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6 Common Problems Of A Chevy Cruze Diesel (2014 – 2019)

6 Common Problems Of A Chevy Cruze Diesel (2014 – 2019)

What kind of problems do Chevy Cruze diesel owners face? We’ve researched and outlined all the issues you must look out for when purchasing a Chevy Cruze diesel. However, let’s first start with a quick answer.

Most commonly, Chevy Cruze Diesel owners had to deal with braking issues that were especially bad for the 2018 model, electrical problems that were difficult to chase down, and throttle lag that resulted in delayed acceleration. Chevy Cruze owners also faced antifreeze leaks that gave off an obnoxious smell and transmission problems that turned up earlier than expected.

In the sections below, we’ll go over every problem giving you necessary details like how to identify it, fix it, and how much it costs to fix it. Let’s get to it.

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We Use Real World Vehicle Data To Create This List Of Problems

Before we dive into the most common problems, let’s quickly explain how we created this list.

This data comes from vehicle owners like you. It’s based on real data from real drivers. No guesswork or hypotheticals here.

We use resources like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and many others, to review the most common complaints issues by owners along with the full history of recalls and active investigations.

From there, our team of automotive experts takes a closer look into each problem and breaks down why it happens, what you can do to prevent it, and how to fix it.

We review the data and interpret the results to make your life easier. Now that you understand how we came up with this list, let’s get into it!

Throttle Lag and Delayed Acceleration Problems

Chevy Cruze owners complained about throttle lag and delayed acceleration issues that might be accompanied by an ‘Engine Power is Reduced’ warning message. This delayed acceleration is generally annoying, as you notice those dead zones after you punch the acceleration pedal, but it can also be dangerous when you’re trying to cross traffic. It could result in rear-end collisions and severe injuries for the driver and passengers.

The throttle lag can be traced back to the drive-by-wire systems that replaced the drive-by-cable systems. In the drive-by-cable system, the accelerator pedal and throttle were connected with a cable allowing you to utilize mechanical linkages for in-time throttle response.

With the drive-by-wire system, we’ve got a lot of wiring and sensors that relay information from the acceleration pedal to the electronic control unit (ECU), which then controls the throttle. This array of electrical devices can give way to an electrical delay even if all components are functional, and this electrical delay, in turn, results in an acceleration delay.

General Motors doesn’t have a recall for the problem and won’t be picking up the bills for any repairs done to rectify the issue either. If you don’t get the ‘Engine Power is Reduced’ warning message, then chances are that the acceleration delay is due to the drive-by-wire system. Finding the lagging component and fixing it is a bit of a wild goose chase, but we’ve found that many consumers opt to install a throttle controller. Simply put, this is an aftermarket solution that aims to limit the lag and hopefully eliminate it. It costs anywhere from $100 to $300, and most consumers were satisfied with the results.

Also read: Types Of Gas A Chevy Cruze Uses (All Generations)

Antifreeze Leaks

The Chevy Cruze stinks, literally. Many owners of the Chevy Cruze have found themselves in a cabin they can barely stand. The cabin is flooded with an obnoxious smell attributed to antifreeze leaks. There were reports of owners finding antifreeze inside the cabin in various places, such as under the steering column or under floormats where the floorboards were soaked.

Many owners said they wouldn’t let their kids inside the vehicle, and for a good reason. The smell is so severe that there were complaints about eyes burning and throats getting dry. Some owners stated that they had to be taken to the hospital, with one owner reporting that he was diagnosed with chemical pneumonitis, which put him in the hospital for a week and off work for two months. Antifreeze is made up of dangerous chemicals and can cause health issues, especially when it leaks into the confined vehicle cabin.

The root cause of the leak is unclear, while some consumers believe that the heater core is responsible. On the other hand, General Motors issued a technical service bulletin stating that the smell is due to grease, which is used to lubricate components inside the heater and air conditioning evaporator. In any case, grease or antifreeze, the problem is affecting owners, and General Motors has yet to take a significant step to rectify it, despite lawsuits regarding the issue.

