Top 08-16 Chevy Cruze Problems

Learn How to Diagnose and Fix these Common Issues

Chevy Cruze Problems

If you’re experiencing issues like delayed acceleration, a stiff steering wheel when turning, abnormal oil consumption, or coolant leaks, then you’re dealing with common 08-16 Chevy Cruze problems with this 1st generation of Cruzes. We’ll show you what the symptoms, causes, and fixes are for the top problems on the 5th generation 08-16 Chevrolet Cruze.

Top 5 Issues with the 08-16 Chevrolet Cruze

1. Throttle Lag when Accelerating

Symptoms of Throttle Lag

Lagging, slow, or delayed acceleration after pressing the gas pedal

Causes of Throttle Lag

Instead of having a cable from the gas pedal, through the firewall, and up to the throttle body like on many vehicles, the 08-16 Chevy Cruze has a wired throttle body that is electronic. This means a sensor reads the position of the gas pedal and sends the right amount of voltage to the computer that controls the engine. Sometimes this process works slower, manifesting as throttle lag when the gas pedal is pressed.

How to Fix Throttle Lag

  • Inspect for clogged fuel injector
  • If overdue, get a tune-up
  • If not from above, the lag is a result of the electronic connection

2. High Oil Consumption

Symptoms of High Oil Consumption

  • Check engine light for codes P0171 or P0106
  • Blue smoke expels from the tailpipe
  • Rough engine idle

Causes of High Oil Consumption

Primarily on turbo-equipped 08-16 Chevy Cruzes, some 1st generation Chevy Cruzes have been known to consume oil too quickly and will need the intake manifold or valve cover, also known as the camshaft cover, replaced.

How to Fix High Oil Consumption

3. Coolant Leaks

Symptoms of a Coolant Leak

Evaporated coolant residue under the hood
Evaporated coolant residue under the hood
  • Check engine light for codes P0597-P0599
  • Low coolant level in coolant reservoir
  • Sweet smell while driving or parked
  • Evaporated coolant residue under hood
  • Gurgling sound on passenger side near heater core
  • Heat fluctuates between hot and cold
  • Puddles of coolant underneath the vehicle
  • Cracked or leaking thermostat housing
  • Corroded radiator hose or radiator hose clamps
  • Green film collecting along the radiator where the aluminum meets the plastic
  • Engine overheating
Fix your 1st gen 08-16 Chevy Cruze yourself with quality auto parts at

Causes of a Coolant Leak

The coolant can leak for different reasons, and different symptoms can happen from different causes. Gurgling sounds in the heater core, for example, can happen from aerated coolant caused by a low coolant level. Low coolant levels can also cause fluctuations in hot and cold temperatures. Puddles on the ground indicate a part is leaking, which can happen from age, design, corrosion, disconnected parts, and broken parts. The original plastic thermostat housing is prone to cracking, which can cause leaks, and evaporated coolant under the hood is usually from a bad or loose coolant reservoir cap.

If the coolant is leaking on the 08-16 Chevy Cruze, it’s likely from a loose, corroded, or leaking radiator hose, a cracked or leaking thermostat housing, or a bad radiator. Of course, if there isn’t enough coolant in the system to cool the engine, the engine might overheat.

How to Fix a Coolant Leak

Corroded radiator hose and hose clamp with white deposits
Corroded radiator hose and hose clamp with white deposits
  • Pressurize the coolant system with an antifreeze pressure tester. If the needle drops, see if there are puddles that can show where the coolant leak is
  • Inspect the rest of the coolant system for rotted or corroded radiator hose clamps and hoses
  • Replace the broken part
  • Check where the plastic meets the aluminum on the radiator as this area is prone to leaking

4. Engine Misfires

08-16 Chevy Cruze Ignition Coil
Ignition Coil

Symptoms of an Engine Misfire

  • Check engine light reading for generalized or cylinder-specifc codes P0300-P0312
  • Rough running engine
  • Poor acceleration
  • Lower fuel economy

Causes of an Engine Misfire

The coil pack is usually the problem when it comes to misfires on the 1st gen 08-16 Chevy Cruzes. The inside where the spark plug connects tends to corrode, leading to a poor connection to the spark plug.

How to Fix an Engine Misfire

  • Inspect the coil pack for corrosion or discoloring like blue
  • Inspect the spark plugs for broken tips, white deposits, or a dark discoloring like black
  • If replacing the coil pack, replace the spark plugs

5. Resistance in Steering Wheel—Bad Power Steering Rack

Symptoms of a Bad Power Steering Rack

Feeling resistance when turning the steering wheel and having difficulty or using extra strength to turn the steering wheel

Causes of a Bad Power Steering Rack

Since the 08-16 Chevrolet Cruzes have electronic steering, sometimes the response time is a little slower, but it’s usually worn internal gears in the electric power steering rack that make turning the steering wheel on the 1st gen Chevy Cruze a little harder.

How to Fix a Bad Power Steering Rack

  • Replace the power steering rack

Install the Part on your own 08-16 Chevy Cruz with 1A Auto’s How-to Videos

If replacing a part above or replacing another part on the 08-16 Chevrolet Cruz or a different model, watch how-to videos in the 1A Auto’s video library for step-by-step instructions for many repairs.

Shop 08-16 Chevrolet Cruze Parts and Tools Featured in This Post

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Top 08-16 Chevy Cruze Problems
Article Name
Top 08-16 Chevy Cruze Problems
We'll show you what the symptoms, causes, and fixes are for the top problems on the 5th generation 08-16 Chevrolet Cruze.
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1A Auto
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