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:
6 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,879 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #45

Jul 252014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 30,992 miles


Previously to the visit my car was running slow and kept marking engine speed reduced then about a week later the car sign removed and started running normally again. About a month or so passed and the same thing happened again then I took the car in and they fixed it but after that the bluetooth didn't work and the navigational compass stopped working. Ever since then the bluetooth and navigational compass has not worked and I just run the risk of the engine reduce sign to pop up again cause it comes up spontaneously.

- Farmersville , CA, USA

problem #44

Aug 012012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
Loud whining/electronic noise come from engine after the car has been turned off and ac has run. Happens most warm/hot days the ac has run.

- Portage, MI, USA

problem #43

Aug 022014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 50,800 miles
Car radio kept cutting on and off multiple times before all of the car lights flashed on the dashboard and steering wheel became stiff. I pulled over on the side of the road, cut the car off and pulled out the key. I put the key back in the ignition and tried to start the car and it wouldn't start. The lights and radio didn't even come on. I couldn't put the key back in the off switch nor could I pull the key out. After about a minute or so my radio came on and I was finally able to start my car.

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #42

Jul 092014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 21,500 miles


When the speed of the car starts to reach 50 miles a high pitch sound occurs. I cannot determined if it is related to when air conditioner is turned on. The noise will diminish when speed is lowered to about 45 miles. I cannot recall if this happens in the colder months but it does seem to happen in the summer.

- North Wales, PA, USA

problem #41

Jun 292014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 30,300 miles
C/S ses light was on. I took car to norman frede Chevrolet for repairs. The determined that there was a vacuum leak at the engine cam cover and replaced it - or so they said. Here is the invoice statement: "PO171 vac leak at engine cam cover 4060930/0.6 replace engine cam cover. Clear code 6061" after getting the car back, I went to nbt and had the oil changed. The next morning I drove to dallas from houston. On the way, I had another code light and called the dealership. When I got back from dallas on Sunday June 29, 2013, I discovered that there was oil on the back of my car bumper and trunk. I took it to nbt and they inspected it and confirmed that they did nothing wrong to cause the oil leak. Nbt confirmed that the engine was leaking oil at the cam cover. I dropped the vehicle at norman frede on Sunday and am in the process of getting to the bottom of the problem. The nbt person was surprised that the cam cover was plastic. This oil leak could have caused an engine fire. I am also concerned about a plastic cam cover. Should not a cam cover be metal" is this a chronic problem"

- Seabrook, TX, USA

problem #40

Jun 092014


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving in reverse and backing into a parking space the vehicle suddenly stalled. The contact indicated that after restarting the engine the vehicle operated as normal. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the defect. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #39

Apr 012014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


In April I had been driving and noticed that my radio was flickering. After about ten minutes of my radio flickering on and off, the "service stabilitrack" light came on. Once the service light came on, power steering shut off and I had to pull the vehicle over. After pulling over, I shut off the vehicle and then tried to restart it. This time it started with a new service light on. I took the car into the dealership and they had it for three days hoping that the problem would present itself to them. I showed them a video of what happens to the radio and they were unable to help me. They did however notice that a previously recall done on my car had not been fixed before I purchased it. A few days after getting the car back, the lights started to flicker again. I contacted the dealership and they let me know that there was no point in bringing it in unless the problem was constant. About a month later, I went to start my car and nothing. No lights, no engine turn over nothing. My key was stuck in the ignition and would not turn. My fiance had to get out tap the battery and the whole thing started up. Two days ago, the same radio, service lights and engine shut off happened again. This is 2 times now that I have had complete failure in the middle of the road. I am literally terrified for my life!!!!!!!....updated 07/31/14

- Snohomish, WA, USA

problem #38

May 242014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph, the brakes failed. The vehicle did not stop when the brake pedal was fully applied, causing the contact to crash into the rear of another vehicle. There were no injuries and a police report was not filed of the incident. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but no diagnoses was provided. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number 13V36000(service brakes, hydraulic) but did not confirm if the vehicle was included in the recall. This failure persisted intermittently over a period of one year. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 19,000. Updated 8/19/14 the consumer stated the vehicle's trunk exterior manual latch would not open the trunk and the steering wheel air bag is on recall. While driving, the vehicle would hesitate and lurch. Updated 08/28/2014

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #37

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 #36

Apr 122014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Failure of water pump. On the morning after normal work commute of 60 miles, found spilled coolant under vehicle. GM service replaced the water pump under warranty. Vehicle only had 25K miles and the water pump failed-unacceptable.

- Mt Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #35

May 272013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles


Trying to make a left hand turn into a gas station, and had very little power to complete turn, so I tried to stop short, and oncoming car hit me....when in repair shop, the dealer informed me the turbocharger was broken......and saw the turbo part broken the same way!

