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:
8 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
9 / 0
Average Mileage:
85,813 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments

problem #19

Feb 202016


  • 155,000 miles


The driver side door latch does not want to open the door from the outside. It feels like there is nothing connecting to open it. This has happened several times and I have had to crawl over passenger side to open it from the inside. I understand there are lots of people having this same issue with this vehicle, something needs to be done.

- Windsor, KY, USA

problem #18

Nov 132015


  • 12,800 miles
When I unlock the driver door with the fob, the door would not open. I was driving one day and the relay electrical wiring started burning. When I took it back to the car dealer they told me there was nothing wrong. Myself and four other people smelled the burning. I gave the car back and nothing was done to satisfy the situation. I was told by an auto zone mechanic to park the car before it catches on fire.

- North Charleston, SC, USA

problem #17

Apr 032012


  • 75,000 miles
All my door handles are falling off and I've heard many colblats doing the same and all my paint is chipping off my car I drove from a to B and that's all

- Glenwood, IA, USA

problem #16

May 022015


  • 146,000 miles


Was driving when the steering locked up as I was starting around a small curve in the road. Could not steer and went off the road into a yard and struck a tree. Insurance company totaled vehicle.

- Upper Sandusky, OH, USA

problem #15

Apr 192009


  • miles
[xxx]. was front passenger in a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt driven by his cousin [xxx]. on April 19th, 2009. [xxx] lost control of the vehicle and severely wrecked the vehicle. [xxx] was stuck under the vehicle for approximately 4 hours and had to be air lifted to richland memorial hospital when emergency personnel arrived. [xxx] was severely injured and suffered life time injuries. [xxx] airbag did not deploy which caused him to suffer more extensive injuries than he would have if the airbags did deploy. [xxx]. later found out that GM had known of the problems with the airbag system in the 2005-2006 Chevrolet Cobalt vehicles but not report this until after [xxx] was severely injured on April 19th, 2009. [xxx] suffered a broken neck, broken bone in his right foot, his right hip was knocked out of joint, also severe back and spine pain. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Columbia, SC, USA

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problem #14

Jan 052010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Paint has been fading for the last 5 year from defects in pant job. Part of the frame above the rear passenger said door is bare metal and chipping away. Estimated cost to repair is $5,500. I have seen other 2005 chest Cobalt with the same problem.

- Lawrenceville, NJ, USA

problem #13

Jan 262015


  • 81,000 miles


The door doesn't open from either the inside or outside, even when the car is unlocked.

- Bossier, LA, USA

problem #12

Jan 242012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 212,668 miles
On 01//24/2012 I was driving my 2005 Cobalt on the lodge freeway in Michigan my car just turn off for no reason while I was driving at 55 mph, yes I was injured and lost control of my car.

- West Bloomfield, MI, USA

problem #11

Dec 242012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 202,668 miles
On 01//24/2012 I was driving my 2005 Cobalt on the lodge freeway in Michigan my car just turn off for no reason while I was driving at 55 mph, yes I was injured and lost control of my car.

- West Bloomfield, MI, USA

problem #10

Dec 062007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
I was going to work early in the morning. A train was in the distance which scared a huge buck deer. The buck deer with huge antlers ran straight into my car head on. I was not able to steer away from the deer and my car seemed to shut down. The huge buck deer hit me head on. The lights were totally smashed. The hood of the car was completely damaged. The windshield was totally smashed. The roof was damaged and the car was lopsided. The buck deer antlers went thru the windshield just inches away from me.the air bags did not work even though it was a head on collision with great force. My car seemed to shut off and I could not steer away from the deer. I was cut with glass on my face, arms and hands. My neck and back was hurt. I had my seat belt on but my stomach hurt from the dramatic impact. I complained that the air bags did not work and that my car acted strangely in which it seemed the ignition switch shut everything down and I could not control the car but I was totally ignored.

- Amherst, NY, USA

problem #9

Dec 032005


  • 4,700 miles


I rented this brand new Cobalt 4 months after hurricane katrina from mobile Alabama, so as to go back to my home town of san francisco, ca. By the time I made it through los angeles, at around 430 am. I lost control of car due to severe stiffness in the steering. Which led to the vehicle running off of I-5 heading North bound at a speed of 60 miles per hour. Visibility was good, I veered off the freeway into the median portion of I-5, and I tried to slow down but no response which led me to roll over few times, end to end and over and over, luckily I was wearing my seat belt and it held very well, suprisingly, no airbags, none of them deployed, and all the windows blew out, and not the reinforced kind including the front wind shield. The ambulance came, and so did the California highway patrol. There is a report about it which indicates that no airbags were deployed, and I do have pictures of car after incident. I had few bumps and bruises and had few cuts from the glass on my arms and legs, and I had to acquire a few rounds of physical therapy and accupuncture.but luckily I was in good spirits.the car was covered under 3 insurances, which paid for some damage, including my discover card, and my grandma's aarp. And the rental car company.

- Ocean Springs, MS, USA

problem #8

Jan 292010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 53,379 miles
I was stopped at a red signal for a few minutes. Suddenly, a university of buffalo student hit my car from the rear at full force. He was texting and when he got out of the car he was still texting. He admitted it was his fault because he was not looking at the road and was texting on his phone. I called the police and obtained a police report. The air bags did not work. My mom and I were jolted forward at full force with back and neck trauma. My car stalled on impact of the other car. Luckily my foot was on the brake and I did not hit the car in front of me. I had to restart my car and I pulled the car over to the side of the road in order to not block the busy street. I complained that my air bags did not work but I was ignored. Also, the ignition switch had turned off the car which I thought was strange.

- Amherst, NY, USA

problem #7

Feb 072014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
While making a left turn, the car felt as if it was sliding and hit a guardrail. Then, slide alongside it. That impact propelled my car across the street and it collided with a guard-wall, on the other side of the street, totaling the vehicle.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #6

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 #5

Dec 032013


  • 95,000 miles
Driver's side door will not open from inside or outside. Both the inside and the outside door handles will become "loose" and while easy to pull handles, the door will still not open.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #4

Aug 152013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 74,230 miles
Rear door opened while driving. Power steering cuts off.

- Parma, OH, USA

problem #3

Jun 082011


  • 83,000 miles
Unable to open drivers side door either from inside or outside. Doors appear to lock/unlock fine but handle feels like it is disconnected. This has happened multiple times. In researching on internet, I found that many Cobalt owners are having the same problem and that a quick fix is to pound on the outside of the door around the handle and that whatever is out of alignment will pop back into place. I consider this to be a very serious safety hazard in that one might be trapped inside of the car with no quick means of exit.

- Enon, OH, USA

problem #2

Dec 272011


  • 113,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle was parked and upon exiting, the front driver's door would not close properly. The contact was able to successfully shut the door after repeated attempts. The contact also stated that the same door would intermittently fail to open from the inside. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing or to be repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 113,000.

- Cullowhee, NC, USA

problem #1

Jan 272011


  • 115,000 miles
The drivers door cannot be opened from either the inside handle or the outside handle of the the door, thus trapping the driver inside the car or preventing the driver from accessing the car if they are not in it when this happens. The door cannot be opened with either the door key, the remote or unlocking the door from the inside. This results in the driver being forced to enter and exit the car by entering the passenger side and then climbing over the console. This is a common complaint from many owners of Cobalts and needs to be addressed. If the occupant was involved in an accident in which it was critical to exit the vehicle, they could not. After several days the door began working again. This has happened several times.

- Bluff City, TN, USA

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