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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2006 Cobalt continued to carry the torch first lit by the 2005 model year. To be clear, that torch is burning bright with widespread power steering issues, electrical curiosities and a dangerous ignition switch defect which led to a massive recall by GM. This isn’t a great torch to carry.

The 2006 added it’s own special flare with gas leaks due to cracks in the “return portion of the modular reservoir assembly.” A recall of 2006 Cobalts was issued to fix the problem, but only to vehicles sold in or current registered in Arizona and Nevada, leaving other owners to pay for repairs themselves.

Between this car stalling while driving, giving owners fits with power steering failure and having it be a potential tinderbox because of gas leaks, we felt we had no other option than to award it our “Avoid Like the Plague” badge.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 2
Average Mileage:
57,321 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.

2006 Chevrolet Cobalt drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #42

Apr 072014


  • 124,000 miles


TL- the contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that when the key is out of the ignition, he is able to take the gear out of park. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer or independent mechanic. The manufacture was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 124,000 miles and the current mileage was 125,000 miles.

- Reading, MI, USA

problem #41

Dec 102013


  • 5,000 miles
There is a BCM (body control module) problem in all Cobalts which hasn't came to light yet it's very dangerous. It's all over the internet and there are videos on youtube, search for "Cobalt electrical problems" "Cobalt power steering warning" this problem will cause the car gauges to go crazy and it will say engine light, power steering, the transmission goes into safe mode and shifts very hard and then car wants to chug and stall while your driving forcing you to pull over if possible to avoid causing a major accident and then you have to turn the car off this just as dangerous or more dangerous then the ongoing ignition switch recall. While looking on the internet for answers to why this is happening I have found lot's and lot's of other people who are having the exact same problems I have a 2006 ss Cobalt and this is what is happening to me. It has happened 5 times in the last 2 months, I have made arrangement with a GM dealer from where I have purchased the car to have the BCM (body control module) replaced at my expense and hopefully this will make my car safer. But I don't know if it will for sure. Repeat this is not related to the on going ignition switch recall on the 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt models, this is another safety issue that needs to be addressed and investigated right away. Please take action right away to avoid futher loss of lives*

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #40

Sep 012010


  • miles
I was driving my Cobalt all of a sudden the RPM's red lined and I had no power. I had to coast into a nearby parking lot. I waited about 30 min, started it back up and it seemed fine. Then I started to have trouble getting my key out of the ignition. There were several times I had to leave my key in the ignition because it would not come out. The next problem came when I would hit the brakes. If someone in front of me suddenly stopped and I had to hit the brakes hard, the car would idle really rough and shut off. That has been a constant problem for the past 2 to 3 years. I called the local koons dealership, they told me these problems were common and that I needed a new BCM. So, I purchased a new BCM. The service department told me that the BCM was "plug and play". basically, it was a few clips, a few bolts and that I could install it myself, so I did. It didn't solve the problem. I called back and the guy that answered the phone told me to unhook the battery and wait 15 minutes, then hook it back up. Not only did it not solve the problem, but by unhooking the battery the anti-theft locked my radio. When I called back the third time the service department told me I needed to bring the car in and have them reset it for 300$. being as thought I just spent 300$ on the BCM I didnt have the money. I bought the Cobalt because it was a Chevy and a small reliable car. I was also a college student so the price was right. Since the recall for the ignition switch has come out, I called the koons dealership and asked about a refund on the BCM because that obviously wasnt the problem. They told me I was out of luck and they werent going to help me. Now, I have a death trap, im out the money for the BCM, and I dont have money for a new car. Thanks for sticking it to your customers GM! I will never by another GM.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #39

Jan 122012


  • 76,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to shift into park. The contact disassembled the gear shift assembly to find that the pin became detached. The contact placed the pin back in position and was able to shift into park. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 76,000.

- Arcade, NY, USA

problem #38

Jan 252009


  • 22,000 miles
When the acident happen, my son and his friend were going to his other friend house to stay. He's friend that lived said he was having trouble controling the steering they ran off the road hitting the side of the road flipping the car, my son was thrown out of the car and was dead on the scene.

