How to Install Cruise Control in Your Car

A person's finger on the cruise control button in the car
  • 5-15 hours
  • Advanced
  • 500-1,000
What You'll Need
Cruise control switch
Cruise control computer
Screw driver
Torx screwdrivers
What You'll Need
Cruise control switch
Cruise control computer
Screw driver
Torx screwdrivers

You may think that it is difficult to install cruise control into your car. However, it is not that difficult and you can install cruise control in under an hour. There are kits available that will contain everything you need to install an aftermarket cruise control. The vast majority of vehicles will already have cruise control or are ready for the installation of cruise control.

Step 1 - Unhook the Battery

car battery

As with anything connected to the power source, it is important to unhook the battery cable. You need to leave the battery unhooked for about 10 minutes so the power is released from the airbag system. You will need to position your key to the accessory power position so you can have the steering wheel unlock. If the power is off then most steering wheels will not turn. Turn the steering wheel enough so that one of the airbag screws is facing the floor.

Step 2 - Move the Airbag

Unscrew the bolts that secure the airbag and lift this away by about 6 inches. You will be restricted by the cables and wires that connect to the airbag. These connections are very important and you need to be careful you do not pull anything out. Unhook the airbag cable connection and be very careful as it contains a small amount of explosives.

Step 3 - Find the Cruise Control Connection

Inside the wheel should be a white connector that is for the cruise control. This is normally close to the horn mechanism. If you are having difficulties finding the cable, then check with your vehicle manual. You may also need to cut through some mounting hardware in order to place the cruise control switch. This will depend on the vehicle. Attach all the wires.

Step 4 - Mount the Switch

It is very important that the switch is mounted securely. You will have brackets and several mounting screws. Once this is mounted you can reattach the airbag and place it back in the steering wheel. Tighten the bolts and if you have a master switch you can install this near the steering column.

Step 5 - Install a Cruise Control Computer

Cruise control switch

If your car needs a new system or is not cruise control ready, then you will also need to install the cruise control computer. Normally this is near the driver’s side kick panel, though the location can vary depending on the vehicle. Most cars will have studs where the computer smoothly fits over. There is normally a harness specifically for the computer.

Step 6 - Add Other Parts as Needed

You may also need a sub-zero unit and an additional switch. This is normally by the engine bay and is held in place using three bolts. You also may need a cruise actuator and additional cruise switches. It is best to determine which parts you need first to ensure you have everything you need for the cruise control.

Step 7 - Calibrating the Computer

Setting the program for the computer is fairly complicated. Particularly for those that do not understand programming. You may be able to get the manufacturer to calibrate the computer. There are many online guides that can provide you with the details you need to calibrate the computer properly.

Install Cruise Control FAQ

What's the point of cruise control?

Cruise control allows you to set the speed of your car to a certain MPH so you can take your foot off the pedal. This makes it much more comfortable to drive for an extended amount of time over long distances.

In addition to making it easier to drive for a long time, cruise control is more fuel-efficient. Whether you're trying to or not, you will make minor changes to your speed as you drive along with your foot on the pedal because as a human, your foot will perform small movements that cause speeds to fluctuate.

Can you install cruise control yourself?

You can not only install cruise control on your own, this is a relatively easy DIY project to complete. There are cruise control kits available that make it fairly simple to add cruise control to your vehicle.

Can you install cruise control after market?

There are hundreds of after market cruise control kits available for many car makes and models. You can install most of these kits within a couple of hours using standard hand tools.

Do I really need cruise control?

If you do a lot of driving over long distances, cruise control can save you a lot on fuel costs and foot pain. The savings in fuel costs alone makes it worthwhile to have cruise control, but it is only useful if you do a lot of long distance driving.

What are disadvantages of cruise control in a car?

Cruise control has a lot of benefits and there are a lot of things to like about having this feature. However, cruise control does have a downside.

Crise control can slow down your reaction time and make it more difficult to slow down quickly, something you might need to do for safety's sake if something happens on the road ahead of you. It is more difficult to drive in foul weather with cruise control, increasing your risk of accidents in icy or wet conditions.

It is also easier to get distracted or sleepy while driving with cruise control, because you may stop being quite as alert when your foot and hands are not fully engaged in driving at all times.