Symptoms and Reasons for a Bad Cruise Control Brake Release Switch

A cruise control brake release switch in an automobile controls the cruise control function, which is found on almost all modern vehicles. The cruise control feature maintains a steady speed set by the driver and you can disengage it by stepping on the brake pedal or turning off the release switch manually.

On both automatic and manual vehicles, you can activate the switch by pressing on the brake pedal. Besides, you can use a steering wheel button or the clutch release switch to cancel the cruise control on manual cars.

What Is a Cruise Control Brake Release Switch?

The physical breakdown of this switch reveals these parts:

  • Module
  • Body control module
  • Speed sensor
  • Throttle actuator motor
  • Clutch pedal switch
  • Brake pedal switch
  • Cruise control indicator lamps

When you apply the brake or press any of the designated buttons, the cruise control is disabled and the vehicle slows down. A failing cruise control switch can be a safety concern as it cannot deactivate the cruise control system when you need it.

Cruise Control Switch
A failing switch won’t respond. Source: Nissan Owner Channel / Youtube

Symptoms of a Bad Cruise Control Switch

How to know a cruise control brake release switch is failing? Well, there will be some clear signs that you can detect timely by being aware of them.

Cruise Control Stops Suddenly

A bad cruise control switch cuts off the cruise control system abruptly, without any intervention from the driver. It happens due to an internal issue, such as a damaged sensor or actuator, which may supply power for some time before giving up.

This is inconvenient and downright dangerous because you cannot use the cruise control as you want. Also, it’s annoying to reactivate the switch every time the power is cut.


The Switch Does Not Turn On or Off

A malfunctioning switch can show both symptoms. It may not turn on at all or does not turn off even after applying the brake. In that case, the car will continue accelerating, which may lead to an accident. Also, continuous acceleration may cause the related components to overheat and then get damaged permanently. If that happens, you will need to turn off the cruise control manually.

Reasons for a Bad Cruise Control Switch

You know the symptoms of a bad cruise control brake release switch, but to diagnose the problem, you will need to get to the root of it. Knowing the reasons will help in this regard.

A Blown Fuse

The reason the switch not working could be as simple as a blown-out fuse. A wire can deteriorate or an electrical surge can blow out the circuit. In the case of a blown circuit, you may need to replace the cruise control switch instead of just fixing the circuit or changing the fuse.

You should better contact a mechanic to diagnose the problem. Only a professional can find the exact issue.

A Faulty Brake Pedal Switch

A misaligned or defective brake pedal switch leads to the deactivation of the cruise control. It happens because the cruise control and brake pedal share the same switch. If the brake lights don’t come on after pressing on the brake pedal, a malfunctioning brake pedal switch is the culprit.