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 6 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #9

Oct 092012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 200 miles


I purchased a 2012 Chevy Cruze 2lt w/rs package on 9/19/12. I didn't notice right away but after I drove for a few days I notice the engine would have this loud vibration when I barely accelerate, like staying at a steady speed. If I accelerate from a stopped position it doesn't do it or I just don't hear it because I hear the turbo. After driving it a few weeks the vibration sound has gotten worse, so I took it to the dealership to be checked. They test drove it and told me this is the way the echotech w/turbo motors sound and nothing was wrong with it. I wasn't satisfied so I asked I could test drive another car just like mine on their lot. They graciously let me and it sounded the same. My sons girlfriend has the exact same car and hers sounds nothing like mine. She bought hers at a different dealership which means it was probably came from a different manufacturer. Something isn't right and this should be fixed. This does not sound like a new car. It's very embarrassing. My 1995 Chevy cavalier is not as loud as my new car. Another thing is when I slow down to pull in my driveway (on a hill) I just let off the gas and the car will jerk really hard. This doesn't happen all the time but this will be an issue I'm sure when the warranty is up. I'm very disappointed with my first new car purchase. I waited 42 years for this.

- Bedford, IN, USA

problem #8

Jul 182012


  • 11,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that the vehicle was taken to the dealer to have (NHTSA campaign id number:12V288000 engine and engine cooling) performed, however the dealer cut the engine shield cover and advised the contact that the manufacturer had requested to do so in order for the engine oil to leak to the ground. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 11,000 and the approximate current mileage was 12,000.

- Miami , FL, USA

problem #7

Aug 112012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 10,259 miles
Chevrolet's recall fix on the 2011-2012 Chevy Cruze involve cutting off large portions of the underneath heat shield, this piece is also a debris shield. But now with the heat shield completely gone, there now is no protection from debris entering under the hood and causing more damage, also with this fix GM is compromising the biggest selling point of this car which is the gas mileage, this shield is also used to reduce drag underneath the car and in turn increasing gas mileage, but now drag will increase underhood which will decrease fuel mileage. In very wet climates this shield helped prevent water from spraying up under the hood as well, and by removing this shield our cars are now more prone rust, corrosion and abnormal wear to vital parts. GM has done a horrible job at fixing this problem, no logic or obvious care were taken into consideration when addressing this issue. If this kind of similar problem happened on a Cadillac or a corvette would have they fixed the problem the same way"? probably not, so what makes my Chevy Cruze any less important"

- Denver, NC, USA

problem #6

Jun 272012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,551 miles


2012 Chevrolet Cruze LT1 rs package, automatic transmission on June 27 I was in murray, ky driving home from murray state university. I was in heavy traffic. After the light changed I gave the accelerator a light tap to move the car forward. It started slowly but after a few seconds, it seems that the car stalled. The transmission downshifted and when I gave the accelerator a tap, nothing. At this time, I was certain I would be in an accident. Again, I gave the accelerator a tap (mind you, I didn't mash the petal to the floor board, I gave it enough of a tap to switch the gear). The car did nothing, and again my concern was that I would be rear ended soon. Another tip (again, I did not mash the pedal to the floor), and finally the turbo charger kicked in and the car switched gears. But when the car shifted gears, it was an explosion of force that jerked and lurched the car forward including my self. I was glad to get moving since traffic was heavy. Since this incident, it has happened 5 times that the car has been sluggish to respond, and it have continued to shift gears with random jerks and often explosive force that jerks both car and passenger. I have had this to 2 dealerships, and they say they cannot reproduce it, and they both tell me that this is a normal thing, and that this transmission will make erratic gear changes. I am concerned for my safety with I drive this car, and hope I am not stranded in traffic when the transmission fails to shift properly.

- Greenville, KY, USA

problem #5

Jul 062012


  • 2,422 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The vehicle was included in the recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 12V288000 (engine and engine cooling). Immediately after the repair, the contact was driving approximately 30 mph when she noticed hesitation while attempting to accelerate. The vehicle felt sluggish. The contact was dissatisfied with the repair performed under the recall because the area where the shield was removed would be accessible to corrosion. The vehicle was not repaired additionally. The approximate failure mileage was 2,422.

- Newmarket, NH, USA

problem #4

Jun 292012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 28,063 miles
The recall fix for the Chevrolet Cruze was performed on my car. The fix was to cut the engine, or under the engine area, skid plate exposing this area. I believe this to be a safety issue that could result in further damage to the car, engine, exhaust, oil pan and other components that are now exposed. The is a safety concern because during the act of driving this vehicle, it may be exposed to road conditions, foreign objects, or other miscellaneous environmental factors that will affect the performance and overall safe handling of this vehicle.

- Greenville, KY, USA

problem #3

Sep 012011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 6,500 miles


Have coolant odor inside vehicle. Dealer tested 3 times, but claims they can't duplicate the problem. Smell is very bad in colder months. Window fogs. Have to drive with windows open somewhat in winter conditions. Chevy now has a bulletin. Been trying to work through GM regional - they are ignoring me. Many other Cruze owners have same complaint/problem.

- Golden Valley, MN, USA

problem #2

May 232012


  • 10,188 miles
I was driving home and out of nowhere my 2012 Chevy Cruze dings and says "engine overheating A/C turned off, " I was very surprised but kept driving and literally one minute later the car dings again. There is a different message that says "idle engine overheating, " at this point I am very worried and I pull over and call the Chevy dealership that I bought the car from and explain what has occurred. I was advised to bring the car into the service department. So, I start the car up and begin the drive over to the dealership that is about 15 minutes away because of traffic. Not three minutes into the drive I get the same message "idle engine overheating, " I'm very nervous but keep going and about two minutes later I get a new message "shut engine off engine overheating." I call the dealership and they tell me that I am close enough that I should just continue and drive to the dealership. I get about 200 yards from the entrance of the dealership and my engine starts smoking. I have had this car for less than seven months and I basically only use it to drive to work and school. I take very good care of my vehicles, I get the oil changed every 4,000-5,000 miles, in fact I got an oil change less than a week ago.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #1

Apr 092012

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 12,200 miles
This vehicle was purchased December 2010 and since the purchase all the issues that 2012 Chevy Cruze has been subjected to regarding recalls we have suffered them. This complaint is filed due to the fact that, although the car is under warranty, GM and the dealership refuses to honor the warranty, for the repair of the fly wheel bolts. These bolts are internal and are currently loose and while driving the vehicle, the vehicle does not accelerate and then suddenly stops.

- Kingwood, TX, USA

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