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:
1 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,494 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 3 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #99

Feb 192015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving at 70 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact also stated that the lost power, the electronic stability control, and the service traction control warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, where it was diagnosed that the throttle body control needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 80,000. Updated 04/10/15 the consumer stated the dealer advised the throttle body needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted but did not offer any assistance. Updated 11/5/2015

- Girard, PA, USA

problem #98

Dec 012014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Cooling system appears to be leaking and fumes of antifreeze are blowing through HVAC system causing some occupants to become nauseous. Dealer attempted to fix but there appears to be an issue with the design of the system. System also leaked on the hot engine causing "steam" to show from under the hood, we thought it was a fire but when the hood was opened it was steam from the antifreeze boiling on the engine.

- Islip Terrace, NY, USA

problem #97

Feb 122015


  • 69,725 miles
I was driving my car on the way to work one day and out of no where going down my hill my traction control light and check engine lights came on and my dash board said "engine power reduced". it wouldn't let me accelerate so I stopped and shut off the car. I started it 5 minutes later and it ran normal but the check engine light was still on. On the way home from work it did it 2 more times. Its extremely dangerous to drive because when all those lights come on your car goes from 60mph to 10mph in 5 seconds. If youre driving and someone is directly behind you theyre going to crash into you. After a day or two I made an appt. To get it looked at and I kept driving it because I need to get to work. Now the car not only says "engine power reduced" but it also says " service traction control" but thats not even whats wrong with the car. Its the throttle body. Now Chevrolet is expecting me to pay 500 to fix it and I dont have that, they wont rent me a rental car and I have no other way to work. I pay for insurance for the car through them but apparently anything thats wrong with my car isnt covered by any of the insurance that I bought from them. This is dangerous to drive around and I'm pissed that they don't care or sell me this crap insurance that doesnt cover anything important. I only bought the car 1 year and 4 months ago...there shouldnt be problems with it. The car was in perfect condition when I bought it from quirk Chevrolet in manchester, nh.

- Bow, NH, USA

problem #96

Jan 102015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles


Drove my car to work without incident however when I came out at 4pm the car would not start. The interior lights worked, radio and blue tooth worked when the key was inserted but car would not start. The vehicle was towed on Jan 11th to al serra dealership. After 36 hours the dealership called to say it was the battery. The service manager was unable to explain how the radio, blue tooth phone power and interior lights were working. After having the battery replaced it was clear my vehicle was not operating properly. When driving on the expressway the interior lights dimmed and the battery voltage meter fluctuated from 15.3 to 12.3. the vehicle was not performing as it had prior to the battery change. I returned to the dealership stating the car was not functioning properly since the battery change. The dealership stated I would need to sign for a diagnostic fee of ~150.00 before they would look at the vehicle to inspect their work. I left with my vehicle and contacted GM customer complaint line to report the dealership was unwilling to stand behind their work unless I agreed to pay them ~150.00. About 10 days later I received a letter from GM regarding a special notice about the battery cable. I again returned to the dealership to have the battery cable checked/replaced. Again al serra dealership stated I needed sign that I would pay a $100 fee if they did not find anything wrong with the battery cable. I stated "you did not fix my properly the first time. I feel you refused to stand behind your work and now I have a letter from GM regarding the battery cable. Now you still want me to pay you to figure out what you did wrong the first time. I left with my vehicle - still not working properly. This needs to be a recall to stop GM dealerships from ripping off customers.

- Grand Blanc, MI, USA

problem #95

Nov 182014


  • 10,500 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet cruz. The contact stated while driving at various speeds, there was a sudden increased of engine rpms as the engine hesitated to accelerate and jerked into gear without warning. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, where the failure was not duplicated. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 10,500. The VIN was unavailable.

- Piedmont, OH, USA

problem #94

Jan 202015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 58,586 miles
The first occurrence happened on Jan. 20th 2015 on my way to work, twice. I noticed because the radio turned off and the service esp flashed with the traction light coming on with multiple other lights flashing. All of this including the radio flashed/turned off and on for about 2 minutes. Over the next week this happened 5 or 6 times. All of these happened while going between 30 and 40 mph and on trips between 30-45 minutes. I had about a week with none of this happening and then on Feb. 8th I was driving home, 20 mins from start to finish and twice the engine power reduced came on and I could not drive any where. I was going about 35 mph. I was able to pull over and turn my car off and on both times and make it home. Now my check engine light is on and I'm not sure if I can even drive my car or if it will die on me again.

