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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,540 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 3)

problem #51

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 #50

Aug 012016


  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving at various speeds, the vehicle would not immediately accelerate when depressing the accelerator pedal. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who could not duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 28,000.

- Nutley, NJ, USA

problem #49

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 #48

Jul 042016


  • 35,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving 25 mph, the brake pedal was depressed, but the vehicle accelerated independently. As a result, the contact crashed into a fence. The air bags failed to deploy. A police report was not filed and there were no injuries. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic after the crash. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 35,000.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #47

Mar 042016


  • 52,123 miles
My car has a check engine light and I took it to dealer they do not know what the code is, its P057C and I was driving on highway going 70 and car all of a sudden loses power went from 70mph to 5mph in a split second almost got rear ended by a semi truck I am afraid to drive my car for my safety. Dealer wants hundreds of dollars just to try and figre out the issue but after diagnostic they still have no clue. So thir plan was to dissect my car like a science project and maybe fix it. They want the car for a week and do not offer any loaner cars. Chevrolet northridge dealership California. Today 03/04/16 driving to work going 40mph and get to a red light, it turned green I hit the gas and the car just revs and wont go more than 5pmh. I had to pull over and turn car on and off 2 times before I could get to work. And got there late because of this. And again almost got rear ended. I press the gas and the car revs as if it is idling. Please make this a recall and help get this fixed. Its going to be a reason why a driver loses their life. This is a true emergency since it just feels like the car has a mind of its own. And dealer does not know what to do. Please please help!

- Woodland Hills, CA, USA

problem #46

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 #45

Feb 042015


  • 57,250 miles


Intermittent service traction control and stabilitrak while at a stop when attempting to drive after the service light came on the vehicle lacked power and high temp fan turn on. The only way to get the car out of the service lock was to turn the ignition off and turn it back on. I took the car to a dealer where they were unable to duplicate the issue. This issue has been covered under a recall on other Chevy vehicles such as the equinox.

- Severn, MD, USA

problem #44

Jan 112016


  • 69,000 miles
Whife driving down the road traction control light comes on slows down to about 20 very dangerous 4th time it has happened to her.Chevy dealer fixed it said it was accelerator pedal. Did it again. On the way home and to work

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #43

Dec 092015


  • 40,000 miles
In addition to two complaints filed about this vehicle already. The U.S has no concern for human life in the U.S and is allowing white supremacy to endanger minority drivers and other drivers. The testing of satellite radiological dispersal weapons and remote control systems involving, hacking, backdoor access, remote control, surveillance and vehicle compromise persists. On 12/10/15 and 12/09/15 the vehicle was halted by force from a satellite tracking the vehicle. Ample evidence of electrical problems in the car, cellphone tracking and home tracking is available. A federal lawsuit was filed and dismissed without reason of cause to further the hate crime. On these two days I was driving the vehicle one again, and lost control over the vehicle steering and throttle. The issue occurs at stop signs to cause an accident there or at a intersection. The vehicle is purposely tampered with during transit to cause loss of control and throttle. The vehicle throttle is gone, the gas peddle goes limp and the engine stops throttle for a duration. The engine then kicks in full force after a series of hard sputters on throttle jerking the car forward up a hill or into to a stop. I was in highland NY leaving a plaza, where this occurs, and other intersections with lights

- New Paltz, NY, USA

problem #42

Aug 112014


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the service stability traction control warning light illuminated intermittently and the accelerator pedal hesitated to respond. On the first occasion, the contact was driving at 20 mph and the vehicle stalled. On a second occasion, the vehicle stalled while driving at approximately 35 mph. The contact was able to restart the vehicle each time but the failure was progressing. The failure caused the vehicle to go into a limp mode each time. The vehicle was taken to the dealer twice and they were not able to replicate and diagnose the failure. The vehicle was taken to the dealer a third time who diagnosed that the alternator assembly needed to be replaced. The electronic stability control failure was unable to be determined. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was left for a diagnosis. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 36,000.

- Pittston, PA, USA

problem #41

Nov 142015


  • 80,000 miles


Stability trac and traction control light appears, vehicle experiences immediate loss of power. Experienced while driving on freeway attempting to change lanes. Due to the sudden loss of power I was nearly struck by a big rig. Dealer can not identify codes only code that appeared was PO171, fuel trim lean code was addressed by dealer, dealer claims original complaint was tied to the P0171 code. While driving home experienced sudden loss of power and rough shifting. No warning lights or indicators appeared. Vehicle smells like burnt oil, and noticed a loud ticking noise. Notified dealer and was told it is normal vehicle will be fine after 400 miles of driving. My families life will be placed in jeapordy for the next 400 miles. The unresponsive acceleration and sudden loss of power is a serious safety issue.

- San Pedro, CA, USA

problem #40

Sep 252015


  • 105,000 miles
While attempting to accelerate into an busy intersection, I floored my car and quickly realized my engine had drastically reduced power. The car was hardly moving. The engine was running but there was no acceleration. There were no warning lights or anything, just no acceleration. Luckily, the driver barreling up behind was able to move over into the other lane or it would have been a horrible accident.

