Are you planning a Jeep Wrangler cruise for your next adventure? Imagine hitting the open road, feeling the wind in your hair, and enjoying the freedom of the great outdoors. However, what happens when your Jeep’s cruise control suddenly stops working? It can quickly turn your dream getaway into a frustrating experience.
The Jeep Wrangler Cruise Control can stop working due to a blown fuse, sensor issues, damaged brake pedal switch, faulty actuators, inadequate power supply, and faulty transmission. Few problems can be resolved without dealership visits, ensuring the cruise control is back on track.
In this article, I’ll delve into the common culprits that can disrupt your cruise control system and provide insights into effective solutions for restoring its smooth operation. So, buckle up and get ready to uncover the secrets to getting your cruise control back on track.
Understanding Jeep Wrangler Cruise Control:
Cruise control, a remarkable feature in modern vehicles like Jeep Wranglers, empowers drivers to maintain a consistent speed without constant manual acceleration.
This enhances driving comfort and offers practical benefits during long journeys. First, let me give you an overview of how cruise control operates in Jeep Wranglers and why it’s a game-changer for those extended road trips.
How Cruise Control Works in Jeep Wranglers:
Imagine you’re embarking on a scenic road trip, traversing vast stretches of highway. With cruise control engaged, your Jeep Wrangler becomes an intelligent partner, ensuring your desired speed remains steady.
Here’s how it operates:
- Speed Selection:
Start driving at your preferred speed on a suitable road, often a freeway or open highway. Once you’ve reached a consistent speed, engage the cruise control system.
The steering wheel of your Jeep Wrangler features an “On” and “Set” buttons specifically for cruise control.
Upon pressing these buttons, the system activates. If you intend to accelerate gradually, press and hold the “Set” button until your desired speed is attained.
- Steady Speed Maintenance:
Once activated, the cruise control system takes over throttle control. It ensures your Jeep maintains the selected speed, easing the need for constant pedal adjustments.
- Adapting to Traffic:
Modern cruise control systems, like those in Jeep Wranglers, often include adaptive features. These systems can adjust your speed to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
They may even incorporate advanced safety features such as forward collision warnings and automatic braking.
- Manual Intervention:
While cruise control maintains speed, it’s essential to remember that it won’t anticipate road conditions.
As the driver, you remain in control and should be prepared to override the system when necessary, such as during heavy traffic, steep inclines, or inclement weather.
My Trouble with Cruise Control:
Recently, I had a muddy off-road adventure that left my vehicle’s ESP, traction loss, and ABS warning lights stuck on, along with a non-functioning cruise control. With a long drive planned for the weekend, I needed to find a quick solution.
After some research, I stumbled upon a simple method to reset the warning lights.
Here’s what I did: I sat in my vehicle, turned the steering wheel all the way to the left, then slowly turned it to the right. After turning off the engine and restarting it, I drove for about 30 seconds. Miraculously, the traction light turned off, and my safety systems were back to normal.
Not only did this method reset the lights, but it also restored my cruise control. Sometimes, the most effective solutions are the simplest ones. So, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, give this quick fix a try to keep your vehicle running smoothly.
Why Does the Cruise Control of a Jeep Wrangler Stop Working?
When the seamless operation of your Jeep Wrangler’s cruise control system falters, it’s crucial to identify the underlying causes for timely resolution. Several factors can contribute to cruise control malfunctions, each requiring a different rectification approach.
I’ll elaborate on the problems one by one below:
1. Issue Due to Malfunctioned Fuse:
Fuses, those unassuming components hidden within your Jeep Wrangler’s fuse box, play an outsized role in ensuring the functionality of various electrical systems, including cruise control. A fuse acts as a protective barrier against excessive electrical currents, preventing damage to crucial components.
However, when a surge of current surpasses a fuse's capacity, it "blows," disrupting the circuit and rendering the related system inoperative.
When it comes to cruise control, a blown fuse can manifest as a complete refusal to engage or a sudden halt while in use.
Here’s how a broken fuse can affect your cruise control system:
1.1. Circuit Interruption:
The cruise control system relies on a network of electrical circuits to communicate between the command center and various components. A blown fuse breaks this circuit, severing the communication link and preventing the system from functioning.
