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 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #17

Jan 252014


  • 174,000 miles


Driving 45 on a state road and my car just powered down. No previous issues.

- Washington Terrace, UT, USA

problem #16

Jan 012013


  • 119,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while traveling various speeds, the vehicle suddenly lost power. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 119,000.

- State College, PA, USA

problem #15

Feb 012012


  • 64,200 miles
Complete power failure at random while traveling at 50 mph.

- Stokesdale, NC, USA

problem #14

Dec 182013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 150,000 miles


The ignition on the car is loose and just through the weight of the key chain and by hitting a bump, the key can shift out of the "on" position, causing the car to turn off. This has happened on several occasions, typically on the highway - the car will completely shut off. Fortunately, each time my wife was able to coast to the side of the road and restart the car. The dealership said that this is a common problem in this model year. The dangers of this condition are obvious.

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #13

Nov 112013


  • miles
Car stalls out when you stop or even on the highway!! my car stalled on the highway. Will not start again. No engine light came on!!!. needs new engine!!!! after googling my car. Numerous same issues. This should be a recall!!

- Dacula, GA, USA

problem #12

Nov 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 125,668 miles
Sitting at a turn light, cars started to move and I started to accelerate when I heard a loud pop noise (was not going over more than 10mph). So I pulled over and looked opened the hood to find my oil cap, filter, a black piece, and spring had popped out of the oil filter location which was in the block. Oil had been spewed all over. I took the oil cap to a Chevrolet dealership and the service guy said he had never seen the oil cap and filter pop out of the block, he examined the cap and only noticed one minor break in the threads of the cap. He said that the black piece and the spring that go in the cap must have failed which in turn cause the cap to pop out of the block, he also told me to look at the block to make sure it was not cracked. I then inspected block to make sure it was not cracked, which it was not, and had a new cap, filter and oil installed.

- Madison Heights, MI, USA

problem #11

Oct 282013


  • 205,510 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and repaired but the contact did not know what was specifically repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 205,510.

- Montereo, CA, USA

problem #10

Jul 292013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 89,465 miles
While driving, the check engine light came on and the information display on the dashboard flashed "power steering." The car began shifting in and out of gear. The shifts are very rough and cause the car to jerk. There is also a rapid clicking sound that comes from the area of the gear selector. The code for the check engine light relates to the transmission control module.

- Bartlesville, OK, USA

problem #9

Apr 012011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
After starting the Cobalt or even if I am driving down the interstate at 70 mph, the T/C lights, brake lights, power steering lights all light up on the dash. The speedometer and RPM gauges start going crazy. The radio will also go in and out. Usually on the interstate, the car will continue to drive, which is very scary. But if I am in town or slowing down to stop, the car will cut off. Then after I crank it again and start to move, the transmission changes gears really rough and feels like it is going to fall out. The only thing I have found to fix this (after weeks at different dealerships) is to turn the car off and flip the key on and off several(20 plus) times.

- Graham, NC, USA

problem #8

Aug 052013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
At random times, my 2005 Chevy Cobalt will pop up a "check engine" light and a "traction control" light, where I lose my power steering, the motor shifts hard into each gear, and the motor runs very rough. Also, there are clicking sounds at the shifter, like it is trying to shift into a gear or something. This is a serious hazard and as I've read online, I am not the only one this has happened to. There are thousands of others. This entire car needs to be recalled because no one knows what is doing this!

- Conover, NC, USA

problem #7

Dec 132012


  • 170,000 miles


I was driving to work one morning in December at approximately 55mph. All of a sudden my tachometer went from about 2 to 0 and I was coasting to a stop. I made it to the side of the road where the car then just turned off. 55mph and my car just turned off!!! when I would try to restart it would start, but then turn off again when I would put it in gear. The car had approximately 170,000 miles, but anytime I would stop at a stop light it would die. I took it to my mechanic who was unable to diagnose anything wrong. I contacted Chevrolet, but they said that there wasn't a recall to be issued. I was always afraid to come to a complete stop because of the car turning off. I was also in the parking lot at work and was coming around the corner to pull into a parking space, the car died again! mind you this was the same day that I was going 55mph down the road and the car died. It took 11 tries to get the car to stay on so that I could get it to a parking place. Once I had it in a parking place and stopped, it died again. A recall needs to be issued before someone gets killed in an accident you peace of crap car people.

