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50000 Miles in a Cruze Diesel

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Well, I finally hit the first milestone in my 2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel. (Well, that’s not 100% accurate – I am actually at 49,439 miles as of this writing, but figured I was “close enough” to do this writeup.) When I first bought it, it was more of just a curiosity, something I thought I would play with for a while and then sell, as I have done so many times before. I’ve owned more than 80 cars and have a short attention span, so it’s not unusual for me to trade a new car with 10K miles. (…or 1K miles. My record is a 2009 Toyota Highlander I traded with 731 miles on it. Ouch.) So I was surprised when 10K, 20K, 30K miles showed up on the odometer and I still loved the car. My story will be a bit random and I will jump around to different topics, so be prepared as you read it.

So, as I promised in another post a while back, here is my writeup about what it’s been like to drive this car 50,000 miles or so. I drive in a variety of situations, but the balance (if you consider time and not miles) is about 25% city, traffic and short trips. The other 75% is long haul highway trips. In short, the car has proven to be 100% reliable and trouble free. I got one of the first ones off the production line, and it looks like they got this car right, right from the start. In comparison, I had a 2012 Civic before this and it needed fuel lines and a CV axle in the first few months of ownership. (I wasn’t really all that crazy about the Civic, but I had set a goal to put 100K miles on it, which I accomplished then promptly got rid of it)

Here are my impressions of the CTD overall: At first, I was not so sure about the comfort of the seats, but somehow I managed to get the seat set so that it was all-day comfortable. At my friend’s suggestion, I pulled the fuse for the seat so that the parking attendants or friends or service technicians who drive the car can’t change it. The car is serene and quiet on the highway, and a level of quiet, comfort and driving dynamics that I would associate with an entry-luxury sedan rather than an econobox. This is also the first car with EPS (electric power steering) that has a good feel to it. I think it is weighted perfectly. It really is quite an extraordinary piece of automotive machinery. I also love the sound of the engine at idle and at low speeds. I will often drive with the windows open just to hear the engine better.

Things I have noticed as the miles have added up: The engine sound really hasn’t changed all that much that I can tell. It pretty much still sounds exactly the way it did when I got it. One thing I noticed is that after about 20-30K miles it sometimes would make some new sounds when I first started it on a cold morning, but nothing that really ever sounded out of the ordinary for the car, especially with a few miles on it. It did seem to gain power as the engine broke in. I am pretty sure it’s more powerful now than it’s ever been. I would imagine with synthetic oil (GM Dexos2 partial synthetic for the first 30K miles, then Total Quartz INEO 5W30 thereafter) the engine break in is still going on, even with about 50K miles. Oil consumption is negligible and really doesn’t change much on the dipstick. I do not have to add any oil in between changes. It always starts quickly and settles into a smooth idle. No perceptible differences since new.

When I first got the car I wondered how long the injectors and glow plugs would hold up, but they are all working perfectly so far. I think I read somewhere that the glow plugs are good for 100K and the injectors are good for 200K. These are most likely jobs I will take on myself and write another DIY for the forum. I would like to do the timing belt myself, but will have to see about that one. I’ve never done one before on a car but I have tensioned a timing belt on a 2.5 Chrysler engine once, and the engine did not self destruct after I was done, so that is a good thing.

My lifetime fuel economy has been right around 41 MPG. This is with June-March ownership. I am sure that will improve slightly over the warmer months. I was getting 42-43 overall in the warm weather and 38-39 overall in the winter. Roughly 10% difference likely due to the blended fuel, snow tires, thicker air, etc.

I have driven the car through some pretty bad weather on multiple occasions and I can safely say that when equipped with Michelin X-Ice XI3 tires, it is fantastically stable and secure in the snow. It also has very good grip and has always been able to make it up my steep unplowed driveway without issue.

A hotly debated topic is engine break in. I drove it like I stole it from day one. WOT, redline and long trip cruise control on. All the taboo “no-no’s” and my engine is just fine. I think oil consumption and power are good indicators of the overall health of an engine, and as mentioned earlier, mine doesn’t really use any oil and has great power.

Is there anything I don’t like about the car? Yes, but really a very minor complaint. This issue goes for all Cruzen instead of a diesel specific characteristic. I find that the front window defroster could have been a bit better designed. It doesn’t get the whole window and the side windows don’t seem to have a way to get good defrosting action. I don’t consider it a major issue as I was always able to get enough visibility to drive safely.

One of my favorite features of the car is the electric heat. It is so nice to be able to get into a very cold car and have meaningful heat after a couple minutes. I use the manual mode to keep the engine at higher RPMs to get it to heat up to operating temp faster. This combined with the heated seats make it very nice to drive in the winter.

