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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 1
Average Mileage:
90,113 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 #27

Sep 012015


  • 89,000 miles


GM replaced ignition parts and shifter mechanism as per recall. Shortly after issues began with steering locking up, transmission not shifting and various warning lights flashing. This became more frequent and is now impossible to drive. My technician says it is a body or transmission control module costing well over a thousand dollars. There appear to be 100S of 1000S of the same issue as per search engines. I will contact my local GM dealership. If GM will not back up its product it will be the last GM in my driveway. I will trade in on a Toyota.

- Millersburg, PA, USA

problem #26

Jul 292016


  • 174,440 miles
While driving in town shortly after turning onto a 45 mph road my vehicle, automatic, started hesitating while shifting into the next gear. It would shift but not like normal. Brought it into a repair shop to have a diagnostic ran to be informed it is a failure to communicate with tcm. Code U0101 and also U2100. After doing research there has been multiple complaints about this. So first things first replaced the tcm with a new one at the dealership. After replacement the vehicle is still not shifting correctly.

- Pahrump, NV, USA

problem #25

Apr 112016


  • 51,000 miles
This issue seems to be a common problem with the 2005 Cobalt. Please research any car complaint websites about this certain vehicle. Even though all the recalls have been taken care of, while in motion, at any time and any speed, the dash lights starts flashing and you get the message power steering on message center, tc light comes on, light that shows padlock symbol comes on, RPM needle jumps up and down, steering wheel locks up, motor surges and shakes, and you hear all types of clicking sounds below gear shifter. This is a very dangerous thing and Chevrolet/GM just cannot seem to fix this issue or even find anything wrong. The 2005 Cobalt needs to be recalled and any other year of Cobalt having this issue. I will give you below the last date this has happened, but this has went on since we got the car in 2008. My daughter is in school in Kansas City, and this issue has happened quite frequently lately. The only remedy is to pull to side of road, shut off vehicle and restart and hope it does not act up again. I just wonder how may deaths have happened already because of this faulty GM product and no one knew it was because of what the Cobalt did, locked up on its driver.

- Thayer, KS, USA

problem #24

Mar 212016


  • 410,000 miles


The power steering on my vehicle cuts off and the speedometer remains rested at 0 when driving. The doors also lock and unlock on their own while driving. The car does not automatically shift while driving making it hard to accelerate and the vehicle will also decelerate on its own while driving it is very dangerous and very scary to drive with these problems. The dealership claims that the problem with steering has already been fixed but I am still having these problems.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #23

Dec 072015


  • 113,200 miles
My daughter was accelerating to enter the on-ramp on the interstate. The gas pedal stuck when she accelerated and she was unable to slow her car down. She was forced to maneuver through traffic and had to exit at the next ramp because she could not get around vehicles on the interstate. She stepped on the brakes and tried to tap the gas pedal lightly to see if it would come unstuck. At some point while exiting the highway the gas pedal came unstuck, and thankfully she managed to stop her vehicle safely without an accident. She is concerned that this problem may occur again and she may not be so lucky the next time.

- Ludlow, ME, USA

problem #22

Nov 102015


  • miles
I was driving the car in the city street when the engine light came on. I continue to drive the car when I start hearing click sound than I hear bell sound come from the car. The car wouldn't go any faster than 40 mile hr & the gauges were jumping all over the place. I continue to drive the car then the words "power steering" came on where my mileage would show. All of the recalls have been repaired and something still wrong with this car. I asked GM to take look at the car without charging(money) to see if it is relative to the recall. The dealership said they couldn't tell if they would charged me money or not.

- Simpson, NC, USA

problem #21

Nov 032015


  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 50 mph, the vehicle slowed down, jerked, and accelerated rapidly on its own. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 130,000.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #20

Jun 042014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I was driving down the road when my locks started popping in and out, my car started stalling out and losing power, and the power steering was going on and off. I took it in to the Chevy dealership and they said it was the ignition switch. I just received my car back after it was fixed and the same problems are occurring still. I was going 60 mph when my car completely lost power. I have taken my car in other times for this problem with still no resolution.

- Lavaca, AR, USA

problem #19

Apr 212014


  • 103,600 miles
I have received (both) recall work done on my 05 Cobalt, and yesterday I was driving on the highway at 55-60mph for the first time since I got my car back last Friday. I lost power steering and my car would no longer shift to increase its speed. It felt like I was in neutral gear as the rpms were in the 5000-6000 range yet I was still at a speed of apprx 55mph, as I attempted to pull over to the shoulder I recognized I did not have power steering, and the light on my dash quickly went off and then came back, along with a check engine light. After finding out what the engine codes were via autozone, I was told my transmission control module had failed, hence why my transmission would not engage into third gear. After driving the car around more that afternoon, it continued to happen at the high speed levels, and again the power steering failed. I brought it up to the Chevy dealership that performed the work, yet the service department was closed at 7pm. The sale guy tried to convince me that this recall would not affect anything with the transmission, yet multiple mechanics have told me that if the new piece was not programmed properly with my ECM, then its possible that this is affecting my vehicle. I am going to try and bring my car back in tonight after work, or hopefully tomorrow. I have already call General Motors and reported the same incident, because there is a rumor going online that the new ignition switch may have a "short" in it. But I do not want to confirm that.

