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:
55,365 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 1 of 13)

problem #242

Nov 082016


  • miles


Our 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt has had ongoing intermittent electrical problems that cause the vehicle to slam into gears going when accelerating and slowing down. This is accompanied by the vehicle shaking. While this is going on, the speedometer fluctuates and we get a power steering warning. My son has lost the power steering assist occasionally and one time it almost caused and accident. If we shut the vehicle off, the problem seems to go away but only temporarily.

- Crest Hill, IL, USA

problem #241

Feb 102015


  • 130,000 miles
The first time it happened, was at interstate speeds.(60 to 70mph) the second, was in city stop and go traffic. The third was backing out of my driveway after a 5 minute idle. The fourth was when my last mechanic was test driving it because he thought he'd fixed it. Dash lights blink on and off, all warning lights come on, engine cooling fans stop operating, transmission hunts for what gear it should be in; resulting in the transmission self destructing. Engine management, other than the cooling fans, seems to be unaffected. I've replaced 4 tcm's so far; as all mechanics say that is the problem. It works for a few days or a week, then the same problem manifest. This seems to be a problem with quite a few GM vehicles.

- O'fallon, MO, USA

problem #240

Sep 012015


  • miles
While driving vehicle power steering light comes on, steering wheel locks up, gear shift starts clicking, stalling out during driving at speed. I have ran off road several times and have to use both hands to turn a curve because of steering locked.

- Smithfield, KY, USA

problem #239

Sep 252016


  • 158,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While the vehicle was stationary, the ignition key became stuck in the vehicle. On another occasion, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to shift into the reverse gear. In addition, the vehicle would not start when prompted. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 158,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Wilson, NC, USA

problem #238

Aug 252016


  • 29,693 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 40 mph, the steering wheel seized and the key fob failed to release from the ignition switch. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 29,693.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #237

Jul 242016


  • 85,290 miles
Power steering motor is out, lose of power steering on dash board no recalls when there should

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #236

Aug 142016


  • 108,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While at a stop, the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The contact had to apply force to the steering wheel in order to steer the vehicle and the anti-theft warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 108,000.

- Topeka, KS, USA

problem #235

Jul 292016


  • 174,440 miles
While driving in town shortly after turning onto a 45 mph road my vehicle, automatic, started hesitating while shifting into the next gear. It would shift but not like normal. Brought it into a repair shop to have a diagnostic ran to be informed it is a failure to communicate with tcm. Code U0101 and also U2100. After doing research there has been multiple complaints about this. So first things first replaced the tcm with a new one at the dealership. After replacement the vehicle is still not shifting correctly.

- Pahrump, NV, USA

problem #234

May 122016


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled as the engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the ignition switch that was replaced under NHTSA campaign number: 14E021000 (electrical system) failed and would need replacing a second time. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 77,000. The VIN was not available.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #233

May 142016


  • 77,439 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 40 mph, the steering wheel seized and the power steering warning light illuminated. In addition, the vehicle stalled and was able to be restarted, and all the instrument panel lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, but the cause of the failures could not be determined. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 77,439. The VIN was unavailable.

- Pueblo, CO, USA

problem #232

Mar 212016


  • 410,000 miles


The power steering on my vehicle cuts off and the speedometer remains rested at 0 when driving. The doors also lock and unlock on their own while driving. The car does not automatically shift while driving making it hard to accelerate and the vehicle will also decelerate on its own while driving it is very dangerous and very scary to drive with these problems. The dealership claims that the problem with steering has already been fixed but I am still having these problems.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #231

Jun 122012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 25 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. After restarting, the vehicle resumed normally. The failure recurred numerous times at any given speed. The vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system); however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was not repaired a second time. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #230

Jan 282016


  • 112,314 miles
Engine shut down while driving. Twice while stopped and 4 times while city driving in the process of making a turn. Car shuts down with key in the on position. I have to put the car in park, turn the key into the off position. I can then turn the key and the car turns back on. I was almost rear- ended. This is the same thing that happened when my car was part of the safety recall 13454. I called General Motors at 1 800 222 1020. I told the guy that the same thing was happening that happened when they had the recall for the ignition switch. He told me they were having other customer complaints about the same thing happening. I asked him how come they weren't having a recall on the recall? it is very scary driving this car. I was told that nothing would be covered and I would have to take it to the local Chevy dealer (which is 30 miles away)

