Home / Wrenching / How To Fix The Base Ford Maverick’s Biggest Problem For $175

How To Fix The Base Ford Maverick’s Biggest Problem For $175

A Ford Maverick cruise control switch and a Maverick XL next to each other. Thanks Jason!

David Tracy thinks that the Ford Maverick XL is the best-value new car on sale. He’s most likely right, but the Maverick XL does have one glaring omission – a lack of cruise control. Ford wants buyers to cough up another $2,365 for the XLT trim to avoid leg cramps on road trips, a bit of a gouge considering Ford’s based in Dearborn and knows what driving home for the holidays in the Midwest is like. If you’ve never been on a Midwest road trip, you’re missing out on such breathtaking sights as arrow-straight interstate as far as the eye can see, corn, Jesus, corn, adult entertainment stores, corn, Exit 69 for Big Beaver Road, corn, truck stops, and corn. Sounds like a great place for cruise control, right?

Maverick Chat forum members lamenting a lack of cruise control on the base model.
Screenshot: Maverick Chat

It turns out that I’m not the only person who thinks a lack of cruise control is egregious. It only takes a cursory glance at Maverick-specific forums to see that Maverick owners feel the same. Some are outraged over having to pop for the XLT trim to get cruise control. Others regret over ordering an XL without cruise control. While aftermarket cruise control kits are out there, some owners lament the sloppy appearances and high price tags of these aftermarket stalks and buttons. While Rostra makes a popular cruise control kit for the Maverick, it can retail for anywhere from 300 to 400 dollars. Still cheaper than the $2,365 premium that the XLT trim commands, but far from ideal. Thankfully, Maverick owners are an ingenious bunch and have found a way around this paywall. After all, this is a truck with unused 12-volt pigtails in the bed walls that Ford encourages owners to use. It’s a vehicle for makers, doers, tinkers and hackers.

Switch SW8576, one of two you'll need to add cruise control to a Maverick XL.
Photo credit: Wheeler Fleet

Believe it or not, only two parts are required to add cruise control to a Maverick. You’ll need Ford switches SW8579 and SW8576, the left- and right-side steering wheel button banks respectively. You can often find these parts for sale at a fairly substantial discount with a bit of online sleuthing, although availability may be a challenge. After all, we are experiencing a global supply chain shortage of, um, everything. If you can’t find the switches on their own, hunt for a steering wheel from a crashed current-generation Escape or Bronco Sport. Both of these vehicles share a steering wheel with the Maverick, so you can just swap in the whole steering wheel and re-install your original airbag. 

In terms of tools, you’ll need an OBDLink EX cable. Designed to work with FORScan coding software, it seems to be worth the premium over cheaper cables. After all, accidentally bricking a control unit while writing is a lot more expensive than just buying a better cable. Next, it’s time to remove and strip the steering wheel to install the new buttons. It’s not a terribly difficult procedure, just a bit of a fiddly one. Word to the wise, you’ll want to have your battery disconnected for about 20 minutes before tearing in because jostling a powered-up airbag is a bit like playing hot potato with a live hand grenade. When it comes to pulling the steering wheel, Maverick Truck Club forum member Bushpilot has detailed the process while Tyvemattis has an excellent write-up on gutting a steering wheel to install new switches. If you’re more of a video learner, here’s a great video from YouTube user KaytuDoesStuff on swapping out those steering wheel switches.

The final piece to the puzzle is that aforementioned piece of software called FORScan. It sounds a bit dirty but it’s a proven coding solution for Ford vehicles. Best of all, it’s free to download and members of the FORScan forum get a complimentary two-month extended license that includes programming capabilities. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Coding procedures can be found in this thread started by Maverick Truck Club forum member Maverick2022XL. Keep in mind, the coding process isn’t identical for all models. Hybrid trucks and turbo models have different vehicle order codes for some functions, so a touch of care and attention is required for successful programming. Check out this video from first-time FORScan user James Adams for a nice primer on using the software.

So how much does adding OEM cruise control to a Ford Maverick XL cost? Let’s break it down. At full MSRP, the two steering wheel switches add up to $114.18. The special cable for coding comes out to $59.95 and a FORScan trial is everyone’s favorite price – $Free.99. Total investment at full retail pricing comes out to $174.13 plus tax and shipping, well over two grand cheaper than popping for the XLT trim. Think of all the stuff you could buy for $2,000 to put in the back of your Maverick. 

