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 52 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #93

Jun 132009


  • 67,400 miles


Dear sir or madam: On my way to wal-mart on route 40 one Saturday afternoon, a "power steering" message came up on my 2006 Cobalt ss dashboard. This was happening as I was increasing my speed close to the speed limit of 55 miles an hour. I arrived to my destination with difficulty since I have never driven a car without power steering and driving it took a lot of effort to avoid crashing in the parking lot traffic. After I shopped at wal-mart and returned to my car, I started engine and relieved that the problem has disappeared. Much to my dismay, I went back to route 40 up to 55 miles an hour again with the power steering problem appearing again. Based on what I've experienced so far, the power steering seems to get turned "off" during a long, straight-away drive at more than 50 miles an hour on a hot weather. It has happened twice today and I'm concerned that it may happen again and again. The defect could endanger myself and my passengers in the event the power steering is much more needed, especially in low traffic speeds. During low traffic speeds, it increases the risk of an accident due to a more required effort to steer. Nothing has been done to it yet and I will be calling my car dealership soon to see if my zurich vehicle contract covers the electronic power steering. Since GM's warranty has expired already, it will not be covered. I have searched the web and found that countless Cobalt owners are having the similar problems, which worries me. General Motors hasn't started a recall for the defect and it's unfortunate because the defect can end up being fatal to many other Cobalt owners. I hope General Motors isn't being negligent, especially now that they are under bankruptcy protection. I bought the 2006 Cobalt ss 4 months ago used and I've accumulated 7000 miles on it with an odometer reading of about 67,400. It was a great car until I find out it's pretty unsafe with a re-occurring power steering problem.

- Hagerstown, MD, USA

problem #92

May 122009


  • 40,000 miles
My husband and I purchased to 2006 Chevy Cobalt in September of 06. Since the purchase of my, "brand new" car the air conditioning, power locks, and power steering have all ceased to work. My air conditioning only worked for one summer. The power locks went out about 6 months ago. Now, the most concerning is that my power steering has now failed. I turn the car on and have power steering for approximately 2-3 minutes, then the cars power steering fails. I will never have the money to replace any parts because of the high payments and insurance. My poor husband is a pizza delivery person! this is the worst thing to happen. I tried to buy an american made car hoping that I would at least get to drive it for a few years without having it break down. Now GM is getting my paycheck and the taxes they took out of it!! this is plain wrong! I will never buy GM again.

- Topeka, KS, USA

problem #91

Jun 032009


  • 69,000 miles
I almost got in a major accident a week ago because my power steering failed on my 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss/SC. My warranty is up and the dealer told me it would be 900 dollars to fix. I am disgusted this is not recalled. This is extremely dangerous and needs to be recalled. And I understand there are alot of other people with the same problem. Just wait until someone really gets hurt, cause I know GM wont recall it until someone does!!!!

- Plainfield, IL, USA

problem #90

May 312009


  • 60,200 miles


My 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt with electronic power steering has an intermittent problem in that the power steering just turns off. There are no apparent reasons why. I can drive 1-2 days with no problem and the third day it will quit 4 or 5 times. Turning the car off and restarting it turns it back on. Chevrolet has recalled the Malibu because of the same problem but nothing is being done with the Cobalt. This obviously a big safety issue since the car is very hard to steer when the power steering just quits. I have not had any accidents yet due to this problem and will have it repaired however it seems a matter of time before some unexpected person has this happen at an inopportune time resulting in an accident.

- Mansfield, TX, USA

problem #89

Jun 062009


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering fails while driving various speeds. As a result, the steering wheel becomes very difficult to turn. The dealer stated that there were no recalls and the warranty was expired; therefore, the contact would have to pay over $3,000 for the repairs. The failure mileage was 36,000.