- Cary, IL, USA

problem #93

Feb 052015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 53,480 miles


While driving I lost engine power and had no foot throttle. The check light came on that stated reduced engine power and check stabilatrak. Shutting car off and restart did not fix. My car would not go over 4mph and I was nearly rear ended.

- Farmdale, OH, USA

problem #92

Feb 042015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
Was driving vehicle when the engine light came on and the computer flashed that the engine power was reduced. The car immediately dropped speed in the middle of traffic and I was able to coast to the side of the road with out being stuck by any cars behind me. Had I been on a highway I could have been killed. I have the computer that shows error codes when the check engine light comes on and it read that it was the throttle body. Now when I turn the care on it sometimes will immediately say reduced power. I called Chevy and they said it would be diagnosed by one of their dealerships. The first dealership said I will need to wait until March to come in, the next 2 weeks from now. In the meantime Chevy thinks it's safe to drive my car like this. A quick search of the internet shows this is not an uncommon problem for Chevy cars.

- Long Beach, NY, USA

problem #91

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 #90

Dec 262014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
Yes, I too had problems with my 2011 Chevy Cruze. I was very glad that nothing happened to me while I was driving the car, I was just sitting at an idle stage; when I had all the bells going off and it had told me that engine reduced power. I to had to go and get this fixed and again like everyone else it was the throttle body and fuel injection system; cost $460. Not even a month later now I have no heat in the car and reading all the forums sounds like I am going to have to replace a water pump; joy for me. At first I really did love this car, but I find that the after the warranty goes seems like the car is falling apart. We should not be having these issues this early in the car's life. I also find it very bad poor customer service on GM's part that they are turning a blind eye to this. These parts need to be recalled asap, why is no one doing anything about this?

- Walton, KY, USA

problem #89

Jan 122015


  • 45,000 miles


My daughter almost died driving it on Monday. She was on route 1 in college park, md when the check engine/reduced power light came on and she could go no more than 2-3 mph. This is a very busy road, and she was almost in a potentially tragic accident. We had the car towed to sport Chevrolet in silver spring, md (240-471-3190). Our service advisor ([xxx]:) informed me this morning that the fix is a throttle body replacement which will cost $648. In going on the Chevy forum website, this has happened multiple times to Chevy Cruze and Malibu models. It's only a matter of time until someone dies. The throttle body is only covered up to 35K so I had to pay out of pocket. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Myersville, MD, USA

problem #88

Jan 142015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 67,280 miles
As I was pulling out of my daughters school, my Cruze engine warning lights came on "reduced engine power" "check stablitrak" "service" warnings came on as well. My car lost all engine power and I was almost rear ended by a Dodge pickup, he was able to go up on the curb at the school and avoid an accident. Glad there was no one hurt on the curb. I checked the internet, re;, this is a known issues for GM for quite sometime now. GM customer service themselves is participating in the discussion there. It is a known issue with the throttle body. The throttle controls the power in the power train yet GM won't cover the repairs under their power train warranty. This isn't safe and it is known.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #87

Jan 072015


  • 62,500 miles
I was driving home from work in rush hour traffic. My speed dropped without warning from 35 mph to about 5 mph. I got a warning light indicating "engine power reduced" and the engine indicator light came on. I managed to pull car over to a side street and turned it off. I restarted it and the engine indicator light came on but I was able to make it home (about 12 miles). I called the service department at a local dealership to try to get some sort of idea of what was happening to my car. He suggested I call GM customer service and asked how many miles were on the car. I told him and he indicated the problem may be under a recall. Needless to say 5 days later I just heard from the service center that the problem is the throttle body assembly and it will cost me about $600+taxes to repair. He stated I have heavy carbon build up and something about the induction service. My biggest problem outside of not having six hundred dollars to give is that in November I paid $300+ to have the water pump replaced and three weeks before that it was in the shop and three weeks prior to that it was in the shop. I am so disappointed and hurt by all these repairs. I ended up with a Cruze because my Kia was hit head on in a crash and the frame was cracked. I had no problems with my Kia.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #86

