Holden Cruze Gearbox & Transmission Problems
Why won't my 2009 Holden Cruze auto change gears?
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.
What are the known problems for a 2012 Holden Cruze?
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.
Is a 2012 Holden Cruze likely to have a faulty gearbox?
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.
Holden Cruze 2010: Failed transmission
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.
Holden Cruze 2012: Faulty transmision
Holden has in the past replaced faulty transmissions without cost to the owner, but I would guess they won’t offer to replace yours free of charge, as your car is seven years old. But until it is assessed you can only speculate that the transmission is at fault.
Holden Cruze 2011: Transmission problems
Holden is at least showing a desire to fix your car, and getting the engineers to look at it would be worthwhile, but it must getting to the point that the car should be called a ‘lemon’ even though we don’t have such laws in this country. If this had happened in the US there is little doubt that the car would have been replaced or you would have had your money refunded. I would be looking to come to an agreement with Holden to get out of the car.
Holden Cruze 2012: Transmission jolting
If it is the well-known transmission issue then you could have a claim against Holden to repair or replace it, but if it isn’t you have no claim. You need to establish what the problem is, and you can then contact Holden, but until you actually know what the problem is you are in limbo.