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

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 (Page 5 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Mar 132014


  • 47,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while traveling various speeds, a fire started in the engine compartment. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 47,000.

- Edna, TX, USA

problem #28

Oct 092013


  • 65,000 miles
Driving on rural road temperature gauge went all the way to hot. Stopped car looked under hood there was no liquid in the antifreeze tank went to a house and got water to fill it up. Temp gauge went back to normal. Check engine stayed on. Took car to dealer for inspection they said thermostat housing replaced. Every thing fine. On 1/24/2014 the same thing happened this time the cooling fan was racing like I had never heard before pulled in to a mall parking lot raised hood antifreeze tank empty. I looked and saw green liquid where the pipe from antifreeze tank connects to the engine. The vehicle is definitely loosing antifreeze where the coolant goes in to the engine.. this is the second time I almost burned the engine.

- Kemp, TX, USA

problem #27

Feb 042013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 16,000 miles
Noxious coolant smell inside vehicle when heater is on. Coolant smell coming from engine compartment when it is warm. The water pump has been changed, next repair was re routing coolant reservoir, next repair was mold found in heater core compartment/cleaned and deoderizer was used, last repair was heater core case replaced. This problem started with a leaking water pump and has not been addressed. Seems GM is trying different repairs in hopes it will be fixed. The problem doesn't, T seem to be diagnosed. Only happens in cold weather months with the heater on. Heated air from the vents smell like burned coolant. Very irritating to the eyes and throat, eyes are watery and swollen, very difficult to see and drive. Then severe coughing. We can not safely drive longer than 20 minutes. My dealer tells me they never heard of this problem yet is quick search of the internet shows many documented cases. The smell of coolant is in our clothes and the fabric of the interior of the car.

- Clovis, NM, USA

problem #26

Jan 142013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles


Engine does not maintain engine temperature and consequently does not have consistent heat. It will go from 170 degrees to 100 in less than 3 blocks. This will cause the windows to frost over and limit visibility. It has become unsafe to drive in the winter. It has been in for repairs about 8 times in two years with no success. I also contacted Chevrolet customer care. They told me not to turn the heater fan in past level 2 until the engine reaches operating temperature. The problem is that it rarely does or holds it very long. This winter in mn has ranged all the way to -20. Regardless of temperature it does the same thing. My research indicates this has been an issue with the Cruze at least since 2011.

- Duluth, MN, USA

problem #25

Mar 012012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 900 miles
Coolant smell inside vehicle cabin and outside of vehicle. Noticed when I first purchased the car during the winter. This occurs after extended drives, typically more than 30 minutes, during cold weather when using the heat. Problem has progressively gotten worse. GM has looked into it approximately 8 times. 4 repair attempts (coolant reservoir cap replacement, water pump, coolant reservoir modification and HVAC assembly replacement). Problem has not been resolved. Internet search has revealed many owners experiencing the same condition, as well as a class action law suit due to the coolant smell inside the vehicle cabin. This is a health risk to all occupants. Further research revealed affected models include the: Cruze, Malibu and sonic.

- Marlborough, MA, USA

problem #24

Nov 112013


  • 48,000 miles
I bought a 2012 Chevy Cruze received recall letter first of 10/13 was stated in letter no parts were available but when they were I would get it fixed free. I approached intersection my brake went to floor was T boned and total loss of my car this car has 6 airbags none of them deployed..not getting anywhere with GM.

- Salisbury, NC, USA

problem #23

Sep 182012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 600 miles


To begin with, I have had several problems with my 2012 Chevy Cruze and have been given the runaround. My first concern is that I bought my 2012 Chevy Cruze on 09/18/2012 and was notified days later of a major safety recall about the possibility of engine fires from fluid spills. I find out that this recall was announced on 06/22/12.(NHTSA campaign #:12V288000) why was I sold a vehicle that was under recall for 3 months" and was never even mentioned prior or post sale. Onstar had to notify me and then I had to get it fixed. My second concern is that there is an coolant smell in the cab of the vehicle and although not always noticeable, it is more noticeable in colder weather. Took vehicle to dealer and they played stupid and said they don't smell anything and that the smell could be a "dirty cabin air-filter"" nobody wants to smell coolant when driving!! my third concern is that when taking off from a dead stop or accelerating after letting off the gas for a second the vehicle almost always shifts roughly. Took to dealer and was told that its probably just the "turbo kicking in". my fourth concern is about the recall (NHTSA campaign #:12V288000) my vehicle(where the engine shield was) is already rusting and is a very big concern with the future of my vehicle(even after warranty period) rust never goes well with a vehicle! I'm concerned that parts will wear prematurely because of this! not to mention that I am getting less mpg since the shields been removed. Now today I get another major safety recall about my brakes.(NHTSA campaign #:13V360000) which would explain why my brakes sometimes require me to press them really hard all the way down to stop it. It currently sits at around 26,000 miles, I am thus far very dissatisfied with the vehicle. I don't know my options but know that if things don't start looking better, I will never buy Chevy or recommend Chevy again.