- Hanahan, SC, USA

problem #18

Mar 202014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 121,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving the vehicle and making a U-turn the drivers side door would open, when it was locked. The contact also indicated that on multiple occasions while attempting to exit the vehicle the driver side door would not unlock. The failure was not diagnosed nor was the vehicle repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure.. updated 07/01/14 MA the consumer stated the vehicle suddenly accelerated and she crashed into a garage. The consumer has since traded the vehicle. Updated 07/23/14

- Plymoth, MN, USA

problem #17

Sep 232013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


The vehicle shuts off while running. I've stopped at stop lights and when I try to continue driving the car will shut totally off while in drive. The door locks are constantly running up and down and will not stay locked. Many times I've come back to the car thinking it was locked to find it unlocked itself. The electrical problem has created a problem with brand new batteries. I've replaced it twice since purchasing the car in 2010.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #16

Mar 032014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
The blower for heating and cooling began to work sporadically, then one day it just stopped working all together. I removed the HVAC control rand noticed the orange wire had overheated which caused the control knob and wiring plug in connector to fuse together.

- Granville, NY, USA

problem #15

Mar 062013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while reversing from a driveway at 5 mph, the vehicle began to accelerate independently. The contact had to shut the engine off in order to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection where they stated that they could not determine the cause of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Linn Creek, MO, USA

problem #14

Aug 112005

Cobalt 3-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,800 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while traveling at a high rate of speed, the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree. The driver was fatally injured. A police report was filed of the incident. The contact believed that the vehicle exhibited an unintended acceleration failure which caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The contact also indicated that the airbags did deploy upon impact. The manufacturer was not notified of the incident. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 1,800. Updated 04/14/14 MA updated 04/18/14

- Amarillo , TX, USA

problem #13

Dec 102009


  • miles
The brake caliper was rattling because it was broke I had a auto repair man replace part then all of a sudden it brakes again that was for the front and back it also has elected electrical problems the windows work when they want and the car mostly always stalls it has even stalled on me in the middle of traffic on hwy what it does is act real sluggish and the more you press on the gas the more it bogs out and pulls back instead of taking off as supposed to the turn signals in the front always blow everytime replaced there is also interior electrical problems such as the interior lighting works when it wants to and the doors lock and unlock themselves with will unset the anti theft system and allow for Prowler to take the car.

- Nalcrest, FL, USA

problem #12

Dec 072013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
Multiple problems with my '05 Cobalt, but this was problem cannot be duplicated by dealer and when I called GMC, they cannot tell me anything about this problem. Driving on a highway approx. 50-55 mph and all of a sudden car dropped to approx 20 mph. Dash reading said 'reduced engine power' and my traction control light came on. Nothing would make the car go faster, luckily nobody was behind me. Car kept acting like it was going to die. Got the car to my in-laws, which was only 5 minutes away and we unhooked the battery. After letting the car sit for a few minutes and the battery together, the car seemed fine. Took it to the dealer and said they can't get a code because the battery was unplugged. I called GMC and they told me they can't do anything without the code. I have children who sit in the back of my car and I am not waiting for the problem to happen again, if I am on the interstate and cars are behind me, they are going to run into me, as there was no warning this was going to happen. Not happy that Chevy seems to be avoiding a huge safety issue and pretending it doesn't exist. There needs to be a recall on this immediately.

- Norwalk, IA, USA

problem #11

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 #10

Jul 232013


  • 70,000 miles
I was driving in to my apartment complex when my car completely loss power. I was able to steer, however I was not able to accelerate. The radio turned off and the air conditioner quite working. This has happened twice since I've gotten my car. Luckily, I was in places where I could safely pull over. I had to turn my car off, wait for a few minutes and turn it back on to get it to work correctly. I am also having issues with my power steering. I am starting to think that this car just isn't safe anymore and I am looking into possibly getting a new car because of it. It is becoming dangerous to drive this car!

- Cedar Hill, TX, USA

problem #9

Jul 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
While driving on a major highway, "power steering" message is displayed on dash, warning chime sounds repeatedly, power door locks cycle at random, instrument panel gauges stop working intermittently and jump around, complete loss of power, and random warning lights appear on dash. At times the gas pedal was completely unresponsive, then vehicle would lurch forward - had a near miss incident when the loss of power on acceleration from a red light almost caused another vehicle to hit us. Issue has occurred at random intervals since the car was new, but has become more frequent lately and tends to occur more often on hot days. Dealer was unable to duplicate concern, despite hundreds of similar complaints on the internet.

- Manchester, NJ, USA

problem #8

Nov 042012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 87,666 miles
After having taken my car into the Chevrolet dealer for a power steering failure the car acted up again. They replaced the power steering motor however after about 1 hour of driving the cruise control disengaged and the power steering message came on the display. The gauges started going crazy and the check engine light would flash on and off as well as the parking brake light. At lower speeds there was a clicking sound from under the automatic transmission box and the car jerked when changing gears. This is extremely dangerous as driving on the free way at those speeds can lead to fatalities. I am extremely thankful nothing happened. General Motors needs to get this right as clearly replacing the power steering motor is not the solution to the problem!

- Berrien Springs , MI, USA

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