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).


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,500 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #54

Jul 232014


  • 54,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet cruz. The contact stated that while the vehicle was parked it rolled out of park independently. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer to have a diagnostic performed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 54,000.

- Readfield, ME, USA

problem #53

Jul 082014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 18,700 miles
The transmission does not engage from a stop to move and almost caused a collision. Even on the highway the vehicle does not shift properly and hesitates and when it finally shifts it slams into gear. The mostly occurs from a stopped position and then during acceleration. The dealership said that is how it is designed and nothing is wrong. But the problem just keeps getting progressively worse. Longer hesitations and harder shifting.

- Lancaster, OH, USA

problem #52

May 272014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
2011 Chevy Cruze after recall # 12213 for brake vacuum micro switch has been completed. The vehicle is displaying the exact same symptoms as before the recall work was done. Under cold start up conditions (car sitting overt night) the brake petal is difficult to depress so brakes do not stop car easily. This is intermittent. I have discovered if you places the car in neutral while this is happening the brakes start working correctly. Sounds like a design issue to me. The dealer wants to replace the part that the recalled micro switch goes into. This will include another switch. This part (#13457666) appears to be the valve that the micro switch opens and closes as needed to provide the needed vacuum. Again, this seems related to the original issue.

- Dallas , TX, USA

problem #51

Jul 112012


  • miles


I have returned my 2011 Cruze for electric windows automatically going down and not going back up....3 times replaced...the dealer told me after the third repair it was because of my dog drool...I then duck taped the window buttons on each door in the back where our dog sits and the same thing keeps happening...only this time it begins from the main mechanism on the drivers door which means it is not from our dog....I need help having this fixed.... we also had ignition problems for the same car 2011 Cruze...having to have it towed to the dealer and it cost nearly $500 to fix...I am hoping to be eligible to get a refund. We to were driving...when we started the car I could feel the ignition lock and were unable to get the key out...the key actually broke in the ignition...the 2011 is not mentioned in the recall list?? this is the first brand new car I have ever owned and I am extrememely saddened by all of the issues occurred in the first 2/12 years...I hope you will help... [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Lynn , MA, USA

problem #50

Feb 292012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
1st the vehicle failed to shift into reverse. The torque converter had disassembled and transmission was replaced. One month later the engine began to smoke, the valve cover had melted and needed to be replaced GM charged me for this under warranty part. Then, I was making a left hand turn onto a residential street my vehicle began to smoke inside the vehicle. I shut down the car and looked under the hood oil was in the anti freeze fill tank, I called GM they sent a truck and took it to dealership. The result; GM told dealership to replace engine, called back and said don't replace try to fix it. They replaced the turbo charger, turbo cooler, and oil cooler, only to have me back 5-6 times with cooling problems, the vehicle still has cooling issues, and goes back for service every two weeks or so. The vehicle was brought back to service as there were still shifting problems. They found the torque converter disassembled and transmission had to be replaced again, and then again a few months later. The vehicle has a steering issue that has been brought to the their attention. The steering locks up periodically when traveling over 30mph, and has made me afraid I will be driving and lock up permanently. The brakes are an issue on the vehicle now and prior to recall for brake assist, it is still hard to stop the vehicle. And brakes have to be replaced every 3 months. There is definitely an electrical issue with this vehicle as the emergency flashers worked periodically then completely stopped working, as well as the running lights burning out within a month of replacement on the passenger side of the vehicle. The dealership feels its not a problem. This vehicle may shut off from electrical issues eventually. When using the air conditioner the dashboard fills with over a half inch of condensation and leaks out of the vents profusely. Valve cover had to be replaced again.

- Troy, MI, USA

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problem #49

Apr 012013


  • miles
When accelerating transmission will not respond for a couple of seconds then when it does respond the whole car jerks when it goes into gear. I have taken it to the dealership and was told that they could not duplicate the problem. I now have 40000 plus miles and still having the same problem.

- Fort Gratiot, MI, USA

problem #48

Jun 202011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 6,405 miles


When accelerating from stopped position transmission will not respond for a couple of seconds then when it does respond the whole car jerks when it goes into gear. I have taken it to the dealership two times. 1st time was told that "this was normal operation for this transmission". 2nd time was told that "they could not duplicate the problem". I now have 40000 plus miles and still having the same problem.

- Canton, GA, USA

problem #47

Mar 152014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 48,200 miles
Since I first purchased my 2011 Cruze, I have experienced hesitations in the automatic transmission changing between second and third gear (approximately between 35-40 mph). In the last month, the hesitations happen every time I start from a stationary position. Some of the hesitations are more pronounced (I.e., an actual lurching of the vehicle). There have also been occurrences of the car not responding properly to pressing the acceleration pedal. I found this very alarming, as it happened during rush hour traffic.

