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 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #39

Nov 072013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 92,751 miles


2011 4dr eco.vehicle leaking antifreeze, strong smell of coolant and recall NHTSA campaign 12V288 GM 12081 oil on engine shield, repair done 11/7/2013 while visiting Colorado springs, co... dealer invo claims thermostat housing leaking, replaced control not holding...not address...11-12-2013 2nd failure coolant leak and oil mileage at failure 93513 dealer found leak at the corner of water outlet on rear cylinder head, and replaced outlet tube..11-23-13 went to start my car found antifreeze and oil leaking on the ground....calling dealer in Colorado springs again...this is [xxx]...something when its cold is causing coolant and oil to leak...found many service bulletins for these items and 2 recalls for this problem... information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #38

Sep 302013


  • 42,000 miles
Every time I use my heater I get a strong burning smell of coolant/ antifreeze and loss of coolant. Mostly when I am stopped at a traffic light/stop sign and it's intermittent between slight or really strong. I did a lot of online research and found lots of other people with the same complaints, even found local news stories from other states on youtube. All fingers seem to point to the heater core and or the grease used in the HVAC system.the smell is so bad sometimes that I have to roll down at least two windows and turn off the interior fan until I start driving again. I bought the car certified used a couple of months ago and they should have came up with a solution 2 years ago when the problem and complaints started. This issue needs to be recalled already. This is a health issue! I would really like to enjoy my first nice car and not worry about getting sick or dying from this!

- Joliet, IL, USA

problem #37

Dec 022010

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 350 miles
My 2011 Chevy Cruze has an acceleration hesitation. Starting about 2 months after I bought the car in 2010 the issue began. When I need to accelerate in certain situations such as pulling out on a road, passing another vehicle, accelerating after reducing speed, etc. Etc. The car loses power when I step on the gas for three-five seconds before slowly responding and accelerating to where I need it to be. It's as if the car dies for a few seconds. Those few seconds are always in situations when I need to be moving. I brought the car in to the dealership and was told that it was normal.the issue is getting worse so I brought the car in to dealership again and was told there was nothing car was in for other recalls and they gave me a loaner 2013 Cruze to drive. The newer Cruze did not have the hesitation problem at all, it drove beautifully. There are thousands of people with the same year, make and model that have this same issue. It is dangerous!! just because no one that we know of hasn't died yet that doesn't mean that there isn't an issue. The 2011 Cruze is unsafe and someone needs to do something about it.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #36

Sep 062011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 4,554 miles


I purchased this vehicle new from a Chevy dealership in eden prairie, mn. After only 2 mths, it began intermittently hesitating, lurching forward when attempting to accelerate (while sometimes blowing hot air from the ac) & refusing to accelerate. Multiple times it has completely stalled out (while driving 30-40 mph on a highway & when accelerating from a stop on a hill resulting in rolling backward). It is currently at the dealership for the 4th time for this specific issue, but does not show any codes (no ses light). They have made many repairs in an attempt to fix this issue (leaking water pump, reprograms, wastegate solenoid replacement, etc), but the problem still persists. I am concerned that my car will stall while on a highway or passing through an intersection, which would pose a huge safety threat. I have seen numerous similar complaints & would like GM to accept responsibility & replace/recall these vehicles.

- Middleton, WI, USA

problem #35

Feb 012012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
After about 10,000 miles the car hesitates when the accelerator is pushed. Around 20 to 30 mph when needing to speed up the vehicle the vehicle will stall the transmission will then kick in with noise. Very unsafe to drive in moderate to heavy traffic in cities. I have been in traffic with multiple lanes and wanting to pass someone. When pushing the accelerator to pass the car just sits there! then after a hesitation the car will pop then finally move. Car has been in the shop for this problem at the dealership where they state nothing is wrong with the car. I even had one of the mechanics tell me that for these types of transmissions it is normal! how can this be safe! if I wasn't aware of my driving and a very good driver I would have had multiple wrecks with this issue. Luckily I have been able to over correct when the situation occurs. At one point I had to pull off the interstate due to the fact I was pushing the gas petal all the way to the floor and my car just stalled at 23 mph for over 15 seconds until I pulled over, released the petal and engaged again.