You could pay tribute to the Doof Warrior from Mad Max, fill the entire truck bed with Jello, haul home an ill-advised but unequivocally awesome engine swap for you project car, mount a vehicle tent and go party up at a music festival, go to IKEA and buy enough flat-pack furniture to furnish an entire studio apartment, haul home a plaster bust of yourself that you commissioned from a local art college student, the possibilities are almost endless. Best of all, you’ll be hauling in comfort thanks to your fancy new cruise control.

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44 Responses

  1. It turns out that I’m not the only person who thinks a lack of cruise control is egregious

    Not only is it egregious, it’s just down right shady. It should be required on all new vehicles under the guise of emissions control; for fucks sake we mandated cameras because people can’t a. Control their kids from getting run over and B. because poeple can’t look behind their cars anymore. What a shitty and shady thing to do in order to get dumb people to spend $3000 more than they need to.

  2. Good to know you can still do stuff like this. I’ve added variable-delay wipers (back before every car had them) and factory fog lights to cars this way. The wiring was all there, just plug and play.

    1. I added variable-delay wiper controls to my RAV4 this way. Older Toyotas are awesome for this because they basically used the same stalk in everything. Grabbed the stalk out of a Matrix at the scrap yard and boom, adjustable intermittent wipers!

  3. I actually hate using cruise control. I just drove from Detroit to California and back again recently. I never once used cruise control and haven’t for decades. For a number of reasons, I just don’t like using it.

    My personal feelings aside, I get that it’s a popular option. I get that Ford, much like every car manufacturer, wants to up-sell vehicles with popular option packages rather than stand-alone options in stripped-down entry vehicles. They have their reasons for doing it this way and, while it’s not something I agree with, it’s how they make money selling cars.

    However, Ford should be looking at this from the perspective of making it a popular dealer-installed option. At $175 retail for parts and probably less than an hour labor, I could see this being a pretty popular $300 option that the dealers can make bank on with other possibly popular Maverick accessories installed at the dealer much like Stellantis does with a Jeep Wrangler.

    1. There are certain auto makers that have a good cruise control and some are awful.

      GM is pretty awful in the controls and the actual staying around the speed you want in my experience.

      Ford is OK. Controls are OK and the speed is good.

      Toyota is my favorite. The controls are all on one stalk, Press the button on the end of stalk for on/off, up for faster, down for slower, pull back to cancel. You don’t have to take your eyes off the road.

      1. Agreed on Toyota’s superiority. My VW’s is all on one stalk as well, but they somehow made it the most fallible, fiddly process possible.

        Toyota: Want to temporarily disengage? Yank this lever as hard as you want.

        VW: Carefully slide this small control on top of the stalk, but not too far or you’ll shut the entire system off.

        I refuse to believe VW ever focus-grouped their controls. Same reason they put dial labels that the driver can’t see.

      2. Toyota’s cruise control stalk is indeed the best in the industry. They also consistently have a light in the gauge cluster to tell you if cruise is enabled, and if it has been set. I’m a heavy cruise user—it saves gas, saves effort, and saves speeding tickets—and will often use it even on back roads or moderate (by Boston-area standards) highway traffic. I’ll just set it and then cover the brake pedal in case I need to drop out of cruise. I’m never going to have a car without it.

    2. Right there with you. I would turn it on and spend the whole time very tense, as the speed never works with surrounding traffic. I have used it from time to time when I used to drive between Denver and LA on occasion, but not often enough to make it worth more than $175. However, the satisfaction of having done it myself would be worth an additional $300!

      1. Right. Unless you’re willing to set the cruise to below the truck speed limit and just amble along cruise control is useless. To be safe you have to speed up, slow down and position yourself. I live in one of the least populated states and even here it’s impossible to use cruise control on the highway.

    3. So you’re the guy that I have to pass every 10 miles on a road trip when I am traveling at a constant speed.

      I don’t know all your reasons but if you haven’t used it in decades maybe give it a try again. Its a lot better than it used to be. I remember trucks that would break the tires loose on a hill in the rain when it down shifted too hard. Those days are long gone though.

  4. I’m holding out a couple of years (and paying off another car) before I look seriously at the Maverick being my mid-life ride. I hope this gets fixed by then. If not, this is a great piece to make the Maverick the almost perfect best value on the new vehicle market in several years.