- Stratford, CT, USA

problem #88

Apr 232009


  • miles
I bought a 2006 Chevy Cobalt April 9,2009. After about 2 weeks the power steering light came on. I took it to the dealership and they said the steering column is going out and it would cost about $900. Now the light comes on after a few minutes. The car was not under warranty, but I think they knew there was something wrong with it. I have checked on the internet and a lot of people have the same complaint. There should be a recall or something help for people like me that cannot afford to have it repaired.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #87

Jun 062009


  • 52,102 miles


While driving the vehicle at highway speeds for approximately 5 minutes, I slowed to make a left turn when I noticed the steering wheel was hard to turn, as I looked at the dash to make sure the engine had not died, I noticed that the power steering message was on. After I stopped to attempt to locate the power steering reservoir...(which I later determined that this vehicle does not have.) upon re-starting the vehicle it seemed to work fine...for about ten miles. I turned the vehicle off and restarted with a resolution of he problem. The problem re-occurred several times on the way home. The current mileage was 57,102. This vehicle will be parked in until I contact a dealer on Monday to report this problem. I do not feel safe transporting my family in this vehicle. After searching the internet and this appears this is a big problem on these vehicles. GM should look at this carefully and notice that there have been no deaths or injuries>>>>yet>>>! with the current financial troubles of automakers today...I doubt the would really want a huge injury or death related lawsuit to be filed against them. Everyone with a voice (and a Cobalt with problems) should make themselves heard and voice these complaints! as Cobalt owners we should consider ourselves lucky just to be able to write a complaint about this problem! something has to be done to correct this issue!

- Macarthur, WV, USA

problem #86

Jun 032009


  • 45,500 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt which I'm upset to say has caused me to almost be involved in various accidents. This problem started since December, 2006. While driving, my "power steering" warning comes on, and before you know it, you loose control of your car. This has almost made me get into a few accidents. The manufacturers should be more serious about the consumer's safety. I'm enraged and terrified to think this might happen when I'm in the car with my kids. As a result, I don't go out to prevent any accidents. Manufacturers should do something to resolve this problem. I'm pretty sure, if they were the ones who drove my car, they would be more selective about the quality of their product. I will never own a Chevy again.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #85

May 292009


  • 46,589 miles
I was driving down the road and all of sudden my wheel locked on me. I try to get out of the way of a oncoming car and I was very frighten. This could have been a serious accident if I was not thinking on my feet. Chevrolet should have a recall on the steering wheel column. I only got 45,000 miles on the car and only own it for about 3 yrs.

- Greenville, NC, USA

problem #84

Jun 012009


  • 68,400 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that a power steering mechanism in her vehicle failed three times in one day. She had to turn off the vehicle and wait for it to reset itself. The dealer and manufacturer have not been notified. The failure mileage was 68,400.

- Lewisburg, TN, USA

problem #83

May 312009


  • 68,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The power steering stopped functioning after a warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The failure occurred while driving 10 mph. The contact was still able to drive the vehicle, but with great difficulty. The vehicle has not been inspected by a dealer; however, the contact was informed that the repair would be expensive since there were no recalls on the instrument panel. The VIN was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 68,000.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #82

May 222006


  • 44,525 miles
I purchased a 2006 Chevy Cobalt from the gsa through the norwalk auto auction (norwalk, California) two days ago. While on the way home I experienced a complete power failure of the steering system and the steering wheel became inoperable and struggled to make it to the emergency lane where I stopped. I moved the wheel from side to side and within moments the power steering warning light went off. I continued to have this problem two more times repeated the same process while on my 30+ mile return home. I have visited numerous consumer web sites times since and within the last two days I find that this is a common defect. This is probably why the government issued vehicle was auctioned off. Estimates to fix this problem are reported to be approximately $2,000. The complaints are numerous and the cost for replacement is obscene. Consumers report the repeated failure of this component even on repaired vehicles. Apparently the component fails at elevated temperatures repeatedly. I am 6'1" and 250lbs. And I struggled to control the car, there is no doubt that my wife at 5'. 115lbs. Will have even more difficulty to maintain control. If I am unable to resolve this issue at a more reduced cost I will sell this vehicle to another unsuspecting individual just like the good 'ol gsa of the usa did to me. This is a serious safety issue and should be addressed.

