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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,860 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #33

Jan 032017


  • miles


While driving, my steering locks up and then begins to make steering difficult as if one is sliding on ice. I am not driving on ice, it is 50 degrees on a straight hwy.

- Keller, TX, USA

problem #32

May 022016


  • 115,000 miles
Possible electrical problems. Dash board randomly lights up; radio has gone completely off; steering wheel difficult to turn; security lock out engaged once; traction control came on and hard to steer and several occasions. This incidents are happening randomly and had near miss on highway not expecting the steering to lock up or become extremely difficult. This has happened over last several months. Independent car repair shop could not find anything, but still happens.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #31

May 032016


  • 97,000 miles
Loss of power steering during driving, radio flickers on and off while driving, while pressing brake while stopped the car continues to jump forward - city driving on highway and streets. Began happening one month after I purchased car on 4/3/2016.

- Miami, FM, USA

problem #30

Mar 112016


  • 85,000 miles


The radio/HVAC display turns off and on; the antilock brake system, service traction system, service stabilitrac and steering vehicle messages comes on and off; the turn signal sound may not be heard; ┐battery saver active┐ and 'service steering┐ displays in the driver information center (dic); and the interior and exterior lighting may flicker. Power steering assist is also lost, and greater effort may be needed to turn the steering wheel at low speeds or while the vehicle is stopped. This only happens in the summer. Doing speeds of 65mph. The car loses power and then the dash board and radion flickers on and off. The cars sometimes shuts off and I will have to put my hazards marker on the let the car pull over to the side of the road. And im not able to take the key out the ignition. The key will get stuck and about 3 minutes later I trying again and the key will come out. I try to start it up again and the car will start up. The steering will lock up while im trying to turn or is turning the it will go back to regular state. It only does this in the summer or when the car gets hot. So I took I to the dealership and they said it was my negative battery cable. This is unsafe. This has been going on for almost a 1 year it starts and stops when it wants too. Also when im stopped or sitting at a stop light the matters are even worser

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #29

May 012014


  • miles
It said service esp.

- Glenpool , OK, USA

problem #28

May 282015


  • 66,000 miles
While driving the radio shuts off and a warning pops up in the center between the speedometer and RPM gauge that says service stabiltrac or service traction control. While that happens the power steering shuts off. That's a normal occurrence that happens randomly once or twice during my 20 mile drive to work, and on short drives for errands. Today the vehicle completely shut off twice while driving down the road. I almost wrecked 3 times going around corners when the power steering shut off along with the radio.

- Uniontown, PA, USA

problem #27

Dec 292014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 23,000 miles


A squeak has developed in the steering column. Although GM has received complaints about this, they have done nothing to issue any recalls. There are tso's on this since other owners have complained but they do nothing. No car with 23,000 miles should have bad bushings or other problems with steering unless there are defects.

- Willowick, OH, USA

problem #26

Mar 072015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 27,576 miles
As I was driving down the street my car did a shift as I was approaching the and my husband look at each other and stated what was that I processed to make a left turn and park my car. The moment I pulled in the parking spot I needed to reverse the car well needles to say the car didn't move you heard a click and it did nothing so my husband says turn the car off and see what happens, I did that nothing happened the car still wouldn't reverse so I can park my car, then he stated put the car in neutral to see what happens out it in neutral it goes forward, I just purchased this car black Friday from Kia on the blvd in philadelphia, pa. I'm truly upset missing. Please help. Thanks

- Philadelphia , PA, USA

problem #25

Apr 152014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
The steering is "notchy" after driving straight for a short period of time. This requires additional effort to do minor course corrections causing over-steer. This is particularly dangerous on snow and ice. I have the letter from GM #14232 dated November 2014. I called immediately and was told "the parts are on order for you" it is now 01/31/2015 and contact with the dealer today stated " still waiting for parts from GM." :( I have a 55 mile commute (one way) that takes me on not so well maintained roads. This is not a satisfactory response from major corporate player. Please help all of us who have this issue.

