2018 Chevrolet Cruze Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brakes, Dash Display and Engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners


2018 Chevrolet Cruze

The sporty and fun 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is a favorite for anyone that desires to enjoy the open road on a budget. It’s available in both the sedan and hatchback models for maximum versatility. Chevy marks this as the model to connect with, but GM seems to have missed the mark in several areas. Between engine reliability, braking concerns and technology failures, there’s a lot to worry about when you get behind the wheel of this model. What might start as a fun adventure could lead to disaster in this car.

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Problems with the Engine

When most car buyers think about the engine, they look at horsepower ratings and how powerful it will be. Most owners never stop to think if the engine itself is reliable and safe. That’s what Cruze owners should have considered before making a purchase, especially if a malfunction with the engine can lead to a fire.

Read what one Cruze owner wrote on the NHTSA website. “While driving my 2018 Chevy Cruze the oil light came on, the engine locked up, and the vehicle caught fire. The dealership said that it was due to a fuel line spraying fuel on the engine.”

Who really wants to deal with a problem like this? We can’t imagine voluntarily signing up to drive a car with issues that lead to this, but many owners unknowingly do. While there was a recall for this type of situation, it was only related to the 2016-2018 Chevrolet Cruze LS vehicles that were equipped with a gasoline engine and a tire inflator kit instead of a spare tire.

GM claims that the problem only occurred after a rear-impact crash or rollover, which we see didn’t happen in the case above. To fix the recall, the company installed a lock-ring on the fuel tank to shield the fuel tank vapor pressure sensor from damage in a rear-impact crash.

That didn’t do anything to prevent fuel leaks onto the engine. Having a car burst into flames might leave you wondering why you didn’t just buy a Tesla.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Chevy Cruze Engine Problems:

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 CHEVROLET CRUZE. THE CONTACT STATED THAT EACH TIME THE VEHICLE WENT THROUGH A CAR WASH, THE CHECK ENGINE WARNING INDICATOR ILLUMINATED. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO QUIRK CHEVROLET OF PORTLAND (LOCATED AT 1000 BRIGHTON AVE, PORTLAND, ME 04102, (207) 420-8968) AND THE CONTACT WAS ADVISED TO DRIVE THE VEHICLE FAST ON THE HIGHWAY TO CLEAR THE FILTER, WHICH WOULD TURN OFF THE WARNING INDICATOR. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT DIAGNOSED OR REPAIRED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOTIFIED OF THE FAILURE AND PROVIDED CASE NUMBER: 94989017128. THE APPROXIMATE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 9,900.

CAR HAD GREATLY REDUCED FUEL ECONOMY AND POWER. SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DRIVEN. CHEVY DID NOT RESPOND TO MULTIPLE ATTEMPTS TO GET RENTAL. THEY FORCED ME TO DRIVE A CAR THAT WAS NOT OPERATING AS DESIGNED EVEN THOUGH IT WAS UNDER THE BUMPER TO BUMPER WARRANTY AND THEY AGREED THE CAR HAD ISSUES. 2 WEEKS AFTER DRIVING IT THEY FIGURED OUT TURBO HAS A LEAK THAT THEY FIXED. 2 WEEKS I DROVE A CAR THAT SOUNDED LIKE A JET UPON ACCELERATING AND CHEVY DID NOTHING.

Problems with the Brakes

If your engine is working fine, the next critical aspect is that you can stop in time. Unfortunately, 2018 Chevrolet Cruze owners might not have this luxury either. Consumers continue to complain about the lack of braking ability and the terrible setup of the brake pedal itself.

Read what this driver wrote on Edmunds. “I don’t even want to leave one star for this Car. Complete Junk! So Absolutely DISAPPOINTED.The Brake pedal?Why? Why would Chevy make the brake pedal stick so far out and then give it over-excited brakes.”

While there have been numerous issues GM had to work out concerning the brakes, the most critical involved a recall that was issued. Surprisingly, the recall spanned multiple GM vehicles, not just the Cruze. The issues stemmed from rear brake caliper pistons that contained insufficient coating which caused gas pockets and reduced performance.

To repair it, GM dealers offered to bleed the brake system at no cost. While bleeding the brakes helped improve the rear braking effectiveness, it didn’t resolve the other complaints regarding the size of the brake pedal and discomfort in driving. Maybe they thought by creating a humongous brake pedal, drivers wouldn’t notice how hard it was to stop.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Chevy Cruze Brake Problems:

SQUEAKY NOISE COMING FROM FRONT LEFT AXLE WHEN DRIVING VEHICLE ON HIGHWAY OR CITY STREET. FRONT BREAKS LEAKING.

I HAVE THE VEHICLE SERVICE FOR THE 30,000 MILES FLUSH ON JANUARY 21,2019. ON JANUARY 29TH I WAS ON THE FREEWAY IN MORNING TRAFFIC HEADING NORTH ON THE 110 WHEN AT 25 MILES I MADE A SUDDEN STOP DUE TO THE CAR IMFRONT OF ME. MY CAR DIDN’T STOP AND SLAMMED INTO THE CAR IN FRONT OF ME. MY CAR WAS REPORTED TO BE TWO DAYS LATER AS A TOTAL LOSS. I’M GRATEFUL MY KIDS, SISTER AND I WEREN’T INJURED. JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE AFTER JUST PAYING ALMOST $500 A WEEK BEFORE FOR SERVICING.

