Print this page 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:
8 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
26,978 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #27

Aug 292016


  • 100 miles


Picked up car from shop after paying over $800 and the car stated to smell the car act as if it will catch a fire. Smoke coming out of the vents and under the hood. Called the dealer and no help the service manager will not return my call. I'm out of town two hours from my home. I will have to get a hotel room and I paid for rental car for two days already.

- Brunswick, GA, USA

problem #26

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 #25

Dec 202015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
Takata recall - my car was involved in an accident, in motion, on a city street. My air bag did not deploy. My seat belt did not hold me. I took a hit to the head, having to have stiches, along with both eyes turning black/blue.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #24

Apr 012015


  • miles


I took my car to the kaspar dealer and sandusky, oh and was told the passenger airbag sensor was bad and the repair costs would be $800. This is odd because at least 95% of the time no one sits in that seat. This car is not our family car. It is strictly for me to use for work. This seems to me more likely to be a defect than something I should be at fault for.

- Norwalk, OH, USA

problem #23

Oct 232014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
Passenger side airbag is not working. With all the faulty air bag recalls--why isn't mine being recalled? GM wants $700 to repair it, and the car is only 3 years old.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

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problem #22

Oct 082014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
I noticed Chevy Cruze from 2013 and 2014 have recalls for this very item! the car is only 3 years old and I have to pay $669 for a sensor?

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #21

Mar 032014


  • 53,000 miles


The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the passenger side air bag light malfunctioned. The air bag light failed to illuminate when a passenger was occupying the seat. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a diagnostic testing. However, they could not duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 53,000.

- Wellington, OH, USA

problem #20

Aug 012013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
Front passenger air bag "off light" comes on intermittently on my 2011 Cruze when an adult is sitting in the front passenger seat -- indicating the air bag system is off. I've taken it to my GM dealership twice and both times they say that everything checks out ok and there is nothing they can do. The car air bags have never been deployed. There is a flaw with this safety system and GM should step forward and come up with a fix.

- Bristol, TN, USA

problem #19

Aug 072014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 39,953 miles
When a passenger is sitting in the sit, the airbag system will read "off". I shouldn't have to pay for an airbag failure on GM fault. I documented a video of the airbag system.

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #18

Jul 282014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 38,000 miles
Hit a deer head-on going approixately 50 mph causing severe damage to the front end of the vehicle. Air bags never deployed, but could smell the air bags and hear them in the steering wheel making noise. The crash was enough that on star was alerted of the crash and called 911.

- Woodville, WI, USA

problem #17

Sep 122013


  • 43,354 miles


In Sept of 2013 after just a few months of owning the car I was rear-ended at a speed of 25-30 mph. The airbag didn't deploy and my head bounced from the steering wheel to the headrest where I suffered a severe concussion leaving me out of work for a month. Also my radio console lights flash on at random times, I experience the turbo lag crap the dealership gives as and excuse (especially after telling me during a service test drive that my car didn't have a turbo!) and after owning it for 1 month a part of the engine fan sheered off and destroyed my A/C unit leaving me with a $2500 bill to redo that. I can't wait for my settlement from the accident to get the hell out of this car. This is my first and last Chevy ever!

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #16

Jun 102014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
The passenger sensor in the airbag system is defective and GM is refusing to cover the cost saying it is not covered under the powertrain warranty. This will cause the airbag system on the passenger side to not deploy in the event of a crash. GM is saying it will cost $400 to fix which I think is ridiculous. The car has never had an accident and an airbag has never been deployed. I think safety systems such as airbags that have no means of wear and tear other than deployment should be mandated by the federal government to be covered under an extended warranty period of 10 years or 100,000 miles. Airbags are a safety measure required by the federal government and therefore should be required to be of good workmanship and in good working order for a period much longer than 3 years. To charge the consumer $400 to fix something that should not fail is a disgrace. Thank you for your time in reading my concern. I would appreciate a follow up to this inquiry.

- Longs , SC, USA

problem #15

Jun 012014


  • 98,000 miles
We rear ended another vehicle and neither the driver's air bag or passenger air bag deployed. The driver's side was pushed up in the front end and the bumper, fender, grill, hood, headlight and turning light were all destroyed. These were pushed up into the grill area of the car.

- Keyser, WV, USA

problem #14

Apr 182014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while traveling 55 mph, the passenger air bag off warning lamp illuminated although the passenger seat was occupied. The failure has occurred on several occasions. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the weight sensor mat needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, however the failure has recurred. The failure mileage was 36,000 and the current mileage was 39,000. Updated 8/19/14

- Bunnettsville, IN, USA

problem #13

May 172012


  • miles
I was involved in a front end (mostly drivers side of car) collision where a person ran a red light. Both of our vehicles where going between 40 to 50 mph. On impact of my car no airbags deployed. My head hit the steering wheel and side window. After having it towed to the dealership where I bought it for repairs I mentioned this to the mechanics. I was told that the car had to be hit in certain spots before the airbags deploy! seriously? I do not feel safe in this car knowing that if I am involved in a serious accident the airbags may not be there to save my life! and to think that is one reason why I purchased the car was the fact it had high safety standards! absurd.

- Ennis, TX, USA

problem #12

Jul 102013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
When driving with an adult female in the passenger seat, the airbag indicator indicates that the airbag is off. Adjusting the seat height sometimes remedies this problem, resulting in the indicator light indicating that the airbag is on. However, most of the time, the airbag remains off. We notified the Chevrolet dealer about this problem. They claimed it was normal. We purchased this car, in part, because of its excellent crash rating. It is most disturbing to realize that if we ever did get into a crash, the passenger-side airbag would likely not deploy. I have a hard time believing that this is "normal". I feel less than safe in this car. Please help in remedying this problem.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #11

May 032013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 10,510 miles
Consumer stated Chevrolet Cruze caused an accident, could not stop. It crashed into a Ford Expedition. The consumer also stated the air bag did not deploy.

- Loudon, TN, USA

problem #10

Jul 012011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 200 miles
The first safety issue was noticed within the first week of ownership. The air bag indicator light indicated "off" with an adult passenger in the passenger seat. This car has been to the dealership 4 times for this issue and it remains unsolved. The second safety issue was noticed in October or November 2012. The car fills with an odor of anti-freeze when the heater is in use. The car has been to dealership 4 times for this issue and it remains unsolved. I feel these are both extreme safety issues that should be investigated as it appears to be a problem in many of the 2011 Cruze.

- Fayetteville, AR, USA

problem #9

Jun 062012


  • 16,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated the vehicle was parked with the engine in operation and she noticed the speedometer displayed a reading of 100 mph. The similar failure occurred sporadically and would fluctuate in the miles per hour. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer three times and they were unable to detect the malfunction. The failure continued to occur and the vehicle was taken back to the dealer where the computerized system was reprogrammed. In addition, the air bag warning indicator would not illuminate whenever the front seat occupant weight was 120 pounds. The approximate failure mileage was 16,000.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #8

Nov 082011


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the air bag indictor light did not always function properly when someone was sitting in the front passenger seat. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and was informed that there was nothing wrong with the air bag. The failure mileage was 15,000 and the current mileage was 20,000.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

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