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CarComplaints.com 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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
64,801 miles
Total Complaints:
19 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (13 reports)
  2. access door under column - push button & it will release key (2 reports)
  3. had shifter replaced (2 reports)
  4. replace spring inside where key goes (1 reports)
  5. wire wrapped around lever in counsel (1 reports)
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt steering problems

steering problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments

problem #19

Feb 082014

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles


I bought the car used on 8/23/13 and and this is only 2/9/14. I went out to start my car and I put the key in the ignition and then there was nothing. I could not change gears, think I might of left it in drive when I shut it off. That wasn't it. So I want to take my keys out and they would not come out of the ignition. Well then I thought maybe I might have a dead battery. OK, I went to check that and GUESS WHAT! The button don't work, and the key is stuck in the ignition.

Well luckily I had a extra key made when I bought the car. Well anyways I got the trunk open. I found the battery. I was going to take the battery out and have it charged. But now I can't get the battery out. So this was on Sat. 2/8, I live in a small town where they roll up the sidewalks after 12 noon on Saturdays. We have a few stores open but not for cars.So now I have to wait for Monday to come before I can do anything. This is my plight.

Wishing you a better day.


- , Lena, Wisconsin, USA

problem #18

Jan 102014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

click to see larger images

steering column locks & can't get key out

I'm finished spitz so just going to give car to charity.

- , North Hollywood, Calif, USA

problem #17

Oct 102011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,069 miles

It's very annoying and think they should do a recall on it with all these complaints. My 2006 cobalt now has 90,000 miles on it and everything is going wrong. I have to push this little white button to get my key out. This is ridiculous. I'm ready to get rid of mine. If I didn't have almost a year to pay on it I would. I HATE THIS CAR!!!!

- , Horn Lake, MS, USA

problem #16

Jun 012011

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles


As a temporary fix-located in the manual page 2-20, theres a hidden door under the steering column and if you put your finger in and push the little white button the key will release. This was a major pain in the ass because when the key was left in the ignition it drained the battery causing another problem!!! GGGGRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Grants Pass, OR, USA

problem #15

Mar 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles


I just got it at the end of last year it would not start start then the key was stuck I was able to get the key out after like an hour and a half because the car can't tell what its doing so I had to disconnect the battery.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #14

Aug 012009

Cobalt LS 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

click to see larger images

steering column locks & can't get key out steering column locks & can't get key out

The reason this is so delayed is I was asked the other day to fix it. CAN'T REMOVE KEY,BECOMING A PAIN. I removed the covering around the column, removed the small solenoid. removed the spring, reassembled the solenoid, put a small plastic wire tie to hold the plunger depressed from vibration. there is no current to it because there is a DIODE IN LINE with the solenoid and that is the problem. they come as ONE UNIT. COST at the dealer for the assembly is about $60.00. I tested the solenoid without the diode and it's fine but you can't get just the diode except at a junk yard and take a chance.DO NOT JUMP THE DIODE. It is a special diode and you will shoot 12 volts back to the BODY CONTROL MODULE (BCM) and that is BIG dollars. I will repost if I find a solution.

Update from Jul 3, 2011: Well guys I can eat a little crow. I reinvestigated the problem after owner said he could put it in gear with/out putting his foot on the brake.The shifter button had stuck in. There is a lever in the lower part of the assembly with a pin going threw it, a wire had wrapped around the pin holding it down not letting the button return.This on the drivers side of the counsel. The pin goes through to the passenger side to hit a microswitch that activates the solenoid to remove the key so you can't remove it without putting it in park. I actually fixed two problems by unwrapping wire. completely fixed

- , Blaine, MN, USA

problem #13

Feb 142010

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles


This is bull sh*t! Everytime I try to take the key out of the ignition I have to push this stupid white button to get the key out. I was told that I have to pay $400 to get a new shifter system... How is this not on a recall. Now my 2006 looks worse than a1996 because all of the plastic surrounding my steering wheel had to be removed so that I can access the button...

- , Jacksonville, AR, USA

problem #12

Jan 022010

Cobalt LS V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,543 miles

When you purchase a Brand New Vehicle you do not expect the amount of problems BIG and small to occur. It is very frustrating to have your key get stuck in the ignition and have to 'fitness' the vehicle to make the car start. UGH!

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #11

Dec 102009

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

This is the most annoying thing in the world! It's such a pain in the ass. I've been late to school and work trying to get my damn key out. I have to wait until I hear 3 clicks to pull my key out, and sometimes I can't. I have to push the key unlock button under a steering wheel! I've had the shifter cleaned, replaced, and everything else you can imagine over 5 times! I just bought this car in September of 2009 and I love it, yes, but hate the problems I've been having.

