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Warning: Cruise Does Not Disengage In Neutral


Charter Member
Full Member
Jan 24, 2002
Redmond, WA
This may be a no-brainer for some folks, but I was floored by it.

I had the cruise control set at about 50 on the back roads near my house. Starting down a hill I shifted to N to coast to the bottom. When I got to the bottom, my speed dropped below 50 before I got a chance to shift into D. You can guess the rest. Yup, the RPM's went to 5-6K REAL fast, and stayed there till I figured out what was happening. :eek: That's an eye-opener. I tapped the brake and the revs came back down.

I've never owned a vehicle that left the criuse control enabled when in N. Every car I've ever seen kills the cruise when you shift out of D.

Just a tip. Don't do that.
Wow . . with all the smarts in the Av, I'd have guessed that shifting into neutral would disable the cruise control. I had a similar experience years ago in my S-10 Blazer - popped the 5-speed into neutral w/o using the clutch beginning a downhill roll - same results as you described when it leveled out! Quite a surprise.
The big surprise of the cruise control trying to get you back up to 50 is not the only reason not to coast down hills in N. It also stresses drive train components such as joints and rear-end gears which are now loading on the opposite side.
Yeah, I would have to agree that it isn't a very safe thing to do. Always leave the Vehicle in one of the drive gears. :B:
You are much better letting the engine provide some of the braking and being engaged to react to emergencies.
I guess it's just me then, cause I never owned a car that DID disengage the cruise under such conditions :2:
I have a '94 GMC pickup with a manual transmission, and usually my right hand rests on the gear shift. Ocassionally, my hand would get heavy and pull the transmission into neutral while set in cruise control. And yes, the engine would rev. up as high as it would go...
All of my previous vehicles with cruise control worked the same way indicated. Didn't matter if it had manual or auto trans.

Another thread I just read suggested a theory that cruise is disengaged only when brake lights come on. ?This theory was stated in helping someone diagnose a problem with cruise AND brake lights not working (a fuse was the suggested culprit).

Anyway, if a brake light circuit is all that is involved, then there you go. ?I agree that GM shouldn't have missed that one. ?It should work similarly to a manual in which cruise is also disengaged when the clutch is depressed.

Never tried pulling manual out of gear though. I suspect tis true that cruise would not be disengaged.
I have thought of slipping to nuetral and never did,,,I know not to now... I do remember my dads jeep did this once and almost puked the motor before he crammed it back in gear so for some reason if you go out of cruise you lose