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Chevrolet Cruze Reliability and Common Problems

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With its stellar fuel economy and great ownership costs, it’s no wonder why the Chevrolet Cruze makes an excellent daily driver. It has a forecasted residual value of 67% after five years, losing an estimated $2,700 from its original price, according to CarEdge.com.

Is the Chevy Cruze Reliable?

RepairPal gives the Chevy Cruze a reliability score of 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking it 26th out of 36 compact cars. The annual repair and maintenance cost for the model is approximately $545, which is slightly higher than the average $530 for compact cars. Most owners of the Chevy Cruze tend to bring in their cars for unscheduled repairs 0.4 times a year with a 12% probability of having a severe problem.

Meanwhile, the 2016 and 2017 Cruze redesigns received the highest reliability scores from J.D. Power, with both model years earning 88 points out of 100. This ranks the 2017 model second best behind the Toyota Prius and the 2016 redesign at sixth place in their respective classes.

Top Chevy Cruze Problems

Over time, the Chevy Cruze is bound to develop issues that could affect its drivability and quality due to damaged or worn-out parts. Below are the Chevy Cruze’s most common problems as reported by its owners across different model years:

Engine Problems

Many 2018 Chevy Cruzes have been reported to have a couple of engine problems. Owners of the affected models have complained that their engines would stall while driving. The issue may be caused by a bad alternator, faulty sensors, or lack of fuel.

Engine failure has also been another problem found in many 2018 redesigns. There have been cases where drivers would notice their vehicles sputtering and emitting smoke from under the hood. Some owners have also reported that their engines died multiple times within the first two months of purchasing their cars.

2018 Chevrolet Cruze Hatch Diesel Chevrolet Pressroom
Some 2018 Chevy Cruzes have been reported to have a couple of engine problems. Owners of the affected models have complained that their engines would stall while driving. Image source: Chevrolet Pressroom.

Several drivers determined that their vehicle’s engine failed due to a damaged cylinder that leaked oil from under the car. In some cases, metal shrapnel also contaminated the turbo injector, which resulted in more expensive repairs.

Keep in mind that improper lubrication, detonation, a blown head gasket, and using the wrong fuel may also cause engine failure. So if you’re dealing with the same problem, make sure to have your vehicle checked by a licensed mechanic immediately to get an accurate diagnosis.

Cracked Piston

Many drivers of the 2017 Chevy Cruze have complained about a cracked piston that caused their vehicles to idle roughly or lose power when accelerating. Replacing this part usually costs around $100 plus labor costs.

Electrical Failure

Electrical failure has been a common complaint among drivers of the 2016 redesign. Some owners have reported being unable to start their cars, while others complained about having defective radios and an illuminated check engine light. These problems are typically caused by a dead battery, stuck relay, a bad alternator, and a blown fuse.

Harsh Shifting

Some owners of the 2011-2016 Cruze redesigns have complained about their transmissions slipping and shifting hard when changing gears. These issues may be caused by faulty software. Resetting the transmission controller and updating the transmission usually resolved the drivability problems.

Faulty or damaged shift solenoids and valve bodies may also create the same problem. A new shift solenoid for the Cruze usually costs around $40, while a valve body can cost anywhere between $200 and $800 plus labor costs.

Steering Problems

Many owners of the 2014 redesign have complained about problems with their vehicles’ steering. Drivers of the affected model year have reported that their Cruze’s steering would stick at highway speeds and jerk when the power assist returned. There have also been reports of total power steering loss from some drivers, which increased the risk of accidents.

Faulty Water Pump

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel Chevrolet Pressroom
Some drivers of the 2014 Chevy Cruze have reported having a faulty water pump that caused their engines to overheat and damage the head gasket. Image source: Chevrolet Pressroom.

Some drivers of the 2014 Chevy Cruze have reported having a faulty water pump that caused their engines to overheat and damage the head gasket. Bad seals, a loose drive pulley, damaged belts, and corrosion are the most common reasons why the water pump may fail. A water pump replacement can cost anywhere between $30 and $100 plus labor costs.

Coolant Leaks

Coolant leaks have been a widely reported 2011 Chevy Cruze problem. Owners of the affected models have complained about the smell of antifreeze leaking inside the cabin. Some of them spotted white smoke coming from under the hood. Others have also reported that their vehicle’s air conditioning unit automatically shut off because the leak caused the engine to overheat.

Due to the high volume of complaints, a proposed class-action lawsuit was filed against General Motors in 2014. The plaintiffs argued that a lot of units from the 2011 redesign had a mechanical defect that caused antifreeze to leak from the radiator. They added that the problem remained even after taking their vehicles to the dealership multiple times to address the issue.

The lawsuit also stated that the automaker issued two technical service bulletins (TSBs) about the coolant leaks, but General Motors failed to inform the public. In 2016, General Motors was granted a motion to dismiss the proposed class-action lawsuit.

Transmission Failure

Transmission failure has been a commonly reported problem among 2011 Cruze owners. Drivers of the affected units have complained about hearing rattling noises from their vehicles before their Chevy automatically shifted to reverse. Some have also reported that their vehicles would sometimes get stuck in drive or suddenly accelerate and slow down. Factors that may cause transmission failure include a bad torque converter, faulty clutch, low transmission fluid, and a defective transmission solenoid.

Despite being a dependable daily driver, issues caused by faulty parts may still affect the Chevy Cruze’s performance and quality. To keep yours running for a long time, you must stay on top of its repair and maintenance and keep an eye out for the most common issues your car may face in the future.

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Vehicle Reliability

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