Notes: The Cobalt was introduced to replace two of Chevy’s smaller cars, the Cavalier and Prizm. But the compact’s fresh start that Chevy was hoping for was riddled with issues, most notably widespread power steering failure.

The power steering failed so often that GM was forced to issue a recall in March, 2010. Great, but what about other problems like the key getting stuck in the ignition or all the other electrical demons this car possesses?

And, oh yes — then there’s the terribly dangerous issue where the Cobalt randomly shuts off while driving. As it turns out, that problem is related to GM’s massive 2014 recall for a dangerous ignition switch defect. A recall that eventually ballooned to 2.6 million vehicles in one of the automotive industry’s biggest scandals.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
59,786 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.

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt accessories - exterior problems

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

Sep 262014


  • 65,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated the door locks would independently unlock and lock in a loop which causes the vehicle alarm to activate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 65,000.

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #30

Oct 152013


  • miles
The latching mechanism on the doors stopped working properly, usually when the outside temperatures begin to drop, but it isn't always the case. The doors either won't open or won't close, and the handles don't work inside or outside of the car when the latch won't release. Sometimes banging very hard on the outside of the door at a certain location releases it and it works again until the next time you need to open it. I've seen many posts online of Cobalt owners having the same issue. This is a major safety hazard, and should require a recall. If both doors stopped working at the same time I would be stuck inside the car, or stuck outside not being able to get in and drive my car. And what if there was an emergency? unfortunately repair shops have no clue what's going on or how to fix it, and I'm not the only one out there who can't get it repaired.

- Cleveland Heights, OH, USA

problem #29

Sep 182006


  • 91,496 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the lock mechanism failed. The contact mentioned that the doors were unable to be unlocked using the electronic key fob or manually. In addition, the key could be removed from the ignition when the vehicle was out of park. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 14V171000(electrical system) and NHTSA campaign id number: 14V047000(air bags, electrical system)however, the failures persisted. Additionally, the contact stated that he also had to replace the computer motor and two body control modules. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 91,496.

- West New York, NJ, USA

problem #28

Dec 202013


  • miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while traveling at various speeds, the electric locks activated independently. The key had also seized in the ignition. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was not available.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #27

Mar 202014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 121,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving the vehicle and making a U-turn the drivers side door would open, when it was locked. The contact also indicated that on multiple occasions while attempting to exit the vehicle the driver side door would not unlock. The failure was not diagnosed nor was the vehicle repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure.. updated 07/01/14 MA the consumer stated the vehicle suddenly accelerated and she crashed into a garage. The consumer has since traded the vehicle. Updated 07/23/14

- Plymoth, MN, USA

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problem #26

May 012012


  • 70,000 miles
Randomly, the driver's door latch fails to function. If the door is open, it will not latch closed. If the door is closed, neither the interior or exterior door handle will open the door. Obviously, this is rather a severe safety concern. If this were to occur after an accident, an un-injured occupant could die from fire--or drown if the car were submerged. I explored the issue on multiple internet forums and found this is a rather common issue. For instance, here is a query on the Cobalt ss forum. Just entering "door latch" comes up with these search results."query=door+latch&ref=esp-nav-bar&type=all on one poll, fully 50% of all Cobalt owners have experienced this issue. 50%. I found there is an NHTSA case on the issue. The action number is: "NHTSA: Action number: 10038344 service bulletin number: 308836." This references the dealer service bulletin #pi0011A. A dealer applied the bulletin, the issue remains. I am now having the latch replaced, however that is no guarantee that the issue will be resolved. Worried I may have this problem at some point with the passenger door, I looked into the latch on the passenger door. The latch is not available and has been discontinued by GM. Even though there is an NHTSA action on this issue, GM has seen fit to make fixing the problem impossible. One has to ask, "why is the part sold out"" clearly, the failure rate has been so high that GM has sold out their entire stock of replacement parts. The part numbers needed for my passenger door latch are either 15906018 or 15892690. I can't believe that there is no recall for this. People will die. GM isn't even stocking all of the parts that might fix the issue. The service bulletin does not fix the problem. GM knows how to make a door latch that works. Please, require GM to fix this before people die.

- Camas, WA, USA

problem #25

Feb 012011


  • 80,000 miles


At multiple times, the driver side door will not open from either the inside or the outside latch. This seems to happen mainly when it gets very cold outside. When I pull the latch it doesn't feel like it catches anything inside the door. This problem will go on for a couple weeks, and then suddenly the latch will begin to work again.

- Beaver Falls, PA, USA

problem #24

Apr 162012


  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated the vehicle would shift abnormally hard and would often jump when driving at various speeds. In addition, the vehicle would sporadically attempt to stall. The contact stated that various warning lights would illuminate on the instrument panel when the failure occurred. The contact had taken the vehicle to the dealer twice and each time the dealer stated that they could not duplicate the failure. The contact also stated that the automatic key fob could not be used to lock the doors because the anti-theft alarm could not be disarmed. As a result, the contact had to manually lock and unlock the doors at all times. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 65,000 and the current mileage was 71,000.

- Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

problem #23

Dec 282011


  • 90,000 miles
I was in town with my 5 month old baby and my door handle messed up. I had parked, and exited the car and went around to passenger side of car to open the door and get my son but the door wouldn't open. I locked and unlocked the car door and it was still stuck. It was as though the door handle wasn't latched to anything. It was just there, it wouldn't do anything. I beat and bang on the door for almost an hour until the passenger side door finally opened. The driver side door still won't open, inside or out. This car needs to be recalled. I have read of many others with same problem. My child who is only 5 months old was screaming and I couldn't get to him. This could have been very tragic had it been hot outside. Someone needs to do something about this!!

