Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: What’s that smell – it’s a tad sweet with a tinge of chemical toxicity? If you own a 2011 Cruze it’s probably a coolant leak. It’s a widespread and notorious problem for the car and is the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed in the state of New York. And that’s not the only problem 2011 owners face…

Many say the 2011 model year suffers from a throttle lag that is probably due to a fauly electronic throttle control. The problem is signifigant enough that some owners say they are too scared to drive their cars. Those that do get behind the wheel often say their transmission isn’t shifting properly and problems start occuring as early as 15,000 miles.

All of this leads us to say you’re probably better off without this car’s headaches (they’re probably chemically-induced anyway).


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
29,977 miles
Total Complaints:
29 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (18 reports)
  2. water pump replaced (6 reports)
  3. get rid of the car (3 reports)
  4. replace heater core and all seals (1 reports)
  5. replaced mounting bolts to water pump (1 reports)
2011 Chevrolet Cruze cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #29

Nov 102015

Cruze 2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,778 miles


This car has been nothing but trouble since day ONE!! And when i see post's of people selling them i reacted and tell what trouble comes with this CAR..People DONT BUY stay away..

- , St.Anthony, NL, Canada

problem #28

Nov 012012

Cruze 1.4t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

I purchased this car in 2011 with 30,000 miles. It now has 85,000 miles. It has been through 3 water pumps, a thermostat, the transmission isn't shifting properly, in park it rolls, & my mechanic said get rid of it asap the engine is starting to knock.

- , Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #27

May 232016

Cruze 1.4t

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I purchased this car in 2011 with 30,000 miles. It now has 85,000 miles. It has been through 3 water pumps, a thermostat, the transmission isn't shifting properly, in park it rolls, & my mechanic said get rid of it asap the engine is starting to knock.

- , Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #26

May 142016

Cruze LS 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,640 miles


I drove from Pittsburgh to Charlotte, then decided to go to Atlanta Saturday night. On the way to the hotel, smoke was coming from under the hood in the area of the coolant reservoir. Upon closer inspection, there was a puddle of coolant on the metal housing connected to the engine. There were a couple pinholes in the hose and a leak from a connector to the hose.The car thank goodness did not overheat and I made it back to Pittsburgh Monday afternoon without any overheating issues, but the smell was obnoxious. I did not run the AC as a result.

- , McKees Rocks, PA, USA

problem #25

Jul 032012

Cruze LT 1.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

Driving car then "reduced engine power" light came on. No indication that coolant was low or engine was hot. Pulled over to find coolant reservoir was empty. Added water and had no problems for 2 months and then it happened again. Took it to the dealer and they replaced the water pump and thermostat.

- , Temecula, CA, USA

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problem #24

Jul 082014

Cruze LT 1.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Took car to dealer for coolant smell. Dealer said GM issued tsb to replace water pump bolts with different type of bolt. After 3 attempts at repairing this at about 25,000 intervals between repairs, I now have added 50,000 miles since and it seems to resolved the problem.

- , Temecula, CA, USA

problem #23

Mar 112013

Cruze LT 1.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles


Smelled coolant smell. Took care to dealer... Service agent could immediately smell the car and guessed my issue.

Replaced water pump and thermostat for 2nd time.

- , Temecula, CA, USA

problem #22

Jun 132013

Cruze LT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

This is my first time on this site. I have numerous problems to report on my 2011 Cruze. I not only had my water pump replace at 25,000 miles but had a 2nd water pump replaced around 50,000 miles. I had a problem in the steering column. A recall on the brakes. The Throttle body replaced. The Turbo Charger replaced in 2014. The car just completely shut down on me. Today 2/4/15, I was driving and again noticed the smell of antifreeze in the car.

