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 54 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #53

Jun 152008


  • 30,000 miles


Our 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt loses it's power steering. At first it is only intermittent, now it loses power steering within about a minute of turning it on. It makes it harder to steer. We have not done anything to correct the failure because the solution to fix it is to replace the steering column and we can't afford it.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #52

Feb 082009


  • 50,000 miles
I just bought a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss last year and have only put 15000 miles on it and the power steering went out last night while I was going 70mph on the freeway! I researched to see if anyone else is having this problem with Cobalts and found site after site of thousands of people! this needs to be recalled before it kills someone!

- Elko, MN, USA

problem #51

Dec 102008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving less than 65 mph, the power steering warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Within seconds, the steering wheel locked and could not be turned in any direction. The dealer performed a diagnostic and discovered that the power steering column needed to be replaced at an estimated cost of $547. The VIN that was provided was not accepted by the system. The failure and current mileages were less than 73,000. Updated 03-06-09 updated 03/09/09.

- Pound, VA, USA

problem #50

Aug 012008


  • 50,000 miles


There were no events leading to the failure of the power steering in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. It happens everyday, atleast once every three minutes. In order to "temporarily" fix it you have to put the car in park and turn it off and restart the car then in about three minutes it goes out again. Then you have to repeat this. I am not the only one with this problem thousands and thousands of people are having the same problem with 2005 and 2006 Cobalts. You can search on the internet power steering problems Cobalt and you will see. This has been going on for about 5 months because on top of my car note and insurance I can not afford to fix this.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #49

Jan 162009


  • 47,100 miles
Normal driving, and the eps shuts down, making it hard, or sometimes even impossible to steer. Quite dangerous saying it does it only while driving. Once the car is started and running, it takes approx 15 mins to begin acting up. Shutting down the car resets it, but shortly after, the eps shuts down again eps(electronic power steering). Nothing has been done yet to fix this problem because this is a newer car, and it's basically not affordable right now. Knowing by reading forums this is not only a problem I have, but many others are having with this. With this kind of system being in newer cars, this product should be looked at closer to see if there is going to be an outgoing problem.

- Nappan , 00, USA

problem #48

Jan 092009


  • 67,500 miles
I was driving my car at 25 miles per hour and a warning signal was heard and then the digital display read power steering and I couldn't turn the wheel. Got it home, narrowly missing a car, and turned it off. Turned it back on again and worked fine. It happens randomly, and often. Took car to local Chevy dealer, it's out of warranty and Chevy refuses to pay for it. It will cost $971 to fix. Car is unsafe and I am not the only one with this problem.

- Leesburg, VA, USA

problem #47

Jan 082009


  • 52,000 miles


Driving 35 mph, warning tone came on, power steering warning light came on, steering became difficult. Pulled over shut off ignition. Checked under hood saw nothing obvious. Started car, pulled out all was well for ten minutes then happened again. Same scenario every time it's driven. Repair will be $900 !"!?!? parts are on back order because this is apparently such a problem. Why is this not a recall??"

- Clinton , KS, USA

problem #46

Jan 092009


  • 55,000 miles
While driving our 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt a loss of steering control has occurred over 3 times which includes erratic transmission and gearshift noises. If this had occurred on the highway in any of these occurrences a crash would have resulted. After conducting an online investigation there are thousands of owners of Cobalts which have the same problem with the electronic steering and other electrical problems within the steering column. Nothing has been done to correct the problem due to the dealer wanting to charge $2K. It is clearly a manufacturing defect with most dealers stating it is.

- West Alexandria, OH, USA

problem #45

Jan 092009


  • 67,532 miles
I just bought a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls from a dealership. They had it inspected while I waited, at another inspection site, off their lot. I am 4 day out of the 30 day warranty they gave me on the purchase of the vehicle. The warranty expired January 5, 2009. Today as I'm driving through the town I live in, I hear a warning signal and look down at the digital readout on my dash board. It says power steering. I try to turn to go home, and the vehicle will not turn. I almost hit another car. I struggled with great effort, after turning on my hazards to turn it enough to get it into my parking lot. Since then it has occurred five times today. I called the dealership from which I bought it and they said they can not fix it. I bought it from monstre auto credit in manassas, va. They never offered me an extended warranty and only offered to have the guy the general manager knows fix it for me at a deep discount. I cannot even drive it back to manassas because I feel unsafe in driving it a 55 miles per hour and having the power steering give out on me.

- Leesburg, VA, USA

problem #44

Dec 012008


  • 50,000 miles
Car has 50,000 miles on it. First time the electric power steering went out I was driving 60 mph down the highway and "power steering" popped up on the dash and then the power steering stopped working. I pulled over and turned the car off and then back on again and it worked. It seems to happen every time I drive the car for longer than 45 minutes, it will go off and then I will restart the car everytime it happens but it will only stay on again anywhere from 1-10 minutes before it goes out again.

- Ramsey, MN, USA

problem #43

Aug 102008


  • miles


The power steering on my 2006 Chevy Cobalt cuts in and out with no rhyme or reason. There have been other people with this same car who have experienced the same problem. This is extremely dangerous and needs to be address by GM.

