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 1 of 5)

problem #99

Dec 122016


  • 107,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle experienced an issue with the shifter not shifting and the vehicle not decelerating. In addition, the vehicle would not accelerate past 30 mph. The failure occurred without warning. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, but diagnostic testing was not performed. The manufacturer was not notified of the issue. The failure mileage was approximately 107,000. The VIN was not provided.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #98

Nov 132016


  • 99,180 miles
I was driving on local highway. Stopped at light. When I started to move forward again the transmission wouldn't shift past 2nd gear. The vehicle wouldn't accellerate over 30 mph. Pulled over to the nearest place. Turned off the car and turned it back on. Tried to back up, but reverse would not work. Pushed it out of the parking spot car would only move forward up to 30 mph. Nothing past 2nd gear and still no reverse. Manual aspect of car was saying could not shift. Service engine lights came on. Code read tranmission module. Per tech, wave plate came apart and contaminated the whole transmission, solinoids and control board resulting in need for complete trans overhaul, solinoids and control board replacement and reprogramming - $3400! GM would not help, even though known issue.

- Macomb, MI, USA

problem #97

Sep 062016


  • 55,000 miles
While driving in town I took off from a stoplight and my car all of sudden did not have drive, it just revved. Could not get it to move forward at all. Car never shifted right to begin with. We had reverse gear but no forward. Changed transmission and tcm and the car will move but continues to rev to high. Cannot drive the car the way it is. Car only has 55000 miles on it.

- Wooster, OH, USA

problem #96

Oct 012016

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 154,000 miles


I have been having several issues lately that are not covered under warranty with my car. Power train issues, stability issues, sensor issues. These issues have happened on and off and some have been fixed before and they keep getting worse. The car starts shaking really bad when I am driving. It does not feel safe.

- Lewisville, TX, USA

problem #95

May 302011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
Since purchasing this vehicle there has always been a hesitation in the acceleration and "engine jerking". I originally reported within the first approx 6 months of owning the vehicle. The service center had their transmission specialist drive the vehicle and I was told "that is just how it drives. I told them on a second time about the ongoing issues and was dismissed. Last year I started getting the "service stabilitrak" error and the jerking and lack of acceleration and hesitation has gotten increasingly worse. This is a safety concern as trying to go from a stopped position and going through an intersection it will lag and can cause a delay also driving down the road it will jerk and almost feel like I could lose control of the car. I often also get a smell of the coolant that goes through my car. I have had all recalls in the past taken care of, but the stabilitrak is an ongoing issue that is very concerning for the safety of myself and my daughter as a passenger in the vehicle. It has been an ongoing issue since the purchase of the vehicle 05/2011 only increasing in severity.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

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problem #94

Sep 152016


  • miles
The car had been jerking when I put in reverse, and taking a dew seconds to go when I accelarated. The reverse went out and I had to take it to a mechanic who tols me I wouls need a new transmission which will cost 3.7K the car has only 69K miles had regular oil changes.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #93

Sep 142016

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


Takata recall I was driving on the road and the car behind me almost ran into the back of me because my vehicle would not accelerate the car was still on but it would not move I cried I love my car please help me I pay a lot to dive it now I have to pay for a car I can not drive my kid is sick and I have no way to get to work to pay for medication or the bills it's very hard being a single mother please help thank you god bless 😢

- Stlouis, MO, USA

problem #92

Sep 052016


  • 136,000 miles
I was driving my niece home. Got off the highway and felt a sudden jerk. Went to push on the gas and the car was not moving well. Pulled over to the nearest place. Turned off the car and turned it back on. Tried to back up, reverse would not work. Pushed it out of the parking spot car wouldnt move. Manual aspect of car was saying could not shift. Service engine lights came on. Code read tranmission module.

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #91

Aug 272016


  • 57,000 miles
High RPM with little acceleration. Shifts gears slowly if at all.

- Oak Park, IL, USA

problem #90

Aug 012016


  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving at various speeds, the vehicle would not immediately accelerate when depressing the accelerator pedal. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who could not duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 28,000.

- Nutley, NJ, USA

problem #89

Jul 152016

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 109,000 miles


I was exiting interstate 80 on my way to work when the car shifted from 4th gear to 5th gear the motor started free revving. I took the car to my other job where I changed the transmission fluid with dextron vi. The transmission just kept getting worse and started slipping in other gears. Amechanic told me he thought the transmission was going bad and I needed to rebuild it or get a different transmission..I took out a loan to buy a used transmission and to N because I work 2 jobs and didn't have time or tools to do myself when the mechanic put the used transmission in the car he said it is slipping also. I'm out $1200 transmission has a warranty but labor money is gone plus I'm paying interest on that money now. I always changed my oil put brakes on tires whatever the car needed I did. I bought the car new and hit had a 3/36000 bumper to bumper warranty. The wheel bearing went out at 38 or 39000 miles they said I was out of warranty. I have a 5/100000 mile warranty on the transmission and I'm 3 months and 9000 miles over I cant imagine they would do anything to help with that since they didn't do anything on a $100 part..very disgusted with the reliability on these new cars. Is there anything that can be done about this please let me know..I drive about 22-25000 miles a year to work.. thank you

- Brockway, PA, USA

problem #88

May 292016

Cruze 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet cruize. While driving approximately 50 mph, the vehicle shifted from sixth gear to first. The check engine warning indicator illuminated. The contact had to pull over in a parking lot and the vehicle restarted normally after 20 minutes. The failure recurred and would not change gears. The vehicle was never taken to a dealer or an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 92,000. Updated 08/02/16 the consumer stated the vehicle locked up and went into first gear. Updated 08/15/16.

