Factors to Consider when Shopping for a Cruise Control Module
The heart of the cruise control system in any motor vehicle, the cruise control module automatically manages the speed of vehicle, enabling it to run at a constant pace with your foot off the gas pedal. Sadly, the module has the tendency to break down after several years of use, often resulting in an error code in your onboard computer.
Thankfully, cruise control modules are not that hard to find. You can find modules for sale at cheap prices, but cost not what you should base your purchasing decision on. Instead, you must take the following factors into mind first:
OEM vs. aftermarket cruise control modules
When shopping around for a cruise control module, you'll probably encounter modules being sold as either OEM or aftermarket. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) modules are manufactured by the car manufacturer as a direct replacement to the ones found in their cars. This means they are a near-exact replica of the stock cruise control module in your vehicle, right down to their quality, dimensions, and features. Aftermarket modules, on the other hand, are made by third-party manufacturers. These modules often claim to perform better than their OEM counterparts as have added features such as precision servos and speedometer signal adapters. Aftermarket modules are also made for older vehicles that normally do not have.
Vacuum vs. servo vs. drive-by-wire throttle modules
Cruise control modules are further broken down into three categories, which are vacuum-based throttle, electronic servo throttle, and drive-by-wire throttle. Vacuum throttle control modules were first introduced in the 1960s and were connected to a vacuum motor that moves a throttle cable that control's the vehicle's speed. This was later phased out in vehicles made in the early 2000's in favor of electronic servo control modules, which discarded the vacuum motor and throttle cable for electric servos for a more reliable performance. This was later upgraded in 2005 with drive-by-wire throttle modules that offer far increased efficiency and precision but are only found in select models. So when buying a new cruise control module, don't be shy to ask what type of module that you need.
Should you buy cruise control module kits?
Although cruise control modules are sold separately, more and more of these modules are being sold as part of a cruise control kit. While more expensive, these kits have the related parts needed to get the module working properly including the electronic adapters and cables. This is why it is recommended to buy the module as part of a kit if you are not that experienced in installing cruise control components to minimize errors. However, if you are confident with your skills and experience in automotive repair, going with just the cruise control module might be able to save you some money. However, it should be noted that if you do decide to buy only the module, you may still be compelled to buy adapters and other related components for it later on to ensure compatibility. Keep in mind that if its components do not match, the cruise control may not function properly or not at all.