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 1 of 3)

problem #53

Nov 012013


  • 36,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that a burning odor emitted into the vehicle through the heating and air conditioning systems. The failure occurred without warning. The vehicle was taken to a local dealer several times; however, the diagnosis was unknown. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 36,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Flint, MI, USA

problem #52

Oct 222016


  • 94,724 miles
This vehicle safety complaint is in regards to my 2011 Chevrolet Cruze lt, which was serviced at ourisman Chevrolet of bowie, a General Motors (GM) authorized dealer, for the repair of my vehicle. I incurred charges for unwarranted maintenance repairs on the following dates September 26-October 5, 2016 ($134.95 and $139.07 (cost for a new battery)), April 26, 2016 (warranty covered repairs), April 11, 2016 ($590.92), and April 14, 2015 ($382.14) that never addressed the safety complaints I made, all of which were handled by service advisor buddy reio. On these dates, I took my vehicle to be serviced for experiencing hazardous issues with its electrical systems and reduced engine acceleration while I was driving between 40-55 miles per hour. Without warning, my vehicle's speed would decelerate (both on the highway and residential roads) and my car doors would begin to lock and unlock uncontrollably with error messages 'service stabilitrac, ┐ 'service parking assist, ┐ and 'service airbag┐ displaying on my dashboard. After about 30 seconds of this condition, my car would resume normal functioning. I incurred $1,247.08 in unwarranted repairs for my vehicle, which was never properly diagnosed, leading to my vehicle shutting down while I was driving it on October 22, 2016. On October 22, 2016 at 3:20 P.M., while driving on a busy thoroughfare, my car decelerated and error messages displaying 'service stabilitrac, ┐ 'service parking assist, ┐ and 'service airbag┐ showed. After approximately 30 seconds, the car began to shut down and I managed to steer it out of the way of oncoming traffic. I immediately contacted Chevrolet's roadside service and informed the representatives that my engine would not start and I was stuck on the side of the road.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #51

Sep 232016


  • 61,000 miles
Hello. My complaint is about the keys on my 2011 Chevrolet Cruze ls manual model. The metal key separates from the key fob. It has done this on three separate occasions, on two different fobs. The first two times my Chevrolet dealer covered it under warranty and fixed it. The warranty is over now. At any rate, this shouldn't happen to car keys! it is a safety issue, and a nuisance as well! if this should happen to somebody in an area where it's unsafe, or the weather is bad, etc, it could turn out to be unsafe...because the key is broken off from the fob and it's unlikely one would be able to rig it up to get the car started...and should not have to because it should not break in the first place! thank you! hope I can make a difference. Ps: vehicle was stationary when this has occurred. Still...not good!

- Richeyville, PA, USA

problem #50

May 022016


  • 115,000 miles


Possible electrical problems. Dash board randomly lights up; radio has gone completely off; steering wheel difficult to turn; security lock out engaged once; traction control came on and hard to steer and several occasions. This incidents are happening randomly and had near miss on highway not expecting the steering to lock up or become extremely difficult. This has happened over last several months. Independent car repair shop could not find anything, but still happens.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #49

Jul 252016


  • 79,560 miles
I was driving when my car starting beeping saying my door was open while in motion and also my locks kept locking and unlocking while driving also my windows kept opening and closing without the button being pushed.

- Falls City, TX, USA

problem #48

Jul 202016


  • 121,000 miles
My car hesitate sometime during driving at low speed or high speed and the stabili trak light appear, the check engine light stays on even when I have replaced the part needed..

- Rocky Mount, NC, USA

problem #47

May 032016


  • 97,000 miles


Loss of power steering during driving, radio flickers on and off while driving, while pressing brake while stopped the car continues to jump forward - city driving on highway and streets. Began happening one month after I purchased car on 4/3/2016.

- Miami, FM, USA

problem #46

Mar 112016


  • 85,000 miles
The radio/HVAC display turns off and on; the antilock brake system, service traction system, service stabilitrac and steering vehicle messages comes on and off; the turn signal sound may not be heard; ┐battery saver active┐ and 'service steering┐ displays in the driver information center (dic); and the interior and exterior lighting may flicker. Power steering assist is also lost, and greater effort may be needed to turn the steering wheel at low speeds or while the vehicle is stopped. This only happens in the summer. Doing speeds of 65mph. The car loses power and then the dash board and radion flickers on and off. The cars sometimes shuts off and I will have to put my hazards marker on the let the car pull over to the side of the road. And im not able to take the key out the ignition. The key will get stuck and about 3 minutes later I trying again and the key will come out. I try to start it up again and the car will start up. The steering will lock up while im trying to turn or is turning the it will go back to regular state. It only does this in the summer or when the car gets hot. So I took I to the dealership and they said it was my negative battery cable. This is unsafe. This has been going on for almost a 1 year it starts and stops when it wants too. Also when im stopped or sitting at a stop light the matters are even worser

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #45

Feb 052016


  • 59,000 miles
From a stopped position, I would accelerate through 1st gear, just before I change gears to 2nd. The whole car's electrical system goes haywire. All systems reset, most of the time this means I can a very bad jerk in between gears 1 and 2. a few times the car turned off. If the car does die, I am unable to start the car or jump it for at least 15 minutes. The longest I had to sit was over 30 minutes. Chevy's dic system tells me to check a variety of things, not always all of them. But usually check power steering and airbag systems. A few times it told me to check traction control systems. The check engine light has never come on in any of these instances. Chevy says this is due to a faulty ground wire, which they replaced and it continues to do this. This is a very dangerous situation, where if I was in a busy intersection I could easily be caught in an accident. Luckily, this has happened mostly in residential areas.

