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:
6 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,449 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 3 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #69

Jun 012015


  • 72,700 miles


I went to my fathers house and he noticed the smell of antifreeze strongly. He looked under my hood and on the ground and its leaking everywhere. I had bought this car not even 4 months ago and the first week the check engine light was on.

- Kennett , MO, USA

problem #68

Jan 312015


  • 32,600 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle was leaking and there was an anti freeze odor. The vehicle was taken to the dealer five times, but the failure was unable to be determined. The dealer replaced the thermostat, but the failure recurred. The contact mentioned that the anti freeze odor was strong, which caused headaches. The vehicle was taken to the dealer on a separate occasion where dye was added into the radiator to find a leak, but failed. On another occasion, the vehicle was taken to a dealer where a pressure test was performed but the anti freeze odor became worse. The failure mileage was 32,600.

- Fayetteville, NY, USA

problem #67

Mar 102015


  • 75,000 miles
Drove my car about 70 miles on the interstate once I got into town and stopped at a red light the car began to sputter, when I accelerated the car was hesitant. Major safety concern, I could have been rear ended. Also, when making a left hand turn onto a busy state route the car would not accelerate it was very hesitant making the turn to a point I thought the car was going to stall, in front of oncoming traffic. The car is at the dealer today getting the coolant recall completed and it will be computer checked for the engine light. From what I was told by another mechanic, the car is loosing vacuum pressure and the valves or valve cover is leaking.

- Hazle Township , PA, USA

problem #66

Feb 182015


  • 54,202 miles


While accelerating from a stop, engine suddenly lost power, warning lights came on, "reduced engine power" message displayed. Brought car to a stop, accelerator pedal did nothing, engine would only idle. Shut engine off for 20 seconds, restarted, and pedal worked, car would accelerate. Returned home, scanned engine control module for codes, found P2135 for throttle position sensor. Took to dealer for repairs under warranty, they cleaned throttle body. Had car back for 2 days and problem occurred again. Found same code, returned car to dealer. Chevy dealer was reluctant to replace throttle body, didn't even mention the malfunction and wanted to instead replace a coolant sensor. I was able to convince them to replace throttle body, and the repair order states that they updated the ECM software level. I believe there is a tsb which should be a recall. Sudden loss of engine power is extremely dangerous when pulling into traffic, merging, etc.

- Aurora, IL, USA

problem #65

Feb 252015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
Reported oil pressure drop alert on my car, strong rubber burning smell and smoke coming from engine. Oil was spraying out on engine, reported the issue to Chevy, however they state nothing can be done until mid April. Was sent home driving car in this condition and was not offered help nor was my car serviced or fixed during the appointment I made at the sunrise Chevrolet location.

- New Windsor, NY, USA

problem #64

Feb 242015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the check engine light continued to illuminate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the map sensor was defective and needed to be replaced. The contact mentioned that the vehicle failed to pass inspection. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 66,000. Updated 4/30/15 the consumer stated the vehicle did not idle properly and the vehicle would stall when he attempted to pull out into traffic. Updated 06/23/15

- Lenoir, NC, USA

problem #63

Feb 142015


  • 54,778 miles


For the past several months since June 2014, I have been experiencing the vehicle acceleration performance decrease. Once at a stop or stop light, it takes the vehicle between 10 to 40 seconds to fully pick up speed upon pressing on the acceleration. Today (02/14/2015) the vehicle stopped with engine light on while I was trying to move from a stop sign. This was scary. I imagined this wound have been terrible if I was in the midst of fast moving vehicles. I went online to check if there was a trend in the Chevy Cruze acceleration and random engine shut down; sadly I came across several complaints from the following link: this is a serious issue, and I urge the federal government to investigate these complaints and notify GM to take immediate action upon completion of the fed investigation. It is sad that we cannot even rely on home made products.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #62

Feb 122015

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Very strong smell of burning oil when car comes to a stop. Oil sprayed all over the top rear of engine and down back of engine. Dealer replaced PCV valve and manifold cover at 44,678 miles due to recurring antifreeze leak and lean fuel / low vacuum condition. Going back to dealer again I guess before it bursts into flames.

- Hastings, MN, USA

problem #61

Oct 022014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Strong smell of antifreeze while driving, strong smell of antifreeze under the hood, antifreeze leaking on serpentine belt and sprayed around engine compartment. Dealer replaced water pump.

- Hastings, MN, USA

problem #60

Jan 032015


  • 56,500 miles
Driving on the highway at roughly 70mph when car shuddered, and lost power immediately. After this the car would not accelerate. Fortunately there were no vehicles directly behind me, so I was able to pull over to the side of the road. The check engine light was illuminated and the dashboard read three errors: "engine power is reduced", "service traction control", "service stabilitrack". after turning the car off, waiting, and turning back on the vehicle worked correctly, but the issue occurred after another 15 minutes on the road. I drove in the right lane the rest of the way home to ensure our safety, and this occurred 4 times in total. This was an extremely dangerous situation during a busy holiday travel weekend. Had this occurred at the wrong time, this could have been catastrophic. Quick research online has shown this to be an issue with the make and model, as many other people have reported this exact defect.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #59

Dec 212014


  • 63,000 miles


I was at a red light and when the light turned green, I was about to push the gas pedal. The vehicle dash read engine power is reduced and shut off. I tried several times to start the vehicle but it shut down saying the same thing on the dash. I'm afraid because someone could have ran into me from the rear and I have a 7yr old daughter. I think this should be handled immediately. This is not safe at all.

