Cruise Control Brake Switch Replacement

changing faulty cruise control brake switch

The brake release switch should shut off the cruise control but this will not be possible if the cruise control does not set as it should or if it fails to deactivate.

Every car should have proper application of cruise control. In fact for a lot of car owners, cruise control makes it possible for them to save up to 20% on fuel especially when driving long distance.

There are other car owners who really appreciate cruise control as it helps them to rest their knees and leg muscles.

When you have issues with your cruise control, one of the components that could most likely be responsible for it, is the cruise control brake release switch. The function of this cruise control brake release switch is to make it possible for the drivers to deactivate or turn off the cruise control just by tapping the brake pedal.

Automatic transmission cars have this brake release switch but that is not the case with a lot of cars that have manual transmission. What most of the manual transmission cars have instead is a clutch release switch which deactivates the cruise control as soon as the clutch pedal is pressed down.

More so, there is usually a hand-operated button on the turn signal arm or steering wheel that turns off the cruise control. Do not be surprised by this as cars that are sold in the United States must compulsorily have multiple deactivating devices. This is considered a very necessary safety feature.

The cruise control system is made up of a lot of distinct components and an issue with any of them can result in problems with the car’s cruise control. But in this article, we will be focusing on what to do if you discover that the brake switch is where the problem is emanating from and the only course of action to take is to replace it.

One of the reasons why your brake switch is malfunctioning could be because of your cruise control brake not opening. The implication of this is that when you step on the brake pedal, it will not turn off the cruise control.

Another reason that could be responsible for your faulty brake switch is if the cruise control brake switch does not close the circuit. This will not allow the cruise control to set.

Whether it is the first or the second reason, in such a situation what you have to do is to change the brake pedal cruise control switch.

Please be aware of the fact that the guidelines we are going to be discussing with regards to replacing the cruise control brake release switch are general instructions. This is important because the make and model of your car might require that you take different steps.

So it is necessary that you check with your car’s manufacturer service manual to be sure that you are on the right path for your vehicle.

It is also necessary that you disconnect the power supply before taking away any electrical part such as the cruise control brake switch. Failure to do so can result in injuries on your person so do not take this warning lightly.

If you feel that you cannot handle this process by yourself, it is highly advised that you contact a professional mechanic to take care of it for you.


Finding out what is wrong with your cruise control brake switch

You cannot just decide on a whim to replace your cruise control brake switch without being sure that it is faulty. You have to properly diagnose the problem and one way to go about it is to carry out a scan.

You can conduct this scan using an OBD-II scanner and if the error code P-0573 and P-0571 are displayed, then there is indeed an issue with your cruise control brake switch.

In a situation where you don’t have a scanner to read the error codes, or the error codes were not displayed, it means that you have to run some self-diagnosis checks.

If the cruise control brake pedal switch is malfunctioning, it will make the cruise control to not pick up.

The brake pedal and cruise control share the same activation switch and for that reason, a method that you can employ to know whether or not the switch is malfunctioning is to press the brake pedal and check if the brake lights come on. If the brake lights do not come on then it may mean that your cruise control brake switch has issues and will need to be changed.

Signs and symptoms of a bad cruise control brake switch

a. Cruise control shuts off automatically: Say you are driving and you observe that the cruise control turned off on its own without you pressing the pedal, that is indicative of an issue with your cruise control brake switch.

b. Cruise control will not shut off: In a situation where the cruise control does not turn off when you press the brake pedal, this implies that you have a faulty cruise control brake switch that is closed. What this means is that the right signal will not be sent through the relay to the car’s ECM.

c. Cruise control does not set: If your cruise control brake switch is faulty, it will not let the electrical circuit be complete, thus causing the circuit to stay open. The cruise control will then interpret this as the brake pedal being depressed.


How to Replace the cruise control brake switch

After you have run your checks and you are sure that your cruise control brake switch has issues, then you have to get ready to replace it. In most cases, the brake switch is under the car’s dashboard, a little bit above the brake pedal.

You should however note that where this component is located, varies depending on certain factors such as the make, model and year of the vehicle. For this reason, you have to refer to your service manual to be sure of its location. The service manual will also give you helpful tips on how to go about the replacement.

Replacing this component is not that daunting a task, but if you feel that you will find this difficult to carry out, the best thing to do is to contact a professional mechanic.

In case you decide to do it yourself, the materials you will need include; replacement cruise control brake switch, replacement cruise control brake switch clip, flashlight, flat head screwdriver, boxed end wrench or ratchet wrench, thread locker, safety gear.

And now, let us get in proper into the steps you have to follow, to replace the cruise control brake release switch.