- Ennis, TX, USA

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problem #34

Jun 222013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
The fly wheel became loose causing friction and heat. Heat from the friction of the fly wheel caused the clutch to melt.

- Potosi, MO, USA

problem #33

Apr 082013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle hesitated while engaging from first to second gear. The contact stated that when the air conditioning was running, the hesitation became worse. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and although the dealer was able to duplicate the failure, the contact was advised that there was not a remedy for the failure. The failure mileage was 10,000 and the current mileage was 13,000.

- Philidelphia, PA, USA

problem #32

Jun 242013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 21,500 miles
Vehicle failed to accelerate off of the on ramp onto the highway. The engine could be heard revving up, but did not increase in speed. When exiting the highway, I pull off to the side of the road, shifted the vehicle into park, then back into drive and the vehicle would not go forward. Even in manual mode the car would not shift into a forward moving driver.

- Saint Joseph, MO, USA

problem #31

Jun 222013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
6/22/2013 I noticed transmission leaking oil. Before that transmission started to slip on highway and in traffic. I told dealer before that I think the transmission is bad. Did not change gears properly. Dealer updated computer but transmission still had a hard shift. Car will be taken to dealer to have checked. Right now it looks like transmission has to be replaced. GM should recalled and replaced transmissions. Transmissions can slip on highway or in traffic and could cause an crash or brake down. Also I here that other people are having problems with their Cruze.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #30

Apr 032011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 75 miles
This car exhibits a hesitation from a stop and also cruising upon acceleration, a symptom I have also read about in some of the complaints already filed on the site. As with most complaints submitted to the dealer the technician said he could not find anything wrong when I took it in to be looked at. After talking to a few Cruze owners one of them said he was told the problem was due to " turbo lag ". this is a period in time that the turbo motor must catch up to the RPM's of the engine which results in the hesitation. This is very dangerous when trying to enter a highway or maneuver out of a critical situation. GM must acknowledge this malfunction and recall affected vehicles and repair them which can be done by tweeking the turbo to sync with the engine.

- Old Bridge , NJ, USA

problem #29

Jun 172011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles


I bought my 2011 Chevy Cruze December 31, 2011 and have had problems with the transmission ever since. I took a trip 06.2011 6 months after I had my car and went to accelerate and had nothing total transmission gone. They had my car for over 30 days and I still have problems. The transmission is choppy and erratic. When I am stopped or nearly stopped and accelerate to go again, the transmission just revs as if it is in neutral. This is not safe - make me a prime candidate for a rear-end collision. When traveling at cruising speed of 50-60mph, it is choppy and shifting when you would not expect it to shift. When coming to a fast stop, it clunks and then lunges - so firm pressure on the brake pedal is necessary not to hit the car in front of me. I have had the car into the Chevy dealership 5 times now and am told that since the Chevy mechanic cannot duplicate the problems and there are no lights on there is nothing that can be done. And it is currently in the shop right now for the above problems for the 5th time.

- Rossville, IN, USA

problem #28

Jun 132013


  • 44,221 miles
When my car is in park, and I take it out of park to accelerate, the engine revs up and it "jumps" out of gear. If I am sitting idly at a stop light, it does the same thing. I have taken it to the dealership and they told me; after performing all the required test, nothing was wrong with it. If I am turning and once I accelerate after the turn, it looses power.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #27

May 102012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
I purchased my new car in may of 2011, my first year I had no problems. My second year I have lost brakes took it to dealer and they replaced my brake switch. And now it is having shifting issues. It revs high when removed from park to drive when you left off the break it jerks hard throwing you back into the seat. It also loses power. If im stopped and try to pull out it does not want to go. It hesitates then it will take off quickly. The hesitation is very un safe. I have been almost hit by an on coming car due to it. Luckily it took off so no accident that time. I do not trust it. I recently lost power going up hill around a turn I was accelerating but losing speed. I completely left off the accelerator and reapplied it was a slow response but finally took off and drove. It is not shifting properly. I have an automatic. It just seems hard shifting and jerky when it does shift. This is a major issue. Someone is going to get killed from the sluggish delay these vehicles are having then GM will be sued. Mine seems to be getting worse yesterday 20 May 2013 was the first for lose of power up hill. I have not yet had my back to dealer over this issue but since it is getting worse and acting up more often I will taking it in and see what they say about it.

