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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
76,300 miles
Total Complaints:
49 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (42 reports)
  2. clean battery terminals and cable ends (1 reports)
  3. mas, spark plug gap (1 reports)
  4. ran a wire in fuse box from ignition to fuel pump temp fix (1 reports)
  5. replace engine (1 reports)
  6. replace entire ignition with a lock on it (1 reports)
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #49

Jan 232016

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,973 miles


Apparently it is a known issue, and so GM redesigned the Timing chain tensioner several times until they were successful (supposedly) in 2009. If you are yet to encounter rough-idling/misfiring/stalling you should go get the tensioner replaced with that of an 09, it (again supposedly) will increase the life of your car beyond the pitiful 215,000km mine got.

- vins, Calgary, Canada

problem #48

Jan 292016

Cobalt 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

I have a Chevy cobalt 2005 the car just completely shut off on me while l was driving. The recall was suppose to be fix on the car. Seems likely not l have been having all types of problems with the car after the dealer clam they have fix my car. Meanwhile I replace the battery think it was the battery so now I have a new battery on a car that don't run. Really upset with this company and dealership. Gotten everything check on the car and everything fine I would like know why I'm going thought this why wont the dealership fix my car right. This is my life. This is my last time getting a car from you guys. unhappy customer.

- Renata G., College Park, US

problem #47

Apr 042015

Cobalt LT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

While I am driving my car, the T/C light would come on, I had pulled over on the side of the road and turned the car off. I waited about a couple of minutes and started the car again, I was 2 miles from home and it did the same thing and not only did the T/C light come on so did the Brake light and another light then the car just shut itself down.

I called the dealership and they told me that it would be alright to still drive the car with the T/C light on, so on my way into work this morning it happened again so I had to have it towed to my mechanic. Still waiting to see what the problem is.

I am really tired of my car shutting down while I am driving and this had happened before with the piston throttle.

Theresa 4/13/15

- frederickga, CUMMING, GA, US

problem #46

Aug 102013

Cobalt LT 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles


I don't really remember the exact date, so I put down a guesstimate. The price to fix was as low as $40 or as high as $200-500, this happened sometime last year. I was driving and then stopped at a traffic light only to have my car completely shut off. I had to place it in park, turn the key off and try to remain calm in order to get it back up again. After it happened I completely threw out my plans for the day and returned home immediately to avoid the possibility of it happening again. I took my car in the next day, I believe they said it was a known issue in the 'power steering' that needed to be fixed.

Now that I've gotten the recall notice about the ignition... I'm assuming that this incident has been in regards to that. I'm just thankful I was stopped at a traffic light rather than on the highway or worse.. I see that the part is STILL unavailable, since I "fixed" the issue I had before I'm not paying that much attention to this notice.. but I will bring my car in once I get the notification to come in. I should mention I have about 3 lanyards hanging from my keys and about 20 of those reward cards on it as well, along with a home key. xD Here's to hoping it doesn't happen again..

- cranemann, Potomac, MD, US

problem #45

Nov 142013

Cobalt 2.2L Ecotech

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I bought my 2005 Cobalt in 2007, was a really good car up until it started shutting off at stop signs and stoplights. This is really scary, it has also shut off when pulling out into an intersection. I am scared to death I will be rear-ended. It is getting so bad that I refuse to drive the car any longer. Recently had an inspection and its showing no problems. Something needs to be done, this is really dangerous. Its hard to try and fix the car when you don't know whats wrong.

- wandanc, Morganton, NC, US

problem #44

Dec 092013

Cobalt 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,403 miles

Every day I get into my car I have a problem with my car shutting off on me any time I apply my brakes. This problem happens every day at least 3 times a day, I have replaced my battery, cleaned my battery cables, replaced my alternator, cleaned my entire engine and still the problem occurs I have even had it do this on the freeway and almost caused a major collision however I was able to move into the carpool lane where there was no other cars at the time. I am about to junk this DAMN car since I can't get an answer on this problem and I have already put over 500.00 into trying to fix this problem but its still not fixed.

- Mindy V., Oroville, CA, US

problem #43

May 152013

Cobalt 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,549 miles


Why does this keep happening to me? Every time I apply my brakes to come to a stop my car will shut off I have to put it in nutrual and restart my car before this problem causes an accident. I hate driving anywhere because it happens so often now. I have complained to the GM company but I don't see anything getting resolved.

