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:
34,464 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments

problem #13

Mar 302010


  • 135,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while approaching a traffic stop and depressing the brakes, the vehicle stalled. The vehicle ahd not been taken to the dealer for a diagnosis of the failure. The contact confirmed the failure would occur intermittently whenever depressing the brake pedal. The approximate failure mileage was 135,000 and the approximate current mileage was 136,000.

- Willow Spring, NC, USA

problem #12

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 #11

Jan 072010


  • 64,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. When the contact started the vehicle he noticed that the it began to stall and suddenly shut off. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the contact was informed that gasoline was pouring into the engine and that the ignition control module needed to be replaced. There were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 64000.

- Elmira, MI, USA

problem #10

Dec 092009


  • 103,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 55 mph the "reduced engine speed" and "engine disabled" warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel, and then the vehicle stalled. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealership. The current and failure mileages were 103000.

- Roseville, MN, USA

problem #9

Oct 152008


  • 35,000 miles
While traveling at highway speeds (~65 mph) the car has shut off 4 times. Each time car behaved the same way, as if the key had been removed: The engine stopped, instrument panel dials went to 0, lights turned off. Radio stayed on (as it would if the car was turned off). The shut offs were sudden: There were no warnings (lights, sounds, vibrations) before shut off. I was able to coast/brake and pull to the side of the road, shift to park and restart the car each time. The first incident was in July 2008 approximately 100 miles into a trip. The second three incidents happened in about a 30 minute time span on the same trip in mid October. I took the car to the Chevy dealership after the October incidents and they could not reproduce the problem. They performed a computer update. I had them check the wiring in January 2009 and they could not find any problems. The clock radio resets to 12:00 (when I turn on the car, not during driving) about once every 3 months since I bought the car in 2005 - I'm not sure if this problem is related. The car is an automatic 2005 Cobalt, 4 doors with about 35000 miles.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #8

Sep 212007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving between 40 and 50 mph, the engine stalled. All the warning indicator lights flashed on the instrument panel. The vehicle was able to be restarted and the dealer replaced the cam shaft sensor. The current and failure mileages were 17,000.

- Farmingville, NY, USA

problem #7

Aug 152007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,536 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 45 mph the vehicle turned off and came to a complete stop. The vehicle restarted after a few minutes. There were no warning indicator lights. The dealer was unable to duplicate or diagnose the failure. The failure mileage was 20,536. The current mileage was 20,636.

- Mchenry, IL, USA

problem #6

Jun 142007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Same thing brand new 2005 and it has done this to me about 6 times now and stranded me at night even for half an hour before it would restart and the dealership keeps saying they fixed it and last time they say they reprogrammed it even but it just happened to me again late last night... power steering becomes hard and service light pops on as the engine stalls out on the freeway then it will not restart for a bit then it seems ok but it keeps happening again to me another time.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #5

Apr 242007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,000 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt sedan randomly shuts off while driving. So far it has happened about 6 times. The first time was a few months ago. I was driving at a speed of about 30mph making a left turn crossing a very busy lane of oncoming traffic when the car just shut off. The radio was still on but if I pressed on the gas, nothing. I had to put the car in park, shut off the ignition and then restart it. It immediately started back up. I called the dealership right away and was told that because no warning lights came on they wouldn't be able to trace the problem and hopefully it was a one time thing. Well then about a month later it happened again. The dealership told me to wait about a week and call back, well within a week it happened again so I called and told them I was bringing it to them. When I brought the car in they installed a flight recorder and sent me on my way. About a week later the car shut off again so I pressed the button on the flight recorder and brought it back to the dealership. The mechanics informed me that the flight recorder did not work because they forgot to put something else on my car at the time of the installation in order to make the recorder work and wanted me to bring the car back to have the recorder re-installed. I refused and told them I would bring the car back but they needed to keep it until they figured out the problem. On my way back to the dealership the car shut off again while going 65mph on the highway. The dealership had the car for about a week and claimed it was fixed for sure. They said they found the problem and replaced the ignition switch and power train relay. Well I have now had my car back for two weeks and as of last night it happened again. I called the dealership and told them to have the car towed because I refuse to drive it. At this point I do not want the car and have no faith in them repairing it. The car should be recalled before there is a fatality.

- Windsor, CT, USA

problem #4

Jan 012006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles
We purchased a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt (ls) in December, 2005. Starting in January 2006, we noticed that the engine light goes on and off and we had the Chevy dealer whom we purchased car from check it. They told us that the engine is fine and it happens to many Cobalt that the engine light will go on sometimes without any reason. We called Chevrolet and we were told that they were aware of the problem but have no solution to it. We were asked to keep driving the car with engine light on. We feel very uncomfortable driving a car with engine light on. We would not know if there is really nothing wrong with the car. Chevrolet refused to take any action regarding to this matter. We don't know where to seek further help on this incident. There is currently 6000 miles on the car and the engine may be fine at this moment. But since the engine light is not working properly, we would not know if something really happens in the future. We don't feel safe but nowhere to seek help.

- Delaware, OH, USA

problem #3

Mar 092006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 11,500 miles


: the contact stated while driving at various speeds the check engine light illuminated and fire came from the exhaust pipe. The exhaust turns bright red and the floor board gets hot. The dealership replaced the catalytic converter however the problem still exists.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #2

Sep 242005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles
(1) there have been no problems with the car (2005 Chevy Cobalt sedan) until 9/24/05. The car stalled once this morning and then completely shut down without warning. Both events happened after he took his foot off the accelerator so he could slow down and exit the freeway. No warning lights came on. (2) my husband thought he was going to die. He could not steer the car, the brake pedal went mushy, and the entire system shut down. There were no cars around him so he just slid until the car stopped on its own in some bushes. (3) he got to a phone and we called roadside assistance, they towed the car to the dealership.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #1

Jun 252005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
Dt : the caller said that while driving if she bumped the knee under the steering column the engine died. She was not hitting the ignition switch, but just bumping the underneath side of the column. It did not need to be hit very hard to happen. This happened three times while she was going down the highwa, Y and once to her son. Dealer and manufacturer have not been contacted yet.

- Lowell, IN, USA

Not what you are looking for?