- Vicksburg, MS, USA

problem #22

May 202011


  • 78,000 miles
- sun roof (won't close on one corner) - sun roof switch literally fell out of the socket while driving - power door locks randomly (and rapidly) lock and unlock, whether the car is on or not. It's fun to watch your car lock your keys inside right in front of you. - passenger seat heater button sucked into the dash after being pressed using a normal amount of force. - both seat heaters failed within a few weeks of each other, fuses and connections are good. - heater randomly loses temperature control and won't switch between any of the settings, the heater won't stop blowing hot air in your face, even with the ac on, and the coldest setting. - driver side door randomly won't engage from the inside or outside handle while unlocked, and if it is locked, the key does nothing. In a crash, it may make it impossible to exit the vehicle. - driver's side top corner windshield seal failed. Could lead to water in the electrical system, and fires. - cruise control won't reengage after braking. The fix for this is to push the cc button (turning it off) and pressing the brakes. It resets the cc, and will work again, until it fails later. - passenger side front mudflap came off backing (slowly) over an average-sized speed bump. Luckily, the front fasteners are integrated into the front bumper, so to replace the mudflap would require replacing the entire front bumper. - driver's and passenger's side rear wheel well skirt plastic fasteners have mostly fallen out, causing the foam filler to droop down and rub the tires, or fall out completely. - passenger side rear seat latch in the trunk (that releases the seat to fold down) broke off during normal use. - at highway speeds, the front end shakes violently (also on a completely random schedule) to the point that braking nearly causes the vehicle to go out of control. 2 visits to two different (GM certified) dealerships and all they could tell me was, "we can't reproduce the problem, and don't know what is wrong with it".

- Corvallis, OR, USA

problem #21

Aug 012010


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the driver and passenger side door handles were inoperable and he was unable to enter or exit the vehicle if a crash or fire occurred; therefore, a passenger had to exit through the window. The contact did not inform the dealer or manufacturer of the failure, nor was the failure diagnosed or repaired. The current mileages were 125,741 and the failure mileages were 100,000.

- Mount Horeb, WI, USA

problem #20

Mar 102011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
Our 2005 Chevy Cobalt ls has key stuck in ignition. I found countless similar complains online from owners. Is this related to steering issue. If not please have them fix this lemon. It's not save as we are only able to take the keys out in the accessory position, in which case shifter stick is not locked and kids are able to shift it from park. It also drains the battery.

- Columbia Heights, MN, USA

problem #19

Mar 072011


  • 121,000 miles
My 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt's doors wont open. I get stuck in the car or outside of the car. I have had to climb to the drivers side threw the passenger side and I have had to climb out the window because I have been locked in the car. I have already had my car recalled because I had no powersteering and now this. I cant stand GM - they can't make a safe or reliable car to save their life. I called GM and they said they can do nothing for me - except charge me the 100 diagnostic test fee. When there are 100's of people who are going threw the same thing I am. This is not safe whatsoever. What if I am in an accident and cant get out of my car. I suggest GM does something about this. The car locks unlock and lock but the door wont open. Clearly it is something faulty. Cause it is happening to both doors. I am so angered right now and feel like my life is in danger. I don't feel like climbing out my window one more time. It occurs everyday.

- Milton, 00, USA

problem #18

Jan 202011


  • 74,000 miles
I have been locked in my car and locked out of my car due to the locking mechanism on the drivers door. This has happened several times. This morning I had to call a tow truck to come unlock my car at 5:00 in the morning.

- St. Maries, ID, USA

problem #17

Jul 262010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I have a 2005 Cobalt with 80,000 on it.the drivers door locks up all the time, I can't get in or out. Its happening all the time. Its a very dangerous issue if I ever got in a accident. I have times when I had to climb over the seats to get out. I have read many issues on this problem and I think there should be a recall on this issue.

- Mattis Point, 00, USA

problem #16

Dec 282010


  • miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt, the key constantly gets stuck in the ignition, the last time this happened I was unable to turn my car off for over 5 hours. This is a problem for many reasons. Not only will I probably have to replace that part but eventually the battery due to this. I've researched it online and see that it is a common complaint among many Chevy's especially my model. I think since it's such a common issue their should be a recall for this. I don't see why I should waste over $800 to get something fixed that is more common than it should be.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #15

Feb 212008


  • 30,000 miles
Ignition key cannot be removed without using the release button in the hole under the column.

- Salcha, AK, USA

problem #14

Jun 142005


  • 100 miles
Since this car was new, the car locks and unlocks itself regularly. If you get out of car, then return to car even within seconds, when you open door the alarm goes off. You cant do anything with car, without having keys in hand ready to shut off alarm. Even driving down the road the doors lock and unlock regularly. Have taken to dealer and they say nothing wrong. Car now has just over 100K miles, and am leaning towards never buying GM again.

- Lewiston, MI, USA

problem #13

May 112010


  • 60,000 miles
The key is stuck in the ignition.

- Chico, CA, USA

problem #12

Mar 302010


  • 104,000 miles
The door latches on both my passanger and driver side doors have been getting stuck frequently over the last 2 weeks. When I pull the handle to open the door (from either the inside or the outside) there is no reisitance on the handle. Like the latch is not even attached. I have tried using the remote key locks, using the key in the door lock, and using the buttons inside the car. Nothing works. I have been lock both in and out of my car. This is a huge safety issue.

- Rumson, NJ, USA

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