- , Rapid City, SD, USA

problem #10

Feb 182010

Cobalt LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

I am so pissed off my key keeps getting stuck in the steering column & locks on me, but

if you go to your manual and look on page 2-20 column lock release it will show you how to unlock it!! there is a little plungger button under there that you can push and it will release the key!!!. Save a little time to see if there will be a recall on this. hope this helps!!.

- , Clinton, MI, USA

problem #9

Jun 252009

Cobalt Purple 2.2L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles


I bought this car in May of 2009, sometime during the summer the check engine light came on and I stopped at Autozone to have them check it out and they told me the plug in for checking problems was not working so I took it back where I bought it and the mechanic stated it came unplugged from inside (something of that nature) and it would take hours for repair..my belief it was like that when I bought it. Not long after that incident which I did not have them repair..too expensive my key problem started has done it 3 times but did finally I was able to get it out of ignition..the other day got home and stuck and won't come out no matter what..it effects the headlights and the shifter..why do cars cost so much but are made so cheaply? But expensive to fix...:( So I guess I will have to take it to garage and spend money I don't have.

- , Troy, PA, USA

problem #8

Nov 232009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,282 miles

This is a real pain in the ass problem, i thought i was the only one, everytime i park and turn key to turn off it wont go all the way and key wont come out, i would try and try putting it in park and neutral over and over, thinking that was the problem. This wasn't the problem. i went to Chevy dealership they were charging me just to take a look at the problem. they were guessing it was because it wouldn't go in park properly. i wasn't going to pay Chevy $90 just to take a look then god knows what they would tell me how much it would cost to fix. i took it to a mechanic i knew, he took a look at it for no charge. there was a problem where you enter the key, there's a square chip inside with a spring and thats what was broken.thank god for him god knows what the dealership would have told me especially my warranty was out they could of told me anything and i would take there word for it.charge me what ever they want. it cost me $200 for the part and my mechanic fixed it for me. if this happens again i will be real pissed off.

- , Scarborugh, Canada, Canada

problem #7

Nov 262009

Cobalt LS 2.2L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

While driving, shifter button stuck in, then fell out. Cannot get key out of ignition.

- , Corsicana, Texas, USA

problem #6

Apr 172009

Cobalt LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,289 miles


- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #5

Apr 172009

Cobalt LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,289 miles


- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #4

Apr 082009

Cobalt Lx Sedan 2.2L 4cly

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,895 miles

ok this a problem that is getting on my nerves. why the hell wont the key come out im not the only person with this problem from what i can see, i have a friend that had this problem and the whole button fell out of the shifter. I myself think there should be a recall on this problem, but who am i to say.i will find out soon what it will cost hopefully covered on extended warranty.

- , Eminence, KY, USA

problem #3

Sep 122008

Cobalt LT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,850 miles

This is the 3rd time I've had to take it back to the place where I bought it to have them look at it and fix it... the first time, it was cranking sometimes and sometimes it wasn't... they said it was in the gear shift... they "supposedly" replaced the solenoid in the gear shift... well... about 2 weeks later, it happened again... and this time I know for sure that they replaced it... and when I couldn't get the key out... the mechanic said that although it was in park, it wasn't registering that it was in park... then the key got stuck again like a week ago and I took it back and they said that it had to be something with the gear shift... what a bunch of crap... fix it the 1st time please!!!!!!!!

- , Grayson, GA, USA

problem #2

Feb 112007

Cobalt LT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

I had the same problem. Whenever I would turn my car off, I would sit there for 10 minutes trying to get my key out of the ignition. I finally had had enough and contacted the dealer. It turns out that my shifter was faulty. The mechanic said that even though i would have the car in 'Park', the car did not register it as in 'Park' and would not release the key. This was covered under my standard warranty so I'm not sure how much it would cost to have the whole shifter replaced normally.

- , Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #1

Dec 212007

Cobalt LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

Every time I drive the car I can't get the key out without having to reach under the steering column and sticking my finger in a whole to hit the right spot to unlock the steering column. My husband can't drive the car - he's cut a fused right wrist -- unless we want to leave the keys in it all the time. Most cars have a button on the steering column to release the steering wheel. I don't understand why the cobalt doesn't. I've tried turning the key to the "ACC" as the book states but that doesn't work. The dealership mechanic said he seems to think it's tied to a fuse but he's not sure -- if anyone has any ideas pls let me know.

- , Vanceburg, KY, USA

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