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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
5,186 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

problem #5

Jun 132007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,860 miles


Brake failure/brake pedal went down when applied and vehicle accelerated at a high rate of speed, traveled 20-25 feet struck truck in front of me causing over $4,000 in damage to my 2005 Chevy Cobalt since the June 13th 2007 accident the brakes failed 2 more times the last time the brake pedal collapsed to the floor with no brakes(bushing &clip missing from brakes, I think this was done at the factory). I had to stop it using the emergency brake. I refused to drive it again. My wife had it do this to her, with the brakes failing and accelerating at a fast pace, luckily no cars were near her at the time, because I traded the Cobalt General Motors refuses to do anything about the problem reference number 71-562139648 talked to several people one was jake ext 22795.

- Kinston, NC, USA

problem #4

Jan 012007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Severe steering and braking problems. Mechanics can't find problem. A lot of times, on the highway or at speeds greater than 40 mph the steering starts to shudder and make a machine gun noise with each rattle. The rattling slows down as the speed slows down. There have been times where I had to pull over because it felt like a flat tire, only to get out of the car and inspect the car and see that the tires were fine. The problem goes away after shutting the car off and restarting it. When braking while going at speeds 40 mph or higher the brake gets soft and mushy feeling, and doesn't appear to slow the car down enough, and the shudder starts in the steering wheel again with the rat-A-tat sound for every shudder. I brought this car to dealer several times, and the mechanics could not get the car to do the same for them. The last time, one of the staff members mentioned that there may be a problem with the electronic steering/suspension system, and that GM was trying to figure it out. Recently, I took the car in for a brake check at another shop - the mechanic said the brakes were fine, nothing' was wrong with them, but the car still did its shuddering. I' had two front end alignments, and rotation of wheels, still the same problem. I feel that one of these days the shuddering is going to cause a potentially fatal problem, when the brakes, steering or suspension go out. I also noticed on 6 different occasions that the brake light came on just for a second. It's never stayed on, and it didn't come on during the shuddering moments. The car stalled a couple times, but they were so far and few between. The back light on dashwas hard to read when headlights were automatically on during the day.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #3

Feb 072006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The 2005 Chevy Cobalt we purchased for my daughter has a violent vibration that is intermittent. The vibration usually happens on long trips, when the car is at highway speeds of over 65 mph for 45 minutes or longer with the cruise control on. Then when coming up on slower traffic, you touch the brakes to disengage the cruise control, a violent vibration proceeds. If you apply more brakes the vibration gets worse. This vibration requires the driver to maintain both hands on the wheel to control the car. This vibration will last from a few minutes to 15 miles. Usually when the vibration stops the cruise control will not work for a minute of 30 minutes and up to 3 days. We have take the car to the dealerships 5 times. 2 dealerships in or around tampa Florida and the dealer we purchased it from in jonesboro Georgia. Each time they dirve the car a few miles at highway speeds over 60 mph and declare nothing is wrong. As we stated above and to the dealerships, it takes a minimum of 45 minutes or longer at speeds over 65 mph for this vibration to happen, and sometimes it will not happen. We have started the lemon law process in Georgia and have asked for a replacement car or purchase back by GM. We are awaiting there actions. Since the manufacturer's last attempt to fix the car, in which my daughter drove 2 hours and the vibration started as they were existing the express way to the dealership, she over heard the service manager acknowleged "the problem is in the brakes' they contacted the GM rep in atalanta area, and decided to do nothing to fixe the car. Now yesterday, when my daughter was about to slow down on the connector in atlanta, due to slower traffic, the brake pedal went soft and then "hard as a brick" causing the car not to stop and hitting the pickup truck in front of her. The air bags did not deploy and she now has a "mild concusion". she had to miss work yesterday and today. What can be done to force GM to fix this brake problem or replace the car?

- Fayettevile, GA, USA

problem #2

Jul 212005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 569 miles
The contact had several problems with a vehicle he previously owned. The vehicle stalled while driving. The vehicle was taken to the dealership for inspection. The dealer determined that the key chain was too long and touched his knee. The second problem concerned the brake light coming on momentarily. The dealership could not duplicate the problem. The third problem was that the door handle stuck one eighth of an inch from the door. As a result, he returned the vehicle back to the dealership. The ignition switch was replaced to hold the consumers heavy key chain. Updated 01/19/06.

- Plainfield, CT, USA

problem #1

Aug 152005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 5,500 miles
The consumer states that the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt was having two problem. The ABS malfunctioned the ABS locked the tires. The main issues with the car was the steering column. The tilting of the steering wheel was making the vehicle stall. The steering wheel was brought down to the bottom with force and the vehicles stalled. This has been happening for around a month. The vehicle has not been in the dealership for this problem. The manufacturer has not been contacted. The dealer and the manufacturer were contacted over the ABS, and they denied having a problem.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

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