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:
68 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
129 / 3
Average Mileage:
60,279 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 27 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #591

Feb 102010


  • 54,956 miles


I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt and my 18 yr son was driving and the power steering went out and the message inside the car came on. The vehicle became very hard to drive and almost lost control of the car. When I got home I restarted the car but after 2 minutes of driving the same thing happened. It is extremely dangerous for him and I hear can cost up to $2000 to fix. Something needs to be done.

- Bellevue, NE, USA

problem #590

Feb 012010


  • 78,650 miles
I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ss. Back in January I had an incident where I was driving and the message center on the dash displayed "power steering." Once that appeared and chimed, I lost most manueverability of my vehicle and it became hard to steer. Once I got to my destination, I turned off the vehicle and back on, and noticed that the problem did not replicate. At the time, my Cobalt had approximately 78,650 miles. Since then, I had not had any occurrence until 2/1/10. Since 2/1/10, the problem occurs every day. It seems to occur after approximately 40-50 minutes of driving and then my power steering kicks out. Turning the engine off and back on will correct the problem, but within 5 minutes the "power steering" message reappears. The engine has to cool down for the length of driving time to increase. I drive a 44 mile commute daily one way, and experience this every day; seeing that I am not the only one experiencing this, it poses a serious safety risk especially when most of my commute is highway driving. I've had it kick out when I'm on an expressway exit ramp almost unable to continue my turn around the corner. I have seen that GM stated in rebuttal to this investigation that "if it goes out it requires extra effort." Being a fairly burly male, that extra effort is a lot! it is like you're going against quite a bit of resistance on the power assist components. I used to work for ups and drove their trucks; their package cars don't have power steering and I know how the lack of power steering feels; this is nothing in comparison. Just having a major snow storm here in the midwest, it poses additional safety concerns trying to maneuver on snow covered pavement. Another concern and question that can be posed, is that if it cuts out after approximately 40-50 minutes of driving, that may mean the power assist is overheating. Can that cause a fire in the vehicle? my Cobalt now is close to approaching 80,000 miles.

- Round Lake, IL, USA

problem #589

Jun 022007


  • 15,000 miles
My power steering on my 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss is going out and is very loud and clunky.

- Garden City, UT, USA

problem #588

Jan 242010


  • miles


Without warning the message screen next to the speedometer read "power steering" and the wheel became very difficult to move. Meanwhile, the car was still driving motion, but the direction of the wheels was nearly inalterable. The only remedy is to bring the car to a complete stop, turn off the engine, and restart it. This can be very hazardous in traffic, as well as in areas of limited driving space. This has occurred in my vehicle 18 times in the past 13 days. During one occurrence, nearby police officers took notice of my struggle and came over to find out what was wrong.

- Elmhurst, IL, USA

problem #587

Aug 052009


  • 48,000 miles
Power steering going out on & off at the beginning & now is after one minute of driving, it gets very stiff hard to maneuver I was about to crash so many times.

- Newark , CA, USA

problem #586

Dec 202009


  • 52,136 miles
06 Cobalt power steering.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #585

Dec 162009


  • 49,800 miles


2006 Chevy Cobalt electric power steering failed at 49,800 miles. This happened unexpectedly while my daughter was driving on the highway, luckily she was able to pull over and park without an accident.

- Neche, ND, USA

problem #584

Oct 052009


  • 37,668 miles
I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls in which the power steering went out. Thankfully I was not driving on the highway, I was just going 2-3 mph out of a parking deck when without warning I had absolutely no steering. I had to take it to the nearby Chevy dealership $456 later it was fixed.

- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA

problem #583

Feb 032010


  • 57,588 miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt, near 58,000 miles, recently had the power steering go out on it. While driving, the power steering suddenly became tight and difficult to turn. I looked down and saw "power steering" displayed on the display. I was able to steer it home and immediately began my online research. I read that often times turning the car off and then back on will "reset" it. I went out and tried it and it worked. Unfortunately, it only lasted about 10 minutes before I got the message again and the power steering clicked off. Luckily there is a bit of a warning right before it goes out, you can hear a click and then 3 dings and then it locks up. It has been a week now since I first started having the issue and it has progressively gotten worse with each day of driving, going from lasting 10 minutes before failure, to lasting only 15-30 seconds. After the 3rd day I finally gave up on it and began driving my older much more reliable, dependable Chevy cavalier. Today I am taking the Cobalt to the dealership for repairs. I was quoted a price between $450-$600 to repair. I filed a complaint with GM as well. The mechanic at the dealership informed me that they were well aware of the issue and he sees at least one in per month with the same issue. This is not very safe and is obviously a major issue. I am lucky to be able to handle the car when the steering goes out, but what about those with disabilities or the ones who lack the upper body strength? this issue needs to be resolved with GM before they have a much more fatal issue on their hands. The Chevy Cobalt is by far the worse vehicle I have ever owned with all it's issues and I have lost complete faith in the Chevy name because of it.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #582

Feb 032010


  • miles
I was driving home from work when I exited the freeway my power steering went out and did not come back until I turned off my car and restarted it. This problem has happened many times now sometimes 2 times while driving to work. It just recently started. It was cold and I had my heater on when it first started to happen.

