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 9 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #83

Jan 012010


  • 75,000 miles


Lots of electrical problems with 2005 Chevy Cobalt, power steering fails (recall part replaced already), car stalls while driving (dangerous), transmission jerks, check engine and power steering lights come on. All problems are intermittent, occur without warning, and have been ongoing for at least 6 months.

- Hitchcock, TX, USA

problem #82

Jun 112010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
Chevrolet Cobalt VIN [xxx] is involved in safety recall 10023 by GM. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Yauco, PR, USA

problem #81

Jun 142010


  • 54,575 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt has an electrical problem since I bought it in may of this year. The gauges go haywire and power steering comes across the screen and then my car jerks. When it first happened I could just shut the car off and wait awhile and start it back up and then be fine. Now when I start the car and let it warm up before I even drive it the screen says power steering and gauges are going haywire again. Now my car just sits there and I can't drive it and still making payments. I went from a 1998 cavalier to this 2005 Cobalt and have had nothing but problems with a newer vehicle. The Chevy dealership told me I need a body control module.

- New Windsor, NY, USA

problem #80

Aug 272010


  • miles


Ongoing obvious electrical issues with an '05 Chevy Cobalt -- key won't come out of ignition, lights & radio go off at will, new battery dies every 3rd day in all weather. Bought car used in '08 with 45,000 miles. Problems started almost immediately and have been consistent every since.

- Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #79

May 082010


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. He referenced NHTSA recall campaign number 10V073000, steering electric power assist system and stated that the recall work was performed in April 2010. The failure recurred again within three weeks. While driving approximately 10-12 mph the power steering became difficult to control. He also stated that after the recall work was performed the temperature indicator no longer functioned properly and the fuel sensor no longer made a beeping sound. When he opened the door, the outside temperature was displayed, then the mileage and now the service air bag light was illuminated. The dealer asked him to bring the vehicle back but the contact had not taken the vehicle back. The failure mileage was unknown. The current mileage was 96,309.

- Irving, TX, USA

problem #78

Jun 282010


  • 88,500 miles
After having the recall work done on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt for the power steering assist less than 2 hours later all of the lights on the dash start flashing ( brake, ABS, traction control, security ) the transmission starts acting up and you could hear a clicking noise coming from the shifter and the dash led said power steering......and sure enough the power steering failed, pulled to the side of the road shut the car off for a few minutes then restarted the power steering re-set but the rest of the problems persisted, finally got the car to the house by manually shifting the transmission because if I didn't it shifted very hard like it was going to tear something up, got on line found that this problem is found in other Cobalts, one suggestion was to remove the battery cable over night and that should re-set everything, I did that and sure enough it re-set it, however this has happened about 15-20 times since the re-call work so it's not the assist motor at fault it is G.M. at fault for not re-calling this problem.

- Crowder, OK, USA

problem #77

May 152010


  • miles


2005 Chevy Cobalt: The key continuously gets stuck in the ignition and does not release. It requires numerous attempts and time to either turn the car back on and try again or work the shift lever release until the key is released. It is very frustrating and several times I had to leave the key in the ignition because I was in a hurry to get to work and prevent from being late. I am also concerned that this may be related to other problems that could cause a safety issue.

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #76

Jul 152010


  • 73,000 miles
The problem began when my 2005 Chevy Cobalt would shut off on its own when sitting at a stop light/sign. I took it to the dealer and they told me there was nothing wrong with the car. Several months later. The car began to jerk as I would drive at low speeds (below 25 mph). If I turned the car off and back on it would be fine. Then several weeks later as I drove down the highway (65 mph) all the gauges on the dash began to go crazy and the power steering light came on. As I slowed the car down it began to jerk as it did before and then I could not turn the wheel. My car was broke down on the side of a very busy highway during morning rush hour traffic. I had to have the car towed to the dealer. They then told me that they can't find anything wrong with the car. I had the power steering pump replaced per the recall several months ago. Several other people with the same car are experiencing the same problem. The Chevy dealer will not fix the car because they say they cannot find anything wrong with it. The is unsafe to drive because it will brake down at random times.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #75

