How to troubleshoot the cruise control switches on 2002 Nissan Frontier

recently bought used 2002 Nissan Frontier, 4 cyl, rear wheel drive. 188K miles.

cruise control worked when i tested it before buying.

a few weeks later on crosscountry trip, i discover cruise control does not function.


i push the switch to engage cruise control; on dash panel the word “cruise” lights up, green.

but nothing else happens–when i push the set button, nothing happens. no flashing ‘set’ light, nothing. the other switches also do nothing, as there would be no ‘resume’ or ‘cancel’ functions when cruise control isn’t active.

i am thinking perhaps something in the cluster of switches simply failed somehow.

is there a way to make a more certain diagnosis to my problem, before springing for an expensive set of the switches (they mount on the steering wheel).

thanks for any leads on this.


The problem might be with the clock spring behind the steering wheel.

The clock spring is what provides the electrical connections between the buttons located on the spinning steering wheel and the wiring harness that runs down the steering column.


wouldn’t there be some further likely symptoms i’d notice, if the problem is a clock spring contacting issue? do you know anything about the statistical frequency of this kind of problem? a nissan shop technician opined to me from my described symptoms he suspected bad switch, and i believe this has to be replaced as one piece.
i don’t have a shop manual or mechanical drawing of these parts so i don’t know how much time or how complex a tear-down i’m getting into, if i start taking things apart.
thanks for your note.

I can only relay to you via the internet that the first thing to check is the clock spring.