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #34

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 #33

May 202014


  • 75,500 miles
Radio flashed on and off and all brake lights on dash would light up. Service stability control notice would appear. Then it would go away and reappear. Did this for an entire hour and a half ride on highway. Radio on radio off dashboard lights on and off. Blinker no longer clicked when used... disconcerting to drive a car with such problems. A week earlier I had car issues covered under power tran warranty... and now this...all after a massive recall announced. Think GM needs to re look at all of their cars...

- West Springfield, MA, USA

problem #32

Jan 022012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
During acceleration I smell gas, oil burning, exhaust fuels in my car. I have taken it to the dealer who keeps stating it running like it should. Now I believe my warranty is over and my new car functions like its 20 years old. I can't get them to believe me and I don't believe they even bother test driving it. I mentioned the smell when I brought my car in for them to replace my turbo charger that malfunctioned. Ever after.

- Oakley, CA, USA

problem #31

Jan 022014


  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while the vehicle was parked, she noticed that oil leaked from the engine and onto the ground. The failure occurred after an oil change was performed. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number 12V288000 (engine and engine cooling) but the failure persisted after the recall remedy was performed. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 13,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Lake Moor, IL, USA

problem #30

Feb 222013


  • 43,000 miles
[xxx] VIN my car was taken to dealership because it started making a sound like the motor was ticking and had been overfilled with oil about 6 months before by the dealership. The serviceman waited until next day to drive the car. While being test drove by the service man it caught on fire and burned the whole motor and outside of the car up. All plastic was completely burned. My insurance man who went to look at the car said he could not tell if the plastic shield on the bottom had oil on it or not but they could further investigate and would be able to find out. Now I had insurance full coverage on the car and I bought gap from the dealership when I purchased the car. I am paying a 6.25 interest rate on the car which came to $22,740 plus $3,000 down when purchased and been paying for 1 year. Paid for extended warranty and gap. I have waited over a month for GM to investigate this and of today's date the dealership says they have not come to do their job. I am 64 years old and never dreamed that a large dealership could or would do someone like they have done me. There was very large recall on 2012 cars and I don't know if mine was ever fixed because I didn't know about the recall until this happened. I just want my money back for the down payment so I can buy another car and for my car to be paid off by the dealership because they are the ones who over filled the car in the first place. The dealership should be responsible for the car it was in there place there service men was driving it when it caught on fire. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Dallas, GA, USA

problem #29

Mar 132014


  • 47,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while traveling various speeds, a fire started in the engine compartment. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 47,000.

- Edna, TX, USA

problem #28

Oct 092013


  • 65,000 miles
Driving on rural road temperature gauge went all the way to hot. Stopped car looked under hood there was no liquid in the antifreeze tank went to a house and got water to fill it up. Temp gauge went back to normal. Check engine stayed on. Took car to dealer for inspection they said thermostat housing replaced. Every thing fine. On 1/24/2014 the same thing happened this time the cooling fan was racing like I had never heard before pulled in to a mall parking lot raised hood antifreeze tank empty. I looked and saw green liquid where the pipe from antifreeze tank connects to the engine. The vehicle is definitely loosing antifreeze where the coolant goes in to the engine.. this is the second time I almost burned the engine.

- Kemp, TX, USA

problem #27

Feb 042013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 16,000 miles
Noxious coolant smell inside vehicle when heater is on. Coolant smell coming from engine compartment when it is warm. The water pump has been changed, next repair was re routing coolant reservoir, next repair was mold found in heater core compartment/cleaned and deoderizer was used, last repair was heater core case replaced. This problem started with a leaking water pump and has not been addressed. Seems GM is trying different repairs in hopes it will be fixed. The problem doesn't, T seem to be diagnosed. Only happens in cold weather months with the heater on. Heated air from the vents smell like burned coolant. Very irritating to the eyes and throat, eyes are watery and swollen, very difficult to see and drive. Then severe coughing. We can not safely drive longer than 20 minutes. My dealer tells me they never heard of this problem yet is quick search of the internet shows many documented cases. The smell of coolant is in our clothes and the fabric of the interior of the car.

- Clovis, NM, USA

problem #26

Jan 142013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
Engine does not maintain engine temperature and consequently does not have consistent heat. It will go from 170 degrees to 100 in less than 3 blocks. This will cause the windows to frost over and limit visibility. It has become unsafe to drive in the winter. It has been in for repairs about 8 times in two years with no success. I also contacted Chevrolet customer care. They told me not to turn the heater fan in past level 2 until the engine reaches operating temperature. The problem is that it rarely does or holds it very long. This winter in mn has ranged all the way to -20. Regardless of temperature it does the same thing. My research indicates this has been an issue with the Cruze at least since 2011.

- Duluth, MN, USA

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