1.2. Mainframe Command Center:
The heart of the cruise control system is its command center, which processes signals and controls the throttle. A blown fuse disrupts the power supply to this command center, leading to its paralysis.
1.3. No Activation Signal:
When the fuse is blown, the command center never receives the activation signal from the steering wheel controls. As a result, the cruise control system remains dormant, regardless of your attempts to engage it.
How to Fix:
Diagnosing a broken fuse involves a visual inspection of the fuse box, often located under the hood of your Jeep Wrangler.
Let me explain the steps below:
- STEP 1- Locate the Fuse Box: Consult your vehicle’s manual to find the fuse box’s exact location. Commonly, it’s positioned near the engine compartment.
- STEP 2- Identify the Cruise Control Fuse: Refer to the fuse diagram usually printed inside the fuse box cover. Locate the fuse associated with cruise control, often labeled as M37.
- STEP 3- Check for Blown Fuse: Examine the fuse closely; a blown fuse typically has a visibly broken wire within. If you’re uncertain, use a multimeter to test its conductivity.
- STEP 4– Replace the Fuse: If blown, replace it with a new fuse of the same rating. Always ensure you’re using the correct amperage for your vehicle.
2. Failure of Brake Pedal Switch:
The brake pedal switch, a seemingly humble component located beneath the dashboard of your Jeep Wrangler, wields substantial influence over the cruise control’s functionality.
This switch plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the cruise control system operates safely and accurately.
The proper functioning of brakes is crucial in supplying the necessary variables for the mainframe to activate the cruise control. Wiring directly connects the cruise control command center to the brake system.
The integration of the brake pedal switch with cruise control serves as a critical safety mechanism.
When you apply the brakes while the cruise control is active, the switch sends a signal to the cruise control command center, prompting it to deactivate and disengage the throttle. This ensures that the vehicle slows down and prevents any potential collision risk.
If the brake pedal switch malfunctions, it can lead to inaccurate information being sent to the cruise control system. The command center might misinterpret the signal, assuming that the brakes are not engaged when they actually are.
As a result, the cruise control remains inactive, and attempts to engage it may be futile. Use an OBD-II scanner to retrieve the trouble codes from your Jeep Wrangler’s computer system. The P0571 code will indicate issues with the brake pedal switch circuit.
How to Fix:
Diagnosing a faulty brake pedal switch requires a systematic approach, as I mentioned below:
- STEP 1- Testing: Begin by testing the brake lights. If they fail to illuminate when the brake pedal is pressed, it’s a clear sign of a brake pedal switch problem.
- STEP 2- Switch Replacement: Replacing a faulty brake pedal switch involves locating the switch beneath the dashboard. Carefully remove any components obstructing access to it. Disconnect the old switch and replace it with a new one of the appropriate specifications.
- STEP 3- Wiring Inspection: Additionally, inspect the wiring connected to the switch for any signs of damage, corrosion, or disconnection. Faulty wiring can mimic the symptoms of a failed switch and should be addressed accordingly.
3. Issue Due to Malfunctioned Sensors:
For the proper functioning of the cruise control system, sensors are essential as they provide crucial data to the mainframe. Unfortunately, accidents or the passage of time can lead to sensor malfunctions in the Jeep without any prior warning.
When these sensors fail to work correctly, the cruise control might either deactivate altogether or operate with inaccurate pre-set data, resulting in potential malfunctions or unexpected behavior.
It is crucial to ensure that the sensors are in good working condition to maintain the reliability and safety of the cruise control system.
How to Fix:
Inspect sensor connections for damage, corrosion, or If a sensor is confirmed faulty, replacing it with a genuine OEM part is essential.
Consult your vehicle manual or a professional mechanic for accurate replacement guidelines.
4. Issue Due to Malfunctioned Components:
This problem is more prevalent in older generations of Jeep Wranglers than in the newer ones. It typically revolves around susceptible components like actuators, hoses, and cables prone to damage due to their delicate nature.
In the context of your Jeep Wrangler's cruise control, actuators, hoses, and cables are integral players. These components work in tandem to regulate the throttle and maintain the desired speed.
When one or more of these components became damaged, the entire system, including the cruise control, would cease functioning properly. However, in newer Jeep Wranglers, advancements in design and materials have addressed these frailties, making such issues less common.
