The cruise control feature enables a car to move at predetermined speeds with minimal driver input. Adaptive cruise control can even utilize lasers to modify a car’s speed based on the speed of other vehicles in the vicinity. However, you may have heard that employing this driving option causes your automobile to require extra maintenance. So, is cruise control bad for your car?
Cruise control, when used properly, is not harmful to your vehicle. Limiting instances of quick acceleration can even minimize wear and tear on the engine/transmission and enhance fuel efficiency. However, if utilized with a manual transmission or in some bad situations, it can be dangerous.
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Is Cruise Control Bad for Your Car?
Cruise control is perfect for your car because it reduces manual acceleration. Manual acceleration can wear down the engine over time and stress the driver on long rides. In addition, when you accelerate quickly from a stop, the engine and transmission have to work harder than usual.
However, cruise control should never be used in heavy rain or snow. Because cruise control systems cannot compensate for slick roads, you may need to brake if the tires slip. This could cause you to understeer or oversteer, putting you in danger of colliding with something.
The Effects of Cruise Control on Your Engine and Transmission
Cruise control effectively does the same thing as your gas pedal: it tells the throttle to deliver more or less air intake to the engine to accelerate or decelerate the vehicle. The main distinction is that cruise control virtually eliminates slight (or major) speed changes that are unavoidable while driving manually.
These oscillations can cause a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the car’s components: quick acceleration consumes gas and makes the engine work harder; repeated braking wears out the brake pads and drums, and shifting in and out of gear can put a strain on the gearbox.
As a result, cruise control may benefit your motor and transmission since it keeps everything running smoothly and consistently. There are a few things to keep in mind:
After-Market Cruise Control System
Built-in cruise control systems are designed to work in harmony with your car’s engine, transmission, and electrical system. However, an aftermarket cruise control system may not work effectively with your vehicle, especially if it’s fitted incorrectly or isn’t OEM, causing premature wear and tear on specific components.
Similarly, cruise control is less effective in automobiles with manual gearboxes and can potentially damage the transmission while shifting gears. The cruise control should be disengaged by pressing the clutch, however, if this mechanism fails (which is more likely with aftermarket systems), it might result in slippage and grinding gears. This is especially problematic when navigating slopes and other regions requiring frequent gear changes.
Essential Safety Tips When Using Cruise Control
Although cruise control is helpful for your vehicle, it is crucial to note that it is not a hands-free driving option. Using cruise control too much can result in distracted driving. While utilizing this feature, keep your eyes on the road rather than your phone or the radio.
If you are overly reliant on an automated system, you risk slowing down your reaction time in potentially harmful situations. If the system is turned off, this could result in a collision. Even when enabled, this feature does not protect you against mishaps, so stay vigilant.
Always keep the weather in mind. For example, take control of the car if heavy clouds are approaching and rain is expected. This feature can make your vehicle less efficient when enabled over rolling hills.
In work zones or other busy regions, it’s also a good idea to disable the feature. Accidents are likely to happen in these places, and automated systems can’t always make quick corrections. Even with adaptive systems, it’s impossible to predict how other drivers will act on the road.
Suppose your cruise control system was put in place correctly and performs regularly. Then, it will do nothing but good for the car’s engine, transmission, and fuel efficiency, as long as you use it correctly and only when necessary.
Hi there! I’m Naomi O’Colman. I’ve got years of experience working at an auto repair shop here in Texas under my belt. On top of that, ever since I was a kid I’ve been passionate about the auto industry. Since I’ve joined the team at automotivegearz.com I’ve been enthusiastically sharing my passion and insights with my readers. I’m dedicated to delivering high quality content and helping you stay up to date with the latest automotive trends and products out there!