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.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
14,855 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 #5

Jul 172008


  • 44,000 miles


Power steering failure signal comes on after any length of time of driving, at any speed and on any pavement. The steering wheel locks up and the car has to be turned off and restarted in order for the steering to reset. Fuel injection failure. Key won't turn in ignition. Cd player picks and chooses when it will work.

- Clayton, MO, USA

problem #4

Jan 152007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
Went out to warm up my car, as I do every morning. The car would not start. When we got it started, it sounded like a go kart or 4 wheeler putting. Decided to drive it to dealer and had my husband follow. It made it about 5 miles and started smoking and sparks were coming from the exhaust. It died and wouldn't start back. We had to call in a tow truck to take it to a dealer. The dealer just informed me that it is an ignition module. We will see if that fixes the problem. This car had problems since the day I got it. When I got home with it in August 2005, the trunk ajar light stayed on even though the trunk was not open. Took it in to a shop and they replaced a computer, which immediately burnt out while there. I had to wait an additional week for them to get another one in. About may of 2006 the car was leaking from the air vents and the passenger dashboard. Took it in and the problem seemed to be fixed for a while. May of 2007 I had the same problem and took it to another Chevy dealership the problem seemed to be fixed for only 2 days. It still leaks to this day and I get condensation on the dashboard when it S hot enough. My radio has shorted out twice from this problem. My trunk constantly makes weird tapping noises and when people are in my car, they think someone is in the trunk. My car is now at the third local dealership on about its 6 + visit. I see other people with the same complaints as myself, and wonder why we are all paying out of pocket for things that should apparently be recalls. My gauges also work by themselves, when the car is off and keys are removed. The dealers claim this never happens in their view. I am very dissatisfied with my purchase and would not recommend this vehicle to anyone. Mainly because of the lack of concern from the Chevy dealers to fix the solutions for myself and others that I have read about.

- Southaven, MS, USA

problem #3

Jan 012006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles
We bought this car in July 2005. Since this time, it has been in the shop 8 times for various reasons. Mainly the steering. Going over bumps, it rattles very loudly. The steering column, struts, mounts, and almost everything to do with the steering has been replaced twice!! still rattles loudly. GM tells us that is not a safety hazard. There is a fix in progress but may take 6 months to a year! I pay a lot of money a month for a rattle trap! other items that have been replaced on the car is the radio, the blower motor, the right headlight, all 4 door bezels, all 4 door weather stripping due to wind noise, the shifting column because I had trouble getting the key out of the ignition. This has been the worst new car purchase I have ever made. I have already been in touch with the BBB about it.

- Brazil , IN, USA

problem #2

Mar 162006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle was returned to the dealer five times due to intermittent power steering failure and electrical problems. The steering wheel locked suddenly twice while driving, at various speed. The wheel locked on numerous occasions while the vehicle was stopped. Each time the power steering light illuminated on the dash during the failure. The wheel unlocked after the engine was shut down and restarted four times. The following electrical problems occurred intermittently, all the gauges fluttered, the fuel gage showed an inaccurate reading, and the emergency brake light illuminated while driving. On one occasion the dealer replaced the power steering housing, but this did not remedy the problem. On all other occasions the dealer completed diagnostic testing, but was unable to determine the cause of the problems. The consumer stated the gas tank was full of gas, however the low fuel illuminated on the dash. The radio malfunctioned twice. Updated 04/06/06.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #1

Dec 152005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,273 miles
I purchased a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt in August of 2005. In December of 05 the car was having a problem related to the automatic shifter and was in for service. The shifting unit was replaced, also the radio was reprogrammed for flashing an error message at the time of service. By February of 06 the shifter was again very stiff to move and was having trouble getting the key out of the ignition. The garage adjusted the shifter linkage and lubed the cable assembly, at this time I also had a concern with the operation of the headlights, changing them from low beam to high beam. The problem being that when you switch the lights they go out for a brief time. The garage ordered a new multi-control switch for the car. A few days after having the car serviced for these problems the car was towed back to the dealership because I was unable to remove the key again from the switch causing the battery to go dead, and the shifter was very stiff. The garage ordered and replaced the shifter assembly and defective cylinder for the key switch. As of the 7th of March, 06, I was still having problems with the lights going out when changing from low to high beams, the car is presently in the shop. I have contacted GM about my concerns with the shifter and the lights. After I did this, I recieved a call from the GM representitive that I had spoken with only to be told that the service manager from the garage told him that this is a normal condition for the vehicle and that nothing can be done to correct the problem.

- Emeigh, PA, USA

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