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:
45 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
27 / 5
Average Mileage:
62,118 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 7 of 50)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #876

Jan 222012


  • 106,000 miles


Well driving to dinner for my birthday and going around a curve, I hit a pothole that I could not avoid without crossing the center line of the road into oncoming traffic causing my ignition switch to turn from the on position to the off position, much like the most recent recall states. Though I was able to safely get the car to come to rest on the shoulder of the road, I am still extremely nervous that it will happen again and I am also very, very disappointed to hear that this has been a known issue since the car was released. This is the third recall on this car since I have owned it, and I am far less than impressed with the vehicle. This vehicle is truly a death trap, much like others have stated. My greatest fear is that someone in my family will be driving my car and not return, all because of this giant mess created by GM. It is very depressing to know that I am still paying on an extremely faulty vehicle, in which these issues were known about long before I had actually purchased the vehicle. I would like something done about this, something more than just a "simple" fix (like all the other recalls with this death trap were said to be). It is one thing after another with this car, and though something serious has yet to happen to me, I am concerned for the future of others and myself.

- Copenhagen, NY, USA

problem #875

Aug 162010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I entered this once, complaint #10356159 but my daughter is still paying for the accident. She was charged because they said she was at fault. She had the steering "fixed" by the dealer and about a month later it did not respond in a turn. She hit a telephone pole. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Ravenswood, WV, USA

problem #874

Feb 262014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 138,000 miles
Was heading to work when the Chevy Cobalt suddenly shut off, causing me to lose power brakes, power steering, and causing the air bags not to deploy when I went straight threw a stop sign impacting into a snow bank.

- Frederic, MI, USA

problem #873

Mar 252014


  • 157,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 10 mph, the steering wheel fractured while the contact was making a turn into a parking space. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 157,000.

- Long Beach , CA, USA

problem #872

Mar 192014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 139,671 miles
There is no accident incident in this report. I did receive the Cobalt notice about the "key in the ignition switch may move out of the 'run' position" letter and I feel I should report another problem with the ignition switch that may also be a safety issue. However, I have not experienced any adverse impact of the condition I am about to describe below. I am reporting this because it might be an issue for others and that hopefully may be fixed by the latest Cobalt ignition switch recall. For a couple years I have noticed that after I start the Cobalt and let the key move back to the run position that I can remove the key completely from the ignition switch and put the key in my pocket and the car continues to run. I have only done this while the car is not moving. I noticed that the steering wheel does not lock up in this case, so theoretically I could drive and steer the car while it is moving on the road without a problem. However, I don't want to test that possibility, because the thought is scary. So if this information can help others avoid an accident when the ignition switched is replaced, this report will be worthwhile. I am now driving the Cobalt without any attachments to the ignition key and am waiting to bring the car in for the ignition and power steering recall. I am expecting that the replacement ignition switch will also fix the problem of being able to remove the ignition key in the switch when it was in the in the run position. If you want me to send you a picture of the key removed from the ignition switch while the tachometer shows that the engine is running, let me know.

- Churchville, NY, USA

problem #871

Feb 032014


  • 158,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle suddenly stalled. The engine was restarted and the vehicle operated normally. The contact also indicated that the power steering malfunctioned and made the steering wheel very difficult to turn. In addition, the key became stuck in the ignition switch and was unable to be removed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 158,000.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #870

Jul 012013


  • 39,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that NHTSA campaign number 10V073000 (steering) was performed however, the vehicle stalled numerous times after the repairs. Additionally, the vehicle exhibited an abnormal and sporadic clicking noise. The instrument panel lights were abnormally dim and the transmission exhibited a loud noise. The vehicle was not inspected or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 39,000.

- Hardy , VA, USA

problem #869

May 112012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
I was traveling home with one other passenger in the car with me at 35 mph, the car turned off, the steering wheel locked up. I was scared and didn't know what to do. I shifted the car from drive into neutral and then restarted it, then slipped it back into drive... I've never been more scared then when I had absolute no control over my car. Im just lucky I didn't panic. This has happened twice to me. I now don't feel safe driving my Cobalt and very disappointed this problem has been fixed. To me I don't feel safe driving myself or my family in that car.

- Buchanan, MI, USA

problem #868

Jan 202014


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet. The contact stated while driving approximately 40 mph, the power steering assist failed without warning and the steering wheel became hard to turn. The contact later received notification of NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). The vehicle was not taken to for inspection or repairs. The manufacturer was not notified of failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Union Ville, CT, USA

problem #867

Dec 122013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
After stopping at a light, I proceeded into the intersection and the car just turned off, locking the steering and would not restart. I coasted over the lanes of traffic and attempted to restart the car three times. Eventually I was able to restart it.

- Trabuco Canyon, CA, USA

problem #866

Jan 032006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles


My elderly parents purchased this car new from a Chevy dealership in palm harbor, fl. They took the car in numerous time for the car seizing up while driving and power steering problems shortly after their purchase. The starter would turn off, the power steering would go out, and they often complained about the car stopping in the middle of driving. There were very few miles on the car when this happened since they purchased the vehicle new in 2005. They took the car in for repair for such problems but were told by the dealership that nothing wrong. They sold the car to me, their daughter, because they had gotten to old to drive and they were too scared to drive the vehicle. I purchased the car from them in apx. 2010 and it had apx 9000 miles. Since the purchase of the car I have had the same problem numerous times. I have taken the car into the Chevy dealership for service several time in chapel hill, nc. They insist that they could not get the problem to repeat. When the power steering goes out, the ignition switch turns off thus turning off the car, and the stalling while driving is very scary to say the least. The most recent receipt from Chevrolet for this problem is from 8/14/2013 with 42950 miles on the car. Again they said they could not get the problem to repeat. The most recent time it happened was about 2 weeks ago. I replaced the electrical power steering fuse and it has been not indicating that problem. The start still turns off while driving. I think Chevrolet has know this was a problem with the Chevy Cobalt since 2005 and didn't want to do anything about it. $500 toward a new car..,.certainly not enough to want to make me purchase a Chevy any time soon. If they can fix the car it would be greatly appreciated.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #865

