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:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
68,554 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments

problem #18

Nov 082016


  • 40,000 miles


Lines leaking rusted with holes....should have been coated and not exposed to weather

- Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #17

Aug 182016


  • 75,000 miles
Fuel pump module leaks fuel. Vehicle smell of gas. Can cause a fire. When seating still fuel will leak on the ground when car is running or when starting the car.

- Warren, ME, USA

problem #16

Jul 052016


  • miles
My cars problem started with the drivers door not opening from the inside or outside. The car stays locked even using the key fob, automatic door lock switch or key. I have to crawl through the passenger side over the console to enter or exit the vehicle. I am worried what I would do if the passenger door does the same thing. This is a safety issue since I can't get out of my car or in it. I searched online and several people had this same complaint.

- Granite City, IL, USA

problem #15

Jun 152016


  • 131,283 miles


My Chevy Cobalt just stalled in traffic at a dangerous rate of speed on street approaching a stop light the screen in car said engine power reduced then said engine disable. This is very dangerous and very unsafe.

- Bartlett, TN, USA

problem #14

Jan 182016


  • 249,000 miles
I was driving down the interstate, when my warning light came on, and said "engn pwr reduced" it immediately slowed from 70 mph, to 10 mph and wouldn't rev past 2000 RPM's. the source cannot be found as to why it happened and almost cost me my life on the interstate.

- Waynesville, MO, USA

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problem #13

Sep 112015


  • 123,500 miles
I've paid over $400 dollars into this car for batteries in the last 18 months because of the manufacturer default. When I got the car, the ignition switch was a problem the first night, and we had to take it back to the dealership the next day, where all they did was spray some wd-40 in the hole. That was before the recall was made news. On Sept, 11, 2015 I was leaving a store, and tried turning on the car and it didn't start. I've had battery problems before (with this vehicle too) and just had the battery replaced 18 M ago, but there was no check battery warning light earlier or anything wrong with the vehicle performance. At the time, I didn't think it was the battery because the radio, A/C, etc had no problem turning on but the engine itself wouldn't start. And usually batteries have no problem in summer weather. After a tow getting to the auto shop, they hooked up a charger to the battery, and started it up, and said I needed a new battery! I said no, that's not possible, I got a new battery just 18 months ago. Its probably the ignition recall that is the overall problem because until this year (when the dealership finally got me in) the ignition was slipping out of the off position randomly over-night. Or it might be the fact that the manufacturer put the battery in the trunk where there's no air circulation! what was Chevy thinking. In a responsible government, I should be entitled compensation for this, I mean $400 for the same part in a 18 month span because they put a dangerous part in their cars knowingly! ps. I'm looking into Chevy issuing me compensation, because I know the auto repariman won't reimburse me on the labor costs, but they say the last day to file a grievance was in Jan '15 so if you would like to contact me on ways over/through it I'

- Rosedale, MD, USA

problem #12

Apr 032012


  • 75,000 miles


All my door handles are falling off and I've heard many colblats doing the same and all my paint is chipping off my car I drove from a to B and that's all

- Glenwood, IA, USA

problem #11

May 012009


  • 10,000 miles
Engine would not turn over no electrical connection this happened several times during ownership.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #10

Feb 032014


  • 198,000 miles
The vehicle will move to the accessory position constantly and drain the battery. It was taken to rick hendrick Chevy on savvanah hwy in charleston by a young woman. They repaired it and allowed her to drive off with the vehicle knowing it had the same problem. They put her life in jeopardy.

- Summerville, SC, USA

problem #9

Apr 242014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 97,190 miles
Recall notice was sent out by GM in March, 2014 stating our cars need to be fixed but the parts are not available but, all owners will be getting an additional letter in April to inform us to call our local dealer to have our cars fixed. Finally we did get our letters on 4-21-14 and called my local dealer to make an appointment to have my recall fix and was told "Chevy did not send us any parts yet."

