Print this page
2012 Chevrolet Cruze AC / heater problems: antifreeze smell in car

Antifreeze Smell In Car

2012 Chevrolet Cruze

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Chevrolet dealer. Seal Of This Might Hurt Notes: In many ways, the 2012 Cruze continues the legacy of its predecessor. It's a legacy of sluggish transmissions and coolant leaks, but it's still a legacy.

To be fair, the number of complaints about the cooling system are way down versus the 2011 model which led to a class-action lawsuit.

On the flip-side, there's more concerns about brake problems.

However, there were far more Cruze vehicles sold for the 2012 model year so we'll give it our "Beware of this Clunker" badge rather than the "Avoid Like the Plague."


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
24,250 miles
Total Complaints:
13 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (11 reports)
  2. replaced water pump (1 reports)
  3. water pump replaced (1 reports)
2012 Chevrolet Cruze AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2012 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments

problem #13

Dec 302020

Cruze LT 1.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,202 miles


I'm working backwards on complaints. So the water pump was replaced, thermostat replaced, but I'm still losing coolant from somewhere and the smell just started getting strong in the box while driving with heat on. But smell stays even with heat off.

- Brett B., Mount Sterling, OH, US

problem #12

Nov 122016

Cruze 1.4L Turbo

  • Manual transmission
  • 62,137 miles

I cannot begin to tell you how bad/horrible my experience with my Cruze has been. First problem was the smell of anti freeze in my car. It was literally burning my nostrils. My husband developed polyps inside his nostrils it was that bad. Chev fixed the problem, only to have my a/c not work shortly after my warranty expired. I was not thrilled. This is and was problem number one of.. about 20! More to come.

- Michelle H., Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada

problem #11

Jan 062013

Cruze LT 1.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,065 miles

When I got my 2012. Chevy cruze. Rs. 1.4 liter. I was so happy but when I started driving it I

(I Had A bad Smell Come Through. the Vents. it smelled So Bad. Shut My airconditioner. Off and Rolled down the windows. So I can breath it been. Two many dealerships. And no luck getting. Fixed still fighting. It. Its getting. Worse. It burns my eyes. I have so many. People. That won't get in my car anymore.then they had they nerve. To call my a piss. Of crap. I can't stand it anymore. They won't listen. To me now they treat me like crap. I have. Been fighting. For three years

- Sabrina W., Tulsa, OK, US

problem #10

Nov 012014

Cruze 1.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles


Had to add small amounts of coolant and dealer verified no water pump leak yet as per recall. Was told it is normal to add over time, but this is first new car I have ever had to add coolant to.

- Larry E., Wilmington, NC, US

problem #9

Nov 012014

Cruze LX 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles

I have noticed this coolant smell just when I had to turn the heat on coming out of my heater vents. I have noticed a few other complaints of the same problem. but was there ever a happy ending with the dealership? For now I have an appointment to take it in and preparing myself for the fight. Hopefully they see it my way.

- mdavisil, East Peoria, IL, US

problem #8

Dec 152013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,782 miles


- Robert B., Lake Elsinore, CA, US

problem #7

Jan 092012

Cruze LS 1.4L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles


In winter with heater on strong smell of antifreexe...I'm a master automotive tec. and would have bet that it was a heater evaporator , but floor was dry and fluid level had not gone down...covered under warranty so took to dealer..after a little persuasion added die and had us drive car for a week...They found the water pump was just starting leak...nothing I could see, under hood or no drips in driveway or when on lift...They replaced Water pump...Smell was gone ...took back next days for belt squeal ( from antifreeze drip...) new belt fixed problem...That pump lasted 3 months and started to make bad bearing noise ....Replaced 1 more time and was good till traded for New 2013 ...Car then had 44,000 mi. loved car for gas miles ect .

- Lynn C., New Milford, Penna., US

problem #6

Jan 302013

Cruze LS 1.4L Turbo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles

New water pump had bad bearing only lasted a few months was making noise. Dealer replaced first time for bad smell and found small leak with die in car for week of driving...fixed smell..but new pump had bad bearing pump repaired problem ...traded for another on 9-2013 for a new 2013...loved gas milage of the 2012...

- Lynn C., New Milford, Penna., US

problem #5

Oct 012012

Cruze ECO 1.4L

  • Manual transmission
  • 6,000 miles

I really loved this car for the fuel economy. However when the cold nights came I found my drive home from work at night very unpleasant with the smell of antifreeze in the cabin when the heater is on. I have not taken the car to the dealer as I have not read of any solution from GM to fix this problem. This is probably bad for one's health too. I have a 2 year lease on this vehicle so for now I have to drive with the windows open in the winter or drive my 18 year old Ford truck with 300k miles on it. I thought GM had finally made a good small car with this one....boy was I mistaken.

- Stephen K., Holley, NY, US

problem #4

Jan 012013

Cruze LS

  • Manual transmission
  • 9,600 miles

Keep checking the coolant level as I thought car was overheated but ti wasnt, there's an anti-freeze smell soemtimes in the car when you shut it down & you can definitely smell it when you get out!! yuk

Im really starting to hate this damn car!!!

- mflick, Victorville, CA, US

problem #3

Mar 012013

Cruze LT 1.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles


My daughter bought the car with 24000 miles and the problem was present . Burnt antifreeze smell through the ventilation system when the heater is used, the smell gets stronger if you lower any of the windows ( low preasure is created and draws more air through the ventilation sys.) Her car has been to the shop 3 times,1st was to add a longer drain / vent hose to the resevior tank,didn't work. 2nd was to install a wider gasket along the cowl (dividing the engine compartment from the ventilation intake, no good .3rd they replaced the water pump as the smell seemed to originate from that area. the also added weights to a flap (located on the fire wall which is used to drain condensation from the ac). I have since sealed that flap which has helped.

- Gary S., Mcgregor, mn, US

problem #2

May 302012

Cruze ECO 1.4L

  • Manual transmission
  • 300 miles

been to the dealer 6 times. no fix, no loaner, not safe to drive. had to get a lawyer for the lemon law. gm still wont settle. we have been without our car for about 3 months. first new car we ever bought. we bought it new so we wouldn't have any problems. i guess we will be going back to used cars. what happened to customer service. I recommend if you are having this problem get a lemon law attourny asap.

- Ron E., Pelkie, MI, US

problem #1

Apr 182012

Cruze LTZ 1.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

So we have had the car in the shop 6 times 5 times for the transmission and 2 for the radiator antifreeze smell that enters the cabin.GM still has yet to fix any issue. Twice the program to the transmission has been updated and once the valve body has been replaced. Guess what still havin issues!!! Ended up getting a lawyer because GM wants to use everyone as lab rats to test their products and make us pay for the car. If you want me to test your product give it to me free or pay me for my services instead of me paying to test it! Makes no sense. Now I'm scared for the safety of me and my children (6 years old and newborn) THANKS GM FOR SCREWING ME OVER! I would definately run away from this car!!!! Go away from American made because its all a bunch of crap! Audi is expensive but I have heard few complaints about the cars.

- smichlle1984, Dallas, TX, US

Not what you are looking for?