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:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
61,731 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Feb 102015


  • 130,000 miles


The first time it happened, was at interstate speeds.(60 to 70mph) the second, was in city stop and go traffic. The third was backing out of my driveway after a 5 minute idle. The fourth was when my last mechanic was test driving it because he thought he'd fixed it. Dash lights blink on and off, all warning lights come on, engine cooling fans stop operating, transmission hunts for what gear it should be in; resulting in the transmission self destructing. Engine management, other than the cooling fans, seems to be unaffected. I've replaced 4 tcm's so far; as all mechanics say that is the problem. It works for a few days or a week, then the same problem manifest. This seems to be a problem with quite a few GM vehicles.

- O'fallon, MO, USA

problem #21

Mar 012016


  • 169,785 miles
I was driving down the road and for no reason my Chevy Cobalt theft lock came on (ABS) light started flashing and tractions control light came on indicating that the traction control was off then in my dash board it said power steering failure then it was rough idling and fuel goes up and down then it gives rough gears this is the second time it has happened driving down the road this is not safe

- Delano, CA, USA

problem #20

Sep 242010


  • 10 miles
Made left turn and my airbag went off. Mechanic said that the clock spring shorted out internally in the coil and deployed the airbag. GM has not contacted me over this matter and have been trying to get them to reimburse me for since 2010.

- Deerfield Beach, FL, USA

problem #19

Mar 072012


  • 100,000 miles


Vehicle loses power steering use after driving for a few minutes causing steering to become very difficult especially at lower speeds causing the possibility of a vehicle collision which is very unsafe and Chevrolet nor General Motors wants to do anything about it, I urge you please do not purchase a General Motors vehicle as once again they have shown they do not care about the lives of there customers

- Ft Wayne, IN, USA

problem #18

Feb 252015


  • 20,000 miles
While driving home the Chevrolet Cobalt (which we've only had for two weeks) engine shut off, luckily we were in the neighborhood going slow when this happened. I started the car up again and pressed on the gas but it would not go forward, now only the reverse works.

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #17

Sep 232014


  • 97,000 miles
I was driving around 55 mph in traffic. I heard a chime and the display on the dash said power steering disabled, the orange indicator for traction control disabled illuminated, the tachometer jumped around and the transmission shifted extremely hard into gear. I struggled to pull over to the shoulder and the car slammed into park. I shut the car off and back on. It still shifted hard so I let it stay off for five minute. After that the car was fine. As an experienced mechanic it felt like the car lost communication with one of the computers. No dtcs were stored. There are a lot of complaints about this online as well.

- Schaumburg, IL, USA

problem #16

Oct 052010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


I have had problems with traction control light coming on and when it does the car won't shift properly (automatic), jumps and stutters and dies. Also lose power steering. This has been happening off and on ever since I got the car 5+ years ago. I have had it back to the dealership I bought it at (Dodge dealer) at least twice who took it to a Chevy dealer and have had it to local Chevy dealers multiple times and no one can capture any codes or fix it. Now it thinks the key is in the ignition all the time and locks don't work properly even tho I had switch replaced on recall. Searched internet and see many others have had this same problem and some said it was ABS issue. Why has there been no recall?

- Yates Center, KS, USA

problem #15

Mar 162014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
While in drive, the vehicle made a buzzing sound like electrical wires being fried, and then completely shut off. There were no brakes and no steering ability- the car was completely lifeless, no ability to control it at all, stranded in the middle of a street.

- Ellicott City , MD, USA

problem #14

Mar 012014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
The car will lose power, like it is shifting down, transmission slipping, and either start to stall or will stall. Sometimes, if it has run for a long time the problem temporarily goes away. Not safe to drive however and 3 mechanics have attempted to repair with no success.

- Lewis Center, OH, USA

problem #13

Jun 212014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 46,600 miles
On 6/22/14, I was coming home from philadelphia and while on the brunswick highway, my 2005 Chevy Cobalt's dashboard lit up like a christmas tree and I lost my power steering, traction control, brakes, ABS, engine lock, door locks were clicking on and off and I had to pull over 4 times off the highway. My odometer didn't work either. This also made my transmission jerk and slip. It was so bad that when it was switching gears, it was making my entire car shake. I was afraid for my life. I nearly crashed into a semi-truck because my brakes and power steering didn't work. Also, I couldn't go below 65mph on the highway because the transmission was slipping. I made it home but I was still shocked and scared. The next day I took it to the dealership to get it looked at. I thought it was the recall problem with the ignition but they couldn't find what the main cause was. They said it wasn't ignition but some sort of computer glitch. All they did was reset the computer and recommended me to buy anew car battery. I got the new battery and every was fine.on 7/714, the same issue happened again but worse. It happened while my car was parked and again the dashboard lit up. Everything went off again, I lost my power steering, traction control, brakes, ABS, engine lock, door locks were clicking on and off. It took me 6 times restarting the car for the dashboard to be cleared, and then 5 minutes again, the car chimed, and I lost my power steering, traction control, ABS and the odometer didn't work again. I nearly crashed again too. I took it again to the the dealership. On 7/8/14, they told me they replaced the recalled ignition switch, but they still couldn't find the root of the cause of the major electrical issue in my car. They did say my car isn't safe to drive on the road. They asked me to leave it for a couple of days to see if they can find the problem.

