Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The Cobalt was introduced to replace two of Chevy’s smaller cars, the Cavalier and Prizm. But the compact’s fresh start that Chevy was hoping for was riddled with issues, most notably widespread power steering failure.

The power steering failed so often that GM was forced to issue a recall in March, 2010. Great, but what about other problems like the key getting stuck in the ignition or all the other electrical demons this car possesses?

And, oh yes — then there’s the terribly dangerous issue where the Cobalt randomly shuts off while driving. As it turns out, that problem is related to GM’s massive 2014 recall for a dangerous ignition switch defect. A recall that eventually ballooned to 2.6 million vehicles in one of the automotive industry’s biggest scandals.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
12 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 1
Average Mileage:
55,285 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 2 of 12)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #220

Sep 112015


  • 123,500 miles


I've paid over $400 dollars into this car for batteries in the last 18 months because of the manufacturer default. When I got the car, the ignition switch was a problem the first night, and we had to take it back to the dealership the next day, where all they did was spray some wd-40 in the hole. That was before the recall was made news. On Sept, 11, 2015 I was leaving a store, and tried turning on the car and it didn't start. I've had battery problems before (with this vehicle too) and just had the battery replaced 18 M ago, but there was no check battery warning light earlier or anything wrong with the vehicle performance. At the time, I didn't think it was the battery because the radio, A/C, etc had no problem turning on but the engine itself wouldn't start. And usually batteries have no problem in summer weather. After a tow getting to the auto shop, they hooked up a charger to the battery, and started it up, and said I needed a new battery! I said no, that's not possible, I got a new battery just 18 months ago. Its probably the ignition recall that is the overall problem because until this year (when the dealership finally got me in) the ignition was slipping out of the off position randomly over-night. Or it might be the fact that the manufacturer put the battery in the trunk where there's no air circulation! what was Chevy thinking. In a responsible government, I should be entitled compensation for this, I mean $400 for the same part in a 18 month span because they put a dangerous part in their cars knowingly! ps. I'm looking into Chevy issuing me compensation, because I know the auto repariman won't reimburse me on the labor costs, but they say the last day to file a grievance was in Jan '15 so if you would like to contact me on ways over/through it I'

- Rosedale, MD, USA

problem #219

May 012015


  • 137,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving various speeds, the turn signals failed to activate when engaged unless lifted or pushed heavily. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 137,000.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #218

Aug 302015


  • 119,356 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 -20 mph, the power steering failed. The vehicle was restarted and functioned as normal. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 10V073000 (electrical system). The failure mileage was approximately 119,356.

- Pennington Gap, VA, USA

problem #217

Apr 032012


  • 75,000 miles


All my door handles are falling off and I've heard many colblats doing the same and all my paint is chipping off my car I drove from a to B and that's all

- Glenwood, IA, USA

problem #216

Jun 202015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Engine would not turn over no electrical connection this happened several times during ownership. I have lost my job depending on this vehicle. I would try to start it one morning and some times it would and others if wouldn't. when I heard about the recalls on the cars my happens to be a 2005 Chevy Cobalt when I looked it up there were 6 recalls on this one car. I understand things happen and not done to purposely hurt anyone but there was many people hurt. I'm just scared after getting my car back from getting it repaired some other things going to happen and I'm a young mother with 3 small kids and I don't want to put them at danger at all. I know not everything is made perfect because we are only human but I want to know that my kids are safe ridding with me in this car. I've thought about getting a new one but my car has been so good to me tell now and I no longer have a job to get another car. I don't have a vehicle, a job, or a way to pay bills this might of not hurt me physically but emotionally and financially it has. I hope there is something you can do to make things right I appreciate ur time and thank you [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Glenwood, IA, USA

problem #215

Jul 082014


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving at various speeds, the engine stalled without warning. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the starter and fuel pump failed needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 50,000. Updated 09/10/15

- Willow Springs, IL, USA

problem #214

May 012009


  • 10,000 miles


Engine would not turn over no electrical connection this happened several times during ownership.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #213

Apr 102015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 180,280 miles
I was driving home for work last week when the T/C light came on, I pulled over and turned off the car, waited for a couple of minutes and then started finish driving home. On Saturday, April 11, I had went to the store, on my way back from the store the T/C light came on and so did the brake light and another light then the car just shut down by itself. I waited for another few minutes and started the car up and went home. I called a Chevy dealership and told them what had happened, they said as long as the light comes on, I am still ok to drive the car. I left the car alone on Sunday, so Monday morning April 13, 2015, I left the house early to head into work. Not even 5 miles from my house it happened again and the car shut itself down. I had to call a tow truck to come and pick me up and take myself and my car to a mechanic. I am still waiting to see what is the problem and how much it is going to cost me this time. Last year, I had a problem where my check engine light came on and the car shut down only to find that the piston throttle was causing the check engine light to come on and shut down. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #212

Jan 212015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Attorney representing consumer writes in regards to steering wheel and brake system malfunction after recall work was done. The consumers son was driving, when suddenly the steering wheels and brakes locked up while he was trying to negotiate a curve, causing him to have an accident. At the present time, the key cannot be removed from the ignition. The consumers son was not injured, but the vehicle was totaled. The ignition lock cylinder was replaced on October 21, 2014.