- Ocean Isle Beach Sw, NC, USA

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problem #37

Jan 252009


  • 22,000 miles
You know when my son bought this car, I know he thought he had the best, this is part of your reviews.new for 2006 are ss sedan and coupe models with normally aspirated engines. These new ss models fit between the lt and ss supercharged models. Their price, power and performance and body work are all toned down from the ss supercharged coupe, but they're sporty cars and possibly the best choice in the lineup, boasting 171-horsepower engines and sports suspensions.this car was suppose to handle good.but now he is dead because of this car.do you people at chevorlet even know how people feel or what kind of emotion a parent goes through with losing a child and how my life has changed.I will never see him get married, have children.I will never be able to talk to him, feel him, tell him I love him. Yes, I'm hurt. I want you to pay for the mess you have done for my son's life and the life of others.because you guys hid this mess for years you knew.how many people have too get injuryed or die.just look at all the recalls just for this car. Just to think chevorlet has been the choice of vehicles we have always driven.

- Ocean Isle Beach Sw, NC, USA

problem #36

Jan 172013


  • 58,697 miles


Since I bought this car in may of 2011 I have had nothing but problems. In March of 2012 my fuel pump went out while I was driving due to a recall from several years earlier, which I don't understand why it wasn't replaced before I bought the car especially if I bought if from a dealership. In January of 2013 my gear shift assembly went out luckily after I was done driving and in the process of parking which resulted in my keys getting locked in the ignition. A month later my switch board stopped working in my steering wheel which turns off my signals when I turn and my keys still occasionally get locked in my ignition. My O2 sensor just went out, shortly after I got the car I learned one of my valve covers is leaking oil, and I just replaced my ignition coil pack! I am afraid to drive this car any longer especially with the new recall about the ignition. This car is a hazard to anyone driving it. I should not have this many issues when I have only owned the car for three years. I believe GM should recall the whole car. I tried taking my car to the dealership in February to inquire about the recall and they sent me away and said to wait to receive something in the mail to see if my car qualifies. Seriously"?" I'm not sure what actions I should take to ensure my safety. I don't have the money to fix this car that has everything under the hood failing all at once! every day I drive this car I am putting myself in danger. Any information back would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #35

Aug 142013


  • 85,000 miles
When my daughter exited her car she grabbed her backpack from the passenger seat. One of the straps from the backpack hooked around the shifter and moved it to neutral. We did not know the shifter did not lock when you put it in park.the car started rolling backward down our driveway with the drivers door open. The door caught one of our trees in our yard pinning it against the front fender damaging the door and front fender. She had her key in her hand so the ignition was not on. After reading on the internet several of these shifters are defective. This is a dangerous issue that GM is ignoring.

- Coolville, OH, USA

problem #34

Feb 292012


  • 115,000 miles
Vehicle was exiting interstate 81, traveling approximately 55 mph. Though braking, the car was not slowing properly and the steering was very hard, power seemingly lost. The car could not be steered around the left hand curve and hit a bridge abutment and spun around before coming to rest with the motor not running. This apparent mechanical failure was noted in the police report of the accident.

- Maybrook, NY, USA

problem #33

Feb 162014


  • 90,000 miles
The car does not want to shift from first to second gear and when it does, it is very jerky. Acceleration is very limited

- Fulton, MO, USA

problem #32

Oct 292013


  • 7,200 miles


I just recently purchased a Cobalt 2006 but after 3weeks my steering did not respond the way I was controlling it did not allow me to make a perfect turn made me do a sharp turn since I felt the adjustments get hard but then it loosened up allowed me to take control how a driver is suppose to control his own car not letting your car take control of me the driver. Currently it got repossesed just because I lost my job but now that I found out its dangerous on the road. Thinking that day I lost control for about 10 sec. What about if it could be more dangerous next time and my nephews, my family can get hurt not just me this time in the car with me and one of my family or me can loose a life but the dealer did not notify me on this safety recall when signed but now they don't want to transfer cars even though I can pay monthly. Please help me soon as possible don't got a car to take/back to work for these 3 weeks.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #31

Nov 152012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
Gear shifter gets stuck. I have to go under my hood and pull the cord in order to release the gear shifter to come out of park.