- Chillicothe, IL, USA

problem #6

Nov 202012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
For no apparent reason and without any warning (no check engine light or anything), I received an "engine power reduced" warning and my car's engine completely shut down while I was completing a turn in a busy intersection. Luckily, I was able to coast to safety and park in a nearby parking lot. The car refused to turn back on for several minutes. Once it did, I drove my car to my office and was able to start it and drive it without further incident for several weeks. Then, without warning it happened again while I was on the freeway and has been happening intermittently since then. When I took it to the dealership, they claimed they are not aware of other people having this problem, but I have found numerous complaints and reports from other owners online, so I'm not convinced of their honesty or concern regarding this matter. They say they *think* the problem might be the master computer or at least that is their "best guess" (their words, not mine). I will be replacing it later this week. Unfortunately, I'm not confident the repair will fix the problem. After GM's repeated and explicit denial of the power steering problem and how long it took them to admit there even was one, I have decided to appeal to you. At present, when driving this car, I am a danger to myself and everyone else who might be around me on the are all other Cobalt drivers. Please, investigate this matter before someone has this happen at the wrong place and the wrong time and someone gets seriously hurt, or worse. GM knows it created a car with a faulty electrical system which could result in catastrophic failures and they need to take responsibility for it and fix it. Just because they stopped making the car, does not absolve their responsibility to make them safe for everyone on the road.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #5

Jan 232013


  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 70 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact shifted into neutral and attempted to restart the vehicle and the vehicle was started after several attempts. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic, who performed a diagnostic test but was unable to duplicate the failure. The check engine warning light illuminated after diagnosis. The manufacturer was notified who advised the contact that there were no recalls for the vehicle and offered no further assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 89,000.

- Lafayette, LA, USA

problem #4

Sep 012012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 74,202 miles
After approach from stop sign, went to accelerate, vehicle stalled, dashboard computer lights flashing, I.e power steering, brake, mph, and pinging. Started vehicle after multiple attempts. Difficult steering, accelerating no more than 30 mph, and transmission jerking. This vehicle has been to shop 2 times. The trans module was replaced August 1, 2012. A day after pick up, it had the same issues I.e. difficulty steering, unexpected stalling, rough limited acceleration, flashing computer lights on the dashboard. The auto shop employee assured me" it is safe to drive and do not be afraid.." the shop had this vehicle for three weeks. It was written on invoice, " car driven for 26 miles trouble free has possible inop issue, but is operating as designed." Nine days after pickup this vehicle still remains unsafe on the road, with unexpected stalling stopping I.e stop/ go traffic, intersections, and computer lights flashing on dashboard. The tcm /ECM issue is still not resolved causing a safety issue with unexpected stalling and difficulty steering and loss of acceleration.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #3

Aug 292012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
The power steering message was on and the car ran like a dog and shifted roughly and traction control light was luminated and had no power is similar to all other accounts on this year and model" I need to know if GM is going to fix it and if it happens again am I going to loose control of the car? I understand it has a recall on it but considering the miles I have on it are they going to honor the recall? I don't have money to fix it so I don't know what to do if it happens again" I never seen or had anything like this before and I have always had GM products form Oldsmobile, Pontiac and mostly Chevy I need reliable transporting on my job please tell me GM make this right by me [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Davenport , FL, USA

problem #2

Jul 292012


  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the vehicle stalled and was nearly involved in a crash. The contact was able to safely control the vehicle and maneuver off the road. The dealer was not notified of the failure. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure and current mileages were 107,000.

- Pulaski, VA, USA

problem #1

Jun 052012


  • 136,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 34 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated, the speed decreased to zero and the tachometer increased to 4,000 rpms. The locks on the door started going up and down and the vehicle became difficult to steer. The contact stopped and turned the vehicle off. After the vehicle was started, the failure was resolved. The failure recurred six times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who determined that the vehicle had too many fault codes to be diagnosed properly. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure however, did not offer any assistance. The VIN was unavailable. The current and failure mileage was 136,000.

- Louisville, KY, USA

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