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Consumer Lemon Law

Buying a Used Chevy Cruze? Years to Avoid, Recalls and The Lemon Law

Buying a used Chevy Cruze? Let’s talk about the vehicle’s problems, recalls, and the Lemon Law.

Originating from GM’s Korea division from 2008 to 2019, the Chevrolet Cruze has been a popular choice for first-time drivers looking for an economical car as a daily driver.

The brand was retired in the US in 2019, mainly because of decreased sales and a shift in focus to produce more SUV’s than smaller vehicles.

Some Chevy Cruze owners have experienced defects that make their car a potential lemon.

Which Cruze years should you avoid? What kind of issues have Cruze owners experienced? Have the recalls fixed all problems reported?

In this article, we will discuss the common problems associated with the Chevy Cruze and which years are worth your money.

Buying a Used Chevy Cruze and Models to Avoid

Buying a Used Chevy Cruze? The Best Years to Buy

Through thorough research and analysis, certain years stand out for their reliability and customer satisfaction:

  • 2008 to 2010 Chevy Cruze: Marking the inception of the Cruze, these initial models set a high standard for quality and performance in the compact car segment.
  • 2016 and 2019 Chevy Cruze: These years represent a significant leap forward in terms of technology, safety features, and overall reliability. The introduction of advanced driver assistance systems and a more robust build quality make these models a wise choice for the discerning buyer.

Highlight: The 2016 Chevy Cruze

The 2016 model deserves a special mention for its comprehensive redesign, offering enhanced fuel efficiency, a more spacious interior, and cutting-edge technology, making it a standout year for the Cruze despite some reported engine issues.

Chevrolet Cruze: Do Not Buy These Models

Not all Cruzes are created equal, and certain model years have been plagued by more than their fair share of problems:

  • 2011 to 2015 Chevy Cruze: These years are best avoided due to a higher incidence of significant issues such as transmission failures, engine problems, and electrical glitches. The 2011 model, in particular, has been notorious for its reliability concerns.
  • 2017-2018 Chevy Cruze: Numerous reported engine problems, stalling and failure issues. 
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The Chevy Cruze Recall Timeline

The Chevrolet Cruze has been subject to various recalls over the years, addressing a range of issues from safety to manufacturing defects. Here are some notable recalls:

  • 2014-2015 Chevrolet Cruze

    Recalled for the inner tie rod may not be torqued enough, seatbelt issues and airbag issues.

  • 2016-2017 Chevrolet Cruze

    Recalled due to a bracket used in the driver or front passenger seat-back recliner mechanism. This recall affects the safety and integrity of the seat-back recliner, potentially impacting passenger safety in the event of a crash.

  • 2018-2019 Chevrolet Cruze

    These model years were recalled for a potential fire hazard related to a faulty part that could cause the vehicles to lose power while moving, or even catch fire. Additionally, there was an issue with missing bolts on the start/stop accumulator on some vehicles, which could also lead to a loss of power or a fire risk.

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Chevrolet Cruze Most Important Recalls

Originating from GM’s Korea division, the Chevrolet Cruze has been a popular choice in the United States and beyond, thanks to its simple yet reliable engineering.

However, like any vehicle, the Cruze is not immune to issues. Let’s highlight the most important recalls. 

Understanding Chevrolet Cruze Recalls (2011-2019)

Below we highlight the most important Cruze recalls. There have been 25 recalls issued, most of them around the rear airbag weld joint may rupture, the start/stop accumulator endcap may have missing bolts, and Gasoline/oil leaks that pose a fire risk to name a few. 

Chevy Cruze Steering Wheel Detachment

Steering Wheel Detachment

One of the more alarming recalls involved early models of the Chevrolet Cruze where the steering wheel was not properly secured during manufacturing. This defect posed a significant safety risk as it could lead to the steering wheel detaching while driving.

Chevy Cruze Recall Brake System

Rear Brake System

Several recalls were issued due to the ignition key being removable when the transmission was not in Park, alongside a potential loss in power brakes. These issues could lead to unintended vehicle movement and decreased control over braking, respectively.

Chevy Cruze Oil Leak Recall

Oil Leak Recalls

A faulty windshield wiper motor prompted a recall, crucial for maintaining visibility during adverse weather conditions. Additionally, potential oil leaks were identified as a fire hazard, leading to another recall to address this serious safety concern.

Chevy Cruze Recall Detached Steering Wheel

Structural and Steering Concerns

The integrity of the vehicle was called into question with recalls related to missing welds on fuel tank strap brackets and improperly installed bolts on the steering shaft. These defects could lead to fuel leaks in the event of a crash and potential loss of steering control, respectively.

Common Problems with the Chevrolet Cruze

Outside of the recalls issued, the Chevy Cruze has been plagued with problems ranging from the cooling system, electrical problems and seat failures. 

Below are some of the problems that are the most common. 

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Power Seat Failure

The power seats in the Chevy Cruze, especially in vehicles frequently adjusted for different drivers, are prone to failure. This often coincides with the airbag warning light illuminating, pointing to a possible issue with the wiring harness under the seat.

Suspension Noises

Clunking noises from the front suspension on bumpy roads can indicate a problem with the strut or jounce bumper. Leaking struts and mispositioned jounce bumpers are common culprits behind this discomforting sound.

Door Release Lever and Electric Window Malfunctions

Issues with the door release lever not returning to its proper position and electric windows sticking in the closed position are not uncommon. These problems can impact convenience and safety, necessitating prompt attention.

Rear Light Leakage

Water ingress into the rear light units can lead to misting and, in worse cases, water accumulation inside the unit. This not only affects visibility but also the vehicle's aesthetic appeal.

Lemon Law criteria

The Chevy Cruze and The Lemon Law

The Chevy Cruze has emerged as a significant concern for consumers due to its recurring issues and the subsequent need for legal assistance. With a track record of defects ranging from coolant leaks to transmission problems, the Chevy Cruze stands out as a vehicle that may qualify for lemon law protection.

To qualify for lemon law protection, your Chevy Cruze must have undergone at least two repairs for the same issue while under the manufacturer’s warranty.

This typically covers models from 2017 to 2019. If your vehicle fits this criteria, you may have a viable lemon law case.

Buying a Used Chevy Cruze FAQs

Inspect for oil under the throttle body area and observe the car’s behavior at stoplights or stop signs; it should remain smooth without erratic behavior.

While the specific number can vary, generally it’s at least two attempts for serious safety defects or four attempts for other substantial defects.

A vehicle can also qualify if it’s been in the shop for over 30 days cumulatively for repairs.

Common issues include engine problems, cracked pistons, electrical failures, and transmission issues, particularly in models from the years mentioned as ones to avoid.

A significant maintenance history could indicate underlying issues; thorough inspection and skepticism towards such vehicles are advised.

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