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 8 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #973

Mar 052007


  • 1,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving at an unknown speed, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. The contact mentioned that due to the failure the vehicle was extremely difficult to park. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician stated that the vehicle was working up to standards. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 1,000 and the current mileage was 261,656.

- Brant, MI, USA

problem #972

Jun 192014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
On the first week of June 2014, my 2006 Chevy Cobalt went in for the safety recall 13454 (replacement of ignition switch). (this was the second recall this car has had.) on June 19th, 2014 with the new ignition switch installed by the local Chevy dealership, while driving the car in town, at speeds of 20 and 30 mph the car lost power to steering, brakes which made difficult even to stop and maneuver safely off the road. The car lost most of the engine performance but stayed running. The car was then turned off and restarted, with dash light warnings of engine light, tc light and a car security emblem light on. The car ran with very limited power and strange clicking noise which was coming from the shifter. I have cell phone video of the shifter nob clicking along with cell picture of the dash warning lights that are on. Car had to be "man handled" to get it to a safe destination. The battery was disconnected a then reconnected, with the thought of resetting computer. When battery was reconnected the car was 100% back to normal. For how long, is anyone guess, this strange occurrence has happened more than once. The car is scheduled to go to the Chevy dealership for further diagnostics. They informed that it will be a week or so because their all booked up. What a pain in the (you fill the blank). If I had enough $$ to replace the car, I would have this car crushed so that I would no longer be responsible for any accidents it may cause.

- Hermiston, OR, USA

problem #971

Apr 042014


  • 74,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated his vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V171000 (electrical system) 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) however, immediately after the repairs the key failed to come out of the ignition switch. The failure was brought up to the service manager's attention but he declined to repair the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 74,000. The VIN was not available.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #970

Jul 102013


  • 44,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the power steering failed and the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. The power steering warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact mentioned that the transmission shifted and made a loud clicking noise. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 44,000 and the current mileage was 77,000.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #969

Jun 252014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 94,548 miles
Driving on highway and heard three dings and my car flashes power steering, it was difficult to steering to the next lane to try and get off the freeway then it just suddenly started working fine. But now I'm worried that it will happen again. I've received two letter about the recall but no dealer in my area has the parts, was told I'd be called when they arrive.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #968

Jun 232014


  • 19,350 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the power steering indicator illuminated and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 19,350.

- Chesterfield, MI, USA

problem #967

Aug 142007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 11,000 miles


Smelled gas and saw gas leaking from under car. Small fire started and put it out. Took car in. Steering wheel locked up fixed but never right. Now the ignition switch is being fixed but all the lights in the dash are lighted up due to this. No turn signals. Car is not right. Car has never been right!

- Lantana, FL, USA

problem #966

Jun 122014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I contacted graff Chevrolet in grand prairie tx about recall notice 14V047/14V171 (GM 13454, 14063, 14113, 14133) in may and was told to come back in June that they would have part available for the recall repair. I went on June 12 and was then told that we would be on waiting list for at least a month for parts to come in. I live with my older mom, and care for my grandmother who has alzheimers, both of which need constant medical treatment and medicines. I use my car to Transport both to their doctors visits and cannot have issues with my car regarding the recall notice. I have trouble with the key not turning the ignition at times, and sometimes the steering wheel will tend to want to lock while driving. These are very serious safety concerns especially when I have my mother and grandmother aboard while driving. I do not know why the dealership told us to call on the following month and now they are telling us we have to be on a waiting list and it may be a month or longer. I need this issue resolved. The ignition issue is a very serious matter to me since this car is my only means of transportation. Please help in having this issue resolved as soon as possible. Due to my need to Transport my mother and grandmother I cannot be worrying about a potential safety hazard. I am afraid to drive this car since it has the potential to create a serious accident, or leave us stranded in the Texas heat if it decides to not release or engage the ignition.

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #965

Jun 112014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
We took the cobolt to ourisman Chevrolet, alexandria, va for repairs to the ignition switch which is subject of a recall. Dealer kept saying the necessary parts were not available and it would take months. We took the car to them since we had 2 events when the ignition turned off and the steering wheel locked. To our surprise the dealer had the part and supposedly fixed it the same afternoon. About a week later, when we were pulling out of the parking lot, the car started to turn off and on and then the ignition turned off completely and the steering locked, which was the same problem before the supposed repairs and subject to the recall. We are lucky it didn't happen on the highway and want to alert federal authorities to potential faulty replacement parts or improper repairs. Either way, the problem can cause accidents, as it has in the past and could result in deaths. We called GM and was given a number. However, a customer advisor suggested the problem is something else and not related, which is hogwash. The same problem as before the so called repairs.

- Lorton, VA, USA

problem #964

Apr 022014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
While driving the dashboard flashes "power steering" repeatedly. The check engine light came on and then the security theft light came on. As I came to a stop the car began to shake and down shifted hard. As I began to excel from a stop, it also shifted really hard. Also, while driving, my speedometer became erotic. On multiple incidences when I came to a stop by car's RPM dropped below 500 and acted as if it were about to stall. A few times it did stall and would not restart unless I had it in neutral and took off immediately. Another time, as I was waiting in a drive-thru, my shifter began to click.

- Adrian, MI, USA

problem #963

Apr 042014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 43,500 miles


While turning the power steering got stuck and vehicle did not straighten up resulting into hitting an car.

- Delta, WA, USA

problem #962

Feb 012010


  • miles
You can not get the key out of the ignition. You can pull the gear out of park with the car off. The doors will unlock on its own.

