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:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,138 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments

problem #10

May 192014


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving at 10 mph, the tail lights and head lamps randomly illuminated. Also, the contact stated that the steering wheel seized intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #9

Jan 292010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 53,379 miles
I was stopped at a red signal for a few minutes. Suddenly, a university of buffalo student hit my car from the rear at full force. He was texting and when he got out of the car he was still texting. He admitted it was his fault because he was not looking at the road and was texting on his phone. I called the police and obtained a police report. The air bags did not work. My mom and I were jolted forward at full force with back and neck trauma. My car stalled on impact of the other car. Luckily my foot was on the brake and I did not hit the car in front of me. I had to restart my car and I pulled the car over to the side of the road in order to not block the busy street. I complained that my air bags did not work but I was ignored. Also, the ignition switch had turned off the car which I thought was strange.

- Amherst, NY, USA

problem #8

Feb 072014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
While making a left turn, the car felt as if it was sliding and hit a guardrail. Then, slide alongside it. That impact propelled my car across the street and it collided with a guard-wall, on the other side of the street, totaling the vehicle.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #7

Nov 012011


  • 70,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the rear running lights and all of the dashboard lights failed without warning. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 70,000 and the current mileage was 78,000.

- Essex, MD, USA

problem #6

Dec 012009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
Headlight full of moisture has got worse and worse for the last two years almost and GM will not do anything about my headlight. Today 6/15/2010 I took my car for the recall notice got about the power steering assist. And found out that both front lower control arm bushings need replaced, and my right front rim is bent and possible wheel brg might need replaced and I called GM about this and they will not take care of any of these problem they said (sorry about the experience) why is GM not helping!

- Mansfield, OH, USA

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problem #5

Dec 012009


  • miles
Power door locks and remote will not work replace battery still not working, can not drive over 40 mph because car jumps and steering is all over the place and made me hit a giant pot hole and cause damage under the car and I think it bent by rim on passenger side front and four about a year or more drivers headlight light is pull of moisture and has a bad glare in it. Called Chevy and they refuse to do anything about all of it.

- Mansfield, OH, USA

problem #4

Jan 312007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles


My power steering in my 2005 Chevy Cobalt sedan goes out every so often for no apparent reason it has been taken back to a dealer once or twice for this problem. They have told me that I have to pay over 2 grand to get it fixed. With the recall out I don't know if mine is covered or not I can provide the VIN and other info. Problem started right after I bought the car and that summer had no steering what so ever. It has been a major issue for two years now it happens mainly when the car is driven over 80 degrees. And also one of the bulbs in the high mount third break light does not work anymore after being replaced more than once to see if it was a problem with the bulb. Front headlights have had to be replaced 5 times since buying the vehicle and I have gone threw more turn signal bulbs to count.

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #3

Jul 122008


  • miles
The headlights would hold moisture in the inside then the bulbs would mildew and go outduring the 2nd year and 3rd year of ownership. I have had to replace both headlight structures within a years time. Now the right turn signal goes in and out. The bulb has melted in the socket. All parts replaced since not under warranty now.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #2

Dec 092008


  • 46,000 miles
Left blinker randomly will not work. I have tried replacing the bulb and the wiring assembly. Started with just the front driver side and now the rear driver side does not work. Worked after jiggling the wires one day when I was bored but after hitting a bump one time when right back to normal. I have tried putting the flashers on to fix it but does not work. All the fuses and everything are good. Looked it up online and looks like a very common problem for Chevrolet and 05 Cobalts in general.

- Beaufort, SC, USA

problem #1

Jan 012007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 39,000 miles
Description of incident is the front left lamp assembly of my 2005 Chevy cobolt is that is has condensation in it and GM will not fix it free. It's a defect in the parts and there should be a recall bulletin no 01-08-42-001E has been written up.

- St Charles, IL, USA

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