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 1 of 7)

problem #139

Dec 182016


  • 75,000 miles


I purchased a pre-owned 2011 Chevy Cruze in August of 2016. In December, I was driving on the highway and my car started to jerk as I pushed on the gas and it wouldn't accelerate. I pull over and parked the car to see what was wrong. I restarted the car and put it in drive, but it wouldn't go forward; however, when I put the car in reverse, it moved. My mom called the dealership we bought it from to claim the lemon law, but their response was that they couldn't do anything about it because the car was older than 30 days. She was also told that the lemon law does not apply to used vehicles, so my dad had the car towed to Chevrolet. They said that the transmission was the issue. My issue is that I had this car for 4 months. Replacing or getting the transmission fixed costs more than the car is worth. I do not have the funds for this being that I am a college student, and I need this transportation. I can't trade this car in since it's in this condition. My other issue is that there is no recall for this malfunction in this particular vehicle. After doing some research on this issue, I realized that there a lot of people dealing with this same problem and others regarding the transmission. I believe there should be a recall on the transmission because this issue is extremely dangerous.

- Humble, TX, USA

problem #138

Dec 122016


  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle experienced an issue with the shifter not shifting and the vehicle not decelerating. In addition, the vehicle would not accelerate past 30 mph. The failure occurred without warning. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, but diagnostic testing was not performed. The manufacturer was not notified of the issue. The failure mileage was approximately 107,000. The VIN was not provided.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #137

Dec 092016


  • 90,500 miles
While driving down a city street, the vehicle was stopped at a stop light. Just as it was about to move forward as the light turned green, it went into engine power reduced mode and prevented the vehicle from moving forward at a normal rate of speed. Thankfully was able to get the car off the road. Had to be towed to mechanic. The conditions were cold (about 20 degrees), with no ice. Further warnings included traction control servicing, but there were no issues with the traction control system. Mechanic is saying it is a throttle body issue.

- Bloomington, IN, USA

problem #136

Oct 222016


  • 94,724 miles


This vehicle safety complaint is in regards to my 2011 Chevrolet Cruze lt, which was serviced at ourisman Chevrolet of bowie, a General Motors (GM) authorized dealer, for the repair of my vehicle. I incurred charges for unwarranted maintenance repairs on the following dates September 26-October 5, 2016 ($134.95 and $139.07 (cost for a new battery)), April 26, 2016 (warranty covered repairs), April 11, 2016 ($590.92), and April 14, 2015 ($382.14) that never addressed the safety complaints I made, all of which were handled by service advisor buddy reio. On these dates, I took my vehicle to be serviced for experiencing hazardous issues with its electrical systems and reduced engine acceleration while I was driving between 40-55 miles per hour. Without warning, my vehicle's speed would decelerate (both on the highway and residential roads) and my car doors would begin to lock and unlock uncontrollably with error messages 'service stabilitrac, ┐ 'service parking assist, ┐ and 'service airbag┐ displaying on my dashboard. After about 30 seconds of this condition, my car would resume normal functioning. I incurred $1,247.08 in unwarranted repairs for my vehicle, which was never properly diagnosed, leading to my vehicle shutting down while I was driving it on October 22, 2016. On October 22, 2016 at 3:20 P.M., while driving on a busy thoroughfare, my car decelerated and error messages displaying 'service stabilitrac, ┐ 'service parking assist, ┐ and 'service airbag┐ showed. After approximately 30 seconds, the car began to shut down and I managed to steer it out of the way of oncoming traffic. I immediately contacted Chevrolet's roadside service and informed the representatives that my engine would not start and I was stuck on the side of the road.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #135

Nov 152016


  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving 35 mph, the air conditioner indicator illuminated and the temperature gauge displayed that the vehicle was hot. The vehicle was taken a dealer where it was diagnosed that the cooling outlet pipe was leaking. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure was not remedied. The failure mileage was 76,000.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #134

Oct 012016

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 154,000 miles
I have been having several issues lately that are not covered under warranty with my car. Power train issues, stability issues, sensor issues. These issues have happened on and off and some have been fixed before and they keep getting worse. The car starts shaking really bad when I am driving. It does not feel safe.