- Sycamore, IL, USA

problem #44

Dec 052015


  • 62,000 miles
On 12-5-15 I was on my way to ct from mass and was on 91. About 45 minutes into the trip the car began to loose power and the check engine light came on and the service stablitrack light came on. As soon as the light came on the temperature gauge and RPM gauge would fling up and down quickly! I immediately went from 65 mph to 30 mph.( I was almost rear ended by a car behind me) I coasted my way to the right lane and was able to get off the exit. The car took about 4 hours to go back to normal. ( I returned to mass, I had to take the back way home and avoid the highway as the car still had reduce speed) the car will return to normal and the check engine light will go off. Everyday now the check engine light will come on and it will say service stablitrack. The car immediately looses power and you can hear the engine (sounds like a fan blowing hard) the transmission will not shift. The RPM will jump to 4-5 while only getting to a speed of 35 mph. The dealer has no idea what I am talking about. This car was bought in January of 2015 and has less than 65,000 miles on it. I have read a few complaints about this similar situation happening to the same car I have. This is a safety issue!!! the car has been serviced on time!!! please help me!! I refuse to take the highway as I never know when this is going to happen.....

- Monson, MA, USA

problem #43

Aug 172015


  • 39,844 miles


Have had repeated issues with service stabilitrak light coming on while driving and then power being reduced to vehicle, causing unsafe driving conditions; following recall to reprogram computer engine fan ran continually for days; car died when startong, dealer replaced computer tried to return with check engine light on, now stabilitrak issue has recurred again. Not confident that dealership has any clue what is really wrong with this car. The dealership's most recent guess is that something is wrong with the transmission but that they are getting a code they don't recognize.

- Lexington, MI, USA

problem #42

Oct 032015


  • 60,710 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving 70 mph, the glove box lighting started to flicker and the exterior lighting failed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer to be diagnosed. The contact was informed that the negative battery terminal clamp needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired under technical service bulletin number: 14311 and NHTSA campaign number: 10057574 (electrical system); however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 60,710.

- Williamsburg, KY, USA

problem #41

Aug 082015


  • 58,278 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving at 45 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 58,278.

- Newmanstown, PA, USA

problem #40

Jun 162015


  • 74,000 miles
This incident with my Chevrolet Cruze has happened on more than one occasion in the same month. I will be driving, coming to a stop and the whole car will turn off on me. The air conditioning shuts off, radio, the whole car powers down. I put the car into park, turn off the car, wait a few minutes and turn the car back on. Praying that me and my two year old don't get into an accident throughout the incident.

- Bullhead City, AZ, USA

problem #39

May 012014


  • miles
It said service esp.

- Glenpool , OK, USA

problem #38

May 282015


  • 66,000 miles
While driving the radio shuts off and a warning pops up in the center between the speedometer and RPM gauge that says service stabiltrac or service traction control. While that happens the power steering shuts off. That's a normal occurrence that happens randomly once or twice during my 20 mile drive to work, and on short drives for errands. Today the vehicle completely shut off twice while driving down the road. I almost wrecked 3 times going around corners when the power steering shut off along with the radio.

- Uniontown, PA, USA

problem #37

May 022015


  • 21,536 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the ignition key failed to release from the ignition switch. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the gears shifter needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 21,536.

- Grosse Pointe Woods , MI, USA

problem #36

May 012015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle experienced difficulties when attempting to start the engine. The contact discovered that acid residue was present on both the negative and positive battery cable leads. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the negative battery cable was serviced. The contact indicated that the positive battery cable continued to experience the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Villa Park, IL, USA

problem #35

Feb 012015


  • 29,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving at approximately 60 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The instrument panel warning lights illuminated. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 29,000.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #34

Jan 092015


  • 43,000 miles
I purchased a used 2011 Chevy Cruze lt three months ago. Prier owner owned the vehicle for 3 years and hardly drove it. I was sitting at a light when the check engine light came on the "engine power reduced" flashed on my screen. The car slowed to 2 mph. I pulled over and turned off the vehicle. Later I turned the car back on, check engine light came on. When I started to drive "service esp" flashed on my screen, then "service traction" flashed on my screen following by "engine power reduce." This happened to me 3 times in the same trip and is very dangerous. I thought maybe it was because of the snowy weather and freezing temperature" anyone have this happen? how can I fix it? help!"

- Lansing, MI, USA

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