4 Chevy Cruze Years To Avoid & Why!

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You found a Chevy Cruze that is perfect for your second car, but to be sure; you need to do some research. Here are five years of Chevrolet Cruze to avoid.  

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The worst years of the Chevy Cruze are 2011 – 2014. Since its introduction in 2008, most years have been decent, but these five years have experienced transmission issues, coolant leaks, electrical issues, and cheap interior accessories. Chevy stopped sales of the Cruze in the US in 2019.

In 2008, GM wanted to compete against the global market Ford was carving out through rapid international sales.

The Chevy Cruze was General Motors’ attempt to produce a universal four-door sedan that could find a home no matter what country it might be sold in.  The Cruze replaced the Cobalt as their compact car, which had been plagued with issues. 

Many people thought the Cruze was better than the Cobalt, but history would prove otherwise. 

Chevy Cruze Years To Avoid 1 4 Chevy Cruze Years To Avoid & Why!

What Years of the Chevy Cruze Have Problems?

While the initial years of the Chevy Cruze were very well built and helped bolster the coffers of General Motors, the wheels came off just a few years later. 

Buoyed by strong international sales, the base model Cruze received an update in mid-2012, and suddenly, the company found itself fielding constant customer complaints and rejections of the car it had placed so much faith in. 

2011 Chevy Cruze

The 2011 Cruze is considered the worst year of production in the vehicle’s history. Plagued with electrical and transmission issues, many customers reported jerky acceleration and multitudes of engine DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes) that caused many frustrations. 

The transmission issues usually happened at the 65,000-mile mark, sometimes falling inside GM’s five year/100,000 mile warranty. When it didn’t, owners were forced to shell out nearly $3,000 for repairs for their transmission failure. 

Another major issue for the 2011 Cruze were engine problems caused by faulty throttle bodies. The throttle body controls the amount of air an engine receives so that a bad one can cause hesitation at best and complete stalling at worst. 

Many customers reported that the Cruze would stall every time it rolled to a stop at a red light. 

Additional issues included the smell of burnt coolant being sucked into the cabin by the air-conditioning, which GM finally acknowledged years later (In 2015, GM issued a recall for this issue 2011 – 14 models). 

There are seven recalls for the 2011 Chevy Cruze, so if you are considering purchasing one, make sure every one of them has been performed before you drive the car home,

2012 Chevy Cruze

As if to compound the issues from 2011, the following year (2012) wasn’t much better for the Chevy Cruze. The biggest problem was the frequency of oil leaks from the engine and transmission, which resulted from blown valve cover gaskets, faulty seals on the oil sensor at the top of the oil pan, and leaking transmissions. 

Customers often complained of puddles of oil underneath their cars, staining their driveways, and smoke pouring from under the hood as the oil leaked from the valve cover gasket onto the hot manifolds. The cost of repairing gaskets lightened customers’ wallets by about $400 – 500 each time.

GM had other problems, which included electrical gremlins and faulty fuel tank welds that could break loose during an accident, causing the Cruze to burst into flames. To correct the fuel tank lawsuits, GM was forced to issue another recall that affected both the 2011 and 2012 models. 

2013 Chevy Cruze

The 2013 Cruze had to do with electrical issues. Customers complained about power failures while driving, which scared drivers.

In addition, there were many complaints concerning the electrical stalling (loss of power) when the vehicle rolled to a stop. Cruzes had anti-lock theft deterrent systems, meaning owners could not remove the key from the ignition. 

Unfortunately, it took technicians a lot of hours to diagnose the electrical issues, which sometimes forced customers to be without their vehicles for weeks. In a few instances, customers shelled over $3000 trying to chase down the problems.

2014 Chevy Cruze

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The issue with the ‘14 Cruze was that it was pretty much precisely the same unreliable car as the few years before it had been. 

Made with lousy gaskets that caused oil leaks and a turbocharger that wouldn’t boost, the 2014 Cruze made a name for itself in self-destruction. 

Customers had problems with the right-side axle shaft, which prompted GM to stop the sale of the ‘14 model Cruze until dealerships could fix the issue. The company admitted to about “half a dozen” axle shaft fractures, but customers constantly complained about vibrations. The stop order affected over 172,000 Cruze sedans in the United States alone. 

The infotainment system put into the ‘14 model Cruze was outdated compared to units that were appearing in other vehicles. Ford’s new Sync 2 and Hyundai’s Bluelink forced other car companies to play catchup. 

The GM unit’s struggle was that it was outdated and didn’t work half the time. Other GM models were being equipped with updated versions of OnStar, but the Cruze was one of the last vehicles to receive the upgrade. 

What Is the Life Expectancy of a Chevy Cruze?

The Chevy Cruze can be expected to last close to 200,000 miles if properly maintained and taken care of. 

Depending on the year that is purchased, owners are better off purchasing a 2019 model than the earlier versions of the Cruze. 

Is the Chevy Cruze a Reliable Car?

Undoubtedly, the 2019 model year for the Chevy Cruze has the fewest problems and complaints. The model received a complete rehaul for the ‘15 model year, correcting many of the previous years’ issues. 

The model received many customer conveniences that had been a part of other GM sedans for years, like heated seats, ungraded OnStar, and remote start. 

The 2019 Cruze has scored well on review sites like Edmunds, KBB, and JD Power. The unfortunate thing is that this was the last year for the Cruze, which is a shame because GM had finally figured out how to make an affordable, highly reliable compact sedan.

What Year was the Chevy Cruze Discontinued?

GM stopped production of the Cruze in 2019 as the company started to anticipate the move to electric vehicles that reduce their carbon footprint.

The move to all EVs is in response to several governmental initiatives forcing industry manufacturers to produce environmentally friendly products. 

Key Takeaways

Chevy Cruze Years To Avoid 1 1 4 Chevy Cruze Years To Avoid & Why!
  • The worst years for the Chevy Cruze are 2011 – 2014.
  • Problems ranged from engine and transmission issues to electrical wiring problems.
  • The best year for Chevy Cruze is 2019.
  • The absolute worst year for the Cruze was 2011.