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 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,950 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #3

Jan 312010


  • 65,000 miles


Driving my 2005 Cobalt is a dangerous option, you can drive it for day's and all of a sudden the steering quits and the transmission starts acting up also lights on the dash panel start flashing the car is still running but the steering does not work anymore, also the shifter will not disengage the steering lock you have to remove the plug out of the bottom of the steering wheel and stick your finger up in there push a small button like thing to get the key to unlock and turn all the way off other wise it will not lock the steering wheel. This has been happening for about 1/12 years I called the dealer ship and they told me the warranty for this kind of thing was up and that they did not have a fix for this, however they knew of the problem in other cars, I was told to replace the brain I did it didn't work I was told to put a larger capacity (amps) battery in, I did, it didn't work, this is a very serious problem that needs fixed. I'm going to put the last incident date in the box below.

- Crowder, OK, USA

problem #2

Dec 152009


  • 50,000 miles
I started to notice, in my Cobalt that the brake light would flash across the screen every couple of days. I did not mind it because it was not a constant thing. I asked a technician to check it out and the car was fine. A couple of weeks later I notice, when I got in my car to go to work, that my radio was short circuiting. I figured out how to get that fixed, thinking that the brake light and the radio was not related, even though everything in the car is electrical. After this incident occurred, I was driving home from work, on the interstate, and as I exited the interstate to commute to my home, "power steering" flash on my dashboard and my wheel jerked. Now, I was turning the wheel and exiting the interstate merging into oncoming traffic. While exiting and merging, I was going across an overpass over the interstate and came life-flashing close to hitting the bridge. Thank goodness I maintained control of my vehicle. I had to drive five miles to my home with a, basically, stuck steering wheel. After I approached my home and turned the car off, I went going into my home. I don't know anything about cars, let alone power steering. So, I decided to go to meineke to get it checked out. I got back into my car and the steering was fine. I thought I was just panicking and it was just a glitch. I asked the meinke technician about it and he confirmed that maybe it was just a glitch and to bring the car in if it happens again. Hoping it doesn't happen again, I went home relieved, or so I thought. The power steering in the piece of !@#$% car has gone out at least 5 times since that day. It's getting annoying and Chevy should do something about it before someone is killed and a lawsuit is produced. Thank goodness I didn't have my two year old in the car with me. I will never, and I mean never, purchase another Chevy if they don't know how to protect the people who are willing to give their hard earned money for these death traps/cars. Correction in progress.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #1

Sep 122006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,253 miles
Car purchased on 3/14/05 from rk Chevrolet. Starting Sept. 12, 2006 the car electrical system started malfunctioning. Various dash board lights came on, tick noise from the shifter, power steering light and fails, and the gauges began to go crazy! the car also wanted to shut off, and has boosts of energy. The same issue occurred November 2, 2006, June 8, 2007, September 19, 2007(colonial Chevrolet), and October 16, 2007 (colonial Chevrolet). After we got it back from colonial, the same problem occurred approximately 2 days later. Colonial Chevrolet indicated that that could not fix the problem and they were waiting to talk to GM about it! they even suggested initiating a buy back. We have been in contact with gmac in detroit about the issue and no answers have given nor a resolution. Currently we have to drive a very unsafe car that jolts, can't turn, and will not accelerate at times. We have been requesting at least a rental (safe car) until this problem can be addressed and no one has offered this in lue of a resolution. What has been done: PCM replaced: (9/15/07)body, throttle (8/7/07, 11/2/06), replaced: Body control (11/2/06); shifter bind & ndash; replace slide, automatic control lever replace, floor shift replace, wiring /connector steering suspension ride control??< control assembly. Floor shift replace (9/12/06).

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

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