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:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
95,395 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #37

Dec 122014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles


The car engine would not shut off, the steering wheel would not lock, the ignition key was stuck and was unable to remove the ignition key even though the car was in "park."

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #36

Oct 022014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 174,854 miles
I was driving when all of a sudden the screen flashed engine power reduced. I had to pull into a parking lot to keep from being hit. Now my car won't start all. Had to have it towed home.

- Gaffney, SC, USA

problem #35

Aug 112014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 131,432 miles
I have just recently bought a used 2005 Chevy Cobalt. I was unaware of the recalls on it, until later. Now, I have a car payment and am unable to drive my car. I was on my way to town, on a paved two-lane highway, traveling around 55mph. When (for no reason) my car just quits/dies, as I am going up a hill. There were vehicles behind me that almost hit me. When it quit, I had to struggle to get my car to the side of the road. I could not get it completely off the road. I turned my hazard lights on and began trying to crank my car. It took more than 20mins., to get it started back up, but, when it did, it was skipping so bad, I still could not move it. I turned it off and began trying to crank it, once more. It took another 15 minutes to get it to run well enough to pull the rest of the way off of the pavement. I was almost struck/hit many times by passing vehicles. This has happened to me 3 more times. Now, I can't even get my car to the end of my driveway before it quits/dies. The parts I need to fix my car have been ordered thru maxie price Chevrolet in loganville, ga since June 14, 2014. I was told it would only take 1-2 weeks for the parts to get to this car dealership, so they could be replaced. I have not heard from anyone about my parts and cannot get anyone to help me. I am not driving my car because it is just to dangerous. So now I am stuck with a car payment and a car that is unsafe to drive. I don't understand why it is taking so long to get parts and why someone won't help me. I was under the impression that a recall was top priority. Are there more problems that I am unaware of or is someone just stalling"?? I need a car!!! how can I get a loaner until my car is fixed???"

- Ellijay, GA, USA

problem #34

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 #33

Apr 012014


  • miles
On Saturday March 29th 2014 I had my recall fixed on the power steering at ryan chevorlet here in minot nd. I get it fixed and parked my car at home until Monday April 1st I am driving down the highway and come to a stop light then I began to hear a clicking noise in my dashboard then a notification pops up for my traction control. As I start to move my speedometer is moving from 10 to 20 but im barely going 5. my RPM's are going up also then a notification for my power steering comes up then im worried. I get to my destination and my power steering goes out and I can not turn the vehicle and it shuts completely off. I try to turn it on and it turns over just doesn't start. I call the Chevy dealer here and they say they will take a look at it. They had my vehicle for a while just to tell me my car needed gas. Does this make sense or am I being fooled" I have research this issue and it seems like it has happened before to other people. Could someone help me"

- Minot, ND, USA

problem #32

Jun 142014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
I was traveling at 40 mph when the check engine and traction control lights lit up on the dashboard. Steering was extremely hard, the power steering was not working and I pulled into the nearest parking lot. After several times restarting the car, the power steering was working again.

- Willow Grove , PA, USA

problem #31

Feb 052014


  • 80,000 miles


TL-the contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that he attempted to have the vehicle repaired for under NHTSA campaign number:14V171000. The contact stated that he was made aware that parts were not available as a result repairs were unable to be performed for the recall. The contact stated that the manufacturer had exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repairs. The contact had not experienced the failure.

- Old Forge, PA, USA

problem #30

Sep 152013


  • 120,000 miles
Car simply stalled on I 376 at highway speed. Car won't start unless ignition key is "jiggled".

- Aliquippa, PA, USA

problem #29

Apr 062014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
My daughter was on her way to work and was unable to stop andhit the rear end of the vehicle in front of her. The car shut off... she did what the recall was told to do and had just the key in the ignition... luckily she was able to turn on the car to get out of traffic and she was not going too fast the seatbelts did not work and the airbag did not work as well.. also before we knew about the recall her ignition was messing up by not able to completely turn off while in park and key would not come out... we have to shift gears and turn off and on the car to get the key loose... so now we are down a car, I paid the car in full and its now not drivable... ??

- Tyler, TX, USA

problem #28

Apr 022014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact received a recall notice and was waiting for further notification. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph the check engine light illuminated on the instrument panel and the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic and who made minor repairs. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 13,000 miles. The current mileage was 13,252 miles. Updated 6/17/14

- Hanover Park, IL, USA

problem #27

May 152013


  • miles


My Cobalt, which is now totaled, was in a highway accident and the car malfunctioned. The front end of the car collided into the rear end of pickup truck and then went out of control and the left side of the car smashed into the concrete guardrail. At some point during the crash, the car shut off and the airbags never deployed. When the car finally stopped, my fianc was unable to turn it back on and had to push it off the busy highway before someone else hit the car.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #26

Sep 232013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
The vehicle shuts off while running. I've stopped at stop lights and when I try to continue driving the car will shut totally off while in drive. The door locks are constantly running up and down and will not stay locked. Many times I've come back to the car thinking it was locked to find it unlocked itself. The electrical problem has created a problem with brand new batteries. I've replaced it twice since purchasing the car in 2010.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #25

Mar 142014


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. He received a recall notice in the mail and he was advised that the parts were not available. He was driving approximately 65 mph and the vehicle shut off he hit a pot hole and his temperature light came on and GM stated they are not responsible. The contact occasionally had difficulty getting the vehicle to start and had to make several attempts with the key. He had to wait until the vehicle cooled down almost two hours and was able to drive very slowly to his residence. He advised them in 2005 that something was wrong with his ignition after he purchased the vehicle in July 2005. The failure occurred in November of 2005. The dealer drove 20 mph to test drive the vehicle and was unable to reproduce the failure. The contact advised them that he was driving 65 mph when the failure occurred. He cannot drive the vehicle because the anti freeze continued to leak out of the vehicle. He was advised that the struts, bushings, timing chain, link and the water pump was leaking because of the failure. The manufacturer made an appointment for him to have the vehicle diagnosed at a dealer and was told that it would take 20 days to a month before the manufacturer could send someone to diagnose the failure. The vehicle is currently at his residence. The dealer notified him today to ask if the manufacturer scheduled an appointment to diagnose the failure. The dealer where the vehicle was purchased and diagnosed are no longer in business. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was over 120,000 miles.

- Chicago , IL, USA

problem #24

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 #23

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 #22

Dec 122013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
After stopping at a light, I proceeded into the intersection and the car just turned off, locking the steering and would not restart. I coasted over the lanes of traffic and attempted to restart the car three times. Eventually I was able to restart it.

- Trabuco Canyon, CA, USA

problem #21

Jan 252014


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning and caused the contact to crash into another vehicle. The contact sustained bruising and contusions to the face and hands. A police report was filed of the incident. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 93,000.

- Girard, OH, USA

problem #20

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 #19

Nov 172011


  • miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt cuts off on me whenever I am on hills, going through curves, stopping at red lights or stop sign and sometime when I am simply driving down the street. If I am in rush hour traffic it cuts off on the highway as well. Once or twice a week my power steering will go completely out while I am driving. I just read in the newspaper that if you only have the one key that it will not cut off but that's not true either. My car cuts off weather I use mu key on the key ring or the key that I have that is not on the key chain. Not knowing what was causing the car to cut off all of the time, I have changed the battery, ignition switch, and the throttle something or another. I have invested a lot of money into this car trying to figure out what the problem is. I am at my wits end T this point and was just about to give up when I read the article in today's (03/09/2014) paper. Maybe I can get some kind of help with this issue now.

- Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #18

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

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