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Chevy Cruze Problems And Top Complaints

Chevy Cruze Problems

If you are looking to buy a brand new 2020 Chevy Cruze, you will have to buy one from a global market. General Motors has decided that there will be no 2020 Chevy Cruze sold in America. Instead, they will focus on other more popular, better-selling brands for the U.S. market.  

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If you are looking to possibly buy a used Chevy Cruze, you may want to think twice. There have been more than just a few complaints and recalls on these car models. Although all cars are going to have their general problems, the Chevy Cruze’s problems have been known to come about often and in bunches even with low mileage and regularly scheduled maintenance keep up. 

Between the first-generation (2011-2015) and the second-generation (2016-2019), the 2011-2015 Chevy Cruze problems seem to be more troubling. In fact, a lot of experts say to steer clear of the first-generation Cruzes even if you’re going to get a good deal on one.

Here are 6 major common problems that have seemed to plague the Chevy Cruze.   

Chevy Cruze Transmission Problems: Both the shiftable six-speed automatic and the 6-speed manual transmission have their share of problems. Tons of leaking problems reported coming from all over the place. Leaking axle seals, cooling translines leaking, leaking from the transmission case bolts, from the torque converter seal, and more. 

Other problems include a bad transmission control module on the diesel 9-speed shiftable automatic transmission. This can happen on the gasoline-driven six-speed automatic transmission option as well, but the diesel 9-speed automatic seems to have the problem sooner in the car's life and more often. 

Many complaints have been made about jerky gear shifts and high revving RPMs with no acceleration. This usually calls for a transmission rebuild or replace. You might luck out and have a simple sticky solenoid problem (a lot easier fix), but in most cases, you’re going to have to at least have the transmission torn apart and rebuilt or replaced. Regardless of the problem, if you are not under warranty and you’re experiencing hard, soft or slow shifts, high revving with no acceleration, or the trans is just not working correctly period, the transmission repair will cost you a pretty penny and probably quite a few days at the dealership. 

Tip: Before any rebuilding or replacing of your transmission starts, you should check or at least make sure your auto technician checks the transmission fuse and checks to make sure your transmission fluid is not dark black and thick. If it ends up being one of these two problems, your transmission can be fixed without much work at all saving you time and money. 

Pretty much all transmission problems are going to be a big fix, and that’s why experts say to stay away from buying these cars, especially if they are first generations or have tons of miles on them. Chevy Cruze transmission problems are one of the most documented complaints about the popular sedan.  

Chevy Cruze Engine Problems: Engine problems account for roughly 51% of the Chevy Cruze problems and customer complaints. Stalling for no reason, rough idling and backfiring at idle are some of the common complaints. There have also been plenty of complaints of the Cruze stalling out when leaving from a traffic light or stopping for one, leaving people stranded with a car that doesn’t start in the middle of traffic. These problems with the Chevy Cruze have left a lot of dealerships with headaches because the car seems to run fine at the dealership – it throws no codes, and has no check engine light on. Unfortunately, if you have this problem, your car could be at the dealership for a long time, and once the problem surfaces it is said that it will only come back again and again. 

A common problem that will set off your engine light is a Chevy Cruze valve cover problem. Usually, this is just an assembly rebuild with new gaskets and a new Evap Purge Valve. If it’s under warranty then, by all means, take it to the dealership, but if it’s not, you could do this job yourself with some average tools. 

You will also probably run into a lot of sensors and computer problems on the Diesel turbo versions. Lots of complaints about bad EGR valves, NOx sensors, O2 sensors, DEF tank reservoir heater and injector failures, and more. Although these sensor problems are more inclined to happen to the diesel version, they also happen to the Chevy Cruze gasoline engines as well. 

Other Chevy Cruze engine problems – just like the transmission – have tons of leaking problems both from oil and antifreeze. Antifreeze leaking in the Chevy Cruze is usually going to be coming from the water pump. Complaints of oil leaks coming from the oil pan, timing chain cover, camshaft cover, crank seal, and more. If you wanted to you could make a full-time hobby out of chasing down leaks in your Chevy Cruze.

The PCV valves and PCV systems have also given people a lot of problems. This is a very important part of your engine setup. The system is used to get rid of crankcase emissions from the crankcase and send them to the intake and then combust them again in different engine cycles. This process makes the engine’s emissions more effective and cleaner. A PCV valve is cheap and easy to replace so there is not much of a worry here unless the PCV valve keeps going bad, then you might have a bigger problem, and they are known to go bad often in the Chevy Cruzes.  

The good thing about leaks coming from the engine and or trans is that you don’t have to rush right to the dealership. As long as it’s leaking fluid that means you still have fluid inside of the components it’s leaking from. But leaks won’t stop on their own, and if they do that just means you are out of fluid and you will be putting many parts of your car in danger. Make a metal note and get the problem fixed sooner than later.   

