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:
5 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,846 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #24

Apr 112014


  • 48,545 miles


Backing out of drive down hill brakes got real hard, did stop after pushing hard. Also going down hill pushed brake didn't want to stop. We already had the micro switch replaced in Feb of 2014.this happened after that.the dealership when we took it in said that was not covered.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #23

Apr 162014


  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet cruise. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the brake pedal became hard to depress and the contact had to applied force in order to bring the vehicle to a complete stop. The vehicle resumed it normal acceleration but the failure recurred moments later. The dealer was contacted and informed that the recall repairs were already completed on the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the master cylinder and brake booster needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The failure mileage was 35,000 and the current mileage was 50,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #22

Jun 182014


  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while going down a hill at approximately 70 mph, the brakes failed to respond making it very difficult to stop the vehicle. The contact discovered that the front brake rotors had overheated and were a burning red color. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. Failure mileage was 12,000.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #21

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 #20

Jun 062011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles
No brakes going forward or backwards but only for a few seconds, always have full pedal and the harder you push/force they slowly bring vehicle to stop. My wife and I have almost hit pedestrian's and vehicles.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #19

Apr 302014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 46,700 miles
On April 30 2014, around 11:00 am the car was taken for service to a Chevrolet dealer for a wheel alignment, steering and suspension system inspection and air pressure condition check, the Chevy Cruze was at the service dealer for aprox four hours, we then came home, around 5:30 we went to a shopping center to buy something and on the way back home, aprox six blocks from our home we stop on a stop sign on a curb/angle street divider by a small curb with trees, we then try to proceed and bare right but the car made some kind of a noise and went left going over small curb and hitting a tree, we where going aprox 15 to 20 mph at the time of impact the police came and made a report, no summons where issue because the police officer look at the scene and comment that it looks like the car loss power/ control of the steering, brakes and could not be control. The car was a total loss since it was damages in front/engine/air bags/etc. We know for facts that this 2011 Chevrolet Cruze have many recalls including steering shaft separations/brakes/steering problems.etc.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #18

Jan 022012


  • 19,000 miles


I was notified in October 2013 of the GM safety recall #12213 but that parts are not available yet. I am experiencing the game issue state in the recall. I found information online about the recall dated August 2013. We are approaching one year to that information and I still have not been notified that replacement part is available. The brake issue progressively gets worse as time goes by. My concerns are when the part will be available and why it is taking so long when safety is on the line.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #17

Feb 172014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,126 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while reversing, the brake pedal traveled abnormally to the floorboard. Additionally, the contact stated that the brakes failed to respond when the engine was cold. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 13V360000 (service brakes, hydraulic), however the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 28,126. Updated 8/11/14

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #16

Jul 232012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 24,000 miles
The brakes completely failed on my car completely in the summer of 2012 when the car was about a year old. It was repaired and given back to me by the dealership. The brakes failed again after I left the dealership (which again put me in heavy traffic with no working brakes). The vacuum pump was replaced on the car at this time. The dealership told me at that time that they had not seen that issue but had another 2011 Cruze come in after mine with the exact same issue. The dealership had my car for about 20+ days because the parts needed were on back order. GM issued a recall notice for this part (vacuum pump) on August 13, 2013 but the letter stated that they did not have the parts at that time to fulfill the recall and would notify customers when they had the parts to complete the recall. On January 10, 2014 my brakes failed again for the third time, while I was in traffic. I had the car towed back to the same dealership. The vehicle has 41,000 miles on it at this time and has had three brake issues in which I had no working brakes. I contacted GM's customer care on January 13, 2014 and their employees expressed minimal concern about their unsafe product and the risk to me or the public.

- Mount Washington, KY, USA

problem #15

Oct 312013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 51,100 miles
1.4 liter 2011 Cruze heater blowing cool air. GM inspection done on 10/17/13 and they said everything was good. They told me not to worry about the intermittent check engine light that keeps coming on. This happened within two weeks. We added a almost a quart of coolant following the directions in the owners manual. Now a month later it is a quart low again blowing cool air from the heater and a strong sweet smell permeates the car. The car also fails to properly brake at times and gain speed at times. It has stalled while idling at stoplights. There is a oily residue on the plastic shield located near the oil pan.