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

problem #85

Jan 272014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
While driving at no specific speed the car alerts and says check engine, reduced engine speed, and check stabilizer traction control. The engine then powers down and will not accelerate. I was recently driving and this happened, to avoid an accident I ended up in a ditch and had to be towed out. I had the car repaired which was costly and was not covered under the power train warranty Chevy offers. I feel that this is a very dangerous defect on the car and should be addressed as a recall, due to the first time I tried to have the car repaired I was told it was gonna be 4-6 weeks to wait on the part because they were on back order because they have had quite a few cars with the same problem. When I addressed this issue with Chevy they had no concern that a car losing power while traveling was no big deal. I was nearly rear ended by a semi-truck and was forced into a ditch.

- Kankakee, IL, USA

problem #84

Dec 152014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 55,450 miles
Heater at first did not work; dealer removed air bubbles and topped off radiator. The dealer mechanics mentioned that typically the thermostats or temperature sensors have gone in the Cruze. 2 weeks later - sure enough, back at dealership - need 2 temperature sensors now. Based on blog activities - it seems like these warrant a recall.

- Rowley, MA, USA

problem #83

Oct 152014


  • 101,300 miles
I was pulling out of a gas station, use to my normal power and almost got hit because my car wouldn't go over 15mph floored. Then looked down and saw a engine power is reduced, service stabili trak and service traction control. So I took to a mechanic he hooked it up and the code showed up as my throttle body position sensor. They replaced it and drove it and it drove fine for about two weeks. I was just going down the road then all of a sudden my car did the same thing. I lost power so fast that I about got rear ended. Took it back to the body shop and showed the same code so they replaced the part again. And two days after all this my car is doing this again. This is extremely dangerous at how it looses engine power. It looses it so fast that someone can get hurt extremely bad.

- Rutledge , TN, USA

problem #82

Oct 242012


  • 26,000 miles
I am notifying you that I have had my water pump replaced three times since I have owned the car which was bought in April of 2012 with 9,000 miles on it, it seems every fall I am replacing the water pump as it has some sort of leak internally. It is very frustrating to continue to have this problem. Now recently my turbo oil line sprung a leak at 92,000 miles and so did my transmission oil line so it was back in the repair shop. I have also had to replace the heated seat element as this has burnt out somehow. This car has been very frustrating mechanically but otherwise love my Cruze. Is there anything I can do besides wait for the 4th water pump to claim a lemon under the lemon law?

- Cresco, IA, USA

problem #81

Nov 302014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Was traveling on the highway with cruise control set at 67mph when suddenly the car just lost power and the engine quit running. All of the dashboard instruments lost power, gas gauge registered empty, etc. Although the radio did not go off. Luckily this happened with very light traffic and was able to pull off in the emergency lane and put the vehicle in park and restarted the vehicle with no trouble. Continued our trip and did not happen again. After thinking about this I did notice the vehicle a few weeks ago losing some accelerating speed/power intermittently while traveling. Not sure if that was an indicator or not. Did call onstar approximately 5 hours after incident to diagnose and see if any error codes came up and they stated they showed nothing. This is my daughters vehicle and I fear that if she is traveling in heavy traffic and this happens again that this could cause a sever accident.

- Fraser, MI, USA

problem #80

Dec 042013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Vehicle shutdown while driving on highway, several times. The car electric turns off and or flashes, stabiltrak lights come on and flashes, check engine flashing, car completely shuts down, steering is electronic or motor powered and is hard to use, transmission jerks before shutdown and breaks don't work very well. Ran over curb and off the road to avoid colliding with other vehicles. Picture, im driving on a highway at night doing 65 or so, all power goes out, its dark, other cars can not see me well, they are swerving and im swerving. This happened first around 20K and has happened on several occasions after. No corrections offered by GM under warranty, complaints were completely ignored, until murdock Chevy in manhattan ks. They are currently trying to get it fixed and gave me a loner car, all other servicing dealers refused a loaner car, and told me its fixed each time. Car still has the problems listed and no solution is given from GM or Chevy to fix this deadly situation. Also damage to the car from an engine overheat or dashboard overheat at the same time damaging electric, windshield, radio, gauges and dash compartment lever. Extreme heat, burning smell inside. Floorboard by the feet melts carpet and burns feet, all at the same time, on drives of 30 minutes or more.

- Junction City, KS, USA

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