Aug 132011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
The 05 Cobalt, regularly serviced by the dealer where it was bought crashed after going out of control when the ignition switched off on the interstate at 60 mph. The steering locked, the ABS did not function, when it crashed into the guard rail the air bags did not deploy. The only warning was the dash warning lights all lighting up and the alarm sounds. The one second or so did not allow any chance to the driver to react before the crash. After the accident, when the dealer was contacted, we were advised to contact the GM person. The GM person was friendly and nice, but very firm in stating that we needed to have proof that the car failed, rather the driver at the wheel. The cars computer was not analyzed because the wrecking yard demanded over $700 to tow the car out of the wrecking yard so any investigator could look over the car. GM told us that it was our problem to pay the bill to allow their investigator to look at the car. We did not have the money. After reading numerous comments on the NHTSA site and blogs, people never heard a word from GM after they retrieved the computer. The salient point is that many of the over a thousand complaints about the Cobalt and other similar GM cars that identified the power steering as the problem that caused a crash are wrong. The power steering was not the cause of the crash. The problem was that the ignition switch turned off. The GM recalls about the power steering problem hide the fact that the ignition switches were turning off while the car was moving down the road. We know that the lack of power assist only affect the car at a stop or very slow speeds. Experienced drivers do not crash their car into guard rails, ditches, trees or other car simply because the power assist fails. That story is what GM has been selling in the past few years.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #864

Aug 132011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 25,749 miles
This submission is an addendum to the report that I submitted on Aug 15, 2011; reference number 10419491 with the attachments that include the police report, may statement and photos. I submitted my report two days after the accident. Now, after reading the news articles and the GM statements regarding the faulty ignition switch, it is apparent that what I thought was a steering malfunction (per the recalls I received and the statements made to me by GM representatives) was clearly the ignition switch. While driving down the freeway at 60 mph my dash lights turned on, I immediately lost steering control (I could not turn my steering wheel) and swerved had to the left crashing into the guard rail. The accident report shows my skid marks across three traffic lanes that clearly indicate that my ABS system also was not working. My airbags did not deploy even though my front end was crushed and the car totaled. Nothing on my car worked because the ignition switch had turned off. My original report should indicate that my car suffered an ignition switch malfunction that caused the accident. I was belted in so after being released from the hospital emergency room (I was taken by ambulance from the crash site) I was diagnosed with a cervical sprain, multiple cuts and bruises, sprained ankle and knee. My head impacted the windshield even though I had my seat belt on.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #863

Dec 182013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 137,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving approximately 40 mph the power steering suddenly malfunctioned making the steering wheel very difficult to turn. Since the incident occurred the contact discontinued driving the vehicle. The failure was not diagnosed nor was the vehicle repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 137,000.

- Bullville, NY, USA

problem #862

Feb 272014


  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while the engine was started the steering wheel failed. The power steering light illuminated while the failure occurred. The contact also stated that the dealer performed repairs to the vehicle under NHTSA campaign number 10V073000 (steering) however the failure was not corrected. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 22,000 and the current mileage was 30,000.

- Cicero, IL, USA

problem #861

Sep 102010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
While making a left hand U-turn, car suffered a loss of power causing a loss of control, as a result a tree was hit causing the car to be totaled. This is as reported by my daughter who was driving at the time.

- Plainfield, IL, USA

problem #860

Jan 102010


  • 50,000 miles
On January 10th, 2010 our daughter [xxx] 21 yrs. Old was killed in a car accident. We received a recall notice from GM in April 2010 on the car a 2005 Chevy Cobalt for power steering failure. The recall involves removing entire power steering mechanism built by a partially owned Toyota factory. I knew the minute I got the news that my daughter was killed so violently and that it did not involve another car that it had to be mechanical failure. It was too late to save our daughter [xxx] but not too late to save others, I contacted GM who sent three representatives to the coparts scrap yard in duryea where the Cobalt was stored in July to investigate the car accident. A photographer, an accident reconstruction and a mechanical engineer that flew in from detroit, the objective was to remove the black box, computer from the car and analyze the data. We went to the scrap yard and for the first time saw the wreckage that was once a beautiful red sports car. All the windows including the sun roof were blown out, the Cobalt had flipped, rolled, ejecting [xxx] on to the highway where she was run over. We are not sure if [xxx] was killed on impact. The Cobalt burst into flames melting the instrument panel, shift, upholstery. At the coparts scrap yard in duryea, myself and my husband [xxx] father saw the car for the first time the Cobalt told the story of an extremely violent wreck. I was told by [xxx]that I would know the results from the black box data the next day. When I tried to contact GM through [xxx], miss price that they would not communicate with our family. GM has my property and they will not release the data without us providing proof that the car was defective. This is not possible since they took the most valuable piece of information from the car. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Scranton, PA, USA

problem #859

Feb 132014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 107,000 miles
TL - the contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the power steering warning lamp illuminated and the steering wheel became very hard to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the steering column needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 107,000.

- St Johnsville, NY, USA

problem #858

Feb 082014


  • 102,000 miles
TL- the contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, he attempted to make a right hand turn and the power steering failure light illuminated and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and they stated that the power steering module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 102,000.

- Saint Joseph, MO, USA

problem #857

Nov 182013


  • 202,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 10V073000 (steering) and after the recall repair was performed while driving approximately 65 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated. In addition, the steering wheel became difficult for the contact to maneuver. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 202,000.

- Willis, TX, USA

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