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2011 Chevrolet Cruze transmission problems: transmission failure

Transmission Failure

2011 Chevrolet Cruze (Page 1 of 2)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Chevrolet dealer. Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague 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).


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
62,250 miles
Total Complaints:
31 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. new transmission (18 reports)
  2. not sure (8 reports)
  3. compressor replaced (2 reports)
  4. had to trade in car (1 reports)
  5. replace transmission module (1 reports)
  6. the transmission has been replaced twice now (1 reports)
2011 Chevrolet Cruze transmission problems

transmission problem

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

May 212019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,277 miles


Babied the sh*t out of this car and the transmission stopped working, and the turbo charger also broke. I have had the window stop working, car handle break, thermostat head broken and numerous other problems since getting this car. Lemon car. DO NOT BUY! Do not waste your time or money, this is the worst car I have ever owned.

- sl.san95ss, Carrollton, US

problem #30

Jun 012017

Cruze ECO 1.4L Litre

  • Manual transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Occurred in a manual transmission. No dipstick meant that it was difficult to detect a slow leak in the transmission fluid (no spots on the driveway from transmission fluid). Bearings were discovered shot after major transmission noises coming from the car. This occurred around the 75000 mile mark.

- Nicholas R., Neenah, WI, US

problem #29

May 062018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,800 miles

Between 90-91k miles, I went to back out of a driveway, heard a rattling noise, and the car hardly went in reverse. I pulled back up the driveway and put it in park, the noise stopped. Went to back out of the driveway again and completely lose reverse. Immediately drove the car about 2 miles to my mechanic and it didn't seem to want to stay in any gear - shifting up and down for no reason.

Long story short, I contacted Chevy twice and they took four days to get back to me. By the time they finally got in touch with me, I had already taken my car to a transmission shop and had the tranny pulled and a new one ordered. Chevy informed me that I needed to take the car to a Chevy dealership for diagnosis but that all the charges would be on me since I was outside of the 5-year warranty. I went back and forth with Chevrolet multiple times with no resolution, only them refusing to work with me at all on the situation.

The transmission shop was amazing - friendly, diligent, sympathetic to the problem and everything else that Chevrolet unfortunately wasn't. The new transmission has a 3-year 500,000 mile warranty, but after the way this was handled (or rather, NOT handled) by Chevy, I'm thinking I'll be getting rid of this car before the 3-year mark. No more Chevrolets for me.

- Angela D., Massillon, US

problem #28

May 022018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles


I went to drive my car and there was no reverse or 4th gear after only 64,000 miles. GM has a Powertrain Warranty for 100,000 miles or 5 years whichever comes first. When I tried to put it in reverse and put on the gas it kept going forward like it was stuck in drive. I called the GM Service Center where I purchased my car and they told me they did not have any recalls with the make and model and there was nothing they could do because it was past the 5 year warranty period even though it was under on the miles.

I had to have it towed to a transmission place and pay for a new transmission myself. When I called the Executive Office at GM they said they started a case and gave me a file number but nobody ever called me back and I had to call them 3 times before talking to a supervisor who basically told me there was nothing they could do and was extremely rude and unsympathetic.

If GM is not going to stand behind their products I will make sure I never purchase another piece of junk from them. I want everyone to know this car has been nothing but trouble since the day I purchased it, runs hot and has a funny odor, has difficulty shifting into gears and transmission problems.

- Mary M., Omaha, US

problem #27

Feb 052018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles

I'm having loss of wages from this gm defect of a recall issue that gm is not responding to in the professional manner they claim to be. and I'm out of a car that's transmission failed before the 50,000 service miles. i have had this piece of sh*t for six months now this. what can i do?