- White River Jct, VT, USA

problem #229

Jan 232016


  • 174,000 miles
The lights all over the car intermittently work and not work, the battery drains and have replace the battery 4 times.this has been going on since I got the car withe the lights. The steering thing just started, when you make a turn the steering binds up as if the power steering is going out. Also acts as if the car is going to stall. This only happens when you are in drive position. In park it doesn't do this. The power steering fluid levels are perfect. Also, when this issue starts, the speedometer needle bounces up to 40 mph even though you are at a stop. The radio will suddenly turn full blast sound for about 2 seconds and turn back down. Scares me half to death. There is a major electrical problem in this car for lights to work one time and then next time not. I go through light bulbs like crazy, every couple of months I am changing a different bulb. And the steering issue is unsafe, the car could stall while trying to turn across traffic. Still after having all recalls completed, the car is still not safe.

- Franklin, PA, USA

problem #228

Sep 242010


  • 10 miles
Made left turn and my airbag went off. Mechanic said that the clock spring shorted out internally in the coil and deployed the airbag. GM has not contacted me over this matter and have been trying to get them to reimburse me for since 2010.

- Deerfield Beach, FL, USA

problem #227

Nov 132015


  • 12,800 miles
When I unlock the driver door with the fob, the door would not open. I was driving one day and the relay electrical wiring started burning. When I took it back to the car dealer they told me there was nothing wrong. Myself and four other people smelled the burning. I gave the car back and nothing was done to satisfy the situation. I was told by an auto zone mechanic to park the car before it catches on fire.

- North Charleston, SC, USA

problem #226

Dec 052015


  • 160,550 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving at 40 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. The contact also stated that the tachometer gauges would fluctuate whenever the failure occurred. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 10V073000 (steering). The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 160,550.

- Alexandria, LA, USA

problem #225

Dec 092015


  • 100,147 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 15 mph, the vehicle accelerated. The vehicle stalled when the brake pedal was depressed. The vehicle was not able to restart. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,147.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #224

Aug 012015


  • 114,000 miles
My car turns off in the middle of driving. Three times I have been on 45 mph roads, and have 2 small kids. This isn't the only major issue my car. But first the digital display reads engine disabled or engine losing power then engine disabled and loses all function. There was a recall over a year ago for this model shutting off while driving supposedly due to weight on the key ring. After the dealer fixed it the issue stopped until 3 mnths ago. I can only go a block before the engine disables now, it progressively happened sooner and sooner. A friend who is old buddies with a diagnostics specialist introduced me and he was able to tell me exactly what was going on to fine details. I called the dealership to see about any recalls and relayed the info he'd given me and they down played it like they guy didn't know what he was talking about. The dealer thinks its a throttle or engine problem. The guy I know said the computer chip in the key likely got messed up possibly from having my cell phone next to it a lot, that the part in the ignition that reads the signal from the key is getting mixed info and signals the engine to shut down. He also said that once it happens, a loop is created to where every time I turn they key it starts the cycle over where everything is okay in the beginning but the info gets misread over N over which is why he said I should get a new key- and (I think this is what he said) to replace to whole ignition column so all parts involved would be new. He also gets his parts wholesale and is not trying to rip me off. Next problem car burns oil! the last two times I had oil checked, nothing on the dipstick, I get it done every 3000miles. Walmart made me sign a paper stating there was no oil on dipstick. Gas line corroded, smell of gas throughout car, has whole piece replaced. These are serious why is Chevrolet doing nothing bad business

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #223

Jul 152015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle electrical issues. The consumer stated she experienced problems with the cruise control and clutch not working upon purchasing the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the repair shop 2-3 times. In July 2015, the vehicle stalled.

- Yantis, TX, USA

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