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.

CarComplaints.com Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague

CarComplaints.com 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:
52,612 miles
Total Complaints:
21 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. new transmission (10 reports)
  2. not sure (8 reports)
  3. compressor replaced (2 reports)
  4. 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 #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.

- , 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.

- , 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.

- , 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.

- , 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

- , Erial, NJ, USA

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.

- , Houston, TX, USA

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


- , Aiken, SC, USA

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.

- , 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.

- , 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...

- , South Carolina, USA

problem #11

Mar 202015

Cruze LTZ

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


I wish I had something nice to say about this car, but quite frankly - I don't. My car had leaking transmission tubes upon purchase that I was never informed of. I blame this on poor customer service from the dealership I chose, and maybe that was my fault, but the company itself should also be doing something as this appears to be a significant issue for Cruz owners.

I made complaints about the way my car was shifting, rolling down small hills, and not accelerating properly. I was told there was no issue where there most certainly was one. After having to replace the transmission my car ran well for a while but slowly began acting up again. Nobody is taking responsibility for their actions (or lack thereof), and that's a shame.

Also, these cars hold little to no value after around 100,000miles. So if you drive a lot for work or whatever, this car is not for you. And be aware: they will nickel and dime you!

- , Portland, ME, USA

problem #10

Apr 262015

Cruze LT 4.1L

  • Manual transmission
  • 81,400 miles

I purchased the car new in July 2011 had problems since. During the winter of 2011 I took the car to a dealership to look at the problem. Problem was no power or shifting transmission. I kept getting the message "service traction control" and "service stability trak", and service engine light was on. This issue would seem to only occur during the winter months when I first started the car up in the morning. Dealership said they could not find the problem and sent me back home.

This has been an ongoing issue until last Oct 2014 when I took it to a third dealership and they changed the computer at my cost (of course). The problem seemed to be a little better as it was not doing it so often until last week (April 25, 2015) when it got even worst. To the point where it was stalling in the middle of the road because the "service stability trak" message was on. It has been very bad all week now and is going back to the last dealership who changed the computer thinking that was the problem. Hopefully this time they know what the problem is. That dealership told me there is a recent recall probably towards that issue. Sure hope he is right this time.

- , Chapleau, ON, Canada

problem #9

Jul 302014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,389 miles

I had to tow my car my neighborhood to the dealership this Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 17hrs GMT.

This happened around 14pm GMT, when the car abruptly slowed down whilst I was driving from about 75km per hour to 20km per hour within some few seconds(15sec maximum) till it came to a final stop.

I took it to the dealership and till now my car has not been fixed.

shortly after (about week) my recent routine servicing (65,000km), I took the car back to the dealership after complaining that the car jerked/jumped when moving from the 1st to the 2nd gear. After it was checked I was told there was nothing wrong with it until it finally broke down on Saturday, 2nd August 2014

GM is a failure on this transmission issue. They simply dont care and are ignorant on the solution to this problem. Its been 6months now and i am without a car, thanks to GM and their useless 2011 model. Im putting this in the Ghanaian media in Ghana This week. Piece of Crap

- , Accra, Accra, Ghana

problem #8

Sep 282013

Cruze ECO

  • Manual transmission
  • 46,603 miles

I have had 12 major identified problems with my car. I've had to get a brand new transmission . This car was brand new and well taken care of. It is currently at a dealership for the next month because it is leaking oil all over the engine. It needs new cylinders, gaskets etc. I want GM to do something about all these problems. I should not have any issues win it when it's brand new. Never again will I buy a GM product. Shame on them!!!!

- , Blenheim, ON, canada

problem #7

Jul 132011

Cruze LT 1.4L Trubo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles

At first it was shifting bad in 3rd and 5th gear. The dealership could not duplicate the problem as it was intermittent. Then it progressively got worse and took it to another dealership who could also not duplicate the problem (supposedly). Eventually we got the dealership to replace the transmission.

When the technician drained the fluid from the original transmission that came in the car, the fluid was black with metal shavings in it. Since then, we recently have had the transmission replaced again, but I have not driven it yet, as the car is STILL at the dealership for some other issues it is having which I will list as another complaint.

Update from Jun 23, 2012: The second transmission seems to be better (only after the ECM was replaced as well) however there is still a major safety issue with acceleration.