- Mary N., Brentwood, US

problem #26

Jan 292018

Cruze LT 1.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,750 miles

Bought used from Northwest Hills (Sullivan) GM dealership. Transmission fluid changed by dealership as required by warranty about 2 years ago. Recently, the gear shifting became ragged, until the transmission failed completely 2 days ago (transmission remained in neutral regardless of shift selector). It was towed to dealership. First quote for repair was $6300 (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT ???) to replace the transmission on a car with less than 100,000 miles. Unbelievable. I'm waiting for the GM rep to guarantee some compensation before letting the dealership do the repair. If GM won't help, then I have a local garage that will swap in a rebuilt tranny with a 5 year AND 100,000 mile warranty for under $3000. Incidentally, CarMonkeys advertise the same warranty on a tranny that ships free, 30 day no hassle return, arrives within 2-3 days and costs $1289.89.

- robebcan, Torrington, US

problem #25

Jun 302017

Cruze LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,400 miles


I purchased a certified pre-owned car on Jan. 2015. Since mid-2016 (one and a half year since I owned the car) I've been noticing that my check engine light turned on every now and then, and gear shifting became significantly lagging around 30mph. EVERY SINGLE TIME in a service appointment (which I took strictly on schedule for every 3 months), I would point that out to the service department, and EVERY SINGLE TIME they would claim that they tested everything and there was no problem they detected.

Here comes the highlight: while last week (late June 2017, 2 and a half years since I owned the car, and interestingly 5 months after all my warranty expired), I was trying to drive back home from office via the highway. While entering the highway and speedup, I noticed that my engine speed went ups and downs in an serious, uncommon, rapid manner. There was also an unpleasant noise coming out of the transmission system. My car seriously shaked, and all gear shifting became useless. The car went out of control and went to neutral gear on the highway--which pushed me to a very dangerous emergency situation. Fortunately I made it stopped by the side of the highway and managed to call the roadside assistance.

My car was finally towed to the closest chevy dealership, and upon diagnostics they replied that to replace the transmission part, it would cost me $4100. It was the same amount for selling the same model with good condition !!!!

I read every complaints for 2011 chevy cruze regarding the transmission problem, and found very similar experiences for all the cases. It all happened on the 2011 module, transmission system got failed around 50k~60k mileage, and the only solution is to replace the whole part.

I therefore assume that there must be some design glitches on the transmission system of this module, and I'd like to seek for help and provide any useful info to any party or agency who would raise a lawsuit against it.


- Yijian C., Watertown, MA, US

problem #24

Dec 042017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

When taking off the car would hesitate then jump. Took it in nothing wrong and we change the transmission fluid. Now back out of drive go down the street and the transmission is slipping not changing gears. Get it home and there is leakage of something under the motor of the car. Took wheel off to get transmission level and it is black not red. Call a transmission mechanic to have it towed to the shop and he tells me he has 3 Cruzes with the exact same problem. That I should look to see if it has been recalled and to call the dealership. The fix will be $3,400.

- vernpratt, Titusville, US

problem #23

Aug 092017

Cruze LT 1.4L V4

  • CVT transmission
  • 110,000 miles

My Cruze is a very nice car as far as looks but this has literally been THE MOST unreliable vehicle I have ever had the displeasure of owning. This car has problem after problem after problem. Been having a issues since purchasing it. Took it to the Chevy dealership multiple times for burning smell coming from vent and Chevy insists there was no issues.

After repeated attempts to the dealership and calling Chevy and after the car reached 100k Chevy finally says there is a bad oil return pipe that dried up my turbo causing it to fail and cause the burning smell. Had it been found when I originally brought it to the dealership it would have been covered under warranty but since they couldn't do their job correctly I was forced to pay for all of that work. Had every seal pipe and part replaced from the oil return pipe to the turbo.

3 months later now my transmission is dead. Costing me $3800 in repairs. This car is the worst I've ever owed. 110k and the turbo has gone out transmission serpentine belt and tensioner heated seats sunroof you name it nothing on this car works or holds up. I have a 2004 c240 with 244k miles original motor transmission everything still works sunroof heated seats everything. I've had plenty of cars and this by far has been the absolute worst experience I've ever had owning a car. Since I've had this car I've exceeded 7k in repairs.

