A few years ago, adaptive cruise control was seen merely as a gimmick as it wasn’t advanced enough for it to actually make a lot of sense. Sure, in some instances such as highway cruising with no traffic, any kind of cruise control is worthwhile, but real-life scenarios and environments always tend to be a bit unpredictable which is not something you want when using autonomous driving functions.
VW isn’t a brand known for autonomous driving per se, but VW does now offer fairly advanced adaptive cruise control systems that can take the edge off of everyday commuting. Be that as it may, there are some notable VW adaptive cruise control problems we are going to list in this article. This should serve you well if you encounter any of these.
The first and likely most common problem is when the adaptive cruise control system refuses to even work. Other problems include the system engaging the brakes by itself without any specific reason which is not only uncomfortable but can also be extremely dangerous.
Thirdly, we need to talk about the system suddenly disengaging and often refusing to turn on. Last but not least, we also ought to mention instances where the system accelerates and does not seem to be able to hold a consistent designated speed.
Adaptive Cruise Control Not Available
The most common problem most VW owners face with ACC systems is when they refuse to engage at all. These issues are typically associated with a specific ACC warning light that pops up on the dashboard and does not let you engage the system. The first thing you need to check is the ACC radar itself as it is known to not respond if it is covered by lots of dirt. If you are driving through heavy snow or rain, the radar will also not be able to work.
Also, be sure to clear the area in front of the radar as any obstructions such as license plates or pieces of bodywork will lead to the system refusing to engage. A blown fuse could also cause this issue and so can a damaged sensor. If you didn’t manage to solve the problem, try to park the car for 15 minutes and try again. If none of this helps, contact a VW technician.
Adaptive Cruise Control System Braking By Itself
There have been quite a few reports by stressed-out drivers that some VW models can exhibit unintended braking while the ACC system is on. This is arguably the most dangerous problem you can face with the ACC system as it is unpredictable and can be fatal at highway speeds. Sadly, there does not seem to be a clear explanation of what causes these issues except that some like to call these front assist defects.
VW was even struck with numerous lawsuits regarding this problem, but nothing specific ever came out of those. Some did say that these issues can be proactively solved by always updating your systems and servicing your car regularly, but the reality is that these systems can sometimes misinterpret the environment as hostile and apply the brakes, even if that is completely unnecessary.
Adaptive Cruise Control Turns Off
This problem (as many others) isn’t specifically tied to VWs as it is an inherent problem with most ACC systems. The problem here is that the system suddenly turns off and leaves you to take full control of the vehicle. In some situations, this can be a bit of a problem, especially if you are driving relatively quickly on a relatively busy road.
It is said that this problem is typically caused by an external factor that either confuses or forcefully disengages the system. Strong crosswinds at high speeds can sway the car and thus disengage the system and not let you turn it on. Loss of traction and going over puddles can also cause this problem.
The Adaptive Cruise Control Can’t Maintain A Specific Speed
The first reason why is that your system refuses to let you engage a particularly high speed if the traffic is too crowded. Secondly, the brake switch might be defective which will trick the system into thinking you applied the brakes. Also, be sure to check the vehicle speed sensor which is tasked with communicating with the ECU about the speed the car is doing.
A broken or loose cruise control cable can cause the same problem which is why these ought to be inspected as well.
Is Adaptive Cruise Control Safe?
In essence, most ACC systems are completely safe and reliable enough to use on a daily basis, but the misuse of these systems can make them extremely dangerous. The idea behind the ACC system is not to replace your attention and wokeness, but rather to just compliment your driving and make your experience a tad bit more comfortable.
You always need to pay close attention to the road ahead and always obey the speed limits, no matter if you use an ACC system or not. If you are on a familiar road and the flow of traffic is consistent enough, there is no reason why you shouldn’t engage your adaptive cruise control system as that is precisely what it is designed to do.
Are All Adaptive Cruise Control Systems The Same?
There is a great deal of variety with modern-day ACC systems, some are rudimentary and only offer you basic functions such as setting a specific distance from the car in front and maintaining a desired speed.
Others are much more advanced as they can speed up, slow down, or even come to a complete stop and depart if you want them to. Some are able to take control of your steering inputs and center the car inside the lane while the most advanced systems can even do lane changes and are almost indistinguishable from autonomous driving systems.
Do All VW Models Come With Adaptive Cruise Control?
All VW models nowadays can be had with adaptive cruise control functionalities, but not all of them offer ACC as standard. Higher-end models typically do offer these systems from the factory while more affordable models have these as part of additional option packages.