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:
12 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
86,961 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #69

Aug 252016


  • 133,724 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 30 mph, the check engine and power steering warning indicators illuminated. The contact coasted to the side of the road. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 133,724.

- Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #68

Aug 102016


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 65 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated and the rpms revved intermittently. In addition, the vehicle failed to properly shift gears several times. The dealer was notified of the failure, but the vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Ventnor City, NJ, USA

problem #67

Jan 042016


  • 127,473 miles
When driving the car it seems to feel like the brakes are being applied and the car is towing a heavy load and the speed will decrease as I continue to drive forcing me to park the vehicle. I turn the car off for an hour or two and it will drive normally again but if driven to long it will slow down with the same problem. This is a typical city driving, stop and go at stop lights or up and down small hills. The mechanic stated that it maybe the throttle body module but we are not sure.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #66

Jun 222016


  • 182,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 40 mph, the power steering seized and the engine light illuminated without warning. Directly after, the vehicle jerked and accelerated without warning and the speedometer malfunctioned. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 182,000.

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #65

Sep 102015


  • 145,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that there were multiple failures with the vehcle. The contact mentioned that the power steering failed, which caused the steering wheel to become tight and extremely difficult to turn. The engine made an abnormal noise, the vehicle hesitated several times, and stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 14E021000 (electrical system), 14V171000 (electrical system), 14V047000 (air bags and electrical system), 10V073000 (steering), and NHTSA action number: PE10005 (steering). The approximate failure mileage was 145,000. The manufacturer was notified of the failures.

- Calumet Park, IL, USA

problem #64

Nov 222015


  • 57,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 60 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning and did not restart. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the timing chain failed and the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 57,000.

- Monongahela, PA, USA

problem #63

Nov 012015


  • 131,982 miles


I had ignition switch recall work performed on my car. Following that, or perhaps due to increased mileage, I began having power problems with my Cobalt. On 10/19/15 my car was parked, wouldn't start and check engine light was on. Then it started but didn't have enough power to move/run. I had to have it towed - mileage was 131,982 at the time. Battery was good. The shop said it had PO300 codes - random misfires. They found cylinders 2 and 3 were not contributing power due to a bad ignition module. So the ignition module was replaced. I also had worn spark plugs replaced, as the shop recommended I do so. The car still had misfire codes and would hesitate when re-accelerating after stops, so I paid for a new fuel filter at the repair shop's recommendation. The hesitation continued but I couldn't afford further diagnostics/repairs. Within a couple of weeks of repair my car lost complete power while I was driving in traffic. Luckily, other drivers had time/space to react, but it could have caused a deadly accident. Due to finances, my brother checked the car for me and cleaned the throttle body - the only issue he could detect. It has run a bit better since then, but still exhibits hesitation after stops. I worry it may lose complete power again but I cant afford incurring further expense with trial and error repairs. Especially after reading online other Cobalt owners are having the same experience, and have been unable to get resolution despite multiple expensive trips to mechanics. I feel Chevrolet needs to investigate the electrical/power loss issues with Cobalts and cover needed repairs under a recall so Cobalt owners can drive with peace of mind. I'm submitting this complaint now because of a recent nbc news program where a young woman died when her Cobalt lost power in traffic, and this also occurred following the ignition switch recall work being done.

- Lenexa, KS, USA

problem #62

Nov 152015


  • 57,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 50 mph, the engine stalled. The vehicle was not able to restart. The vehicle was towed to a mechanic where it was diagnosed that the timing belt needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 57,000.

- Monongahela, PA, USA

problem #61

May 222014


  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the engine stalled and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14E021000 (electrical system). The failure occurred once. The failure mileage was approximately 89,000.

- Mocksville, NC, USA

problem #60

Oct 062015


  • 180,000 miles
Keeps losing oil and now the engine wont keep oil now the engine is gone, ,we kept the oil checked but one day while driving it lost pressure and wont go..I think it should be part of the recall...this car has had a lot of issues and recalls since being purchased...

- Turbeville, SC, USA

problem #59

Oct 242015


  • 148,000 miles


The engine randomly cuts off while driving at low speeds (under 45 mph). The electrical things like radio, lights, etc remain on. This problem began in 10/2012. The 1st diagnosis of cylinder misfire was repaired by removing & replacing coil pack. The 2nd diagnosis of malfunctioning catalytic converter was repaired by removing & replacing catalytic converter in summer of 2013. The 3rd diagnosis of faulty starter was repaired by removing & replacing starter in July 2014. The 4th diagnosis of bad starter was repaired by removing & replacing the starter October 2015. After every repair the engine would randomly cut off while driving as it had before the repairs. The recalled ignition was removed & replaced in 2015 be the dealer as well. No service department or repair shop had ever been able to definitely diagnose the cause or recreate the problem. Although the engine cuts off during low speeds, it is highly dangerous. The most recent occurrence happened less than 24hrs after the starter was replaced. The engine stopped while driving in the middle of the road & several vehicles narrowly missed the car barely avoiding collision.

