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 5 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #59

Dec 012013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles


Radio flashes on and off an instrument cluster is flashing warning light. Engine runs rough sometimes and ac blower motor turned on and off sometimes and turn signal indicator continue flashing but does not make it usual but clicking and then resumes clicking noise.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #58

Jun 072014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
The turbocharger, due to a faulty bearing as I am being told by a certified mechanic has caused the blade inside the turbocharger to become unstable causing it slam against the parts inside the charger, thus creating a loud what I can only describe as putting a pen in a metal fan blade while it is spinning. I have the power-train warranty still on the car, but I have been reading online in public forums where this becoming a common issue for this vehicle between the mileage ranges of 30-60 thousand. Please look into this issue my wife was driving the car at the time when it initially started making the noise at about 60 mph on the interstate with our two children in the car. Thankfully she was nearly home where we have the car checked out and it was determined to be the turbocharger.

- Independence , MO, USA

problem #57

May 012014


  • 40,000 miles
While cruising along the highway at 65 mph, suddenly the engine stalls as if all the fuel had stopped going to it. After a few seconds of stall and slowing down while pressing on the gas all the time, it suddenly began picking up speed again. However, there was an extremely large cloud of smoke coming out the rear of the car. This occurred 4-5 more times before I arrived at home. I took it to the dealer the next business day. After several days the dealer reported the problem would be covered by warranty. Three weeks later I get the car back from the dealer who reported the engine had "bad pistons". apparently there had been a notice to dealers regarding this problem and how to fix it. The dealer did provide a new loaner Malibu while repairing my car. At 40,000 miles and have to have the engine rebuilt does not enhance confidence in the new GM.

- Chickasha, OK, USA

problem #56

May 202014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 64,425 miles


The car has been losing power over the past few months while under warranty. I kept taking it back to the Chevy dealership and they said nothing was wrong and reset the light. However now the car will not barely go, I have power but its forced and its as if I have to push the car up the hills to go. I live in Pennsylvania so this is not an ideal situation, but I have had my oil changed regularly every 3,000 miles although other issues have occurred with the car like the cooling system and the temp gage this time I have had it checked professionally with an outside consult rather than going to the dealership and they stated that it is my turbo it doesn't work and probably hasn't worked properly on my car. I have been on several forums for Chevy Cruze and it seems like there are lots of people with this issue as well.

- New Salem , PA, USA

problem #55

Aug 082012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 9,800 miles
In 2012 I started having issues with my vehicle "Chevrolet Cruze 2011" and the vehicle is now or has been under gps based surveillance. The vehicles surveillance became aware to me during 2013 when I noticed constant beeping sounds. These were not the chime sounds indicating "vehicle service needed", these are post beeps or "hard drive access". the post beeps indicate access to the vehicles electronics system and compromising "electrical safety" and "sole operator owner" abilities. Any time I step near the vehicle it would "sound off" indicating I approached the vehicle. Any time any other person approached the vehicle it would not "sound off". any time I enter the vehicle the, car would "sound off". any time any other persons would enter the vehicle it would not "sound off". when beginning a trip the vehicle would "sound off". when reaching a stop or destination the vehicle would "sound off". when stopping at a stop light the or any stop sign or vehicle halt the vehicle would "sound off". the vehicles electrical system has been compromised, allowing malfunction and alterations of vehicle calibration "assumption". I have had electrical flaws within the vehicle such as the fans never shutting off since the stalking began. Sounding off would be the audible post beeping hdd access sound, indicating information transfer within the vehicles computer system. This event is unheard of, and is undocumented on the internet, I also was able to verify with others that was not a noticeable event. This is a deliberate targeting and isolated harassment of myself and my personal life from a unknown source remotely.

- New Paltz, NY, USA

problem #54

Sep 122011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
I was stopped at a light and when the light turned green, I tried to accelerate and my car nearly stalled. The idle went real low and I pushed my foot down on the throttle and got no response for a few seconds then the engine revved up and responded by quickly going through gears to catch me back up to speed with all other traffic. This occurs infrequently, but it has occurred more than an handful and less than a dozen times since I bought the vehicle. I have the turbo charged engine and do follow the guidelines for gradual pedal pressure to accelerate my vehicle but a near stall is not a byproduct of a heavy foot on my part. Aside from the safety concerns, my job requires me to commute around 55 miles/day and I can't have a malfunctioning car or one that is constantly being called back to the shop for a recall. I have already taken at least 3 days off since purchasing this car to take it into the shop for repairs/recalls. I bought a new car to avoid these frustrations. Currently, I have less than 40,000 miles (mostly highway) on this car. I don't think this is typical for a new car with low mileage. Updated 11/24/2014

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #53

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 #52

Apr 012013


  • miles
When accelerating transmission will not respond for a couple of seconds then when it does respond the whole car jerks when it goes into gear. I have taken it to the dealership and was told that they could not duplicate the problem. I now have 40000 plus miles and still having the same problem.

