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 12 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #95

Nov 232011


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that she was unable to remove the key from the ignition. She was able to remove the key by engaging the release button located under the dashboard. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but was not diagnosed. The vehicle was taken to several independent mechanics, none of whom could provide a cause or remedy for the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 108,000.

- Euclid, OH, USA

problem #94

Aug 252011


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering, tire traction and check engine warning lights were illuminated. The automatic door locks would lock and unlock the doors independently and without warning, and the speedometer would become inoperative. The contact would have to shut the vehicle off and restart for the vehicle to perform as normal. The dealer repaired various components unknown to the contact on several occasions however, the failure would recur. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 150,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Pearland, TX, USA

problem #93

Jan 102012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while driving. When the failure occurred, the key would remain stuck in the ignition. The contact also stated that the failure occurred whenever the vehicle was driven over a pothole or bump. In addition, the contact stated that the all of the electronics would continue functioning when the vehicle stalled. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 80,000. Updated 04/10/12 the consumer stated he was unable to removed the key from the ignition. 04/16/12

- Dear Park, NY, USA

problem #92

Jun 092010


  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While parked, the contact was unable to release the key from the igtion switch after numerous attempts. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, who advised the contact to have the vehicle inspected by a dealer. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Folsom, CA, USA

problem #91

Feb 022012


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact could not remove the key from the ignition. In order to successfully remove the key from the ignition, the contact had to pull the emergency release on the steering wheel. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for a diagnostic test. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 67,000.

- Derry, NH, USA

problem #90

Apr 042011


  • miles
As I was coming to stop at a red light, I heard a ding and "power steering" flashed on my dashboard. My car then started to jerk, and continued when I sped up. This has happened several times after the first incident.

- Defuniak Springs , FL, USA

problem #89

Dec 192011


  • 40,000 miles


My 2006 Chevy Cobalt had wheel bearing issues starting at 40,000 miles. At 50,000 miles my front end suspension (lower control arm and bushings), struts, and doors locks started acting up. My door locks will jam and I will be trapped in my car until they (door locks) decide to work again. Fortunately for me usually only one stops working at a time. The dealer says that it just needs greasing; I have tried every grease under the sun and none has fixed the problem. This is a serious safety issue and this car should have a recall to at least fix the doors!!!.the dealer wants to charge over $1,000 per door for repairs. I have heard of some peoples doors never opening again and the door having to be cut off to be repaired. If something were to happen you need to be able to quickly and safely get out of the car. Please please please recall this door issue on the Cobalt!

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #88

Dec 082011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
Door will not shut, than door will not open, than door opened while driving down street.

- Levittoen, PA, USA

problem #87

Aug 232010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Power steering message appeared within a few days of having it serviced due to the power steering recall. Power steering message appears all the time (almost every time I drive it). Sometimes power steering message appears and car starts jerking and is hard to steer). When that happens I have to pull over and shut the car off and restart it. Sometimes this works but occassionally it doesn't. a couple of times I have went to back out of my parking spot at work and have not been able to turn the wheel at all. I have contacted the dealer where it was serviced and Chevy and basically was told that they couldn't help me unless I took it to have the problem diganosed at my expense (70- 200 and something dollars), and "if" it is related to the power steering recall they may help me with the cost of the repair. I don't think I should have to pay to have the problem diagnosed when their solutiion to their recall didn't fix the problem. My key has gotten stuck in the ignition a couple of times.

- Seneca Falls, NY, USA

problem #86

Jan 292011


  • 120,000 miles
I noticed issues starting shortly after we bought the vehicle in 08 with the door locks erratically locking and unlocking themselves. My husband fixed the issue by disconnecting the electric locks. Then in January of 2011 the car completely stalled while turning. We started it up and got it home. We went through all kinds of things figuring out what was wrong. We changed the catalytic converter, spark plugs, and manifold was running fine for a while but still at idle it felt like it was going to stall. Then one day it wouldn't start at all and the key got stuck in the ignition. We jumped the vehicle and the key came out. Then we got the codes read at auto zone and found we needed a ignition coil. So we replaced that. Ran good but the stalling feeling at idle was still present. Then the key got stuck in the ignition again and the shifter button was pushed in and the shifter would move without using the brake.I found people have had all these issues online and found the release switch. I used this switch and the shifter is back to normal. We have a limited income and we cant afford all of these issues, but it seems that they are all very common with these cars.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #85

Jul 122011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles


When driving or at idle 2006 Cobalt will stall when the heater or air conditioning is turned on. Loss of power steering is lost as well as all other power. When the heater or air conditioner is turned off car will start again. There are no engine codes displayed.