- Seabrook, TX, USA

problem #46

Feb 142011


  • miles
Bought brand new and has always had jerking and hesitation when hitting accelerator. Also jerking when shifting and over revving due to not shifting properly. Took to dealership, they couldn't replicate issue. At 36,000 miles had to have ECM replaced due to car stalling out at stops, running very rough then stalling at stops. Seemed to help somewhat but did not alleviate the running rough intermittently still at stops which is scary as don't know when it might stall out and not go as my job requires traveling through the week. At 50,000 miles had to have ECM program "updated" and spark plugs replaced...dealership said plugs should be on a recall but they did replace no charge I paid for labor charges of course. Car is still running rough intermittently at stops, almost stalls out but hasn't yet...I would never buy another Chevy product and am very sad to say that as had my 1998 Malibu for 12 years without major issues. Thank you.

- Zephyrhills, FL, USA

problem #45

Jan 172011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
6 to 8 recalls...and the transmission jerks when you take off from a stop since day one. Keep taking to dealer and they claim to not find anything. (1/17/2011-now) the brake peddle switch had to be replaced. (1/2014) the spark plugs and coil pack had to be replaced due to the spark plug being tightened to tight from the factory! engine light came on indicated the service traction control system. (3/12/2014) was driving home from work as always and the engine light came on and indicated that the ac cut off due to engine over heating. (3/21/2014) this car has been a lemon from day one. It stays in the dealer service more that we drive it...

- Edgefield , SC, USA

problem #44

Mar 142011


  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving approximately 45 mph, the vehicle began jerking abnormally. The failure was recurring over a two year span. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, who could not duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000

- Cutler Bay, FL, USA

problem #43

Feb 112014


  • 75,000 miles
Turned on car in the morning and received 2 messages of "engine power reduced", "service stabili-trac", service traction control" as well as a check engine light. Engine would not go above 1500 RPM's. took it into dealer and was told that I had a transmission leak and because they didn't have time they wanted me to reschedule for the following week. Problem continued to happen and on my way in to work on 02/11/14 the problem happened two times in the morning and was forced to put car in park turn off engine and restart. Then happens 3 times once on a very busy highway into downtown denver and twice in downtown. Called dealership and was told that I needed to bring it in. Was told that it was the "throttle body" which is a $450 fix not covered under power train warranty. With so many people having this problem and almost being hit every time it happens due to it happening abruptly when cold it is a clear safety issue and needs to be recalled. I sense that if they don't there will be a class action law suite in their future.

- Henderson, CO, USA

problem #42

Jan 232014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 73,710 miles
My children & I almost didn't make it home! was experiencing issues with the heat not heating up the car on Tuesday and on yesterday, I was driving North on the 394 expressway and received an error message on my dashboard of "A/C shut off due to high temperatures" so I turned the heat off and the gauge slowed moved back down. However, after driving a short distance further the temperature gauge had moved all the way to the "red" line and I receive the error message to "shut the engine down" because of overheating. I immediately pulled and slowly the gauge moved back to the normal position. I called the dealership that worked on my car less than 3 weeks ago and the service advisor informed me that it may be another glitch but he wanted to ensure that all of my fluids were fine and since I wasn't very far from the dealership to bring the car in (even though their service dept was closing in about 20 mins). After looking at the car, the service advisor informed that just about all of the coolant ran out and there was probably an issue with the water pump. I was shocked, bothered & frustrated because it had been less than a month that I just had to have this car worked on. Fortunately, the water pump didn't cost me anything due to it still being under warranty but that still doesn't change the fact that I'm a very dissatisfied customer.

- Olympia Fields, IL, USA

problem #41

Jan 042014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
Was parked in front of an establishment and was unable to remove ignition key or move the gear shift up and down. I was able to remove the overdrive box in front of the gear shift so I could shift the car into gear and drive home, however, because the car was not recognizing the gear shift was in park I was still unable to remove the ignition key when I got home so the car's battery died. I contacted one of Chevy's tow services in order to get the car towed but due to the car being in the garage, the tow driver suggested that he try to jump the car to avoid having to push the car manually out of the garage. The car started and I was able to drive it to the dealership. After 3 days of working on the car, the service manager told me that the jump may have fried the computer so it needed to reconfigured which cost me over $1000 (due to it not being under warranty). I was only made aware of the many recalls that Chevy has had on the Cruze due to having to take the car into the dealership again (water pump needed to be replaced) and talking to another customer about my distaste & frustration that I've been experiencing with this car. I was never mailed any of the recalls which I can't understand why as I'm always receiving mailings from the dealership where I purchased my car. I feel as though the initial problem was due to two of Chevy's recalls (campaign #11V273000 & 11V270000) so Chevy should have paid for the repairs. This issue is one of the many issues I've had since I purchased the car brand new in June 2011.

