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 4 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #79

Apr 212014


  • 88,895 miles


On this date we scheduled a oil change with a dealer who has performed all maintenance, recalls and repairs since the purchase of our new car. We where notified that the car was ready for pick up that morning as we arrived we paid our invoice, the consultant made us aware that the engine light came on (first time since new?) this consultant did not document this engine light to our records. Well, the engine light kept going off and on during the next 10K miles (2 oil change later, out of warranty, my fault) I had this check engine light diagnosed by our dealer and they had the codes and then further tried to correct the problem. They wanted $800 to install a new air intake manifold and throttle body then continue to test for more problems with no guarantee of repair. I could not afford the repair and declined the fix. The other problem surrounding this car since April 21, 2014 was that the fuel gauge would not show full after fill up and would move up and down the scale on the gauge. The ac would come on at strange times when running the heater" well any ways that was 7 hours at the dealer and made for a long day. I had to return to pick up the cover they forgot to install over the spark plugs, and complained about the leather sets being soaking wet with water and that the car has had these problems since April 2014 under warranty, the dealer did not want to help us? I purchased this car from them and purchased the 35K oil change extended warranty and bumper to bumper warranty" this dealer did all ! the maintenance, recalls and repairs. I'm glad we didn't go over the 1000 foot cliff at yellowstone when the brakes decided not to work (we learned later of the brake recall) they have a excuse for every question you ask, no reports on the all point inspection on our brakes and tires, password problem they say? I'm ready to buy a truck elsewhere now, poor GM an Chevy.

- Walnut Creek, CA, USA

problem #78

Oct 182014


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving 65 mph, the vehicle started jerking and the contact was unable to shift gears. The engine stalled and was taken to the dealer, but the failure could not be diagnosed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 67,000.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #77

Nov 182014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
The vehicle would not shift out of park nor remove the key. The wheel was locked as well as the shift lever. The car would turn on however would not move. There was no lights in the vehicle.

- Garden City, MI, USA

problem #76

Nov 182014


  • 95,000 miles


Vehicle has had water pump replaced earlier this year under warranty - and had the turbo charger replaced last week under warranty. Not covered under warranty last week was a "leaking" battery. Since battery was original - I felt it was worth replacing. Yesterday, while driving to work, the check engine light came on and the heater stopped working. Today - the dealer calls me and states that they need to replace a hose and outlet. There was no leak yesterday - and they state that there is a leak and this is the reason. They want $250 for repairs. The hose was fine yesterday - and the outlet should have been replaced with the water pump (actually they should have replaced the hose at that time also). No response from GM quality care. Over $500 in the last two weeks - and I am not certain that this issue is over. It has also had two computers replaced when I first got it.

- Royse City, TX, USA

problem #75

Jun 132012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 31,000 miles
My wife notice the coolant reservoir level had falling well below the full mark. She notified me that she needed coolant added. So we both inspected the car and could not find any leaks so elected to fill the reservoir and notified the dealer. The dealer found that the water pump seal was bad and that the coolant would drip onto the underlying pan and evaporate not leaving a trace of a leak. This was part of a recall so the repair was made. April 2014, mileage 88000. Another coolant leak, outlet manifold and hose failure. Not covered under warranties due to it being a hose. So I was charged $243.80 for what turned out to be a outlet manifold, attached to the engine (failure). Because a hose was attached to it they claimed it was not covered! my invoice reads $180 labor, $20.60 coolant, outlet $30.08 and hose $13.12. 11/18/2014, another coolant leak. I have an appointment on 11/20/2014 with the dealer and I'm going to ask for a refund due to in my opinion excessive coolant problems. I believe this could effect the engine cooling performance and damage the engine if not already. I have paid for the full warranty package when the car was purchased plus extended warranty package. The dealer is the only service dept. To ever touch this car.

- Walnut Creek, CA, USA

problem #74

Nov 172014


  • 34,000 miles
Was driving the Cruze, a message flushed in screen "ac turned off due to high engine temp" ac was not on, heat was not working, turned off blower, the screen changed to engine overheated idle engine, then changes to partial power loss and the car became sluggish, I had to continue driving until a safe place was available to pull off, then the reactions control light started blinking and my oil life indicator told me to change oil before returning to the partial power loss message. I towed to dealer.

- Sweet Valley , PA, USA

problem #73

Oct 042014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles


Oil leakage on top of engine, smell of burning oil, loud sound of vehicle, car misfires.

- Wakefield, MI, USA

problem #72

Oct 142014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Engine shaking violently while idling. Stabiltrak warning on. Acting like it was going to die. Scared it would die while in traffic.

