How to Troubleshoot a Ford Cruise Control System

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The cruise control system in most Ford vehicles is pretty reliable. Still, it's not infallible. You may experience problems with the cruise control module after years of use. When this happens, the only thing you can do is determine the problem. It can be as simple as a fuse, or more complex, like a vacuum leak.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • socket wrench
  • Socket set
  • Open the fuse panel under the steering wheel by pulling up on the fuse panel release lever and pulling the fuse panel down.

  • Check the fuses for the brake lights and the cruise control. Use the diagram on the underside of the fuse panel lid to locate both of these fuses. If the brake lights don't work or the fuse for them (or the cruise control module) is burnt or damaged, the system will not work.

  • Start the vehicle and check the vacuum lines on the intake and brake booster. A vacuum leak will prevent the cruise control system from functioning properly. Rough idle and a "sucking" sound coming from the engine bay while the engine is running are clear indications that there is a vacuum leak. Vacuum leaks are simply holes in the intake hoses that allow excess air into the system. But if there is a leak, the cruise control will not be able to control the vehicle speed properly.

  • Check the throttle cable. Damaged or frayed throttle cable will prevent the cruise control from being able to precisely control the throttle.

  • Shut off the vehicle and disconnect the negative battery cable. Loosen the retaining nut on the negative battery cable and slide the cable off the cable clamp.

  • Check the cruise control module and combination stalk. These units rarely, if ever, fail. However, if the unit is bad, you'll want to know. Remove the screws holding the steering wheel column cover in place and pull the cover off the steering column with your fingers. Unplug the electrical plug from the cruise control switch and remove the screws holding the cruise control stalk to the steering column. Replace the unit with a known working stalk to confirm or deny switch failure.

Tips & Warnings

  • For specific information about your Ford vehicle's cruise control, consult the particular vehicle's manual (see Resources).
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