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."


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
13,031 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 1 of 2)

problem #27

Mar 012013


  • 5,000 miles


Since March 30, 2015, I have been experiencing issues with and I have video evidence while in failure mode, of what I believe to be failures of the body computer(s) in this vehicle. The dashboard displays have been going on and off under a wide variety of driving situations, and while sitting at idle. They fault when the vehicle is simply driving down the highway. During these faults, the center information display for the HVAC and entertainment will frequently turn off. This kills the radio. It at times kills the HVAC systems and the turn signals (at least the noise for the turn signal indicators). At times, the center display above the steering column will go black and then display a message about the stabilitrak having failed and requiring it to be checked. Then it returns to normal mode. This is less frequent an occurrence. While driving on the highway under cruise control, the vehicle experienced one incident of unintended acceleration while the displays were in fault modes. This occurred on April 1, 2015 I believe. The driver's feet were on the floorboards. Not touching any pedals at all. The incident was stopped by the driver firmly pressing down on the brake pedal. When sufficient video evidence is accumulated on these failures the vehicle will be taken into the dealership. Lacking actual demonstrative evidence of the failures, the dealership will not be able to know what to repair or replace. The car has a history of dash display issues. The owner, a retired librarian/researcher from General Motors advanced engineering staff and the R&D center, has worked on unintended acceleration legal cases for the company, and has supported litigation defense work on such issues while at the company. He is still gathering evidence but feels the need to document this incident as soon as possible for NHTSA should an accident occur to him due to this. Is a very high risk

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #26

Feb 282012


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph, oil and coolant fumes emitted inside the vehicle. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, where it was diagnosed that the oil and coolant needed to be changed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 10,000.

- Elkins, AR, USA

problem #25

Nov 012014


  • 64,000 miles
Bad antifreeze smell entering car with heat on and engine at full operating temperature, but no antifreeze loss.

- Milford, CT, USA

problem #24

Oct 012014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles


Coolant keeps leaking out of car.

- Geismar, LA, USA

problem #23

Oct 112014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 33,890 miles
I have a very strong coolant smell inside the car when heat is on and a strong coolant smell outside of the car. I brought it in to my dealership and they determined the water pump was leaking and they replaced it. I've had my car back for a week now and again I have the strong coolant smell inside and outside of my car. The smell is actually making me nauseous. I have also experienced issues with my drivers side window not going down. I've had the dealership look at it and they cannot find anything wrong with it. My final issue I've been experiencing is my vehicle does not shift right. I have an automatic transmission and sometimes it shifts very hard out of first and into to second gear, the car feels like it's jerking. Other times my car hesitates while shifting gears. I have not brought it in for that issue yet but I will be bringing it in this week.

- Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #22

Mar 082013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
2012 Chevrolet Cruze. Consumer writes in regards to coolant smell in vehicle. According to the invoice, the surge tank and heater core outlet and water pump were leaking. The consumer has since traded the vehicle.

- Villa Ridge, MO, USA

problem #21

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

problem #20

Jul 262014


  • 48,667 miles
Stopped car tried to back up and it did not, then tried to turn off vehicle and the key would not go into the turn off mode. Could not turn the steering wheel, could not release the key, could not turn off the engine. The radio kept turning itself on. Waited 2 hours for triple a to come to tow the car to dealership. Engine ran for two hours. Tow arrived the driver said he had to force the gear shift several times in order to release the steering wheel and key and to turn off the engine so he could tow it. Also noticed an anti-freeze leak and this is being fixed under the power train warranty, do not know if is connected to the same issue. Dealer can't find anything wrong and I am afraid to drive this car.

- Citrus Heights, CA, USA

problem #19

Nov 012013


  • miles
2012 Chevy Cruze purchased in August 2012. Has coolant smell when heat is on (any setting). Temperature would drop and start blowing out cold air when heat was turned on. Checked coolant level and was a little low. Filled it up and the smell was even stronger. Engine fan constantly runs. Working on getting it to the dealership but unable to get a loaner car so I can go to work. Cannot take time off of work to take it to the dealership, so I am in a "catch 22". read numerous reports of the same thing happening to other people.

- Germanton, NC, USA

problem #18

Mar 012012


  • 1,000 miles
Chemical smell when heater on.

