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Chevrolet Cruze problems and recalls (2011-2019)

Chevrolet Cruze

The Chevrolet Cruze is a prime example of GM doing what it does well – building a car and selling it all over the world under different names. So, in the United States it was the Chevrolet Cruze, despite the fact that it was designed by the conglomerate’s GM Korea division.

It’s a simple and dependable car, but there’s no denying that it can fall victim to the odd glitch, such as noisy front suspension and leaky taillights.

However, it has reached the age where it makes sense to carry out most repairs yourself. The parts are certainly cheap enough, and you can avoid the sizeable labor rates charged by your local workshop. And avoiding such big charges means your first-generation Chevy Cruze will be financially viable for a considerable period to come.

All you need to do is invest in the Haynes Cruze manual, which will guide you through everything you need to know.

Chevrolet Cruze

What recalls has the Chevrolet Cruze Mk1 been subject to?

Early examples of the Chevy Cruze were recalled because the steering wheel hadn’t been properly attached during production, and it could become detached as the car was being driven, which is going to make anyone’s day memorable.

Then a number of Cruze models were recalled because the ignition key could be removed despite the vehicle’s transmission not being in Park, and a potential loss of power brakes caused a recall.

A faulty windshield wiper motor forced another recall, as did potential oil leaks, which could result in fires.

Missing welds for the fuel tank strap brackets caused another recall, because these could fail in a crash, with the potential for fuel to leak from the tank itself.

Another steering fault caused another recall, because the bolt attaching the steering shaft to the steering gear had been improperly installed, and if it came loose there was the potential for loss of steering control.

Chevy Cruze

What common problems does the Chevrolet Cruze have?

Unfortunately, the power seats on the Chevy Cruze J300 can become inoperative, and at the same time the airbag light can become illuminated, which going to feel a bit uncomfortable.

And the Cruze can also be prone to the odd clunk. This usually emanates from the front suspension on bumpy roads, and a leaky strut is likely the cause.

Some owners have reported that the interior door release lever often doesn’t return to the correct position once they’ve opened the door.

And occasionally, you just want fresh air, and rolling down the window is the quickest way to get it. However, on occasion, the Chevrolet Cruze side windows refuse to play ball, and stick in the closed position.

However, while the side windows on the Chevrolet Cruze Mk1 may be reluctant to allow in fresh air, the rear lights can sometimes be too willing to allow in fresh water. Yes, they can leak.

Chevy Cruze

Have your Chevrolet Cruze power seats failed?

If your Chevy Cruze is a vehicle used by various members of your family, then it’s fair to say the power seats are going to get a workout. Everyone’s a different shape and size, and everyone likes the seat set differently, so it’s ‘just so’ for them.

But the problem is that you can get into your Cruze one day, press the required button to move the seat into your preferred position and… you’re not moving. Nope, nothing, nada, zip, zilch. And why’s the airbag warning light illuminated at the same time? It’s a mystery.

Well, actually, it isn’t. The problem is most often the wiring harness under the seat, which can become pinched in the seat tracks, and then become chafed by the movement of the seat.

To remedy the situation, you’ll need to remove the front seat, then repair the damaged wires, before using a zip tie to fasten the wiring to the seat to keep it out of harm’s way.

The procedure to remove the seat isn’t that difficult, and it’s explained in detail in the Haynes Cruze manual, so you should have no problem at all.


Chevy Cruze

Why is your Chevrolet Cruze clunking?

Bumpy roads are simply a fact of life, but a well-fettled car will deal with such road scars without impacting your day. However, sometimes the Chevy Cruze is not one of those cars, because it can emit a loud clunk while going over bad potholes and bumps.

The issue is the jounce bumper slamming into the upper spring seat, and this happens because the jounce is not held in its correct position in the first place. Why? Well, the strut can leak oil, which is then deposited on the jounce retention fingers, which allow it to move when the suspension extends, before clunking back into place as the suspension compresses.

If the strut is leaking, it’s best to replace the whole strut, plus the jounce bumper and dust shield. And of course, if you’re replacing one front strut, you should really replace the other one.

This shouldn’t take too long, however, if you follow the steps and images laid out in the relevant section of your Haynes Cruze manual.

If you want to know how to change the brake pads on your Chevy Cruze, just watch our FREE video below.

The Chevrolet Cruze Mk1 door release sticks out. Why?

Many owners have reported that inside door release handles will not sit flush or seat properly after they’ve been used to open a door.

This may seem a minor point, but it could make the door easier to open by mistake while you’re driving along – and no one needs that.

The issue is that the door handle stop bumper has become misaligned, a situation that Chevrolet itself has noted, and for which a redesigned part is available (part number 95176208).

It’s easy enough to replace the bumper. You need to hold the door handle in the open position, then us e a pair of needle-nosed pliers to remove the old bumper. Then use a small allen wrench to install the redesigned part in the correct position. And if you’re doing this on one door, you might as well do it on all four – it will take a matter of minutes.

Chevrolet Cruze

Does the Chevrolet Cruze have electric window issues?

Windows have pretty much one job to do. Well, technically, two. First, they have to allow in light so you can see out. Secondly, they need to move up and down so you can have either fresh air, or so you can get a ticket at the parking lot, or speak to the server at the fast-food window. So, a window that doesn’t go up and down is bad news – and it’s worse if it happens to rattle while you’re driving along.

Yup, that’s what Chevy Cruze owners have to put up with on occasion. In warmer states, the situation can usually be rectified if you take off the door trim, remove the weather shield, and spray the regulator assembly with silicone lubricant.

In colder times, the issue can be caused by the window freezing to the frame, and being separated from the regulator when the driver tries to open the window. In this case you’ll need to get into the regulator assembly and reattach the glass to it.

In both cases, you need only consult the relevant procedure in the body section of your Haynes Cruze manual. Everything you need to remedy the situation is there.

Chevy Cruze

Why is the Chevrolet Cruze rear light misty?

Misting inside lights can be a perfectly innocent thing. If the climate has had a period of high humidity, then the inside of the lights can naturally become misted. This usually clears when the climate dries out, or if you drive with the lights on.

However, if the misting remains when you drive, or if there’s a puddle in the bottom of the light unit, then the seal has failed, and you’ll need to replace the unit.

As ever, we’ve already done the job for you, and have written about it in the Haynes Cruze manual, so just follow the steps and you’ll have fully functioning and perfectly dry lights before you can say: “Isn’t it getting dark early these days.”