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:
4 / 10
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
57,487 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 1 of 10)

problem #198

Jul 292019


  • 137,000 miles


Been in and out of shops trying to fix a coolant leaks. IżM no mechanic or anything so I donżT think much of weird noises or smells but I have become highly accustomed to the smell of burning coolant. A warning will frequently come on noting the ac was turned off due to high engine heat but only a couple times it completely overheated and forced me to stop driving. Any fix seems to just slow down the leak for a little bit to where you donżT need any major repairs for a while.

- Lawrence, KS, USA

problem #197

Nov 152017


  • 37,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle jerked, lunged, and lost power. Also, the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to BMW of alexandria (499 S pickett St, alexandria, va 22304, (703) 684-8500) where it was diagnosed that the spark plugs needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the fuel injectors needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired, but the failure recurred. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 13V044000 (electrical system); however, the VIN was not included in the recall. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 37,000.

- Temple Hills,, MD, USA

problem #196

Aug 172019


  • 114,000 miles
Vehicle stalls sometimes at lights and stop signs. Only happens after weżve been driving for 30+ miles or more. It doesnżT matter if it's highway or city. When it stalls, no dash lights come on, it doesnżT idle improperly and there is no warning that the vehicle is going to stall. When I take my foot from the brake at idle and apply it to the gas to move through a green light or stop sign after stopping is when it stalls. I have replaced the valve cover and intake (two weeks ago) and the problem is still occurring. Idle does get a little worse with air conditioning on. Iżve put $2000 into this car this year for this same problem. Iżve visited three different mechanics. Nobody can figure out why this is happening. It's been happening unpredictably since we purchased the car in 2016.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #195

Aug 052019


  • 98,000 miles


I just bought my Cruze and the check engine light was on due to needing a mass air flow sensor. The engine was hesitating on pulling out from red lights and stop signs, and going down the highway when you accelerate to a faster speed. So I had the sensor replaced and it did not resolve the issue, but the check engine light went out.

- Black Lick, PA, USA

problem #194

Jul 112019


  • miles
I have been battling my cooling system for the last year radiator keep running hot I have gotten my thermostat done and other things also. I have been on the road and it will run hot, more than once

- Lawerenceville, GA, USA

problem #193

Jun 112019


  • 178,000 miles
About a week ago I was driving home when my car decided to shift super hard and my RPM was jumping up scary high then my check engine light turned on and now it wonżT shift right or my RPM goes up really high the code that popped up was P0700

- Durand, MI, USA

problem #192

Feb 282015


  • 83,000 miles


Takata recall problem is unknown: 1. my vehicle continues to have problems with heating/cooling system. The vehicle looses antifreeze, the casing gets hot and acts as tho its overheating triggering the fan to come on and stay on. There are no noticeable leaks; it has been at he Chevy dealer and several other mechanics who can find no radiator leaks. The engine coil, hoses, and heating coil have been changed and it continues to get hot. The vehicle is running when these issues occur. 2. the tracking system lights stays on constantly. No record of a problem by Chevrolet service center or any other service center who has used diagnostics to determine why the light stays on. 3. service engine light stays on constantly. The engine coil has been replaced; no other engine problems are identified with diagnostics.

- Jefferson City, MO, USA

problem #191

Nov 012018


  • 120,000 miles
The engine starts shutting down while sitting at stop lights and has a strong oil smell.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #190

Nov 252018


  • 70,000 miles
Engine light comes on and car will slow down and barely take off. Engine is responding to gas pedal but no power in low gear so takes off very slow nearly resulting in wreck. Two shops, including transmission shop, state its electronic problem including żlack of communicationż. it happens from being stationary or in process of driving when it loses power suddenly. When engine light goes off it runs ok. Dangerous to drive as never know when itżll act up. Started about six months ago, and is intermittent.

