Red Chevy Cruze
As long as drivers avoid specific years and follow proper maintenance procedures, the inexpensive car could last 250,000 miles.

Here Are The Chevy Cruze Years To Avoid

The Chevy Cruze debuted in 2008 and while the popular compact is no longer sold in North America, it is still available in some countries. So was the Cruze discontinued for the U.S. market because it wasn’t popular or because it wasn’t a good car? It seems like it was a bit of both, but some year models were significantly better than others. The Chevrolet Cruze was popular for a while, but like many models that declined in popularity, it was dropped from the lineup.

But that’s only one side of the story. It’s easy to assume the declining popularity was caused by the Chevy Cruze reliability. Yet the model gets 4 out of 5 stars for reliability from trusted sources like The annual repair costs come in under $550, below the average vehicle ownership cost. The level and frequency of repairs are average compared to all vehicles. So why the bad rap on some Chevy Cruze reviews?

The Cruze had some impressively bad model years, so there are some Chevy Cruze years to avoid. But even with those miscues, the model overall ranks right up there with its reliable competitors. Here are the best years for the Chevy Cruz and worst models to help you find the right car for you.

What are the Chevy Cruze Worst Model Years and The Best?

Specific years and follow proper maintenance procedures, the inexpensive car could last 250,000 miles.
Most car reviewers agree that the first few years for the Chevrolet Cruze weren’t their best. Surprisingly, the worst of the bunch wasn’t the first year or even the second. The worst model would come along a few years later in the form of the 2012 Chevy Cruze.

This model year had many flaws and recalls addressed in the 2014 incarnation, but that model still had its share. By the time the 2015 Cruze rolled off the assembly line, many, but not all problems were corrected according to Chevy Cruze reviews.

If you’re buying a used Chevy Cruze, the verdict is in: 2015 to 2019 are the best model years by far. But like with any used car you’re considering, it’s important to do your homework even with the best model years.

Best Model YearsChevy Cruze Years to Avoid
2019 Chevy Cruze (4.51 Rating)

NHTSA: 2 recalls/ 12 complaints
Edmunds: 4.1/ 5.0 consumer rating
J.D. Power: 84/ 100 consumer rating
Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 expert rating
2012 Chevy Cruze (2.88 Rating)

Transmission failure
Faulty fuel tank welds
Coolant leaks
Faulty driver-side airbag
Transmission fails in reverse
Brake assistance failure
2018 Chevy Cruze (4.44 Rating)

NHTSA: 3 recalls/ 78 complaints
Edmunds: 7.5/ 10 expert rating
J.D. Power: 84/ 100 consumer rating
Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 expert rating
2011 Chevy Cruze (2.90 Rating)

Transmission failure
Coolant leaks
Throttle body issues
Faulty shifting
Intake manifold issues
2017 Chevy Cruze (4.37 Rating)

NHTSA: 2 recalls/ 144 complaints
Edmunds: 3.8/ 5.0 consumer rating
J.D. Power: 84/100 consumer rating
Kelley Blue Book: 4.0/5.0 consumer rating
2014 Chevy Cruze (2.98 Rating)

Shifting and transmission issues
Water pump failure
Overheating issues
Electrical problems and loss of power
2015 Chevy Cruze (4.20 Rating)

NHTSA: 4 recalls/ 226 complaints
Edmunds: 3.8/ 5.0 consumer rating
J.D. Power: 82/ 100 consumer rating
Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 expert rating
2013 Chevy Cruze (3.58 Rating)

Electronic system failure
Oil and coolant leaks
Throttle body assembly issues
Transmission failure
Antifreeze leaks

What are the Common Problems with the Chevy Cruze?

It’s important to note that the most serious problems occurred during the Chevy Cruze years to avoid. There are plenty of reasons why Chevrolet offers great value, and that includes the Cruze. While it’s possible for the better model years to experience some of these problems, they are about average compared to most other vehicles. Most reported issues involved Check Engine Light issues, oil leaks, and coolant leaks. GM addressed the Chevy Cruze problems with campaigns and recalls that minimized the issues. But. For the problematic model years, the common problems were a bit more impactful.

Valve Covers and Intake Manifold
An issue with an intake manifold air check component and a faulty diaphragm in the PVC inside the valve cover put the engine at risk. Symptoms include a Check Engine Light, rough idle, excessive oil consumption, and blue exhaust smoke.

Automatic transmission cooler lines leak and can cause the transmission to fail prematurely. Symptoms include visible fluid leaks, a Check Engine Light, unfamiliar noises and odors, delayed acceleration, and vibrations.

Water Pump
Leaking water pumps cause the engine to overheat, leading to engine failure and other problems. Symptoms include visible leaks, overheating engine alert, unfamiliar noise, and the appearance of coolant mixed with oil.