- Mindy V., Oroville, CA, US

problem #42

Sep 082013

Cobalt 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

My daughter has had this car for almost 2 years. She was on her way back to college when she was driving into town and the car just shut off while she was in the center lane. When this happened there was no lights, power, anything. She was able to get over to the right lane and avoid any accident. We then had the car looked at and nothing was found on the scope. I drove the car for a couple of days just quick little errands with no problems, I took the car to my daughter and she took off down the road to get back on a highway and not 5 minutes down the road it happened to her again. There is no rhyme or reason as to why this is happening she was just driving down the road. Luckily for her she wasn't being followed by a car or she would have been rear ended. I have seen that I am one of the perhaps hundreds or more people that this is happening to. What about the people that are no reporting this and we know that not everyone thinks about reporting this issue. This is very unsettling that this is not deemed a potentially dangerous situation but seeing that their are no recalls for this particular problem. What has to happen before this is taken seriously?

- cherylmichigan, Bronson, MI, US

problem #41

Nov 072012

Cobalt 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

OMG!!!! I am so freaking fed up with this car. I am afraid to stop at stop lights and stop signs for fear that I'm going to get hit because my car decided that it was going to be a piece of SH*T. I get below 20 mph and I have to watch the tachometer because it is sitting there bouncing between 1 and 0. In order to restart my car, I have to put it in park, take the key out, and then start all over. Last night I was in the parking lot of the grocery store and I had to restart 7 times because the damn thing wouldn't stay running. I have told my husband about it and he just shrugs it off. I feel like this is an accident waiting to happen and judging by all the other comments out there, I know I"m not the only one having this problem. This is a serious issue that Chevrolet needs to address. This car is on its last legs anyway, being an 05 with a 175,000 miles, but c'mon CHEVY!!! DO SOMETHING TO FIX THE POS! Before someone gets seriously injured because their car died in the middle of an intersection.

- Anne S., Chillicothe, IL, US

problem #40

Aug 082012

Cobalt LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I have had the car for a little over a year and every now and then it wouldn't start. But if i waited a little it would start fine. Now when I drive the car will lose all power for no reason and shut off. I open the hood and can start it again. But it keeps happening. I couldn't get a half a mile away with out shutting off 5 times. I need a way to fix this.

- mjuricny, Sterling Hts., MI, US

problem #39

Mar 262012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


This is the fourth time my car has turned off while driving. Although sporadic, this last incident reminded me of how dangerous this can be. The first time it happened was 2 months after buying it. I thought it was because I ran over a large speed bump too quickly. Then the second time was on the highway where I also ran over a pothole. I mentioned this to a service guy at Fox Cheverolet who stated it was probably my alternator. But I couldn't afford to get it fixed then so I waited. Then the third time was in the middle of George Washington bridge with my family in the back. No bumps or potholes. However I did have extremely heavy luggage in the back. Now this fourth incident my trunk was not loaded, I was coming out of a shopping center and while pulling up to a stop sign I noticed that all the light went out and my car had shut off completely. For all these incidents I was able to put it in park and restart no problem but I want a solution that I can trust.

- e.yj, Lutherville, MD, US

problem #38

Feb 182012

Cobalt LT 2.2L Ecotech

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. The for a few months the engine would hover at around 500 rpms at idle. Last week, it started rattling and by the end of the week the engine light came on, said "ENGINE POWER REDUCED" and completely died.

Mechanic checked it out, and said he wasn't sure exactly what caused it, but the engine had lost all compression and needed to be completely replaced. This is a fundamental issue, and considering the car is only 7 years old, is completely insane that it would have to have the entire engine replaced. The mechanic believes the timing chain jumped, and ruined one of the cylinders, but can't be sure without investing hours into pulling the whole engine apart.

I figured this was a one-off situation, but after simply googling my cars engine type (Ecotech 2.2) for replacement costs, the second site that surfaced was this one describing exactly the same problem I was experiencing. I can't believe that this is so common that I can find it merely by a basic internet search for the engine itself. I plan to call Chevy and see if they have a recall planned or will even stand behind their POS engine. Not holding out any hope though.