I took it in for service and there was a coolant leak. They had to replace hose and water outlet. I am very disappointed in this car. :(

- , Schererville, IN, USA

problem #21

Oct 022012

Cruze LS 1.4L Dohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,264 miles

I no longer own the car, but the problems i had was pretty much a nightmare. i believe gm covered up the problem with the smelly antifreeze, transmission problems,stabilitrac issues. my personal opinion with the antifreeze was that a small pin hole in the engine block released the smell but burned off before you could spot a leak. I had the cruze at the dealer 12 to 13 times. Called gm headquarters only offered to call the dealer to make sure i was satisfied with the service. The dealer did all they could but did not solve the problem.The 2011 cruzes should have been recalled but nothing was done. I am a gm retiree. they bought the car back and then I leased a chevy equinox, very happy with it.I no longer own the car but for my mental stress they put me through i believe in some kind of response from gm.Now for the recalls.dripping oil on the engine,manual transmission,turbo charger replaced,..With all the repairs done on this car it would have been better to replace the whole engine. I have driven gm cars all my life i am 63 yrs old, without a doubt the worst car i have ever owned.I hope this sheds light on the poor souls still driving these cars.

- , Garden City, MI, USA

problem #20

Oct 112013

Cruze LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,669 miles

I am having the worst trouble with my 2011 Cruze. Coolant smell inside (STINKS), cannot breathe because of the antifreeze is so bad. I get real bad headaches everyday from smelling it in my car.

- , Crownpoint, NM, USA

problem #19

Jul 092012

Cruze ECO 1.4L Turbo

  • Manual transmission
  • 8,000 miles


Once I started using the car regularly and needed to use the heat, I noticed a slight sent of coolant in the car. My wife agreed so I reported it to the dealer at the time of first oil change. They claimed not to smell it and the coolant was not low, but it still occurs intermittently. After reporting it al least 3 times, I have given up but it still occurs from time to time and I see from the forum my scent problem is minor compared to others.

- , Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #18

Oct 032011

Cruze LT 1.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,214 miles

2011 Chevy Cruze

Coolant smell in cabin and outside vehicle.

Service manager acknowledged and car taken in to shop, no leak found.

Took it in a second time and a dye test was done, no leak showing. They replaced the coolant reservoir cap and hoped it had gone away.... no!

Took survey dealership sends out and I gave them a good report in hoping they would keep me in mind if a problem was found.... at the end of the survey I commented that due to GM not recognizing the problem the dealerships hands were tied and nothing could be fixed until they admitted fault. GM called me and started a file, when they called the dealership, the service manager denied smelling any coolant and said they could not repeat the problem( smell my car!) GM then suggested I visit another dealer for a second opinion. I'm taking it in next week and there is a new tech who solved the problem on another Cruze. Replacing the heater core and ALL the seals, so I'm hoping this will solve my problem and apparently many others. I'll keep this site posted

- , Collingwood,, ON, canada

problem #17

Oct 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,000 miles

The coolant smell coming into the car is awful. This is my first report of 3. Please see more posts because GM and the dealership are not being helpful at all.

- , Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #16

Dec 012012

Cruze LT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles

Bought car in Nov. with 26,000 miles on it. Took it to the dealer a month later and told them I could smell antifreeze sometimes. They said they checked it and could find nothing wrong. I continued to smell it for about 5,000 miles after I had It checked, but I haven't smelled since then and the car has 46,000 miles on it now.

- , Haltom, TX, USA

problem #15

Nov 012012

Cruze LT 3.2L

  • CVT transmission
  • 25,500 miles

I am having the worst trouble with my 2011 Cruze, I love the car but I cannot breathe when I drive it because the smell of burnt antifreeze is so bad. It gives me instant headaches and I am constantly taking pain medicine.

I have had it to the dealer 5 times now, replaced heater core, then an update, then they said nothing was wrong, then they pumped stinky deodorizer in the car, then I took it back again, they said they cleaned a leaky coolant bottle and cleaned the interior. IT STILL STINKS! Now it is at a different dealership's service area and they said they don't smell it!!! What the heck is going on here?

I carpool with 3 other people and they all smell it, it is so bad that we try to not use the heat as much as possible, people bring blankets,yes, they have to bundle up in my NEW car to keep warm, otherwise, we just can't breathe. This is insane and I think it is wrong. I never had this type of problem with my usual purchase of a pretty well used car. I finally get to a point in my life where I want to reward myself with a nice car and I can't stand to drive it.