- Crestline, OH, USA

problem #87

May 152011


  • 15 miles
When at a stop and when I go to take off car rolls backward. This car has a automatic trans, but act like a stick trans, I bought this car new off lot. And first brakes keep locking up like something is in it. But if I roll backward it disengages. I've taken it to the dealer a couple of times due to this issue and they also heard it but never could find anything. I really like this car but it falling apart from day one.. I keep it serviced like I am suppose to.

- La Porte, IN, USA

problem #86

May 192016


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While the vehicle was parked, the key turned, the radio worked, and the gear shifter indicator moved up and down the scale. The check engine warning indicator also illuminated. The vehicle failed to start. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was diagnosed by an independent mechanic who determined that the prindel shift leveler was not reflecting the position of the gear shifter. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Spotsylvania, VA, USA

problem #85

Apr 112016

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving various speeds, the vehicle had difficulty accelerating and the rpms increased. Later, when the contact attempted to reverse the vehicle, it failed to move. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V273000 (power train). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000. Updated 07/22/16 the consumer stated the vehicle would not reach highway speed. Updated 07/28/16.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #84

Mar 172016


  • 45,000 miles
When I was driving home from work I noticed the check engine light came on.then after that the transmission slipped.this was on a city street.I managed to roll it to the side of the road.after that I put it in park then drive and reverse and it wouldn't grab. So I turned it off and back on after a few minutes and it was fine for the moment but slipped on my twice after that but managed to make it home a mile away.took it to the mechanic the next day, who towed it to transmission specialist, who tells me I need another transmission put

- Elizabeth, NJ, USA

problem #83

Mar 112016


  • 59,352 miles
I own a 2011 Cruze it has had a slew of problems, trans cell blown, water pumps replaced, trans reprogramed, turbo replaced and much more, now the valve body in the trans is bad car has less than 60K and I have mentioned the trans issue since 20K in which I was told I was crazy by dealership and no recall has been issued for this. I do not think GM should be allowed to sell the Cruze anymore this car is a death trap waiting to happen just like the cobalt. I am fustrated and fed up. Service department is a joke. And the Cruze has over 24,000 complaints regarding all the same issues and nothing is nothing being done about the trans issue. Dealer opened up my trans today and found clogged 1 and 2 cellinoid and clogged screen as well as broken clip causing hesitation, hard shifting and valve body movement. I think this matter should be further investigated.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #82

Mar 042016


  • 52,123 miles
My car has a check engine light and I took it to dealer they do not know what the code is, its P057C and I was driving on highway going 70 and car all of a sudden loses power went from 70mph to 5mph in a split second almost got rear ended by a semi truck I am afraid to drive my car for my safety. Dealer wants hundreds of dollars just to try and figre out the issue but after diagnostic they still have no clue. So thir plan was to dissect my car like a science project and maybe fix it. They want the car for a week and do not offer any loaner cars. Chevrolet northridge dealership California. Today 03/04/16 driving to work going 40mph and get to a red light, it turned green I hit the gas and the car just revs and wont go more than 5pmh. I had to pull over and turn car on and off 2 times before I could get to work. And got there late because of this. And again almost got rear ended. I press the gas and the car revs as if it is idling. Please make this a recall and help get this fixed. Its going to be a reason why a driver loses their life. This is a true emergency since it just feels like the car has a mind of its own. And dealer does not know what to do. Please please help!

- Woodland Hills, CA, USA

problem #81

Mar 022016


  • 140,000 miles
My 2011 Chevy Cruze is not shifting properly while accelerating. It is most noticeable while accelerating rapidly on an entrance ramp, it jerks and does not accelerate properly. It makes you wander if it is going to stop working. I have also had a lag in regular shifting. These problems were addressed by my local Chevy three times while under warranty and it resulted in rebuilding my transmission. I am now out of warranty and having the exact same issues that it took them three times to fix. I have had this car at the dealer to often since purchasing it. I have also had the air conditioner compressor and fan replaced and all recalls performed. I will never buy another Chevy Cruze. I do have records of my repairs.

- Marshfield, MO, USA

problem #80

Oct 012015


  • 40,000 miles
Driving at 25mph and slow down to go over a speed bump around 5mph when trying to accelerate after the transmission starts to slip trying to pick a gear had transmission service fluid was black not red

- Lacey, WA, USA

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