Unfortunately, the dealers haven’t been much help as they either claim they can’t smell the leak or stick with the technical service bulletin claims. Opting for a heater core replacement will cost between $350 and $440 with no guarantee that the problem will be resolved or won’t repeat itself.

Braking Problems

The 2018 Chevy Cruze has several brake-related problems. Drivers faced difficulty braking and were annoyed by the considerable size of the brake pedal. The setup of the brake pedal and the braking system, in general, seems to be flawed in the Chevy Cruze. There were multiple complaints about brake fluid leaks that rendered the brakes useless. The brake warning light usually indicated this, and drivers reported having to use the parking brake to come to a stop. The main problem, however, was that of the rear brakes.

The problem with the rear brakes was that of poor performance. The brakes were operational and didn’t completely fail, but they weren’t up to the mark and increased the risk of collisions and injuries. A significant concern with this problem was that it affected over 200,000 GM vehicles, including the 2018 – 2019 Chevy Cruze. 

The root of the rear brake problem was an insufficient coating on the caliper pistons. This caused gas pockets to form, which reduced the braking performance. Fortunately, General Motors launched a recall for this problem in 2018. The dealers will bleed the vehicle’s brake system to resolve the issue. This will be done free of charge. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 18V576000.

Electrical Problems

Another major annoyance for drivers is electrical problems in the Chevy Cruze. There doesn’t seem to be a specific problem running across all the vehicles but instead a list of unexpected issues. Eventually, Chevy discovered this was a problem in the 2011 – 2015 models of the Cruze (which means the 2014 – 2015 diesel were also affected).

The main problem was a negative battery cable that had an insufficient crimp at the battery negative terminal. Over time, electrical systems did not receive enough power, causing malfunctions.

Commonly reported problems are: gauges that don’t work, radios that switch on and off, low headlight beams that keep switching to high beams, and the dashboard showing problems when there aren’t any and looking the other way when there are. In the video below, you can see what this looks like.

Transmission Problems

The Chevy Cruze has quite a few transmission problems. In general, the Cruze develops leaking problems or jerky gear shifts relatively early in its life. The main problem concerning the diesel variant is a bad transmission control module on the 9-speed shiftable automatic transmission. The issue also finds its way to the gasoline variant but turns up earlier and more often on the diesel variants.

Replacing the transmission control module can set you back by $1000 to $1500. Transmission issues are generally expensive to fix, especially if your vehicle needs a transmission rebuild or replacement.

Soy-Coated Wiring

Soy-Coated wiring has become a common issue for most brands, including Chevrolet. Most automakers switched to soy-based coating for their wiring because it was more biodegradable and eco-friendly. Although it’s better for the environment, it’s also better for the automaker as these soy-based coatings are cheaper than their plastic counterparts.

The problem with these soy-based coatings is that they attract rodents which then like to chew on them and use them as nesting material. This could cause an array of problems, any system that utilizes wires accessible to these rodents is at risk of failing. This has become quite the problem since there is no easy solution, and it’s a problem found in most vehicles by most automakers.

Some simple steps to include into your routine to try and catch these rodents before they cause an expensive problem. This includes regularly opening the hood and looking for rodent activity, shredded pieces of wire where you park your cars and cleaning out all the food in your car.

What’s The Worst Year Of The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

The Chevy Cruze isn’t the most reliable car, but it should last 200,000 miles. The diesel variant of the Chevy Cruze was launched in 2014 and continued until 2019 when Cruze production in the USA ended.

The worst years of the Chevy Cruze Diesel would have to be 2014, 2016, and 2018. These are the most complained about model years. The electrical problems, antifreeze leaks, and throttle lag issues are most frequent in these models. The 2018 model is also known for its braking issues and has a recall for its rear brakes. You’ll have to check if your vehicle is part of the recall and if the problem has been rectified. If the problem hasn’t been rectified, you’ll be troubled by visits to the dealership.

All other models are more or less decent options. We recommend looking into the miles driven on your prospective Chevy Cruze since the Cruze starts handing out problems and bills sooner than some other more reliable vehicles. Then there are transmission problems. When it comes to transmission problems, the older the vehicle is, the more likely you will encounter them. You’ll want to keep that in mind when searching for a Chevy Cruze.

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