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:
68 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
129 / 3
Average Mileage:
60,443 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 10 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #933

May 252013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving approximately 34 mph, the steering wheel suddenly malfunctioned, which caused the vehicle to crash into a cement block, then jump the curb and crash into a fire hydrant. The air bags did not deploy on impact. The contact and passenger were injured. The contact had a cracked skull and a concussion. The passenger sustained a concussion and a broken arm. A police report was filed. The vehicle destroyed.the vehicle was towed to a salvage yard. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 125,000.

- Sisterville, WV, USA

problem #932

Mar 062014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 5 mph when the power steering assist failed, making the steering wheel difficult to turn. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who advised the contact of a recall pertaining to the same failure under NHTSA campaign id number 10V073000 (steering). An authorized dealer was contacted and advised that the vehicle was previously repaired under the recall in 2010. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 82,000. Updated 09/05/14 updated 09/8/2014

- Cheektowaga, NY, USA

problem #931

Feb 242014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
My wife and her mother were driving on a street in the city that we live in. This street does have a mild to moderate amount of traffic depending on the time of day. It is a two lane road that for the most part goes through the residential area of the city that we live in as well as the neighboring city. The speed limit predominately is 35 mph. At the time of the incident, my wife was traveling to the South in which the roadway proceeds down a short, mild downgrade in to a natural wash or stream bed and then back up an upgrade to the South side of town and the neighboring city. My wife was traveling downhill when suddenly she lost power to the vehicle and the steering locked up. The engine was still running but all the electrical components of the vehicle such as the gauges and the car stereo ceased to work.due to the steering locking up and my wife being unable at the time to control the vehicle, she drifted in the opposite lane, bounced off a curb on that side of the road and then drifted back into the appropriate lane before coming to a stop. Fortunately for the safety and well-being of my wife and her mother, no other vehicle was in or approaching the opposite lane. When the vehicle came to a stop, the engine stalled when the key ignition was in the run position. My wife proceeded to switch the key in the off position and then proceeded to restart the vehicle. The vehicle then started up like normal. My wife proceeded to drive the vehicle to her original destination which was only a couple of miles away. She then notified me by cellphone in which we started the process of trying to get this issue resolved.

- Yucaipa, CA, USA

problem #930

Feb 242014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 149,000 miles


I was attempting to turn into a drive and the steering became hard to turn. Afterwards power steering appeared to work normal.

- Nashville, NC, USA

problem #929

Aug 082012


  • 110,482 miles
I was driving on the highway in North Carolina on vacation at 65-70 mph when the ignition kicked off luckily I acted quickly and restarted the car there have been a few other instances when the ignition has just shut off with out warning. I drive a 5 speed so I thought it was because I took my foot away from the gas, but I just learned that GM has a recall out on this model for similar problems.

- Blacksburg, VA, USA

problem #928

Dec 182013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
On 12/18/13 I began to notice a "humming" noise coming from the car. The humming noise got increasingly worse over the next few days. At the same time I noticed the "service airbag" sign came on and the radio began flash and attempted to eject a cd without me manually pushing the button or cd being inside it. The "humming" noise progressively got worse and the steering wheel began to stiffen up. After 2 weeks of the problem becoming increasingly worse, I decided to have my mechanic do a complete diagnostic test. He believed that the diagnosis is the electrical power steering and stated that after much research the cost would be $900+ because the repairs would have to be by a certified GM and parts would have to be specially ordered due to the nature of the way the car was manufactured. He also stated that apparently this problem is an ongoing issue with this particular make/model car and regretfully was unable to repair it. I am a single mom and value me and my child's safety but at this time the no repairs have been made due to the obscene amount of money in question to repair it and ongoing financial hardships. I am filing this complaint because I feel this problem can lead to a more serious issue and may be a part of a bigger issue.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #927

Dec 312009


  • miles


On December 31, 2009, my 25 year old daughter was driving along an interstate in her Chevy Cobalt. She crashed into a tree along the side of the interstate. Her airbags did not deploy, and her seatbelt did not lock. She died on impact, according to the police on reviewing the scene of the accident, my son observed that the tracks left by the car before it crashed were in a straight line, suggesting that the brakes either had not been applied or had not worked. On doing research, he found information online suggesting that there had been other, similar crashes in Cobalts and that the ignition switch was thought to be defective. We have already addressed this with GM and completed our action, and, at the time, I filed a consumer complaint to document the issue. I just read that this Agency will be investigating the issue, and I wanted to make sure you were aware of my daughter's death in a Cobalt in which the air bags did not deploy, the seatbelt did not lock, and that we strongly suspect, though GM never confirmed this, had a defective ignition switch.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #926

Feb 292012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 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 #925

Feb 202014


  • 142,000 miles
TL- the contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering failed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure and informed the contact that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number 10V073000 (steering). The failure mileage was approximately 142,000.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #924

Jan 012010


  • 50,000 miles
TL-the contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering failed numerous times while driving at various and caused the steering wheel to be hard to turn and vehicle jerked. The power steering warning bell beeped while the failure occurred. The contact wanted to also state that the vehicle was taken to the dealer several years ago to have NHTSA campaign number 10V073000 performed however the failure was not corrected. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000 and the current mileage was 130,000.

