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 39 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #353

Dec 112009


  • 33,500 miles


While driving on a straight stretch of I 40 in North Carolina, the power steering message flashed, and then we lost power steering. There were several cars around us at the time. After pulling over to check under the hood (it was after dark and we couldn't see under the hood), we restarted the car and had power steering again, but lost it within 2 miles. We drove it again the next day and the day after, and the situation did not repeat itself. We took the car to a Chevy dealership on 12/14/09, where they informed us the problem was with the power steering motor, and it was replaced out of warranty (2006 Chevy Cobalt with approximately 33.5K miles at time of incident) for approximately $500. They also told us the motor replacement might not fix the whole problem, and if it happened again they would have to replace the column for an additional $700. We opted to have the part replaced because the car is often driven on winding mountain roads and losing power steering on these roads presents a major safety risk.

- Mooresville, NC, USA

problem #352

Dec 132009


  • miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt - key frequently gets stuck in ignition and power steering has begun to fail.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #351

Dec 112009


  • 54,780 miles
I was getting off freeway turning right heard a beep sound and all of a sudden wheel wasn't turning I was lucky that oncoming car moved out of my way pulled over and noticed warning words on screen saying power steering.

- Palm Desert, CA, USA

problem #350

Dec 132009


  • 75,700 miles


Chevy Cobalt 2006. Power steering goes out and locks up.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #349

Dec 032009


  • 24,000 miles
Power steering has gone out several times, leaving the car very difficult to maneuver. Took vehicle to sauder Chevrolet in brownstown, pa and we were told it was "normal for that model car"!

- Stevens, PA, USA

problem #348

Dec 122009


  • 21,049 miles
Loss of power steering after a warning light appeared. Nearly caused a wreck as we were turning in a busy intersection. First occurrence, the car is at the dealership right now. Found that this has been a common occurrence with the Chevy Cobalt for several years.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #347

Oct 202009


  • miles


I am the owner of a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, the problem I am having is with the power steering. There has not been an incident at this time but with due time I believe there will be. I am stationed in england at the time and here soon the snowy weather will come if the problem continues I am afraid if this issue is not resolved there will be serious injuries due to faulty power steering. I have done research for this problem and have come across numerous people that have this same issue with this make/model/year vehicle. This is the only vehicle that me and my family have, so I am asking for your help with this issue. If you need more information contact me at this number, it is a british number 07795547520.

- Apo, AE, USA

problem #346

Aug 112009


  • 50,500 miles
I have two issues with my 2006 Chevy Cobalt: 1. Aug 2009 the power steering went out completely while driving, rendering it nearly impossible to navigate. It works everytime I turn on the car for approximately 1-3 minutes and goes out everytime it's driven. I've been quoted that it will cost me $565 just for the part which must be ordered from a GM dealer only since the warranty ran out at 50K miles, the power steering went out on me at around 50500 miles. Just past the mark. This is a very dangerous issue that seriously needs to be addressed and recalled by GM for I've read hundreds of complaints from others who drive the same make and year. 2) the second issue is that the key locks in the ignition at least once a week making it impossible to start the car. Please look into these problems with this car for they can be very dangerous before someone loses their life over it.

- Oakland, FL, USA

problem #345

May 012008


  • 50,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt that has a power steering issue. The screen will display "power steering" which means that I have lost power steering. I have had steering column rattling randomly. My key gets stuck in the ignition, my cruise control does not work a long with my keyless entry I do not have any money to fix it.

- Richwood, TX, USA

problem #344

Dec 101992


  • miles
Occurred while driving on the highway. The steering becomes very stiff and is definitely a safety concern with 77,000 miles on it.

- Hillsboro, MO, USA

problem #343

Jun 112009


  • 37,900 miles


I'm driving the car and randomly the power steering flashes on the screen and my power steering stops working. Turn the car off and back on and the issue goes away to return at random intervals. Appeared to be worse the hotter it is outside. When it started to get cold I realized it was doing the same thing. With the icy conditions it is extremely unsafe for my steering to go out while im driving.

- Yuba City, CA, USA

problem #342

Dec 062009


  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While exiting the highway at 50 mph the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel, and then there was a loss of power steering. The vehicle was taken to the dealership and the steering motor was replaced. The current and failure mileages were 89000.

