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 6 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #39

Jan 232014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 73,710 miles


My children & I almost didn't make it home! was experiencing issues with the heat not heating up the car on Tuesday and on yesterday, I was driving North on the 394 expressway and received an error message on my dashboard of "A/C shut off due to high temperatures" so I turned the heat off and the gauge slowed moved back down. However, after driving a short distance further the temperature gauge had moved all the way to the "red" line and I receive the error message to "shut the engine down" because of overheating. I immediately pulled and slowly the gauge moved back to the normal position. I called the dealership that worked on my car less than 3 weeks ago and the service advisor informed me that it may be another glitch but he wanted to ensure that all of my fluids were fine and since I wasn't very far from the dealership to bring the car in (even though their service dept was closing in about 20 mins). After looking at the car, the service advisor informed that just about all of the coolant ran out and there was probably an issue with the water pump. I was shocked, bothered & frustrated because it had been less than a month that I just had to have this car worked on. Fortunately, the water pump didn't cost me anything due to it still being under warranty but that still doesn't change the fact that I'm a very dissatisfied customer.

- Olympia Fields, IL, USA

problem #38

Dec 102013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
Driving home from work on busy tollway, after it snowed all of a sudden my service stabilitrak-reduced engine power lights came on. The car cut to 20 miles per hour.I couldn't go any faster and nowhere to pull over since the tollway was under off the tollway called the dealer to take it in.the Chevy dealer told me to shut the car off wait 5 min. It will reset. Ok it did, took it the next day to Chevy, they cant find anything wrong, took it home. Went to work 3 days later it did it again I brought it back to Chevy still cant find out what is wrong.this car has continued to do this 15 more times.the reason why I am telling you this is because there is a problem with these cars there have been more Chevy Cruze with the same problem.I am afraid to drive this car I have borrowed a car to get to work, the first time this happened to me on the tollway I thought my life was over it could have caused a serious accident im glad im here to tell someone about my problem and hope someone takes some action with it.

- Marengo, IL, USA

problem #37

Jan 292013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
The car check engine light came on, then it said power reduced. Luckily no one was behind me. If I let the car set for a bit, it will start and run ok. The problem occurs only in the winter when it's damp or foggy and the temperature is at freezing. In the winter of 2013, it happened twice. It happened again on 01/07/14. I had the car towed to a mechanic, and was told that although the car's computer told him when it happened, it could not be determined why it happened. When it is warmer outside, it ran fine and probably will until it gets colder again! I asked the dealer if this was a problem anyone else was experiencing and was told no. Based on what I see from postings on various websites, I am not alone! the throttle body appears to be an obvious a factory defect, but GM won't offer a recall. I commute about 60 miles to work each way, so the car is well beyond its warranty. It would be nice to not have to watch the weather report to decide if I think the car is safe to drive because it might cold enough to have it happen again. I was contacted by Chevrolet customer service, and was told that they would check into the problem with my car. All they did was refer me to my dealership where it would be fixed at my expense, and did not recognize or admit that this is a problem with the design of the engine (factory defect). GM will not recognize that there is a problem with the 2011 Cruze that many people are dealing with. The conditions under which the car loses power (cold weather) cannot be simulated by the dealership mechanics because their diagnostics in a heated garage. The problem has not and will not show up when they test it. When the car loses power it happens abruptly. This is a safety concern as the car cannot maintain its speed, and during heavy traffic flow it is likely that someone is going to end up in a crash as a result. It is a defect with the car!

- Sardinia, OH, USA

problem #36

Nov 222013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles


Sudden loss of engine power. The first occurrence happened exiting a fast moving expressway. The engine suddenly stopped power and the car was reduced to less than 5 miles an hour. The car was pulled to the shoulder and turned off. Eventually after restarting the car the engine went to full power and the car reached its destination. There was some luck involved as traffic was light. Since, the loss of power has happened five more times. At least one occurrence was very dangerous - pulling from a stop sign onto a busy road. I feel that this issue makes the Cruze one of the most dangerous cars on the road. The issue happens without warning and can happen at 65 miles an hour or from a stop. I know that I am not the only person with this issue and I am upset that this has not been addressed by Chevrolet. Thanks for the opportunity to voice my concern and hopefully help others.

