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Lawsuit Targets Cruze Antifreeze Leaks and Smell

The Chevy Cruze stinks in the most literal of ways. Owners are concerned about a sickening smell that is most putrid when the heater is turned on. The smell can be traced to antifreeze leaks inside the cabin that produce an odor so strong that owners say their eyes burn, their throats get dry, and they won’t let their kids ride in the car.

Many owners have found antifreeze inside their cabin – either by reaching under the steering column, or by lifting up their floormats to find they floorboard carpet soaked in chemicals.

The smell is dangerous, but dealers say they can’t fix the problem. Chevy says the smell is “uncommon” and “they are working with customers” to find a soluton. So far, that hasn’t been true.

Heater Core Failure or Stinky Grease?

Some say the problem can be traced to a failed heater-core which are leaking antifreeze. The problem doesn’t always result in a flooded carpet, but it does release enough to give off a naxious vapor through the heater.

In TSB #PI0935, GM says customers may describe the problem as an antifreeze leak but “This condition may be caused by an unpleasant odor coming from the grease used to lubricate the components inside of the heater and air conditioning evaporator case.”

Owners Getting Sick

Whether it’s antifreeze or grease, the fact remains – owners are getting sick.

In this report by WSB-TV, one owner said they were diagnosed with chemical pneumonitis that “put [him] in the hospital and off work for over two months.” Another suffered “2nd degree burns” after her heater fell apart.

Class-Action Lawsuit in NY

After years of complaints, a class-action lawsuit Was filed against General Motors in New York federal court.

Plaintiff Sheilah Feliciano says she bought a 2011 Chevy Cruze in early 2013 and within the first month saw leaking antifreeze. On top of that, Feliciano smelled a strong smell of antifreeze in her car.

The plaintiff claims GM has tried to hide the defect and referes to two Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) issued to dealers in the past.

Additionally, the lawsuit says the plaintiff was offered less than $5,000 to trade in her car, an insult considering that’s $10,000 less than what she originally paid.

Meanwhile, inside a Chevy Cruze

Where This Problem is Likely to Occur

Model Generation Years PainRank
Cruze 1st Gen 2011–2015 41.7

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, you can help make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint

  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify the CAS

  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA

  4. Contact Chevrolet

    Chevrolet Support

    Chevrolet Customer Assistance Center P.O. Box 33170 Detroit MI 48232-5170 USA

    This site is not affiliated with Chevrolet.