- Green Bay, WI, USA

problem #24

Jun 182013


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving at 65 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The contact had to apply excessive force to the steering wheel in order to turn the vehicle. In addition, the contact stated that the brake pedal failed to respond making it difficult to stop the vehicle. The service stability track warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician diagnosed that the yaw rate sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 40,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Louisville, TN, USA

problem #23

Dec 192014


  • 24,000 miles


Leaving a parking lot the instrument panel began to blink on and off every check engine light started to come on and off. Power steering was lost for a short period. Still in the parking lot at a stop sign turn the engine off. The car was completely dead, no lights no clicking noise when you attempt to re start. Opened hood checked the new battery wiggled the cables interior lights came on and car started up. Since then it has happened numerous times each event getting worse. Eventually it died and was towed to the dealership and is being looked at. This seems to be common with Chevrolet Cruze.

- Bluemont, VA, USA

problem #22

Sep 262014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
I was driving on a residential road at around 1030pm. I had a blow out on my car earlier on the passenger front tire so I had put a donut on the front passenger side. The road curved left and as I was trying to turn my vehicle to go around the curve of the road my steering wheel would not turn. It was locked in a straight position. I applied my brakes but it was to late and I hit the rear end of a parked SUV on the road. I was very confused and I had to take a field sobriety test in which I did and I passed. I was issued a citation for failure to provide proper look out. What the heck is that? I told everyone at the time of the incident that I could not turn the steering it would not turn for me, I have had 2 lower back surgeries, I need another one, I have a serious problem with my neck which is going to require surgery, at least one surgery if not more. I need to have my left knee re done also. I have been having major headaches and more pain than usual since the accident. My left wrist got screwed up also. I could of easily killed myself. Well then I get this letter saying that the steering wheel could have friction and actually stick in the straight position. The reason being is that the cause of the problem is workers not correctly installing critical parts on the car. So engineers have changed the installation processes for the steering wheels and transmissions to make sure parts are installed correctly. Well it is a little to late for that for me. My vehicle was totaled. I received the letter on December 5, 2014.

- Edgewood, NM, USA

problem #21

Nov 282014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
The electronic stability control lights keep flashing on and off while driving. I will be driving my car then the light warning light will flash, and all lights in the dashboard will blink on and off. The blinker noise will turn off then on again. However, the elec. Stability control light does not stay on permanently. It's like my car does it when it feels like it. I have to turn my car off for a few min and start it again to get it back to normal. This happens at any location and speed. Yesterday 11/27/14 this occurred and steering became difficult. I have taken my Cruze in before regarding this and was told it could not be duplicated, therefore there was no problem. I do not want to be driving my car in fear of safety. I have made another appt at another dealership and was already told they would have the car all day and do not provide any type of courtesy car...that I would have to rent a car. This service also "may or may not be covered under warranty" because my Cruze is from 2011 and currently have over 50K miles on it. I love my Cruze, but the service regarding this issue is terrible and needs to be addressed. Vehicle safety is on the line.

- Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #20

Dec 042013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Vehicle shutdown while driving on highway, several times. The car electric turns off and or flashes, stabiltrak lights come on and flashes, check engine flashing, car completely shuts down, steering is electronic or motor powered and is hard to use, transmission jerks before shutdown and breaks don't work very well. Ran over curb and off the road to avoid colliding with other vehicles. Picture, im driving on a highway at night doing 65 or so, all power goes out, its dark, other cars can not see me well, they are swerving and im swerving. This happened first around 20K and has happened on several occasions after. No corrections offered by GM under warranty, complaints were completely ignored, until murdock Chevy in manhattan ks. They are currently trying to get it fixed and gave me a loner car, all other servicing dealers refused a loaner car, and told me its fixed each time. Car still has the problems listed and no solution is given from GM or Chevy to fix this deadly situation. Also damage to the car from an engine overheat or dashboard overheat at the same time damaging electric, windshield, radio, gauges and dash compartment lever. Extreme heat, burning smell inside. Floorboard by the feet melts carpet and burns feet, all at the same time, on drives of 30 minutes or more.

- Junction City, KS, USA

problem #19

Nov 182014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
The vehicle would not shift out of park nor remove the key. The wheel was locked as well as the shift lever. The car would turn on however would not move. There was no lights in the vehicle.

