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 6 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #143

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 #142

Nov 272013


  • 9,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact was able to restart the vehicle and resume driving. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 9,000.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #141

Jan 152013


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the ignition module failed and caused the vehicle to stall sporadically and without warning. The failure was recurring. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic twice, who was unable to diagnose the failure both times. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign id number:14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) after the failure and was awaiting the parts needed to repair the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Three Rivers , MI, USA

problem #140

Mar 152014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


I know my car is involved with the GM recall for the ignition, as I called the Chevrolet 1-800 number. Yet I have still not received a recall letter. Which concerns me very much. How do I get a letter? and when will I get this letter. Why is GM not moving faster with this recall and trying to get the cars fixed, when it is so dangerous to drive the car, but we have no choice too.

- Milton, NY, USA

problem #139

Mar 032014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
The blower for heating and cooling began to work sporadically, then one day it just stopped working all together. I removed the HVAC control rand noticed the orange wire had overheated which caused the control knob and wiring plug in connector to fuse together.

- Granville, NY, USA

problem #138

May 112012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
I was traveling home with one other passenger in the car with me at 35 mph, the car turned off, the steering wheel locked up. I was scared and didn't know what to do. I shifted the car from drive into neutral and then restarted it, then slipped it back into drive... I've never been more scared then when I had absolute no control over my car. Im just lucky I didn't panic. This has happened twice to me. I now don't feel safe driving my Cobalt and very disappointed this problem has been fixed. To me I don't feel safe driving myself or my family in that car.

- Buchanan, MI, USA

problem #137

Mar 102014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 131,008 miles


While traveling at 35mph on a city street, I hit a pothole and the car shut off and the key fell out. I lost all control of the vehicle and hit a light post causing minor damage to the car. This also happened when the car had 18,000 miles while traveling at 75 mph on the freeway. The ignition shut off and I was able to reinsert the key and regain control of the car. I was told by the dealer that this was not covered by the warranty and they accused me of abuse. I have only had the key inserted into the ignition switch since the 1st incident but this did not prevent the engine from shutting off.

- Clackamas, OR, USA

problem #136

Mar 132014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
My car is subject to the ignition switch recall. I do not feel safe driving the car until the ignition switch has been replaced. According to reports on abc news and article in the richmond, va times dispatch I can get a loaner car while awaiting the arrival of the new switch. The dealer (dominion Chevrolet, richmond, va) doesn't know anything about providing a loaner car. Called the GM hotline and they don't know about providing a loaner car either.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

problem #135

Feb 052014


  • 118,000 miles
I was getting off an exit off the highway and my car just shut off. Sometimes also when I'm driving the key if touched turns the car off while driving. No accident because people avoided me had there been an accident I would have been seriously hurt and I am afraid everytime I drive. Also to take out the key everytime I have to stick my finger in the hole under the steering wheel otherwise it stays stuck.

- Flushing, NY, USA

problem #134

Aug 132011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
The 05 Cobalt, regularly serviced by the dealer where it was bought crashed after going out of control when the ignition switched off on the interstate at 60 mph. The steering locked, the ABS did not function, when it crashed into the guard rail the air bags did not deploy. The only warning was the dash warning lights all lighting up and the alarm sounds. The one second or so did not allow any chance to the driver to react before the crash. After the accident, when the dealer was contacted, we were advised to contact the GM person. The GM person was friendly and nice, but very firm in stating that we needed to have proof that the car failed, rather the driver at the wheel. The cars computer was not analyzed because the wrecking yard demanded over $700 to tow the car out of the wrecking yard so any investigator could look over the car. GM told us that it was our problem to pay the bill to allow their investigator to look at the car. We did not have the money. After reading numerous comments on the NHTSA site and blogs, people never heard a word from GM after they retrieved the computer. The salient point is that many of the over a thousand complaints about the Cobalt and other similar GM cars that identified the power steering as the problem that caused a crash are wrong. The power steering was not the cause of the crash. The problem was that the ignition switch turned off. The GM recalls about the power steering problem hide the fact that the ignition switches were turning off while the car was moving down the road. We know that the lack of power assist only affect the car at a stop or very slow speeds. Experienced drivers do not crash their car into guard rails, ditches, trees or other car simply because the power assist fails. That story is what GM has been selling in the past few years.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #133

Apr 032013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the vehicle stalled accompanied by the illumination of the check engine warning light. The failure was recurring. In addition, the instrument panel failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 13,000.

