Holden Cruze Problems

No car is perfect, but we've gathered everything relating to the Holden Cruze reliability here to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

What can I do if the transmission in my 2012 Holden Cruze has failed?

Answered by CarsGuide 27 May 2021

I’d definitely be talking to Holden’s customer service department. I agree that 92,000km is a long way short of what I’d consider to be the lifespan of a modern motor vehicle, even if it has taken you more than five years to reach that mileage. In any case, nobody will be buying new Holdens any longer as the brand no longer exists.

Meanwhile, you’re right, transmission failures are a well known fault with this make and model and Holden did extend the factory warranty on them to 130,000km. Unfortunately, the five-year limit also applied which is where you’ve run out of time. I would hate to think that Holden’s demise as a brand will leave existing owners high and dry, but I can imagine that’s just how you’re feeling. Without an active factory presence in Australia, though, it might be difficult to get much joy from Holden.

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Holden Cruze Bluetooth: How to Use Bluetooth in a Holden Cruze?

Answered by CarsGuide 11 Dec 2020

To connect your mobile phone to the Holden Cruze’s optional Bluetooth system for hands-free phone operation, the first step is to check your phone settings to ensure that Bluetooth is enabled and that the phone is `visible’ or `discoverable’.

From the info-screen in the car, select Add Device (Handsfree) at which point the car’s Bluetooth system will search for and find the signal from your mobile phone. When that happens, a four-digit code should be displayed on the screen which is then keyed into the phone’s keypad to make the connection. The car will then ask you if you want to pair your phone and you press `Yes’ to complete the pairing process.

As many as five mobile phones can be connected to the Holden Cruze Bluetooth system. You can then choose a different phone to pair by choosing one from the device list displayed on the info-screen. Once the connection is established, you can operate many of the phone’s functions through the car’s information screen including your address book and adjusting the volume of the phone call.

For more instructions on how to play music through the system, more setup options, and troubleshooting problems, refer to the vehicle’s owner’s manual.


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Are there any issues with a Holden Cruze 1.6 petrol turbo from 2015 onwards?

Answered by CarsGuide 20 Nov 2020

The turbocharged petrol-engined Cruze was the pick of the bunch; smoother and sweeter than the turbo-diesel and packing a lot more punch than the non-turbo petrol version. But they’re not without their potential traps.

The good news is that the car you’re considering is a 2015 model, so it got the bigger 1.6-litre turbocharged engine and a build date that should have put it beyond the earlier transmission failures of some Cruzes. The earlier, 1.4-litre engine was known for coolant leaks from the water pump, although the later 1.6-litre also seems susceptible to overheating. Some Cruzes with this engine required new thermostat housings to be fitted to correct this, so make sure this has been done by a previous owner.

The 1.6 turbo also showed problems with the cooling system for the turbocharger unit (as distinct from the above cooling problems). It seems as though the coolant hoses for the turbocharger were underdone when it came to Australian underbonnet heat levels, and a leak could ensue.

To be completely honest, these cars were a Daewoo design (even though they were built by Holden in Adelaide after 2011) and they seemed a bit short on engineering in some areas. They’re also a car that will become more problematic – relative to some of the competition - as they age. It wouldn’t be my pick for a long-term purchase.

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Why did I loose acceleration in my 2012 Holden Cruze even though I still had revs?

Answered by CarsGuide 9 Oct 2020

If the engine is still revving up but the car isn’t moving, logic says you have a transmission (gearbox) problem. Transmission problems are very well known in the Holden Cruze, and must surely be classified as an inherent fault. Fundamentally, the automatic transmission in your car was a dud from day one, and Holden even announced an extended warranty for it as part of a special service program to replace consumer confidence in the unit. It didn’t work.

Many Cruzes exhibited the precise behaviour you experienced, and the loss of all drive as well as the check-engine light illuminating are classic indicators of a transmission that either needs new components such as sensors, a valve body or torque converter, or is totally done and needs to be completely replaced. An inspection will be able to determine this. Error code P0776 is what I’m tipping the car will offer up when it’s electronically scanned (which should be your next step).

Once Holden had fixed these transmissions, it was extending the warranty to five years from when the car first entered service or 150,000km, whichever came first. Obviously, your car is older than that, but it has covered low kilometres and since you’ve had it from new and can verify its service history with a Holden dealer, I reckon it would be worth your while to contact Holden’s customer service division and state your case. Let’s face it, less than 120,000km on a modern car before the transmission blows up is not really good enough, is it?

You may not get anywhere, but even if you can convince Holden to help with the cost of parts (labour would be nice, too) the financial picture changes dramatically. Without a bit of help from Holden, it may just be that the cost of repairs will be higher than the actual value of the car itself.

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Why won't my 2009 Holden Cruze auto change gears?

Answered by CarsGuide 17 Sep 2020

The six-speed automatic in your car has experienced a lot of serious problems, Linda. Various components have been blamed, but the symptoms include failure to select Reverse which sounds like the problem you’re having. Other symptoms include flaring between gears, loss of drive, inability to select forward gears and a warning light showing up on the dashboard.