Coolant Leaks
Coolant leaks are reported from cracks in the coolant expansion tank, along with leaks from the thermostat and radiator, leading to engine overheating. Symptoms include a sweet aroma, visible leaks, a Check Engine Light, and an overheating engine.

Other common problems with the Chevy Cruze manufactured in one of the off years are ignition coil failure and a faulty trunk release switch. While the Chevy Cruze issues are many, and some severe, used car buyers can avoid these issues by choosing wisely. As long as you pick out a well-maintained model manufactured after 2014, your car will likely last as long, if not longer, than comparative models.

Again, it’s worth noting the Chevy Cruz typically ranks average or better for safety, cost-of-ownership, reliability, and other important criteria—despite those missteps before 2015! Now that you know the whole story, take a look at why a used Chevy Cruze can be the ideal used car value for you.

Are Chevy Cruze Reliable Cars?

According to Engine Patrol, the Chevrolet Cruze can last up to 250,000 miles when driven responsibly and maintained correctly. Driving 15,000 miles yearly means your Chevy Cruze could last well over a decade before needing significant repairs. You don’t have to baby your car to make it last a long time, but there are a few things you can do to keep it in shape:

  • You don’t have to use OEM parts for repairs, but use the best quality you can afford.
  • Catch up on the routine maintenance schedule if it has fallen behind.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil changes and other maintenance.
  • Rotate the tires according to the tire manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Practice driving smoothly and carefully for better safety and minimized wear and tear.

Because of the Chevy Cruze’s low price tag and longevity, investing in ongoing repairs and maintenance can be a smart move. While no driver enjoys spending money on repairs for their vehicle, the return on the investment can be very rewarding. So, is a Chevy Cruze a good car for you?

How Do I Find the Right Chevy Cruze for Me?

Maybe the best thing you can do before buying a Chevy Cruz is to choose a reputable Tucson used car dealer like Car Time Supercenter. You’ll find a wide selection, hometown customer care, and a reliable car at an affordable price. No matter where you buy your next used car, there are a few things you’ll need to do to get the best car for you:

  • Ask for maintenance and repair records to determine how well the car has been maintained.
  • Check the car through CarFax to verify titling, mileage, and accidents.
  • Inspect the car for rust, especially underneath and at the bottom of body panels.
  • Look for signs of leaks underneath the vehicle.
  • Check out the interior for stains, tears, and other excessive wear.
  • Put the car through its paces with a comprehensive test drive.

Once you’ve found the best deal on a Cruze, you want it to look sharp and perform well for a long time. That means not only regular maintenance but also cleaning and protecting your car’s finish.

How Can I Keep My Chevy Cruze Looking Newer Longer?

Turbocharged engines require strict adherence to maintenance schedules, so be mindful of changing the oil per OEM guidelines. Tires, fluids, and engine and transmission maintenance and repairs are critical to help your car last as long as possible but don’t overlook the exterior finish. Especially if you frequently drive in wet or icy weather, maintaining the exterior of a car can help prevent rust and protect the sheet metal beneath the paint.

Here’s how to protect your Cruze’s exterior and keep it looking newer longer:

  • Wash and dry your car at least bi-weekly, more often in you live in a dusty or wet climate.
  • The outside of a car also includes the underside, so spray off dirt and grime with a hose each month.
  • Touch up scratches and knicks as soon as possible to avoid rust and other problems.
  • Keep your Cruze in a garage or under a cover if possible.
  • Wax your car at least quarterly to protect the paint, clear coating, and body panels.

Regular maintenance and cleaning can help your Chevrolet Cruze last longer with fewer problems. Cars and their care are necessary expenses, but with continued maintenance and repairs, your Chevy Cruz can be more of an investment.

If you’re wondering, “Does Chevy still make the Cruze?”, Chevrolet discontinued the midsize compact
in 2019. Chevy’s focus on SUVs and full-size pickups has left little room for gas-powered sedans like the Cruze in the brand’s lineup.

But you can still get your hands on one or another discontinued car worth a look because Car Time Supercenter has you covered. Check our inventory online for Cruzes and other reliable used cars, or call 520-750-0505.

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Shane Vossough

There are good reasons people will buy their next used car in Tucson from Car Time Supercenter. But I think we are one of the most trusted used car dealerships mainly because we treat everyone like family. My family has provided quality, dependable local used cars to Tucson customers since 1984, and I'm proud to be a part of our continued success. Like many family-owned businesses, I grew up going to work with my dad. Falling in love with cars was natural because of my father's passion, and eventually, I came to love the car business just like him. I officially joined the Car Time Supercenter team in 2012, starting in the finance department. Over the past decade, I've learned the used car business and how to treat customers from my family and industry resources. Today, I oversee marketing, social media, inventory, and reconditioning, so I play an essential role in delivering local Tucson used car buyers the best experience possible. I also help our family business keep up with the times while providing old-fashioned customer service. From attending NADA classes to becoming Allstate certified for back-end products, I continue to learn and add skills to serve our customers better.