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: In many ways, the 2012 Cruze continues the legacy of its predecessor. It's a legacy of sluggish transmissions and coolant leaks, but it's still a legacy.

To be fair, the number of complaints about the cooling system are way down versus the 2011 model which led to a class-action lawsuit.

On the flip-side, there's more concerns about brake problems.

However, there were far more Cruze vehicles sold for the 2012 model year so we'll give it our "Beware of this Clunker" badge rather than the "Avoid Like the Plague."


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,482 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.

2012 Chevrolet Cruze drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #37

Jan 032015


  • 56,500 miles


Driving on the highway at roughly 70mph when car shuddered, and lost power immediately. After this the car would not accelerate. Fortunately there were no vehicles directly behind me, so I was able to pull over to the side of the road. The check engine light was illuminated and the dashboard read three errors: "engine power is reduced", "service traction control", "service stabilitrack". after turning the car off, waiting, and turning back on the vehicle worked correctly, but the issue occurred after another 15 minutes on the road. I drove in the right lane the rest of the way home to ensure our safety, and this occurred 4 times in total. This was an extremely dangerous situation during a busy holiday travel weekend. Had this occurred at the wrong time, this could have been catastrophic. Quick research online has shown this to be an issue with the make and model, as many other people have reported this exact defect.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #36

Jul 032012


  • 100 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving approximately 45 mph and engaging the accelerator pedal, the vehicle failed to accelerate. The contact mentioned that while slowing down for a traffic light, the transmission failed to shift down to first gear and remained in third gear which prevented the vehicle from accelerating from a standing position. The contact indicated that while driving down a hill in first gear, the transmission would erroneously shift to second gear. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician replaced a computer module which corrected the gear shifting problem but the acceleration problems persisted. In addition, the contact stated that in August 2014 while driving approximately 30 mph, a second vehicle crashed into the front passenger side of the vehicle and the airbags failed to deploy. Both the driver and front passenger suffered head and neck injuries. A police report was filed. No additional information was available. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100.

- Minneapolis , MN, USA

problem #35

Oct 112012


  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. While stopped, the vehicle vibrated and jerked forward without warning. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The failure mileage was 5,000.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #34

Sep 242014


  • 24,354 miles


2012 Chevy Cruze with less than 25,000 miles on it. While driving, the traction control light will come on the dic and then service stabilitrack and the car would die down for a brief second and the radio will cut off. I made an appointment to a dealer and they said to drive with the traction control off until it gets in. Now it is doing the same thing with the traction control off. It is also doing this in reverse! this car is still under warranty with GM, but I'm afraid that I will have the same luck as others on here who are experiencing the same problems and nothing will get fixed. I'm also afraid that this will occur at an even greater rate and longer while driving causing an accident! something needs to be done to fix this problem in this model!

- Cynthiana, KY, USA

problem #33

May 012012


  • 100 miles
From the beginning I had a recall for the oil pan a week after purchasing the car. There has been numerous times the heating had to be worked on and still not fixed. It stills smells like antifreeze when its on. The right brake cylinder went bad a few months after the purchased. The windshield sometimes whistles when you go down the highway at 65 mph. Now after my last oil change the other day, they said I need to take it back because there is a transmission leak. Not to mention where I got the car from, they act like they don't care to help fix the problem. Very frustrated!

- Maryville, TN, USA

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problem #32

Sep 282012


  • 100 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle hesitated and stalled while driving various speeds. While driving on an incline, the contact had to keep the clutch pedal depressed in first and second gear to prevent the vehicle from stalling. The accelerator pedal also had to remain depressed to maintain acceleration. The vehicle also stalled when the gear was in reverse. The vehicle was taken to the dealer more than once, but the failure could not be duplicated. In addition, the air conditioning and heat were inoperable. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 100.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #31

Dec 122013


  • 45,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. While preparing to park, the contact depressed the brake pedal and the vehicle accelerated. The failure occurred while driving 9 mph in a parking lot. The clutch and brake pedals were applied simultaneously to stop the vehicle. The failure occurred regularly when the vehicle was in second or third gear. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 45,000.

- Bryan, OH, USA

problem #30

Jun 192014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 10,100 miles
I hit the gas pedal hard to merge into traffic, the car did not go. I heard squealing tires, turns out it was my tires squealing. The turbo kicked in and catapulted my car into traffic. I was able to steer to the right, to avoid hitting anyone or getting hit, but I was forced up against construction barrels to avoid a collision.

