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:
12 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 1
Average Mileage:
55,544 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 3 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #203

Nov 302014


  • 123,040 miles


Cobalt lost all power. While reaching for keys to try and restart Cobalt, keys were not in ignition switch and must have fallen out. With no power to steering I kept my left hand on steering wheel and reached to the floor with right hand to try and find keys. At this point in the blink of an eye the car steering was un responsive and Cobalt veered off the road to the right down through a half pipe shaped drainage ditch and did a roller coaster down then up in the air and then slammed back down to ground coming to a stop. In this roller coaster event I was tossed into the inside roof of the Cobalt then with seat belt on pulled/slammed back down into seat on my lower spine then the seat broke loose from its position and slid forward slamming my left knee into the lower dashboard and broke the door where the trunk release is located. Police were called, report taken I was dispatched to hospital via ambulance.

- Delafield, WI, USA

problem #202

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 #201

Nov 082014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Had no issues all day until all of sudden we were leaving a parking lot. I'm at the stop sign when I went to press the gas to go, I hear a chime - no indication lights come on- car acts like it's going to stall (it doesn't), steering is very hard and a clicking noise is coming from the gear shift area. Do not feel safe driving it all, although it's movable but very rough/bogging out. Recently had the ignition recall recently, had a few issues pop up since then but nothing as serious as this. Had to get it towed to my mechanic, he replaced a few sensors, but clicking noise still remains and is undriveable.

- Lewiston, NY, USA

problem #200

Oct 292014


  • 120,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact had received notification of NHTSA campaign: 14E021000 (electrical) and had taken the vehicle to the dealer for repairs. The dealer replaced the necessary parts however, the contact stated that the check charger system and anti theft warning lights became illuminated after the recall repairs. The engine stalled multiple times and the door locks activated even when the vehicle was shut off. The failures were not present prior to the recall repairs. The manufacturer had not yet been notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #199

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 #198

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 #197

Oct 012014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to recall repairs to vehicle. The dealer informed the consumer, the parts were not available.

- West Mifflin, PA, USA

problem #196

Jun 092014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact received recall notifications for NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (electrical system), NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system), and NHTSA campaign number: 14V153000 (steering). The parts needed to repair the vehicle were unavailable. The dealer was unable to provide a specific date for when the parts would become available. The manufacturer was notified. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Galloway, OH, USA

problem #195

Jan 012014


  • 137,714 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact received a recall notification for NHTSA campaign number: 10V073000 (steering). The vehicle was repaired according to the recall. After the repair, the power indicator remained illuminated when the vehicle was started. The vehicle became difficult to stop and excessive force had to be used to steer. The failure occurred five times and was previously repaired. The vehicle was waiting to be diagnosed by the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 137,714.

- Oklahoma City , OK, USA

problem #194

Aug 132014


  • 127,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the steering wheel became difficult to turn and the check engine and power steering warning indicators illuminated. In addition, the key became lodged in the ignition. When the key was removed, the vehicle would not shut off. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 10V073000 (steering), 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system), and 14V171000 (electrical system). The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing, but was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failures. The failure mileage was 127,000.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #193

Aug 142014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact received a notification for recall NHTSA campaign number: 10V073000 (steering) and NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system). However, the parts to perform the repairs were unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was not notified of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #192

Aug 122014


  • 214,000 miles
Power steering malfunctioning. Engine wants to stall and shut off. Transmission jumps when put into gear, automatic transmission. Instrument panel gauges jumping. Parking lights flashing. Shows low fuel when there is gas in the car.

- Cleveland, AL, USA

problem #191

May 282014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle lost power while driving. The consumer waited six weeks for the part to arrive, to replace the ignition switch. After the consumer retrieved the vehicle and drove 5-6 miles, the vehicle lost power again. Apparently, the battery failed.

- Arlington, MA, USA

problem #190

Jul 222014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,651 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key failed to release from the ignition after several attempts. The contact stated that the vehicle was previously repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 14E021000 (electrical system). The vehicle was taken back to the dealer, who took the components apart and indicated that a part was missing. The recall repair was not remedied correctly. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 59,651. Updated 9/12/14 the consumer stated that there was no part missing. The housing cracked during removal of cylinder. The vehicle was repaired. Updated 02/05/2015*

- Franklin, MN, USA

problem #189

Jul 012014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle repairs and seeks reimbursement. The consumer stated his daughter was left stranded on four occasions.

- Scottdale, PA, USA

problem #188

Sep 182006


  • 91,496 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the lock mechanism failed. The contact mentioned that the doors were unable to be unlocked using the electronic key fob or manually. In addition, the key could be removed from the ignition when the vehicle was out of park. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 14V171000(electrical system) and NHTSA campaign id number: 14V047000(air bags, electrical system)however, the failures persisted. Additionally, the contact stated that he also had to replace the computer motor and two body control modules. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 91,496.

- West New York, NJ, USA

problem #187

May 212014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I was driving down the road and the power steering message came across the dash. The wheel started locking up and I heard a clicking noise down near the shifter. Also the speedometer kept jumping back and forth as I was going down the road. I had to stop and pull over. I shut my car off and waited for a minute. I started the car and took off down the road. As I pulled away it started chugging a little like it was trying to jump speeds?.. the steering wheel was still tight and it continued until I reached my destination. When I would stop at a red light it took me awhile to make my turns. When I finally reached my destination I shut my car off and let it sit for awhile and it stopped doing it. Until the next time. That was in may of 2014 and it has happened a handful of times since then while my two young children were in the car. Im just now learning of a power steering recall on '05 Chevy Cobalt models. I bought my car this year.

- Morganfield, KY, USA

problem #186

Jun 042014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I was driving down the road when my locks started popping in and out, my car started stalling out and losing power, and the power steering was going on and off. I took it in to the Chevy dealership and they said it was the ignition switch. I just received my car back after it was fixed and the same problems are occurring still. I was going 60 mph when my car completely lost power. I have taken my car in other times for this problem with still no resolution.

- Lavaca, AR, USA

problem #185

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 #184

Mar 262014


  • miles
I am getting upset with the inability of your company to carry out recall repairs. The parts were ordered in March 2014 and I am being told by dealer they are not in yet. I know this dealer is fixing the cars of their regular customers so what is the delay for recall customers who are not the dealers regular customers? if you can not provide me with an acceptable answer I will contact NHTSA. I am tired of trying to use one car for two drivers.

- Plymouth, IN, USA

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