Jun 202010


  • 59,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. 59000 miles on it. Had the whole power steering problem right after I financed the car, the recall that went out in March was replaced immediately, 3000 miles later (I drive about 2500-3000 a month) power steering started acting up again, took it to a mechanic, it wouldn't act up for him, he said to bring it back when it was actually acting up. It worked fine for a few weeks, happened again, check engine light came on, took it in still wouldn't give him any problems, mechanic advised to have Chevy check the power steering motor recall to see if maybe they replaced it with a bad motor. Called Chevrolet to get the power steering recall looked at again to see if maybe the replacement was a bad one..... Chevy dealership looked at it, checked the car and said he didn't know what was going on with it, and that he could change a few things.... power steering column, new battery...etc. $1000 dollars + worth of work and not knowing the whole time if it was even the problem. Worked ok again for a couple more weeks and now it doesn't want to shift in and out of gears and gain speed on the highway, check engine light came on, took it to a mechanic as soon as it happened, he took it out to test drive and the darn thing wouldn't act up on him. This car is a lemon, even the idiotic Chevrolet people at the dealership don't know what it is going on with the car and don't know how to fix it. I just want the thing off my hands, don't want to have to pay anymore into it, it's unreliable and unsafe.

- Morro, AR, USA

problem #74

Jun 142005


  • 100 miles
Since this car was new, the car locks and unlocks itself regularly. If you get out of car, then return to car even within seconds, when you open door the alarm goes off. You cant do anything with car, without having keys in hand ready to shut off alarm. Even driving down the road the doors lock and unlock regularly. Have taken to dealer and they say nothing wrong. Car now has just over 100K miles, and am leaning towards never buying GM again.

- Lewiston, MI, USA

problem #73

May 262010


  • 60,500 miles


Approximately 15 occurrences of warnings lights randomly going off. Such as the power steering and traction control. The power steering had been repaired over a year ago so, it was not associated to the recall that just now was issued. After that it started happening more often and more warning lights would light up -- for no apparent reason. It would never happen when I took it to the shop. Then everything went "haywire" one night coming home from work at 1 am. Dials and lights went wild and the car was hesitating, the gear shift was clicking and the car was "slamming" in and out of gear. I took it to my local Chevy dealership and they could not find anything wrong. They told me maybe my fuel injectors needed cleaning!!!! one month later and it happened again. This time they said it was my body control module. Quoted a price of $619 and it turned out to be $729!!!! I have checked on line and have found multiple comments from other Cobalt owners who have experienced the same problem. This if very dangerous and Chevy needs to recall the part!!!!

- Canal Winchester, OH, USA

problem #72

Jan 012005


  • 2,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Since I purchased the car December of 2004, I have been having problems with the key getting stuck in the ignition when I put the car in park and try to turn the engine off. I have to restart the car several times, turn the steering wheel, and move the gear shift from park to drive several times to release the key. This problem occurs several times a week. I am taking in my car for service tomorrow.

- Tuba City, AZ, USA

problem #71

Apr 152010


  • 86,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt ls with power steering problems and switch problems. My husband took it to auto zone and told him that the power steering was good so we took our car home with danger. Since that day we have alots of problems. He had to replace several parts to the car. I wanted to give my report because I feel unsafe on my vehicle for me and my kids and others people life.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #70

Dec 012009


  • miles
Power door locks and remote will not work replace battery still not working, can not drive over 40 mph because car jumps and steering is all over the place and made me hit a giant pot hole and cause damage under the car and I think it bent by rim on passenger side front and four about a year or more drivers headlight light is pull of moisture and has a bad glare in it. Called Chevy and they refuse to do anything about all of it.

- Mansfield, OH, USA

problem #69

Jan 292010


  • 63,000 miles
Chev 2005 Cobalt 63000 mile on the clock, I purchased the car in December 2008. In Jan 2010 I was driving on a highway at 50 miles an hour when a chime sounded and the console flashed power steering. I did not feel much difference in the car at that time. This next happened 2 days later. It seemed that turning the car off would rectify the problem. With in the month, the car was experiencing the problem on each drive I took with in the first 15 min. I had a problem while in the school car park that it failed and I lost all control I was able to stop the car with the brakes. Almost hitting a small child and the car mounting the curb as I was unable to turn the wheels. I contacted GM in late February when the incident happened and was told the problem is not something they are aware of and that maybe a patch on ice caused the loss of control. It was the following day that while driving on the highway at 50 miles an hour the chime sounded and the console flashed power steering. The car lost all power. It did not stall or run out of gas it quick working. I was unable to get the car to restart. I was lucky that I was in the right hand lane of traffic and was able to pull over to the hard shoulder. The car would not start for over an hour. When the car started I returned home. I had a mechanic look over the vehicle while it was working and no problem other than the failure of the power steering could be found. The car has lost all power and shut down with in 5 mins of the car running. The car will not start. It will be days before the start. It now when it starts, the chime sounds and flash power steering flashes and the car shuts down. This is an unsafe car. The problem is serious and life threatening. To think I could have taken the life of a child if the car had not stopped when it did. The car is sat in the garage I am not able to drive.