Can anyone HELP??? PLEASE!!!

Update from Jan 29, 2013: I am just wondering if anyone knows what I can do about this smell in my 2011 Chevy Cruze. I have no other vehicle to drive. I work 74 miles away from home so I am not in my car for just a few minutes each day, I am in it 3 hours a day. I am seriously having health issues with this smell. I have nausea, severe headaches, dizziness, and last week I had nosebleeds for two days. I cannot live like this. The dealership has my car and they said there is no smell. I am desperate for advise. I have read the long term affects on inhaling coolant and it includes kidney failure. I am very concerned. Can anyone offer advice???

- , Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #14

Nov 082011

Cruze LT 1.4L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,563 miles

smell was so bad had to drive with the windows open, dealership (true north chev, north bay, ont) refused to do as i told them to recreate the problem, they just checked for leaks and sent me away, they finally drove the car after the 4th visit and agreed that there was a smell, but it wasn't too bad.... i refused to take the car back, they had a rep from gm canada come in and they agreed to buy it back. i feel bad for others that have to deal with that smell, and the dealers should be quicker to acknowledge the issue and offer some suggestions. fight back, refuse to accept the car until they fix it or they get you something else....

- , Trout Creek, Ontario, Canada

problem #13

Sep 122011

Cruze LT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles

I bought my 2011 Cruze LT last may and I was very happy with it. Took it on holidays had absolutely no problems with it till September. I started it up n put the heat on when I went to go and open my car door I could smell this really strong coolant smell I thought that was kind of odd but when I open the car door the whole interior was right full of it so I called the dealership they told me to bring the car up to them. When I took the car to them they ran a test to check for antifreeze smell and couldn't find anything. So I said okay maybe it still needed to be broke in but than it just got worse over the days and months.The smell got so bad I took it back to the dealership and they finally said it was the heating core and they where going to replace it. So it was replaced, they gave the car back and on my way home the smell still appeared once I got home I phoned up to the dealership once again they than said they have no clue and to just drive the car till it blows up. I kept it for more week went to Jasper for a day was up into the mountains when the smell was so bad we pulled over into a pull out and got out of the car that's when it smelled like something was on burning under the hood, we lifted the hood up and couldn't find or see anything. We got back into the car and started it up and the smell of gas came through the vents no engine lights or anything came on i stopped the car immediately and that's when I had decided after the fifteenth time of taking this car back to the dealership to get this problem fixed that I was done. My car now has been with GM for one week because I refuse to drive it. So I can relate to the people who are having this problem, it is a pain in the butt.

- , Edson, Alberta, canada

problem #12

Nov 102010

Cruze LS 138hpturbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles

Had the car to two different dealers 5 times,they said they can't find anything.Then why did they give me a copy of a GM bulletin that said engineering was working on it.Sounds like they will find the solution when the warranty runs out.What do I drive while i'm waiting.can't afford another new car I can't drive

- , Ishpeming, MI, USA

problem #11

Sep 012011

Cruze LT 1.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,563 miles

have had a lot of issues with this car. nearly every other week my car was in the shop trying to get repaired. the awful smell was making me actually sick. mechanics kept second guessing me because they couldn't smell the antifreeze. i was sick of always being told to be patient and we are trying our best. i was getting to the point that i hated the car which i chose at one time with pride. i was sick of paying every bi weekly for a car that i couldn't enjoy and dreaded turning the heat on. my mechanic was driving it more than i was. after many months with this problem, GM decided that they couldn't fix the problem and that they were buying back the car and taking it away. i am very frustrated and also annoyed that a new model car could be built like a bunch of garbage.

- , Trenton, Ontario, Canada

problem #10

Mar 012012

Cruze LT 1.8L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,500 miles

just thought id add my 2 cents about that radiator fluid smell as well as my other complaints,i pull into the garage every night after work to that smell like all of my radiator fluid hit the floo.the chevy cruze is a disaster thanks gm look forward to bailin you out again.never again will i buy a chevy will all the problems im havin. keep track of your repairs for lemon law litigation

- , Lakeville, MN, USA

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