- Blacksburg, SC, USA

problem #8

Nov 202012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


For no apparent reason and without any warning (no check engine light or anything), I received an "engine power reduced" warning and my car's engine completely shut down while I was completing a turn in a busy intersection. Luckily, I was able to coast to safety and park in a nearby parking lot. The car refused to turn back on for several minutes. Once it did, I drove my car to my office and was able to start it and drive it without further incident for several weeks. Then, without warning it happened again while I was on the freeway and has been happening intermittently since then. When I took it to the dealership, they claimed they are not aware of other people having this problem, but I have found numerous complaints and reports from other owners online, so I'm not convinced of their honesty or concern regarding this matter. They say they *think* the problem might be the master computer or at least that is their "best guess" (their words, not mine). I will be replacing it later this week. Unfortunately, I'm not confident the repair will fix the problem. After GM's repeated and explicit denial of the power steering problem and how long it took them to admit there even was one, I have decided to appeal to you. At present, when driving this car, I am a danger to myself and everyone else who might be around me on the are all other Cobalt drivers. Please, investigate this matter before someone has this happen at the wrong place and the wrong time and someone gets seriously hurt, or worse. GM knows it created a car with a faulty electrical system which could result in catastrophic failures and they need to take responsibility for it and fix it. Just because they stopped making the car, does not absolve their responsibility to make them safe for everyone on the road.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #7

Mar 302012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
My car shutts off every couple of minutes while im driving it also shut down on big intersection and I almost got hit by the car in back of me. It is very dangerous I was so scared the car just honked and was mad because it was my fault the car just shut off.

- Maywood, CA, USA

problem #6

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 #5

Aug 032011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
Key gets stuck in ignition.

- Temple, TX, USA

problem #4

Aug 152010


  • miles
*please note...the incident date is approximate. We have a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt sedan that was involved in the recall for the power steering motor intermittent power steering failure. We had never had a problem with the steering prior to the recall being performed. After the recall was performed, we began having trouble with intermittent power steering failure - plus additional failures. Upon start-up, we have experienced no power steering, and had to shut the vehicle off and retry numerous times before the power steering returns. In addition to loss of power steering, we have experienced the following electrical problems: Traction control light illuminating random clicking of the brake safety interlock relay / actuator (without touching the brake). Check engine light transmission going into "limp mode"..."slamming" into gear when shifting from park - or improper shifting while driving. Random dash gauge failure random failures of the "driver's information center" - flashing, etc. This was initially happening only upon start-up...but started happening while driving as well - nearly leading to an accident while my wife was driving on a busy urban street. She was fortunately able to drift into the turn lane and come to a stop to avoid a collision and likely serious injury to herself and others, as it was virtually uncontrollable. In addition to the loss of power steering (while driving), the transmission also went into "limp mode", causing very hard shifting and much difficulty in drivability. This has also happened while I was driving the vehicle. I am 6'3", 260lbs., and I was struggling to control the vehicle. I have also been in contact with other Cobalt owners with the exact same set of "symptoms". it is clear that the motor replacement was not sufficient to repair the problem, and - in some cases - may be leading to further problems as in our case. This vehicle is very dangerous!

- Machesney Park, IL, USA

problem #3

Mar 122010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
My car is a 2005 Cobalt Chevrolet. Twice in 3 months a hear a chime and the steering goes from automatic to manual and puts me in harms way while driving. I have to turn the car off and then on again to fix the problem. The problem scared me today while driving 65 mph on I95 while raining. The steering went out and I had to manually control my vehicle and almost crashed before I was able to pull over. I contacted Chevy customer service the week before and they said it is a problem and a recall notice will be sent to me soon. Please help because I really don't want to crash and Chevy said it may be a while before I get my recall notice and they know how to fix it.

- Belcamp, MD, USA

problem #2

Feb 062010


  • 45,000 miles
Two an a half years ago my vehicle started to just turn off randomly while driving, it started about every 4-5 months then about a year ago it started happening about twice a month. I brought my vehicle to the shop and they stated that the problem was the fuel pump. It was replaced since then. I have not had a problem with the vehicle turning off in the middle of me driving. Now February 6, 2010 I was driving and the power steering randomly went out. Sometimes if I turn my car off and restart it will have power steering again sometimes it does not help. This has been occurring for 2 days now and it happened yesterday 3 times and today 3 times. I was driving through the mountains and almost caused a couple of collisions because of this. I plan on going to the shop tomorrow and I will keep any parts they replace.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #1

Dec 192008


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 70 mph with the cruise control activated, the vehicle suddenly flipped over three times. The weather conditions were dry. Due to shock, all the contact could remember was climbing out of the vehicle. She was informed by witnesses at the scene that the vehicle was traveling at a high speed and flipped over while exiting off of the freeway. The contact sustained a fractured vertebrae, internal bruising, and a cracked tailbone. A police report was filed. A couple of months prior to the failure, the contact stated that the power steering was difficult to maneuver and the warning indicator was illuminated. The vehicle was not serviced at that time. The contact had previously taken the vehicle to get a rod inspected, which was located between the brake and the steering. She was informed that it was not a serious issue at that time. The current and failure mileages were 60,000.

- Childress, TX, USA

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