Can You Install an Adaptive Cruise Control System in an Older Model Car?

In the realm of automotive innovation, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is one of the most celebrated advancements in recent years. It’s a system that adjusts your vehicle’s speed automatically to maintain a safe distance from the car in front. But what if the car you’re driving isn’t a brand-new model fresh off the lot? Can you still take advantage of this advanced technology? This article will explore the possibilities and challenges of installing an ACC system in an older model car.

What is Adaptive Cruise Control?

Before we delve into the complexities of incorporating ACC into an old car, it is crucial to understand what Adaptive Cruise Control exactly entails. ACC is a technologically advanced form of traditional cruise control. In addition to maintaining a set speed as the traditional system does, ACC adjusts your car’s speed automatically to maintain a safe distance from the car directly in front of you.

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The ACC system uses radar or laser technology to detect vehicles in front of your car. If the system identifies that your car is approaching the vehicle in front too quickly, it will reduce your vehicle’s speed by easing off the gas or engaging the brakes. Once the road ahead is clear, the ACC system will then return your car to its preset speed.

Retrofitting ACC: Is it Possible?

Now, to the question that brought you here: can an older model car be equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control? The good news is that it’s possible. However, it’s not as straightforward as you might hope.

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Firstly, retrofitting an ACC system requires a significant amount of work on the steering and braking systems. Both need to be adjustable by electronic control units, and in older cars, this is not always the case. Therefore, essential components would need to be replaced, which could be a costly process.

Secondly, the ACC system requires front-facing radar or laser technology to operate correctly. This radar has to be located in a location that doesn’t interfere with any other functions of the car, which might pose a challenge in older models that weren’t designed with such technology in mind.

Seeking Professional Assistance for ACC Installation

Given the complexities of retrofitting an ACC system into an older car, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance. The process will involve many intricate changes to the vehicle’s mechanical and electrical systems, and it’s crucial these are handled by someone with the necessary expertise.

When searching for a professional to assist with this project, you’ll need to do some research. Ask for a detailed quote that outlines the cost of parts and labor. Also, ensure they have experience with adaptive cruise systems and older model cars.

Potential Risks and Challenges

Finally, it’s vital to be aware of the potential risks and challenges involved in this process. Installing an ACC system in a vehicle not originally designed for it can pose certain risks, including potential electrical issues or faults with the system itself.

Moreover, once the system is installed, there is a possibility that it might not work as smoothly as it does in newer cars. The ACC system may struggle to accurately detect cars in front, or might not respond as rapidly or smoothly to changes in traffic.

Also, retrofitting an ACC system could potentially decrease the value of your car. Modifications like this can dissuade potential buyers, as they may be concerned about the quality of the workmanship or the reliability of the system.

In Conclusion

Adaptive Cruise Control is an exciting technology that can make driving a more comfortable and safer experience. While it is possible to retrofit an ACC system into an older car, the process is complex and should be handled by a professional. Furthermore, the potential risks and challenges should be carefully considered before you decide to proceed.

If the benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks for you, then retrofitting an ACC system could transform your driving experience. However, if you’re unsure, it may be worth considering upgrading to a newer model car that comes with the system already installed.

Professional Retrofitting Process and Costs

When it comes to retrofitting an ACC system into your older model vehicle, the process is intricate and requires expert knowledge. Professionals will need to assess your vehicle’s current steering and braking systems. If they are not adjustable by electronic control units, these components may need to be replaced, which adds to the expense.

Next, the professional installer will have to locate a suitable spot for the front radar. This technology is essential for the ACC system to work effectively, as it detects the vehicles in front. Finding the right place for this radar can be a challenge in older models that were not designed with this in mind.

Moreover, the installation process will require changes to both the vehicle’s mechanical and electrical systems. This involves installing the cruise control and adaptive cruise units, wiring the system to the car’s electronics, and integrating the steering wheel buttons to control the system.

The costs of retrofitting an ACC system can vary widely. An appreciate quote would include the cost of parts and labor, which could range anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of the installation and the model of your car.

Retrofitting ACC: An Alternative to Buying New

It’s undeniable that retrofitting an ACC system into an older car brings its own set of challenges. However, for many people, the benefits of having adaptive cruise control far outweigh these potential difficulties.

The primary advantage is cost savings. While retrofitting may be expensive, it’s significantly cheaper than buying a new car equipped with an ACC system. For those who love their current car and are not ready to part with it, retrofitting is an excellent way to enjoy new technology without investing in a brand-new vehicle.

Moreover, retrofitting allows drivers to enjoy the benefits of ACC technology immediately, without having to wait for a more opportune time to upgrade their car.


The ability to retrofit adaptive cruise control into an older car is a game-changer for many drivers. Owning a vehicle equipped with ACC is no longer exclusive to those who can afford the latest models, and people can enjoy the convenience and safety features this technology brings.

However, retrofitting ACC is not a simple task and carries potential risks and challenges. The process is intricate, involving several adjustments and replacements in the steering and braking systems, as well as a careful installation of the front radar.

Despite the challenges, with a detailed quote originally from a trustworthy professional, you can carefully weigh the cost of the retrofit against the benefits ACC brings. Whether you value the safety ACC provides or simply enjoy the added convenience while on long drives, retrofitting might be the right choice for you.

Nevertheless, remember that retrofitting is not the only option. You might find that upgrading to a newer model car that comes with an ACC system already installed is a more feasible or desirable option. The choice between retrofitting ACC into your old car and buying a new one ultimately depends on your personal preference, driving needs, and financial considerations.