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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 1
Average Mileage:
47,636 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.

2008 Chevrolet Cobalt electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 5 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #47

Mar 292014


  • 104,081 miles


While driving the ignition switch turned off and I had no power to steer the car.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #46

Mar 242014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the ignition seized and the key failed to turn. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was found that the ignition needed to be replaced. The vehicle was replaced but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Shelby Township, MI, USA

problem #45

Oct 102013


  • 39,000 miles
The very first incident I experienced with my power steering was nothing major. I was trying park my car and it suddenly became very hard to steer. I powered the car off for a minute and then restarted it. Once the car was restarted the problem went away. Shortly after that the doors would not unlock. I was unable to get into my car for hours. After much prying, we were able to get into the car but now the driver's door lock has to be locked manually or unlocked with the key in door. Months down the line the power steering issue came back but only worse. It happened while I was driving. A dinging noise went off, "power steering" flashed across the dashboard, and all the gauges went wiggling. It startled me. Again, I pulled over and cut the engine for a spell and waited. After a few moments I turned the car back on and it was like nothing ever happened. The third time was the worst time thus far. I was exiting the highway and suddenly the noise came back and flashed power steering. It was much worse this time. The car was hard to steer, the car roughly jerked, and I could not exelerate. Thankfully I made it home 5 minutes later, but by then the engine light had come on. I found out that my car was recalled for this very reason. When I called Chevrolet they said that the previous owners had to have brought my car in during the recall because my car didn't have any open recalls. If my car was truly brought in for the recall then why is my car not fixed" and more importantly why do they expect me to pay for it? they are endagering my life as well as others'. passing cars off as though they are fixed when really they are not is criminal and something needs to be done. If need be I will pay for my own car but what about all the other cars that they've "fixed"" a young lady died from her power steering failing and you would think that would be enough to fix their mistake.

- Ballwin, MO, USA

problem #44

Jan 012013


  • 47,000 miles


Ignition switch jams; air bag light stays on; cruise control stopped working; airconditioner stopped working; tire light stays on; engine light stays on; and now heater is barely working.

- Bartlesville, OK, USA

problem #43

Jul 132010


  • 10,000 miles
I do not remember the exact dates and mileage, but I have seen recently the recalls on Cobalt. I purchased a 2008 Cobalt in 2008. Had 5 miles on it when I bought it. By, 2010 the ignition switch had been replaced 3 times, due to failure. 2 times the ignition would not start. Once, the car would not turn off. I had to drive immediately to the dealership that time. I contacted the dealership, GM, and interstate commerce dept. No one would help me. The only thing GM said they would do is give me $2500 towards the purchase of a brand new vehicle. I had just had my daughter and stuck on the side of the road with her the last time. After no help, I just had let them repo the vehicle. I know the recall only goes to 2007 models, but you may want to investigate the 2008 models as well.

- Maryville, TN, USA

problem #42

May 022013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
My leg accidentally bumped the keychain 3 3/8 inches long (only one key on it, the ignition key) while I was driving, and the car shut off. I was in a 35 mph area, I shifted it into neutral and was able to steer into a left turn lane, shifted it into park and started it.

- Roanoke, TX, USA

problem #41

Feb 192014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 43,737 miles


My grandmother was driving and all of a sudden all her gauges went nuts and it started shifting hard. Took to dealership and codes read were U2105, U0073, they say they replaced terminals. One day later same thing happened so I took my code reader and it read U0073. We took it back told them about code and I told them to check terminals again and fuses. They call later and stated that the other computer went out, so grandmother paid another 400. Two days later its doing it again. I have a 04 Impala that had the same issues mine was no start and Chevy couldn't find problem it started fine for them, but after 2 days everything started breaking, and as a single mom w no money I had to research every code read and learned to fix it. I know every wire and which computer reads first, so Chevy is going to have a rude awaking on Monday. I believe Chevy cant fix these computers and they just clear the codes and off U go until your car reprograms its self and same problems take effect, but I'm sure its due to another computer going out, at least that's what Chevy would and will say!!!

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #40

Oct 282011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 68,122 miles
At random the vehicle will suddenly exhibit ESC failure, traction control failure, and several other trouble codes while simultaneously losing all gauge function and power steering. The error will continue to escalate causing a malfunction in the electronic stability control mechanism causing grinding while turning. The error often subsides after shutting the ignition off for several minutes.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #39

Jul 192013


  • 160,000 miles
Originally, the key got stuck in the ignition of my 2008 Cobalt and the car wouldn't shut off. Mechanic disconnected battery and attempted to bypass tumbler mechanism. With a paper clip. He triggered the key release. Car started after that. However, on about the fifth or sixth try after that, the car failed to start and the key wouldn't turn the ignition switch. Car is stuck at work 50 miles from home and I will have to pay a small fortune to tow it to the shop near that won't rob me blind, that is. Furthermore, I have great need of my wheels as I Transport musical equipment to and from my concerts with this car, so I'm losing revenue here. As this has been a recurrent problem and GM already knows it is an issue, I request a recall and reimbursement for this problem, including the towing fee. Thanks in advance, GM. Regards, an avid, but currently downhearted, non-running Chevy owner.