In summary, I am very impressed with this car. For what essentially amounts to a completely new powertrain (for the US) and with mine being one of the first off the production line, it’s truly been a flawless execution. To anybody who has any concerns about buying one, I can 100% safely say I would do it all over again and would recommend this car to anybody without hesitation. Yes, some members have reported problems, but they all seem to be minor and there aren’t that many of them. I’ve been active on this forum since I purchased my Cruze and I think the number of reported problems by members can be counted on one hand, which is also very impressive. For a contrast – take a look at the Maserati Ghibli forum. EVERYBODY on that forum has at least a couple issues with their new Ghibli.

And of course, I welcome any questions about my experience so far or if you are wondering about anything I may have forgotten to mention.
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Nice. You, sir, like to drive! :D

I am very interested in maintenance as the Diesel get's older. If memory serves, you should've done a fuel filter by now. What was the cost on that?
 

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Great writeup. If im not mistaken you put on 50k miles in 9 months which is about 5,500 miles per month. I would say that is a fair amount of miles for you to get an idea about the long term reliability of your particular cruze. If you havent had many repairs or issues I would assume the cruze you drive is working as intended and could end up lasting you a lifetime if you choose to keep it.

Im curious about your maintenance habbits. Do you have a list of all the repairs and or maintenance ? Are you keeping up with suggestions on this forum regarding replacing the fluids and other maintenance parts ? Or are you sort of using your own personal experience and guidelines as a longtime car owner and diy guy. Remember while approaching 100k its time to start thinking about replacing that very important timing belt.

I hope you decide to keep your cruze and put on another couple hundred thousand miles it will be interesting to see the results from a high mileage diesel.
 

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Nice. You, sir, like to drive! :D

I am very interested in maintenance as the Diesel get's older. If memory serves, you should've done a fuel filter by now. What was the cost on that?
Yes I did the fuel filter around 42K miles. (I made a DIY for the forum too in case you're interested). I bought the filter from my local dealer for something on the order of $85, give or take a few bucks. Very sophisticated filter and worth the money, IMO.
 
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Great writeup. If im not mistaken you put on 50k miles in 9 months which is about 5,500 miles per month. I would say that is a fair amount of miles for you to get an idea about the long term reliability of your particular cruze. If you havent had many repairs or issues I would assume the cruze you drive is working as intended and could end up lasting you a lifetime if you choose to keep it.

Im curious about your maintenance habbits. Do you have a list of all the repairs and or maintenance ? Are you keeping up with suggestions on this forum regarding replacing the fluids and other maintenance parts ? Or are you sort of using your own personal experience and guidelines as a longtime car owner and diy guy. Remember while approaching 100k its time to start thinking about replacing that very important timing belt.

I hope you decide to keep your cruze and put on another couple hundred thousand miles it will be interesting to see the results from a high mileage diesel.
Rough list: Oil/filter changes every 6K on the free stuff up to 30K, then I started pushing the limit a bit and adjusting based on Blackstone labs readings saying my oil was still good even with 11K+ on a single change. I did engine air and cabin air filters at 30K-ish and fuel filter at 42K-ish. That's it, other than snow tires. Original tires still have plenty of tread on them with 29K miles and brake pads/rotors still look good. No repairs of any sort.
 
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The best write up for a CTD to date Bravo to you and your enthusiastic exclamations of ownership of a first year production Vehicle .
 

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My city/highway split 25/75 is almost identical to yours as is my lifetime mpg. I was almost at 43mpg when winter hit. I'm now down to around 41.We've been warming up here and, needless to say, I'm looking forward to it. It's been a long cold winter.
 

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I'm still a young pup at 750 miles, but I usually keep my cars a decade or more and roll them over 200K. :happy:

Some of my impressions are a little counter to the OP. I liked the meatier feel of modern hydraulic steering assist in my prior cars. But the ESP is not "bad", just more isolating feeling, like the 1970s lead sleds I used to drive in college.

The diesel exhaust note is definitely an acquired taste. But I tell myself it gives the car a whimsical quality, kind of like driving those old air-cooled VW bugs or Corvairs.

I can always nitpick (I did with my prior car too) but I have no buyer's remorse. It does everything it's intended to do quite well.
 

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Good to know, hopefully the 6 speed manual and cloth seats make it to the next gen and it doesn't look like a Prius so I can buy one. Diesel cars can be pretty amazing as far as mechanical longevity goes, the TDI I drive every day has 253k on it and it runs as well as others I have recently driven with half the miles. It doesn't use oil or otherwise misbehave, I see no reason it won't make it to 300k. My other TDI is driven by my son and it has 200k but it is chipped and seems to have more issues with oil leaks etc but still runs like a beast.