Problems with the Dash Display Brightness

You wouldn’t think that the brightness factor on a display would be so important until you got blinded driving down the road. Most people that take a test drive do so in the daylight hours. This prevents them from noticing just how bright the display is on a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze dash. Aside from that, the backup camera also appears to be slightly too bright.

One driver wrote on Edmunds, “My Cruze has a defect and a software problem in the computer that they can’t seem to fix. The dealer only tells me, “We have never heard of that.” The software problem is that the backup camera is on full bright in reverse, even at night. There is no way to adjust it for using at night at all. This also makes it very hard to see the passenger side mirror when parallel parking at night as the glare is so bright. The real bad problem is the screen comes on full bright at night as well and that makes for a hazardous drive anywhere at any time at night when it does this. I had to cut a piece of cardboard to fit over the screen so I can drive the car. It has an option in the menu to turn off the screen. But try and use that and it keeps coming back on while you are driving and that is not safe and a pain. So I would recommend avoiding buying this car until GM gets off their butts to resolve this safety problem.”

While GM has released Service Bulletin #18-NA-266 to deal with the intermittent blank or flickering display and Service Bulletin #17-NA-375 to fix a grainy or pixelated screen, they haven’t dealt with the brightness issue yet. So, you can place a piece of cardboard over yours or stick to driving during the day. With these issues, it’s just not smart to Cruze at night.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Chevy Cruze Dash Display Unit.

2018 DISPLAY BRIGHTNESS ISSUE. NIGHT TIME DRIVING THE DISPLAY IS WAY TO BRIGHT. DIMMING LIGHTS WITH DIMMER SWITCH HAS NO RESULTS. DISPLAY BRIGHTNESS IS SO DISTRACTING IT BLINDS OCCUPANTS OF THE VEHICLE. CONTACTING CHEVROLET THEY DISPLAYED IGNORANCE OF THE PROBLEM. A SEARCH OF THE INTERNET PROVIDE MULTIPLE COMPLAINTS OF THIS PROBLEM ON SEVERAL MODEL IN ADDITION TO THE CRUISE

THE COMPUTER SCREEN IN THE DASH STAYS AT FULL BRIGHTNESS AT NIGHT. THIS MAKES FOR A BLIND SPOT DRIVING AND VERY HARD TO PARK THE CAR ON THE STREET AS IT BLOCKS VIEW TO THE MIRROR ON RIGHT.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work aid your lemon at no cost to you. The law makes Chevrolet pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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6 COMMENTS
  • Patrick J

    My problem is my cruz will not shift into the last gear and if I turn my AC it will run hot.

  • Teresa H

    I purchased 2018 Cruz in may 2018, every service was done at same dealership. On Aug 20 2020 the car while stopped at a stop sign died for no reason or warning, when traffic light changed I was stalled in center lane as a sitting duck in high traffic area. I hit o star for emergency police snd tow, I was hit from behind suffered physical damange . I paid for tow to same dealership without reimbursement despite following steps under warranty with Gm guidelines. I was forced to trade the vehicle because no vehicle was available and they knew I had to pick up kids from school an hour away. I was forced to take a huge loss on car because it was crashed and forced into a 30k Equinox instead of my then 15k payoff… numerous times I’ve called wanting compensation they gave me the name of Nikki with A second party group to handle the claim, 1 yr now it’s been we have gotten no where, calls or emails are not ever returned. I am going to continue my quest for Gm to make good on this claim. Close to 14k just in medical payments as well, for a car well maintained and by no one other than certified GM dealership employees at the dealership!

  • Sonia

    I brought my vehicle with 0 miles out the show room a week after having it my front end started to rattle really loud I brought it in several times and they couldn’t find the issue. I push in the gas the car won’t accumulate like it would today at 50,000 miles being a 2018 my car service stabilitrak track came on my car is jerking and won’t accelerate nothing but problems

  • Joseph G

    When bought my 2018 Chevrolet Cruze, under the one the pipe lines was hanging,. Hertz had that fixed twice.

    Every was going fine, until reasonally, the same pipe line loosen again. Pep boys finished it again. 2 days looked under my car. it was hanging again.

    The problem is in my opinion t
    He are putting on those plastic zip ties, that are working.
    Smicklas Chevrolet told to bring it in. But the cost is my problem. And fell like I SHOULD NOT have to pay for. It a manufacturer problem

  • Thomas H

    I have a 2018 Cruze and the place that I got it from doses want to take care of everything that I have addres to them and it has some many things that are a problem with this car and for the Warranty that the car comes with is not what I Sind up for I got my car in November 10 2018 and the warranty show that it not good till August 29 2021 how it that 36 months and I only have 20k on the car and when I call to talk to them they refuse to talk to me because my wife name on the car first

  • Jesse

    The lights on dash are so bright at dark when I come to a stop to turn I can’t see the other 2 directions so I can turn safely

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