- Olympia Fields, IL, USA

problem #40

Jan 232013


  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that upon initial start up, he noticed an abnormal notice in the rear of the vehicle when shifting into gear. The vehicle was taken to the dealer five different times. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure and stated that the vehicle was working as designed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 22,000.

- Moosic, PA, USA

problem #39

Nov 072013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 92,751 miles
2011 4dr eco.vehicle leaking antifreeze, strong smell of coolant and recall NHTSA campaign 12V288 GM 12081 oil on engine shield, repair done 11/7/2013 while visiting Colorado springs, co... dealer invo claims thermostat housing leaking, replaced control not holding...not address...11-12-2013 2nd failure coolant leak and oil mileage at failure 93513 dealer found leak at the corner of water outlet on rear cylinder head, and replaced outlet tube..11-23-13 went to start my car found antifreeze and oil leaking on the ground....calling dealer in Colorado springs again...this is [xxx]...something when its cold is causing coolant and oil to leak...found many service bulletins for these items and 2 recalls for this problem... information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #38

Sep 302013


  • 42,000 miles
Every time I use my heater I get a strong burning smell of coolant/ antifreeze and loss of coolant. Mostly when I am stopped at a traffic light/stop sign and it's intermittent between slight or really strong. I did a lot of online research and found lots of other people with the same complaints, even found local news stories from other states on youtube. All fingers seem to point to the heater core and or the grease used in the HVAC system.the smell is so bad sometimes that I have to roll down at least two windows and turn off the interior fan until I start driving again. I bought the car certified used a couple of months ago and they should have came up with a solution 2 years ago when the problem and complaints started. This issue needs to be recalled already. This is a health issue! I would really like to enjoy my first nice car and not worry about getting sick or dying from this!

- Joliet, IL, USA

problem #37

Dec 022010

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 350 miles
My 2011 Chevy Cruze has an acceleration hesitation. Starting about 2 months after I bought the car in 2010 the issue began. When I need to accelerate in certain situations such as pulling out on a road, passing another vehicle, accelerating after reducing speed, etc. Etc. The car loses power when I step on the gas for three-five seconds before slowly responding and accelerating to where I need it to be. It's as if the car dies for a few seconds. Those few seconds are always in situations when I need to be moving. I brought the car in to the dealership and was told that it was normal.the issue is getting worse so I brought the car in to dealership again and was told there was nothing car was in for other recalls and they gave me a loaner 2013 Cruze to drive. The newer Cruze did not have the hesitation problem at all, it drove beautifully. There are thousands of people with the same year, make and model that have this same issue. It is dangerous!! just because no one that we know of hasn't died yet that doesn't mean that there isn't an issue. The 2011 Cruze is unsafe and someone needs to do something about it.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #36

Sep 062011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 4,554 miles
I purchased this vehicle new from a Chevy dealership in eden prairie, mn. After only 2 mths, it began intermittently hesitating, lurching forward when attempting to accelerate (while sometimes blowing hot air from the ac) & refusing to accelerate. Multiple times it has completely stalled out (while driving 30-40 mph on a highway & when accelerating from a stop on a hill resulting in rolling backward). It is currently at the dealership for the 4th time for this specific issue, but does not show any codes (no ses light). They have made many repairs in an attempt to fix this issue (leaking water pump, reprograms, wastegate solenoid replacement, etc), but the problem still persists. I am concerned that my car will stall while on a highway or passing through an intersection, which would pose a huge safety threat. I have seen numerous similar complaints & would like GM to accept responsibility & replace/recall these vehicles.

- Middleton, WI, USA

problem #35

Feb 012012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
After about 10,000 miles the car hesitates when the accelerator is pushed. Around 20 to 30 mph when needing to speed up the vehicle the vehicle will stall the transmission will then kick in with noise. Very unsafe to drive in moderate to heavy traffic in cities. I have been in traffic with multiple lanes and wanting to pass someone. When pushing the accelerator to pass the car just sits there! then after a hesitation the car will pop then finally move. Car has been in the shop for this problem at the dealership where they state nothing is wrong with the car. I even had one of the mechanics tell me that for these types of transmissions it is normal! how can this be safe! if I wasn't aware of my driving and a very good driver I would have had multiple wrecks with this issue. Luckily I have been able to over correct when the situation occurs. At one point I had to pull off the interstate due to the fact I was pushing the gas petal all the way to the floor and my car just stalled at 23 mph for over 15 seconds until I pulled over, released the petal and engaged again.

- Ennis, TX, USA

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