- Bellefonte, PA, USA

problem #26

Jul 122012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
I purchased my first new car in 2011 and the first year went great then everything changed after that. The car would idle a lot higher then it started jerking when I decelerated and accelerated like it had a hard time shifting into gears. Took it to the dealer in kalamazoo and they ran a diagnostic and came back with nothing. They even kept it for 3 weeks and weren't able to recreate it then as soon as I got it acted up. Then shortly after that the car wouldn't shift gears until it reached about 3000 to 3500 rpms along with lag in acceleration when stepped on the gas pedal. This only happens periodically. This has been soo frustrating and I'm disappoint in Chevy at the moment and I question on buying a new one in the future.

- Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #25

Apr 252013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
On April 2, 2013 my car did not change gears properly and it had a loud noise. I could not make it to the robbins Chevrolet dealership, so I pulled over at the nearest gas station and called robbins Chevrolet and explain this problem of the transmission issue. They stated to call their wrecker service and bring the car into the dealership. I called the wrecker and my wait time was 30 minutes and I was taken to the car dealership service area and arrived around 10:45am. I explained how the car was straining to pull gears and it was unsafe to continue to drive it in that condition. I was given a loaner car and the advisor, alex called me around 4pm and stated my car had a mechanical issue with the transmission and the powertrain coverage warranty covered the expenses and it would be available for pick up on 4/26/2013.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #24

Dec 152010

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 300 miles
I have a Chevrolet Cruze, I bought it in October of 2010; after a few months I discovered that my car was shifting roughly. I also noticed that my car would not gain speed at a normal rate. I have fought for 2 years to have my car inspected and repairs to be done; nothing has come of it yet. I notified GM with the issue and was told that they would put in a new transmission. I was also notified that the issue would persist, it is the way my model transmission works. I know this is a safety concern, my car has already left me stranded once. I believe that GM is going under the radar and just trying to appease me with a new transmission. I also believe that more can be done for the problems that persist in my car and GM is refusing for it to be done. My car is a safety hazard from the numerous recalls to the transmission and computer defects. GM is trying to push me into accepting an amount that is less then half of what I have paid into the car or take the transmission. I have no other options from them. I would very much appreciate some guidance in this matter. Thank you

- Tad, WV, USA

problem #23

Dec 302011


  • 4,389 miles
Vehicle hesitates on acceleration and did ever since purchased on 6/22/11. Dealer could not find anything wrong according to their diagnosis "customer concern not duplicated". many many other 2011 Chevy Cruze owners are experiencing the same exact issue after several unsuccessful visits to dealer service.

- The Woodlands, TX, USA

problem #22

May 052012


  • 25,847 miles
I purchased my vehicle new and I am the only owner/ driver. The transmission has always been jerky and lagging. It has been to the dealer multiple time for service. When you press the accelerator there is a lag before the vehicle accelerates. It is not a smooth ride. The transmission shifts at very high RPM's. when it does shift it is very rough!

- Parma, OH, USA

problem #21

Jan 212013


  • miles
I have a 2011 Chevy Cruze ltz and I was just wondering if it was normal in the cold weather that the RPM gauge goes all the way up to 3500 rpms before shifting into the next gear?

- Allentown, PA, USA

problem #20

Jun 012012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 17,100 miles
The car has problems with acceleration. It poses a safety concern especially when crossing traffic and or passing another car. You can be driving the car and it will literally lose power- and then you have to press the pedal to the floor- and hope it goes. Sometimes the car will sound as if it is in idle mode when in driving the car. When you start the car and begin driving it jerks and it lunges- it feels like you are bouncing around. The car still has its manufactures warranty and I have had it at the dealer's auto shop on several occasions- one guy there believes something is wrong with the car but is not able to find what it is. Unfortunately, I am told there is nothing wrong with the car and that is the "characteristics" of that car due to the turbo. I disagreed. I believe it poses a safety issue- I have never told my mother before the following about a car. "if I die in this car she better start looking at General Motors." I have never felt so unsafe in a car- and the main reason I purchased the car was for all its safety features. Ironic. I have read the same complaints on the web- unfortunately it will not be addressed until someone is either dead or seriously injured for GM to address these complaints.

- Duluth, MN, USA

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