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."


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,351 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.

2012 Chevrolet Cruze drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #62

Jan 172017


  • 88,000 miles


Violent jerking when switching from park to other gears. Sluggish acceleration flashing D

- Struthers, OH, USA

problem #61

Feb 172015


  • 67,000 miles
Driver side windshield wiper becomes detached from wiper transmission when driving at highway speeds and simultaneously using windshield wipers. This poses significant danger because visibility is drastically reduced in rainy or snowy conditions. Car lurches forward when at a stop and transmission is in drive.

- Joliet, IL, USA

problem #60

Dec 152016


  • 65,000 miles
Car goes into a power down mode and stabilitrack light comes on. Has been in dealership for a week and stored no codes to diagnose. Can be driving down the highway at 60 and have loss of power. Will eventually cause accident. Car is still under powertrain warranty and cant be diagnosed.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #59

Dec 202012


  • 42,300 miles


I was out driving on our way home about 1 mile from my house, . I saw steam emit from the front of the hood. Pulled into my driveway and walked around to the front of vehicle. There was a burning kind of smell, opened hood and saw engine oil all over the bottom of engine, parts and underneath car all over the underbody. Also large puddle on the ground. The car has 42,000 miles on it and had it towed to the Chevy dealer immediately and there it sits waiting to figure out what caused this to happen. And the estimate and our if it is under the powertrain warranty. This was really scary once I I opened the hood and the burning smell was bad. I have had several recalls on my car that I guess we're corrected. I'm not a mechanic. I have kept up on all maintenance and oil changes with the car dealer. In fact I just had an oil change 2 months ago by the dealer. You know they tell you to use synthetic oil it will last the longest in between oil changes. I'm stunned because I do not know how this would happen so suddenly. Is this related to any recalls?

- Willis, MI, USA

problem #58

Oct 292016


  • 140,000 miles
My 2012 Chevy Cruze eco suddenly lost power and acceleration was very poor on 10/29/2016. Almost got hit trying to pull out from a stop sign because the power was no longer there to take off. After having an auto mechanic shop look at the car on 10/31/2016 we discovered that the oil line from the block or where the oil supply comes from for the turbo had been a plastic line that had melted and stopped oil from flowing to the turbo charger. This appears to be a poor design on GM's part to use plastic lines for something that will obviously be transferring hot oil. It seems to have caused the turbo to burn up and also created an exhaust leak. I am still waiting on a final price from the mechanic shop to find out how much damage was done. They have called me today 11/1/2016 and asked that I come in so they can show me more damage they have found as a result of this line melting. I have spoken to one of the owners at [xxx] family of dealerships and they were of no help stating that it is out of warranty. Really" it is a defective design flaw so why should I be having to pay for the repair" I would like some help with this issue please! I know I have 140000+/- miles on the car but it has been mostly highway miles and maintenance has always been done on the vehicle. I use this for my work and family vehicle so it is not driven hard or abused in anyway. I hate the fact of turning in a complaint that involves a dealer that I have recommended to so many people in the past but he was of no help at all and really showed no concern that there was an issue like this with a vehicle that he had sold. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Tullahoma, TN, USA

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problem #57

May 082014


  • 38,000 miles
Engine fan keeps running and dealership insists it's norman but it wasn't happening from 2012 through 2014. Happens when I start the car and engine is cold, when sitting at light a light, with air on or off. I bought it brand new. I have the feeling they're waiting for something major to happen. I'm very concerned. I've had it checked 3 times. They say it's normal, but if it were doing this when I bought it, I definitely wouldn't have. Please help, I don't want to die!

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #56

Aug 292016


  • 84,135 miles


Stabili trak check engine light and error message transmission fluid leakage out of bottom of vehicle on driver side causing strong burning oder inside car while in motion car seems like it gore into neutral not allowing driver to push gas. Immediately get to a safe place and cut vehicle off to avoid excessive damage, if on busy road or freeway be very careful not sure what happens at regular speed of road or freeways. I was in a school zone and received police assistance for traffic control.

- Pearland, TX, USA

problem #55

Jun 022016


  • 34,604 miles
My dad and I noticed that after my car had been driven for awhile that the fan began running really hard then I noticed about a month ago that my check engine light came on. I had a mechanic check it and he told me that it was code P0599 which is the thermostat control circuit. He sd that he believed there had been a recall at one time but for me to contact the dealer. I called rod hatfield here in lexington, ky and was told that there has been several cars of my year and model with these issues but there was not a recall issued for this and I would have to pay to get it fixed.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #54

Jun 102016


  • 40,000 miles
Car just stopped in traffic and would not move it gave no warning that anything was wrong. It is a good thing I was not on a highway or I may not be here to tell you about this right now. It was in motion and just stopped and would not move. I could not even push it out of the middle of the road. The car behind me almost hit me. It was a very dangerous situation.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #53

Jun 142016


  • 28,000 miles
When I turned off the car, the dic showed the message "shift car into park." The car was already in park. I tried to move the shifter up a little to be sure that it was completely in park, but it did not move. I had to start the car again to get it to turn off.