The odd thing about having a car with that many miles on it is starting to run into things wearing that typically aren't experienced on gas cars because they are already dead and gone. Stuff like front control arms and various suspension bushings, my TDI needs to have the front end rebuilt this summer. It should be no problem to find those parts because stock VW control arm bushings are so crappy that most import part places have control arm/bushing assembles in stock but all the subframe stuff will probably eventually need to be redone as well.

Also, on the TDI engine, the EGR system tends to coke up the intake manifold and start killing performance. I checked mine when I did the timing belt and it appears my TDI had the intake cleaned before I got it, my son's is starting to get bad, I have a spare manifold on the shelf. The EGR cooler also needs cleaning at this time, this all needs to come off of the car to be cleaned so nothing migrates into the engine and does damage. I'm an admin on a regional VW/Audi web site and one of the guys there bought a newish CPO BMW diesel that was eventually determined to have a coked up intake. After the repairs were done, it died from main bearing failure soon after. The fight is still ongoing but the suspicion is that some of the intake debris ended up in the engine and clogged the pickup screen or got into some part of the oil system. BMW doesn't sell many diesels so they don't know how to handle this stuff apparently, so I would suspect it's best to look into this yourself in case the dealer isn't up to speed on everything related to a diesel.

I haven't looked into how the Cruze EGR system is set up but when you guys start getting to this 50k mile level on the car you probably should start looking into whether there is any data on the other versions of this engine out there to see if this is going to be a problem needing monitoring. That's one of the few things I know of that can kill a diesel other than running it out of oil/coolant or total neglect of maintenance.
 

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Good to know, hopefully the 6 speed manual and cloth seats make it to the next gen and it doesn't look like a Prius so I can buy one. Diesel cars can be pretty amazing as far as mechanical longevity goes, the TDI I drive every day has 253k on it and it runs as well as others I have recently driven with half the miles. It doesn't use oil or otherwise misbehave, I see no reason it won't make it to 300k. My other TDI is driven by my son and it has 200k but it is chipped and seems to have more issues with oil leaks etc but still runs like a beast.

The odd thing about having a car with that many miles on it is starting to run into things wearing that typically aren't experienced on gas cars because they are already dead and gone. Stuff like front control arms and various suspension bushings, my TDI needs to have the front end rebuilt this summer. It should be no problem to find those parts because stock VW control arm bushings are so crappy that most import part places have control arm/bushing assembles in stock but all the subframe stuff will probably eventually need to be redone as well.

Also, on the TDI engine, the EGR system tends to coke up the intake manifold and start killing performance. I checked mine when I did the timing belt and it appears my TDI had the intake cleaned before I got it, my son's is starting to get bad, I have a spare manifold on the shelf. The EGR cooler also needs cleaning at this time, this all needs to come off of the car to be cleaned so nothing migrates into the engine and does damage. I'm an admin on a regional VW/Audi web site and one of the guys there bought a newish CPO BMW diesel that was eventually determined to have a coked up intake. After the repairs were done, it died from main bearing failure soon after. The fight is still ongoing but the suspicion is that some of the intake debris ended up in the engine and clogged the pickup screen or got into some part of the oil system. BMW doesn't sell many diesels so they don't know how to handle this stuff apparently, so I would suspect it's best to look into this yourself in case the dealer isn't up to speed on everything related to a diesel.

I haven't looked into how the Cruze EGR system is set up but when you guys start getting to this 50k mile level on the car you probably should start looking into whether there is any data on the other versions of this engine out there to see if this is going to be a problem needing monitoring. That's one of the few things I know of that can kill a diesel other than running it out of oil/coolant or total neglect of maintenance.
I do wonder how long the intake system will go before it needs cleaned.
 

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Also, on the TDI engine, the EGR system tends to coke up the intake manifold and start killing performance...

I haven't looked into how the Cruze EGR system is set up but when you guys start getting to this 50k mile level on the car you probably should start looking into whether there is any data on the other versions of this engine out there to see if this is going to be a problem needing monitoring. That's one of the few things I know of that can kill a diesel other than running it out of oil/coolant or total neglect of maintenance.
The Cruze's use of SCR (the system that uses DEF) theoretically should make this less of an issue. Both EGR and SCR work to accomplish the same task of reducing NOx emissions. VW tried to get around having to use DEF by relying more on the EGR and subsequently encountered the problems of more intake clogging and worse DPF performance since the engine has to run richer and use EGR more which creates more soot.

By using SCR, the Cruze should rely a lot less on the EGR putting less strain on the intake system and the DPF. Only time will tell.



Diesel, many congrats on your experience so far; excellent write-up. Here's to the next 50,000 miles. :)
 
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How often have you filled the def how far have you gone
 
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