This car is not worth the money. It would be very hard for me to ever own another chevy or gm vehicle at this point

- Deron C., Virginia Beach, VA, US

problem #22

Nov 102017

Cruze 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Getting off work about 9 at night Friday night started up the car let it warm up a little bit, put the car in reverse backed out and then put it in drive to take off. it would not move into drive. had to have the car towed to a car dealership. came back all my God $4,000 I need a new transmission and my car is only 6 years old. that's money I don't have.

I just got a transmission leak fixed about a couple months ago, now the transmission is going out. what is up with chevrolet cruze?

- Latrecia K., Midland, US

problem #21

May 092017

Cruze LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles


Paid $22,000 for this Cruze brand new in the summer of 2011. I babied this car. Always had oil changes on time & mechanics always indicated the car was aging the way it should. I moved from MA to AL & noticed it had problems getting up hills/ transmission didn't sound great. Took it to a local Chevy dealer in Birmingham, had it serviced. They cleaned out some carbon backup, replaced hoses, the battery & coolant reservoir. The car never had a problem until November 2016. It only had 66,000 miles on it. I'm told a wave plate broke in the transmission and sent metal thru the housing & damaging the gears. I have had cars for 200K miles before but the Chevy Cruze didn't make it even a third of the way thru what I expected it to last. Will never buy a Chevy again.

- Brittany S., Birmingham, US

problem #20

May 032017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

My stepdaughter is a college student, bought this car for the gas mileage. No hard mileage or use. Transmission began slipping gears; jumping from first gear to neutral and then just stalling. Brought it to a GM dealership for diagnostics. I was told the vehicle needed a brand new transmission, nothing to fix or rebuild, "A WHOLE NEW TRANSMISSION." IT ONLY COSTS $2,500. The car itself isn't even worth that!!! What a rip off from GM!!! Financially strapped and no help from GM for building such a vehicle with such a crappy transmission, and they "GM" want us to buy American!!! What a rip off, another fleecing of the hard working American middle class who we are trying to put a child through college. Thanks GM; Oh, and you're welcome for the billion dollar bailout. GM, Chevy never again for me.

- Keith D., Deville, LA, US

problem #19

Mar 302017

Cruze ES 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Bought this car brand new from the dealer. The transmission leaked once before and it was fixed under warranty by the dealer. No check engine light no warning and the car will not drive. Towed it to the dealership and they said best thing to do was replace it. Had it replaced for the warranty. I hope there is a lawsuit this is insane. Problems from the beginning on this transmission.

- Meagan L., Grayslake, IL, US

problem #18

Jan 022017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

2011 Cruze bought second hand with 73000 km with expired warranty (bought in late 2016) and the transmission failed. GMC recommended replacing the transmission and pay 4000+ or have it rebuilt, I chose to rebuild with 'Mister Transmission' and paid 2100+tax. I've never heard of a transmission failing with only 7300 km, this should be recalled and fixed by GM as this is the second biggest complaint on this car. I will never buy a Chevy again.

- thibanpn, Brampton, ON, Canada

problem #17

Jan 042017

Cruze LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

car will not go into gear when the engine gets warm. cost 300 dollars just to get it towed of the highway. engine shows code p0700. brought an extended warranty for the vehicle. just waiting to see if they'll fix it

- Ray S., Erial, NJ, US

problem #16

Dec 182016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 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 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.

- Chelsea H., Houston, TX, US

problem #15

Aug 262016

Cruze 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

My 1st year of college and new to the area on the way to school car slowed down and stopped put car into park to go back into drive the automatic stick was LOCKED IT WOULDNT GO INTO DRIVE BUT IT WOULD GO INTO REVERSE. Only had the car 1 1/2 year. Warranty had just ran out. So here im out of a car that Supposed to be Dependable. Car still in shop for repair and costing alot of money i don't have. This is a RECALL its NO way on my behalf. smhhhhhh


- Susan H., Aiken, SC, US

problem #14

Jul 202016

Cruze LS 1.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,900 miles

I bought this car on October 2014 from UMI Certified program in Tel-Aviv (GM official representative in Israel). The car had 35,600 miles on it. As part of the Certified program, the car had 1 year warranty. In general i was pleased with the car altough the gear shifting wasn't smooth which is a known issue in this model and manufacturing years of 2009-2011.