- Rancho Cordova, CA, USA

problem #58

Oct 212015


  • 115,400 miles
Car while it's running gets a security light and engine light on and all gauges read zero besides the rpms jumping to a thousand. An display saying low fuel and power steering and when try to change display it reads ---------- and it did the same thing while driving down the road so I pulled over and turned it off and back on and only the security light stayed on. Very dangerous as the car will not move when it's happening it's like it's disabled.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #57

Jun 102015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 70,800 miles
Chevrolet Cobalt had a ignition switch recall which I did and now a couple months later I can hear the ignition switch click on and off repeatedly, the anti theft system is now on and engaged, the symbol is constantly on, it thinks that my car is stolen, even when I drive it'll be on it'll disable my gauges, my gauges will not work and if they do they work for a second and go off repeatedly, the car will flash dash icons like if it was a christmas tree show, it looks like if an alien race came in and keep messing with it..sometimes the car won't even start, it won't kick over, on the digital display of my dash I get dash marks cause of a computer error cause of a another faulty ignition switch. The cars gauges as I try to drive will not work, the icons on the dash will keep rotating from other icons, this car is dangerous in my own opinion. When I drive the gauges won't work and it's so dangerous, I can't see the speed or my rpms, I can't see how much gas I have, my radio is no good, the leather they used for the seats was garbage, the paint was done by an amateur, the paint is coming off the car, rust is developing, my doors will open and close themselves, I never had this problem before doing the recall.the ignition switch turns off my airbags, my radio does not work, my wheels hubs have broke cause they used cheap wheel hubs on a sports car, the ignition coil packs are garbage.the car is defective, I spent close to $22,000 to $24,000, in 2006 for my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt 2.4 ss which has less than 71,000 miles.they pushed a cheap crappy parts car with cheap paint and no rust prevention, also the wiring of electronics in the car was complete [xxx], the wiring harnesses on all the wires is crumbling, the wiring to the battery in the rear trunk of the car is a fail, Chevrolet pushed a car out that was no ready for market, they pushed a car out that was defective and dangerous. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Norridge , IL, USA

problem #56

Sep 052014


  • 160,000 miles
The first time this particular problem began, because there have been oh so many others, I turned on the car and a power steering messaged appeared. There was no check engine light or anything else, just the "power steering" message. This happened intermittently for about 2 months. Then one evening while accelerating from a stop light, the car started to hop, the "power steering" message came on with a dinging alarm, the car slowed down to about 5 mph, and the power steering was gone, along with the breaks. It was extremely difficult to turn or stop the car. We were able to get it off the road, where we turned the engine off and on a few times. Each time with no success in fixing the issue. Finally after letting it rest for about 15 min, we were able to turn it on and it returned to normal. Since then, intermittently the "power steering" message comes on and dings, the car hops, and the power steering goes out. I took it to the dealer and they said the steering column needs to be replaced at a cost of $800. I can't understand this, since my steering column has rarely been move, maybe a total of 30 since I bought the car in 2006. I am the original owner and very few people, outside of myself, have driven this car, lending to minimal adjusting of the steering column.

- Cedarpines Park, CA, USA

problem #55

Mar 142015


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 70 mph, the vehicle suddenly decelerated. The contact mentioned that when the accelerator pedal was depressed, the vehicle failed to accelerate and the tracking control and check engine warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000.

- Lynchburg, MO, USA

problem #54

Mar 082015


  • 116,427 miles
Starting on Sunday I was driving down the highway and my car suddenly shut off. The power steering light flashed and then the service air bag light as well. I pulled over, stopped completely, and turned my car back on and took the back roads home. After turning the car back on the warning lights on the display were gone. The next day I was on a different highway and the same thing happened except when I turned my car back on the service air bag light stayed on until I returned home. I had the recall on the ignition switch replaced last year.

- Portage, IN, USA

problem #53

Mar 072015


  • 218,837 miles
I was on my way to work and my check engine light came on. I went to have a diagnostic test done on it and the reason for the light coming on was because my throttle body sensor had gone out. After the light came on my gas peddle was touchy. I could barely push it and it would take off very fast, then I could push it and it would take off very slow.

- Moulton, AL, USA

problem #52

Jan 252015


  • 137,000 miles
Was driving on highway at 65mph and car shut off with no warning and reading engine disabled. Pulled over turned it off and back on the same thing happened 5 minutes later.

- Dolgeville , NY, USA

problem #51

Jan 032015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
Traction control light came on. Car started running very rough and then lost all traction and shut off.

- Clackamas, OR, USA

problem #50

Oct 252014


  • 99,000 miles
We were driving down the road in Oct when all of sudden dash lights up flashing dinging going crazy the car keeps jerking forward like its trying to shift into a gear for the whole 40 min drive it drove fine on the way home. It has done this maybe three times since the other day I was driving my grand children to school when the car started to jerk forward then just stopped running and lost power steering, in a three way intersection, my car finally started up after about 10 mins. In Oct when the car started having problems I called our dealer they said the car had all the recalls done that it would cost 90 to check it out and that they wouldn't be able to find anything unless it was having the issues at the time they had the vehicle I ended up calling GM about the problem only to be told I am sorry that you had a stressful morning we can give you a case number and will get back to you within 24 to 48 hours may car now sets at my daughters house I will not be driving this car for fear I may injury or kill my grandchildren or others this vehicle id a death trap GM needs to own up and buy out these vehicles so upset right now shame on them how many lives need to be lost before they do something this time?

- Queensbury, NY, USA

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