Do Manual Cars Have Cruise Control? Why (Or Why Not)?

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Cruise control is a helpful feature in many cars and makes highway riding for long distances more relaxing, but do manual cars have it too?

Do Manual Cars Have Cruise Control 1 1 Do Manual Cars Have Cruise Control? Why (Or Why Not)?

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Do manuals have cruise control?

Yes, manual cars have cruise control and it’s a handy feature to use for highway driving. However, any sharp decreases in speed, gear shifting, or RPM changes will disengage the cruise control feature. This is the only difference in cruise control with manual cars compared to automatic ones.

Manual transmissions are becoming a rarity in the automotive industry and the majority of new cars today come with automatic transmissions. However, they are still modern with key features like cruise control and we have explained how this feature works on manual cars below. 

Do Manual Cars Have Cruise Control?

Cruise control works on manual cars and automatically regulates the speed of the vehicle. It is usually engaged by pressing a button on the steering wheel and disengaged by pressing it again, changing gears, or braking. 

When engaged, it allows a car to maintain a set speed without any input from the driver. But because manual cars operate differently than an automatic, the same is true for the cruise control feature. 

The speed of a manual car determines whether it is in low gear or high gear. 

Many manual transmission vehicles have adaptive cruise control today. This technology allows drivers to set their desired speed and distance from other cars on the road using buttons or knobs on the steering wheel. 

The adaptive cruise control system uses sensors to track vehicles in front of it, and will automatically slow down or speed up as needed. The driver can also set a desired following distance.

What Is Adaptive Cruise Control?

Do Manual Cars Have Cruise Control 1 Do Manual Cars Have Cruise Control? Why (Or Why Not)?

Adaptive Cruise control allows a car to maintain its speed without requiring the driver to constantly operate the accelerator pedal. This is a newer and more advanced type of cruise control. 

This feature has started to become more mainstream to replace the most basic and standard cruise control in older cars. It’s also included with all manual cars today too. 

The key difference with this feature is the more accurate speed management. It comes with sensors to read the speed of the vehicle in front of the car, so it can slow down if needed without the driver needing to hit the brakes. 

Typically, touching the brakes turns off cruise control. When this happens with a manual car, the driver also needs to shift gears and it becomes a hassle to use cruise control effectively. 

With adaptive cruise control, this isn’t necessary and it has revolutionized the way manual cars work. This is considered a standard feature in most new cars today too.  

However, if the drop in speed is significant enough and the RPMs drop too low for the current gear the cruise control will disengage. This is the only downside when using cruise control with a manual car. 

How Does Cruise Control Work On Manual Cars?

Cruise control, when enabled, will maintain a constant speed without any input from the driver. It’s not a car’s engine that provides this function; it’s an electronic system that uses sensors to detect the car’s speed and adjusts power accordingly.

Cruise control works almost the same as it would on an automatic transmission car. It can be engaged in the same way by setting the desired speed. 

However, it won’t shift automatically for the driver so changing speeds or shifting gears will likely cause the cruise control to turn off. 

But because cruise control is aimed to maintain a single speed on the highway, it works quite well for manual cars. This is why so many newer manual cars are equipped with an adaptive cruise control feature. 

Whenever the speed decreases low enough for the RPM to drop, the driver needs to shift gears. If this happens, cruise control will turn off on manual cars. 

How To Use Cruise Control With A Manual Car

The lack of flexibility when using cruise control with a manual car is a concern for many drivers. Depressing the clutch, shifting gears, or dropping the speed to low can cause the cruise control to disengage. 

However, it’s still an impressive feature worth using. Here’s how to activate it and use it with a manual car. 

Consider Weather And Traffic Conditions

Before using cruise control, consider the weather and traffic conditions. This is especially important for a manual car because when there is a lot of traffic it’s not a useful feature because of the constant gear shifting. 

Locate The Cruise Control Button

Next, locate where the cruise control button is on the car. It’s typically located on or near the steering wheel but this changes based on the car model. 

Reach Desired Highway Speed

Before turning the cruise control on, the car needs to reach the desired speed. This is because once the feature is turned on, it assumes the current speed is the one the driver wants to maintain. 

Turning it on too soon will lock the vehicle into a slower-than-desired speed. 

Turn On Cruise Control

The adaptive cruise control system can be activated by pressing a button on your dashboard or steering wheel, or it can be set to activate automatically when you are traveling at certain speeds. 

In many modern cars and SUVs, the button is right on the steering wheel for quicker access for drivers to turn it on and off. 

Avoid Unnecessary Braking And Shifting

Lastly, avoid unnecessary braking and shifting when using cruise control. This will disengage the feature which requires the driver to reach desired speeds and turn it back on again. 

Key Takeaways

  • Many manual cars, especially newer ones, come with Adaptive Cruise Control to regulate the speed of the vehicle automatically for highway driving at a constant speed. 
  • Cruise control should only be used in high gear on the highway for manual cars because it’s difficult to maintain speed on busier roads with lots of stopping and going. 
  • To use cruise control on a manual car, the desired speed needs to be reached first before the feature gets activated.