- West Seneca, NY, USA

problem #42

Dec 312008


  • 54,000 miles
My power steering has went out twice, both times were very frightening. The first time, I was about to turn out into a busy street. Luckily, when I noticed that it was extremely difficult to control my steering, I put my car into reverse in order to back into a parking space in the lot that I was about to leave. I was hoping this would be the only instance where this would happen. However, while I had a co-worker in my car, coming back to my workplace after picking up lunch, I was faced with the same problem. I was very thankful that I was able to turn into my parking lot. I couldn't imagine wrecking with a passenger in my car. And even worse, if I would've lost control and crashed into the nursing facility that I work at, I could've injured residents, too! after reading all of the complaints about this problem, I'm just curious what it's going to take for it to get recalled. Will someone have to lose their life in order for someone to take action?! I'm furious with Chevrolet for forcing people to pay for something that they (Chevrolet) can prevent!!!

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #41

Jan 042009


  • miles
My power steering light comes on, on the dash and I loose all power steering.

- Crystal Beach Ontario , 00, USA

problem #40

Sep 192008


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact noticed issues with the power steering in her vehicle. While driving 20 mph, the power steering would function for approximately.2 miles and then fail. She attempted to turn off the vehicle and restart it, but the failure continued. The failure recurred frequently. She took the vehicle to a dealer and they stated that there was no recall. The vehicle has not been inspected or repaired. The manufacturer has not been notified. The current mileage was approximately 82,000 and failure mileage was approximately 80,000.

- Daphne, AL, USA

problem #39

Dec 202008


  • 36,000 miles
The power steering unit locks up when I am driving. I can only slow the vehicle down and hope I don't have to turn while it is locked. I hit a curb and busted my rim on one occasion. It does it frequently and I can't afford to get it fixed.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #38

Sep 152008


  • 75,865 miles
When ever I drive a small distance the power steering signal comes on and I loose my power steering which almost made me have an accident, and my car locks keep popping up and down.

- Coldwater , MS, USA

problem #37

Dec 192008


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 15 mph and making a left turn, the steering column failed. The contact's vehicle almost crashed into another vehicle. The vehicle was able to be safely maneuvered into a parking space, but the steering was very stiff when attempting to park. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the power steering motor failed. The cost to repair the vehicle would be $600. No repairs have been made. The contact is in the process of notifying the manufacturer. The current and failure mileages were 50,000.

- Horn Lake, MS, USA

problem #36

Dec 212008


  • 47,500 miles
I own a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ls. When I purchased it in January 2008 it had approximately 62,000 kms. In the last year I have driven it for approx. 9000 km. In July 2008 I had my first problem with the power steering. I was driving out of my driveway and the power steering light came on. The car immediately stopped working after shaking for 2-3 seconds. I re-started the engine and the car moved but the brakes were shaky and it seemed as if I was out of gear. I took the car to the dealer 2-3 days later and they replaced my whole steering column with a cost of close to $1000 at the time as my car was out of warranty. The problem went away for a few months but unfortunately last night it began again (December 21). The power steering light came on and the vehicle started shaking while I was driving at 40 km/H. I did not lose control but it made my drive really difficult as I was driving on icy roads. Same as in the summer the brakes were shaky and the engine was out of gear and accelerating was hard to control. After stopping at a gas station and re-starting the engine the car worked fine. I am taking the car to the dealership again, but I cannot believe how GM does not recall this car as hundreds of people report the same problem. It's really dangerous to have the power steering go off randomly. And I don't even know what this is going to cost now.. I have spent over $1500 in repairs for this faulty car just in the last 6 months!

- Calgary Ab Canada, 00, USA

problem #35

Nov 222006


  • 3,040 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle had issues with the engine surging. She took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that there was a dirty injector, in which they replaced. In January of 2007, the vehicle was taken to the dealer and they reprogrammed the computer for the surging issue. In March of 2008, the vehicle was returned to the dealer for a recall on the injectors. In addition to the surging, the vehicle would also shake violently when coming to a stop. The brakes and steering would not function correctly. The vehicle was taken to the dealer in October of 2008 and the powertrain control module was replaced. In November of 2008, the contact took the vehicle to the dealer again in regards to the violent shaking. The dealer could not duplicate the failure and advised the contact to call a tow truck in the event of a crash because they could not assist. In November of 2008, the vehicle began shaking violently and crashed into the preceding vehicle. There were no injuries. The vehicle was taken to another dealer, but they could not duplicate the failure as well. A complaint was filed with the manufacturer and the contact is awaiting their response. She was advised to not operate the vehicle. The speed was unknown. The current mileage was approximately 17,250 and failure mileage was approximately 3,040.

- Davie , FL, USA

problem #34

Sep 012008


  • miles
We purchased this car for our teenage daughter based on the reputation of Chevrolet. Driving down the road the powersteering goes out without warning. It can be restarted which will reset the powersteering for a short period of time however, this is unsafe. In mid turn or maneuver this is likely to happen which is likely to cause a crash. I have researched and it does not seem to be a random issue but many people with this same model of car are having this same issue. Chevrolet needs to take care of this problem!

- Kingwood, TX, USA

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