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 21 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #713

Oct 302009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


Power steering is off and you have to put all your might to make turns and U-turns.

- Yorba Linda, CA, USA

problem #712

May 012009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
Power steering malfunctioning in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. Spoke to GM with no help gained from it. Waited 8 months then paid to have it fixed myself recently. Power steering made it hard to turn at low speeds, ran over street curbs due to it and there was a constant rattle noise associated with the steering.

- Winter Haven, FL, USA

problem #711

Jul 152009


  • 72,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The driver stated that every time she started her vehicle the power steering light came on and it became difficult to turn the steering wheel. The driver stated that the wheel would also lock. She had to apply pressure to the accelerator pedal in order to make a turn. She was unable to slow down and make a turn because her wheel locked. The failure mileage was 72,000. The current mileage was 77,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #710

Oct 242009


  • miles


Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) I have photos of my crash that I feel was due to mechanical failure with my 2006 Cobalt. I drove straight off the road and into some smaller trees causing both airbags to deploy and my wife spending 6 days in the hospital....I do not have the car now I have already rid myself of it unknowing of the recall. I have photos that your company is more than welcome too. Please do not have me be one of theones to fall through the cracks. [xxx]

- London, OH, USA

problem #709

Jul 182008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 50,335 miles
I was driving the car and everything was fine. Out of no where the power steering stopped working. It was very had to steer and get control of to car. I was able to get the car to a parking lot and call the dealership I purchased it at. I brought it to them and they repaired the car 4 days later. The following is what I got charge for. Tech replaced steering column and cleared all codes. 55cpcr3 $171.70 19200751 steering column kit $559.98 fedx ovn, chrg $43.08 shop supplies for repair $10.30 total with taxes $840.01.

- Wall, NJ, USA

problem #708

Jun 062007


  • 1,000 miles
2 months a after a bought the car I was turning around in a drive way when I lost the ability to turn car hit a tree trunk paid over $300 to get fixed and then had problems with the front end at high speeds shaking in the steering wheel only slamming on the brakes would stop the shaking sent the car back 4 times but they were unable to find the problem also there is a leak in the roof at the on-star button which is going to cause alot of problems if not fixed again sent it back with no results.

- Warwick, RI, USA

problem #707

May 202009


  • 38,000 miles


My wife was driving to the store and the power steering went out. Every time we get in the car and start it the power steering is on, then a minute after driving the power steering goes out. I have not fixed the problem because I was to it might cost 1 to 2 thousand dollars. I should not be liable for something that was not my fault.

- Gulf Breeze, FL, USA

problem #706

Jan 012010


  • 68,290 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving the steering would become increasingly tight and would make it difficult to operate the steering wheel. When this would occur, the power steering warning light would illuminate and beep three times before failure. While driving straight, the contact could maintain the steering wheel, with great difficulty. While attempting a turn, the contact would feel as though he would possibly lose control of the vehicle. The manufacturer was contacted and advised taking the vehicle to the dealer, at his expense. There were no repairs made to the vehicle to date. There were no recalls, however there was an open investigation pertaining to the alleged failure (NHTSA action number PE10005: Steering:electric power assist system). The failure and current mileages were approximately 68,290.

- Capitan, NM, USA

problem #705

Feb 282010


  • 60,000 miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt on 02/28/2010 had a power steering issue. The power steering light came on and the power steering did not work while I was driving. However when you turn the car off and turn it back on the power steering works for a little bit then quits again.

- Pacific, MO, USA

problem #704

Sep 012009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
The power steering fails every 50 yards on my 2006 Chevy Cobalt, making it very dangerous to drive. It's been happening for months, so I rarely attempt to drive the car.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #703

Feb 262010


  • 59,260 miles


My power steering failed while I was on the freeway on Friday afternoon. "power steering" flashed on my dashboard digital screen, and the wheel stiffened up. The power steering did not come back on through the remainder of my drive. Now every time I turn on my car, the power steering works for about one minute, and then it fails again. I am now having to crank my wheel to park, drive on neighborhood streets, anything that requires slower speeds. I had heard that there may be a recall, and would like to wait to see if this repair can be done free of charge. It is an enormous inconvenience and makes me feel unsafe behind the wheel of my own car.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #702

Feb 252010


  • 45,100 miles
I drive a 2006 Chevy Cobalt lt and while driving home from college my "power steering" light flashed on and my steering wheel immediately tightened up. I was going about 65mph on a rt. 202 in Pennsylvania. I struggled to get off of the ramp because the power steering had tightened up and made turning so difficult. I went to pep boys to get power steering fluid but was informed that the vehicle has electrical power steering and only the manufacturer could do the repair. My car just passed 45,000 miles. I am very upset that I am being so inconvenienced with this burden. I did not pay all this money for a vehicle to begin to break down prior 100,000 miles. When I got home I wanted to look up how much the would cost me and came across many other Cobalt owners experiencing the same issues. I am so shocked that a recall has not occurred yet. I would like to see a recall in the future since I guess that it will not be a cheap fix. Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope you make the correct decision.