- Naugatuck, CT, USA

problem #38

Feb 012013


  • 40,000 miles
The audio indicator for the turn signals, chime for safety belts, door ajar (all warning chimes) stopped working. The left front speaker stopped working for the radio as well. (I've looked this up on the internet, and supposedly all audio indicators come through the speaker.) this appears to be a problem with many Cobalts, over a long time (I've seen it mentioned for many model years). It is always the same, the left front speaker stops working (none of the others) and the audio warning equipment stops functioning.

- Leesburg, VA, USA

problem #37

Apr 112013


  • miles


Basically vehicle was parked in parking lot for an hour, when I got back to vehicle the car the vehicle had no power and would not start. Nothing was left on, no lights where on and no radio or other electrical device left on where all turned off. I had to jump start vehicle in order to get power back to vehicle and to have vehicle running again. This has happened twice before and have taken to dealership and nothing was found to be wrong.

- Pontiac, MI, USA

problem #36

Feb 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that once the vehicle was started, the fuel and odometer gauges would display an accurate reading. In addition, the power steering assist failed and the vehicle would resume in normal operation after turning the engine off and restarting. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis however, they were unable to determine the problem. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 76,000. Updated 5/19/114 updated 05/28/2014

- Arvada, CO, USA

problem #35

Dec 032012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Well I got my car back in 2009 and now I own it, well I have had power steering which I had fixed, but now I've been really having a bad gas smell and one of my friends dad is a mechanic and he looked at it and he's thinking something wrong with either the line or the filter or tank, I cant stand driving my own car cause how bad the smell is I've started having nose bleeds, and that's not my only problem all my lights are going off(tire, airbag, )etc. Yes my car is not in the best shape right now but I just started working again and my car is falling apart and idk how to get it fixed as of now.

- Rosharon, TX, USA

problem #34

Oct 112012


  • 103,000 miles
Car had starting issues, once took to the mechanic, they found out that the fuel pump connectors were burned and had possibility of igniting during driving. Chevy recalled many cars(Cobalts) with the same issues from 2007 to 2009, when we called Chevy about our vehicle, they said our car wasn't included in the recall even though we had that problem.

- Covina, CA, USA

problem #33

Aug 012012


  • 97,000 miles
I noticed a slight tapping/rattling noise coming from the front driver side. The noise only occurs between the speeds of 50-60 mph and only when letting off the gas completely. Then I received in the mail an ignition cylinder recall. My car had problems with locking up and difficulties turning the key. So I took the car to the dealership told them about the noise I was hearing then waited a week with no call from the dealership so I called them. They told me my car would be finished by noon, I arrived at 4 pm. They then told me my car was not yet finished. The dealership had not even put in the new ignition cylinder even after a week. I was told the noise could not be replicated. I waited for the ignition to be put in (about 30 mins) then took one of the dealership mechanics on a test drive to hear the noise. Noise was heard and took it back to the shop. Checked under the car and nothing wrong could be found. The lead mechanic took it for a test drive but due to the heavy downpour of rain nothing was heard. I was asked to bring the car back on Monday due to possible severity of the situation. Dropped the car back off at the dealership Monday. A test drive and a look under the car and they found the problem, noise coming from rack and pinion while hitting bumps rack worn and needs replacement steering column making noise as well recommend replacement with out replacement the car would eventually have no steering ability at all: Cost $1524 no warranty. This car has had the power steering recall replacement (the steering wheel suddenly stopped working while in a parking lot due to broken pinion) in 2010 and a transmission issue (RPM rev when the car hit 40 when the gas was not being applied) that was a worn seal it was fixed and covered by warranty in 2011. This would be the twice now with no steering ability only its a different cause? I feel like I'm being cheated.

- La Vernia, TX, USA

problem #32

Aug 012012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key became lodged in the ignition and he was unable to remove it. Also, the contact stated that on a separate occasion while driving 45 mph the steering wheel seized and the air bag warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer six times who diagnose that the ignition module, steering wheel column and driver side air bag module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 82,600.

- Viola, WI, USA

problem #31

Aug 082012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
The wiring harness failed and caused wires to fray, corrode, break, and become exposed. This led to failure of daytime running lights. Wiring harness replaced. Dealer had never seen or heard of this problem. The safety risk associated with failing electronics is severe and costs associated with wiring failure should be covered by GM.

- Milford, CT, USA

problem #30

Jul 272012


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key would not remove from the ignition. The contact had to disconnect the battery in order to remove the key. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileages were 60,000.

- Houston , TX, USA

problem #29

Jun 122008


  • 56,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key would not turn in the ignition. The contact was able to turn the key and start the vehicle after several attempts. Sporadically, the contact could not turn the key to shut the vehicle off. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection where they advised the contact that the ignition lock cylinder and the housing needed to be replaced, as well as a new set of keys. The vehicle was repaired but the keys were not replaced. The manufacturer was notified and provided the same information to the contact as the dealer. The failure mileage was 56,000.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #28

May 142012


  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated the key was stuck in the ignition of the vehicle and the vehicle could not be turned off. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and was told the tumbler and the ignition lock cylinder needed to replaced. The failure and current mileage was 42,000.

- Oil City, PA, USA

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