Does Cruise Control Save Gas?

Saving fuel or reducing the vehicle’s fuel consumption has always been a goal for every driver or car owner. Even manufacturers look for more ways to save fuel while designing new models of cars, as that would increase the marketability of the vehicle they produce.

What are the ways car manufacturers adopt to cut fuel consumption down? Of the efficient ways is the cruise control system introduced in 1958 by Chrysler, an American automobile company. 

What is cruise control? Does Cruise Control relate to fuel consumption? Does Cruise Control save gas? What does Cruise Control do? These are the questions to get answers to if you want to go deep into the topic raised. Read on to have those explained in this article.

What is the purpose of cruise control in a car?

A cruise control system is an intelligent device that allows the car to move at a specific speed without having to apply pressure on the accelerator. It regulates your vehicle’s engine to move at the speed set by the driver. It does this by controlling the linkage connecting the accelerator pedal to the fuel injection control.

The major purpose of cruise control is to help you maintain a set speed without outside interventions. The cruise control system reduces the driver’s vulnerability to leg cramps due to long hours of driving.

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How does Cruise Control work?

The cruise control system works by adjusting the accelerator position. Instead of applying pressure on the throttle pedal, the cruise control system controls the throttle with the help of an actuator.

Early versions of cruise control use a cable connected to the accelerator to keep the throttle steady and maintain a constant speed. But newer version of cruise control systems controls the speed electronically without wires through a computer program. This program is connected to various sensors and accelerator controls and it operates them through a wireless connection.

This newer version adjusts the speed of your car based on the speed of the car in front. This is to maintain a safe distance from the car to avoid accidents.

Cruise control on a manual transmission vehicle is not as good as it is on an automatic transmission, as it can’t slow the car down in manual cars unlike it can in automatic transmission cars.

You need to know how to set the cruise control of your car. Most car’s cruise control has the “ON”, “OFF”, “RES”, “CANCEL”, and “SET” buttons.

To use the cruise control in your car, locate the cruise control buttons, either on your steering wheel or your steering column and follow the instructions below:

  • Switch on the system by pressing the “ON” button and drive at a specific speed. For instance, 40mph.
  • Press the “SET” button to have the system maintain the speed at 40mph, after which you take your foot off the accelerator.
  • To increase this speed, press or flick the “+” button. To decrease the speed, press or flick the “-” button.
  • To disengage the cruise control system, you can either step on the brake pedal or clutch (on a manual vehicle) or press the “CANCEL” button.
  • If you need to continue the cruise control at the same 40mph, press the “RES” button to resume.
  • When you are fully through with the cruise control system, press the “OFF” button to switch off the system.

When you switch on the cruise control system, a light will appear on your dashboard to show that the system is switched on. When you switch it off, this light will go off.

does cruise control use brakes

Does Cruise Control Save gas?

Cruise control is one of the convenient ways of saving fuel. It does this by maintaining a constant continuous speed and it saves about 7% – 14% on gas.

Sudden acceleration and deceleration increase the amount of fuel used. Shooting the car from a low speed to a higher speed requires the car’s engine to generate the maximum torque required. Since more torque means the engine works harder and spins faster, which will require a higher amount of gas. Maintaining a steady speed needs minimal torque, spin, and amount of gas.

Since cruise control maintains a certain speed, it eliminates the need for sudden acceleration, which eliminates the need to consume more gas. Cruise control saves gas only when it works on flat motorways, but using cruise control when climbing a hill uses more gas.

does cruise control save gas

When should I not use cruise control?

As useful as cruise control is, one should not abuse it. Because in some bad weather, cruise control can be destructive. You should not use cruise control in the following conditions.

  • Bad weather like rainy or windy environments, as bad weather can mess with the car’s external bodily sensors. Cruise control works best in clear weather.
  • Situations where the road is slippery. Cruise control reduces manual driving, which is needed to stay safe on icy or wet roads.
  • When you’re tired, inactiveness can cause you to sleep off while on cruise control. You should be fully aware of the environment and road when on cruise control.
  • Driving in heavy traffic, the speed of flow in heavy traffic is not constant, and cruise control strives to maintain a constant speed, so it is not ideal for heavy traffic.

What are the benefits of cruise control?

Sudden acceleration consumes not only more fuel but also causes wear and tear within parts of a vehicle. Since cruise control helps to eliminate rapid acceleration, it also reduces wear and tear.

Below are the benefits of cruise control in a car:

  • It helps to reduce the wear and tear of the engine and transmission systems.
  • It helps to control the speed of cars.
  • It also helps to increase fuel efficiency and economy.
  • It also helps to increase the driver’s comfort.

What are the disadvantages of cruise control?

