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 1 of 3)

problem #43

Aug 222016


  • 105,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the shifter independently moved and the vehicle experienced a loss of power steering. The traction control and check engine warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the failure could not be replicated. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact was informed that the vehicle was previously serviced per NHTSA campaign number: 10V073000 (steering) in 2010. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 105,000.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #42

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 #41

Sep 252016


  • 158,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While the vehicle was stationary, the ignition key became stuck in the vehicle. On another occasion, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to shift into the reverse gear. In addition, the vehicle would not start when prompted. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 158,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Wilson, NC, USA

problem #40

Sep 012015


  • 89,000 miles


GM replaced ignition parts and shifter mechanism as per recall. Shortly after issues began with steering locking up, transmission not shifting and various warning lights flashing. This became more frequent and is now impossible to drive. My technician says it is a body or transmission control module costing well over a thousand dollars. There appear to be 100S of 1000S of the same issue as per search engines. I will contact my local GM dealership. If GM will not back up its product it will be the last GM in my driveway. I will trade in on a Toyota.

- Millersburg, PA, USA

problem #39

Jul 292016


  • 174,440 miles
While driving in town shortly after turning onto a 45 mph road my vehicle, automatic, started hesitating while shifting into the next gear. It would shift but not like normal. Brought it into a repair shop to have a diagnostic ran to be informed it is a failure to communicate with tcm. Code U0101 and also U2100. After doing research there has been multiple complaints about this. So first things first replaced the tcm with a new one at the dealership. After replacement the vehicle is still not shifting correctly.

- Pahrump, NV, USA

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problem #38

Nov 032015


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 50 mph, the vehicle slowed down, jerked, and accelerated rapidly on its own. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 130,000.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #37

Sep 252015


  • 10,377 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. After the vehicle was started, the enhance traction system, check engine, and power steering warning light illuminated intermittently. In addition, when the vehicle was switched into the reverse position, there was an abnormal sound coming from the gear shift. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 10,377. Updated 03/11/16

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #36

Apr 282015


  • 133,000 miles
The contact owned a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While the vehicle was parked and the engine was turned off, a second vehicle made contact with the rear bumper. As a result, the contact's vehicle rolled down a hill and crashed into a tree. The vehicle was destroyed. There were no injuries and a police report was not filed. The cause of the failure was not diagnosed. The manufacturer had not been contacted. The contact indicated that the vehicle experienced the same failure listed in NHTSA campaign number: 09V073000 (power train); however, the VIN was not included in the recall. The failure mileage was 133,000.

- New Paris, PA, USA

problem #35

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 #34

Mar 152015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
My car has been stalling out as it gets to lower speeds and shifting very hard. There is a clicking in the dash somewhere and the speed odometer was fluctuating. It hesitates and tries to shut off at every stop. Loosing power and speed even down hill. The power steering reading has been coming on. And the display for gas mileage will now go to all lines no numbers. I am starting to be afraid to drive my car. That its going to get me rear ended when I am turning and it shuts off. I fear for my safety and the safety of my children. I went so far as to this morning recording the dash as it was acting up so I can show my husband.

- Markleton, PA, USA

problem #33

Feb 032015


  • 199,230 miles


Car was recalled in 2010 for power steering. Previous owner had it fixed. I initially reported back in January 2014 of recurring problem of losing power steering while driving. I was told it was already fixed so I would have to pay out of pocket to fix same problem as the recall. Here it is a year later and I'm still having the same problem with the power steering. The speedometer started flickering back and forth going haywire and there was a weird ticking noise in the area near the gearshift. I had to pull over on the side of the highway and was almost struck by a tractor trailer because the power steering locked up on me and I had my 3 kids in the car. I was told that I needed a new coil pack, it was replaced and it's still doing the same thing. It shakes at red lights and occasionally cuts off. I have to press the pedal to the floor to get it to accelerate which it does but very slowly, and then it just takes off like a rocket and I have no control over it. This is very dangerous!! also my car can switch gears without having to press the brake or the button in the gearshift. I can just simply push the gearshift back and forth without being in the car. While backing out of my driveway my kneecap bumped my keys and my car turned off. There needs to be another recall of the power steering because apparently the replacement parts are faulty as well. Or it could be the faulty wiring altogether in the system. These Chevy Cobalts need to be taken off of the streets and owners reimbursed for the car plus all of the trouble and near death experiences that we have to continue to experience on gms behalf. I have read several other complaints about the power steering being fixed and still have the same results as myself. How many people will have to die or another lawsuit presented before there's another recall to have these cars removed permanently off the roads?

- East Point, GA, USA

problem #32

Jan 192015


  • 24,275 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving the power steering failed after the power steering light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the transmission control module needed to be replaced. The repairs were made but the problem persisted. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 24,275.

- Hillsboro , OH, USA

problem #31

Apr 052005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80 miles
I purchased a Chevy Cobalt brand new in 2005. From the moment it left dealership I have had one recall issue after another. The main issue is stalling while driving caused by the ignition switch. This had been fixed at schumacer Chevrolet several times. My vehicle continues to stall and I am terrified of causing an accident due to this recall which GM refuses to fix. I feel I was sold a lemon and all I get from GM and the local dealers is nothing. My vehicle is worse with the stalling. I don't know where to turn to. Please help. I don't want monetary compensation from GM if I or any passenger in my vehicle dies in an accident due to a malfunction due to GM.