- Gurnee, IL, USA

problem #35

Oct 312013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 51,100 miles
1.4 liter 2011 Cruze heater blowing cool air. GM inspection done on 10/17/13 and they said everything was good. They told me not to worry about the intermittent check engine light that keeps coming on. This happened within two weeks. We added a almost a quart of coolant following the directions in the owners manual. Now a month later it is a quart low again blowing cool air from the heater and a strong sweet smell permeates the car. The car also fails to properly brake at times and gain speed at times. It has stalled while idling at stoplights. There is a oily residue on the plastic shield located near the oil pan.

- Embarrass, MN, USA

problem #34

Nov 072013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 92,751 miles
2011 4dr eco.vehicle leaking antifreeze, strong smell of coolant and recall NHTSA campaign 12V288 GM 12081 oil on engine shield, repair done 11/7/2013 while visiting Colorado springs, co... dealer invo claims thermostat housing leaking, replaced control not holding...not address...11-12-2013 2nd failure coolant leak and oil mileage at failure 93513 dealer found leak at the corner of water outlet on rear cylinder head, and replaced outlet tube..11-23-13 went to start my car found antifreeze and oil leaking on the ground....calling dealer in Colorado springs again...this is [xxx]...something when its cold is causing coolant and oil to leak...found many service bulletins for these items and 2 recalls for this problem... information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #33

Nov 032013


  • 101,263 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated while driving 55 mph, the vehicle over heated and the check engine warning lamp illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the technician diagnosed that the cooling system was defective which caused the cooling fluid and oil to mix. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 101,263.

- Elmwood, TN, USA

problem #32

Apr 132013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 59,214 miles
While driving at any speed for it has happened several times the RPM's go so high the car accelerates and it sounds like the engine is going to blow up... at the same time the steering column locks and I loose all ability to steer the vehicle and the brake also try to lock. Making the car feel like I ran something over and it stuck under the car.... pulling the emergency brake and putting the car in neutral help bring it to a stop-

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #31

Dec 022010

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 350 miles
My 2011 Chevy Cruze has an acceleration hesitation. Starting about 2 months after I bought the car in 2010 the issue began. When I need to accelerate in certain situations such as pulling out on a road, passing another vehicle, accelerating after reducing speed, etc. Etc. The car loses power when I step on the gas for three-five seconds before slowly responding and accelerating to where I need it to be. It's as if the car dies for a few seconds. Those few seconds are always in situations when I need to be moving. I brought the car in to the dealership and was told that it was normal.the issue is getting worse so I brought the car in to dealership again and was told there was nothing car was in for other recalls and they gave me a loaner 2013 Cruze to drive. The newer Cruze did not have the hesitation problem at all, it drove beautifully. There are thousands of people with the same year, make and model that have this same issue. It is dangerous!! just because no one that we know of hasn't died yet that doesn't mean that there isn't an issue. The 2011 Cruze is unsafe and someone needs to do something about it.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #30

Sep 062011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 4,554 miles
I purchased this vehicle new from a Chevy dealership in eden prairie, mn. After only 2 mths, it began intermittently hesitating, lurching forward when attempting to accelerate (while sometimes blowing hot air from the ac) & refusing to accelerate. Multiple times it has completely stalled out (while driving 30-40 mph on a highway & when accelerating from a stop on a hill resulting in rolling backward). It is currently at the dealership for the 4th time for this specific issue, but does not show any codes (no ses light). They have made many repairs in an attempt to fix this issue (leaking water pump, reprograms, wastegate solenoid replacement, etc), but the problem still persists. I am concerned that my car will stall while on a highway or passing through an intersection, which would pose a huge safety threat. I have seen numerous similar complaints & would like GM to accept responsibility & replace/recall these vehicles.

