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:
39,800 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 #59

Sep 122014


  • 139,200 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving 65-70 mph, the accelerator pedal extended to the floorboard when it was depressed and the contact heard an abnormal noise coming from the engine. The check engine warning indicator illuminated. Additionally, while the vehicle was at a complete stop, the accelerator pedal was depressed, but the vehicle only accelerated to 5 mph. The dealer stated that the transmission fluid needed to be flushed. The vehicle was repaired. The contact stated that the transmission was hot and the engine warning indicator illuminated. The dealer stated that the failure was normal wear and tear. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 139,200.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #58

Apr 042013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
Engine has stalled acceleration also known as throttle lag it is dangerous because you don't know when its going to do it and could cause an accident when pulling out into traffic. Also transmission has a delayed engaging intraffic when you are stopped.

- Glasgow, KY, USA

problem #57

Mar 172011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
We have a loss of engine power at any speed and two errors come up, "service stabilitrack" and "service traction control". engine loses power and cannot maintain speed especially dangerous when trying to maintain freeway speeds. Also happens at low speeds, 10 to 25 mph. Therefore it can happen at any speed. Can reset by removing battery cable, but will happen again within a day or two. This issue started about 6 months ago. Happens all the time now and is very dangerous. Went on line and found blogs where other people are also having this same issue. They are the ones that suggested we take off the battery cable to reset. We checked all the fuses as one blog said and they are all ok. Called Chevy dealer and they had no recall and wanted 100 dollars to look at it and then decide if it fell under warranty. Purchased car at 43,000 miles, currently at 73,000 miles. The issue used to happen from time to time now it happens all the time. There should be a recall for this issue. The dealership does not think it is covered by the warranty but will not say until we take it in to have it serviced. We might add we have a standard transmission as this may different than the automatic transmissions. Trying to shift without any engine power is a process in terror on the freeway.

- Oak Grove, MO, USA

problem #56

Aug 012014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 31,850 miles


When taking off sometimes it launches fine like a normal car! but 40% of the time it stalls out, than decides to go, which has cause me to almost be hit multiple times. Since the first time it happened, its happening more often and shifting harder and harder. If this keeps up im gonna lose my transmission when I really need it pulling out into traffic. I bought a car to be reliable and safe to drive, now I am afraid to pull out into traffic because of the chance it may not go, as if its stuck in neutral. The GM diagnosis was it couldn't be re created and no codes so its performing fine! this is caused me to be scared for my life at times and makes me very nervous during driving now. Tried to talk to GM Corp about it and the sent me to GM diagnosis to know what's wrong but I've done this and they say nothing is wrong! anyone is welcome to take my car out for a drive to experience the fact that it is not operating right. Please help figure out this problem. Found many other stories like this on other Cruze owners. We need to figure this out before its a recall issues and takes lives!

- Upland, IN, USA

problem #55

Mar 072013


  • 32,512 miles
On February 17th, 2012 I purchased a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze from a local dealership. Unbeknownst to me by July of 2014 my car would be in two different dealerships on five separate occasions for transmission problems. March 7th, 2013 (32,512 miles); repair: Checked for codes, no transmission code; vehicle re-programmed with updated software. September 30th, 2013 (36,623 miles); repair: Transmission removed, found metal contaminating pistons, tcm failure, transmission reassembled. October 17th, 2013 (36,967 miles); repair: Technician test drove with customer, verified concern. Hesitation, hard downshift experienced shudder from stop. Compared to a stock vehicle; same hesitation and hard downshift however does not exhibit acceleration bump from stop. Vehicle repair (completed 7 days later on October 24th, 2013): Failed tcm and valve body, verified on test drive. Replaced tcm and valve body. January 23rd, 2014 (mileage unknown, was not provided with work order for this visit); dealership would not confirm problem after driving vehicle for only 15 miles. They were informed that the issue is random and not constant. No repairs performed on this visit. Since being turned away by the original dealership on January 23rd, 2014 I recorded approximately 19 instances of my vehicle either hesitating, "chugging" when accelerating, "banging" itself into gear, almost stalling, and the vehicle actually "jumping" forward while my foot was on the break at stop lights. It was when I almost stalled within a 6 way intersection that I contacted another Chevrolet dealership (July 10th, 2014) for a second opinion. Within two days of leaving my vehicle at the dealership (July 24th, 2014) it was confirmed by the service manager that in fact the car was not driving properly. The vehicle is still at the dealership as of today (July 30th, 2014). This is not a vehicle I feel is safe or reliable.

- Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

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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

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

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