- Swansea, MA, USA

problem #29

Jan 012013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Transmission?? I noticed when driving from anywhere from 30-60 mph, that the car does not seem to shift right. It violently shakes before reaching the shift point and the tachometer will surge both on cruise and regular acceleration. I've taken it to the dealer 3X and they test drove it, confirming the problem. However, no lights came on and the diagnostic tests they did were inconclusive. They told me unless there is a recall for that reason or a light comes on for the diagnostic code, they can't do anything else, because they don't know what to look for. It is progressively getting worse and I am almost scared to drive it to my job (an hour away) for fear of the unknown... will it catch on fire, will the transmission fall out, etc"?" I'd really like to know what the problem is, so it can be fixed. The dealership told me that there were many complaints about this same thing with Cruze around that year, especially with turbo, and that I should contact you to see if there is anything you can do as an investigation on the matter. I did get a recall notice on the vacuum pump, but not the air bag coil, as of yet. I'm still waiting to see if that applies to me. Thank you for your help in this matter.

- Olney, IL, USA

problem #28

Jan 072014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
This incident has happened on numerous occasions and was taken to the dealership three different times to address the issue... the problem is still occurring and nothing is resolved. Radio would turn on/off and dashboard lights kept flickering, service traction control and service stability trak would pop up along wit fh the engine light and traction control light and the vehicle turned on/off. Engine would sound really loud at times, even after the car was turned off (maybe it was the engine fan but I'm not sure)... this car is nothing but problems after problems and they are not getting resolved because they keep recurring.

- Walled Lake, MI, USA

problem #27

Aug 172012


  • 40 miles


I received my Chevy Cruze ls in August of 2012 after having it for a week I started to notice issues with the transmission. I drove it up North and after being on the freeway going a constant speed of 75 mph, when forced to slow down due to traffic the car could not figure out what I was trying to do and just had a mind of its own. The rpms would shoot up very high and the car would struggle to accelerate (almost as if it were stuck in neutral) and eventually it would jerk forward very hard and then accelerate. This happens every time I get on the freeway now and have to slow down because of traffic or slow down to get off at the exit (and continues well after being off the freeway). I am lucky I haven't been rear ended and severely injured or killed. I've had the car for almost two years now and its only gotten worse, it now does the same thing when driving down the street at 30 mph, it will be going along just fine then all of a sudden the engine revs as if it were shifted into neutral and then catches itself and jerks really hard and is fine again. Also when slowing down it seems to downshift too quickly almost coming to a complete stop on its own, which is why I am afraid of being rear ended. I have taken the car in to 5 different dealerships and am told every time that either they don't see the problem and I don't know what I'm talking about or they can see there's a problem but there's nothing they can do about it. I'm very disappointed in the quality of this car, I've also had issues with the radio and my usb cord not connecting to my phone and even when it does connect the songs come through with lots of static. I have tried different cords, different phones and multiple ipods and it keeps happening. I feel totally helpless and am sick of feeling unsafe in my car. My family has always bought GM cars, this is my second Chevy and my last!!

- Grosse Pointe Woods, MI, USA

problem #26

Nov 012012


  • 12,000 miles
This car has had several problems. They have had to replace a vacuum pump, the engine shield recall, the brakes stick, there is a horrible smell of hot transmission fluid constantly, the transmission coolant lines have been replaced, a pump above the fuel tank has been replaced, the car surges and causes the RPM gauge to bounce, the axles have had leaks fixed, the exterior trunk button doesn't work, driving down the road it sounds like a plastic bottle is stuck inside the passenger side front door, some times after putting the key in the ignition it won't turn, the suspension system pops and cracks, the axle squeals, shifts at inappropriate times or not when it is supposed to, the back up sensor will beep when nothing is there some times, doesn't feel like there is any pressure behind the brakes some times, and smoke row out from under the hood when stopped at stop lights some times. I think that is every thing but it has been a constant nightmare. I am guessing on miles and dates, but it was not very long after I got it brand new that it started having problems. When I started having shifting and leaks in the transmission, the dealership couldn't figure out what was wrong, I had to point out the leak myself and then he said he would get the parts ordered and they would be in within 3 days. 2 weeks later I called GM, then it was within a week I was contacted by the dealer that they had the parts, after GM said someone would contact me within 48 hours. This has been such a hassle I am now vehicle shopping and will not purchase another Chevrolet.

- Trion, GA, USA

problem #25

May 052014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 398,000 miles
Purchased the car on 28 April 2014 from knox Ford in radcliff, ky. Noticed a faint burning smell. Was advised that I rode the clutch during the test drive. Had the car checked out and was advised it was good to go. The car was delivered on 30 April. It was finally driven on 5 Monday 2014 down to fort campbell, ky. At that point the car reeked of burning ceramic and the power steering locked up completely. After resting it for a few minutes and restating the car, it reengaged. Contacted dealer and was advised to go to local Chevy dealer for assessment. Chevy dealer advised that the power steering module was reading that it was out of center and disengaging. Was also advised that a part of the clutch assembly had been replaced a few thousand miles previously and seemed to be rubbing incorrectly. Knox Ford advised me to return the car to their dealership (120 miles away) and they would work on the car. Upon leaving the other dealership, the power steering locked up again and didn't reengage. Drove the car 120 miles without power steering and returned to knox Ford to have them take to to a Chevy dealership. The power steering module was replaced and the car aligned. The Chevy dealer couldn't find an issue with the clutch. Reclaimed the car on 16 May 2014 and drove the car back down to fort campbell today 19 May 2014. Once again, the burning smell has returned. Not as strong but it's still there.

