2011 Chevrolet Cruze sputters at idle except when AC is on

Check engine light is on, when my car is idle (in park or at a light) is sputters, but if I have my A/C running it does not. Anyone know what could be causing this?

Yup, the engine needs to be checked. That’s what that light means.

The diagnostic codes need to be read out. Try a local auto parts store, they will read them for free. Post those codes back here and we’ll try to help. It would also be useful to post a few details about the car; mileage, transmission, engine, how long the check engine light has been on.

Thanks, I am aware that is what the light is for. When I took it in, the light had been on for a couple of days. A diagnostic was run revealing the following:

Intake manifold (check valve)
Valve cover (PCV)
Front crankshaft seal (leaking)
Serpentine belt (oil has leaked onto belt)
Camshaft solenoid seals
Engine air filter
Timing cover gasket (leaking)
Transmission cooler lines
Oil pan gasket
Oil cooler gasket

Also, I was not told what the root cause of where the noise was coming from. I was told that I just needed to fix everything and I felt that I was taken advantage of, so I wanted to get a second opinion. I plan on going to an auto parts store for another diagnostic, but I wanted to ask around first. Also, the car is still derivable, and as I stated previously seems to have this problem when it’s idle.

Apparently not since nothing you’ve listed will set a CEL light. They are all mechanical items, the engine control computer cannot recognize any of it. Have an OBD2 code reader plugged in to read the error codes and repost back with the codes - the format will be PXXXX.

As for fixing all these leak problems, other than the crankshaft seal leaking on the serpentine belt, if oil is not actively dripping out of the part, you can let it go for now but keep an eye on the engine’s oil level. Check every time you fill it with gas so you get a feel for how much oil is leaking out.

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Ok, well I was just letting you know what was found after the light did in fact come on and what the diagnostics code had said. No need for the attitude. Thanks for your input.

I am trying to help but need more information than you are providing and

I don’t need the attitude either but if you give it, I’ll give it right back.

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No attitude given. Perhaps plain text can be misleading? I provided you all the information that I have. I am sorry if that is not enough. Hopefully when I able to go to the local auto store and run another diagnostic I’ll get more info.

Nope, plain text isn’t misleading. Notice the quoted response. If that wasn’t flippant on your part, then my response wasn’t either.

Really, I want to help, what you posted isn’t enough for someone out here on the interwebs to diagnose with.

And the same can be said for your response (see the quoted). I was just trying to be as informative as I needed to be. Like I said, once I get more info I will let you know. Thanks anyways!

Hi there. In case you were still curious and still want to help, I was able to get the codes - P0171 & P1101.
I did some research of my own to compare to what you have, but P0171 looks like it’s the camshaft cover and/or the PCV valve needs replacing. As for P1101 that’s a little more tricky, as it could be a few things but it is a Mass Air Flow issue, correct? If so, then there is a vacuum leak or a gasket needs replacing, or it may just need to be cleaned. Let me know what you find out, thank you.

These 2 codes seem to appear simultaneously a LOT on these cars. If the PCV leaks air it will set the P0171 code because it is running too lean - too much air, not enough fuel. The P1101 code is, as you say, a mass airflow issue - out of self-test range - and can be set by the same leak caused by the P0171.

So, I’d focus on fixing the P0171 first and see if you can clear the P1101 code and not have it come back.

A YouTube video I found shows a smoke test to find the leak and clearly it IS the PCV but you probably could find it by thumbing the PCV port if that is the only leak. Hissing sounds can be traced by ear and feel if you solve them one by one. Sad that the valve cover assembly may need to be changed…

And there are a number more videos as well.

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Thank you! Yes, I agree that the P0171 should be done first, and then a drive test. And “running too lean” is exactly what came up along with the code also so that’s a relief to know you got the same info. I will look at some videos when I get home and see how these are fixed. Appreciate your help!

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Try cleaning the electronic throttle body.


The electronic throttle body is what controls the engine idle speed under all conditions.

So for example, when you come to a stop, the computer commands the electronic throttle body to open to a certain position for the idle condition. If the throttle body is dirty, it can cause the engine to idle rough.

But if you turn the AC on and come to a stop, the computer commands the throttle body to open to a different position. This is because the AC puts a load on the engine. And if this wasn’t done the engine would stall.

So the engine idles rough when the AC is off, but idles fine when the AC is turned on.


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That makes sense, thank you. I will make a point to address this issue.