Chevy Cruze Cooling System Problems: Unfortunately, all 2011-2019 Chevy Cruze problems all seem to have the same coolant problems in common, the water pump and cool fan. The Chevy Cruze water pump on these sedans has had to be changed at an alarming rate, and on a lot of sedans, the water pump had to be changed many times on the same car way under the water pump’s life expectancy. The cause could be the result of a lot of different problems, but no one problem stands out as more of a nuisance than any other, maybe it’s just poor engineering. 

The cooling fan has an attendance to act in all kinds of funny ways. Turns on when it shouldn’t, won’t stay on when it should. This is probably more of an electrical problem since the Chevy Cruze is known for major electric problems. 

Leaks are also a problem in the cooling system of the Chevy Cruze as much as they are for a lot of other systems the car seems to have problems with. Leaking hoses and hose connections, gaskets, radiator, thermostat housing, head gaskets, and more all seem to leak sooner than their wear expectancy. 

Another Chevy Cruze common problem that is complained about often is the smell of antifreeze in the cabin (interior). This is due to one or more things, but they will all lead back to one thing, you have a leak in your cooling system somewhere. Not all leaks will cause the smell of antifreeze in your cabin, but some of the places you might want to check are the water pump, thermostat, heater core, or you can just follow the green fluid to its leaking destination. Your biggest problem is finding out where the leak is and whether it’s going to be a quick fix or an expensive one. 

The thermostat also wears prematurely. It’s been known for car owners to have to replace the thermostat every time they change the oil, and that shouldn’t be. 

Chevy Cruze Turbo Problems: This is a common issue for daily driving cars with turbos. On the turbo, there is a bypass valve. This valve lets all the extra air out of the system when you let off the throttle. You don’t need the extra pressurized air from the turbo when you are trying to slow down or stop. 

This bypass valve gets tired over time and stops closing all the way. When this happens two problems emerge: When you hit the throttle air will seep out of the open valve causing you to lose power and also it will let dirt and air contaminants in. 

Unfortunately, Chevy designed this turbo system with the bypass valve built into the turbo housing so you can’t just change the valve, but that could be a good thing. When the valve doesn't close all the way and the turbo kicks in, it will be sucking in unfiltered air that will probably damage your turbo’s bearings. The good news is with the right tools and know-how, you could make this a DIY problem or take it to a dealership or repair shop, and it shouldn’t take too long to fix.  

Chevy Cruze Electrical Problems: Yes, among all of the other problems this vehicle could possibly have, electrical problems seem to be a big complaint as well. Problems with the gauges not working at all are one of the problems people have complained about. Other electrical problems: a radio/HVAC display that comes on and off when it wants to, blinker noises are faint if not heard at all, headlight low beams keep switching to high beams even after a light bulb and socket change, and more. 

Many people have complained about the dashboard showing problems that don’t exist and when they do have problems nothing shows up on the dashboard. Also, other people reported and documented this unexplainable problem: When they hit the brakes the dashboard goes wild and the radio shuts off, when they start to accelerate again, the dashboard goes back to normal and the radio comes back on. 

Another problem that has Cruze driver’s not only annoyed with their sedan but also scared: When they come to a complete stop, with no warning at all the whole car and electrical system shuts down. And wherever the car stops, the driver has to wait for about 5 minutes or more for the Cruze to decide it’s ready to go again. 

Those are just some of the electrical scenarios that cause drivers problems. Using your blinkers, power windows, your heat/air, power seats can all set off a sequence that would make you think that your car was invaded by aliens. Unfortunately, these are all hard problems to chase down even for the skilled technician. If your vehicle is not under warranty, you might not be able to find someone to fix it for you. If time is money, chasing around an electrical problem for a week just might not seem worth it to a repair shop or a dealership. Also, these problems usually come back even after being fixed numerous times.       

Chevy Cruze Oil Drain Plug Problems: This may seem like something that is very small and could not cause a big problem, but it has. These Chevy Cruze problems are the result of cutting corners by the designers and engineers. The drain plug is extremely soft and strips and rounds off very easily. After doing your own oil once, you will probably realize this and be very careful. You only need about 10 ft.-lb. of torque applied when putting the plug back in. What you want to do is make sure if you go somewhere to have it done you mention this problem to the service desk or to whoever is going to be working on your oil change. 

If they strip the oil drain plug, you’ll most likely be on the hook for a new drain plug bolt and the extra labor it takes to have the stripped drain plug removed. If you're doing this yourself. You can always come up with a different drain plug that is more efficient and stronger. Just make sure it is the same size tread, putting a different tread pattern in will end up stripping the oil pan treads and then you'll be in real big trouble. 


It is sad to say, but the 2011-2019 Chevy Cruze has more problems than what is just in this article. These are just some of the most common problems drivers experience with this sedan. If you’re looking for a used vehicle, I would stay away from the first-generation Chevy Cruze (2011-2015). And for the second-generation Cruze, you might get lucky and find one that doesn’t give you problems, after problems, after problems. Buy at your own risk.   

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