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 1 of 2)

problem #31

Jun 262014


  • 109,498 miles


I would like to start a petition for an investigation on the replacement parts being used for the ignition switch recall and the software they use to re-program or re-learn the computer in the vehicles that have been recalled. The reason I am requesting this is because my moms 2005 Chevy Cobalt was taken in for this recall replacement and was running fine when we brought it in. Got a call that the car was ready to be picked up 7 hours later. A couple days later I'm driving the car around it started to run terrible. The car idled erratically and it would stall every time I stopped. Now the car starts and drives awhile but if I shut it off and then start it again the engine light starts blinking, it bogs down and have no power when I accelerate. I can smell gas but there are no leaks and I only smell the gas when the car starts to do this. I have been on the GM recall update website and have read about similar stories to mine saying there is a defect in the parts or there's a problem with the re-programing. I think one or both of these is the cause of my problem. So could you please look into this asap because it is a safety hazard. Thank you

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #30

Feb 212014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving 55 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning and immediately burst into flames. The fire department extinguished the fire. There were no injuries. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 125,000. Updated 12/17/14 updated 01/26/15. Updated 06/2/2015

- Swissvale, PA, USA

problem #29

Oct 142005


  • 500 miles
Was driving on 1-40 at highway speed and suddenly engine shut down - dashboard lit up. Managed to reach shoulder safely. Could discern no problem by checking under the hood. Vehicle restarted with no problem. Approximately 60 miles further the same thing happened but I was able to restart the engine while moving and continue without further incident. Technician at Chevrolet dealer in Santa Fe, nm told me the problem was too weighty a key chain - he also gave me a printout indicating the problem, which I still have. I lightened the key chain and never had the problem again.. very scary to have your car konk out at 70 mgh with 3 lanes of traffic on your tail.

- Santa Fe, NM, USA

problem #28

Nov 172013


  • 47,500 miles


Vehicle was parked inside garage, filling tires with air. A cigarette lighter powered air compressor was being used to fill tires. Was only in use for a few minutes, when air compressor stopped. The fuse for the cigarette lighter was blown. This was a common problem with the car. On several occasions the fuse for the cigarette lighter would be blown for no apparent reason. I have only used it in the past to use my obd II scanner, being that the obd diagnostic port is powered by the same fuse as the cigarette lighter. Besides using the obd scanner, no other things have been used via the cigarette lighter. Regardless the fuse would be blown. After the fuse was blown with the air compressor, I unplugged it from the cigarette lighter, only to see smoke coming from under the hood. The fuse melted in the fuse block. From there, the window wipers began operating, as well as the windshield wiper fluid being shot out from the nozzles. Smoke began pouring from the inside of the car, from under the dash. I quickly ran to the trunk where the battery is located, and disconnected the battery as soon as I could. Garage was filled with smoke, with the ominous burnt electronic smell.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #27

Apr 012011


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle would completely loose power sporadically, while driving at various speeds. The dealer and manufacturer were notified of the failure, but denied any assistance with repair to the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 20,000 and the current mileage was 90,000. Updated 05/10/12

- Ft. Wayne, IN, USA

problem #26

Mar 262012


  • miles
My car shut off while driving out of a parking lot a couple of days ago. Everything shut down. I couldn't even brake. I was able to put the gear in park and restart it just fine. However this is the fourth time this has happened. The last time being on the george Washington bridge. The very first time was 2 months after I purchased this car. I assumed it was because I went over a speed bump that was larger than normal. The second time I went over a pothole. The third time was on the highway. So I had a mechanic look at it and he stated that I could be the alternator. This was about 2-3yrs after purchase. However my time was very limited. I live in md but I work in New York so I spend a lot of time there and leave my car at home. So I haven't had a chance to get it fixed. With this last incident I decided to search the internet and it turns out that I am not the only one with this issue. I found it funny that there were many others with the same or similar problem. I put in a search for "Cobalt shutting off while driving" and found a couple of sites describing similar issues. This last incident reminded me of how dangerous this could be. I had my 4 yr old niece in the backseat and the exit of the parking lot was on a hill. Feeling the car rolling back and not being able to brake would surely be considered a safety issue. On a side note I did have my car examined for the recall I was given notice about. This was completed last year. Nothing abnormal was reported.

- Lutherville, MD, USA

problem #25

Feb 102012


  • 112,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, the engine power reduced light illuminated. The vehicle then decelerated to 10 mph and began to shake violently. The contact safely stopped the vehicle and upon restarting, the vehicle operated as normal. The failure recurred intermittently and the vehicle also stalled on a few occasions. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and several mechanics where the ignition coil pack, spark plugs and the air mass flow sensor was replaced. The failure persisted. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 112,000.

- Plantation, FL, USA

problem #24

Nov 172011


  • 104,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While the contact was driving approximately 5 mph into an intersection, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle restarted and the contact was able to resume normally. The failure recurred on a separate occasion. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the problem. The failure mileage was 104,000.

