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 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:
28 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
121 / 3
Average Mileage:
63,793 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 11 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #115

Jul 042013


  • 146,000 miles


Lately my car has been dying while coming to a stop or going to take off. This is really scary when I pull out in busy traffic! I was almost T boned one day but thank goodness I was able to restart my car in time. Then a new problem started soon after... I was driving on the highway doing speeds 65 mph when all the gauges on the dash started jumping around the steering wheel kind of locked up and my car began to jump and jerk. I struggled to get my car off the road onto an exit ramp where I shut my car off. I turned my car off, then I turned it back on. The alert gauge rang three times and said power steering on the dash board, I put my car in drive in hopes to make it home which was not far...when I took off my car shook and jumped while going all the way across a bridge. I pulled over yet again shut my car off and restarted it when I took off the second time and drove home I didn't have any problems. I left my car sit for several days the problem continues.

- Adrian , MO, USA

problem #114

Dec 012011


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the ignition failed. The key could not be released from the ignition. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 40,000 and the current mileage was 50,000.

- Cokeville , WY, USA

problem #113

Jun 092013


  • 111,000 miles
When car shifter is placed in park, key will not move past the acc position and cannot be removed from the ignition at all. Key must be left in the vehicle.

- Oshkosh, WI, USA

problem #112

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 #111

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 #110

Feb 282013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 156,231 miles
When driving the gauge cluster lights up while both the mph and RPM needles jump around. Total loss of power steering as well as the transmission goes into limp mode. Lost control on freeway thankfully no one were in the 2 lanes that the car veered into at the time. Was able to stop the car in the service lane. There are many complaints of this same issue.we have received no recall information and we are not under the current recall for whatever reason. Same issues as original recall fits in years recalled for...why not include us? took the Liberty of paying for both the eps motor and module with no success. I am currently out $1,500 this is not fair.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #109

Feb 142013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 99,500 miles


Steering wheel became very difficult to turn while on a freeway entrance ramp. Fortunately I was able to retain control of vehicle. No further issues until 8 days later when again the vehicle become very difficult to steer. I consider the malfunction of the power steering unit to be a dangerous issue. I called the GM help line 2/23/2013 and was told the vehicle was recalled at 54,000 miles to address the steering issue and any needed repairs at this time will be at my expense.

- Lakeside, MI, USA

problem #108

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 #107

Jan 162013


  • 46,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the check engine and battery lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the alternator was replaced twice. The contact also stated that the battery and relay were also replaced but the failure recurred. The dealer was unable to diagnose the failure. The failure mileage was 46,000 and the current mileage was 46,500. The VIN was unavailable.

- Reading, PA, USA

problem #106

Aug 012012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the power steering seized and the vehicle stalled. The contact had to wait a few seconds to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. After diagnosis, the contact was advised that the anti theft module had failed and was later replaced. Immediately after the repair, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was approximately 97,000. The current mileage was approximately 109,507. Updated 03/07/13 the consumer stated the power steering will shut off, the transmission will shift very roughly, the instrument cluster go on and off, and the car will die at various speeds. When this failure occurred the steering would lock up. Recently, 02/13/2013, the vehicle had no power steering then, it suddenly turned on nearly causing the vehicle to fly off the road. Updated 03/11/2013

- Olathe, CO, USA

problem #105

Nov 072012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


I was in the food for less market and my car - blow up or whatever it was on fire when I came out after someone state "a Chevy volt was on fire, come to the front", then he said, "will the person with a Chevy volt, come to the front - color purple" that's when I went to see what was going on. My car was on fire and the fire people was putting it out. Oh, my goodness!!!!!!

- Altadena, CA, USA

problem #104

Sep 072012


  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key became stuck in the ignition. In addition, the gear shifter could not be shifted out from park. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 103,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #103

May 252012


  • 24,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that key became lodged in the ignition and she was unable to remove it. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who diagnose that the ignition housing needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 24,000.

