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 31 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #513

Sep 252009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. He stated while traveling at speeds of 55 mph, the steering column locked without warning. The dealer replaced an unknown part at partial expense of General Motors. The vehicle was not under warranty. On a separate occasion, while operating the vehicle at speeds of 65 mph in clear conditions and moderate traffic, the steering wheel would not respond to driver operation. The driver attempted to slow down and move the vehicle off the highway by braking lightly, however the wheels would not respond. The vehicle then spun in a complete 360 degree turn and side grazed the median strip before coming to a stop. The manufacturer was contacted but took no liability for the failure. Repairs were made to the vehicle at the owner's expense. The failure and current mileages were under 47,000. Updated 3/12/10 the consumers daughter hit a guardrail due to the steering malfunction. Updated 07/09/10.

- Alta Loma , CA, USA

problem #512

Jan 152010


  • 46,000 miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt - power steering intermittently stops working this is happening more and more frequently with a greater chance for a traffic accident.

- Ruston, LA, USA

problem #511

Nov 252009


  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While stopped at an intersection the power steering light illuminated and immediately she lost control of the steering and almost crashed. She turned the vehicle off and the steering reseted and operated normally for over one week and a shortly after she experienced the failure for the second time. She took the vehicle to the dealer; however the dealer was not able to locate the failure code.the dealer did not replace any parts. The failure mileage was 63,000 and the current mileage was 64,000. The manufacturer took a report and advised to take the vehicle to the dealer to be diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired.

- Goodlettsville, TN, USA

problem #510

Sep 082009


  • 51,765 miles


While driving a 2006 Chevy Cobalt on a highway, the power steering went out (and power steering light came on), make steering very difficult. When I turned the engine off and back on, the light stayed off for short time then came back on, and vehicle had no power steering. I took the Cobalt to dealer, and they discovered fault code C0475 electric steering motor circuit failure, lost communication with ECM. The dealer removed and replaced the steering motor at a cost of $497.85.

- Lincoln, CA, USA

problem #509

Aug 262009


  • 55,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt most of the time I don't have power steering. When I do have power steering I will drive a block down the road and the power steering will go out and the information center will tell me that I no longer have power steering.

- Cuba, MO, USA

problem #508

Jan 152010


  • 65,000 miles
Electronic steering shuts off unexpectedly. If it occurs in curve, steering wheel almost locks, causing temporary loss of control. This has occurred numerous times and "resets" when the car is turned off and back on. Time after reset before recurrence can vary from a few seconds to hours.

- North Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #507

Feb 022010


  • miles


Driving 2006 Cobalt power steering quits working and the car changed lanes. The ps light did come on in the dash but it was to late. Out of warranty but have scheduled to take it in to the dealer. Not very safe. Also pulled over turned car off waited a few minutes resumed but it occurred about 10 minutes later.

- Independence, MO, USA

problem #506

May 152009


  • 40,000 miles
In the warmer months, the power steering on my 06 Chevrolet Cobalt will suddenly quit while driving. If I restart the car, power steering will return but only for a matter of minutes. It becomes most dangerous when it goes out while I'm making a turn. Twice I have almost hit another vehicle while turning in to a driveway. I believe this failure to be a major safety hazard and I'm glad the NHTSA is finally looking into it.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #505

Feb 022010


  • 50,000 miles
There was no sign of problems with my 2006 Chevy Cobalt before the failure. Suddenly, the power steering light came on as I was driving, and the power steering failed. The steering wheel was extremely difficult to turn. It felt as if it were locked. I pulled over gradually, turned the car off, and then turned it back on again. The car worked another 1/2 mile then the power steering failed again. Same consequences. Took car to Chevy dealership next day. They determined it was the power assist pump that needed to be replaced. Pump is being replaced today.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #504

Dec 272009


  • 40,000 miles
We own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt. In Dec. 2009 the steering warning on the dash came on, but went off the next time my 19 yr old daughter started the car. A week later the power steering went out completely when the car was turned on. We had to replace the module immediately at a cost of almost $900. I have the work ticket to show what was done to repair the car. I now understand that this problem is being reported by other Cobalt owners.

- Enid, OK, USA

problem #503

Jul 132009


  • miles


I would like to complain about my power steering on my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. While driving my power steering would go out and the steering would become stiff. I have almost gotten into at least 7 accidents due to the lack of turning ability. Please let there be a recall on this. I know there are many others with this same problem. I have had this problem for about 6 months now.

