Cruise Control

I have a 1995 Toyota Avalon. It has 168,000 miles. We have owned it since it was new. We were hoping to hold unto this car for our soon to be 16 year old son when he receives his driver’s license. Recently the cruise control stopped working. The cruise light flickers when you try to engage the cruise, but then goes out, and the cruise does not set. I took it to my regular mechanic and they indicated that it could be either a quick fix or a more involved one. The ruled out the quick fix, so the more involved one [which also translates to more expensive] is the likely alternative ahead of us. They would not give me a range, and I got uncomfortable when they said it could be related to the car’s wiring or its computer and that I would need to leave it for a full day. They also said that they would have get out the wiring schematic to try to figure it out.

I have two questions. First, can a faulty cruise control cause any other safety issues, such as impacting the accelerator or anything else, if we choose not to have this fixed, if the fix is prohibitive in relation to the value of the car? Second, am I on borrowed time with this vehicle, and should I be looking for another safe reliable vehicle that I could also pass down to our son? We had another 1995 Toyota Avalon, also since it was new, and we sold it when it had 200,000 miles and it is still on the road.

I don’t believe this is a safety issue. In fact, cruise control should not be used in low traction circumstances, like in rain and snow. So disabling the cruise control might actually make a little safer. So if the car is only going to be used around town, I would consider pulling the fuse to deactivate the cruise control (as long as the same fuse isn’t use for anything else).

Leaving it as it is might be a safety issue if it self-activates when not expected. However, disabling it should not be unsafe.

Just turn the cruise control off, and it will not be a safety issue. At 168,000 a Toyota is at about 50% of its design life. I would keep it for another 4 years or so, unless it starts to rust badly.

A faulty cruise control can cause a problem but it’s not very likely to happen on your car. A brand spanking new battery will sometimes fix the problem. Another feat of engineering is to add another ground wire from the engine to the body, or clean the metal connectors on the one you already have. Remove the electrical connectors on the cruise control and clean them if they are the healthy type. The cruise controls on some cars have gone an awful (good) long time.

Manual or automatic? Does the brake light work?

It is an automatic and the emergency brake light works.

He wasn’t asking about the light on the dashboard that comes on when you apply the parking brake. He was asking whether or not the tail lights come on when you press the brake pedal. The switch that makes them come on is usually the same one that deacitvates the cruise control. If it is faulty, it could cause problems. It is cheap and easy to replace if it is the problem.

Jeremy is correct (as he usually is) and an application of the brake pedal when the cruise control is engaged will turn it off as well as the shut off switch. But if the top center rear brake light is out, it won’t work.

A couple more possible check points. Cruise control could also be disengaged via a transmission switch, (IIRC it was built into the neutral/safety switch on an auto trans) preventing engine runaway if the shifter got accidentally bumped into Neutral. At least, that used to be the factory setup on Toyotas. Also had a clutch switch to disengage the cruise on a manual trans. HTH.

Thanks, it was the stop switch, in the open position.

Thanks for posting the final results as we appreciate it.

Most posters ask questions then disappear, never to be heard from again.