- Runnemede, NJ, USA

problem #701

Feb 262010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 70,546 miles
I purchased a used 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, in April, 2009 for my daughter to drive. On Friday, February 26, 2010, she was making a sharp left turn, when her power steering failed to work. She stopped the car, turned it off, and when she re-started it, the power steering began working again. She was about 35 miles from home, and had no choice but to drive it. I called our local Chevy dealer and was informed that many complaints of this problem had been reported, and NHTSA was investigating. The power steering continued to shut off and on intermediately more than 8 or 10 times over the 35 mile trip. We took it to the service department on Saturday, February 27, 2010 and paid $47 for a diagnostic check. It was found that steering motor is failing. I believe that this is a major safety issued, and would appreciate a full investigation being conducted by your Agency. A recall should be issued at once, as this seems to be a common problem among Cobalt owners, and, as I am sure you realize, is an extreme safety issue.

- Labelle, FL, USA

problem #700

Nov 262009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 28,451 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving 10 mph and attempted to make a left turn, she noticed that the check engine light illuminated, moments later the vehicle no longer had power steering. The vehicle was taken to the dealership where the contact had the power steering motor replaced. There were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 28,451. Updated 04/01/10 the steering motor was replaced. Updated 06/28/10

- Flagler Beach, FL, USA

problem #699

Nov 122009


  • 57,000 miles
While driving my 2006 Chevy Cobalt, the power steering light came on and immediately I lost my power steering. I was on a secondary road and almost collided head on with an on coming vehicle. For a while you could turn off the ignition and restart the vehicle and the power steering would engage, but as of now, I have complete malfunction and have not had power steering in almost 4 month! despite numerous complaints(900,000) gmac has yet to acknowledge a problem or recall the vehicle. The repair is in excess of $800 dollars. The car is extremely hard to handle and a danger on the road.

- Clinton, TN, USA

problem #698

Nov 132009


  • 42,000 miles
Car has always pulled to the right. On night of November 13, 2009, I was making a right turn going approximately 5 miles per hour. Next thing I knew I had no control over the steering and went up over a curb and could not get off it or steer away from it.

- Swartz Creek, MI, USA

problem #697

Oct 252008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,575 miles
Feb. 28, 2010 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls sedan 4 cylinder 4 door automatic transmission I purchased the 2006 Chevy Cobalt brand new from a Chevy dealer. I fully maintained and serviced the vehicle as required and when necessary. On October 25, 2008 I was driving the 2006 Chevy Cobalt and I was driving onto the cross county parkway heading eastbound when the vehicles steering system failed thus causing me to lose control of the vehicle thus crashing the vehicle onto the parkways guardrail. I was very shaken, the vehicle sustained serious damage, and the county police was called to the scene. A police report was filed soon thereafter. The 2006 Chevy Cobalt had to be towed off the parkway and back to my home. GM should really investigate the Chevy Cobalt for steering system failure.

- Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #696

Feb 242010


  • 48,700 miles
My power steering went out on me for the first time a few days ago when I was in the middle of accelerating on a curved ramp to merge into traffic on the highway. It caused me to run off the road and was very difficult to control the steering after that. The power steering light flashed on the dashboard and at the soonest stoplight I turned the car off and back on and then the problem was fixed. In the past four days since the problem began, the power steering has failed at least twice a day. It seems to fail when I am accelerating and/or turning. It has not happened at slow speeds yet - mainly on the highway. It's very scary and has caused me to run off the road several times and nearly sideswipe cars from losing control of my car in the my lane. The scariest part to me is the surprise of the onset. I've been in the middle of making a turn at each failure and it causes me to lose control of my car. I am contacting the dealership tomorrow for information on repairing the problem. I have about 48,000 miles on the vehicle so it's no longer under warranty.

- Surfside Beach, SC, USA

problem #695

Dec 012009


  • 115,000 miles
My 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt had a sudden loss of steering on more than one occasion while driving. I could stop the ca and turn it off for a few minutes and then restart it and the power steering would be ok for awhile. Whenever the power steering failed the car was extremely difficult to steer and could have resulted in a crash while I was driving at a speed of 70mph!

- Hillsville , VA, USA

problem #694

Feb 232010


  • 61,000 miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt is having power steering issues. The car has become hard to turn with out hitting the curb or almost hitting other cars, as well as pulling to the side of the road to avoid an accident and getting out of an ambulance, fire engine, or police car's way. This has become a concern to me as many inexperienced drivers I know have one, because it is liked by younger drivers, and they might not know how to avoid an accident with the power steering acting up on them. This problem should be looked at before it causes injury to people.

- Fleming Island , FL, USA

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