When you think about using your car’s cruise control, you probably think of long trips on highways or interstates where there isn’t much traffic and you can set your cruise control to a faster speed.
But what about driving slowly while using cruise control? Can you do it, and will it hurt your car in any way?
Most of the time, you shouldn’t use cruise control if you’re going less than 25 miles per hour, because a slower speed means you might need to stop quickly. Slower speeds usually mean that there are pedestrian crossings, schools nearby, or areas with a lot of traffic.
Read on to find out more about how to use the cruise control at low speeds.
Why Should I Use Cruise Control At Low Speeds?
When automakers first came up with cruise control and started putting it in cars, it was called “cruise control” for a reason.
Because of this, cruise control, even adaptive cruise control, is usually not a good idea at low speeds for a number of reasons.
When there is a lot of traffic, you usually need to have a lot more control over your car so that you can stop quickly, make turns, and so on.
If you are driving in these conditions and have your cruise control on, you won’t be able to make quick decisions.
Even if you turn off your cruise control when there is a lot of traffic, you may have already been in an accident by the time you do so.
We also don’t think you should use your cruise control when you need to drive slowly, like when it’s raining, snowing, or icy and the roads are slippery.
If you don’t follow our advice, you could hydroplane on a road that’s been soaked by rain, slip and slide on snow and ice, or face other dangerous situations while driving.
Just like when there’s a lot of traffic, you won’t have time to turn off your cruise control and get back in control of your car before you’ll probably get into an accident.
What is the Lowest Speed to Use Cruise Control?
If you want to use your cruise control at a slower speed, most car experts we know say you shouldn’t do it until your car is going at least 25 miles per hour, and even that is questionable.
When you’re driving at such slow speeds, it’s usually because you’re in a dangerous area or where there’s a lot of traffic and you’ll hit traffic jams at every turn.
If this is the case, you will need to be in full control of your car to make sharp turns, hit the brakes to stop quickly, and steer if another driver does something strange.
Even though stop-and-go driving is known to use more gas, using your cruise control won’t help as much as you might hope.
Even though your engine and transmission won’t be stressed any more, using cruise control at such low speeds will make you use more gas. Keep this in mind.
Does Cruise Control Only Work at Certain Speeds?
Cruise control won’t work on almost any car if you’re going less than 25 miles per hour.
This is because of sensors that measure how fast a car is going.
Most new cars have these sensors. They tell the engine control unit and the cruise control how fast your car is going.
If your car is going less than 25 miles per hour, your cruise control unit probably won’t think that’s fast enough to turn on.
When you are going less than 25 miles per hour, your cruise control will compare your current speed to a speed that has already been set.
After that, your cruise control will either increase or decrease the throttle as needed to keep you going at the same speed.
Since you are going so slowly, this is no longer possible. This means that your cruise control won’t work in this situation.
Is It Okay to Use Cruise Control All the Time?
Even though it seems like using cruise control all the time would make driving very easy, it is not okay to use your car’s cruise control all the time.
You should already know that your car’s cruise control isn’t meant to be used at speeds below 25 miles per hour, and even that speed is considered too slow by many auto experts.
Remember that when you set the cruise control on your car, you are basically giving up control of it.
This is usually fine when you are alone on a highway, but it can be very dangerous when there are a lot of cars around.
Instead of risking getting into an accident because you were using your cruise control in a way it wasn’t meant to be used, it’s best to do what the owner’s manual tells you to do.
Will Cruise Control Damage the Engine?
If you use your cruise control the way it was meant to be used, it won’t hurt your engine.
In any basic cruise control system, pressing the “reduce speed” button on your steering wheel will have the same effect as taking your foot off the accelerator.
When Should Cruise Control be Used?
We recommend that you only use cruise control when you are on a long stretch of road with a high speed limit that stays that way for a long time. This will keep you and the other drivers around you as safe as possible.
But when you get to a part of the road where the speed limit drops, make sure to turn off your cruise control as soon as you can.
If you don’t, your car will keep going at the faster speed, which could cause an accident or, at the very least, get you a ticket.
Using your cruise control can make driving on a long stretch of road much easier, but it’s important to keep in mind that it works best in certain situations.
If you use common sense and good judgement while driving, you will probably know when to use your cruise control.