- Midwest City, OK, USA

problem #22

Sep 222013


  • 61,000 miles
Started vehicle drove 2 miles engine RPM started increasing without pressing excellerator I looked down at temperature gage and it was maxed all the way to hot. Stopped the turned engine off raised the hood couldn't see any reason for car to be hot in such a short distance of driving. After about 45 minutes started car up check engine light came on will not go off. The car information center said oil life zero. The oil was changed 3000 mile ago. A week before I checked the info center on oil life and it said 60% luckly I live in a rural area not in a city with traffic. When the engine reved up it sped up and my foot was off the gas.

- Kemp, TX, USA

problem #21

Nov 162012


  • 400 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the navigational system provided failed and would provide erroneous directions. In addition, the contact was concerned about the push-to-start button feature because the vehicle could be started within five minutes of being parked without the key being used. In addition, the contact stated that the push-to-start feature could not recognize the key while it was in the trunk of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times for the failures. The dealer advised the contact that the navigational system chip needed to be updated. The manufacturer was also contacted and advised that the push-to-start feature was operating as designed and that the vehicle could not read the key while it was in the trunk because the vehicle was not equipped with the onstar system that was able to perform that function. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 400 and the current mileage was 10,500.

- Estill Springs , TN, USA

problem #20

Jun 152013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated while driving approximately 65 mph, the air conditioner failed and emitted hot air. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who confirmed that the condenser needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 30,000. The current mileage was 31,000.

- Weleepka, OK, USA

problem #19

Feb 152011


  • 8,000 miles


I don't believe the current resolution to GM's recall on the Chevy Cruze concerning the engine splash pan is adequate as it only addresses safety and not customer satisfaction. As this part directly affects the fuel mileage as advertised as well as the degradation of underwood parts due to water encroachment, I don't believe butchering the existing pan is fair to the consumer. At the least, the redesigned pan on the 2013 and any or all updates made to the 2013 model regarding this safety issue are what should have been completed. I am not satisfied with the current solution in that I no longer have what I paid for due to said recall and its poor solution.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #18

Jun 152012


  • 4,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while parked, he noticed a burning anti-freeze smell through the vents and around the exterior of the vehicle. Additionally, the contact noticed a jerking motion and a hesitation when accelerating. The vehicle was taken to the dealer five times for diagnosis. The technician performed updates to the transmission and replaced the canister inside the dashboard to alleviate the burning smell. The failure continued after the repair. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not further repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 4,000. The VIN was not available.

- Cass City, MI, USA

problem #17

Oct 102012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the auto thermostat needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The approximate failure unknown and current mileage was 30,340.

- Marsa, TX, USA

problem #16

Mar 272013


  • 28,000 miles
Strong odor of coolant entering the interior of car when heater is used. Becomes stronger if window is open while driving. Odor is not present when at standstill. Open opening hood with engine off odor can be sensed near the water pump area. Dealer replaced water pump a week ago to remedy the problem. The vehicle has 28 K on it.

- Mc Gregor, MN, USA

problem #15

Aug 152012


  • 23,500 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that there was a sour odor being emitted inside the vehicle. The contact inspected the vehicle and found that there was antifreeze, water and mold under the all-weather floor mats. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where it was determined that a plug had not been removed in the line, causing the leak inside the vehicle. The dealer replaced the carpet and the firewall insulator pad however, the mold remained. In addition, the contact stated that due to the prolonged leak and the extensive mold that accumulated in the vehicle, it was a possibility that the contact had developed legionnaires disease. It was later determined that the contact had inhaled large amounts of ethylene glycol and suffered major respiratory illness. The manufacturer was contacted and offered to purchase the vehicle back from the contact at the original price. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 23,500.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #14

Jul 282012


  • 2,535 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number 12V288000 (engine and engine cooling). After the repairs were completed, the contact noticed that the power steering harness had been chewed and felt that the engine was no longer protected since the engine cover was removed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the contact was informed that the power steering harness needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 2,535. The current mileage was approximately 6,000.

- Surprise, AZ, USA

problem #13

Jan 152013


  • 18,000 miles
Coolant smell in cab, HVAC intake duct mounted less than 6inches from coolant surge tank vent. In cold weather it smell seems worse. Love the car but this should not be happening with a 2012 car, within minutes of starting to breath this poison I get cramps in my sinuses & start to get a mild headache. Reading online seems gms current fix to quiet the issue by buying back customers cars, that leaves the rest of us Cruze owners breathing fumes.

- New Glarus, WI, USA

problem #12

Aug 012012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
Antifreeze fumes originate in the engine compartment and leak into the passenger compartment.

- Westford, MA, USA

problem #11

Nov 142012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 8,910 miles
Vehicle vents antifreeze vapors and fuel vapors into driver/passenger compartment. Odors can become noxious.

- Silverdale , WA, USA

problem #10

Nov 132012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
A sudden acceleration of the engine.

- San Benito, TX, USA

Read the next 9 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?