- White Lake , MI, USA

problem #923

Oct 042010


  • 113,360 miles


Car would cut off when steering wheel was tilted and at times key would not come out of ignition.

- Boykins, VA, USA

problem #922

Jan 162014


  • 142,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering system malfunctioned upon starting the vehicle. The contact was able to steer the vehicle but without any power assistance. The contact did not take the vehicle to a dealer for repairs. The failure mileage was 142,000.

- Bark River, MI, USA

problem #921

Jan 142014


  • 232,900 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving approximately 15 mph, the power steering sensor light illuminated as the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified but no solution was offered. The contact was informed that the vehicle was not included in the NHTSA campaign number 10V073000 (steering). The contact indicated that the vehicle experienced the same failure as listed in the recall. The failure mileage was 232,900.

- Santo Domigo, NM, USA

problem #920

Oct 202013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 45 mph, there a sudden loss of power steering assist with the illumination of the warning indicator. The vehicle was driven to the side of the road with force being applied to the steering wheel. The engine was turned off and upon restarting, the vehicle resumed normally. The vehicle was previously repaired under a recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 10V073000 (steering). The remedy failed to correct the problem and the failure recurred three times within a period of six weeks. The vehicle was not further repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 170,000...updated 02-28-14 updated 03/14/2014

- Mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #919

Nov 192013


  • 122,000 miles
After two hub failures, stabilizer link failures, ignition coil failure, rear defroster failure, power locks failure, and now the steering rack is making a grinding noise and causing premature wear to the front right tire. I believe there is a tsb on the steering rack. This should be a recall I won't ever by a GM again.

- Lake Geneva, WI, USA

problem #918

Oct 292013


  • 100,281 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the power steering system malfunctioned causing the contact to lose control of the vehicle. The contact was able to drive the vehicle. The contact did not take the vehicle to a dealer or contact the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 100,281. Updated 1/4/13

- Albuquerque , NM, USA

problem #917

Oct 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 130,549 miles
I purchased a 2006 Cobalt from a private owner this week. I test drove it 3 times with no problems. After bringing it home, I attempted to turn off the car and remove the key. It would not turn off all the way and the key would not come out. I was very upset and scared. The car would restart so I was able to put it in the driveway and park it next to the garage. Since I could not remove the key I put a car club on it and locked the door. Then I parked another car behind it. I did not think about it but since the key was in the accessory position the battery went dead. The next day I was not able to remove the key and I was not able to start it. I called a local Chevrolet dealer. He checked the VIN for recalls and said there was not one on the 2006 Cobalt related to the starting solenoid binding up. He did tell me it is common and most cars that have the problem have a recall issued. This problem has caused me major distress and could be very unsafe if the car had experienced this problem somewhere away from home. I found out how to fix it by reading articles on the internet. Many people have reported this problem and Chevrolet has not listened to the consumers by issuing a recall and repairing the problem. There is a button in the steering column that needs to be pressed by a rod to tell the car that the car is in park and it is ok to turn it off and remove the key. The cars with problems have a rod that does not depress the button. People have to remove a cover on the steering column and reattach the rod when they can not remove their key. However, over time the rod slips to far that this is no longer a solution and the parts need to be replaced. Why should the consumer have to suffer this stress and worry about getting their car stolen because their key is stuck in it? Chevrolet needs to immediately take care of this ongoing, long standing issue.

- Kent, WA, USA

problem #916

Sep 062013


  • 166,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the steering wheel pulled to the left. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection where they stated that the vehicle needed an alignment. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 166,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #915

Sep 032013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 55,100 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that after having the vehicle repaired under NHTSA campaign I.D. 10V073000 (steering), the power steering system malfunctioned while driving 25 mph with the illumination of the power steering warning light. The contact did not take the vehicle to a dealer. The failure mileage was 55,100..... updated 10-17-13 the power steering light illuminated four days after the check engine light illuminated.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #914

Aug 222013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
While driving at highway speeds the electric power steering went out displaying a "power steering failure" message in the dash and a beeping alarm occurred. The car crashed into a guardrail since the steering was unresponsive. This happened after the initial recall, so the supposed "good" electric motor was already installed, and it still failed. This car is dangerous, even after the recall and I am lucky to be alive. The car is now wrecked and I have bodily injuries. I hope GM will help assist with the several thousand dollar repair bill due to their knowingly faulty design.

- Robbinsville, NJ, USA

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