Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. 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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,541 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

problem #10

Aug 012011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key would become stuck in the ignition. The manufacturer was notified of the failure, but denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 65,000 and the current mileage was 72,000. Updated 12/01/11 the consumer stated the key would get stuck in the ignition and there was no release button to remove it. The consumer stated he would have to leave the vehicle on, or leave the key in the ignition and disconnect the battery. The consumer also stated the power steering failed a times and the speedometer did not work and the windows wouldn't roll down. Updated 12/08/11 updated 12/12/11 the consumer stated the brake does not have to be applied to shift out of park. The consumer experienced other problems due to the problem with the ignition. Updated 12/15/11

- South Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #9

Feb 102009


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering failed on her vehicle. While driving more than 60 mph on the highway, the steering would lock on the vehicle and she could not turn the wheel in either direction. The steering column would only unlock when the vehicle was shut off and restarted. The manufacturer informed her to take the vehicle to a Chevrolet dealer and pay $80 for a diagnostic. The hotter the temperature was outside, the more frequent the failure would occur. The current and failure mileages were less than 68,000. Updated 07/10/09. While driving on the freeway, the consumer heard a beeping sound and then the work power steering illuminated on the dashboard and then the steering wheel locked-up. Updated 07/10/09.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #8

Mar 152009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering unit stops functioning at random in warm weather conditions. Prior to the failure, the power steering indicator illuminates on the instrument panel. The failure mileage was 60,000 and current mileage was 70,000. Updated 06/11/09. The power steering would reset after the consumer turned the vehicle off, however a few minutes later the failure would occur again. Updated 06/12/09.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #7

Feb 082008


  • 10,200 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 45 mph on normal road conditions, two chimes sounded followed by an unintended loss of power steering. The driver had to exert more effort to turn the steering wheel. The power steering failure warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel and remained lit until the engine was turned off. The driver pulled over to the side of the road. Immediately, the engine was turned off and then restarted. The vehicle was driven with caution to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated that the failure was related to the power steering. The part was unavailable and ordered for the repair. The failure and current mileages were 10,200. Updated 3/9/09

- Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #6

Jun 262008


  • 45,000 miles
When it is hot out the power steering light comes on and the power steering is lost. If I turn the car off and restart it power steering is resumed.

- Elizabethton, TN, USA

problem #5

Dec 092007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,800 miles
Power assist has gone out 5 times on this car. Steering the car becomes very hard and difficult. When it happens it's unexpected and could cause an accident. Called a Chevy dealership service dept. He told me to check the fuse. I did, not the problem. I'm reading about so many with this same problem that there should be a recall on this.

- Spring Hill, TN, USA

problem #4

Dec 102007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,400 miles


Power steering fails 1/2 mile from start up. Resets upon start up. Car has 41K miles and outside of warranty. Chevy dealership estimated fix cost $1200!!!!!! the entire steering column will need to be replaced!!!!!!! the power steering fails during driving and the car is very difficult to steer, creating a very dangerous event to those drivers not prepared for the loss of power steering. Obviously a premature failure of an electrical component. Should be recalled!!!!!!

- Logan, UT, USA

problem #3

Sep 142007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 17,800 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 35 mph, the vehicle experienced electrical failure and lost power steering. The contact crashed into a ditch. A police report was filed. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The current and failure mileages were 17,800. * updated 12/12/07 the consumer stated electrical problem resulted in loss of gauges and also resulted in low fuel message. The consumer stated the accident resulted in $6,500 worth of damages. Updated 12/12/07

- Valley Center, KS, USA

problem #2

Aug 012007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt purchased used with 28000 miles on it. All my problems started about a month after I bought the car. The steering wheel started shaking violently when driving at 50 mph and over so I took it in to a Chevy dealer and they rotated and balanced the tires and that seemed to fix that problem. About 2 weeks I was driving home and I was sitting at a red light and the car just shut off. I restarted the car and every thing was fine on the dash board, no warning lights or messages in the driver information center. I started driving again and when I press on the gas there was this loud grinding noise and it felt like the car was not shifting gears properly. So I pulled over on the side of the road and turned the car off for about 10 minutes and restarted it and it drove fine. Now at this point im just thinking that there is a malfunction in the computer. I took the car to the dealer the next day and they scanned the computer and found no errors and everything was checking out fine. About 3 weeks later I was driving on the highway and I lost complete control of steering and the power steering message in the driver information center was displayed along with the check engine light. Unable to steer I had to stop in the middle of the highway and shut the car off. I waited about 20 minutes and restarted the car and the power steering warning message and check engine light had gone away and I gained steering control again. I once again took the car to the dealer and they could not find anything wrong with the car. Now some days when I start my car the power steering warning message and the check engine light come on and some days the car drives fine and its really starting to frustrate me. In addition to the steering problem I am unable to remove my key form the ignition. To this day none of my problems have been resolved.

- Cordova, TN, USA

problem #1

May 172007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 14,210 miles
This is in documentation of my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. Replaced the steering column, replaced steering shaft, rubbing and grinding, knocking on steering column and floor pan area, when coming to a stop car RPM's will drop so low that the car will almost die, speakers have a rattle like they are going to quit working, lost power assist while in a turn once documented has now happened twice, when using turn signal with high beams on lights will shut off, passenger side bumper was pulled away from headlamp.

- Walker, WV, USA

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