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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 7 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #19

Mar 272013


  • 42,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that she exited the vehicle and five minutes later, the vehicle ignited into flames. The contact stated that there was a fire report filed that stated that the fire started in the engine. The vehicle was destroyed and there were no injuries. The manufacturer was notified but provided no assistance. The failure mileage was 42,000.

- Yazoo, MS, USA

problem #18

Mar 012013


  • 72,000 miles
The chrome coating on the inside drivers side plastic door handle is failing. The edges of the chrome where it has separated from the plastic are razor sharp and have caused multiple fairly deep lacerations to my fingers when opening the door. I inquired at the dealer about them replacing the part under warranty because its causing me injury despite my cautiousness while opening the handle, they told me it wasn't covered and would be an expensive fix due to the labor involved. My second complaint is the heat works intermittently and when taken to the dealer, they said I had a cracked thermostat housing which would be covered under warranty. They did not fix it however and simply refilled my antifreeze and said they would call me to have it fixed when the part came in....that was almost two weeks ago.

- Trenton, GA, USA

problem #17

Jul 182012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that she received notification that the vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V288000 (engine and engine cooling). The contact took the vehicle to the dealer twice in an attempt to have the vehicle repaired under the recall however, the vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Christiansted, VA, USA

problem #16

Jul 062012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 20,154 miles


When heater is in use get a strong antifreeze smell in the car. Also get a film on the inside of the windows. Had back to the dealer 3 times. We have a 5 month old that rides in the car, not sure if it is safe for him with the coolant smell in the car. You have to wash in side of windows weekly so you can see at night.

- Tomahawk, WI, USA

problem #15

Dec 232012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
We had purchased the vehicle just 8 months ago, was not purchased new, but was new used..still under warranty..we received the recall. Had an oil change and detail to do anyhow, so took it in to where we bought the vehicle. They did the oil change, supposed recall fix and supposed detail. Our vehicle was still under warranty at the time of the oil change. 36000. As we drove, started smelling burning oil...never occurred before. Opened hood and noticed an oil leak below the vehicle into the engine shield. Being out of warranty by that time, we did nothing. Just figured they did an improper oil change and it was leaking. Today, we discovered while checking the oil that it had gas in the oil chamber. In pulling the dip stick out, it leaked all over the engine..I quickly smelled of it, smelled like gas. My husband drained it, as we were four hours from home, replaced the oil with new. When we returned home, checked oil. 1/3 quart of gas had contained itself in the oil chamber on our small road trip. So, now we have a 2011. 43,000 mile new car with gas in engine oil and leaking.. any suggestions??

- Sapulpa, OK, USA

problem #14

Jun 072012


  • 19,000 miles
Vehicle was purchased used with 18*** miles on the odometer. Vehicle transmission shifts erratically when driving in city conditions. Problem may cause stalling of vehicle at lower highway speeds. The transmission appears to slip at slow speeds. Before shifting, vehicle regularly hits maximum (red line) RPM. Poor downshifting into lower gears causes vehicle to lunge forward at lower speeds. Most notably from park to drive. On icy roads, the hard shifting may cause the vehicle to loose traction, resulting in a crash, causing fatalities or injuries to the occupants. Vehicle was taken to dealership, technicians were unable to reproduce customer complaint. Manufacturer was not contacted. Current mileage 28***.

- Effie, MN, USA

problem #13

Mar 212012


  • 16,116 miles


Hesitation at any speed, had to dealer multiple times for the same thing and they can't duplicate, took to dealer on Oct 4th and dealer said that it needed a new cylinder head, got car back and nothing was done, still doing the same thing and called to complain to Chevy which can't do anything either.

- Masontown, WV, USA

problem #12

Sep 182012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 26,400 miles
Once again my car has an engine cooling problem. This is the 2nd time this happened, the first was about 2 months ago. I was driving the car and the fan was making a loud noise, check engine light came one I called onstar asap they verified I was correct and sent a tow truck to pick up my car. I smell antifreeze all the time in the car and they antifreeze just disappears the dealership does not know where it's going. I'm seriously thinking about trading in my Cruze because of these problems, which never get fixed.

- Clovis, NM, USA

problem #11

Aug 062012


  • 33,000 miles
I bought this vehicle as a present for my father. After getting it home, (driving it home was all highway), he drove it around the block and noticed it had a lag in the vehicle speed. It almost felt as though it was a manual transmission. I drove it home that night and noticed the same feeling. It's almost as though it takes a lot of effort out ofthe car to keep driving. It downshifts before its supposed to when driving and as a results isn't getting the gas mileage its supposed too. Driving city, it was only getting 18-19mpg for me. It does much better on the highway, over 55mph, then with city driving. Took it back to the dealer, who took it to a bigger Chevy dealer and they stated nothing was wrong. Got it back and its the same way. We love the car but will not drive it because we are afraid of not knowing what's wrong with it and possibly having something serious happen to it. We have 2 little ones that we need to worry about who ride in the car as well. Seems pretty unsafe to have a car downshift and lag with speed aspect when its not supposed too. Wish a recall would come out.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #10

Jun 112012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 21,017 miles
The contact owned a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, a strange odor emitted inside of the vehicle. The contact safely maneuvered to the shoulder and stopped. Upon exiting, a ball of fire formed underneath the vehicle and the vehicle ignited into flames. The contact suffered minor burns to the face. The fire department appeared on the scene and extinguished the flames. The vehicle was destroyed due to the fire. The contact stated that the failure occurred not too long after a routine oil change. After the fire, the contact received the recall notice associated with NHTSA campaign id 12V288000 (engine and engine cooling). The failure mileage was 21,017....updated 02-13-13 updated 02/19/2013

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #9

Jul 212012


  • 24,421 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle was included in the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 12V288000 (engine and engine cooling). The repairs stated the engine shield would be modified on vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions. The dealer removed a portion of the shield that was twenty inches by twenty inches. As a result, the contact stated that the engine and other electrical parts were no longer protected against water, mud, or any other road conditions. The failure and current mileage were 24,421.