- Oviedo, FL, USA

problem #23

Mar 272008


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving 65 mph when the vehicle began to shift out fourth gear. The contact stated prior to the failure, the low fuel sensor illuminated intermittently with the traction control and the check engine warning sensors engaged. The brake and anti lock sensors illuminated but did not remain on consistently. The odometer also began to fluctuate on the control panel. The failure was corrected temporarily when the vehicle was restarted. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The dealer confirmed the body connector module gear needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 50,000 and the current mileage was 178,000.

- Ewardsville, KS, USA

problem #22

May 052011


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 25 mph the vehicle stalled. The contact placed the vehicle in park and turned the ignition off. The contact restarted the vehicle after several attempts. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 58,000.

- Riverside, OH, USA

problem #21

Jan 212011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 30 mph, the vehicle stalled and the engine disabled warning light was illuminated. After waiting a couple of minutes the contact was able to restart the vehicle and continue driving. The failure recurred approximately four times in the same day and continued to recur intermittently. The vehicle was later towed to an authorized dealer where the contact was awaiting a diagnosis of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 80,000. Updated 04/07/11 updated 04/08/11

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #20

Aug 012010


  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While traveling at any speed, the contact stated that the vehicle would suddenly stall intermittently without warning. The dealer made three attempts to duplicate the failure. The contact was awaiting a response from the manufacturer. The vehicle was not repaired. The current mileage was 87,000 and the failure mileage was 84,000.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #19

Jan 202011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle would suddenly stall. The warning engine power reduced light would illuminate on the instrumental panel. The failure occurred on a intermittent basis for three weeks. The vehicle had not been inspected or repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and advised her to take it to the dealer. The failure mileage was approximately 64,000. Updated 03/16/11 the consumer stated the vehicle is operating correctly, after suggestions were made by the dealer. Updated 11/04/11

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #18

Dec 142010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 138,000 miles
I was driving on the highway at 75-80 mph when the engine suddenly stopped. "reduced engine speed" and "engine disabled" warnings scrolled across the illuminated on the instrument control panel. After pulling over to the shoulder, I was able to restart the car and continue driving without further incident. Prior to this, I noticed that the vehicle's rpms dropping and then nearly stalling when slowing down at traffic lights or stop signs. I took the vehicle to the dealer and they replaced the throttle body and ECM. The car ran fine for a couple of weeks and has just recently started again with the early symptoms of nearly stalling at stop signs and traffic lights. I have not yet taken the car back to the dealer, but when I called them they said they probably wouldn't be able to tell anything without some kind of error message.

- Kensoha, WI, USA

problem #17

Dec 052010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Engine stops while driving - cannot steer nor brake so controlling the car to a safe stop is very dangerous occurred 3 times over the last 3 months without any warning. Luckily the car restarts after a couple of minutes.

- Windsor, 00, USA

problem #16

Jan 012010


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While attempting to accelerate from a stop, the vehicle stalled without warning. When restarting, the vehicle resumed normal operation. The vehicle was not repaired and the failure persisted intermittently. The dealer advised there was an open, unrelated recall on the vehicle and made unknown repairs under NHTSA campaign id number 10V073000 (steering: Electric power assist system). The failure persisted and the vehicle was not diagnosed for the stalling failure. There were no further repairs. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 69,003.

- Eht, NJ, USA

problem #15

Jul 122010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Car stalls while driving down the road, pulling out, sitting still. Has been doing it alot I have 95,000 miles I took it to be put on the scoop at the dealership and it didn't read anything. Had it to numerous shops and no one know what the problem is. It is very dangerous and I have children. Chevy should be made to recall them. All I have read on the internet is the same problems as im having and nothing is being done about it. I also have another complaint I took in for a recall on the power steering but they only fixed the motor on the power steering and said I had to fix the module which was $700 if I took it there to have the recall done on the power steering all of it should have been fixed. Chevy Cobalt 2005.

- Canton, OH, USA

problem #14

May 172010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 91,763 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt, while my daughter was driving this car, she lost power, motor was revving, RPM going up, then engine light came on. Took to 2 Chevy dealerships, 12 codes came up, but was told none would make it do "that"... help!! what if she is on highway and loses power, someone can be killed...

- Quicksburg, VA, USA

problem #13

Nov 172009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt caught fire when the ignition key tried to start the engine. This car was parked during the work day at the hospital covered parking lot.

- Houston , TX, USA

problem #12

Aug 102009


  • 36,233 miles
He contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving 50 mph on normal road conditions. There was a loss of power steering, followed by an engine stall. The failures occurred without warning. The vehicle failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated the failure was contributed to a shortage in the electronic control module (ECM) and PCM. The components were replaced and reprogrammed. The failure mileage was 36,233.

- Ironton, OH, USA

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