- Cincinnati , OH, USA

problem #84

Sep 012011


  • miles
Vehicle has various problems which started with the fuel gauge going to empty not matter how much fuel there was, this issue was never fixed properly. Front suspension rattles and lower control arm bushings are cracked, diagnosed, but not repaired by Chevrolet. Interior dome light has a short as does the radio, intermittent. Also paint is peeling off of the door handles, radio and dashboard control buttons. And just recently there is an odor of gasoline coming from somewhere on the vehicle. The vehicle has a little over 21,000 miles on it.

- Peekskill, NY, USA

problem #83

Sep 012011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer states issues with power steering in April 2010, the consumer received a letter stating there was a safety recall on the power steering motor and when the part arrived, it would be fixed free of charge. The consumer went to the dealer and the recalled part was replaced. However, it also caused the transmission to slip and hard braking whenever the power steering message appeared. The consumer informed the dealer of the problem and the dealer stated it had nothing to do with the recall. The consumer returned to the dealer again. The dealer claimed the problem was the control arm bushing. The dealer replaced an im insulator, link, loose sway bar bushing and the steering gear. The consumer stated she continued to experience the same problems with the transmission, and the vehicle loosing power. The consumer returned to the dealer and the mechanic stated the vehicle had an electrical problem.

- Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #82

Sep 062011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
The power steering failed on yesterday September 6th, 2011. The mph needle does not move at all on the RPM needle. In order to get the vehicle to move what it seems to be 30 miles per hour I must press hard on the accelerator. There was a recall on the vehicle and I received a letter to have the car looked at by darcars dealership. I took the car to the dealership May 2011 and the representative stated that the steering column was replaced and everything is fine. Now 4 months later the vehicle is in worse condition then it was prior to me taking it to the dealership. Not sure what to do at this point.

- Riverdale , MD, USA

problem #81

Jul 302011


  • 80,000 miles
After parking car and shutting off the ignition the key will get stuck and not come out. This has happened several times. You have to either turn the ignition back on or jiggle the key around in the slot in order for it to release.

- Santa Clarita, CA, USA

problem #80

Aug 042011


  • 82,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy colbalt. The car constantly stalls in traffic. I took it to the machanic and he stated it was an electrical problem that is very common in this make and model car. The mechanic diagnosed it as a high speed communication bus which is part of the throttle body and that's why is stalls. Aka fly by wire. Have had two recalls. We are having so many problems with this vehicle.

- Mastic Beach, NY, USA

problem #79

Jul 292011


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 30 mph the electronic door locks began to open and close erratically. The steering wheel became stiff making it difficult to control the vehicle. The contact stated the power steering failed and the steering wheel needed excessive effort to turn the steering wheel while driving. The contact was able to drive the vehicle to her residence. There were warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel but the contact was unaware of which ones illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. There was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering:electric power assist system) that may be related to the failure. The manufacturer was not contacted to verify if the VIN was included in the recall. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Laplace, LA, USA

problem #78

May 202011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
I own a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ls sedan. This car every year like clock work has to either have a new transmission put into it, or has shifting problems. The car will be fine for about a year and then it struggles to shift gears and it will be subtle. Then it slowly starts to feel like the transmission is " slipping" when U reverse and then put it back into drive it slides back before it begins to move forward again. This car is only 5 years old but has had 3 transmissions in it's life time, and it's starting to feel like it's going for its 4th.

- Hayward , CA, USA

problem #77

Sep 302010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 70,796 miles
Car would no start on first attempt--stereo and all electrical components in car turn on, but car does not start at back into car about 10 minutes later, tried again--started right up. While driving, all gauges would drop all the way to zero and all electrical inside car goes dead. Upon parking, car would not immediately restart. Got electrical test at auto parts store, told it was reading bad battery--so I replaced battery at that time.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #76

Mar 232010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I was driving to a different state, and about 3 hours into the drive, I stopped for gas. After shutting the car off, I was unable to remove the key from the ignition. I was able to release the key by reaching under the steering column and pressing the manual release button. Even after having recall work on another item at a GM dealer, they didn't offer any sort of solution on how to get this fixed. I still have to press the manual release to get the key out. Contacted GM customer service through email and they offered no remedy and claimed no responsibility.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

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