Cruise control shuts off below 25 mph -- can I change that?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 2000

Dear Tom and Ray:

I recently bought a 2000 Toyota Tundra. I am very disappointed in the cruise control. After buying it, I found that if you allow the speed to drop below 25 mph, the cruise control shuts off and you have to reset the speed again. The dealer told me that nothing could be done about it, but I don't believe that. Is there a way to fix this problem? -- John

TOM: The dealer is right, in that it's not a mechanical problem, John. It's a safety feature, and it's designed to work that way.

RAY: Cruise control was created so you could rest your right foot when you're driving at the same speed for a long period of time. That typically happens on, say, an empty highway, where neither pedestrians, nor other traffic, nor sharp turns are likely to cause you to have to adjust your speed suddenly.

TOM: When you're driving at 25 mph or less, chances are you're NOT driving on a highway. Chances are you're driving in town, where the conditions are exactly the opposite. Around town, pedestrians or children might jump out, cars might come out of driveways or other streets, and the contour of the road might change suddenly.

RAY: So in their wisdom, car makers (and probably the insurance industry) made it impossible for the cruise control to work below certain speeds, to discourage people from using cruise control in settled areas where accidents are much more likely to happen.

TOM: And while there probably is some sort of micro-electronic fix that would override this prohibition, we don't know what it is. And even if we did, we wouldn't tell you, because you shouldn't be using the cruise control around town. Sorry, John.

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