Motile cilia, hairlike structures present on the cell surface, have a well-appreciated role in human physiology, including sweeping mucus, dirt and debris out of the respiratory tract. However, we are only beginning to understand the mechanisms governing cilia growth, maintenance and function. In this issue, Arora et al. reveal new details about the control of cilia growth. They identify a previously unrecognized connection between adenylate cyclase 6 (AC6), a cilia signaling mediator, and the autophagy-mediated regulation of motile cilia length via kinesin Kif19a, a regulator of cilia length.