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #58

Jan 212014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 38,248 miles
Took vehicle in for oil change, had to do "heavy engine repair" per technician, replaced water pump and seal as it was found leaking. Refilled with coolant.

- Dryden, MI, USA

problem #57

Dec 112014


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle decreased in speed and stalled. The failure occurred on several occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, who diagnosed that the throttle body needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 40,000.

- Suwanee, GA, USA

problem #56

Nov 192014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 75,300 miles
This is a very well known problem with Chevy owners. I have done countless hours of research and seen hundreds of forums and articles related exactly to this specific issue. Now it has to be brought to the attention of the federal government to issue a recall. I own a 1.4L turbo automatic 2lt Chevy Cruze 2012. This problem has been happening since the first year I purchased the vehicle however is getting much worse. Reduced engine power. The engine light comes on, a "!" shows up on the screen and the cars speed is reduced to 4 or 5 mph with in a matter of seconds. This has happened to myself as well as hundreds of other people from what the internet says. This is very unsafe especially considering some people have families and drive with children such as myself on highway systems. I experienced this while trying to accelerate into an intersection and got an immediate engine speed reduction. This could have killed my daughter and I if the vehicles in the intersection were unable to stop in time. Please do what is necessary to get this vehicle part or issue recalled and or recognized immediately!

- Muskego, WI, USA

problem #55

Nov 082014


  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving approximately 15 mph, the vehicle would not accelerate while attempting to enter onto the highway. The vehicle eventually reached 53 mph. The dealer diagnosed that the turbo charger failed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 78,000.

- Maumee, OH, USA

problem #54

Oct 012014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
I bought my 2012 Chevy Cruze in September 2014. Since I have had it, when driving any where, when I press the gas pedal to drive, the car sounds like it rears up to loud. I have to take my foot off the gas, then press gently and drive slow, inorder for the car to not make that sound. My car is not a straight drive, it is automatic, therefore it should not be making that sound as if it's in the wrong gear. Is this going to be a very bad problem down the road?

- Jamestown, NC, USA

problem #53

Mar 262014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 19,009 miles
Bought vehicle from carmax first week of March 2014, 3 weeks later was first time I drove in snow and the the brakes did not work at all. Called carmax and though the warranty was was over they agreed to repait because of a brake recall. Then a couple weeks later there was a leak and Ford had to replace a coolant pump. The car never ran the same. The car putters and has horrible acceleration and I have contacted Ford and carmax dealership and coorp for help at the same time all the Cruze were taken off the lots and were no longer allowed to be sold because of all the recalls and they were deemed unsafe to drive. All I asked carmax for was to take this vehicle back and let me pick out a different car. I am a single mom with a teenage daughter an I am afraid to let her drive this car, there have been several deaths attributed to the Chevy Cruze. I have left several voicemails with GM my case # is C7269752 with first responder..what does that mean anyway? the GM at carmax in tinley park argued with me for 15 minutes about who if I spoke to him once or twice instead of dealing with the real issue, the sold me, a single mother a car with bad brakes! I almost went into down into a 6 lane expressway when the brakes didnt work! I would have been killed. Its been a couple months now and no one has followed up at all. The snow will soon begin and I am scared to death to drive. Please can some one help.

- Lockport, IL, USA

problem #52

Dec 132012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 20,445 miles
12/13/12 check engine light is on and vehicle hesitates on acceleration from a stop. They replaced the failed turbo charger assembly. Replaced valves inside head. 03/21/2013 - error message "A/C off due to high engine temp". replaced A/C compressor. 12/13/13- water pump leaking replaced water pump and coolant. 08/29/2014 - "engine overheated - idle engine" error message "A/C off due to high engine temp" dealer fixed recall low coolant level. 10/15/14- car having power issues needs to be jump-started. After looking at the car they made me pay $89.95 to replace battery. 11/03/14 - "engine oveheated-idle engine" "A/C off due to high engine temp" "service traction control" "reduced engine power". the car was shaking and losing power had to be towed to dealership.

- Apple Valley , CA, USA

problem #51

Dec 312012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
Anti freeze smell in car and head rests pop up by used GM fix to stop the helped but didn't solve the claimed to have adjusted the headrests but it didn't help at all.they still pop up by themselves.

- Oxford, CT, USA

problem #50

Aug 012014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
Since purchase as used, slow start speed with the engine almost cutting out. Radio flickering on and off. Engine cutting out when idling. Engine light for mass air flow (maf) sensor replacement. Replaced maf sensor and problem remains. Engine fan staying on long after engine has shut off and cooled. Service lights coming of for stabilitrack and other random issues. Front cigarette lighter won't charge devices. Tire air pressure sensors backwards on display, I.e. display right front tire is actually left front tire pressure.

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

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