise control cable if necessary.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Cruise Control Cable and was authored by Ed Ruelas.