- Pasadena , TX, USA

problem #581

Jan 202010


  • 58,000 miles


I have an 2006 Cobalt & the power steering has went out it is very difficult for me to drive... when the car is turn off it goes away for a short time & comes right back... very concerned for my safety.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #580

Sep 262009


  • 70,000 miles
Electric power steering.

- Bryan, TX, USA

problem #579

Feb 082010


  • 49,000 miles
During normal driving alert tone sounds, dic says "power steering" and power assist is lost. Vehicle becomes very difficult to control. If I pull over, turn engine off then restart, the problem clears up, however, it will re-occur within a few minutes. Problem happening with greater frequency during last two weeks, now happens every ten minutes or less. I drive mostly on city streets. Problem has occurred too many times to count in the past two weeks, at least 30 times in 5 hours of driving. Yesterday problem occurred 5 times in 15 minutes. Very dangerous.

- Waterford, MI, USA

problem #578

Nov 102009


  • 75,000 miles
The power steering in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt gave out after three years of ownership without warning. Since it is an electronic power steering system, there was no warning, just a sudden total loss of power steering while I was driving. The vehicle became extremely difficult to turn and this created an extremely hazardous situation. I took the car to my mechanic and he replaced the power steering motor which then fixed the problem.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #577

Jan 292010


  • 45,000 miles
I had just turned on the on ramp to get O the highway and my power steering failed at 25 mph. I later took to dealer to have them check it out and they said I will need a new power steering column and electric motor. Dealer said it will be a $1100 fix. I think GM should pay for this, seeing how so many other Cobalt owners are complaining about this problem.

- Flagstaff, AZ, USA

problem #576

Aug 202008


  • 36,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls coupe. I have a problem with the power steering, as do many other Cobalt onwers. The power steering motor will turn off unexpectedly while driving. I've never been in an accident or had any other serious problems with the car. This makes the car very difficult to drive while at low speeds.

- Bastrop, TX, USA

problem #575

Sep 012008


  • 45,000 miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt-power steering failure. I have no power steering in this car now. The electrical unit that powers the power steering has gone out-failed. I took the car to a Chevy dealership and was told it would cost at the very least $800 to fix. I cannot afford to have this repaired. My son uses this car daily (now with no power steering) to and from work and to school. His commute is 1 hour on the interstate one way. My son follows a website for Cobalt owners and tells me that almost all of the emails on the website are regarding the failure of the electrical unit for the power steering. We have also had to replace the fuel tank and fuel injectors on this car. Will there be any recall for the Chevy Cobalt? there should be!!!L

- Gretna, LA, USA

problem #574

Sep 012006


  • miles
I bought a 2006 Chevy Cobalt brand new and immediatly questioned why the sterring wheel shook whenever I braked. I was told by the dealer and another independent mechanic that because the vehicle was a small plastic gas saver that it was to be expected. The shaking of the sterring wheel gets very severe when going downhill and in incidences of quick stops. I was so sure this car was an accident waiting to happen I did not allow my 17 year old driver to drive it. Now, I am hearing about other cevy Cobalts that have steering failure and I no longer accept the answers that I have received from the so called professionals. I hope the government will force GM into a recall before my steering fails and I find myself in the hospital because my steering has failed

- Stafford Springs, CT, USA

problem #573

Aug 152009


  • 35,000 miles
I own a 2006 Cobalt which I leased new in 2006 and in the past 8 months I have had the power steering go on my car 4 times. All four times was during parking the vehicle. I have been teaching my 16 year old daughter how to parallell park and this is when the incidents happened. All of a sudden I could not steer the car and this would last up to 10 minutes and then it would start working properly when not turning the wheel so much. I was told there was nothing wrong with the car. Since this happened to me, I keep hearing about alot of other people with the same problem. This concerns me very much as the times it happened to me I was fortunate that I have not been in an accident or injured but there is no guarantees the next time I may be as fortunate. Also at times the steering makes creaking noises when taking sharp turns...this concerns me greatly and I do not feel safe drining this car anymore.

- Fredericton, 00, USA

problem #572

Dec 162009


  • 39,000 miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt's electronic power steering goes out without warning making steering the car almost impossible creating a very dangerous situation. Great effort is needed to turn the steering wheel 90 degrees (this is not like driving an old car without power streering). Condition started at about 39000 miles and the car has about 40550 miles on it today. Problem occurs at various intervals but is becoming more frequent. The car must be stopped, engine shutdown, and car restarted to temporarily clear the condition. Situation has not been corrected as of 2/8/2010. Chevrolet customer service said a recall is pending (they allegedly are cooperating with nhsta at this time on a recall), but cannot commit to fixing their defect in my car. Internet research indicates repairs can be up to $2000 becuase individual repair parts can only be purchased as a large kit. I have begun discussions with local dealership trying to get Chevrolet to do the right thing and pay for the repair since it is a well documented defect currently being investigated by nhsta. This is a serious defect in the car's design that places the driver and other motorists on the road near the car when the power steering system goes out. This can happen at any speed at any time leaving the public at risk.

- Decatur, AL, USA

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