- Embarrass, MN, USA

problem #14

Aug 312013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 35,703 miles


About 4 pm on 8/31/13:pulling into parking space in front of sandwich shop and hair salon. Normal brake pressure applied but vehicle did not stop, then both feet pressed on brake, but cars momentum caused it to jump the cement parking block. To avoid crashing through salons glass front, steering wheel was turned sharply to the right and car crashed into, and came to a stop at buildings outside supporting structure. In so doing, a car parked in the space to the right, sustained damage to drivers side- front bumper. Chevy Cruze sustained considerable damage to right side door panels and right-front bumper.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #13

Jul 252013


  • 56,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph and depressing the brakes, the vehicle surged as the brakes became unresponsive. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where the technician stated that the vacuum sensor would have to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 56,000.

- Columbia, TN, USA

problem #12

Aug 012013


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while exiting a parking lot and attempting to engage the brakes, the brake pedal became hard and resistant. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 70,000.

- Canfield, OH, USA

problem #11

Jun 012013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that he attempted to decelerate but the braking power was reduced. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure was not diagnosed. The contact was also informed that the vehicle was not included in the manufacturer's recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. Updated 10-17-13

- Scottsville, MI, USA

problem #10

Jul 042013


  • 7,300 miles
I have two 2011 Chevrolet Cruze that I purchased new in 2011. Both cars began to have a soft brake pedal at about 7000 miles which makes stopping difficult. Most notable at low speeds especially in reverse and trying to stop the vehicle. This occurred with one Cruze about a year ago and took three trips to the dealer to repair. It just started occurring in the second Cruze (about 7300 miles on this vehicle) this week. The fact you can not stop the car appropriately significantly increases the risk for an accident or injury. The fact this has now happened in both my Cruze seems to indicate a significant mechanical issue and not just a one time malfunction.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #9

Jan 012012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
When on a cold start, and backing low speed...the brakes go to floor and barely stop vehicle...was told by GM that the brakes are going through check, and it is normal for brakes to go to floor and not stop vehicle.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #8

May 162013

Cruze 4-cyl Diesel

  • 42,795 miles
I was very slowly backing out of my parking space at work and the vehicle would not stop when the brakes were applied. This happened to me 4 times within a 7 month period, 3 times were in the winter when I would be backing out of a driveway but I had assumed it was due to the slick road conditions that we had but I was apparently wrong. I am scheduled to have my vehicle looked at on 5/31 and I am hoping that they repair it at no cost because I feel it is a defect. I don't feel that it is my brake pads that could be bad because any other time the car will stop on a dime, there is no braking noises or abnormal feeling in the brakes at any other time. Thinking back it only seems to happen when I don't let my car sit and idle for a few minutes before I start going.

- Kittanning, PA, USA

problem #7

May 152013


  • 19,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving 5 mph, the brakes failed to operate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but was unable to duplicate the problem. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 19,000. The VIN was not available.

- Pleasant Perry , WI, USA

problem #6

May 112013


  • 12,000 miles
I was leaving my driveway when I tried to stop at the end. The brake pedal fell to the floor and the car kept rolling. I am so thankful that I was not on the interstate or having to make a sudden stop. I had it towed by aaa to the dealership. I was told by the dealership that my brake booster was bad and that there is a bulletin out about hard braking. They ordered the part as they do not keep it in stock. They are supplying me with a rental while I wait for the car to be fixed. I will keep you updated as to if them replacing the brake booster fixes the issue.

- Willow Spring, NC, USA

problem #5

Dec 032012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
I was in stop and go morning rush hour traffic going aprox. 10 mph. I pressed the brake to stop slightly more than one car lengh away from the car in front of me. The brakes felt soft and I had to press the brake pedel all the way to the floor to get it to respond. The brakes did not catch all the way, they only slowed the car slightly (to aprox. 5mph) and I rear-ended the car in front of me. I had the brakes, fluid, and electrical/computer components checked, and they could not find anything wrong with the car.

- Columbia, SC, USA

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