- Camp Smith, HI, USA

problem #502

Sep 102009


  • 46,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls I got it like a year ago and it has a really bad power steering problem when I got it from the dealer it was good for a couple of months. Then the power steering started to fail I was going to moreno valley through the curves and it just shut of on me so I had to pull over. So I turned of the car and waited. When I turned it back on it worked for like ten minutes then it shut of again. Now I just turn on my car and as soon as I press the gas the power steering turns off. It is really hard to park and to control it. I tried to take it back to the dealer but my warranty was expired. My Cobalt is not the only one with the problem I did some research and alot of people have the exact same complaint as me. I think this car should be recalled for the safety of the driver and the pedestrians.

- Banning, CA, USA

problem #501

Feb 022010


  • 47,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt with power steering malfunction. While I am driving the power steering goes out and the vehicle is very hard to steer and has almost caused me to have a wreck. It is now doing it every day and several times a day. I want to know why there has been no recall on this problem when there are thousands of complaints online about Chevy Cobalts doing this. Someone needs to do something before someone dies in a wreck due to this defect.

- Longview, TX, USA

problem #500

Jan 202010


  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. She noticed that when the cruise control was set the vehicle speed decelerated.the power steering light illuminated before and after the failure occurred and within seconds the power steering also failed. She was able to steer the vehicle manually but it required more effort. She took the vehicle to the garage to be diagnosed. The diagnostic located the failure at the emission control sensor and the steering column. The vehicle will be repaired. The failure mileage was 59,000 and the current mileage was 61, 500.

- Ellabell , GA, USA

problem #499

Jan 152010


  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately between 20-30 mph on normal road conditions. A chime sensor sounded inside of the vehicle and the "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The driver pulled over to the side of the road which required greater effort to turn the steering wheel. The engine was turned off. The vehicle restarted and resumed normal operation. The failure occurred whenever the vehicle was in operation. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer. The electric power steering column was replaced. The failure mileage was 55,000.

- Rockvale, TN, USA

problem #498

May 142008


  • miles
My power steering tends to go out while driving. Traction control light comes on. The shifter clicks. My speedometer and rmps go nuts. My ABS and brake light flash. The car stalls when I stop in traffic or at lights. They reprogrammed the computer chip three times and replaced the part once. I now am having the problem again and they said its not their problem.

- Burlington, NJ, USA

problem #497

Aug 172009


  • miles
In June 2006 I bought a 2006 Chevy Cobalt sd. On June 2008 I was left stranded. The car would not start. The car was towed to a nearby Chevy dealer. They checked the car and found the following: Battery failed midtronics (battery one replaced), checked engine light on (injector fuel cleaned), induction system dirty (they flushed it) and air filter full of dirt (raf replaced air filter). This problem cost me $208.82. On Jan 2009 the horn was replaced (it had stopped working 2 months prior). This cost me $58.85. The major problem is the power steering. The light came on around Aug or Sept of 2009. The steering wheel gets hard and it's very hard to maneuver, specially when you're going to turn into a parking space. I had the car checked by two different mechanic shops and they both said it needs the power steering module replaced. This piece cost around $470. Plus labor. The first mechanic checked it on Jan 23, 2010 and bought the power steering motor ($175)from the Chevy dealer and replaced it. The problem still existed and he kept the car for two days to check if maybe it was something else. He concluded it was the steering column that needed to be replaced. He returned the motor and now was told that they (Chevy) did not sell the motor by itself, that he needed to buy the whole module, which is $470. The first 2 months I would turn off the car and it would not happen again, but since the beginning of Dec 2009, even when I turn off the car and then turn it on again, the steering wheel locks up and it stays that way the whole time you are driving. It happens every day, everytime I turn on the car. This is a pain because it's hard to maneuver the car, but it is also very dangerous, because if I had to make a quick turn, I couldn't do so, and that would probably end up in an accident.

- Hialeah, FL, USA

problem #496

Apr 012009


  • 65,000 miles
I purchased a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt in February of 2009. Around 65,000 miles, the power steering began going out. At first, it would only go out if it was hot outside, and if you turned the car off and then back on it would go away. It became more and more frequent to where it is out nearly all the time now. I have been told my only option is to have the steering column replaced at a cost of approx. $700.

- New Albany, IN, USA

problem #495

Dec 012009


  • 26,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt and the power steering keeps going out/disabling/not functioning when being driven. This happens with no warning and very frequently and causes me to almost lose control of the car. I sincerely believe that something is wrong with the power steering pump or the steering column.

- Martinsburg, WV, USA

problem #494

Jan 022010


  • 80,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt and for the past month the power steering has been turning off while I've been driving. At first it only happened once every few days, then it started happening daily, now it happens every time I get in the car, about 15 seconds after I start to drive it turns off. This is not the first issue I've had with this car but I am out of warranty so the dealership wants me to pay thousands of dollars to replace something that should not be breaking in the first place.

- Carefree, AZ, USA

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