Thursday June 21 2018

What is cruise control and what are its uses?


Hello Paul, I own two vehicles a Mercedes E 240 and Toyota Harrier both with cruise control facility. I have not tried to use it, yet I am told it is useful. Kindly explain what it is, its benefits and how to use it safely. Joseph.

Hello Joseph, the cruise control feature is designed to automatically keep your vehicle set at a certain speed as you drive. Cruise control is built on many modern electronic fuel injection vehicles such as yours and works with steering fitted switches, the throttle unit and engine computer.

Cruise control is a useful way to avoid speeding on the highway by locking your speed at the recommended speed limit. This can help you avoid speeding tickets. Cruise control also helps you relax your right foot.

You can accelerate or slow down using the switches on your steering column as well as avoid the strain of keeping your foot on the accelerator pedal. Cruise control is a great way to save fuel when you maintain the same speed and avoid erratic acceleration which causes poor fuel economy.

To use the cruise control feature on your cars you need to locate the switches and understand how to use them. Different cars have different layout of the cruise control switches but generally they are positioned on the steering column (Mercedes) or steering boss (Toyota).

A look at your car user manual will help. The common buttons are ‘ON’, ‘OFF’, ‘SET’, RESUME’ and ‘CANCEL’. Most cars have ‘+/-’ buttons to increase or reduce speed.

When you are driving on a highway and attain the recommended speed for example 80 KPH you can press ‘SET’ to lock the speed and rest your foot off the pedal. It is important to remain attentive to traffic speed limit signs and changing road conditions. Cruise control is not auto pilot. When the recommended speed limit changes upwards or downwards you can use the + or - switch to increase or reduce speed accordingly.

In the event that you need to turn off the highway or stop you can use the ‘CANCEL’ button to stop the cruise control feature or RESUME to restore operation. During emergencies or need to stop abruptly, stepping on the brake automatically cancels cruise control.

Cruise control should not be used on difficult terrain. Avoid cruise control when driving down steep hills or winding roads where you may need to react suddenly or use the transmission and engine braking to slow down your vehicle.