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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,512 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 #4

Nov 152010


  • 95,000 miles


Power steering was recalled in my 2005 Chevy Cobalt...but the whole steering column needs to be recalled. I will never by a Chevy again.

- Monett, MO, USA

problem #3

Oct 152008


  • 35,000 miles
While traveling at highway speeds (~65 mph) the car has shut off 4 times. Each time car behaved the same way, as if the key had been removed: The engine stopped, instrument panel dials went to 0, lights turned off. Radio stayed on (as it would if the car was turned off). The shut offs were sudden: There were no warnings (lights, sounds, vibrations) before shut off. I was able to coast/brake and pull to the side of the road, shift to park and restart the car each time. The first incident was in July 2008 approximately 100 miles into a trip. The second three incidents happened in about a 30 minute time span on the same trip in mid October. I took the car to the Chevy dealership after the October incidents and they could not reproduce the problem. They performed a computer update. I had them check the wiring in January 2009 and they could not find any problems. The clock radio resets to 12:00 (when I turn on the car, not during driving) about once every 3 months since I bought the car in 2005 - I'm not sure if this problem is related. The car is an automatic 2005 Cobalt, 4 doors with about 35000 miles.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #2

Aug 152005

Cobalt 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 4,000 miles
I bought my car in 6/05. My car's parking lights, tail lights, and dash lamps were not working. I brought it in twice before it was fixed, about 7/05. Then everything worked properly for about a month. Whenever I turned the headlights on manually, the dash panel would illuminate. However, one day it began to flicker and now the instrument panel only illuminates when the auto light sensor deems it dark enough to warrant illumination. I have driven in the rain and today in a snow storm and when I manually turned my headlights on my instrument panel remained dark. Or, at times, it will illuminate for a few minutes, go dark again, illuminate, dark, and so on. I brought it back to the dealer again and they told me that the auto light sensor is supposed to override me manually turning my headlights on, however, this was not the case when my car was working properly between 7/05 and 8/05. During that month my dash lights would illuminate whenever I turned my headlights on, even during broad daylight. Also, my emergency brake light flashes on and off on the dash maybe about once a week as does my 'bright' headlight beam icon on the dash.

- Oconto, WI, USA

problem #1

Feb 282005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 48 miles
Car purchased 2/21/05. Windshield fluid not in the car. Driving on highway mud was splash on window tried to wash it off, no fluid, mud smeared on window had to pull over on the highway to manually wipe off-2/05. Horn not working or was never put in, had to wait 3 days for replacement-3/05. Brake light coming on whether car is in motion or not. First reported 3/05 then again in 4/05. Told that the fuse may be going out. Still does this as of 9/05. Radio/cd player locks if you start the car an immediately adjust the volume have to restart car to unlock- 5/05. Back lighting for console does not come on all the time while in automatic mode. Unable to see speed if driving through a tunnel not well lit. Driver side tire making squeaky noises and grinding sound when parking in reverse. First reported 5/05 told may be brake dust still doing this as of 9/05. Appt pending. Headlight blew out 9/05. Back window passenger side not sealed properly you can hear and feel the wind coming in while on the highway its a pain. All of these thing were reported to dealer and General Motors on survey.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

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