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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,860 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 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #11

Aug 102009


  • 36,233 miles


My daughter drives a 2005 Cobalt. On 8-10-2009 she was driving on a two lane road with a speed limit of 55 mph when her car shutoff and she lost steering ability. She crossed the oncoming lane on a blind curve and stopped in a driveway. If there had been a car coming toward her in the oncoming lane she would have been severely injured at a minimum. The Chevrolet dealer said he had never had never seen that happen. The dealer replaced the ECM and put the PCM caused a short.

- Ironton, OH, USA

problem #10

Sep 192009


  • 45,000 miles
I own a 2005 Chevy Cobalt and as I was driving it began to act almost like it was going to stall out on me as in driving on a major highway! my power steering is shot and needs to replaced I haven't had it that long got in Aug 2008!

- Mount Holly Springs, PA, USA

problem #9

Sep 112009


  • 80,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt--power steering goes out suddenly on car.

- Wapakoneta, OH, USA

problem #8

Oct 152008


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 70 mph on the freeway, the "reduce engine speed" indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle shifted into low gear and the contact could not accelerate beyond 40 mph, which she considered very dangerous on a highway allowing 70 mph speeds. The vehicle began operating normally. Prior to the failure, she noticed that the vehicle began stalling when she would slow down at traffic lights or stop signs. Occasionally, the contact would have to shift the vehicle into neutral so that it could perform correctly. On three occasions, a mechanic stated that multiple codes were present after diagnosing the vehicle. The manufacturer stated that there was no relevant recall to-date. The current mileage was approximately 82,000 and failure mileage was approximately 80,000. Updated 4/23/09 updated 04/27/09

- Roseville, MN, USA

problem #7

Jun 252008


  • 59,083 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The vehicle was taken to the Chevrolet dealer for maintenance. While repairing the vehicle, a mechanic left a rag on top of the engine underneath the hood. After the contact retrieved the vehicle, it caught fire due to the rag being left on the engine. The dealer repaired the vehicle, but the contact does not feel that it is safe to drive because it continues to break down. In addition, the traction control light continues to illuminate. The dealer stated that they could only repair the vehicle to its original state. The current mileage was 60,059 and failure mileage was 59,083.

- Elkourve, CA, USA

problem #6

Nov 122007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving between 65-70 mph, the vehicle completely shut down without warning. Also, the power steering shuts off without warning. The power steering light would illuminate. The vehicle has not yet been diagnosed. The purchase date was unknown. The current mileage was 25,000 and failure mileage was 22,000.

- Blue Ridge, VA, USA

problem #5

Oct 022005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 3,000 miles


Engine light turned on at 3,000 miles now the car has 45K and engine light is still on car has been to the dealer numerous times and they can;T find the problem. The light bank one lean code. The dealers still can't find the problem. Car runs rough and it may result in engine damage or other problems or safety problems if situation persists. To much air not enough fuel.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #4

Jul 152007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
The car has stopped with no warning no lights came on and nothing happened to cause this. I was driving on the expressway going 55 mph and it came to a sudden and complete stop as I said no warning lights came on. I took the car to the dealership and they investigated and said that they could not find the nature of the problem. This is bull! it has happened on two other occasions and it is dangerous.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #3

Sep 012005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles
#1 I brought it back because steering wheel always was to the left even though I was going straight. Dealer said it was fine, I complained to customer service and then dealer said they fixed it. When going straight the steering still looks left. #2 air conditioning not working, #3 liquid coming out of vents #4 cricket noises out of passenger side dash area. I was told air conditioning was fine, no cricket noises and it was normal for fluid to come out of vents. I brought the car back again said A/C is not fine I asked them if it could be some sort of filter (I am no mechanic) but it was. They had car all day, went to pick it up but they said dash was apart because they were fixing the problem with the fluid coming out of the dash (and I said I was told there was no problem) they had the car for the weekend. They tried to charge me for the filter and I said I would not pay for it because there was problems with that ac and defroster etc since day one. They took out the filter and put in an old dirty filter that did not come from my vehicle as the guy from the Chevy dealership in malden said he found it in the trash, (has made my daughter sick). #5 while driving the car I was getting off of the highway into a rest area and the car just died, there was no power steering no brakes etc. The key was in the switch and it was not off. I started the car up again. #6 the electrical didnt work, they fixed that. I have contacted Chevy customer service on several occasions and they say they will check into it etc and call me back, but they never do. I want them to fix the steering wheel, fix the car stalling out for no reason (we could have been killed) and put in a new filter not someone elses dirty filter. I don't trust the malden dealership. I have brought the car to the dealership on at least 7 occasions most of which they say nothing wrong.

- Malden, MA, USA

problem #2

Aug 162006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 9,600 miles
: the contact stated while driving various speeds, the engine revved and stalled without warning. Afterwards, the engine was easily restarted. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer several times but were unable to duplicate the problem. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Cartersville, GA, USA

problem #1

May 272006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,257 miles
First it was the engine stall due to faulty fuse box which they fixed. Then there was the sun roof cap which fell of twice and they attempted to fix four (4) times. Both which are under the Cobalts tsbs I think. Now it's the ses light with a P0171 dtc code or the air fuel mixture is off. I took it in three (3) times and on the final one they said they have no solution and they cant do anything about it. It is currently under investigation by GM not only in the 2005-2006 Chevy Cobalt, the 2005-2006 Pontiac pursuit, and the 2005-2006 Saturn ion. All which have the 2.2L ecotec L61 engine. It troubles me that they say they cant do anything about it and to just keep bringing it in when light comes on. That is truly a pathetic answer to this problem. They are costing me time and money and this is no way to run a business. This is clearly an issue they cant solve and that is affecting 3 different cars. There was nothing done to fix the defect except turn off the check engine light, no other repairs have developed for this defect in GM's vehicles.

- El Paso, TX, USA

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