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2018 Chevrolet Cruze problems include transmission and engine problems, as well as faulty brakes


The 2018 Cruze is a reputable compact sedan with only a handful of recalls and few reported complaints. However, problems have been reported with the Cruze’s powertrain, accounting for the majority of complaints, with issues affecting the engine and six-speed manual transmission.

Chevrolet Cruze 2018 - Photo of Chevrolet

Key points

  • Three recalls have been issued for the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze, including missing start-stop accumulator bolts, insufficient coating on the rear brake caliper pistons, and fuel leaking after a rollover. Only 66 complaints have been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • The model recalls raise safety concerns due to the risk of fuel and ignition leaks and reduced braking performance, as well as the possibility of a transmission leak.
  • A faulty clutch on the six-speed manual Cruze is the most common problem with the 2018 Cruze, with owners reporting a loss of power, inability to shift gears, and hearing unusual noises.
  • No recalls were issued to address the car’s transmission or engine problems.
  • Despite its recalls and other noted issues, the Cruze is considered a reliable and safe vehicle, earning a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2018, although that nameplate has seen good and many bad years. .

Safety concerns led to two 2018 Cruze recalls

The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is available in four trim levels: L, LS, LT and Premier and comes with two four-cylinder engines: a 153-horsepower 1.4L turbocharged diesel or a 137-horsepower 1.6L turbocharged diesel.

Available streams include:

  • Six-speed manual
  • Six-speed automatic with gasoline engine
  • Nine-speed automatic with diesel engine

Despite being a safe car with excellent crash test scores, the 2018 Cruze raised safety concerns leading to three recalls.

The first recall involved 2016-2018 Cruze LS vehicles equipped with a gasoline engine and a tire inflation kit instead of a spare tire. These vehicles may pose a greater fire hazard and may leak gasoline after a rear-end collision and rollover.

GM responded to this recall by installing a lock ring in the fuel tank to protect the unit’s vapor pressure sensor from damage in the event of a rear-end collision.

The second recall involves missing bolts on the start/stop accumulator cover, which could cause transmission leaks and loss of propulsion, increasing the risk of fire. GM replaced the missing bolts free of charge.

Chevrolet Cruze 2018 - Photo of Chevrolet

Customer Complaints Reveal Powertrain Issues Creating Dangerous Situations

Nearly half of the 66 owner complaints recorded with NHTSA relate to engine and transmission problems.

The clutch in the six-speed manual transmission has been the most problematic drivetrain component, with a variety of problems including the clutch not engaging to complete clutch loss.

The main problem with the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is that there are no recalls for reported complaints about the clutch. Some owners mention replacing the clutch under warranty only to later report that the problem has reoccurred and persists.

There are some reports that the car caught fire after experiencing engine problems. In most cases, these failures occurred without the check engine light coming on or any error message displaying on the dashboard.

Still, several drivers who experienced engine problems received a notification from OnStar that a problem had been detected with the StabilTrak stability control system and needed repair.

Chevrolet Cruze 2018 - Photo of Chevrolet

Several owner complaints cite underlying problems with the Cruze’s braking system

There are 10 complaints on file with NHTSA regarding the 2018 Chevy Cruze’s brakes.

Drivers describe problems such as brakes making screeching noises, fluid leaks, and even complete failures, leading to accidents.

These brake problems indicate insufficient coating on the rear caliper pistons. This failure led to a recall in August 2018, where General Motors recalled 210,628 vehicles from its 2018-2019 lineup.

The remedy is to bleed the brake system of affected vehicles free of charge.

Chevrolet Cruze 2018 - Photo of Chevrolet

Despite some powertrain and engine issues, the 2018 Cruze is a reliable vehicle with good safety ratings

While it is true that the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze has flaws that have resulted in several recalls and customer complaints, this vehicle has good safety ratings.

Additionally, this Chevy model has solid customer reviews for its reliability that ranks the Cruze as one of the best compact cars of 2018 right behind the Toyota Prius and Corolla.

Although 2019 was the Cruze’s last production model year since Chevy decided to discontinue it, this car was a bestseller for many years, so there are plenty of Cruzes on the road.

Therefore, it won’t be difficult to find replacement parts in the coming years if you plan to buy one.

Photos: Chevrolet

Frequent questions

By Stephanie Stephan | April 21, 2022

Is the 2018 Chevy Cruze reliable?

JD Power gave the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze an “excellent” reliability rating of 4.5 out of five. However, there are 12 NHTSA complaints for the Cruze’s powertrain. Owners report loss of clutch function as early as 22,000 miles and engine shutdown at 5,000 miles.

What is the most common problem with the Chevy Cruze?

The Chevy Cruze’s six-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions have been known to jerk, lose acceleration, and fail between 63,000 and 79,000 miles. Leaks from coolant lines, torque converter gasket, and transmission case bolts are common.


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