I drive a 1999 Oldsmobile Alero. This model in all years and three other General Motors cars (Oldsmobile Cutlass, Chevrolet Malibu, and Pontiac Grand Am) share many things. My Alero is equipped with Cruise Control. The On/Off switch on these cars eventually stops working and there are numerous requests on the Internet for help with this problem. 

(The photo is from Bing Images. It does show a 1999 Alero, but mine is bronze in color rather than red.)

Step 1: The steering wheel with controls

The Cruise Control can be made to work by holding the switch button down, but as soon as it is released, the Cruise Control shuts down, which means it does no good for anyone. See the yellow text box on the left.

The switches on both the left and right side of the steering wheel are parts of one harness and are not sold separately. Internet prices for this switch harness combination come to about $53 (plus shipping and handling). Having these switches replaced at a dealership shop cost about $200 around 2007. The rest of my car still works well, but I do not want to spend that much money on a Cruise Control switch set for a twelve year old car with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer. And, should we replace the car, it will be easier to sell if the Cruise Control switch works properly.

I live in the USA and our automobiles have the steering wheel on the left-hand side of the car. When I use the phrase "driver's side" it means left side of the car. If I use the phrase "passenger side" it means the right side of the car. I realize that is not the scheme used in some other parts of the world.

<p>I just figured out that if I drag the mouse over the outlined area, a text box shows up. Thanks for doing this. I pulled the cruise switch at a salvage yard for $6. Cheap and easy fix.</p>
Thank you for your interest in my Instructable. I think the problem with those switches is a thin piece of plastic that becomes brittle with age. I used a wire brad because it is more reliable than the original plastic. But, notice that I showed how to by-pass the on/off switch on the left side of the steering wheel. You can mount a simple toggle switch almost anyplace. Had I done that, I would have chosen under the steering column.
Hi Phil, this was outstanding and so very helpful!!!! I did it in just about 45 minute, although I cheated and spent 55 bux on a new switch. If I could add one thing. I found it easier on my 2000 alero to screw the retaining bolts a couple of threads into the back of the air bag/horn then place the airbag into the slots and the collars slide right through the holes and locks into place a few twists of the socket wrench and Torx bit and it's locked down. Makes it easier then trying to tape boot on and find the hole through the back of steering wheel. Thanks again!!!
<p>Thank you for your interest. I am glad it was helpful. And, thank you for the tip on putting it back together. I no longer have an Alero. Do you know if the switch you bought is new or new old stock? The little plastic pin ages and becomes more brittle. New old stock would be subject to age.</p>
I believe it is newer then 2000. I'm sure it was sitting on shelf somewhere in a warehouse. Car has 190,000 miles on it so if it lasts me a few more years I will be happy.
<p>In a few of the descriptions, you say,&quot;see the yellow text box.&quot; I don't see a a yellow text box. Is that a go pro feature?</p>
<p>text boxes changed and now are white. Look for a small square in the corner of some pictures with a faint icon of a short pencil. Tap or click on those photos if you do not see a white box around parts inside the photos. Move your cursor over those boxes and a frame opens with words inside. I do not believe they are a pro only feature. </p>
Nice car! And excellent instructable.
Thank you. They look nice with red paint. For a couple of years I talked about having a red one. My wife said she would get mine painted red instead of bronze/tan. THEN, I noticed the red cars of this make were all driven by young teenage girls with bleached hair who talked on cell phones while they drive and do not always obey traffic laws. I immediately lost all interest in a red Oldsmobile Alero. <br><br>Because the car is so similar to a Pontiac Grand Am, General Motors decided to economize. They closed the entire Oldsmobile division. I now drive a car brand that is no longer available. Of all of the automobiles I have driven, this one has required fewer repairs than any other. Even with so many miles driven by it, the car is as good as it was when I bought it eleven years ago. I change the oil more often than the factory asks and I do all of my own repair work.
Hello. I can't tell from the photos but do you know what color the wires are for the two outer pins? I was going to bypass taking the column/wheel apart and just trace the wires in the harness then connect them together or put switch in. <br>Thank you for any help you can give
I no longer have the car or the Haynes manual I bought for it, but have sold the car to a friend whose commuter car lost its transmission, and I gave him the manual with the car. It looks from the photo as if one of the outer wires might be a tan color and the other a mauve or light purple color, but I cannot say for certain. It really is not a time consuming or difficult job to remove the air bag section from the steering wheel and look. You could even trace the wires with a continuity tester, in case the manufacturer changed colors after the commutator that allows the current to flow even though the steering wheel turns. I am sorry I cannot give you more help. Thank you for looking. If you have one of these cars and the cruise control is not working, you will enjoy the fact you fixed it yourself with so little effort and expense. I hope all goes well for you.
Good detail, easy to follow. I like this kind of repair. Lots of intuition, a little initiative, and just a touch of manual reference. This information will be helpful for others with similar makes.
Thank you for looking and commenting. I would have been lost without the Haynes manual, but tried to give all necessary information in the Instructable so anyone without a manual can do just fine. I am hoping someone who needs this will find it and be able to fix his cruise control. I appreciated your Instructable on the turn signal problems you had with a similar car.

About This Instructable




Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
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