- Garden City, MI, USA

problem #18

Aug 082014


  • 1,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving approximately 73 mph, the vehicle decelerated and the traction control, power steering, and transmission hot warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 1,000.

- Victorville, CA, USA

problem #17

Apr 012013


  • 40,000 miles
Hello, my name is [xxx] and I am an israeli citizen. I own a Chevrolet Cruze 2011, israeli VIN: [xxx]. I read the articles regarding issues found in the vehicle's ignition switch for some Chevrolet models but I haven?T read about cruse as a suspect to such an issue. I wanted to pay your attention to an issue I had with my car around 1.5 years ago which is similar behavior to what you found out with the other models. After starting the engine while in parking, I switched the gear to reverse and started to drive back to get out of the parking space when suddenly I lost the steering of the wheel (like there was no oil pressure) and lost the brakes (the paddle was stiff and did not control the wheels). During the incident my family, including my wife, was with me in the car. My wife immediately understood that something was wrong and started to ask me what is the matter (she was an eye witness to the scenario). I had to shut down the engine (turned the key to off) and started the engine back again in order for the car to start reacting properly again. Needless to say my wife and I were shocked by this and I took the car on the morning of the next day to the formal Chevrolet garage to report the incident and request them to check what went wrong here (as the formal garage ? they hold an historical record of my complaint). After I was told by the garage that they couldn't find any problem, I had no choice but to accept the car but it bugged me until present time. In order to make sure your investigation will not skip a possible fatal issue with the cruse model (if the issues are the same), I simply wanted to point your attention to my small "adventure". please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to assist you further (if needed) ? email: [xxx] cellular:[xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Please Disregard The State..., KS, USA

problem #16

Apr 232013


  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving approximately 70 mph, the vehicle veered sharply to the right and the power steering failed. The service stabilitrack and brake warning indicators illuminated. The instrument panel gauges and radio were blinking erratically. The failures occurred multiple times and usually during or after rainy weather. The dealer stated that the battery cable needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 59,000.

- Pittsburgh , PA, USA

problem #15

Apr 302014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 46,700 miles
On April 30 2014, around 11:00 am the car was taken for service to a Chevrolet dealer for a wheel alignment, steering and suspension system inspection and air pressure condition check, the Chevy Cruze was at the service dealer for aprox four hours, we then came home, around 5:30 we went to a shopping center to buy something and on the way back home, aprox six blocks from our home we stop on a stop sign on a curb/angle street divider by a small curb with trees, we then try to proceed and bare right but the car made some kind of a noise and went left going over small curb and hitting a tree, we where going aprox 15 to 20 mph at the time of impact the police came and made a report, no summons where issue because the police officer look at the scene and comment that it looks like the car loss power/ control of the steering, brakes and could not be control. The car was a total loss since it was damages in front/engine/air bags/etc. We know for facts that this 2011 Chevrolet Cruze have many recalls including steering shaft separations/brakes/steering problems.etc.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #14

Jan 042014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
Was parked in front of an establishment and was unable to remove ignition key or move the gear shift up and down. I was able to remove the overdrive box in front of the gear shift so I could shift the car into gear and drive home, however, because the car was not recognizing the gear shift was in park I was still unable to remove the ignition key when I got home so the car's battery died. I contacted one of Chevy's tow services in order to get the car towed but due to the car being in the garage, the tow driver suggested that he try to jump the car to avoid having to push the car manually out of the garage. The car started and I was able to drive it to the dealership. After 3 days of working on the car, the service manager told me that the jump may have fried the computer so it needed to reconfigured which cost me over $1000 (due to it not being under warranty). I was only made aware of the many recalls that Chevy has had on the Cruze due to having to take the car into the dealership again (water pump needed to be replaced) and talking to another customer about my distaste & frustration that I've been experiencing with this car. I was never mailed any of the recalls which I can't understand why as I'm always receiving mailings from the dealership where I purchased my car. I feel as though the initial problem was due to two of Chevy's recalls (campaign #11V273000 & 11V270000) so Chevy should have paid for the repairs. This issue is one of the many issues I've had since I purchased the car brand new in June 2011.

- Olympia Fields, IL, USA

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