- Passaic, NJ, USA

problem #30

Dec 272013


  • 131,939 miles
While driving my Cobalt from anywhere between 10mph to 50mph multiple "ding" noises occur. Then any number of alert lights come on including; traction control, air bag, check engine, etc... there is a strange clicking noise that comes from somewhere in the dash. Also, along with these symptoms the transmission (auto trans) begins to shift very hard both up and down, car shudders as if it is going to stall when it comes to a near stop. The scariest and most dangerous part is that the car has experienced loss of power steering at speed and loss of braking control. Sometimes I have spent 5 minutes trying to get my key out of the ignition as well, and must forcefully move the transmission shift knob back and forth until the key turns free. This car is a danger, and despite having multiple recalls it is still unsafe to drive.

- Prescott Valley, AZ, USA

problem #29

Sep 162014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
He traction control light came on, the car started jerking really bad. The check engine light came on, and the "power steering" started flashing on my dashboard. My power steering went out, happens randomly.

- Norwich, NY, USA

problem #28

Aug 082014


  • 103,206 miles
I have a safety complaint I bought my 2005 Chevy Cobalt and I'm not happy with-it it doesn't, drive safe its drive like the accerlator pedal going to come off its seems loose when I put my foot on it to accelerate and the car seems like its something wrong with the power steering but I have took it to firestones and dealership they said nothings wrong but I just don't seem safe driving this car especially on the expressways it seems like the car is out of control like its trying to run off from me so I stay off the expressways I think this car was in accident before I bought it but the salesman gave me a car fax report and said it hadn't but if you look at the car it look like it has thank god I haven't been in a accident with this car but im very unhappy with the performance of this car I would never buy another american car again now as fair as the ignition my car was cutting it self off with that bas ignition switch I went to several car places that said it didn't qualify for the loaned so I kept calling GMC and they got me in to get the ignition switch but its something else wrong with the power steering connected to the accerlated palpated my car needs to be toughly check out and I don't have any more money to have car dealer check it out I already spend on theirs car this yea over $1500 dollars im retired I'm one fixed income and I just don't have it if you can get my car into a dealership and have them look it over thoroughly free of charge, and I can try to fix whatever needs to be fix because I know I not crazy something is definitely wrong with my Cobalt I don't know why nobody cant see that. I have replace ball joints sways bars and ignitions switches and this car still doesn't drive right I want every bit of money I paid for this car back. I will never buy another american car again and will tell my family not to either.

- Lansing, IL, USA

problem #27

Oct 012013


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving various speeds, the power steering would become difficult to maneuver and the vehicle would vibrate violently. The power steering indicator illuminated. The failures occurred several times. The dealer stated that the transmission needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #26

Jun 182014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 114,340 miles
On June 18, 2014 while driving 45 miles per hour I suddenly lost power steering in the vehicle and the engine kept cutting out like it was going to shut off. I pulled into a store parking lot and the shifter would not work properly when trying to get it into park. Power steering light, engine light and several other lights appeared on my dashboard.. I called the dealership on June 18, 2014 to notify them of my power steering going out and the other issues described above. They told me parts were still not available. I did receive a call back that they did in fact have the part and to bring in the vehicle on June 19, 2014. My husband drove the vehicle 35 miles to the dealership with no power steering, the engine wanted to die every time he came to a stop and acted erratically the whole drive there. According to the invoice received the dealership mileage on my vehicle was 114, 340 and they performed recall 10023 V220 removed and replaced power steering motor with motor kit 1 19257875 motor kit. On June 20, 2014 the car was driven 320 miles. On June 21, 2014 I had no power steering. On June 23, 2014 I had to have a wrecker service tow my vehicle back to the dealership.. on July 18, 2014 I picked up my vehicle. According to the invoice received the dealer performed recall 13454 (F-cylinder kit ), performed recall 14113 (removed and replace ignition cylinder and programmed 2 new keys per recall 14113). The mileage they say was on my vehicle on this invoice dated 7/18/14 was 114, 292. Don't know how my mileage went backwards"?" on July 28, 2014 driving to work at 4:30 am going 60 mph my power steering light comes on, the engine is cutting out, the dashboard lights up, the speedometer needle is flickering uncontrollably and I have no where to pull over. This is the 3rd time power steering problem due to GM recall. Help!!!

- Valliant, OK, USA

problem #25

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 #24

Jun 012011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Not sure exactly when it happened, but it has been occurring for years now. I have spent thousands of dollars in diagnostics, parts, and labor trying to fix the mystery problem! I'm fed up! it seems to happen randomly and fix itself randomly. Sometimes it lasts a couple days and sometimes longer than a couple weeks. The problem: My car will lose power steering, it starts shifting really hard and the gauges inside get all screwed. Occasionally when it happens it just won't shift at all. It will stay in first gear. The inside gauges: The speedometer will bounce all over the place, never staying still. The radio will also get loud and quiet by itself. The power locks would frantically go up and down themselves, until I took out the spark plug for those. It is very difficult to drive when the power steering goes out, not like cars that were built without it in the first place. The very hard shifting cannot be good for the car and is dangerous when I am driving during winter months or rainy weather. I live in Michigan and it snows a lot. Even the Chevy dealership can't tell me what is wrong and I have paid to have numerous parts replaced that have not fixed the problem. I've read other boards online with people having the same issue. I just cannot afford to keep paying to not get the problem fixed. I hate driving such an unreliable car with two young children, four years and 10 months. It happened multiple times when my little one was a newborn. Felt like I was giving the poor baby whiplash when the car switched gears. It's an automatic so there is nothing I can do about it.

- Baroda, MI, USA

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