- Livalette, WV, USA

problem #102

Aug 242012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
Key gets stuck in ignition and will not come out of the actual ignition when you shut off the car. I have to reach inside the steeling column to push a release button each time to get the key to be released.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #101

Jul 262011


  • 155,560 miles
I was driving home one rainy day, about 45mph, dash lit up to shift. I looked and I was already in 5th. Next second everything on dash went out. No speedometer, no shift light, no mileage or trip meter, nothing. Only thing on dash that works is tach and digital display says power steering. Already had an appointment for recall work for power steering assist motor, thought that maybe that was what was wrong so I kept appointment. When got back from dealer, they tell me they replaced power steering assist motor and they had noticed the dash display and had done scan and it showed the power steering motor is went out! bought this car for my daughter, to drive back in forth to school, scared for her to drive it the 90 miles a day she drives to college. Thought this was just an isolated case but after checking online, I see that this is a major defect in these cars. Something needs done before someone gets hurt or killed.

- Genoa, WV, USA

problem #100

Aug 112012


  • 103,000 miles
While driving my 2006 Chevy Cobalt when I lost power steering which made it difficult to control my car around sharp turns due to the fact that I was not expecting the power steering to just go out on me like that. This type of problem is very dangerous especially when it happens while driving. I have already had my power steering fixed once due to a past recall and here I am again having problems with the same thing again!

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #99

Feb 082012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
My wife and grandson were in the car when power steering came on the dash. It caught her attention but didn't know really what had happened till she tried to turn and almost went in the ditch. We took it to the dealer and $700 paid to have the problem continue to recur. It comes and goes and if it is not a problem when we take it to the dealer they don't know what to do. All they say is it is in the wiring issue and think we should buy something else. I didn't know about all these problems till it occurred to us. We bought the car new and have like the 2006 Cobalt but this is the first I have heard they have a problem with the powersteering or wiring to the electric assist to the power steering. I am told they had a fix back in 2010 are we still qualified to have our car fixed under that recall. My son is going in the army in a couple weeks we wanted to let him have this car after he gets stationed somewhere but we can't give it to him when we are not trusting its safety.

- Gulfport, MS, USA

problem #98

Feb 242012


  • 52,000 miles
I purchased a brand new 2006 Chevy Cobalt and haven't had problems until recently (2012). My problem started in February 2012 when heading to a doctor's appointment. Started the car and the power steering light came on. Started pulling car off of parking lot where I live and the car had a jerking/bucking sensation to it and then shut off on me. Had car towed to Chevy dealer and the car wouldn't duplicate the same problem so I got the car back. 9 days later I go out again and the car starts with the same problem - power steering light on; jerking sensation and the speedometer dropped from 35 mph to 0. car went back to Chevy dealership. Again, car would not duplicate problems. Got car back & since I have been scared to death to have this vehicle on the road, it has sat for 2 months. After getting GM involved, tried to take vehicle back to dealer and once again - power steering light on; jerking/bucking sensation; clicking in gear console. 3 times now I have had this car back to dealership and now they decide it's the body control module (BCM), yet they indicated that on my first trip, that a stored code showed them the BCM was not communicating. Getting GM involved has been a waste of time because naturally since the warrant is off of the car, they don't want to do anything to soak up the cost of replacing this module which is going to cost me $685.

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #97

Apr 162012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Car will not start the computer states that "power steering" I took this to the dealer and they said that the problem was the fuse box I replaced it and there is still a problem I will take to dealer to check next problem.

- Somerset, KY, USA

problem #96

May 022011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
I have a 2006 Cobalt. Periodically I can't open the driver door from inside and I have to roll down the window to pull handle from outside to get out. And then fuss with the latch mechanism sometimes to get the door to shut. And right now my locks are going up and down by themselves while I drive and when I'm parked.. I lock my doors and I come out to my car and they are unlocked. And I can't disengage my alarm...soo every time I open the door I have to jump in and turn on the ignition. I called the local Chevy dealer and of course they haven't heard any complaints like this. Although, I've read many complaints like this.. they tell me if I want to bring it in, I have to pay for them to diagnose it! I'm still making payments on this car!

- Troy, NY, USA

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