- Fort Gratiot, MI, USA

problem #51

May 082014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
The 2011 Cruze should be taken off the market. This car has caused me to almost crash 10 times in the past month that I have had it. There has to be a defect with the acceleration of the car. When I merge on to the interstate and try and speed up the car stalls out and has a hard time shifting. Thousands of others have complained about the same issue. This is a hazard to vehichle owners as well as other motorist. When will something be done about this? GM should have to fix these units.

- Selma, AL, USA

problem #50

Jan 182013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 27,514 miles
Car overheated on drive home. Pulled over immediately and had car towed to dealership. Water pump was replaced. Since that time can continually smell antifreeze inside car. Also have found puddles under car several times. Have taken car back to dealership. Was told they could find no leak. They stated the surge tank cap was loose and that they refilled tank. But it still smells. It is serviced by the dealership only. So why are they having to tighten the cap" and are they having to fill the surge tank repeatedly"

- Canton, GA, USA

problem #49

Apr 072014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 68,906 miles


I purchased the 2011 Chevy Cruze with approx 55 K. when I drove the car at the lot everything seemed to be in good working order. The next day I kept hearing a surge like sound in the engine and when the accelerator was pushed the car would not gain any speed or power. I contacted the dealer and explained what was going on with the car and was told that this was common in the Chevy Cruze because of the engine size and that why the car is able to get such great gas mileage. I could not stand the noise any longer March 19, 2014 I took the car to the dealers service department where car was purchased. I informed them of the issues I was having with the surging sound and the loss of speed & power. The next day informed me they could not hear any surging sound and only found 1 problem leaking thermostat. I was referred to the GM dealer to get fixed under the powertrain warranty. It has not even been a full year since I purchased this car. On April 7th 2014 I was driving on the freeway during rush hour and all of sudden I hear a dinging sound all the engine lights came on, along with the hazards lights and the car began to lose power, the center panel kept reading transmission hot idle engine. I had not had any other previous warnings, all the gauges appeared to be normal with no sign of over heating. I contacted the Chevy dealer and took the car down right away.explained to them what happened and the issues the diagnoses that was given from the service dept where car was purchased. The next day the Chevy dealer contacted me and said they had replace the water pump. Also the transmission had burnt oil and needs to be flushed and it was not covered under the warranty. They too could not find anything else wrong as to why transmission is running hot, not even with the surging sound and lose of power. April 11th 2014 had the same issues again.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #48

Oct 012013


  • 49,000 miles
Problem started close to winter, October 2013. Coolant level slowly decreased, not concerned at the time, just topped off during oil changes. Fast forward to April 2014, refill of coolant needed daily if heat is used. Coolant tank is completely empty after car is off and sitting for a few hours! large puddle of coolant under engine, not the radiator. Remains to be a slow leak. When heat is on, coolant begins to slowly leak underneath engine. Temp gauge is always normal. No signs of overheating, no excess coolant in engine bay. All routine maintenance completed by Chevrolet dealerships. Dex (GM specific coolant, orange in color) coolant used exclusively. Every time heat is turn on, at any temp, at any fan speed, at any setting (defrost, floor, etc.) there is a strong odor of burning/hot coolant. I am unable to put my children in vehicle!, when heat is needed in vehicle. Odor is too strong and children complained of nausea and lightheadedness. To many instances similar to this listed. GM needs to provide resolution.

- Dawsonville, GA, USA

problem #47

Apr 022013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 8,115 miles
Hesitant acceleration issue. After coming to a stop. I put my foot on accelerator and vehicle did not go forward at first. Then engine rev up but vehicle started to move slowly. When it did I could only go 27 mph in a 45 mph zone. Had to pull over and turn off vehicle. This is a very dangerous issue when trying to merge on to a highway. Went to two authorized Chevrolet dealers on 12/02/13 and 4/02/14. Both dealers stated they could not duplicate problem and all trouble codes indicated everything is ok. Which it is not. This is a 1.4 turbo 4 engine. I am afraid to drive this vehicle. Please help!

- West Chester, PA, USA

problem #46

Mar 152014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 48,200 miles
Since I first purchased my 2011 Cruze, I have experienced hesitations in the automatic transmission changing between second and third gear (approximately between 35-40 mph). In the last month, the hesitations happen every time I start from a stationary position. Some of the hesitations are more pronounced (I.e., an actual lurching of the vehicle). There have also been occurrences of the car not responding properly to pressing the acceleration pedal. I found this very alarming, as it happened during rush hour traffic.