- Chino Valley, AZ, USA

problem #68

Apr 042007


  • miles
I have a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt I think I got the car in like February of 2007 I'm not sure on the dates but I say a little bit after I had got it like about 6 or 7 mouths after I had bought the car it stated to do what it wanted to do like the power steering would lock up on me on a turn or when I would turn the wheel really sharp. My sister was driving the car and she was like you need to get this fixed before you have a wreck or something bad happens. I'm like I cant get it fixed the warranty has ran out on the car. Then I would turn the car off and turn it back on and it would work fine. Then on one occasion me and my 2 friends was going shopping and I let her drive my car and we was in the middle of the intersection when she adjusted the steering wheel and the car shut completely off on us while going down the intersection cars were everywhere around us. All the gauges went down all the light went off everything just cut off and shut down so we let it coast to the gas station that was on our right we could not do anything the steering wheel was hard so it took 2 of us to turn it. I think that something in the electrical system has a short in it or is felling because my lights when I put it in gear or out of gear the light dim on me and then my power locks don't work so I cant lock my car any time I want to. The locks sometimes you can hear them going up and down in the car. My car got broken into the other night and I have a police report for that because my locks did don't work there for somebody got in my car and stole something from me. If my locks would not keep going up and down then I could keep my car locked. But about a month ago my light on my gear shift just quit working. I have to like tap on it or put the gear shift up in park then back down to drive for it to come on and then it will go right back off. Then I have to change headlight and bulbs around my car every other day cause they just go out. But it has to be electrical cause they short out.

- Frankfort, KY, USA

problem #67

Jul 082006


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 35 mph on normal road conditions, the power steering warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The driver applied excessive force to the steering wheel and was able to pull over to the side of the road. The engine was turned off and after 20 minutes, the vehicle restarted and resumed normal operation. The failure occurrence was consistent whenever the vehicle was in operation. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer on four separate occasions for the identical failure with replacement of the steering column and motor. There was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number 10V073000 (steering: Electric power assist system); however his VIN was excluded from the recall. The failure mileage was 15,000 and the current mileage was unknown.

- Brackenridge, PA, USA

problem #66

Feb 182010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
Power steering column and motor replaced for over 1,000 dollars also bushing. Engines stalls when pressing gas and brake pedal. Key wouldn't come out ignition and my car wouldn't stay in park. Had to pay a locksmith to remove the key. Headlights keep having to be adjusted. Wheel bearing and struts need to be replace but I don't have the money for all of these repairs for a 2005 vehicle. Its to many problems for such a newer vehicle. What is Chevy going to do about this, how many more people have to die or get injured.

- Hardwick, GA, USA

problem #65

Sep 172009


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. She stated that while driving at speeds of 40 mph over a railroad track, the vehicle stalled without warning. Within a few seconds, the power steering warning light illuminated and flashed across the instrument panel. She was able to restart the vehicle moments later and took the vehicle to the dealer. The dealer replaced the power steering column due to electrical failures. The repairs were covered by her factory warranty. The repairs did not correct the failure and the problem persisted. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where they replaced the power steering column a second time. The failure occurred again and the power steering column was replaced a third time. She also stated that most of the electrical components on the vehicle had failed; upon opening the driver's door, the horn would blow. The power locks would not operate, the electrical trunk release would not operate and the catalytic converter also failed. The catalytic converter was replaced under warranty. There were no additional power steering failures after the third repair, however the steering wheel would feel hard at times. There were no recalls for any of the failures. The failure mileage was 20,000 and the current mileage was 79,000.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #64

Jan 102010


  • 54,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt car. Power steering failure, speedometer and RPM needles jump up and down like crazy, engine stalls, when press gas and brake pedals, car jerks forwards and backwards, warning lights on dashboards go on and off. When steering wheel failure happens, very very difficult to turn the wheel, almost locked up. This happens almost every day now and it's almost undrivable. Only 55,000 miles on the car.

- Stevens Point, WI, USA

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