- Glenville, PA, USA

problem #39

Oct 032015


  • 35 miles
Almost to into a huge accident driving on the high way at a speed of 35mph when my car slowed down with my foot still on the gas. It felt like my gears were shifting without me shifting them. I really don't know to much about cars but I know this wasn't supposed to happen while driving

- Pleasantville, NJ, USA

problem #38

May 012015


  • 35,000 miles
Practically every day I drive my car, I experience extreme shifting and transmission issues. Specifically, I have to floor the gas pedal for the car to move from 2nd to 3rd shift. This is an automatic car, and it drives like a poorly shifting manual. It is extremely unsafe to drive because it does not accelerate when I hit the gas pedal, rather the engine revs very high and loudly, yet the car does not accelerate. It also has made loud popping sounds from the engine, and the car fills with an exhaust smell, and during the winter coolant smell is obvious in and outside the car. I am very uncomfortable driving-and feel unsafe-driving this car and it is almost four years old with less than 50,000 miles! I have brought it to the dealership on the below dates and they cannot "duplicate the issue", thus have not fixed it. On one occasion, the dealership had my car for 3-weeks! I have no idea if the dealership is even daily testing, or driving, the car. I do know, however, it is extremely unsafe because the shifting and accelerating is unreliable and will most doubtable cause an accident injuring myself and/or others. I have also called GM and numerous occasions and they were very unhelpful, stating they never heard of a shifting/transmission issue with the Chevy Cruze, when in fact the 2011 Chevy Cruze was recalled for shifting lock cable. I have received, unsolicited; a letter from a lawfirm to sue GM noting this exact issues shifting/power issues (amongst faulty water pumps, which I also had replaced after only owing the car 2-years), so clearly there are many others experiencing these issues. Dates brought my car to (sullivan's oneills in avon, ct) 1/16/2015; 5/2/2015; 5/09/2015;5/13/2015; 6/24/2015; 7/17/2015 my GM service tickets are 71-1490864298 & 71-1490864298. The car is either a lemon, or needs to be recalled for shifting/transmission issues.

- West Hartford, CT, USA

problem #37

Jan 282015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 104,320 miles
While driving my car home from work at the end of January, I felt it suddenly slow down on its own. I had a message on my display to service stabilitrak and engine power reduced. I had no power to the car and had to pull off the road. I turned my car off for a couple of minutes and then back on, it started and ran fine the rest of the way home. Then again today, Feb. 24th, 2015, while driving to work, it did the exact same thing. I had to move over to the side of the road in early morning traffic (not an easy thing to do!), and turn my car off. I waited for a couple of minutes, started it and drove the rest of the way into work without problems. After reading the many complaints of the exact same situations, I would think it's time for a recall before someone gets hurt due to the sudden reduction of power!!

- Fort Lupton, CO, USA

problem #36

Feb 052015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 53,480 miles
While driving I lost engine power and had no foot throttle. The check light came on that stated reduced engine power and check stabilatrak. Shutting car off and restart did not fix. My car would not go over 4mph and I was nearly rear ended.

- Farmdale, OH, USA

problem #35

Jan 122015


  • 45,000 miles
My daughter almost died driving it on Monday. She was on route 1 in college park, md when the check engine/reduced power light came on and she could go no more than 2-3 mph. This is a very busy road, and she was almost in a potentially tragic accident. We had the car towed to sport Chevrolet in silver spring, md (240-471-3190). Our service advisor ([xxx]:) informed me this morning that the fix is a throttle body replacement which will cost $648. In going on the Chevy forum website, this has happened multiple times to Chevy Cruze and Malibu models. It's only a matter of time until someone dies. The throttle body is only covered up to 35K so I had to pay out of pocket. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Myersville, MD, USA

problem #34

Jan 272014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
While driving at no specific speed the car alerts and says check engine, reduced engine speed, and check stabilizer traction control. The engine then powers down and will not accelerate. I was recently driving and this happened, to avoid an accident I ended up in a ditch and had to be towed out. I had the car repaired which was costly and was not covered under the power train warranty Chevy offers. I feel that this is a very dangerous defect on the car and should be addressed as a recall, due to the first time I tried to have the car repaired I was told it was gonna be 4-6 weeks to wait on the part because they were on back order because they have had quite a few cars with the same problem. When I addressed this issue with Chevy they had no concern that a car losing power while traveling was no big deal. I was nearly rear ended by a semi-truck and was forced into a ditch.

- Kankakee, IL, USA

problem #33

Oct 152014


  • 101,300 miles
I was pulling out of a gas station, use to my normal power and almost got hit because my car wouldn't go over 15mph floored. Then looked down and saw a engine power is reduced, service stabili trak and service traction control. So I took to a mechanic he hooked it up and the code showed up as my throttle body position sensor. They replaced it and drove it and it drove fine for about two weeks. I was just going down the road then all of a sudden my car did the same thing. I lost power so fast that I about got rear ended. Took it back to the body shop and showed the same code so they replaced the part again. And two days after all this my car is doing this again. This is extremely dangerous at how it looses engine power. It looses it so fast that someone can get hurt extremely bad.

- Rutledge , TN, USA

problem #32

Nov 302014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Was traveling on the highway with cruise control set at 67mph when suddenly the car just lost power and the engine quit running. All of the dashboard instruments lost power, gas gauge registered empty, etc. Although the radio did not go off. Luckily this happened with very light traffic and was able to pull off in the emergency lane and put the vehicle in park and restarted the vehicle with no trouble. Continued our trip and did not happen again. After thinking about this I did notice the vehicle a few weeks ago losing some accelerating speed/power intermittently while traveling. Not sure if that was an indicator or not. Did call onstar approximately 5 hours after incident to diagnose and see if any error codes came up and they stated they showed nothing. This is my daughters vehicle and I fear that if she is traveling in heavy traffic and this happens again that this could cause a sever accident.

- Fraser, MI, USA

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