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 / 1
Average Mileage:
26,459 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 #11

May 042015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 139,000 miles


Doors are sticking and not opening from the outside, one door will not open at all, handles breaking and got locked inside the car for 2 hours.

- Bingham , ME, USA

problem #10

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 #9

Feb 122010


  • 50,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt, for the last month or so the power steering has stopped working lots of times, sometimes it goes out a couple times a day. Other times it don't go out for a week. I am an older lady an I thought with gas mileage the Cobalt would be a great car for me. Now I am scared every time I drive, as I am afraid the steering will go out and cause me to wreck. I can't afford to have this worked on. Want to know if there will be a recall as on the tv they said there were lots of Cobalts doing this.

- Shelbyville , KY, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Oct 182007

(reported on)


  • miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt with inadequate protection in an accident. Consumer writing would like any information about this recall due to his client being killed in an accident with this same model and year of vehicle. (lawyer representing the estate of his deceased client) )

- Morrisville, PA, USA

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problem #6

Aug 292007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt with less that 30K miles I was driving home from work when my car just shut off no hazard lights turn signals brakes steering no power at all I could have been killed in all traffic because there was no way of signaling. It took three tries to get it started again there was no warning check engine light never came on I immediately took it to the dealership because this was the second time it has happened to me I had this problem last year also GM never had a recall they just put a plastic piece around the ignition and said it was fixed I told my dealer that there was a bulletin out about this and I asked them why there was no recall to replace the ignition switch after this second incident GM wanted to put a magnetic device in to keep the key from moving in the ignition any they placed a piece of plastic in my actual key I called GM and placed a formal complaint because this is a serious safety concern people are going to be hurt or killed if they get involved in a rear end collision or have no way of pulling off roadway spoke to my service manager and dealership replaced ignition switch there has never been a recall on this I do not trust that it will not happen again I am afraid to drive this car this is not the only problem I have had with this car the fan blower the shift on the floor the sunroof switch keeps falling out of the roof the window motors have burned out my interior paint and door handles were peeling after the first year I don't blame my service department because they have fixed the car the way GM told them to I feel very unsafe in this car why should I have to wait until he ignition shuts off a third time this could be my last if what is GM doing about this" are they going to do a recall? what else has to happen to me before they take this seriously" I am extremely dissatisfied with this car and I do not want it anymore. * 12/12/07 the dealer stated driver side rear power window was inoperable. Updated 12/12/07

- Trafford, PA, USA

problem #5

Mar 262007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles


- the contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet 2005 Cobalt. The contact received recall 07V014000 for the structure. The dealer stated it would take two weeks for the part to come in. The current mileage was 8,000. The contact had not experienced any problems.

- Arvada, CO, USA

problem #4

Aug 042006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
- the contact received two recalls 04560000 concerning exterir lighting:headlights and 07V014000 concerning structure on the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt in August 2006. He made three attempts to get the vehicle repaired. The dealer will not give him a loaner vehicle for the day and/or will not give him a ride to work. The current mileage was 45,000. There had been no failures to date.

- Rio Rancho, NM, 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

Feb 192006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles
I own a 2005 Chevy Cobalt ls and have had numerous problems with it. 1st I had to take it in because the passenger side rear suspension was making clunking noises. 2nd I had to take it in because there was moisture building up inside the drivers side headlight. 3rd I had to take it in because the passenger side rear window was howling and you could hear the outside air blowing through it when driving. 4th problem I just recently am having is the heating system. The blower just does what it wants. I can have the air to the off position and it still blows air at a high speed. Also, when driving the blower turns itself off and on whenever it wants to. All this and I only have 7,500 miles on my car. I won't be buying another GM vehicle!

- Wichita, KS, 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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