- Vine Grove, KY, USA

problem #24

Apr 102012


  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving 5 mph, the vehicle hesitated to accelerate into the second gear. The contact mentioned that the failure would occur only when shifting into the second gear from the first gear. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 44,000.

- Critizi, WI, USA

problem #23

May 152014


  • 69,100 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that when shifting into drive, the vehicle would reverse and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission pressure thermostat failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 69,100.

- Pescadero, CA, USA

problem #22

Mar 012012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 900 miles
Coolant smell inside vehicle cabin and outside of vehicle. Noticed when I first purchased the car during the winter. This occurs after extended drives, typically more than 30 minutes, during cold weather when using the heat. Problem has progressively gotten worse. GM has looked into it approximately 8 times. 4 repair attempts (coolant reservoir cap replacement, water pump, coolant reservoir modification and HVAC assembly replacement). Problem has not been resolved. Internet search has revealed many owners experiencing the same condition, as well as a class action law suit due to the coolant smell inside the vehicle cabin. This is a health risk to all occupants. Further research revealed affected models include the: Cruze, Malibu and sonic.

- Marlborough, MA, USA

problem #21

Dec 172013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 41,700 miles
The radio and dash board lights (service stabilitrak) have been flashing on and off then this evening while driving on a straight road, the "service power steering" light flashed on and my steering wheel locked up. That continued for approx. 2 minutes then started working correctly. When I got home and pulled into my parking spot and turned my car off everything turned off, including my interior lights and I couldn't remove my key from the ignition. I let it sit for approx. 5 minutes then tried to start the car and it did turn on so I turned it off again and I was able to remove the key. The dealership I bought the car from two months ago (used, with 38K miles) told me that this is not covered under the power train warranty but would have been covered under the bumper-to-bumper warranty (expired before I bought the car). Now, I'm responsible for paying for a serious defect that could potentially result in a serious or fatal incident. Chevrolet/General Motors -- please fix this without causing consumers any further monetary, physical, or emotional issues.!....updated 07/31/14

- Columbus, MS, USA

problem #20

Nov 042013


  • 37,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph, the clutch failed and the transmission slipped gears. The contact also mentioned that steering the vehicle became difficult and a burning odor was smelled. In addition, the failure occurred three times and there was a transmission fluid leak. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who informed the contact that the fly wheel, clutch, and bearings would need to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 37,000.

- Tacoma , WA, USA

problem #19

Sep 182012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 600 miles
To begin with, I have had several problems with my 2012 Chevy Cruze and have been given the runaround. My first concern is that I bought my 2012 Chevy Cruze on 09/18/2012 and was notified days later of a major safety recall about the possibility of engine fires from fluid spills. I find out that this recall was announced on 06/22/12.(NHTSA campaign #:12V288000) why was I sold a vehicle that was under recall for 3 months" and was never even mentioned prior or post sale. Onstar had to notify me and then I had to get it fixed. My second concern is that there is an coolant smell in the cab of the vehicle and although not always noticeable, it is more noticeable in colder weather. Took vehicle to dealer and they played stupid and said they don't smell anything and that the smell could be a "dirty cabin air-filter"" nobody wants to smell coolant when driving!! my third concern is that when taking off from a dead stop or accelerating after letting off the gas for a second the vehicle almost always shifts roughly. Took to dealer and was told that its probably just the "turbo kicking in". my fourth concern is about the recall (NHTSA campaign #:12V288000) my vehicle(where the engine shield was) is already rusting and is a very big concern with the future of my vehicle(even after warranty period) rust never goes well with a vehicle! I'm concerned that parts will wear prematurely because of this! not to mention that I am getting less mpg since the shields been removed. Now today I get another major safety recall about my brakes.(NHTSA campaign #:13V360000) which would explain why my brakes sometimes require me to press them really hard all the way down to stop it. It currently sits at around 26,000 miles, I am thus far very dissatisfied with the vehicle. I don't know my options but know that if things don't start looking better, I will never buy Chevy or recommend Chevy again.

- Midwest City, OK, USA

problem #18

Sep 012012


  • 600 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that when the vehicle reached 35 mph, it would jerk and hesitate to accelerate. The contact also mentioned that the accelerator failed to respond to acceleration attempts. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the mechanic stated that the transmission had to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but after 16,000 miles the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 600. The current mileage was 17,100.

- Bishop, GA, USA

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