Aftermarket Cruise Control
Cruise control is one of the those features that no car owner places in particular importance but for the few times they decide to make long distance trips with their personal automobile. It is then that, having pressed down the gas pedal for several hundred miles and many hours, cruise control becomes a new automotive “must have.”
There are several other benefits to an aftermarket cruise control kit. For one, driving long distances with cruise control enabled is the best way to maximize fuel economy. While it may seem that your foot is quite capable of maintaining a constant speed, your foot isn't as good at such task as is a computer, or automated cruise control. By enabling cruise control, the car seeks to maintain a consistent speed, pushing harder to work up hills or inclines and easing on the gas on down-slopes.
Another reason to add cruise control to your vehicle is to increase its resale value. To many people who drive a great deal of distance for either work or pleasure, cruise control is a must-have feature on an automobile. And while they do want a car with cruise control, it doesn't mean they have the patience, knowledge, or desire to seek out an aftermarket cruise control kit on their own. These people are lost sales, since they will invariably turn to the many millions of other cars for sale. If fewer people find your car compatible to their needs, you're more likely to receive a lower price, wait longer to find the right buyer, or both.
Aftermarket and OEM Cruise Control Devices
Contrary to popular belief, aftermarket and OEM products are not the same, and in fact, there are many distinct difference, both obvious and implied. Aftermarket is a title given to parts supplied by another company for use in a another company's product. Thus, if ABC Aftermarket Co. were to create a cruise control kit for the Ford Focus, its products would be an aftermarket product. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. Thus, an example of an OEM cruise control kit would be one manufactured by Ford for use in its automobiles.
Generally speaking, OEM products are of better quality, and perform better than aftermarket parts. This is due to the fact that OEM parts are often produced en mass, and at the same factory for the car itself. Often, a cruise control kit purchased as OEM was simply a part that could have been added to your car when it was new, and would have then cost more money. Alternatively, an OEM part may come from the same manufacturer but was originally intended for another automobile. This is the case with many economy cars that do not feature cruise control from the factory, but have the capacity to accept cruise control parts from the same manufacturer.
Aftermarket parts are usually sold by third parties for cars that do not offer cruise control directly from the factory, or that require more knowledge of an automobile to install. Aftermarket parts are not the product of the original manufacturer and many, in many circumstances, violate warranties or other agreements with the car company. As such, aftermarket parts should be added only after careful consideration of the original warranty, and after strict evaluation of the aftermarket part itself.
Aftermarket cruise control kits may not always sit “flush” with the parts of the automobile, and may not fit in with the general design of the cars interior. As such, they are not recommended for drivers who desire parts that are cosmetically the same as an OEM or factory installed piece. Instead, they should be used for their utilitarian purpose, without regard to how they look.
Aftermarket Cruise Control Costs
Depending on the function of the cruise control, the type, and the cosmetic appearance of such device, car owners should expect to spend anywhere from $100 to $300 for the kit alone. Installation, then, should be done with ease by anyone with experience with an automobile. For those who do not feel comfortable following the installation instructions, a professional mechanic should be able to install a kit in less than one hours time, costing anywhere from $75 to $150 per hour.
Unless you are intimately familiar with your automobile, it is not recommended that you install the cruise control yourself. While there are concerns about the quality of such aftermarket products, the truth is that the quality of the installation is just as important as is the quality of the aftermarket part.