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?
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.
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.