- , Walnut Hill, IL, USA

problem #6

Aug 282013

Cruze LTZ 1.4L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,226 miles

The first time I needed an Oil/Filter change I took it to Southpoint Chevrolet in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At the time I informed them that the car had nearly killed me several times by stalling when entering traffic or attempting to pass. It would start to accelerate then it felt like the car went in to neutral and it was coasting. After a split second it responded properly. Manager shrugged and said he had not heard of a problem like that. It continued to do it. Also the car stinks and smells l;like it is overheating but I can not find a problem. It was time to change the Oil again so I decided to do it myself. I have a background as a mechanic. The owners manual gave directions and I followed the precisely. I drained the Oil and removed the Filter. Once it was drained I installed a WIX Oil filter matching specs in manual. Then installed the drain plug and put in 4.5 quarts of Mobil 1 Synthetic oil Dexros spec. Started the car, warmed up. Turned it off, waited a few minutes then checked the oil level which was st the first marking level as shown in manual. Started to drive the car and it went backwards just fine. Put it in a forward gear and the car revved but did not move. Checked all gears, same result. Rolled the car back in to the drive way and started looking for solutions. I did not find any but one "Cruze" Forum suggested the Oil filter might not be installed correctly. I had installed it exactly as it had come out but I did it a second time and tightened to 14 FP. Called GM Customer service and the first thing I was told was, "You have voided your warranty." I find that unacceptable.

- , Sand Springs, OK, USA

problem #5

Nov 272012

Cruze 2LT 1.4L Ecotec Vvt Dohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,884 miles

I took my car to the dealership within the first 3,000 miles complaining of the sudden lack of power. I don't know if that first visit is documented. I was told the car was fine and running according to specs, blah..blah..blah. I went to numerous dealerships complaining of this problem. Always told the car was fine. My husband thought I was exaggerating...until while he was driving the car the transmission started acting up. This is what the invoice states: "Customer states a growling type noise form engine compartment at idel and engine has no power. Verified concern of growling noise in engine compartment. Found noise coming from AC compressor due to internal excessive clearance. Evacuated system for access to replace compressor per TSB Document 2835289. Recharged system and road tested for lack of power, no concern present at this time." I thought after this my car would start performing as promised. Wrong..see the rest of my posts. I still have no power. I see my car and call it "My POS Cruze." I hate this car. I wish I had bought a Kia or Hundyai. I just bought an extended warranty because I know I am going to keep having problems. The dealerships are very helpful..trade in the car for another one. Right..like I will ever buy a Chevy again. I put wrong mileage. This happened at 30,550 miles.

Update from May 26, 2013: Car back at the dealership. Told car is fine. I refuse to accept this answer and because it is the holiday I have to wait until Tuesday to try and show the service writer that my Cruze is possessed. Okay..not possessed but I think it is a lemon.

I am so tired of posting. I have also had other problems:
1. Pioneer sound system sounds worse than the cheap radio in the loaner car I am driving. Told " Vehicle is operating as designed at this time." So glad I bought the upgraded system. 2. Excessive road noise: "Compared vehicle to like vehicle, vehicle is operating as designed at this time." NO..I bought this car because it is so airtight..in fact that is what Chevy promoted and I liked. Noise has increased over time.
3. I didn't say this because I don't know what it means: "Customer states stability track light is on verified concern. Performed diagnosis and found high resistance in steering angle sensor. Replaced sensor. Cleared system and retested."

EVERY TIME I GO TO THE DEALERSHIP I AM TOLD THE CRUZE IS FINE. Okay, my idea of fine and Chevy's are definitely not the same.

I am scanning all my invoices and sending it to the attorney that sent me a letter, in which he states, "We are aware of numerous complaints related to defects in t he 2011 Chevrolet Cruze including but not limited to antifreeze smell while driving with the heater on, automatic transmission problems, control module defects, and throttle lag condition that may cause a delay between the time that the accelerator is pressed and the time that the transmission actually engages."

I am not in a position to trade my Cruze for another car. I JUST WANT CHEVY TO DO THE RIGHT THING. Admit the 2011 Cruze, at least the turbo, can't be fixed and compensate us. I want a car upon which I can rely.

- , Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #4

May 182012

Cruze KT1

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,165 miles

5-18-12 18165 mileage car towed to dealership - driving on highway 65mph / burning smell coming through a/c vents/ transmission hot (overheat) /traction control & stabilitrac light & transmission light appeared. Plus continued poor gas mileage since 2/12 fix. transmission control module replaced (again) - could not duplicate gas mileage problem

- , Fort Worth, TX, US

problem #3

Mar 122012

Cruze KT1

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,471 miles

3-12-12 - 16471 mileage - brought to dealership car would not engage from the stop position to acceleration & poor gas mileage since 1st 2-10 repair - caused to roll into intersection. - control solenoid valve & transmission control module replaced. Could not duplicate gas mileage problem

- , Fort Worth, TX, US

problem #2

Feb 102012

Cruze KT1

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,422 miles

Once i reached 15000 nothing but transmission issues from this car.

2-10-12 - 15422 mileage car towed to dealership - would start / shifter would go into gear / car would not drive - check engine, traction control & stabilitrac light were on. - shaft detent lever switch replaced.

- , Fort Worth, TX, US

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