- West Farmington, OH, USA

problem #17

Dec 152013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 18,000 miles


Sickening coolant smell when heater is on hot position. This occurs regularly. It is an awful sickening smell coming from the heating vents. The higher the fan speed the worse it gets. It does not occur if heat control is not on hotter settings which are necessary in winter. Although not an immediate safety issue I believe it to be a health concern as the fumes are strong.

- Ringtown, PA, USA

problem #16

Feb 142014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 18,600 miles
Upon vehicle being warmed up there is a coolant smell from the heating system. This is a common occurrence with Chevrolet Cruze and is a health hazard. I cannot keep the heat on without the windows down. This seems to occur only when vehicle is fully warmed up and only seems to come out of the leftmost duct.

- Canton, CT, USA

problem #15

Oct 222012


  • 9,900 miles
There is a small of antifreeze in my car that has been making me sick since three months after I purchased car and GM or the dealer has no way of fixing it doing all kinds of other things and telling me that they cant smell it. Also I have been having brake problems as well and finally on Feb 1, 2014 they decided to replaced brakes and rotors on my car.

- Mckeesport, PA, USA

problem #14

Apr 302012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 25 miles
Coolant odor in passenger compartment from day one. Water pump replaced twice in the previous 8 months. Still leaks coolant. Vehicle is unsafe because you never know when or where you will become disabled and need to be towed ie: Highway location, night, bad neighborhood etc.. my wife no longer wants to drive this vehicle. Also have had the braking recall done twice now, so far so good, but for how long?

- Methuen, MA, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Jul 242013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 17,000 miles
Heat radiates from left side of center console into drivers side passenger compartment onto drivers right leg. Vehicle was under warranty and taken to dealership for warranty repairs. GM declined to fix problem and offered no written reason. This vehicle was subjected to a earlier recall involving part of the engine heat shield being removed. The recall occurred when the vehicle had about 500 miles on it. I am claiming warranty fraud on the part of GM. I am considering litigation under the magnuson - moss warranty act.

- Rochester, IL, USA

problem #11

Jun 012013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
In may of 2013, our 2012 Chevy Cruze air conditioner stopped flowing cold air and would blow only hot air. After being diagnosed by dealer GM mechanic it was found that the condenser had been hit by foreign material (rock) creating a hole in the condenser and letting all of the freon out. It cost about $600-700 to fix. On my own I found that there were numerous other reports of condensers being damaged by rocks, and that through a GM technical service bulletin (tsb pi0461B) issued in the summer of 2012 the proper repair for this was replacing the condenser and installing a condenser protective screen. Since the tsb includes adding a protective screen as a design modification it is apparent that GM/Chevy acknowledges that there is a design defect in the Cruze, and that the placement of the condenser makes it susceptible to damage from rocks. This was the point that I attempted to argue with GM with no avail, that since this defect was identified prior to my purchase of the car, they should be responsible. Although, I was unsuccessful in getting GM to take responsibility for their product, I hope to help anyone that is thinking about buying a Cruze or has a Cruze still under warranty. For those of you with Cruze still under factory warranty and have a damaged condenser make sure they install the condenser screen. For prospective buyers I would advise you to insist that your Cruze have the condenser screen installed prior to purchase.

- Fortson, GA, USA

problem #10

Feb 112013


  • 40,100 miles
Coolant smell in cabin. Many other Cruze owners noticing same thing. GM has yet to correct the issue. Only happens once car is at operating temperature. Dealerships won't fix it or don't know how and Chevy refuses to even diagnose my car as it's outside of the 36,000 bumper to bumper coverage.

- Lancaster, OH, USA

problem #9

Nov 012011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
Cruze has a coolant smell both inside and outside of the car. Apparently this is an extremely common issue with the Cruze vehicles. GM has yet to fix the issue with these vehicles.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #8

Dec 102012


  • miles
2012 Chevy Cruze. Consumer writes in regards to a distinctive burning odor coming from under the vehicle. The consumer stated the vehicle was taken to the dealer five times for the burning odor. From the first day of purchase, the consumer noticed a burning smell coming from outside of the vehicle. The smell became progressively stronger and stronger. The further the vehicle was driven, the stronger the burning odor became. The consumer has since traded the vehicle, for a different year.

- Colchester, CT, USA

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