Q: I have a 2003 Honda Pilot. Every so often the cruise control goes intermittent on me. It seems to happen mostly when the weather is cold...

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Q: I have a 2003 Honda Pilot. Every so often the cruise control goes intermittent on me. It seems to happen mostly when the weather is cold and wet. For most of the year it works just fine.

The problem happens when I first start cruising. The cruise control won’t engage. After a few minutes it might engage, but if the car hits the smallest of bumps, it disengages.

The dealer couldn’t find anything wrong.

A: Your Pilot has a very straightforward device called the cruise-control actuator, and it’s easy to find at the right front corner of the engine compartment.

The actuator unit receives electrical signals from the control switches, brake-pedal switch, transmission-range switch, and vehicle-speed information from the PCM (powertrain control module). Calculations are performed, and the actuator pulls on a cable connected to the Pilot’s throttle body to maintain a speed.

Your statement that the system is bump- and/or moisture-sensitive points to a faulty connection or switch. I believe the brake-pedal switch may be out of adjustment — a hair trigger of sorts.

Try this next time the cruise control fails to set: Slip the toe of your shoe under/behind the brake pedal and pull back slightly as the cruise control set switch is applied. If this consistently makes a difference, you’ve found the demon.

Or try a similar test with the gear shift lever, moving it slightly in each direction.

Should the intermittent fault not yet be identified, testing electrical signals at the actuator’s electrical connector will quickly pinpoint the deficiency. Since one can’t be under the hood and driving at the same time, this requires running test wires into the passenger compartment.

A competent technician can conveniently test the 11 actuator terminals while driving the Pilot — or better yet as a passenger, as the cruise control acts up. Perhaps you can pick a particularly damp and cold day, and a nearby bumpy road, and play chauffeur.

E-mail Brad Bergholdt at under-the-hood@juno.com