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2011 Chevrolet Cruze cooling system problems: anti freeze smell in the car

Anti Freeze Smell In The Car

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Chevrolet dealer.

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze suffers from a throttle lag that gives many owners an unsafe feeling while driving.

According to reports, there is a significant lag between the time you press the accelerator and when the transmission actually engages. This has owners complaining about the responsiveness of their car in safety situations such as trying to cross a busy road. The 2011 model year is equipped with an electronic throttle control where there is no direct link between the accelerator pedal and the throttle body, leaving many to suggest that this is the source of the problem.

Interestingly, owners of the 2011 model year have gone on to test drive the 2012 Cruze and report it does not have the same transmission issue.

8.2

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
14,419 miles
Total Complaints:
19 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (16 reports)
  2. get rid of the car (2 reports)
  3. replace heater core and all seals (1 reports)
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2011 Chevrolet Cruze cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments

problem #19

Jul 092012

Cruze ECO 1.4L Turbo

  • Manual transmission
  • 8,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

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

Cruze

  • 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

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

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

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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, ONT, Canada

problem #13

Sep 122011

Cruze LT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

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

problem #9

Jan 012012

Cruze LS 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

There is a TERRIBLE antifreeze smell when the car heats up. And I mean TERRIBLE

!!!!!! It is especially bad in the colder weather when the heater is in use. The smell is so bad it is dangerous to drive. Plus, having had cancer it concerns me that I am breathing in toxic fumes everytime I drive in the winter. I have had it to the dealer twice for the same issue and they could "not" duplicate the problem...yet everyone who rides with me can't tolerate the smell. I even went as far as to call corporate and they just sent me back to the same dealer. I demanded that the regional rep for Chevy get involved, but they would not honor my request.

After being a loyal customer for GM for 20+ years and purchasing 4 new vehicles from them... I am done with the company! Here are some additional items that had to be fixed: Air conditioning (no freon when manufactured). Quarter panels repainted due to poor paint quality. Thermostat housing replaced twice(leaked coolant into the main computer and blew the computer). And just to think... all this happened with less than 12,000 miles on the car.

.

- , Henrietta, NY, USA

problem #8

Jan 032012

Cruze LT 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,500 miles

I have the same problem. I have and anti-freeze smell in my 2011 Cruze when it heats up all the way then you can smell it. Took it to the dealer they said that the coolant level has not went down and that's not the point the smell is there and it makes you sick to your stomach after a while. I am going to take it back to them again. It's seems to be a problem and they are not wanting to admit it. First time i took the car in to the dealership they let it sit there and cool down and of course they couldn't smell it. When i told them it smells when the car is fully warmed up. I am not done with this, I am retired from gm and have bought over 15 new cars and trucks and was treated ok till this Cruze issue. Good Luck to us all !!!!!

- , Celina, OH, USA

problem #7

Jan 192012

Cruze LT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,384 miles

I have taken my 2011 Cruze in because of the coolant smell twice. I took it to the dealership in January and one of the mechanics said the heater core was seeping. In February, I had to go to the dealership owner because the service manager could not get the part. The parts for this car are not available because all parts being manufactured are being sent to the assembly line for the new cars being built. That is the reason I was given for the service manager not being able to get the part. Finally, in February, the heater core was replaced. IT DID NOT FIX THE PROBLEM. My car still smells like coolant. The longer you drive, especially with the heat on, the worse it gets. It is back in the shop again trying to find out where the smell is coming from. Transmission problems too. Nothing constant. Waiting for that to tear up. I am completely feed up with this car and I seriously regret the day I purchased it. I have owned Chevrolet's for the last 20 years and I have never been so disgusted with a car.

- , Moore, SC, USA

problem #6

Dec 202011

Cruze 3.2L

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Took to dealership where purchased and was told they could not find anything wrong. Smell is terrible. I love the car otherwise but the smell is too much.

- , Shawnee, OH, USA

problem #5

Dec 142011

Cruze ECO 1.4t

  • Manual transmission
  • 8,855 miles

The anti freeze smell has become stronger as we get into the winter and use the heater more.. There must be a leak inside the passenger compartment but it is not obvious, Theirs no evidence of a leak. I have had it looked at once but nothing was found.

- , Burlington, Ontario, Canada

problem #4

Dec 012011

Cruze

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

I have brought my car in 3 times. The smell is definitely worse when the heater is on. Not a constant smell though. Some days its really bad and other days I can barely smell it.

The last time I brought it in (Dec 2011) they put dye in and today put it under a black light. Still cannot fine a leak. Technician can smell it... honestly I think its the heater core.... husband truck smelled the same way...but I guess until someone sees a leak they aren't going to do anything about it.

- , Clifton, TX, USA

problem #3

Nov 032011

Cruze ECO 1.4L

  • Manual transmission
  • 14,000 miles

I cannot use my heater because the car fills up with a nasty smell of antifreeze. When I park car in garage after driving the garage ends up smelling like antifreeze as well. Dealer cannot find a problem. I've had it with this car and do not recommend to anyone!

Update from Mar 6, 2012: Gm is totally blowing me off now with the coolant smell issue. They won't return phone calls. Just went thru the entire winter smelling antifreeze and they don't give a dam.

- , Manahawkin, NJ, USA

problem #2

Oct 132011

Cruze LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,500 miles

Nauseating smell of coolant after car gets warmed up. The problem has gotten a lot worse since we started using the heat. It's been into the dealer twice with no solution to the problem. They claim there are no leaks, but there was a film on my windshield. Doesn't that show something is coming out of somewhere to cause the film???

- , Egg Harbor, WI, USA

problem #1

Oct 012011

Cruze LT 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,389 miles

The car smells of anti freeze when you drive. It is a sickening smell and I do not think that it is safe to breath. several times to dealer.No fault found. They have put a dye in it to see if they can find anything. Has anyone any suggestions. Love the car , hate the smell. the fluid level is down also.

- , Collingwood, Ontario, canada

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