    1. I’m hoping to see a PHEV version too, that or a regular hybrid with AWD. (It is my understanding that the Escape platform can’t easily support both at the same time.) That said, the lack of them isn’t going to stop me from buying a Maverick—it’s just that the market is ridiculous right now, so I’m gonna hang onto my trusty old shitbox for a couple more years. After that, the Maverick is number one on my list of cars to replace it with.

      1. The platform will support both (I have an Escape Hybrid AWD), though packaging challenges preclude the use of AWD on a PHEV.

        The main issue is the Maverick has the first electric motor Ford has ever built in house. Something about this necessitated the use of a similar but slightly different transmission than the Escape Hybrid. Upshot of all that is that Ford decided that was all the new they could stomach in the launch of a volume leader like the Maverick.

        In a couple of interviews, they have explicitly said an AWD Hybrid will be coming, its just a question of whether its in the mid cycle refresh or just a new option on the existing model.

    2. Same. My 2015 Genesis just rolled over 108,000. I’m hoping to get it to at least 200,000 in about five years. Then, a PHEV Maverick would be preferred next vehicle. As of right now, that is. Who knows what will happen in five years?

    3. Agreed. PHEVs are so practical. I love my Chevy Volt, the car has basically paid for itself and has the best of both worlds. I would love a capable truck/suv on the PHEV platform. Although, I still wouldn’t sell my 15mpg Montero

  5. First…. this would void warranties, wouldn’t it?

    Second… I remember my dad pulling steering wheels off of 70’s cars… I think it was to align the wheel…. anywho’s….. his method involved a sledge hammer.

  6. I own a Maverick, and ForSCAN was worth doing. I have an XLT FX4, and it doesn’t ship with the sport or eco drive nodes enabled.

    Changed that with ForSCAN. Sport really livens the truck up. So now I have a quick turbo truck that fits in a standard parking space. It’s the perfect car

  7. As a fellow Michigander that must take Exit 69 to Big Beaver road every Tuesday and Thursday for work, I often pat myself on the back for not snickering, or sending a picture of the exit sign to one of the few people in my phone that I haven’t shared it with.

  8. The old Sienna minivan had decent cruise control, which was useful about once every three years for an hour or two. The rest of the time the roads are too busy to use cruise control safely. My 2004 Ford truck doesn’t have cruise control and I have yet to miss it on multiple long distance trips through CO, WY, NE, etc. So I don’t understand this at all.. where are you all driving that the roads are empty enough to use cruise control ?

    1. I use cruise control nearly every day. I was on a work trip on the DC Beltway area and was using it up until the very end of the trip when it got a little stop and go before my exit.

  9. My son’s Kia didn’t come with cruise, but I was able to just change out the switches and steering wheel wiring harness (plug and play).

    My daughter’s Cruze is not as easy. Besides having to buy an entire steering wheel… you also have to get it programmed (if it can even be done). Does anyone know of a similar forum for GM?

    1. IIRC, adding cruise control to a Cruze requires a dealer flash through the BCM and IPC. GM keeps a pretty tight grip on their software. As long as the car’s out of warranty, any good dealer service department should be able to enable cruise control.

    2. edit: both of the cars replaced cars I bought them that were totaled and had cruise control. Since their step-dad had the insurance on the cars, he got to help them pick out the new car… thus no cruise control.

  10. You guys could do an entire article just on the awesomeness that is FORScan.

    On my base model Escape Hybrid, I was able to enable Lane Centering which is usually reserved for the top trim. I was also able to enable traffic sign recognition, which is typically only available in Europe. And all of that was without adding any hardware.

  11. I just love the way people have immediately dived into this thing and started to hack and modify it. I’m very likely getting a Maverick as my next car, and seeing a robust community spring up around it so quickly is just one more reason to buy one. The lack of cruise control is really the only significant reason not to get the base trim, so it’s great to see that people have already figured out how to rectify that.

    1. I’m really hoping the base ’23 model comes with cruise control and steelies because that’s the combo I really want. I was thinking of getting the XLT and trading the wheels for steelies if that doesn’t come to pass.

  12. I can relate to that. I had to do something similar to my Z4. I just bought the cruise control stalk, plugged it in, cut a hole in the plastic casing around it and voila. I was lucky enough to have a model built before 10/2004 so there was no wire cutting involved.

  13. Great info. I would love to buy a XL Maverick if one was available. It’s funny that my wife almost insists I buy one. I’m the more practical one, but she laments the sale of my Tundra. Great truck but took up the entire garage when we moved.

    What I really want is a truck + a shit box to drive around. But the price of those are nutso….

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