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 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,918 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #13

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 #12

Feb 202014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
2011 Chevrolet Cruze. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle shuts off while driving. The consumer stated she informed GM of the problem, and their response by phone, was that they planned to do nothing and recommended the consumer visit the dealer to have a $400 throttle block installed. The consumer stated on 2 separate occasions, the vehicle shut down and the ignition reset itself. The consumer stated the vehicle shut down, dozens of times. Updated 08/06/14

- Helena, AL, USA

problem #11

Jan 122013


  • 30,091 miles
After oil change and left the dealership a strong smell of burning antifreeze filled the inside of the car, it was very difficult to breath. I turn the car around back to the dealer they checked (or so they said) could not find anything wrong with it, when I got into my car it was covered with air freshener they put so much of it to cover up the burning smell that it took about 3 weeks to wear off and the smell started all over again. But they won't do anything because according to them there's nothing wrong with the car. The trunk button does not work anymore though at the dealer they confirm is an issue they have with the Cruze they won't cover under warranty and have to pay $200 for something they know is a faulty part on this car.

- Harvard, IL, USA

problem #10

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 #9

Jun 062012


  • 16,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated the vehicle was parked with the engine in operation and she noticed the speedometer displayed a reading of 100 mph. The similar failure occurred sporadically and would fluctuate in the miles per hour. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer three times and they were unable to detect the malfunction. The failure continued to occur and the vehicle was taken back to the dealer where the computerized system was reprogrammed. In addition, the air bag warning indicator would not illuminate whenever the front seat occupant weight was 120 pounds. The approximate failure mileage was 16,000.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #8

May 022011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
I would like to put in a complaint on my Chevy Cruze 2011. Since purchasing it, there have been 3 recalls due to steering and engine. I have had to bring the car into the dealership 3 separate times for the recalls beginning one month after purchase. Now, the car has had 2 separate major problems (engine & currently back at the dealership for problem related to transmission), this vehicle has broken down once while in heavy traffic, but luckily I was able to pull to the side of the road, and the second time it broke down was on a street less heavily traveled, however, I was almost rear ended. If this would've occurred while on a heavily traveled or faster speed zone, I feel that a terrible crash would have happened. Both times may have resulted in serious injury or even death. I do not feel safe in the vehicle and would rather it sit in the driveway than to risk driving it. I lease the vehicle, but I would like to know any options for getting out of this lease & getting into a safe car. Thank you!

- Lockport, NY, USA

problem #7

Sep 132011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles


The 2011 Chevy Cruze was driven by our daughter, she was driving 35 mph, when she noticed smoke coming out of the hood. She pulled over and in a matter of minutes the car was in flames.

- Poterville, CA, USA

problem #6

Dec 162011


  • 16,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated while driving 35 mph there was smoke coming from underneath the instrument panel. The vehicle was driven onto the side of the road and after she exit the vehicle it burst into flames. The fire department was called and a police report was filed. The fire department stated the origin of the fire was electrical. No one was injured and the vehicle was destroyed. The insurance company was notified of the failure. The manufacturer was notified and referred him to the legal department. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 16,000.

- Malvern, AR, USA

problem #5

May 022011


  • miles
2011 Chevy Cruze manual transmission 6 spd. Random occurrence of speedometer spikes digital and needle (anywhere from 20-120 mph), volume on radio will also spike with this issue. When speedometer spiking the steering wheel will also unwontedly move 1/2 - 2 inches left or right every time which could distract/startle driver leading to a possible accident. Chevy refuses to look for a problem that "isn't there". as stated by dealership without code or a tech witnessing it. Occurrence happens when rolling at slow speeds (0-7 mph) or stopped with clutch engaged or slowly being released. Happens, 10-15 times+ a month. Has startled me several times once including me letting off the clutch and stalling the vehicle from being startled. Vehicle assembled: Lordstown, Ohio mileage when first noticing this issue: 78.0 current mileage, issue still occurring: 18,749. Seen dealership :3 times about current issue.

- Georgetown, KY, USA

problem #4

Nov 262011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 6,100 miles
Speedometer accelerates when vehicle is at a stop. The vehicle is not moving but the speedometer shows 30mph.

- Rowland Heights, CA, USA

problem #3

Jul 072011


  • miles


I was at a stop light waiting for light to turn green and all of a sudden the speedometer jumps to 45 mph and stays there a couple seconds then slowly drops back down to 0mph. This has happened multiple times but only when I am sitting at a light. One time I pressed I the accelerator to go while it was doing it and it still read 35-40 mph when I was just creeping along from a stand still.

- Roseville, CA, USA

problem #2

Jul 252011


  • 430 miles
When you back off the throttle and slow to 20 to 25 mph, you never know what the car will do. It may coast like a normal car. It may downshift and slow moderately. Or it may downshift to first gear and slow radically. When this happens, the computer takes full control of the vehicle. You step on the gas and nothing happens. The computer has control of the vehicle for the next 5 seconds. This has happened at least 40 different times. This creates a very dangerous situation. First, I am in the driver seat and I should have control of the vehicle. I do not. Secondly, most people drive with the flow of traffic. If I slow radically for absolutely no reason and all of the drivers around me continue on, someone behind me will run into me. It is only a matter of time before a distracted driver smashes into me. And thirdly, since I never touched the brake, the brake light never came on. The driver behind me have no way of knowing that I am radically slowing and creating such a dangerous situation. If you step on the gas to get the car to go, nothing happens. Then the computer returns control to the driver and the car takes off at full speed. If you step on the brake, the computer takes over. You then must come to a full complete stop before the computer will return control to the driver. If you are making a turn when the car radically slows, you could very easily loose control. When the pavement is wet or slippery, the problem is greatly increased. You are totally at the mercy of an insane computer. Feel free to contact me if you need any further information. Please go to the local Chevy dealer and test drive a Cruze with the automatic six speed transmission. You will see what I mean.

- Joliet, IL, USA

problem #1

Apr 202011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that he was under the impression that the vehicle could be towed behind a rv. He read the manual that stated that he would have to remove fuse 22 which caused him to lose 12 volts and he could not operate the auxiliary aftermarket braking system. The contact called an authorized dealer who stated that they would place a wire around it. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact called the manufacturer who stated that they could not offer any assistance. The current mileage was approximately 3,800. The failure mileage was approximately 2,000. Updated 06/08/11 updated 07/08/11

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

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