- Englewood, NJ, USA

problem #12

Apr 012014


  • miles


On Saturday March 29th 2014 I had my recall fixed on the power steering at ryan chevorlet here in minot nd. I get it fixed and parked my car at home until Monday April 1st I am driving down the highway and come to a stop light then I began to hear a clicking noise in my dashboard then a notification pops up for my traction control. As I start to move my speedometer is moving from 10 to 20 but im barely going 5. my RPM's are going up also then a notification for my power steering comes up then im worried. I get to my destination and my power steering goes out and I can not turn the vehicle and it shuts completely off. I try to turn it on and it turns over just doesn't start. I call the Chevy dealer here and they say they will take a look at it. They had my vehicle for a while just to tell me my car needed gas. Does this make sense or am I being fooled" I have research this issue and it seems like it has happened before to other people. Could someone help me"

- Minot, ND, USA

problem #11

May 312014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Power steering gave out while driving.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #10

Mar 072014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 151,894 miles
I went to crank my vehicle then proceeded to put it into drive to take off, but I had no power nothing. Turned my key over to recrank and it crank with no problem. This time allowing me to take off and drive. Now if I have the key in the ignition and turn it to the on position it sputters for atleast 50 to 60 secs before cranking.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #9

Jan 032006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
My elderly parents purchased this car new from a Chevy dealership in palm harbor, fl. They took the car in numerous time for the car seizing up while driving and power steering problems shortly after their purchase. The starter would turn off, the power steering would go out, and they often complained about the car stopping in the middle of driving. There were very few miles on the car when this happened since they purchased the vehicle new in 2005. They took the car in for repair for such problems but were told by the dealership that nothing wrong. They sold the car to me, their daughter, because they had gotten to old to drive and they were too scared to drive the vehicle. I purchased the car from them in apx. 2010 and it had apx 9000 miles. Since the purchase of the car I have had the same problem numerous times. I have taken the car into the Chevy dealership for service several time in chapel hill, nc. They insist that they could not get the problem to repeat. When the power steering goes out, the ignition switch turns off thus turning off the car, and the stalling while driving is very scary to say the least. The most recent receipt from Chevrolet for this problem is from 8/14/2013 with 42950 miles on the car. Again they said they could not get the problem to repeat. The most recent time it happened was about 2 weeks ago. I replaced the electrical power steering fuse and it has been not indicating that problem. The start still turns off while driving. I think Chevrolet has know this was a problem with the Chevy Cobalt since 2005 and didn't want to do anything about it. $500 toward a new car..,.certainly not enough to want to make me purchase a Chevy any time soon. If they can fix the car it would be greatly appreciated.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #8

Sep 092010


  • 90,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt-stalls without warning, upon braking, stopping or backing, car will go dead and sometimes unable to re start. Complained to serv dept several time but they say they cant find a problem. Thousands on line with same complaint. Almost hit by train, and other vehicles due to the stalling.

- Dallas, GA, USA

problem #7

Jun 012009


  • miles
Power steering stop working all the time.

- Caguas, PR, USA

problem #6

Sep 082009


  • 50,000 miles
Power steering keeps going in and out.

- Mechanicsville, VA, USA

problem #5

Sep 122009


  • miles
I was driving along I-20 when the power steering light came on and the power steering just gave out. Thank god I was able to pull to the side, turned the car off started it up, the light went out. Now as soon as I turn the car on it automatically comes on and the power steering is terrible. The car is, of course, out of warranty. Talked to dealer and was told they only had 1 car brought in with this problem and it was costly.

- Longview, TX, USA

problem #4

Oct 102009


  • 40,000 miles
We purchased a used 2005 Cobalt and have had this issue with the power steering going out on numerous occasions. Each time the car was taken in they would say they couldn't find the problem and would return the car to us unrepaired as it would do the same thing again and again and on one occasion it almost resulted in a severe accident while my wife and daughter were turning through an intersection and the steering went out. Thank god the other drivers were alert and a near and possibly fatal accident was avoided. They tell us it can be fixed but now that it's out of factory and somehow even extended warranty they had us purchase that was supposed to last until we paid it off have expired they want us to now pay for the repairs and even $100 to even look at the car. We got a report that this car had issues from day one and were never told but received it later from GM indicating the car had a some problems and was sold to our dealership at a GM auction. We feel stuck with this car and trusting in god each day that the problem won't occur and cause loss of life to anyone. Please make GM recall and repair these Cobalts so that loss of life or limb isn't a result at anytime. This occurs quit often and should be addressed.

- Winterville, GA, USA

problem #3

Sep 082009


  • 59,000 miles
I own a 2005 Chevy Cobalt 2.2 engine. It started Sept 8th 2009 my power steering in my car failed causing me to strain to turn the wheel. I made it with mild damage to my car. I replaced my steering column but the problem still exists. The car jumps like it doesn't know what gear to shift into causing the car to jump and be almost impossible to turn.

- Mechanicsville, VA, USA

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