You might be lucky and simply need a top up of transmission fluid, but going by the history of this gearbox, you need to have the car electronically scanned to know what’s really going on.

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What are the known problems for a 2012 Holden Cruze?

Answered by CarsGuide 2 Sep 2020

Thanks for getting in touch. As we've outlined in earlier questions about the Cruze, the automatic in cars built between 2011 and 2013 has been an issue, and so the subject of recalls, repairs and/or full transmission replacement. If it starts to shudder, take its time shifting up under acceleration or not go into gear at all, then there's a problem.

If a Holden dealer carried out the repairs, then they should honour the warranty under Australian Consumer Law for a minimum of five years or 150,000km unless the car is then neglected and/or abused, given that the transmission and coolant system (known problem areas in Cruzes) are major components and thus come with a reasonable expectation of reliability and durability since they're new.

Unfortunately the Cruze has a reputation for unreliability beyond these issues as well, including ECU (engine control unit) and PCM (power control module) failures (often due to water ingress), positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve failure that makes the car perform sluggishly, and rough engine running due to faulty ignition coils.

As most of these problems have already been dealt with in the car you're considering, we reckon you might at least have a few years of reliability given the warranty work performed under Holden.

We hope this helps. Good luck.

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Is a 2012 Holden Cruze likely to have a faulty gearbox?

Answered by CarsGuide 27 Jun 2020

The six-speed automatic transmission in the Cruze built between 2011 and 2013 was, indeed, a bit suspect in some cases. Unfortunately, that puts the vehicle in question right in the middle of things. Holden instigated a fix which was applied when a car with gearbox dramas was brought in for repairs. Sometimes individual parts of the transmission could be replaced, at other times the transmission was replaced as a whole unit.

Any Cruze with a gearbox that flares during shifts, shudders, refuses to select a particular gear (including reverse) or loss of drive was covered by this special service directive. When fixed, Holden was extending the warranty of the transmission to five years or 150,000km. That won’t help you now, but it would pay to check whether the car you’re looking at has, in fact, had this work carried out. A car with these repairs carried out would be a better choice than one that hasn’t.

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Holden Cruze 2010: Failed transmission

Answered by CarsGuide 13 Jun 2020

As the vast majority of Holden Cruzes sold were automatics, finding out information on the manual version is not so easy. But I have heard of a few cases of this model suffering transmission faults where the gearbox becomes jammed in gear (and won’t come out) or jammed in neutral (and won’t select a gear).

If that’s the case, then it could be a case of a broken or faulty gear-selector cable or mechanism and may not mean the entire gearbox is toast. Either way, I’d expect more than 120,000km of service in a modern car before the gearbox died. But you haven’t told me the symptoms, so it’s hard to know what’s going on. Is the clutch okay? Is it a case of the driveshaft (rather than the gearbox itself) having failed?

As for replacing the gearbox with a brand-new one, I think that finding a good used unit from a wrecking yard would be a much more wallet-friendly exercise. The exception would be if the problem affected all manual Cruzes, at which point, a second-hand replacement would only be postponing the inevitable for a second time. But since the value of the car wouldn’t be more than the cost of a brand-new transmission, the equation comes down to whether you like the car enough to keep it. Is the rest of the car in good condition? If not, you might be better cutting your losses and finding something newer and with plenty of life left in it.

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Holden Cruze 2011: Radio in a constant boot-loop

Answered by CarsGuide 23 May 2020

I believe that General Motors in the US did, in fact, issue a technical service bulletin (like a recall, but not a safety related issue) for a batch of Cruzes with dud negative battery terminals. Apparently, the cables were poorly made and could, over time, stop conducting electrons to the point where major systems, including the radio, could go to lunch. But it sounds like you’ve already replaced that component. The thing is, if the cable was replaced with one from the same batch, it could conceivably also give problems. The fact that your radio worked for some months before going on the fritz again, makes me wonder if that’s not the case here.

If the unit itself is at fault, you’re either stuck with finding a specialist who can repair it or replacing it. The good news is that you don’t have to buy a genuine Holden replacement. There are oodles of aftermarket replacement units out there that cost a fraction of the $2000 you’ve been quoted and can upgrade the Cruze to include Bluetooth connectivity, Android and Apple CarPlay and even add a reversing camera for extra safety. That’s the way I’d be going. Especially since Holden is very unlikely to cover the cost of a replacement unit in a car almost a decade old.

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Holden Cruze 2011: Fast flashing red light

Answered by CarsGuide 18 Apr 2020

Car alarms have a really bad habit of draining batteries. Aftermarket ones are the worst, but even the factory alarm can cause a run of flat batteries if it’s not working properly. The faster flashing red light on your dashboard is the clue that something has altered in the alarm or its settings.

An auto electrician can be your best friend in these cases. By the way, not all scanners are created equal and some of the cheaper, online versions don’t cover all the functions of a modern car. A Holden workshop will have the proper scanning tools to make a coherent diagnosis.

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