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:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,421 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 - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments

problem #11

Oct 162012


  • 66,000 miles


I was driving and trying to get up to speed and all my dashboard gauges began to drop down to zero, as in it would not register any speed, rpms or anything. My turn signals do not work during that time either. This happens often and could be dangerous as in switching lanes, or trying to turn.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #10

Sep 012008


  • 80,000 miles
I own a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. GM did replace the power steering motor, but I still do not have the power steering back. The service company told me that it was the power steering module that has gone bad and it is not covered by the recall or the warranty. It is causing my vehicle to jump and sputter. When this occurs I loose all my safety gauges like my speedometer, gas, etc. The vehicle even cuts off completely when I come to a stop at intersections. What do I do now? oh yeah, I even had the transmission worked to make sure it wasn't that either.

- King George, VA, USA

problem #9

Mar 062010


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 20 mph with a loss of power steering. The vehicle was able to continue in operation with caution. Additionally, the transmission slipped and the speedometer fluctuated and displayed inaccurate readings. The manufacturer was notified; the vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle has not been repaired for the malfunction. The VIN number was unavailable. The failure mileage was 70,000. The current mileage was 72,000.

- Mcclellandtown, PA, USA

problem #8

Feb 122010


  • 65,000 miles


2005 Chevy Cobalt power steering failure. We purchased this car a few months ago and it has begun to have major problems. The car is inside of the timeline for power train warranty, but is over miles. The power steering light comes on followed by complete power steering failure, engine stalling, rough shifting, strange movements of the speedometer needle, check engine light comes on. Power steering loss happens while driving and the engine has stalled while driving. The engine also stall when braking. This nearly caused an accident today and the situation is getting worse. My wife and I drive our 1 year old child in this car and my wife is pregnant. We cannot afford another vehicle and may not be able to repair this problem as numerous reports on the web indicate that this is a extremely common problem that is very expensive to fix. This problem happens several times each day.

- Heltonville, IN, USA

problem #7

Feb 092005


  • 35,000 miles
Power steering fails in 2005 Chevy Cobalt. Speedometer quits working so odometer no longer registers. Daughter was driving vehicle when steering quit. This almost created a major accident. Took car to mechanic and he says the computer won't give out any input.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #6

Apr 262009


  • miles
Powersteering and check engine light come on. There is then no powersteering and the car lurches forward as I accelerate. When stopping the car acts as though it is going to stall. The speedometer does not keep speed the needle just moves up and down. Took car in to Chevy dealer while still under warranty but they said they could not find problem. The car continues to do this just about every day and now is no longer under warranty.

- Marquette, MI, USA

problem #5

Oct 222009


  • 10,255 miles


My dad bought me a used 2005 Cobalt as my first car on May 2009 and power steering started to flash 2 days after I got the car. It went away, but it would come back on when it did, I felt the car some how pull or it felt heavy. I was driving out of my driveway when power steer flashed and the steering wheel was rock solid I couldn't turn, I freaked and left the car outside I called my dad, went back out and barely drove it in. My dad came home from work, I took him out to show him, but the car seemed normal. It felt like I was pulling a million pounds. I'm scared of driving it, that it's just parked in the driveway we got it used with 8,000 miles on it, so we have no warranty, and I certainly don't have $2,000 to fix it we need a recall. Now I'm driving it only to go 2 miles around my house!!! I often have to stop on the side of the road and re-start the car to unlock the steering wheel. By using this car, I am putting my life, and others in danger. Chevrolet has to do something about this, I thought that it was a simple fix, but when I found out how much it cost I can't do it. I don't think it's fare to us as customers to have a car we cant even drive. Now, the power steering dosn't work, the needle that tells you the speed doesn't work!!! we really need a recall from Chevy!! my dad bought the car with light transmission noise problems.the transmission was replaced. I don't have trans problems but the power steer has been there 2 days from getting it.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #4

Jul 192008


  • 53,000 miles
I was driving down the highway making a turn and my power steering went out it beeped at me and the dash displayed "power steering". when I restart my car its fine for a wile but then it dose it again and from what I can tell speed, turning, rpms, temperature distance have nothing to do with it. I was ran off the road due to this with my wife and child in the car my daughter smacked her head on the window I tore something in my should just trying to steer.

- St. Charles, MO, USA

problem #3

Oct 162007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,160 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the instrument panel lights do not illuminate at all. The vehicle is currently at the dealer and they stated that the vehicle was designed in that manner. The current and failure mileages were 14,160. Updated 1/15/09 on rainy or foggy or overcast days, the instument panel light does not come on. The vehicle has black faced gauges which can not be read under those conditions. Updated 01/21/09.

- Hillsboro, OH, USA

problem #2

Sep 112005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 220 miles
My Cobalt has been in repair the center at 2 different dealerships for a total of 17 visits. The air conditioner leaks excessively into the passenger floorboard. My headlight indicator comes on repeatedly, my temperature controls do not always work, my emergency brake light comes when the brake is not on, most recently my gauges have been quitting as I am driving and my left blinker has stopped working. My car has been in a shop for a total of over 60 days since I bought it in Sept. 2005. I have contacted GM/Chevrolet in an attempt to settle these problems and they will not assist me. My warranty will expire in less than 8000 miles. GM/Chevrolet - manufacturer and dealerships- will not assist me. I am very unsatisfied with my purchase, GM delivered a defective car and they will not stand by their reputation.

- Millbrook, AL, USA

problem #1

Jun 092006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 30 mph on normal road conditions, the engine stalled, all dash board indicators blacked out and there was no power braking. No warning signals alerted the contact prior the incident. The vehicle was able to be restarted. The problem recurred on two other occasions. The manufacturer opened a case and referred the contact to the dealership. The vehicle was taken to the dealership who reset the electronic module, however the defect persisted. The windows would go down slow, the intermediate steering shaft was replaced. Updated 11/30/06.

- West Springfield, MA, USA

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