- Middleton, WI, USA

problem #29

Feb 042013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles


Vehicle is gradually losing(not leaking) antifreeze and dealers not coming clean with the truth they know. Our personal mechanic(25yrs) has gone over the engine/car and no visible or via testing, shows a leak. Latest antifreeze fill needed approx 1/2 to 3/4gal of antifreeze. Failed on inspection for low coolant

- Centerport, NY, USA

problem #28

Feb 012012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
After about 10,000 miles the car hesitates when the accelerator is pushed. Around 20 to 30 mph when needing to speed up the vehicle the vehicle will stall the transmission will then kick in with noise. Very unsafe to drive in moderate to heavy traffic in cities. I have been in traffic with multiple lanes and wanting to pass someone. When pushing the accelerator to pass the car just sits there! then after a hesitation the car will pop then finally move. Car has been in the shop for this problem at the dealership where they state nothing is wrong with the car. I even had one of the mechanics tell me that for these types of transmissions it is normal! how can this be safe! if I wasn't aware of my driving and a very good driver I would have had multiple wrecks with this issue. Luckily I have been able to over correct when the situation occurs. At one point I had to pull off the interstate due to the fact I was pushing the gas petal all the way to the floor and my car just stalled at 23 mph for over 15 seconds until I pulled over, released the petal and engaged again.

- Ennis, TX, USA

problem #27

Jun 242013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 21,500 miles
Vehicle failed to accelerate off of the on ramp onto the highway. The engine could be heard revving up, but did not increase in speed. When exiting the highway, I pull off to the side of the road, shifted the vehicle into park, then back into drive and the vehicle would not go forward. Even in manual mode the car would not shift into a forward moving driver.

- Saint Joseph, MO, USA

problem #26

Oct 112012


  • 26,776 miles
On 10/11/2012, and 10/18/2012, and 11/20/2012 I experienced "dragging" while attempting to accelerate. The car acted as if it didn't want to go into the next gear. Eventually it did, but not before struggling to do so. I had it towed to the dealership all 3 times at their expense because it was still under warranty. The car has been serviced 3 times for the same issue, but it hasn't been completely resolved. 90% of the time there is still some hesitation somewhere between 13 to 45 mph. So much so that even a passenger has felt it upon occasion. I don't feel safe in this vehicle at all times and I'm worried that I'll eventually be stranded again. Even though it's been serviced 3 times I still have no peace about the situation because the car is still malfunctioning.

- Clinton Twp, MI, USA

problem #25

May 122013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 40,803 miles
The car has been running great and on Sunday I noticed that it seemed to be running away with itself and sounded like the air conditioner was on when it was not. Took it to a shop here with stanley auto groups permission, they had the mechanic put a machine on it and it came up with a code and the stanley auto group person told him it was a thermostat problem. I work at a church and my pastor looked it up and found there was a recall from the NHTSA. I then called a Chevrolet dealer and he said there was no recall. I think the Chevrolet dealership is giving me the run around because there have been several recalls since I bought the auto in spetember of 2012 and have never gotten a recall notice.

- Childress, TX, USA

problem #24

Oct 082012


  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the check engine warning lamp illuminated and the temperature gauge went from normal to extremely hot in matters of seconds. The contact mentioned that the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealer multiple times. The technician stated that the coolant needed to be replaced. The failure recurred. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 25,000 and the current mileage was 35,000.

- Fayette, MS, USA

problem #23

Jul 242012

Cruze 6-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
I have a Chevrolet Cruze, I bought it in July 2011 and 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. My vehicle hesitates on acceleration and did since right after my purchase. The dealer could not find anything wrong according to their diagnosis "customer concern not duplicated". numerous other 2011 Chevy Cruze owners are experiencing the same exact issue after several unsuccessful visits to dealer service. This is a very uneasy feeling to have. When I sit at a red light the car jerks and I immidately think I got rear- ended but it is just the engine. Please help!!!

- Lutz, FL, USA

problem #22

Apr 162013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 49,621 miles
The car engine light came on and I took into the robbins Chevrolet dealership for a check up and I told the advisor that the car was running sluggish and gears were slow interacting. They told me they would run a diagnostic test and determine the problem(s). The cause was a thermostat heater failed, so they replaced thermostat housing and pull vacuum on coding system to refill coolant and leak test. They road tested it and stated it was repaired.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #21

Jul 232012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 34,254 miles
Received a safety recall notice on July 2012 for oil spills/leaks onto hot surfaces. I took my car into robbins Chevrolet dealership for check up immediately on July 23, 2012 and they modified the engine shield. Also, the battery was leaking acid and they replaced the battery, cables and fuse, block-cleaned.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #20

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

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