Manual transmission whining noise

I have a 2012 Cruze with a manual transmission. I have 43000 miles. When I down shift into 2nd gear I get a whining noise from under the car. I can shift it with no issues and no noise but when down shifting or turning in 2nd gear it whines. Can anyone help… please.

Have you noticed any leaks where you park the vehicle.
It sounds like you have lost gear oil from the transmission and it needs to be refilled.

This could be serious and could do damage to the transmission if you do not attend to this soon.


Does the whine occur when shifting into 2nd or when driving in 2nd?

I have not noticed any leaks on my garage floor. If I am stopped and shift into 2nd gear the noise is very brief. It is rather loud if I am making a turn in 2nd gear or down shifting and slowing down the car in 2nd gear. While I drive and shift It works perfect.

But does the noise occur while shifting only? I haven’t figured that out yet.

quote; If I am stopped and shift into 2nd gear the noise is very brief.

does this mean that you are hearing noises even when the vehicle is parked.
That is the only way you’d be “Stopped and Shift into 2nd gear”.


When I am stopped and if I shift into 2nd gear the noise is brief. If I am driving in 3rd gear and down shift in 2nd while the car is slowing I hear the noise. Sorry for the confusion.

The 2nd gear synchronizer is worn. Can I guess that you down shift quite a bit? Unless you are on the Nurburgring going for 1st place down shifting isn’t worth the effort.

Nope not at all. I normally coast to a stop. Would this be covered under the warranty?

Sometimes I do downshift but I normally coast because I don’t like my RPM to increase.

If you shift from third to second while slowing you are down shifting. And if you downshift to a lower gear at a relatively high speed the synchronizer is taking a beatiing.

Syncros don’t generally whine, they usually cause a gear grind when down-shifting. The whine could be low oil fill, as @Yosemite suggests. I’d check that for sure.

The whine might be a bearing starting to fail inside the transmission. Take it to your dealer and tell him you have a whine and you’d like them to check it. They will check the fluid level as a first thing. There may be a service bulletin on this transmission and you may get it fixed for free or lower cost. Keep in mind, if they won’t help you out, you can take it to an independent shop a save money on the repair.

If while travelling in 3rd gear with the tach at 3,000 rpm and the shift lever is moved to 2nd I would expect some whine myself, @Mustangman. Possibly even if the tachometer were at 2,000 rpm in 3rd. But certainly it would be worthwhile to check the oil level.

So you hear the whine when you turn the steering wheel too? Could you describe that? Are you just sitting there, car not moving, engine running, hood open, no noise . . then you turn the steering wheel and you hear a whine? Rocketman

@Rocketman may be on the right track here and it’s not the transmission that you are hearing, but the power steering howling from low fluid or a bad bearing. Downshifting raises the engine RPM and it’s more pronounced.


The steering is quiet. It defiantly seems like transmission.

Cruze, why not eliminate the whine from something else? Have someone stand in front of the car, hood open, engine running, and go through stuff like power steering (turning the wheel lock to lock), alternator (turn on full load lights, high beams, rear defrost), AC (turn it off/on), and so forth. 5 minutes is all it will take. While you’re there, look for a transmission filler hole or dipstick, also get your owners manual out and see how you check manual transmission oil. Post back, I have an idea if it IS your tranny. Rocketman

Any chance this whine could be entirely normal? You might consider taking the car to a deserted smooth road. Drive it slowly (radio, cabin fan off) and note if you hear any faint whine in 1st and 2nd gear.

Point being that 1st and 2nd gears in a manual transmission usually have straighter cut teeth compared to 3, 4, 5, or whatever on up which have a fair amount of bevel cut into them.
The same with reverse gears which are usually straight cut and whine.
The more bevel in the gears the quieter they run and 3rd gear on up gearsets are usually manufactured as mated sets on both the main and countershafts (to run quieter) whereas 1 and 2 are not.

I just noticed something else. When In 2nd gear driving like in slow traffic it will whine when I let off the gas. Not any other gear. Whines as the rpms reduce.

This sounds like a synchronizer to me if you get the whine when you let up on the accelerator in 2nd gear. I would bet that if you depress the clutch letting up on the acceleeator in 2nd gear the whine will go away. My guess is that the snap ring which holds the synchronizer on its shaft has broken. You should attend to it ASAP to prevent further damage to the transmission.