- Embarrass, MN, USA

problem #71

Apr 012013


  • 40,000 miles
Hello, my name is [xxx] and I am an israeli citizen. I own a Chevrolet Cruze 2011, israeli VIN: [xxx]. I read the articles regarding issues found in the vehicle's ignition switch for some Chevrolet models but I haven?T read about cruse as a suspect to such an issue. I wanted to pay your attention to an issue I had with my car around 1.5 years ago which is similar behavior to what you found out with the other models. After starting the engine while in parking, I switched the gear to reverse and started to drive back to get out of the parking space when suddenly I lost the steering of the wheel (like there was no oil pressure) and lost the brakes (the paddle was stiff and did not control the wheels). During the incident my family, including my wife, was with me in the car. My wife immediately understood that something was wrong and started to ask me what is the matter (she was an eye witness to the scenario). I had to shut down the engine (turned the key to off) and started the engine back again in order for the car to start reacting properly again. Needless to say my wife and I were shocked by this and I took the car on the morning of the next day to the formal Chevrolet garage to report the incident and request them to check what went wrong here (as the formal garage ? they hold an historical record of my complaint). After I was told by the garage that they couldn't find any problem, I had no choice but to accept the car but it bugged me until present time. In order to make sure your investigation will not skip a possible fatal issue with the cruse model (if the issues are the same), I simply wanted to point your attention to my small "adventure". please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to assist you further (if needed) ? email: [xxx] cellular:[xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Please Disregard The State..., KS, USA

problem #70

Sep 122014


  • 139,200 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving 65-70 mph, the accelerator pedal extended to the floorboard when it was depressed and the contact heard an abnormal noise coming from the engine. The check engine warning indicator illuminated. Additionally, while the vehicle was at a complete stop, the accelerator pedal was depressed, but the vehicle only accelerated to 5 mph. The dealer stated that the transmission fluid needed to be flushed. The vehicle was repaired. The contact stated that the transmission was hot and the engine warning indicator illuminated. The dealer stated that the failure was normal wear and tear. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 139,200.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #69

Sep 042014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 14,890 miles


While driving the ac blows cold air through the top vents but hot air from the bottom vent on the driver side. The area on the center console that touches the driver's leg becomes hot to touch and extremely uncomfortable while driving for more than 1 hour. This area should not be this hot and so far no one has been able to identify the reason for the overheating of the center console area.

- Lutz, FL, USA

problem #68

Aug 282014


  • 68,545 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving approximately 65 mph, the service traction control, service stability tract, engine, and ABS warning lights illuminated independently. Also, the vehicle decelerated to 19 mph. The contact maneuvered the vehicle to the side of the road where the vehicle stalled. The contact was not able to get the vehicle restarted. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 68,545.

- St. Charles, MO, USA

problem #67

Apr 042013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
Engine has stalled acceleration also known as throttle lag it is dangerous because you don't know when its going to do it and could cause an accident when pulling out into traffic. Also transmission has a delayed engaging intraffic when you are stopped.

- Glasgow, KY, USA

problem #66

Aug 252014


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the tires started shaking and the vehicle stalled. The contact restarted the vehicle and after 10 seconds the failure recurred. The contact mentioned that the check engine light and service power steering message illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000.

- San Jacinto, CA, USA

problem #65

Mar 172011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
We have a loss of engine power at any speed and two errors come up, "service stabilitrack" and "service traction control". engine loses power and cannot maintain speed especially dangerous when trying to maintain freeway speeds. Also happens at low speeds, 10 to 25 mph. Therefore it can happen at any speed. Can reset by removing battery cable, but will happen again within a day or two. This issue started about 6 months ago. Happens all the time now and is very dangerous. Went on line and found blogs where other people are also having this same issue. They are the ones that suggested we take off the battery cable to reset. We checked all the fuses as one blog said and they are all ok. Called Chevy dealer and they had no recall and wanted 100 dollars to look at it and then decide if it fell under warranty. Purchased car at 43,000 miles, currently at 73,000 miles. The issue used to happen from time to time now it happens all the time. There should be a recall for this issue. The dealership does not think it is covered by the warranty but will not say until we take it in to have it serviced. We might add we have a standard transmission as this may different than the automatic transmissions. Trying to shift without any engine power is a process in terror on the freeway.

- Oak Grove, MO, USA

problem #64

Aug 062014


  • 21,000 miles
The contact owns 2011 Chevrolet cruise. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, an unknown warning light illuminated as the engine overheated. The failure occurred while the contact was shutting off the air conditioner, which caused the front window to become fogged. The failure occurred on one occasion. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or mechanic. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 21,000.

- Syare, OK, USA

problem #63

Jul 192014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 65,625 miles
This exact same thing has happened 2 times. While driving normally 'service esp' and 'service traction control' warnings come on along with the engine light and the 'stabilitrak' light. The engine remains running but does not supply power to the wheels resulting in a total loss of power to the car. The first time it happened, I took it to a certified Chevy dealer who told me it was a battery issue and replaced the battery. Didn't work. Happened again within a week. This situation is very unsafe as the vehicle could be stuck powerless in the middle of a turn or a number of other dangerous situation. The car is not on GM's recall list for any of the ongoing recall issues.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #62

Jul 092014


  • 43,749 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, where no diagnosis or repairs were made. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 43,749 and the current was unknown.

- Plaquemine, LA, USA

problem #61

Jun 302014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
While driving home noticed that the temp gauge was moving and then as I slowed in traffic the gauge went from cool to hot within seconds. Warning came up on dash that ac was being powered off due to overheating and then suddenly it was gone and the ac came back on and the gauge dropped. Within 10 minutes the same warning happened again but the temperature gauge did not move and the check engine light came on. Ended up being the water pump which was covered under warranty.

- Land O Lakes, FL, USA

problem #60

Apr 012014


  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while traveling 40 mph, the vehicle decreased in acceleration and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was restarted and the failure persisted. The failure occurred on several occasions. The vehicle was diagnosed by a private mechanic and it was advised that the vacuum switch needed be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The failure mileage was 42,000 and the current mileage was 47,000.

- Fairmont, WV, USA

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