- Lewisville, TX, USA

problem #133

May 302011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles


Since purchasing this vehicle there has always been a hesitation in the acceleration and "engine jerking". I originally reported within the first approx 6 months of owning the vehicle. The service center had their transmission specialist drive the vehicle and I was told "that is just how it drives. I told them on a second time about the ongoing issues and was dismissed. Last year I started getting the "service stabilitrak" error and the jerking and lack of acceleration and hesitation has gotten increasingly worse. This is a safety concern as trying to go from a stopped position and going through an intersection it will lag and can cause a delay also driving down the road it will jerk and almost feel like I could lose control of the car. I often also get a smell of the coolant that goes through my car. I have had all recalls in the past taken care of, but the stabilitrak is an ongoing issue that is very concerning for the safety of myself and my daughter as a passenger in the vehicle. It has been an ongoing issue since the purchase of the vehicle 05/2011 only increasing in severity.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #132

Oct 102016


  • 67,500 miles
I was driving to work on Oct 10, 2016, a bit before 3:30 pm on the belt parkway in brooklyn NY. I was going slowly as there was heavy traffic. I had been driving for 90 minutes when I turned on the ac and immediately noticed a strong burning smell, so I turned the ac off. A few moments later I noticed wisps of white smoke coming from under the hood of the car. By the time I was able to pull over (less than 2 minutes) heavier white then gray smoke began pouring out and various warning lights came on in the dashboard. I got out, grabbed my belongings and called 911 within 3 minutes of pulling over. An off duty fireman attempted to assist with a fire extinguisher but in minutes the front of the car was ablaze. Firefighters responded quickly but the front of the car was engulfed in flames and it is a total loss at 67,000 miles. In 4 years of owning this car I had 3 recalls (one for engine fire) and multiple letters from Chevy of other issues that might arise (the last was for the accelerator pedal possibly coming off). I've never had a car with this many issues.

- Manahawkin, NJ, USA

problem #131

Jan 192016


  • miles
Takata recall'' a whole burn into my air condensor causing my fluids to leak out and causing a bad smell

- Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

problem #130

Aug 012016


  • 90,000 miles
Transmission jerks extremely hard. When air is on car fails to accelerate at all. Idles on its own, jumps gears always. Fuel system is bad, it chokes constantly and wont start some days. It vibrates extremely hard and I had it serviced 1 month ago for shaft case. This is the worst car ever!!!!!!! its a danger to drive it wont pick up speed and when the air is on it wont move at all. If still at a light, it will jerk extremely hard to where it jerks me. When in park it idles itself. If I'm entering onto the highway it wont pick up speed even if the air is not on. When I reverse and go back to park it jerks extremely hard. I hate this car!!! sometimes it doesn't want to stop.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #129

Jul 132016


  • 100,115 miles


I bought my car March 2015 and I have had nothing but problems since I got it. I still owe $ $8000 on it and the GM company told me my motor is blowed. My father is a mechanic and took a look and said he believes my car jumped time because my water pump quit. Morgan mcclure told me they would fix it but it will cost me 3500 dollars. I think all these cars need to be taken off road and everyone who has had issues should get placed in another car.. I am paying a total of 17,000 for my car and its not even drivable. I will never by another Cruze and I will let everyone know the issues so they don't buy one earthier. Ive been ripped off with this car since the day I bought it. This is exactly what happened to my car.. I drove my car to work with no issues. When I got off work I crank my car and drove it to morgan mcclure to get a reservoir cap for my car because it wouldn't tighten down like it was stripped. I cut my car off went in to morgan mcclure and bought cap. Put it on and my car wouldn't crank back. They looked at car and charged me $35 for looking at it for 2 seconds to tell me it has no compression and my motor is blowed. They told me they can fix it but I need a new or used motor and it will cost $3500.

- Wise, VA, USA

problem #128

Apr 292016


  • 38,064 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving at an unknown speed, the check engine warning light illuminated intermittently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the PCV air charge bypass tube needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. After the repairs, the vehicle began to increase in rpms while idling roughly. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer, but the cause of the failure was undetermined. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that there was a vacuum leak and the diaphragm and valve cover assembly needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 38,064.

- Doylestown, PA, USA

problem #127

Apr 102016


  • 59,000 miles
Drove about 45 miles and parked vehicle. Noticed engine fan running hard, shut off vehicle and went into store. Returned to vehicle twenty minutes later turned on car, fan still running hard. Pushed onstar button to get diagnostic check. Engine error code found, advised to take to dealer to investigate. Started vehicle about ten minutes into drive, could smell coolant from engine and vehicle slowed and chimes came on with dash reading: Engine overheated stop car and turn off engine. Had towed to dealer, they say a port is cracked in cylinder head and coolant leaking. Will cost $500 to fix. Vehicle has 59,000 miles. Also engine makes popping noises after running on highway and come to a complete stop. Sitting at light or stop sign and it pops four or five times. Don't hear it when I'm driving. These cars are lemons, GM needs to recall them and give us our money back!

- Silverdale, WA, USA

problem #126

Jul 162015


  • 50,361 miles
Existing recall recall number: 12V288000 applies to my vehicle despite my VIN not qualifying for this recall. I have had to replace several parts relating to engine cooling including a water pump on two occasions within 9 months. It is well documented with my GM service center (bergstrom GM of neenah, wi 920.722.1111) and other certified mechanics that oil has been found and cleaned out of several areas of my engine including: The turbo charger, intake manifold, throttle body, charge air cooler and its inlet and outlet pipes, and cylinders. In addition, my thermostat has failed and does not notify me of an over-heating issue. An overheating engine that leaks oil throughout with no warning from the thermostat is a recipe for disaster.