- Elon, NC, USA

problem #961

Apr 192014


  • miles
Just got the car back from the ignition switch recall and was driving on a flat road. The car was driving normally at first, then without warning the car's speedometer and RPM gauges were moving up and down rapidly. The rpms went very close to zero and you couldn't tell how fast you were going. In addition, the info gauge displayed "power steering" and the car was very difficult to turn. Also, when trying to accelerate out of a stop, the car jerked violently as if it had trouble shifting. After turning the car off then on again, it drove normally again. Afraid that it could happen again without warning.

- Clarence, NY, USA

problem #960

Jul 012011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
About 3 years ago I started to get a thumping noise in the front end of the 2006 Cobalt. I asked a mechanic what it could be and they gave me a couple things it might be also gave me idea on cost. Being a single mom of two and the thumping was not to bad I did not have the money to repair. As time went on got louder and worse. So, I brought it in to have problem fixed it was the lower tie arms and something else went bad and cost me almost $1000 to fix. I looked online and found many 2006 Cobalt owners say they have the same issue but was told by GM was not a safety issue so they were not recalling car it was our problem. I have noticed the lights on the dash sometime dim so low you can not see them then they will brighten again even after replacing the battery. Over this winter I started to get a humming in the steering column and asked my mechanic to look he told me I have electric power steering they could not fix. I got the recall about the ignition switch and was doing as they said and only driving with key and nothing else. But now every time I stopped I was checking key to make sure it was in place and a few times it had moved slightly but did not kick it out of the on position. If I had not checked it, it probably would have with all the pot holes. Then on April 6th 2014 on my way home from work (which is 24 miles away from home). When I was turning to go on the highway the steering wheel was humming again(I had no clue that there was any problems with steering columns at this point) I got onto the highway and the dash light came on and a dinging sound started and I had to fight, the car to the side of the road. I turned the car off then turned it on to see if it stopped and was able to get home. Looked online to see if others where having this issue and found tons of 2006 Cobalt owners having issue. That is when I saw they are recalling 2010's for it not 2006.

- Unknown, DC, USA

problem #959

Apr 162014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Car froze up my wife came home from work steering froze up engine throttle had problems then it died after waiting in the middle of the road it restarted with no steering asst. Just getting it home we aren't driving it till its repaired we have letter's from Chevrolet but no repairs have been made they said they would call still waiting my wife only drives 1 miles to work on slow city streets if she would of been on the free way real problems could of happened also power steering light go on works the stops.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #958

Apr 052014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 134,000 miles
At a speed of about 5-10 mph the steering failed. The recall number N100023 was preformed on 7/15/2010 at 63,057 miles. The part seems to have failed again. My wife was in the middle of teaching our daughter how to park and now we are afraid to even let her drive the car with the recall for the ignition switch, there has to be a solution fix for this problem reoccurring.

- Aberdeen, MD, USA

problem #957

Mar 102014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch recall notice. The consumer stated the power steering light illuminated on the dashboard. The dealer informed the consumer, rodents had made their way underneath the hood. The consumer stated the dealer never mentioned the ignition switch problem. The consumer received the recall notice, the following day. When the consumer called the dealer to inquire about the recall, she was informed the parts were not available.

- Oak Lawn, IL, USA

problem #956

Apr 022014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
I had become aware of the recall, just the week prior and was planning on making arrangements to have the car fixed, once the parts (3-4 weeks out from what I was explained) arrived. I was also explained via the dealer and what I read on line that the car should be ok to drive so long as there was nothing on the key. So I requested my daughter to only use the key with absolutely nothing on it, when using my car. At approximately 2pm on a clear sunny day, my daughter was exiting the freeway. As she was slowing down, the car suddenly shut off on her. Before she had time to react she hit another vehicle. She was fortunately not injured, mainly because she was already slowing down and had it been a few minutes earlier, things may have been drastically different. I have had this car for 7 years and I drove it quite a bit and let my daughter do so as well. I am angry that GM has allowed my daughter and I to be at risk for such a long period of time and even as I am writing this (2 weeks later) the only answers I have really been given from GM are answers I have had to call and press them on, which for the most part is almost no information at all. I am sure they are being inundated with complaints and having to deal with the media, congress, NHTSA, but I cannot feel any empathy or sympathy for that matter, when they have had years to deal with this and simply swept this under the rug. Harsh and swift action must be taken to punish them and set an example to all others. Enough with the bail outs. Time to start being accountable.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #955

Mar 262012


  • 35,000 miles
This vehicle is not safe to drive and was not built right. The manufactures knew for many years that the Chevy Cobalt 2006 would have a leaking gasoline system, and they kept this faulty defect to themselves for many years before bring this issue to the customer. I was driving the vehicle leaking gas for a few years unit the crack was large enough for me to smell it, while not driving, the ignition switch; with the key in it while the car was in park has started the car engine without turning the key. The key wont come out of the ignition switch. The car has turned off on me on the freeway more than 9 times. The car turned off on me going in reverse, couldn't control the brake and steering power to move out of the pole. While driving in the freeway I have had to quickly react; putting my emergency lights on and praying to god a car doesn't hit me, while with the left had side is quickly waving at the vehicles coming from behind to stop. Please help me. I have two children and im tired of being exposed to the dangers of this M defected life threatening vehicle. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bell, CA, USA

problem #954

Oct 022007


  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that an abnormal chiming noise was heard from the steering wheel area when suddenly, the power steering assist malfunctioned and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the electric power steering motor was faulty and needed the be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the defect was not remedied. The manufacturer was notified and no solution was offered. The failure mileage was 45,000.

- Roaming Shores, OH, USA

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