The Chevy Cruze is an upbeat sedan with plenty of onboard technology features, outstanding fuel ratings and enough cabin space to let you travel with friends and family. With two generations, the Cruze replaced the Cobalt in Chevrolet's sedan family, with production beginning in 2010 and continuing until 2019.

There is a lot to love about the Cruze, which explains why it's a daily driver for many. Chevy discontinued the Cruze to focus on its SUV and truck segments, but you'll find numerous trims of the first- (2011-2016) and second-generation (2016.5-2019) Cruze on the road today. If you own one of these compact cars, keep an eye out for the problems on our list throughout ownership.

How Reliable Is the Chevy Cruze?

The Cruze is one of the most reliable compact cars Chevrolet has ever produced. Unlike other vehicles in the same class, the Cruze continued to see improvements in reliability scores as Chevy pumped these vehicles out.

The second-generation Cruze models are still in high demand from consumers, and reviewers like J.D. Power give the 2019 model an impressive 84 out of 100 score overall. In the quality and reliability category, the Cruze earned a rating of 87 out of 100, meaning you can expect these cars to serve you well.

Common Problems With the Chevy Cruze

Your Chevy Cruze is a dependable vehicle, but nothing goes without its share of issues. Maintaining your vehicle is the best way to get the most from L, LS, LT and Premier models. Be aware of some of the most frequently seen problems with the Chevy Cruze below.

1. Engine Malfunctions

Second-generation Chevy Cruzes are well-received, but some owners report engine issues early in their ownership. Most of the time, drivers with engine malfunctions mention that their vehicles stall. Those experiencing this problem could be facing a faulty alternator or fuel leak.

Engine problems can be hard to diagnose independently. Anytime you notice smoke coming from the engine bay, your car sputtering or the engine making strange sounds, work with a trusted mechanic to get to the bottom of the situation. In some cases, lubricating engine components or replacing a broken sensor is all that's necessary to keep your vehicle running properly.

2. Transmission Troubles

Transmission issues are prominent with first-generation Cruze models — specifically, the 2011 vehicles. In some cases, Chevy Cruzes produce loud rattling sounds from the engine compartment just before frightening drivers with odd behaviors. Chevy Cruze issues you should investigate immediately are the gear selector getting stuck in the drive position and your vehicle shifting to reverse on its own.

Several solutions can get your Chevy Cruze driving correctly. One of the first components to look at is your Cruze's clutch assembly. It's also possible that your compact car requires an updated torque converter or additional transmission fluid.

3. Power Steering Complications

An alarming problem with the Chevy Cruze relates to the power steering system. There might be a scenario where you're driving and the steering wheel locks up to the point where it takes all of your efforts to move it in either direction. This issue is more common with the first-generation models, and there are a few areas of your sedan to check to get the steering system under control.

Fluid is necessary to keep your power steering setup functioning. Changing out the power steering fluid in your ride every 40,000 miles is proactive for keeping you safe. Cruze steering issues could mean the power steering fluid supply is leaking or contaminated.

It's also worth checking out the condition of your Cruze's power steering pump. These assemblies are incredibly durable, but depending on how often you drive your car, this component could be the culprit. Harsh steering inputs like forcing the wheel all the way to the left or right are known to cause stress on the pump.

4. Engine Pistons Cracking

Second-generation Cruzes are prone to cracking pistons. You might notice this issue with your Chevy Cruze after the engine starts idling loudly. The pistons on your Chevrolet engine sit inside the cylinders. The main job of a piston is to generate force from combustion gases. Pistons help control the crankshaft, which causes the flywheel to rotate efficiently.

Replacing a cracked piston is a minor repair compared to other problems you could see with a Chevy Cruze. If your vehicle vibrates excessively while idling or there is a noticeable decrease in acceleration power, see if one of your engine's pistons is to blame.

5. Electrical Problems

Newer Chevrolet Cruze models can have electrical problems. These issues range from being unable to start the vehicle or the instrument panels showing check engine lights when nothing is wrong to the entertainment system being unresponsive. Check the status of the alternator and battery to ensure the systems across your vehicle have access to consistent power.

6. Water Pump Stops Working

You need your Chevy Cruze engine to stay cool. The water pump assembly on your vehicle guides coolant inside the radiator and throughout the engine. Look out for your Cruze by monitoring the water pump periodically. These compact cars are known to experience an issue where the water pump quits, resulting in the engine running hot.

Ignoring a water pump problem with a Chevy Cruze may cause irreversible damage to the head gasket. You could see trouble with a Chevrolet water pump thanks to poor seals under the hood or corrosion. Replacing your Cruze's water pump is fairly straightforward and inexpensive to do.

7. Antifreeze Leaks

A list of Chevy Cruze problems must include coolant leaks. The 2011 Cruze models built a reputation for leaking antifreeze so much that some drivers complained they could smell it from inside the car. There was a lawsuit filed against Chevrolet in 2014 regarding the issue.

Those opposing General Motors argued a defect with the first-generation Cruze caused antifreeze to leak from the vehicle, but GM opted not to inform consumers. The lawsuit was dropped in 2016, but this means thousands of first-gen Cruze models could be affected by the radiator leaks. Anytime you see white smoke leaving the engine bay or notice coolant puddles underneath your ride, seek a service professional immediately.

Visit StockWise Auto's Catalog for Cruze Repairs

Finishing repair jobs yourself is achievable with StockWise Auto. We sell replacement and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components for some of the most popular vehicles on the road, like the first- and second-generation Chevrolet Cruze. Find common parts for maintenance projects as well as components that are impossible to get from small shops and other online channels. Purchase parts for your Chevy Cruze online.