- If actuators are damaged or malfunctioning, they might not accurately translate the electronic signals into throttle movements. This can lead to erratic changes in speed or difficulty maintaining a consistent pace.
- Damaged throttle cables can result in delayed or unresponsive acceleration. The cruise control system might struggle to adjust the throttle position, impacting its ability to regulate speed.
- In older models with vacuum-assisted cruise control, damaged vacuum hoses can lead to vacuum leaks. These leaks can disrupt the vacuum signals necessary for throttle control, causing fluctuations in speed.
How to Fix:
- Inspect actuators, throttle cables, and vacuum hoses for visible damage, wear, or signs of detachment. Address any issues promptly.
- Testing actuators involves ensuring they respond accurately to electronic signals. A malfunctioning actuator might need replacement.
- If any component is confirmed to be damaged beyond repair, replacement with genuine OEM parts is essential for maintaining optimal cruise control functionality.
The cruise control component itself might go malfunctioned at times. In such a case, nothing can be done except to replace the entire component.
5. Not Enough Supply of Electric Power:
Indeed, cruise control operates on electric power drawn from the Jeep’s battery. If the battery does not have sufficient power, the cruise control system cannot activate. In such situations, the Jeep’s electrical system will prioritize more critical functions, diverting electricity from non-essential features like cruise control.
This allocation of power ensures that the essential systems and components of the Jeep remain operational and in good condition, maintaining the overall performance and safety of the vehicle.
5.1. Cruise Control Command Center:
The brain behind the cruise control system is its command center, which processes signals and controls throttle adjustments. This command center requires continuous electric power to operate effectively.
5.2. Throttle Adjustment:
The cruise control maintains speed by adjusting the throttle, which controls the amount of fuel and air entering the engine. This adjustment relies on electric power to function seamlessly.
5.3. Electronic Components:
Various electronic components, including sensors and actuators, regulate the vehicle’s speed. These components require a stable power supply to communicate accurately.
In cases of borderline power supply, the cruise control system might operate erratically, with inconsistent speed adjustments or unexpected disengagement.
How to Fix:
I’ll explain the steps that you can follow to diagnose and fix the insufficient power problem:
- STEP 1- Battery Voltage Check: Use a voltmeter to check the voltage of your Jeep Wrangler’s battery. Cruise control components typically require around 12 volts to function optimally.
- STEP 2- Battery Inspection: Inspect the battery terminals for corrosion, loose connections, or other issues affecting the battery’s performance.
- STEP 3- Charging System Check: A failing alternator or charging system can lead to insufficient battery charging, impacting the cruise control system. Have your charging system checked by a professional mechanic.
6. Presence of Poor Speed Sensor:
The cruise control system relies on the wheel speed sensor (WSS), which effectively utilizes the vehicle’s speed and ignition timing.
The speedometer, in turn, depends on the speed sensor to perform its task accurately. Therefore, a faulty speed sensor can impede crucial data transmission to the cruise control, resulting in malfunctions.
When both the cruise control and speedometer experience issues simultaneously, it usually indicates that the speed sensor requires replacement.
When both your cruise control and speedometer exhibit problems concurrently, it’s often a strong indicator that the speed sensor needs replacement.
These tandem issues suggest that the speed sensor’s functionality has been compromised, affecting both the cruise control’s data intake and the speedometer’s accuracy.
How to Fix:
Replacing a faulty speed sensor could cause the cruise control unit to work properly again.
You will require the following tools:
- New speed sensor (OEM or compatible)
- Socket and ratchet set
- Torque wrench
- Vehicle owner’s manual
- Work gloves
- Safety glasses
Now, let me describe each step for you:
- STEP 1- Safety First:
Ensure the vehicle is parked on a level surface, the engine is turned off, and the parking brake is engaged. For added safety, disconnect the battery’s negative terminal to avoid accidental electrical contact.
- STEP 2- Locate the Speed Sensor:
Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual to locate the speed sensor. It’s typically positioned near the transmission or on the wheel hub.
- STEP 3- Disconnect the Electrical Connector:
Gently disconnect the electrical connector from the speed sensor. Depending on the design, this might involve releasing tabs or removing securing bolts.
- STEP 4- Remove the Speed Sensor:
Carefully remove the speed sensor using the appropriate socket and ratchet. Keep track of any washers or other components that might come off with the sensor.