- Still Water, MN, USA

problem #341

Nov 282009


  • miles
We have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt, my daughter has been driving it and the power steering light keeps coming on and off, she will be driving and all of a sudden the power steering is out. This is going to cause her to have a major accident.

- Midlothian , TX, USA

problem #340

Nov 182009


  • miles
Chevy Cobalt 2006 power steering fail in MA car very danger, please may investigation. Before somebody dies in this car.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #339

Dec 072009


  • 65,497 miles
The power steering on my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt locked up with no warning and my car went off the road onto some grass. The steering wheel would not turn one way or the other until the car was turned off and restarted. I was only going 35 mph at the time the steering did this, or what happened could have been much worse.

- Hammond, LA, USA

problem #338

Dec 072009


  • 60,800 miles
I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt lt. The power steering warning keeps flashing while I turn my car on and while I drive. My steering locks up and lets me not turn at an easy rate. It is very tough to drive like this. It is a concern to me, I don't want to risk my life driving this vehicle. Please do something. I've read other people having this problem, and I think it needs to be dealt with.

- Greencastle, PA, USA

problem #337

Dec 072009


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 65 mph the power steering light illuminated on the dashboard and then the power steering failed. The steering column was replaced one year ago. The contact has not taken the vehicle back to the dealer. The contact stated that this is a major safety issue that could result in someone losing their life. The current and failure mileage were 102,000.

- Thayne, WY, USA

problem #336

Dec 072009


  • miles
I have lost power steering in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. It is dangerous and nothing has been done. How is it that GM is not taking responsibility over this safety hazard, but they are suing the company that made these electrical power steering? detroit General Motors co. Has sued a supplier, saying it has spent more than $30 million fixing problems in the steering systems of the Chevrolet Cobalt, its best-selling small car, and other vehicles. GM said customers have complained about unusual rattles, "clunks" and other noises. It pinpointed the flaw to "excessive gear backlash, " which causes problems in the steering column under certain driving conditions. The lawsuit names jtekt North America Inc., based in Plymouth, mich., and an affiliated company, jtekt automotive Virginia Inc. Of daleville, va. GM said it wants to be paid for replacing thousands of parts under customer warranty claims on the Cobalt, pursuit, G5, HHR and other cars, starting with 2005 model year. By fall, the cost had exceeded $30 million, and "GM's damages are expected to continue to increase as additional warranty claims are made, " the automaker's lawsuit said. "jtekt contends the components all met the specifications and testing requirements that GM gave it, " said bob haddad, a lawyer for the supplier. "the issues do not affect the operator's ability to control the vehicle. This is a noise issue." Changes were made at GM's request, and jtekt continues to provide steering assemblies, haddad said Monday. The steering systems are in tens of thousands of GM cars. Court papers do not indicate whether the company considers this a safety issue. A GM spokesman, alan adler, had no immediate comment. The lawsuit was filed in August in macomb county circuit court, amended there in October and moved Nov. 17 to federal court in detroit.

- Auburndale, FL, USA

problem #335

Dec 062009


  • 85,000 miles
I have a 2006 Cobalt ss. It has 85000 miles on it and when driving it from Florida to Virginia my power steering shut off 5 times and everytime I stopped the car and turned it back on the problem went away but randomly returned this is a serious issue as I thought my car was going to swerve off the highway. Thanks

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #334

Nov 302009


  • 70,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt that I brought 2 years ago. I have had many problems with the power steering in my car. There have been many incidents when I am driving that my power steering will go out. While I am driving the car will shut off and it will jump. I have taken the car to the mechanic on several occasions where they tell me they can not find anything wrong. I have found that if the car sits for about two weeks or more then the computer will reset itself. Just recently the power steering went up in the car while I was driving home and the speedometer starting jumping around and I could not tell how fast I was driving and if I went under a 40 mph the car would jump and shut off if I had to stop. Now the car's power steering has gone up again and I can't turn the wheel at all. I have found that if I drive the car for a hour or more straight on the beltway then I have the most problems with the power steering unit. Most recently the problem has been occurring ever two weeks and I am unable to drive the car until it resets (if it resets).

- Randallstown, MD, USA

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