- Santa Ana, CA, USA

problem #81

May 202009


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering failed without warning and almost caused a crash at 40 mph. The dealer stated that the steering column needed to be replaced and the vehicle should not be driven. The contact feels that this is a serious safety risk. The current mileage was 57,000 and failure mileage was 3,000.

- Castlewood, VA, USA

problem #80

May 202009


  • 61,436 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering fails randomly. The failure previously occurred at 20,000 miles and was reported to GM, but they never took action or repaired the vehicle. The contact was informed that the vehicle was out of warranty. The vehicle is currently at the dealer being repaired at the contact's expense. The failure mileage was 61,436.

- Auburn Hills, MI, USA

problem #79

May 142009


  • 52,051 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 35 mph on normal road conditions, the vehicle resisted unexpectedly while making a turn. The driver exerted greater effort to turn the steering wheel. The power steering warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The driver pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road and turned off the engine. The vehicle was restarted after a few moments and resumed normal operation. The failure occurs without warning whenever the vehicle is in motion. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing and they stated that the steering motor failed. The repair part was unavailable. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 52,051.

- Tyler, TX, USA

problem #78

Feb 052009


  • 19,000 miles
Driving home powersteering light came on and power steering went out. I was told by the dealer to turn the car off and the computer will rest itself. It lasted for a while, but started again. Car had 19,000 miles, bought new and dealer wants me to pay $1,100., to replace the whole steering column. Do not have $1,100 to pay for this new vehicle. I am taking chance driving this vehicle and the powersteering light will come on anytime. Warranty ran out 01/09. The 1st incident occurred Feb 5th, 2009. Fox Chevy dealer advised 3 yr warranty expired.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #77

Mar 102009


  • 60,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt that on frequent occasions the power steering unit goes out for no reason at all. It seems that this happens as the outside temperature increases. It doesn't matter if I am on the interstate or driving in my neighborhood. I have researched this issue and have found 1000's of complaints on this power steering problem. I hope this brings this to your attention for GM to recall this issue before someone is killed.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #76

May 082009


  • 46,840 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving between 55-60 mph on normal road conditions, the steering wheel locked up without warning. The driver pulled over to the side of the road with caution and turned off the engine. She waited a few minutes and the vehicle restarted normally. The failure recurred several times while driving to her destination. The failure recurs whenever the vehicle is in operation. The failure and current mileages were 46,840.

- Temple, GA, USA

problem #75

May 122009


  • 40,000 miles
My son owns a 2006 Chevy Cobalt. The power steering light comes on and then the power steer locks up to where you are unable to turn the steering wheel. The quick fix is to cut off the ignition and restart. This is only a short term fix as it happens again within the next 10 miles or so and is becoming more frequent as time goes on. Does someone have to die before a recall is issued" after reading the reported problems on the internet this is a very common thing for the 2005 and 2006 models. I have seen recalls on here for lesser things like not enough amber in a turn signal? how is this any more dangerous than losing the ability to steer while doing 70 mph on the interstate? it is a matter of time before a death or permanent disability happens to someone. GM has to be aware of this problem by now. I guess they will just take there chances being that they are filing bankruptcy. I beg you to recall this component. How many more complaints are needed"

- Moody, AL, USA

problem #74

Apr 012009


  • 51,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ltz and the power steering has went out on it numerous times while im driving, trying to make a turn, while my 2 children were in the car. It makes the car extremely hard to steer around a curve. Thankfully I have only about hit other cars. But I still have to drive it because I don't have any other way to work, until I can save enough money to get it fixed. I don't know what caused it but, I have done some research and there are many people dealing with this problem with the Cobalt 06. I have to replace the whole electric power steering part bout $1000 that I don't have.. I M a single mom of two boys. I think there really needs to be a recall done on this particular part on the 06 Cobalt. Before someone is hurt.. there are to many people having problems with this.. oh and did I mention my warranty just ran out..

- Des Arc, AR, USA

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