- Springfield, IL, USA

problem #52

Aug 062013


  • 27,390 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving 35 mph, the accelerator pedal was depressed, but the vehicle jerked before accelerating. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the gears, bearings, and housing in the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure persisted. The vehicle was taken back to a dealer where it was diagnosed that there were metal filings in the transmission and that the internal components in the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 27,390.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #51

Mar 172016


  • 73,000 miles
Car suddenly shifted into 4th gear while going 70 mph. Squalled left front tire, and violently snatched steering wheel to the left. After shutting car off, the problem was gone. Shortly after, stabilitrack, and steering alarm appeared on message display. That cleared once shut-off. Three weeks later it occurred again. This time, on a trip, it did the exact same problems four times in a row. This is a very dangerous problem. If I had not had a firm grip on the wheel, I would have been hurt. I pity the fool who tailgates me! I took the car to the local dealer, and had the California flash "recall" done. Sense that the transmission has not shifted down while at high speeds, but now, the stabilitrack, and ABS lights are staying on.

- Leicester, NC, USA

problem #50

Mar 172016


  • miles
Vehicle has 29,980 approximate miles. Vehicle had a leaking torque converter seal. While dealership was removing transmission, a stray bolt fell from the interior of the motor. Bolt does not belong to car. It has damaged the bell housing. No other damage has been reported at this moment.

- Busseron, IN, USA

problem #49

Sep 232015


  • 51,000 miles
After my purchase of a brand new Chevy Cruze ls I did notice that it was not shifting good.the car was not shifting down or up and when shifting down very hesitant, almost like there were no brakes. After bringing it to the dealer several times with them telling me there was nothing wrong with it and several adjustments to the transmission control module, transmission overhaul and parts replacements, I was involved in an accident on the highway. The car still does not work right and I believe this accident is related to this car's drive tran and leads me to think that the product safety should be related to the NHTSA,

- Cocoa, FL, USA

problem #48

Dec 152015


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving at various speeds, an abnormal fuel odor was present inside the vehicle. The failure was persistent. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission lines failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 60,000. Updated 04/07/16

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #47

Jul 282012


  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, there was strong odor inside the vehicle. The contact also stated that fuel leaked from the front of the vehicle. The failure was persistent. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the turbo cooler line, the transmission cooler hose line and the oil seal gasket needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 48,000.

- Xenia, OH, USA

problem #46

Dec 272015


  • 35,720 miles
When car is shifted into park, after shutting the car off the dic states "shift car into park". I push up on the gear shifter then the dic screen will go off and car seem to be into park.

- Nashville, IN, USA

problem #45

May 052014


  • 1 miles
While driving the car it continuously jerk forward, and it seems to be getting worse, the car is in motion, on a regular street. It's unknown why the car is doing this.

- Auburn Hill, MI, USA

problem #44

Aug 112015


  • 68,492 miles
When the car first started messing up it was minor things I noticed: The in dash lighter not working, trunk latch doesn't work except by key, turn signals would glitch, can't use usb & audio cord at same time without it cutting off both completely. Then a couple weeks later I noticed my car had an unusual delay in increasing speed it was as if I had to push it to the floor just to get to 30 mph. Now the most recent event occurred on 9/17/15 which is what's prompting me to file this complaint (keep in mind I've only owned the vehicle for 8 months, purchased at 54K miles currently has 70.9K) I drove to my house approx 30 min hwy from where I was I got into my car the next morning it didn't start at all. My bf checked the battery voltage & it was too dead to test, with a jumper box my car took approx10 min to even turn over, during the time of me inside the car attempting to start it my steering column locked up, lights in dash, radio system, headlights everything flashing on and off, key was stuck inside ignition, a foul smell & clicking noise is coming from engine, & couldn't lock doors once I turned car off immediately. This all occurred I'd say within a matter of 30 seconds after the car to turned over. Was so freaked out I didn't try to start again for 2-3 min and once I did it started right up. Within 72 hrs I have now seen the stabilitrac service alert, theft alert system needs serviced, along w/ air bags, & battery light flickers on & off. The clicking under my hood has continued, the rotten egg smell from engine comes & goes, dash lights go dim then go back to regular. Drove to O'reillys, they were able to tell me I now have a bad alternator as well. Recall 14801 was issued for reprogram engine control module, getting serviced this week at dealership but could this possibly cause all this?? especially considering I don't want to be responsible for repairs. Help

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #43

Apr 252015


  • 48,000 miles
My car started jerking violently on Saturday April 25 2015. A few hours later the car stalled then made a loud noise and returned to normal driving. Its been happening 5 days now. I took it to the dealer and they told me it was my drive wise insurance tracker that was making the car jerk so it was removed.the problem is still happening. It jerks when I stop and go but its fine when I'm at a steady speed.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

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