- STEP 5- Install a New Speed Sensor:
Position the new sensor. Ensure it’s aligned correctly and insert it into its mounting hole.
Use your hands to start the threads before using the socket and ratchet to tighten the sensor snugly. Be cautious not to overtighten, as this could damage the sensor.
- STEP 6- Reconnect the Electrical Connector:
Attach the electrical connector to the new speed sensor. Make sure it clicks into place securely, and use any securing tabs or bolts as needed.
- STEP 7- Check and Calibrate:
With the new sensor in place, refer to your vehicle owner’s manual to see if calibration or initialization steps are required. Some vehicles might need a reset to ensure proper functionality.
- STEP 8- Reconnect the Battery Terminal:
If you disconnected the battery, now is the time to reconnect the negative terminal. Double-check that everything is secure and in place before proceeding.
- STEP 9- Test Drive:
Start the vehicle and take it for a test drive. Pay close attention to the cruise control’s behavior and the speedometer’s accuracy.
If the cruise control operates smoothly and the speedometer provides accurate readings, your repair was successful.
7. The Issue of Faulty Transmission:
This issue can be attributed to various potential causes, each playing a role in the problem. These contributing factors include:
- Insufficient transmission lubricant: Low transmission fluid levels can lead to improper lubrication, resulting in difficulties in the transmission system’s operation.
- Clogged transmission filter: A blocked or clogged filter can impede fluid flow, leading to inadequate lubrication and potential transmission issues.
- Sensor malfunctions: Malfunctioning sensors responsible for monitoring transmission functions can cause inaccurate readings, leading to operational problems.
- Disconnected wiring: Faulty or disconnected wiring can disrupt communication between various transmission system components, affecting its performance.
However, it is essential to note that the cruise control malfunctioning issue very rarely arises due to this reason.
Still, however, the cruise control unit might malfunction due to a faulty transmission pack. So pay attention to this reason when looking for the root cause of a malfunctioned cruise control in the jeep wrangler.
How to Fix:
Follow the steps I explained below to diagnose the transmission issue:
- STEP 1- Check Transmission Fluid Levels:
Start by inspecting your transmission fluid levels. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to locate the transmission dipstick.
Ensure the fluid level is within the recommended range. Topping it up with the appropriate transmission fluid might improve transmission performance if it’s low.
- STEP 2- Inspect Transmission Fluid Quality:
Check the color and smell of the transmission fluid. It might indicate transmission issues if it appears dark, smells burnt, or has a milky appearance. In such cases, seeking professional advice is recommended.
- STEP 3- Replace Transmission Fluid and Filter:
If you suspect a clogged filter might affect your transmission’s performance, consider replacing the transmission fluid and the filter.
This can improve fluid flow and lubrication, potentially resolving underlying transmission problems.
Average Cost for Fixing the Cruise Control in Jeep Wrangler:
The average cost for fixing the issues of cruise control depends on the factors associated with the vehicle. It is a common scenario that older vehicles require more maintenance and charge extra amount for replacing their worn out components.
The average cost for replacing or repairing the small components other than battery often charge around $50. If you want to replace the switch it would cost you around 150-180$. Battery replacement is a bit expensive in nature and would cost you around 180-250$ excluding the tax and labor charges.
Here’s a detailed chart providing estimated costs for addressing the various issues that can lead to Jeep Wrangler cruise control malfunctions:
$5 - $15 (including parts)
Brake Pedal Switch Failure
Replace brake pedal switch
$25 - $70 (including parts)
Diagnose and replace sensors
$100 - $300+ (including parts)
Damaged Components (Actuators, Hoses, Cables)
Replace damaged components
$250 - $300+ (including parts)
Insufficient Electric Power
$150 - $220+ (including parts)
Faulty Transmission (Rare)
Address transmission issues
Costs vary based on diagnosis
Please note that these are approximate costs and can vary based on location, labor rates, and the specific model year of your Jeep Wrangler. Always consult with a professional for accurate cost estimates.
Tips for Using Cruise Control in a Jeep Wrangler:
Using cruise control effectively can enhance your driving experience and fuel efficiency, especially during long journeys.
