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 1 of 6)

problem #109

Nov 152016


  • 40,080 miles


First, I receive a warning about engine temp so I put some coolant in and the problem doesn't come up again for a week. Between that time, the tire sensor malfunctions and the car is at only 40,000 miles so it's no longer under warranty. The second time I get the temp warning I'm on the way to work riding along a highway and the car loses momentum and led advises that car is lowering power to protect engine. Mind you, this is after I've already spent $400 on new tires and changed the oil. A minute after the led on, the car was trying to completely shut down at this point and I pulled over. When I get to a complete stop, steam just engulfs my hood. The car went from driving with no indication of trouble to a complete disaster in a matter of one and a half minutes. I had the car towed to my house and later on brought it to a Chevrolet dealer to get a diagnostic. Chevrolet advises that the engine is bad. My four year old car with just over 40,000 miles needs a $7,000 engine replacement. This is not a normal occurrence and I've never had a similar issue on a car that hasn't even hit half a 100K. These problems didn't happen with a 1999 model I had for much longer than this and the mileage was over 120,000 when the car started giving up. There are many similar complaints here with similar issues and these people invested in a vehicle that we expected to serve us for the price we paid. I bought american because I wanted to support industry in our country. Chevy lauds itself as a top-tier company ranked at highly with multiple auto magazines every year. My experience has been very low, though and this has caused me severe financial burden for a vehicle I paid in full price brand new. Engine replacements do not happen at 40,000 miles on a brand new car with a top-tier auto maker.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #108

Nov 092016


  • 59,143 miles
Was driving and all the sudden got warning lights and A/C shut off due to coolant temp? or something to that affect. Then my fan kicked on and it went away but the fan just stays running but the coolant temp is not even hot can even get hot out of the heater vents but still thinks I'm overheating then the car shut itself off! I have an appointment in the morning with car dealership but I've seen many people are having the same issue should be a recall not fair to make us pay my car is still new

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #107

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

problem #106

Sep 232016

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 79,375 miles


Hello. Our problem is defect Chevrolet Cruze 2012. Mileage is 79373. My car has some recalls fixing actions and now "exhaust leak from font of engine..damaging a result -may cause a fire"( alan webb Chevrolet diller vancouver, wa-see attach.). to fix car we need to pay 7650$ why we must pay for defect ? could you help us with this problem, please.the strange noise appeared when we were driving to home from carson to vancouver, wa. After diagnose at alan web (3712 ne 66 ave vancouver, wa 98661) car stays at my app. Parking lot. Thanks.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #105

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 #104

Sep 162016


  • 75,000 miles
Ive had my car for 2 years now. After the first year I began noticing the engine would be going at a steady speed and if you began to accelerate the engine would rev or stall and the rpms shoot up. The only way to keep it from producing the actions is to slowly accelerate. The engine is sluggish and does this while in cruise control.. after getting the complete read, it was said the 02 sensors were out. The engine is now to the point it will randomly be going and the engine light will start flashing and all speed is reduced. They were replaced, but the problem persisted. The car stalls out so often I refuse to take it in to cities or onto the interstate. I will be going back to a truck after this is paid off! will be going to the dealership this week!

- Marion, LA, USA

problem #103

Sep 052016


  • 64,000 miles


Driving on busy street car cuts off heard a pop in engine display says engine losing power engine light comes on managed to pull over car will turn over but will die out. Had to have car towed by insurance company car has 64,000 miles.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #102

Aug 052016


  • 63,207 miles
Mil came on while driving, vehicle set P0171 P0106 codes, idles rough. Valve cover cracked at PCV housing and PCV valve stuck open resulting in air leak.

- Enumclaw, WA, USA

problem #101

Jul 292016


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. On several occasions, while attempting to start the vehicle, it failed to start. Also, the temperature gauge registered hot almost immediately. The thermostat was replaced, but the failure recurred. The contact also stated that the engine oil warning light illuminated; however, there was sufficient oil in the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000. The VIN was not available.

- Carthage, MS, USA

problem #100

Jul 292016


  • 128,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. While at a stop, the vehicle lost power and the check engine light illuminated. The contact placed the vehicle in park and restarted the engine. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the cam cover was leaking and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that there was no recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 128,000.

- Sardina, OH, USA

problem #99

Jul 202016


  • 87,000 miles


Brought my car in for what looked like intake seals and found out that the intake manifold manifold is cracked. I called many other auto repair places and found that this is a massive problem and can only be gotten from the dealer and I will be getting one of the last in this area at the cost of $450 plus time. The car started running ruff and has 9 different codes all relating to a lean condition.

- Fitzgerald, GA, USA

problem #98

Jan 062016


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. The contact stated that an abnormal burning odor emitted from the vehicle and it overheated. In addition, when the accelerator pedal was depressed, the vehicle hesitated to respond and the brakes made an abnormal noise. The failure occurred without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the thermostat and water pump needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 100,000.

- Hazelwood, MO, USA

problem #97

Jun 232016


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving approximately 25 to 35 mph, the check engine light illuminated. While the vehicle was idling at a red light, it shook violently. The dealer diagnosed that the valve cover needed to be replaced. The dealer stated that the vehicle was not included in an unknown recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Macomb Township, MI, USA

problem #96

Jan 192016


  • miles
My engine light is on. I put gas in my vehicle and when I turn the key to start it, it hesitates to start then when pulling off it begins to jerk.... when at lights it sometimes hesitates to take off.

- Williamsburg, VA, USA

problem #95

Jun 082016


  • miles
In Dec of 2015 I had to replace the thermostat with only 39000 on it check engine light on fan racing. 6 months later it's happening again check engine light on fan racing now there saying it might be an electrical problem.I have driven Chevy for 30 years and never have I had this much trouble this will be my last. From reading the forums it seems like a lot of people have the same problems why isn't there a recall on this car.

- Round Lake Beach, IL, USA

problem #94

Sep 122012


  • 10,000 miles
I've went through 7 turbos, I bought the car brand new. Im now having electrical issues with it.

- Lake Geneva, WI, USA

problem #93

May 032016


  • 50,000 miles
Driving my car at about 25mph started to hear a rattle in it. When went to accelerate the car started to smoke and had no power. When idling you could hear the motor "work" and it had a jump in it. Only has 50,000 miles and has never been driven hard. Of course it's out of warranty now and I have no clue why it wouldn't accelerate and started smoking. The engine light came on and was still on when I left my car sitting on the side of the road.

- Roulette, PA, USA

problem #92

Apr 152016


  • 96,454 miles
I was starting to cross a busy intersection when the engine loss power light and stability control light came on. Car would not go over 5 miles an hour. Just about 90 days ago it was at the Chevy dealership for same problem where the throttle body and all sensors were replaced.

- Bremen, GA, USA

problem #91

Mar 242016


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze. While driving 30 mph depressing the accelerator pedal, the vehicle would not accelerate. The vehicle sputtered and stalled, and the service engine light illuminated. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the cam cover needed to be replaced and the fuel trim needed to be reset. The repairs were performed; however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was towed again to the dealer. The contact stated that the stabilitrac warning light remained illuminated. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Dale, TX, USA

problem #90

Apr 062016


  • 40 miles
Engine starts shaking when air conditioner is on and while in stop sigh.

- Alpine, TX, USA

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