- Oshkosh, WI, USA

problem #125

Mar 102016


  • 2,700 miles
When purchasing my auto 2011 Chevrolet Cruze I was not told that this 2011 Chevrolet Cruze had a coolant leak that the company could not repair. Before I purchased my 2011 Chevrolet Cruze a guarder plate was installed too keep the leak from burning off of the motor and no repair to stop the coolant leak. My 2011 Chevrolet Cruze over heated and I was sent a letter that Chevrolet company would replace the coolant once it get low. I told them that this coolant is also inside the cab of my 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and they said that I would be charged to have my 2011 Chevrolet Cruze checked for reason of leak but once coolant is leaked out or low they would replace it. This chemical is a labeled ┐a┐ poison for humans within it's label. Which I have had those affects from it's release at this point. I cannot get Chevrolet to fix this and they said that they'll not fix it just replace coolant just for 2016 after then they'll not replace leaked coolant. I asked them if I could have the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze checked without having a service charge and I was told I could not that I'll be charged a fee. I was offered a $2000 voucher to purchase another auto. Being once stress of over heating or correct levels of coolant withing vehicle coolant functioning components cannot operate normally I'd have to replace those components and if not under components warranty I'll be charged service visit and parts and labor rendered. I mentioned that this coolant chemical burn off is causing sight effects and that it continues sending those chemical coolant fums into the cab of the vehicle and I'm taking medication for those sight effects of the coolant's chemical burn off. Again (General Motors corporation legal agent said that's the legal offer and if not agreed active case file would be closed. On 3/10/2015 my case file closed with no resolution.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #124

Feb 292016

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
Car will slow to 2 mph with the warnings "low engine mode" and "service stabilitrack". can be going any speed and this happens. Have had the car towed 3 times for this same problem. Each time they tell us it is another part that is defective. We have spent approximately $2,000 on repairs for this same issue. My main concern is that my 20 year old son who drives this vehicle is going to get killed. If this happens on a highway with a semi behind him, the semi will not be able to slow down to that speed that fast and will run right over him. There are numerous reports of this same issue on 2011-2015 Cruze vehicles that you can find anywhere on the internet (even on GM forum). I would like to know how many people have to die from this issue before a recall is made on these vehicles?

- Circleville, OH, USA

problem #123

Jan 262016


  • 68,330 miles
I first took my Cruze to the dealer because of leaking transmission fluid from a defective seal on the transmission box. They also said the battery was cracked. Transmission was covered under warranty, but I had to buy a new battery. Really? after that work being done, I noticed the smell of anti freeze. Dealer said a hose was split, but when I asked to see the hose, they said the end broke off when they were replacing a clip blamed on the anti freeze leak. I had to buy a new hose. Said they checked the system for leaks and there weren't any. The car stopped leaking for a while, but now I have puddles of anti freeze on the garage floor and a nauseating smell around the car. I am going to go to a different dealer for a second opinion, but I fear I have a real problem and from what I've read it is common with this car and GM hasn't done much to help the consumer. I believed in buying american, but it won't be another Chevy.

- Temperance, MI, USA

problem #122

Jan 302016


  • 100,000 miles
I am a fire investigator I work for the los alamos county fire dept. I investigated a vehicle fire that originated in the engine compartment, vehicle was stationary and had just been driven approx.. 1 hr. The vehicle is listed as having a recall NHTSA campaign number: 12V288000. It appears that even thought the vehicle was serviced for the recall the same problem and resulting fire happened. Vehicle began to smoke after being parked and fire was witn

- Los Alamos, NM, USA

problem #121

Jan 182016


  • miles
My car from time to time shows an error saying reduced engine power. The whole car kicks down and unable to go over 10 mph. This has happened a few times and once on the highway. It didn't do it again for awhile but then again today it did it. I have read a few blogs that is a common problem with Chevy cruz and I don't believe it's covered under warrany. This could be a deadly fault with this car. You get no notification that it's going to happen.

- Imperial, PA, USA

problem #120

Jan 162016


  • 82,000 miles
I've owned my 2011 Chevy Cruze for 4 years and I have had on-going issues with a very distinct smoke/coolant smell coming from the engine. It is more noticeable when the heat is on. In doing research, this is a well-known issue. I've taken my car to the dealership on three seperate occasions and they cannot fix the issue - it keeps coming back. I reached out to Chevy to file a complaint but I am not getting help from them. The odor that is coming from the car is so bad that I have to roll down my windows in the winter. It is either no heat, or heat and windows down. I know Chevy is aware of this issue - it is all over the internet - however, they are not doing their part to fix the issue. I am concerned for my health - whatever I am inhaling is not healthy. It gives me headaches and makes me feel ill. Please help.

- Kettering, OH, USA

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