- Elkin, NC, USA

problem #211

Mar 022015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to transmission shifter recall issues. The consumer stated she had not experienced a problem as stated in the recall. However, the key became stuck in the lock position and she had to jiggle the key to release it.

- Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #210

Mar 042015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 179,797 miles


Throughout the course of my trip home the car dash kept flashing a power steering error message and the lights on the dashboard kept getting dim. The steering wheel was getting really tight, the car almost stalled out several times, and the dials fluctuated. The car also began to shake violently and I became afraid that I would not make it home. I have contacted the local Chevrolet dealership about this problem on multiple occasions and they refuse to even look at the car without charging me. The car has already been recalled twice and although I have had both recall repairs done I am still having problems. Every time I drive this car I fear for the lives of my family.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #209

Feb 162015


  • 24,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. After having the vehicle serviced under NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V171000 (electrical system) and 10V073000 (steering), the power steering failed and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 24,000.

- Hillsboro, OH, USA

problem #208

Jan 042015


  • miles
The ABS and traction control light comes on and the car begins jerking.

- Pennville, IN, USA

problem #207

Sep 012005


  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving at various speeds, the steering wheel became difficult to turn. In addition, the contact stated that the doors would lock and unlock independently. As a result, the contact was unable to get into or out of the vehicle. The dealer stated that the body control module, door locks, fuses, electronic door lock mechanism, and the power steering assist motor needed to be replaced. The failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 5,000.

- Carplake, MI, USA

problem #206

Oct 302014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
I brought my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt to multi Chevrolet in union to have the ignition switch recall completed. They called me and asked "was your check engine light on"? I assured them if my check engine light was on I would have taken the car immediately to my local mechanic. Every since then I have occasionally had the power steering & traction control lights appear on the dashboard. I took the car for an oil change and the power steering light stopped. I have now had a new battery installed and 4 new tires and yesterday January 4, 2015 the car rings and the traction control light comes on. I am terrified to drive this car. I think General Motors sold these cars knowing full well they were lemons and dangerous and think they should have to pay monetary damage to everyone they stuck with this death trap.

- Roselle, NJ, USA

problem #205

Dec 122014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
The car engine would not shut off, the steering wheel would not lock, the ignition key was stuck and was unable to remove the ignition key even though the car was in "park."

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #204

Jul 072014


  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key was difficult to remove from the ignition. The failure occurred several times. The contact stated that the part was not available for the repair under NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 200,000.

- Linchburg, VA, USA

problem #203

Nov 302014


  • 123,040 miles
Cobalt lost all power. While reaching for keys to try and restart Cobalt, keys were not in ignition switch and must have fallen out. With no power to steering I kept my left hand on steering wheel and reached to the floor with right hand to try and find keys. At this point in the blink of an eye the car steering was un responsive and Cobalt veered off the road to the right down through a half pipe shaped drainage ditch and did a roller coaster down then up in the air and then slammed back down to ground coming to a stop. In this roller coaster event I was tossed into the inside roof of the Cobalt then with seat belt on pulled/slammed back down into seat on my lower spine then the seat broke loose from its position and slid forward slamming my left knee into the lower dashboard and broke the door where the trunk release is located. Police were called, report taken I was dispatched to hospital via ambulance.

- Delafield, WI, USA

problem #202

Dec 272013


  • 131,939 miles
While driving my Cobalt from anywhere between 10mph to 50mph multiple "ding" noises occur. Then any number of alert lights come on including; traction control, air bag, check engine, etc... there is a strange clicking noise that comes from somewhere in the dash. Also, along with these symptoms the transmission (auto trans) begins to shift very hard both up and down, car shudders as if it is going to stall when it comes to a near stop. The scariest and most dangerous part is that the car has experienced loss of power steering at speed and loss of braking control. Sometimes I have spent 5 minutes trying to get my key out of the ignition as well, and must forcefully move the transmission shift knob back and forth until the key turns free. This car is a danger, and despite having multiple recalls it is still unsafe to drive.

- Prescott Valley, AZ, USA

problem #201

Nov 082014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Had no issues all day until all of sudden we were leaving a parking lot. I'm at the stop sign when I went to press the gas to go, I hear a chime - no indication lights come on- car acts like it's going to stall (it doesn't), steering is very hard and a clicking noise is coming from the gear shift area. Do not feel safe driving it all, although it's movable but very rough/bogging out. Recently had the ignition recall recently, had a few issues pop up since then but nothing as serious as this. Had to get it towed to my mechanic, he replaced a few sensors, but clicking noise still remains and is undriveable.

- Lewiston, NY, USA

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