Here are some valuable tips to ensure a smooth cruise control experience in your Jeep Wrangler:
1. Adapting to Adaptive Cruise Control (For Newer Models):
Take advantage of this advanced feature if your Jeep Wrangler is equipped with adaptive cruise control.
Adaptive cruise control (ACC) adapts your speed to keep a safe distance from the cars in front. Familiarize yourself with the controls and settings to customize the following distance according to your preference.
2. Exploring Fuel Savings with Cruise Control:
Engaging cruise control on open highways can lead to fuel savings by maintaining a consistent speed. Studies show cruise control can save around 7-14% of fuel on average.
However, on hilly terrains or congested roads, manual control might be more efficient, so use cruise control wisely.
3. Knowing the Appropriate Speeds for Cruise Control Usage:
Cruise control is most effective at maintaining a steady speed on flat and open roads.
It’s recommended to use cruise control when driving at speeds between 25 and 70 mph. Therefore, avoid using it in heavy traffic, on slippery roads, or when conditions require frequent speed adjustments.
4. Importance of Deactivating Cruise Control When Not in Use:
Always remember to deactivate cruise control when you’re not actively using it. Leaving it engaged in unexpected situations can lead to unintended acceleration and loss of control.
Additionally, when you encounter traffic, construction zones, or inclement weather, it’s safer to have complete control over your vehicle.
5. Be Attentive and Engaged:
While cruise control can make long drives more comfortable, remaining attentive and engaged is crucial.
Keep your hands on the steering wheel and be ready to take control of the vehicle if necessary. Cruise control is a tool to assist you, not a substitute for responsible driving.
6. Maintain a Safe Following Distance:
Regardless of cruise control use, always maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you. Cruise control doesn’t replace the need for proper spacing and anticipation of traffic changes.
7. Use in Conjunction with Other Features:
Consider using cruise control alongside lane departure warnings and collision avoidance systems on newer models with adaptive features.
These features work together to enhance safety and driving comfort.
8. Familiarize Yourself with Controls:
Before embarking on a journey, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the cruise control controls on your Jeep Wrangler.
Understand how to activate, set, adjust, and deactivate cruise control to ensure a seamless experience.
Jeep Wrangler cruise control malfunctions can stem from various underlying causes, ranging from electrical issues to sensor failures. While these problems can disrupt your driving experience, they can often be resolved through careful diagnosis and targeted fixes.
Whether it’s addressing electrical components, sensors, or other system factors, seeking professional help or following troubleshooting steps can help restore your cruise control’s functionality and ensure safe and enjoyable journeys.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is the reason why cruise control stops working in the Wrangler?
There are different reasons why cruise control stops working in the Wrangler, including:
- The presence of a damaged control module
- Issues with the sensor and switches
- Problems with the throttle actuation
What is one of the common reasons which cause the cruise control to stop working?
The main culprit behind the poor working of cruise control in Wrangler is the presence of a blown-out fuse in it. A bad fuse in the vehicle can hinder the working of cruise control.
How can a person fix the malfunctioning cruise control?
You can fix the malfunctioning cruise control by inspecting its associated components and replacing the damaged ones with new pieces. It is better to replace the switch and fuse if worn out so that the cruise control can work appropriately.
Do sensors operate cruise control?
Cruise control is operated through a CCD sensor, which is a cruise control distance sensor. It helps measure the distance which can lead the vehicle. The information-driven through this helps move the cruise control system and the braking system, which is used in emergencies.
Where can a person locate the switch of their cruise control?
The switch of cruise control can be located near the steering column. It connects the steering wheel with the dashboard.
How can a person diagnose the problems in their vehicle's cruise control?
You can diagnose the problems in your vehicle’s cruise control by observing the symptoms of speed fluctuations in the vehicle. You can deal with this problem by resetting the settings of the vehicle.
It is recommended to turn off the cruise control and disengage the switch in the vehicle. Turn the system to the on position again. Set the appropriate speed and apply the cruise control again. In this way, you can set the cruise control settings.
This is Surya. I am an experienced off-roader. I have been off-roading for many years across several terrains. I am passionate about 4×4 driving and want to share my knowledge and experience with others.
My goal is to provide you with the most comprehensive and unbiased information about off-roading.
I curated this article through my personal experience and expertise, and I hope it helps you with what you are looking for.