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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,063 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

problem #14

Sep 082007


  • miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the engine stalled and the key released from the ignition switch while in drive mode. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was unknown.

- North Hollywood , CA, USA

problem #13

May 012013


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was able to restart. The failure occurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who diagnosed that the module control and the ignition switch needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure persisted. The contact stated that the parts to repair the vehicle under NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (electrical system) and NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system) were unavailable. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000.

- North Hollywood , CA, USA

problem #12

Aug 222014


  • 60,000 miles
I just had my recalled ignition switch changed with the new ignition switch. However, it is causing new problems. I am having problems shutting off my car. Sometimes the ignition switch gets stuck and I can not move my key to turn off the car. It is scary when you can not move your key and turn off your car. I went back to the dealer and they changed the keys and adjusted the ignition switch but it is still causing problems. When it gets stuck I have to constantly jiggle the key and sometimes it takes over 20 minutes to get it unstuck and to turn off my car. I am very disappointed.

- Amherst, NY, USA

problem #11

Oct 092013


  • 57,738 miles


I replaced ignition switch as per procedures for recall and have not received reimbursement as promised.

- Saint Charles, IL, USA

problem #10

Jan 222012


  • 106,000 miles
Well driving to dinner for my birthday and going around a curve, I hit a pothole that I could not avoid without crossing the center line of the road into oncoming traffic causing my ignition switch to turn from the on position to the off position, much like the most recent recall states. Though I was able to safely get the car to come to rest on the shoulder of the road, I am still extremely nervous that it will happen again and I am also very, very disappointed to hear that this has been a known issue since the car was released. This is the third recall on this car since I have owned it, and I am far less than impressed with the vehicle. This vehicle is truly a death trap, much like others have stated. My greatest fear is that someone in my family will be driving my car and not return, all because of this giant mess created by GM. It is very depressing to know that I am still paying on an extremely faulty vehicle, in which these issues were known about long before I had actually purchased the vehicle. I would like something done about this, something more than just a "simple" fix (like all the other recalls with this death trap were said to be). It is one thing after another with this car, and though something serious has yet to happen to me, I am concerned for the future of others and myself.

- Copenhagen, NY, USA

problem #9

Feb 182010


  • 79,200 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While pulling into a parking spot the contact took the key out the ignition. The vehicle remained on until the contact depressed the brake pedal and put the vehicle in first gear. The vehicle was still engaged after putting the key back into the ignition. Several times the vehicle would not start instead it stalled. The contact did inform an authorized dealer and they installed a new ignition switch at the contacts expense. The contact was concerned since she has only owned the vehicle for one month. The failure mileage was 79200 and the current mileage was 80129.

- Cambridge, NY, USA

problem #8

Apr 152009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,950 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer because he heard a noise coming from the steering column. The dealer stated that a new steering column was needed. There were no warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel at the time of the failure. The current and failure mileages were 34,950. Updated 05/27/09 an ignition switch was needed as well. Updated 05/29/09

- Osage Beach, MO, USA

problem #7

Aug 292007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt with less that 30K miles I was driving home from work when my car just shut off no hazard lights turn signals brakes steering no power at all I could have been killed in all traffic because there was no way of signaling. It took three tries to get it started again there was no warning check engine light never came on I immediately took it to the dealership because this was the second time it has happened to me I had this problem last year also GM never had a recall they just put a plastic piece around the ignition and said it was fixed I told my dealer that there was a bulletin out about this and I asked them why there was no recall to replace the ignition switch after this second incident GM wanted to put a magnetic device in to keep the key from moving in the ignition any they placed a piece of plastic in my actual key I called GM and placed a formal complaint because this is a serious safety concern people are going to be hurt or killed if they get involved in a rear end collision or have no way of pulling off roadway spoke to my service manager and dealership replaced ignition switch there has never been a recall on this I do not trust that it will not happen again I am afraid to drive this car this is not the only problem I have had with this car the fan blower the shift on the floor the sunroof switch keeps falling out of the roof the window motors have burned out my interior paint and door handles were peeling after the first year I don't blame my service department because they have fixed the car the way GM told them to I feel very unsafe in this car why should I have to wait until he ignition shuts off a third time this could be my last if what is GM doing about this" are they going to do a recall? what else has to happen to me before they take this seriously" I am extremely dissatisfied with this car and I do not want it anymore. * 12/12/07 the dealer stated driver side rear power window was inoperable. Updated 12/12/07

- Trafford, PA, USA

problem #6

May 122006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,400 miles
: the contact stated while attempting to start the vehicle the key would not turn in the ignition nor could it be removed. Also the gear shifter would not move out of park. The dealer replaced the ignition switch and the steering column in January, however the problem has reoccurred.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #5

Mar 012006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,645 miles
: the contact stated the ignition switch would not turn, the airbag light illuminated and the turn signal failed. The dealership repaired the problems but they reoccurred. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Bedford, PA, USA

problem #4

Dec 152005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles


The ignition holding the starter key is too lose. On three occasions simply brushing the key chain with my leg was enough to turn the car off causing loss of power to the car. The auto dealer said that there is nothing they can do to decrease this danger.

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #3

Sep 232005


  • 2,179 miles
2005 Cobalt has a defective ignition switch which creates hazardous driving conditions. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. All they did was remove an extra key ring from the key chain and advised the owner to watch his knee position while driving. The dealer knows of the problem but doesn't know what to do to fix it. The driver's side power window stooped working due to a faulty window motor.

- Gettysburg, PA, USA

problem #2

Aug 152005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,774 miles
The consumer stated that he heard a snapping noise in steering column and could feel it in the steering wheel. This happened all of the time and would occur with no warning. The steering column shaft was replaced. The ignition switch was replaced because of the flashing that held the tumbler and the S had collapsed. The manufacturer told the dealer not to replace the steering column shaft but the dealer made the repairs because they had already ordered the part. (12/01/05) after the column was replaced, the vehicle was taken back to the dealer twice. The wheel cover did not have enough rings to hold the rims tight and would rattle when going over light bumps, the vehicle pulled to the right and the passenger side front pillar was loose.

- Telford, PA, USA

problem #1

Jul 012005


  • miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt experienced problems with total loss of the electrical system and the vehicle stalling.** answer required***. the dealership discovered the key ring had a slightly larger link from the key to the opener gadget. When the mechanics knee hit the bottom of the opener gadget it caused the ignition switch to shut off. Also below the ignition switch was a piece of rubber to the column. The piece caused the key ring not to move and the ignition switch instantly turned off. The consumer stated the ignition switch was poorly installed. Even with the slightest touch the vehicle will shut off while in motion.

- Toms River, NJ, USA

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