- Claremore, OK, USA

problem #189

Apr 252019


  • 150,000 miles
Me and my kids were driving down the highway when my 2011 Chevy cruise just lost power and my engine stopped working... it will not start up at all. Mechanic cant figure out why. I've got tons of sensors going out everytime I turn around and I am a mother of a disabled son. We were on at parkway going 65 to 60 mph. It could have been very bad. It happened ed in madison ville

- Madisonville, KY, USA

problem #188

Apr 192019


  • 63,000 miles


Car seems to stall while driving (recurrent/ constant problem for 4 months: Car has < 65K miles). Engine/ loss of stabilitrack lights come on and engine revs high without speed. Lights on radio blink and engine/oil/ coolant leaks. Despite attempts to fix problems, car continues to stall out, leaving driver stranded in roadway. Engine reboots are temporary fix, but the computer seems to be taking out systems 1 by 1. GM specialist had car for 2 weeks in January & could not solve.

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #187

Apr 142019


  • 115,000 miles
Coolant leak from thermostat housing occuring slowly over time. Depleted coolant reservoir caused the engine to overheat after driving for about seven minutes. The vehicle was then pulled over on the freeway shoulder and the coolant added. Messages such as "ac off due to high engine to high engine temp" "high coolant temp" "engine temp high-idle engine" appeared with no resolution. Thermostat housing was not connected and spewing coolant onto overheating engine causing smoke/steam. Vehicle was required to be towed from the location.

- Coon Rapids, MN, USA

problem #186

Apr 012019


  • 120,000 miles
My car is hard shifting and no GM dealer can figure it out they say nothing but take my money and my car will alert transmission hot idle engine very scary has even up and stopped going 35 miles in my hometown

- Danville, IL, USA

problem #185

Feb 252018


  • 91,000 miles
My car is only at 91K miles, and my cylinder 3 is not compressing anymore, more than likely due to piston ring failure.

- Wheeling, WV, USA

problem #184

Apr 202017


  • miles
Tamara recall transmission, valve cover, brake sensor, throttle sensor, this car has gave me problems after problems, every month it's literallg something new I have about 20 pages of receipts

- Warwick, RI, USA

problem #183

Jan 262019


  • 50,000 miles
It's been one year and my Chevy Cruze has overheated twice. The first time the thermostat was wrong along with the thermo pipe that needed to be replaced. And now similar issue is happening where my car smells funny, I turn the heat in and the car will start to over heat and never warm the car.

- Gatineau, MI, USA

problem #182

Jan 152019


  • 168,000 miles
While driving on highway a message saying reduced engine power came on and vehicle would not accelerate. Also the service traction control light came on with it and service stabilitrak came on as well.

- Guys Mills, PA, USA

problem #181

Dec 062017


  • 82,000 miles
The Chevrolet Cruze's water coolant outlet has cracked three times now. This is a plastic piece that cracks under heat and leaks radiator fluid.

- Clifton, NJ, USA

problem #180

Nov 132018


  • 91,500 miles
The car engine has shut off twice in 2 weeks while making a right turn on an incline. I slowed down to make the turn/curve and then stepped on the gas and the car died. The dash and radio stay on, but no power to engine. No service lights stay lite on the dash. You have to turn the key off, put in park, open door so radio turns off, give a min and restart. The first time I was pulling off a side road onto a busy road, but I didn't do a complete stop because traffic was clear. I was going 10-15mph. The second time I was on a side road going about 25-30 mph. It was just a mildly sharp curve.

- Nashotah, WI, USA

problem #179

Nov 192018


  • 77,150 miles
No reimbursement for same issue, same error code. If I'm being told by different body shops that they continually see the same issue with Chevy Cruze's, being the loss of turbo boost. Shouldn't it be a part of the recall for 2013&14 or at least be made a recall itself. Mine is a 2011 with the same error code read as the recall with 2013's. my turbo was replaced right before thanksgiving. Happy holidays smh!

- Evansville, IN, USA

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