- luvkit, St Peters, MO, US

problem #37

Jan 032012


  • Manual transmission
  • 96,000 miles

My Cobalt just randomly shuts off!!!!! And Chevy wants me to pay for a diagnostic fee, when I know I am not the only one experiencing this issue. I have found that if I pull apart my engine covers, and spray out the throttle body, it will stop doing it (for a couple weeks). This is NOT something that should have to be cleaned every couple weeks!!!!! I have read soo many complaints about this SAME ISSUE and nothing is being done to resolve it!!! I'm glad their recall covered my power steering, but power steering is USELESS when the car won't stay on!!!! Luckily I have a standard transmission, so I am able to control it a bit, but this morning it died 5 times on my 35 min drive to work!!! I CAN'T WAIT TO GET RID OF MY CHEVY!!!! IT'S A PIECE OF JUNK!!!!!!!!!!

- Shawn L., Atoka, TN, US

problem #36

Nov 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

This has been going on for a few months now. I'll start my car, and if I let off the gas to much, my car will stall out. Even in the middle of a highway! Stoplights and signs are a gamble. Always have to throw my car in neutral JUST incase it stalls out so I can quickly restart it. It idles rough, bouncing between the 0 and 1K RPM on the tach. It's become such a pain in the a**. It's an 05, bought it in 06 with 8K miles, and I have had NOTHING but issues with it. Any suggestions/ideas/fixes for this?

- Amanda H., Roebling, NJ, US

problem #35

Oct 112011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

I have only had the damn car for maybe a month and a half to two months. On friday, I went to got to school and the damn thing wouldn't start. Later on friday, the car started fine several times. It also started perfectly fine on sunday when I went to put some gas in it. This morning, I get in the car and start to back out, it stalled in the middle of the damn street in front of my house. I tried restarting it but then it wouldn't move when I got it in drive. I had to wake up my dad at 7:20 in the morning because this car is awful. I am really considering selling the piece of sh*t! I have also had cd's stuck in the player and the lights on my dashboard go out as well as the lights on the shifter. We have never had any problems with our Toyota and that is why we are going to buy foreign!

- Elana P., Temperance, MI, US

problem #34

Sep 012011

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Manual transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Ok Ive had this same issue of the engine just shutting off randomly or not starting. I have found that if i remove my battery cables from the battery and scrub the cable ends and terminals with a wire brush it fixes it and I have no issues for like a year or more and when it acts up again I just repeat the process. It sounds like b.s. but for me it works and has even increased my fuel economy from the 29mpg I always had to a whopping 32mpg. I had a pontiac montana van that did the same sh*t, the battery looks clean and free of buildup but after scrubbing it works great, not sure if this will help everyone or not but its a cheap fix and worth a shot if it does, good luck!

- Randy A., Harrisburg, PA, US

problem #33

Feb 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

I'm hoping someone can offer some ideas of what the problem is because this is very dangerous. I never know when the car is going to shut off, the other day it shut off in the middle of me turning into an intersection. Thank God no one was coming!!! Don't have the money to pay someone to figure out what is wrong and then charge another fee to fix the problem and then not be right. I've seen a few people with the same problem and I hope you can tell me what was wrong with yours.... Thanks

- tanyasc, North Charleston, SC, US

problem #32

Feb 252011

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Manual transmission
  • 87,000 miles

I was driving on a main why interstate I95. I had my son in my car and I was driving n engine light nothing cars acting fine then I'm getting off an exit rt 141, the freaking piece of crap turns off on a on ramp. I. Frantic I couldn't find my hazards lights, I'm trying to start and start it finally it comes back on. I'm was so luckily that there were no cars behind me other wise it wouldn't have been pretty,. I can freaking have this any more. I'm constantly calling the shop and I'll take it up there and it doesn't have any codes popping up,,, somebody needs to do something before my family gets hurt. I don't feel safe driving it. But I have to because I have health issues and so does my younger son. Enough is enough. This happens daily ,.........

- cynthiade, Newark, DE, US

problem #31

Mar 012011

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Manual transmission
  • 87,457 miles

This piece of crap is a lasts shutting off, I start it then it starts idling weird then I'll try to leave out of my drive way and bam it turns off out of no where. Ill start it again , it turns back on then it happens when I stop at a stop sign . I have kids I can't have this mess..

- cynthiade, Newark, DE, US

problem #30

Oct 132010

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Manual transmission
  • 83,000 miles

I was leaving my drive way and the car would just turn off .. Had all lights no engine codes nothing . I figured it was just the gas. Every I stopped the car it would shut off.I have 3 kids and it's scary that this is happening.. I bought this car brand new in July of 2005,,I thought what a great car I don't think so..

- cynthiade, Newark, DE, US

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