- Seabrook, TX, USA

problem #45

Jan 172011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
6 to 8 recalls...and the transmission jerks when you take off from a stop since day one. Keep taking to dealer and they claim to not find anything. (1/17/2011-now) the brake peddle switch had to be replaced. (1/2014) the spark plugs and coil pack had to be replaced due to the spark plug being tightened to tight from the factory! engine light came on indicated the service traction control system. (3/12/2014) was driving home from work as always and the engine light came on and indicated that the ac cut off due to engine over heating. (3/21/2014) this car has been a lemon from day one. It stays in the dealer service more that we drive it...

- Edgefield , SC, USA

problem #44

Dec 062013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 39,243 miles
On 12/12/13 my problems with my 2011 Chevy Cruze began. The engine began making a humming noise, the check engine light would come on intermittently, it began to randomly lose power and overheat. On 12/20/13 3-way Chevrolet replaced the cam phase and water pump. On 01/01/14, the vehicle began making the same humming noise but louder and had a consistent loss of power. On 01/08/14, 3-way replaced the turbo charger. I picked up the vehicle on 01/09/14 and within 1 hour the check engine light came back on. I took the vehicle back to 3-way on 01/10/2014 and did not get the vehicle back until 02/20/2014. During that time, the cylinder head and valves were replaced, pistons and rings were replaced, injectors and coils were swapped from another vehicle and the car still had misfire. A GM engineer was brought in and the turbo charger was replaced again and the oil feed line was plugged. On 02/21/14, I noticed fluid in my driveway. The car is leaking something and the power is still not consistent. I contacted 3-way late Friday and am waiting for a call back. I have be inconvenienced beyond words, the vehicle is unsafe and I want GM to purchase the car back.

- Bakersfielc, CA, USA

problem #43

Feb 112014


  • 75,000 miles
Turned on car in the morning and received 2 messages of "engine power reduced", "service stabili-trac", service traction control" as well as a check engine light. Engine would not go above 1500 RPM's. took it into dealer and was told that I had a transmission leak and because they didn't have time they wanted me to reschedule for the following week. Problem continued to happen and on my way in to work on 02/11/14 the problem happened two times in the morning and was forced to put car in park turn off engine and restart. Then happens 3 times once on a very busy highway into downtown denver and twice in downtown. Called dealership and was told that I needed to bring it in. Was told that it was the "throttle body" which is a $450 fix not covered under power train warranty. With so many people having this problem and almost being hit every time it happens due to it happening abruptly when cold it is a clear safety issue and needs to be recalled. I sense that if they don't there will be a class action law suite in their future.

- Henderson, CO, USA

problem #42

Feb 122014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 41,432 miles
While driving on the highway my "engine power reduced","service traction control", and "service stabilitrak" warning notices appeared. Frantically I pulled over on the up coming exit ramp, even though the engine would not go over 5 mph with my gas pedal pushed all the way to the floor, and was fortunate not to be hit with my 3 children in the car. After doing my research, I turned off the car let it rest and continued driving only for it to happen 4 more times with in 25 minutes. This has also happened 3 other times throughout the week! there seems to be no answer from the dealership even though I took pictures of the warning lights and provided many other exactly similar complaints all across the country! I will not drive this car and especially not with my children in it I have just wasted 16K of my money ! why is there not a solution for this issue yet and if there is why does it take such extreme remedies to find the solution. This is a recall material situation! I would like someone to call me in regards to this situation, I feel there is no excuse my children and I could have died tonight !

- Willow Springs, IL, USA

problem #41

Feb 052014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
While parked in a parking lot waiting for the snowy conditions to slow down, I waited about 15 minutes with my car on idle. I pulled out of the parking spot to go to my destination. As I was on drive, my car slowed down to 5 mph and couldn't accelerate, message pulled up on my screen saying "engine power is reduced". took it to the dealership and quoted me $500 to fix the valve body system. I've read on a forum that this is a common problem for this model.

- Milford, MI, USA

problem #40

Feb 032014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 97,213 miles
My 2011 Chevy Cruze ltz went in to reduced engine power mode and said to service stabilitrak and traction control. This happened in below freezing temperatures with frozen precipitation on the ground. Research online indicates this is a common problem with Chevy Cruze vehicles. The car was drive able after powering down for a few seconds, but a few miles down the road it would go into reduced engine power mode again. This has happened multiple times over the last week. Likely throttle body problem.

- Seminole, OK, USA

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