Cruise control has significant advantages, but it also has some disadvantages. Some of its disadvantages include:

  • It can cause tired drivers to sleep off
  • Causes distracted drivers to lose total.
  • In bad weather, it is hard to use.
  • Tired and exhausted drivers may sleep off while on cruise control.

Does Cruise Control Save Gas? YouTube Video

FAQs

Q: Can cruise control damage your car?

Cruise control can not damage your car, but over-relying on cruise control can be destructive as it is not a hands-free feature. Over-relying on it can cause you to use cruise control when you should not, which can be dangerous.

Q: Is it better to drive with cruise control?

Cruise controls help maintain a certain speed, save fuel, and increase fuel economy. It allows the driver to rest during long-distance travels and thus makes the driver more comfortable.

If your question is, “is cruise control good for your car?” I can tell you confidently that it is. Cruise control is good for your car, and it is better to drive with cruise control when all environmental conditions support it and when the driver is not too tired.

Q: Can cruise control ruin your transmission?

Cruise control helps to reduce wear and tear on the transmission and the engine. But the cruise control system uses some sensor inputs that the transmission system also uses. Therefore, any issue with the transmission system can also affect the cruise control system.

If your transmission is faulty or slipping, it is hard for the cruise control system to maintain a steady speed. So, cruise control can’t ruin your transmission, but any fault with the transmission also affects the cruise control.

Q: Does Cruise Control use engine brakes?

How does cruise control slow down a car if it uses neither the engine brakes nor a moderate braking system? The adaptive cruise control maintains the set speed and reduces speed when a vehicle is in front of the car. It uses the engine brakes to reduce the speed when approaching another car ahead.

Q: Is it OK to use cruise control on hills?

Using cruise control on hills can be very dangerous, but how does cruise control work downhill or uphill?

Cruise control will maintain your speed but not accelerate your car. And if you can’t accelerate your car while going up the hill, you encounter a slow-moving problem. There is a need to control your speed manually by using the brake and accelerator pedals to drive up the hill efficiently.

Driving downhill can make your car speed up naturally, as the law of gravity will cause your car to accelerate naturally. Cruise control will try to maintain the speed and cause it to use the brakes more than necessary. So, it would be best to drive your car and use the brakes manually for effective driving down the hill.

Either uphill or downhill, cruise control will use more energy, consume more fuel, and reduce fuel efficiency.

Q: Does Cruise Control drain the battery?

Cruise control strives to maintain a constant speed. Driving at constant speed uses less energy than driving at sudden interchanging speeds.

Driving at constant speed uses less energy and less fuel. And less energy means it increases the lifespan of the battery. So, cruise control does not drain the car battery.

Q: Does Cruise Control overheat the car?

One condition when you should not use the cruise control system is when climbing a hill.

Using cruise control when climbing a hill can cause the engine to multiple transmission shifts, making the transmission fluid overheat and eventually cause wear.

So, cruise control can cause only overheating when climbing a hill.

Q: Should you use cruise control on slippery roads?

Driving in the rain is risky as the oil and grease on the road will be on the water’s surface, causing the road to be slippery. Using cruise control on slippery roads can be dangerous. So, you should not use cruise control on slippery roads.

Your car can hydroplane, which happens when your tires can’t tread water fast enough, and when that happens, your car skids.

When your car hydroplane while using cruise control, your car will continue at that set speed, which is very dangerous. Whenever your car hydroplanes, don’t apply brakes immediately, but instead, release your legs from the accelerator and press down on the clutch.

Q: When can you use cruise control in a new car?

During the run-in or break-in period of your new car, which is between the first 1000km – 3000km depending on the car’s make or model. You should drive your car at variable speeds with varying revolutions per minute (RPM). Driving your car at variable speed enables the engine to work on changing RPMS with changing load.

Since cruise control works on maintaining a constant speed, it is wrong to use cruise control on your new car. You can use cruise control after the run-in period, around 1000km to 1500km.

Final Words

Cruise control is a useful system in an automobile, but it should not be substituted for a self-driving system. The cruise control system, if installed properly and works correctly, will do your vehicle a lot of good, from reducing wear and tear in the engine and transmission to saving gas and fuel efficiency.

Using cruise control in an inappropriate environment and conditions might lead to accidents, overheating, and damage to components of your car.

You should always be attentive on the road, either on cruise control or not, and endeavor to drive safely, as this would ensure you and your car stay in good condition

By now, you should have got all the crucial answers to Does cruise control save gas?

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a seasoned automotive technician for the past 9 years, and a technical writer. He loves writing about auto professional repair guides, DIY repair guides, and buyer’s guide. After spending six years in the automotive workshop, he decided to impact his knowledge to people aside his domain, and he has achieved this by centering his Automotive writing skills on REPAIRS.

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