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Can Manual Transmission Have Cruise Control? Answered


Undoubtedly, cars with an automatic gearing system have cruise control to maintain a specific speed. But what about the manual cars? Can manual transmission have cruise control?

Yes. Manual transmission can also have cruise control. However, it works in a different way than automatic transmission. The cruise control system in manual cars and trucks allows you to stay in the same gear as long as you want. That way, you can safely cover long distances without frequently shifting gears.

In this post, we’ll give a detailed overview of cruise control in manual transmission.

Cruise Control in Stick-Shift Cars

Cruise control is one of the useful features in vehicles. You don’t have to keep pressing the accelerator pedal in automatic cars or shifting gears in stick-shift cars.

Manual Transmission with Stick-Shift Car

Moreover, you will find advanced cruise control options in today’s modern cars and trucks. You can set the speed, gear, and distance to the destination or the distance from the vehicle moving ahead.

Now, if you are planning to hit the highway in your manual transmission car, you should know whether your car has cruise control.

Unlike automatic transmission vehicles, in which you set a particular speed and take your foot off the accelerator, manual transmission cruise control works differently.

Typically, the driver first presses the clutch and then puts the car or truck in the desired gear. This gearing process might look easy, but shifting gears manually becomes a bit hectic if the distance is long and you have to cover it regularly.

Therefore, cruise control in stick-shift cars is beneficial when you want to drive in only one gear during the whole trip.

Now let’s talk about Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) in modern vehicles.

Adaptive Cruise Control

ACC is an advanced version of conventional cruise control. It reads the speed of the car moving in front of you and sets your car’s speed accordingly. Of course, the distance from the car matters the most. Depending on that distance, ACC will automatically regulate the speed.

In addition to that, ACC makes sure your car is 2-3 seconds behind the car, which is moving ahead to avoid collision in case of sudden brakes.

But what about ACC in manual transmission?

ACC in Manual Transmission

It doesn’t make sense that ACC can pair up with manual transmission because when ACC wants to regulate the speed, you manually have to shift the gear. So the purpose of ACC in manual transmission vehicles is void.

However, automobile manufacturers put an end to this contradiction by introducing ACC in manual transmission.

As you already know, cruise control in the manual gearing system keeps your car in a single gear. But ACC works beyond that.

Some cars that have a manual gearing system are ACC compatible as well. However, it works in two different ways when compared with the automatic ACC transmission.

  • ACC in manual transmission will disengage as soon as you press the clutch. It’s because when you manually want to switch the gear, there’s no need for ACC to keep maintaining the gear. Also, shifting gears means you want to either speed up or slow down. Therefore, you first have to put the car in the desired gear and then activate ACC in manual cars and trucks.
  • ACC is in direct contact with the engine and will disengage if there’s a major change in RPMs (Revolution Per Minutes.). This feature works in both scenarios, i.e., if the traffic is slowing down and RPMs are dropping as well and vice versa. Once the RPMs reach a certain threshold, ACC will be instantly deactivated because it’s to switch the gears.

ACC With Low-Speed Follow

Low-Speed Follow is an add-on and works with ACC. It’s available in some of the 2020 and later models of Honda and Mazda.

The Low Speed Follow feature is quite helpful in automatic cars and trucks.

It uses a camera located at the back of the rear-view mirror to detect the cars ahead. Moreover, there’s a sensor that lets you keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.

The best part is it continuously regulates the speed according to the movement of that car. When that car slows down, Low-Speed Follow will also slow down your car. Even slowing down will illuminate the brake lights so that other cars can know the driver is pulling off the brake.

Check out the F1 Style LED Brake Light.

Now, Low-Speed Follow works well with automatic cars and trucks. But it’s not a good fit for the manual transmission vehicles because increasing or reducing speed means you have to shift gears manually.

Every time you press the clutch, ACC will be disengaged. Therefore, ACC with Low Follow Speed doesn’t come in manual cars and trucks.

Does Cruise Control Damage Engine in Manual Cars?

Cruise control doesn’t damage the car’s engine on normal roads and highways. Instead, it makes your vehicle fuel efficient because frequently shifting gears while speeding up or slowing down takes additional fuel as well as affects the clutch plates.

Manual Old Car Engine

Have a look at the Extra-Plate Clutch Kit.

However, activating cruise control on steep terrains and hilly roads might not be a good idea.

The cruise control feature will try to keep the car in a single gear while inclining and which will put unnecessary pressure on the engine. That way, the engine will suffer and will be damaged.

In that case, you have to deactivate the cruise control, just like in automatic transmission vehicles, and cross the steep terrain manually.

Pros of Cruise Control

  • Cruise control helps the driver maintain a constant speed on the highways where the traffic is pretty low. That way, the driver will have a rest as there’s no need to press the accelerator or shift gears anymore.
  • It’s fuel-efficient as well because when you don’t increase or decrease speed, there’s no need to shift gears. Hence, no additional fuel is needed.

Cons of Cruise Control

  • Cruise control doesn’t properly work if you are driving on steep and slippery roads. That’s for both manual and automatic transmission vehicles.
  • Drivers depend too much on cruise control which can lead to serious accidents.

Final Thoughts

A number of automobile manufacturers are installing cruise control with advanced safety features in manual vehicles. Therefore, if you are looking to buy a modern stick-shift car, you might get to experience how cruise control works with manual transmission.

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