- Manati, PR, USA

problem #8

Jul 252012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 8,041 miles
I took my 2011 Cruze to my nearest Chevy dealer for safety recall 1208 ("engine flambe"). I was charged $2.66. The cashier mumbled something about a fee imposed by the state of Delaware for either recycling or disposal. I always understood that the full cost of a safety recall must to be paid by the manufacturer. I'd like a refund of that $2.66. Other affected owners--(wherever)--should also be reimbursed. if the fee was forced as the result of GM policy, then GM deserves to be fined. 9 am appointment on 25 July 2012. lewes automall 17861 coastal highway (state route 1) lewes de 19958.

- Lewes, DE, USA

problem #7

May 152012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 34,000 miles
I brought my new car in for a oil change on 5-15-12, they forgot to put the oil cap back on and I had oil everywhere inside my car it was a complete mess, I did not know it was smoking because it was a rainy and foggy night. By the time we parked it we thought it was on fire, my husband checked the oil and it was empty, we got towed back to Chevy of milford to be fixed and cleaned, they said that there was oil in it and only a little came out.[not true] I don't really think the car runs the same after that, it spits and spudders alot. On July 23rd 2012 I bring it back to them for a recall # 12081. And asked them to also check why my car spudders and to check for a slow leak in the back tire. They got back to me later that morning and said, there is nothing wrong with the way it drives, and my tire cant be fixed I would have to buy another for $125 because of where the hole was it could not be patched. I told them no on the tire and took it to a tire place, townfair tire took the screw out of it witch they didn't find [Chevy of milford] and patched it from the inside at N/C. on 7-24-2012. I really don't feel safe in this car anymore after Chevy of milford looked at it twice and came back with 2 lies. I don't even trust that they did the recall for all I know. Where do I go from here? please help, I have 2 small grandchildren I drive around in this car.

- Milford, CT, USA

problem #6

Jul 052011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 11,737 miles
Received a recall #12081, we took the car into the local Chevrolet dealer in conway SC for the repairs, about 45 min..when it was completed, I asked the service adviser, hoh it was repaired. He sad it was reworked and modified per Chevrolet specs. Little did I know. There repairs consist of removing most of the shield and leaving the engine and wiring left unprotected to the elements on the roads.all they had to do was cut a access hole in the plate to get to the oil drain plug /honestly it looks like it was done in such a hurry to just save a few dollars. 8 calls later, they all said the same thing, that is how the engineers said to do the repairs. Sorry that all we can do for you, Chevrolet thanks you for your concerns.

- Conway , SC, USA

problem #5

Jul 092012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 22,410 miles
I have a 2011 cruz lt. I have noticed a weird smell when using the ac. Only July 9th, 2012 I had a warning that said "turning of ac due to overheat" the car was not overheating. 5 hours later I turned the car on and the check engine light was on and the engine/fan was making a loud noise while running, which sounded like a huge fan. I called onstar they said they located an "engine cooling system problem" to turn off the car and to have it towed to the dealership. Which I did. The dealership said my car was just out of antifreeze and they added more to it. I have looked online I'm not the only person with this problem. What am I supposed to do, just keep antifreeze with me at all times? there must be a leak somewhere for it to be empty.

- Clovis, NM, USA

problem #4

Feb 102012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 15,422 miles
2-10-12 - 15422 mileage car towed to dealership - would start / shifter would go into gear / car would not drive - check engine, traction control & stabilitrak light were on. - shaft detent lever switch replaced. 3-12-12 - 16471 mileage - brought to dealership car would not engage from the stop position to acceleration & poor gas mileage since 2-10 repair - caused to roll into intersection. - control solenoid valve & transmission control module replaced. Could not duplicate gas mileage problem 4-25-12 - brought into dealership for loud popping & jolting into gear from the stop position to acceleration - dealer ship could not duplicate/ no repair 5-5-12 17661 mileage car towed to dealership - driving on highway 65mph / burning smell coming through A/C vents/ transmission hot (overheat) /traction control & stabilitrak light appeared. Dealer ship could not duplicate/ no repair ( opened case with GM 71-1069459525) 5-18-12 18165 mileage car towed to dealership - driving on highway 65mph / burning smell coming through A/C vents/ transmission hot (overheat) /traction control & stabilitrak light & transmission light appeared. Plus continued poor gas mileage since 2/12 fix. Transmission control module replaced (again) 6-6-12 18800 mileage brought to dealership ( currently there) transmission light appeared upon starting the engine after sitting for 8hrs. - intermittent burning smell from engine noticed after 15-20 mile drives

- Richland Hills, TX, USA

problem #3

May 192012


  • 7,900 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle smelled like anti-freeze. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the contact was informed that the thermostat housing needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired and the failure recurred one week later. The vehicle had not been back to the dealer. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 7,900 and the current mileage was 8,024.

- Amsterdam, NY, USA

problem #2

Jan 172011


  • 0 miles
Coolant smell in cabin. Been back to dealer approx. 5 times, replaced a coolant hose, thermostat housing, and now told by dealer there is no fix. There is a fix, put a new engine in, it's already been out for a leaking rear main seal. Sixteen months and 17,000 miles of old car smell in a new car, tired of it.

- Westphalia, MI, USA

problem #1

Jun 292011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle hesitated to accelerate while driving at various speeds. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer on two occasions, but they were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 10,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Pekin, IL, USA

Not what you are looking for?