- Laurys Station, PA, USA

problem #30

Jun 022013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
Started car, shifter would not lock into any gear and the keys were locked in the ignition. Googled the problem and was told to open the compartment under the steering column to release keys, but it did not repair the gear shifter. Took to local repair shop and was told these break all the time and that Chevy keeps the parts in stock because they know the shifters break due to the metal post inside breaking the cheap plastic casing of the shifter control. Why has this not been recalled? my son was stuck in NY city at L in the morning with no way to get home.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #29

Jun 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while sitting in her parked vehicle, it rolled back and crashed into a porch. A police report was filed. The contact sustained bruises and abrasion on her arms. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 76,000.

- Wellsville , OH, USA

problem #28

Mar 112013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
I was pulling out onto the street with many cars approaching from a traffic light and I began to press down the gas pedal so I could safely get up to speed and I noticed the car not accelerating for the amount of pressure I was applying on the gas pedal the traction control light came on and stayed on and the transmission started jerking into all the gears, I drove it home 8 miles turned off the car and restarted the car and light had reset itself this same thing has happened three more times since this first time. All occurred on drive pavement no ice or other wet conditions. I've searched online and have seen many other people are have been reporting the same problem with the traction control light staying on and loss of power to the transmission and jerky shifting, in pretty much every year the Cobalt model was manufactured by Chevrolet I believe this is a major safety issue that General Motors should have a recall to fix these issues but, has not done so to this day, before I and other people driving the Chevrolet Cobalt get hurt or hurt other drivers because of these malfunctions that our out of our control.

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #27

Sep 012012


  • 70,000 miles
The throttle body becomes extremely 'gunked up, ' causing the engine to shut off if the rpms drop too fast. It happens most often when coming up to stop lights. However, the most dangerous time (which caused me to get rear ended due to not being able to immediately speed up) is when I switch lanes on the highway. I let my car slow down by removing my foot from the pedal, switch lanes, and when I put my foot on the pedal, I don't speed up. Why?? because the engine shut off when I first removed my foot from the pedal and let the rpms drop!

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #26

Feb 212013


  • 69,372 miles
My key is stuck in the ignition. The car is off however, the lights and radio will not turn off.

- Auburn, NY, USA

problem #25

Jan 242013


  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the power steering and speedometer failed. Also, the contact stated that the transmission would not shift out of gear and the power steering warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for a diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage and current mileage was 42,000.

- Largo , FL, USA

problem #24

Dec 012010


  • 71,000 miles
Traction control light comes on and jerks when shifting gears. It happens at all speeds. When I cut the car back on, the light goes away. This happens off and on all the time.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #23

Dec 242010


  • 90,000 miles
First time we had problem was christmas eve 2010 car stumbled. Check engine light appeared T\C light appeared. Car dinged power steering came up on info center all as we were on a country road on our way to our families christmas. We stopped shut car off my husband got out and checked all fluids and fuses all were ok then we. Started car again and everything was back to normal for quite a awhile he said it might have just got confused there. Then the problem popped up intermittently here and there.right around October 2011 not sure of exact date but me and 3 children where on our way across the state of Indiana to see my husband that was working out of town and about 100miles into trip the cars power steering went out and made the car very hard to maneuver lights came on. As did in late 2010 so I pulled over and turned car off and did as my husband did and everything was good. But when I turned car back on it still had lights on so I called my husband and he told me to try unhook battery for like 10 minutes then hook back up and I did that and luckily it worked and we made it to where he was staying and we never had anymore problems till 9/15/12 when I was driving to see my mother and it happened again but this time in heavy traffic at a stop light and this time had all same symptoms but also a new one the transmission wouldn't shift from low gear. And it won't go off my husband researched on internet and found recalls for Cobalts and numerous complaints of same steering problems but when I called GM and gave woman my VIN she stated no recalls for my vehicle I don't understand if it is the same make of vehicle same problems they can pick and choose who has a problem and who doesn't. I am gonna try to solve this by taking to GM customer service, but if they not willing to work with me I will be more than happy to sign onto a class action lawsuit.

- Lawrenceburg, IN, USA

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