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Cruise Control Actuator Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for a cruise control actuator replacement is between $572 and $607. Labor costs are estimated between $44 and $78 while parts are priced between $528 and $529. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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What is a Cruise Control Actuator?

Cruise control is a common feature on a car, truck, or SUV that maintains a consistent speed on the road without the driver having to hold the accelerator pedal down. The driver brings the vehicle up to a desired speed, engages the cruise control with a switch (usually located on the steering wheel or on a lever attached to the steering wheel), and lets go of the pedal. The cruise control takes over, making sure the travel speed is steady, whether the vehicle is going uphill or downhill, until it is switched off or until the brake pedal is pressed. The cruise control actuator is the mechanism that manipulates the throttle position on the engine instead of the accelerator pedal and the driver.

How do Cruise Control Actuators work?

The cruise control actuator allows the throttle on the engine to be controlled by either the accelerator pedal (gas pedal) or the actuator. When the cruise control system is turned off, the accelerator pedal opens and closes the throttle. This allows more air to enter the intake - which speeds up the engine - or less air, which slows the engine down. When the cruise control system is engaged, the actuator takes over the throttle adjustment. The actuator in modern vehicles relies on information from a computer module that constantly monitors the current speed of the vehicle and compares it to the desired speed. A small motor in the actuator operates the throttle at the command of the computer module. Older vehicles used a vacuum system to operate the actuator.

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What are the symptoms of a bad Cruise Control Actuator?

If the cruise control refuses to turn on at all, the actuator could be at fault. Likewise, if the cruise control stays on but does not maintain a consistent speed, the problem could be a bad actuator. In extreme cases, a malfunctioning actuator could cause the throttle to stick and prevent the vehicle from slowing down. These symptoms may point to a bad actuator. They may also point to other problems with the cruise control and related systems.

Can I drive with a bad Cruise Control Actuator?

In most cases, a bad cruise control actuator is an inconvenience. However, if the cruise control refuses to disengage when the driver steps on the brake pedal, or when the system is switched off, the engine will not be able to power down. This could lead to a hazardous driving condition. A vehicle should be evaluated at a trusted repair shop any time symptoms of a malfunctioning cruise control system are present.

How often do Cruise Control Actuators need replacement?

Most cruise control actuators will last the lifetime of the vehicle. It is uncommon for the actuator itself to go bad. And on some newer vehicles, the throttle control motor attached to the throttle is controlled entirely by a computer control unit. In any case, they are not a maintenance item and do not have a scheduled replacement interval.

How are Cruise Control Actuator issues diagnosed?

When diagnosing a malfunctioning cruise control actuator, a technician will look to rule out common faults in the system, including a blown fuse, a misadjusted or bad brake pedal switch, a faulty cruise control switch assembly, or a diagnostic trouble code from the computer. Depending on the age of the vehicle and the type of cruise control actuator, the technician might check for a leaky vacuum connection or blown diaphragm in the actuator. Newer vehicles, however, will have computer controlled actuators that will show a trouble code and may illuminate the check engine light and cruise control light.

How are Cruise Control Actuators replaced?

Replacement of a cruise control actuator depends on the age of the vehicle and type of actuator used. In general, a technician will disconnect the cables that lead to the throttle and the accelerator pedal from the actuator, unplug the unit from the wiring harness, and unbolt the assembly from its mount. It may be necessary to first remove any components that are in the way of the actuator. The new actuator is set and fastened in place, the harness is plugged in, and the cables are attached and adjusted. Some newer vehicles have an electronic throttle control motor commanded by an electronic control module rather than a separate actuator. The procedure is different for replacement of this unit.

RepairPal Recommendations for Cruise Control Actuator issues

The cruise control system includes a number of components and settings. The cruise control switch assembly located on the steering wheel is made up of several switches that turn the system on, set the speed, adjust the speed upward, allow the vehicle to coast, resume speed, and cancel the setting. There are usually two lights on the dashboard: the cruise lamp that tells a driver that the system is on, and the set lamp that tells the driver that the speed has been set. RepairPal recommends becoming thoroughly familiar with the controls and settings of the cruise control system.

What to look out for when dealing with Cruise Control Actuator issues

If the cruise control actuator malfunctions and causes the throttle to stick in the open position, effectively accelerating the engine in an uncontrolled manner, it is essential that the driver maintain composure, engage the hazard lights, look around for the nearest safe place to pull over, and try to disengage the system one last time before shifting the transmission into neutral. Pull over and shut the engine off. This procedure is the same if the accelerator pedal sticks for any reason.

Can I replace the Cruise Control Actuator myself?

Replacement of the cruise control actuator on many vehicles can be done by someone with intermediate DIY experience. Diagnosis and inspection of the total system is a more difficult task, especially with newer vehicles that use computer control rather than a mechanical vacuum control.

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