- Biloxi , MS, USA

problem #132

Mar 202013


  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving approximately 50 mph, the check engine warning light illuminated as the vehicle stalled, causing the contact to crash into the rear of another vehicle. The air bags failed to deploy. There were no injuries however, a police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic and ruled as destroyed. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and stated that the recall notification was not received until after the crash had occurred. The vehicle was not inspected to determine the cause of the stalling or air bag failure. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 103,000.

- Kinston, NC, USA

problem #131

Aug 132011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 25,749 miles
This submission is an addendum to the report that I submitted on Aug 15, 2011; reference number 10419491 with the attachments that include the police report, may statement and photos. I submitted my report two days after the accident. Now, after reading the news articles and the GM statements regarding the faulty ignition switch, it is apparent that what I thought was a steering malfunction (per the recalls I received and the statements made to me by GM representatives) was clearly the ignition switch. While driving down the freeway at 60 mph my dash lights turned on, I immediately lost steering control (I could not turn my steering wheel) and swerved had to the left crashing into the guard rail. The accident report shows my skid marks across three traffic lanes that clearly indicate that my ABS system also was not working. My airbags did not deploy even though my front end was crushed and the car totaled. Nothing on my car worked because the ignition switch had turned off. My original report should indicate that my car suffered an ignition switch malfunction that caused the accident. I was belted in so after being released from the hospital emergency room (I was taken by ambulance from the crash site) I was diagnosed with a cervical sprain, multiple cuts and bruises, sprained ankle and knee. My head impacted the windshield even though I had my seat belt on.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #130

Feb 012014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated intermittently, all the lights and instrument panel gauge lights failed to illuminate. The vehicle was not taken for diagnosis or repairs. The approximate failure mileage was 93,000.

- St Cloud, MN, USA

problem #129

Mar 012014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
When I attempt to start the car, nothing happens. This happens randomly. Sometimes after a few minutes it will start, sometimes it takes a few days. There are also times where if I go over a bump the car will just die and I will have to restart it. In traffic, this is dangerous. I have been told by a mechanic that this is an ignition switch problem. There is currently a recall for this on my model car, but I am told that my VIN isn't covered by the recall.

- Decatur, IL, USA

problem #128

Feb 122014


  • miles
This happens to me on different occasions I when I park my car or stop driving I try to shut my car off and I cannot my key will be stuck in the ignition and still running for about up to 30 mins my last time this problem happened to me. My other problem I am having is I can start my car perfectly fine but I try to shift the gear from park to drive and I cannot its like its stuck I put my foot on the gas and try to shift it but all I hear is a clicking noise coming from the steering wheel area sometimes I have to sit with the car running for about 15-20 mins until I can finally get the car in drive.

- Flint, MI, USA

problem #127

Jan 262014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Car has shut off twice in the past 4-5 weeks. It happens on rough road. Engine dies and car shuts off. Car has to be restarted. This is a safety issue on the road. Recall has been noted on media and newspaper article for 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. These incidents when car shuts off actually happened before I seen the recall on the news. When I called Chevrolet to report issue I was told I would need to wait for recall letter before I could get the repair done. I feel that due to safety issue and my car actually having this problem that I should not wait until April for recall letter. I was told recall letters would not go out until April 2014. This same problem also happened to my Cobalt last year on 3-4 occasions during winter months when roads are more rough. GM's number for initial recall is 13454 and 14063 for the expansion recall. I do not want to pay out of pocket for the repairs. I am reporting this due to safety issue on the road. Need this car for work!

- Zanesville, OH, USA

problem #126

Feb 142014


  • 211,000 miles
Went to start the vehicle and my ignition was locked. Worked an hour trying to do be able to turn key over. This has been just out of nowhere popped up one day. Has happened every time I shut off car and pull keys out of ignition.

- Austin, MN, USA

problem #125

Feb 012007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Since purchasing this car, I've been able to remove the key from the ignition. I was prompted by the recent recall, but my car was apparently not affected.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #124

Jan 252014


  • 174,000 miles
Driving 45 on a state road and my car just powered down. No previous issues.

- Washington Terrace, UT, USA

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