Disconnect the Power Supply

We already pointed out earlier that before replacing any electrical part you should first disconnect the battery. This as you should know also applies to the cruise control brake release switch.

What you should do when you locate the battery is to detach the positive and negative battery cables then you are good to go.

Find the cruise control brake release switch

When you have disconnected the battery, the next thing to do is to locate the cruise control brake switch.

If you are having difficulty with this, you can check your car’s service manual. You can also ask a professional mechanic to help you pinpoint the location of your cruise control brake switch.

Take away the floor mats on the driver’s side

Hope you know that you will have to lay flat under the dashboard so as to be able to reach, remove and replace the cruise control brake switch.

It is recommended that you take away the floor mats so that you can be more comfortable while going about the task. Also if you do not remove the floor mats, you might slip and harm yourself. It is much better to just remove the floor mats.

Take away any access panels under the dashboard

For most cars, the dashboard will come with a panel or a cover, covering wires and sensors so that they don’t get tangled with the brake and throttle pedals.

So if your car comes with this type of panel or cover which would usually be the case, you will have to take it away so as to be able to reach the wiring harnesses.

Remove the wiring harness connected to the cruise control brake switch

After you have removed the panel or cover from the dashboard, you will have to disconnect the wiring harness that is attached to the cruise control brake release switch.

In order to get this done, you will need a flathead screwdriver. You will see a white clip connecting the wiring harness to the sensor, press down on that clip and gently pull on the harness.

Take away the faulty brake switch

You can now remove the faulty brake switch. It would normally be held in place to a bracket with a 10mm bolt, although the size of the bolt might differ depending on the car.

For this part, you will have to make use of a boxed end wrench or ratchet wrench. Carefully take away the bolt all the while using one hand to hold the brake switch in place. As soon as the bolt has been taken away, you can then easily remove the brake switch.

If you notice that there is a secure clip at the back of the brake switch, just use your flat blade screwdriver to remove the clip and the brake switch will easily come off.

Compress the new brake switch clip to the new brake switch

Instead of looking for a way to reset the old clip and reattach it to a new sensor, it is better that you go for a new brake switch clip.

Most times, the clip would already be installed on the new brake sensor. But you still have to check and if you find that that is not the case, ensure that you attach the clip to the back of the sensor before connecting a new unit.

Connect the cruise control brake switch

While you are doing the reconnection, ensure that the new brake switch has the same alignment as the old one. This way, you will not have difficulty reattaching the wiring harness and the switch will work perfectly well.

Also remember to press the clip into its space on the bracket first, that is if the brake switch comes with a clip. If you do this correctly, it will just lap into place.

Reinstall the bolt

After you have properly positioned the brake switch, go ahead and reattach the 10mm bolt. Remember that this is the bolt that holds the brake switch in place to the bracket, so be sure to reattach it properly. You can refer to your car’s service manual to know the right torque pressure at which you should tighten the bolt.

You can also make use of a thread locker if you so wish, all these measures is so that brake switch will be properly and securely reattached.

Check the wiring harness

It is recommended that you inspect the wiring harness to be sure that it is not the reason for the cruise control issues that you are having.

What you are checking for is for any loose fitting wires, disconnected or frayed wires.

Connect the wiring harness

Properly reinstall the wiring harness making sure that you follow the same direction as when you were detaching it.

If you do this properly, it should snap into place.

Reinstall the control access panel

For this, just retrace the steps you took when you were removing the panel and you are good to go.


Take the car for a test drive

When you are done with replacing the cruise control brake switch and if you did it properly, then the problem should be handled. But you have to be sure about this, the best way of finding out is to test drive the car.

If you decide to do the test drive and it is highly advised that you do, you have to plan the route that you will take. It is important that you select a road that has very little traffic.

If the issue you had with the cruise control is that it shuts off after a period of time, then you have to test the car for at least that same amount of time to be sure that the problem has been rectified.

So how do you go about this? We will point out the steps below.

Start your car and allow it to warm up to the operating temperature

Plug in a diagnostic scanner and reset any error codes. After this, run a new scan and see if any new error code is displayed. If none, then you can go on with your test driving.

While test driving, drive at highway speeds. This is why you have to select a route that will not stop you from properly doing the test drive.

Set your cruise control to either 55 or 65 MPH and gently tap your your brake pedal to see whether the cruise control will turn off.

Remember that the aim of this test drive is to be really sure that the issue has been handled. So reset the cruise control and drive for about 10 to 15 miles to see that the cruise control does not turn off on its own.

Hope this article has proven to be very helpful and that you are now aware on how to go about replacing the cruise control brake switch.


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