Two days ago, the transmission broke in the middle of my way home from work having the ability to drive in reverse only....I towed the car to an official UMI dealer for inspection. At the dealer office we saw that this car has an extended warranty alert on the transmission. After few hours the dealer contacted me and told me that the warranty is based on 5 years or 93,750 miles. The car went on road on Feb 27 2011. Meaning, it passed the warranty period by less than 5 months. The car has only 50,900 miles on it....

After talking with the customer service in Israel, they filed a request to GM to try to use the warranty. The reply that I got today that I will get 30% discount on a refurbished transmission price excluding work and oil price. The total cost came to $2,600! The official price was $3,360.

The model's reputation in Israel & around the world is not that good due to the known transmission issues which caused GM to extend it's warranty. Sorry, but cars of the 21st century are not supposed to lose their transmission on such low mileage. I have to say that I'm very disappointed from GM on this not taking responsibility on a faulty transmission that brakes a lot on 2009-2011 models.

From the beginning i preferred to pay extra and therefore bought the used car from the Certified program which was supposed to be more reliable deal and that the car is in a better shape compared to the open market or private dealers. Please note that i payed less than 2 years ago ~12,000$ on this car. Couple of months ago, the same certified dealer, offered me ~$6,00$ in a trade-in deal which I decided not to take it. Today, if i will be lucky to get $5,000 on it after having to repair it with $2,700. Sorry, losing so much money because of a known fault in your product simply make me so upset and sorry that I chose a car from GM brand. Sorry, after getting GM's reply for discount of 30% only on the transmission price make me feel that GM doesn't stand behind her product's quality. Personally, I think this car should have been re-called on this.

Every person who bought it in Israel lost so much money even without having the transmission failure. I expected from GM to be more realistic and understand that it's not logic that a transmission of a car to brake after 50,000 miles on a daily house wife drive.

Hope other customers of GM will not lose so much money from cars of this brand.

- landauo, Kochav Yair, Israel

problem #13

Mar 022016

Cruze 1.6L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

I bought a new Chevrolet Cruz on January 2011.

Yesterday (March 3, 2016) the transmission had a complete failure.

The car has only 25,000 miles, and never had any problems before.

The car is in Israel. The GM garage (in Acre) said that almost 1/3 of the 2011 Cruz cars have a transmission failure.

They found chips in the gear oil. They changed oil and it did not help. They said that they have to change both the gear and the gear microprocessor (called here "gear computer"). They have to import the parts from Europe, and they are very expensive. They gave us an estimate of $4,500 to fix the problem (car prices in Israel are double than in the US because of taxes.) The estimate repair time is two weeks.

I am still not sure what to do.

- Yoram K., Haifa, Israel

problem #12

Apr 102016


  • Manual transmission
  • 88,000 miles

I have had the car since 2013... the car would not go in reverse... and rolled out in the road... so I tried to put it in reverse.. the clutch somehow popped in reverse... jumped the side walk and landed in someones house... then I proceeded to put the car in 1st gear.. to move it to assess the damage...The car proceeded then full speed ahead.. I was afraid.. the car would not stop.. finally got the car in neutral.,.. was able to hit the brakes and then it stop.. needless to say.. I was blessed there was a gas line directly in front of me.. this could of ended very badly...

Took it to a Chevrolet dealer and was advised the pressure plate was gone.. I have driven 5 different types of cars.. (manual speed).. Toyota Paseo, Mazada Turbo engine, Hyundai and have never had a clutch problem.. ever.. I have a Scion TC manual for 9 years.. and have not had a problem.. There is something seriously wrong with this car.. I am afraid to drive it.. what do I do?

I will say that the brakes.. emergency brakes did not stop this car from backing up and hitting my neighbors house...

- Tonya B., South Carolina, US

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