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:
31 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
27 / 1
Average Mileage:
40,071 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #14

Sep 212011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 17,500 miles


This incident occurred at about 9:30pm on the night of 9/21/11. The failure of the air bags and steering occurred on NJ state route 78 West, about 50 feet before the ramp to route 31. There was no traffic congestion on the road, and visibility was good. I was fully awake, and was familiar with driving this route on a daily basis. While I was driving my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt home from college, my vehicle lost power steering right before I got onto the ramp. Keep in mind that my vehicle was traveling completely straight at the time when the power steering light came on, and about half a second later my vehicle began spinning to the right. Before I could slow down or straighten the car, my vehicle had rotated almost a full 90 degrees to the right. At this point the ramp had started, and thus to avoid hitting the guard rail on the right side of the road I made a strong effort to turn the wheel to the left and straighten my car. I succeeded in turning the wheel to the left, and thus straightened my car out until my car then started to spin to the left, and bounced off of the guard rail on the left side of the ramp at approximately 40mph. A couple seconds elapsed from when the power steering light came on, to when my car hit the guard rail. After the car bounced off of the guard rail, it continued to spin for another 270 degrees, and came to rest on the narrow shoulder, parallel to the road. The air bag did not deploy, and after I shut the car off and turned it back on, the power steering warning light had disappeared entirely. Although I drove the car off of the ramp, as I was instructed to by police, the car was totaled due to significant damage to the front of the body and frame of the vehicle. After the incident I discovered the previous recall on the power steering motor, however when I checked with the dealer, their records indicated that the recall was fulfilled.

- Milford, NJ, USA

problem #13

Sep 022011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
My 05 Chevy Cobalt was driving on the high way going about 70mph switch lanes and my power steering got out of control and got into a wreck hit some one beside me.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #12

Apr 162011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 153,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt 4 dr sedan. While traveling down the service road on I-35 I started to cough, I blacked out for a split second. After coming to I realized there was a sharp turn in the road. I hit the brakes hard, the ABS did not work. I went through a sign, it tore up the front drivers side of the car then hit a concrete barrier on the passenger side of the front end.I hit my head on the steering wheel and the air bags did not deploy on either side of the car. With the ABS locking up it caused the car to skid approx 300 feet, without safely slowing down. None of the airbags deployed.

- Aubrey, TX, USA

problem #11

Jun 062010


  • 50,000 miles


Air bag malfunction light stays on all the time.

- Salcha, AK, USA

problem #10

Aug 252008


  • miles
Air bag light is on continuously and now the power steering light goes on and you loose steering as you are driving. The air bag light was fixed 1 time by dealer and now it is on again and they say they will not fix it because it has been tampered with but they are the only one's to work on it I have my repair invoice. The power steering light just started coming on and now you loose steering as soon as it goes on. It almost caused an accident the first time it happened because I was going around a curve and a car was coming the other way and I lost my steering. Luckily I didn't hit the other car but I think this is a major safety hazard.

- Boyertown, PA, USA

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problem #9

Mar 252008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the front driver and passenger seat belt retractors were locked. He also stated that the air bag warning light was illuminated on the instrument control panel. He refused to have the dealer inspect the vehicle because they wanted to charge him $100. The vehicle has not been repaired. He called the manufacturer and they referred him back to the dealer. The failure mileage was 53,000. Updated 5/19/08 updated 05/19/08

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #8

Feb 122007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,900 miles


After driving for 30 minutes at a speed of 55-60 mph on the interstate, I was on the off ramp merging from one interstate to another, when the cars ahead of me starting slowing down. I applied a sudden pressure to the brakes to slow down also; however, the brake pedal went soft and then it seemed like the brakes locked, but did not slow down. The car made a sudden jolt to the right bringing me into the on coming traffic in the next lane. This resulted in a collision with another car. Resulting in a total loss to the Cobalt. The air bags did not deploy eventhough the front end of the car was destroyed.

- Jack, FL, USA

problem #7

Sep 112005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 220 miles
My Cobalt has been in repair the center at 2 different dealerships for a total of 17 visits. The air conditioner leaks excessively into the passenger floorboard. My headlight indicator comes on repeatedly, my temperature controls do not always work, my emergency brake light comes when the brake is not on, most recently my gauges have been quitting as I am driving and my left blinker has stopped working. My car has been in a shop for a total of over 60 days since I bought it in Sept. 2005. I have contacted GM/Chevrolet in an attempt to settle these problems and they will not assist me. My warranty will expire in less than 8000 miles. GM/Chevrolet - manufacturer and dealerships- will not assist me. I am very unsatisfied with my purchase, GM delivered a defective car and they will not stand by their reputation.

- Millbrook, AL, USA

problem #6

Oct 172006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
I got in an accident on October 17, 2006 and my air bags did not go off. I had a frontal impact and nothing came out. Result was that I hit my head at the connecting part of the windshield and roof of my car.

- Logan, UT, USA

problem #5

Mar 012006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,645 miles
: the contact stated the ignition switch would not turn, the airbag light illuminated and the turn signal failed. The dealership repaired the problems but they reoccurred. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Bedford, PA, USA

problem #4

Feb 102006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


On Feb. 10,2006 my little brother was on his way home in my 2005 Cobalt it was raining he went around a curve an lost control of the vehicle. He hit a total of 3 trees the car was total. The air bags didn't not deploy an the seat belt didn't catch, bc of this my little brother lost his life. He was 5'11 an weighed about 350 lbs an came up out of his seat and hit the top of the car were the metal meets the windshield. Nothing has been done. My family called Chevy to report it they said they would call us back in 24 to 48 hrs that was almost 3 wks ago an haven't heard anything.

- Eastaboga, AL, USA

problem #3

Feb 072006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The 2005 Chevy Cobalt we purchased for my daughter has a violent vibration that is intermittent. The vibration usually happens on long trips, when the car is at highway speeds of over 65 mph for 45 minutes or longer with the cruise control on. Then when coming up on slower traffic, you touch the brakes to disengage the cruise control, a violent vibration proceeds. If you apply more brakes the vibration gets worse. This vibration requires the driver to maintain both hands on the wheel to control the car. This vibration will last from a few minutes to 15 miles. Usually when the vibration stops the cruise control will not work for a minute of 30 minutes and up to 3 days. We have take the car to the dealerships 5 times. 2 dealerships in or around tampa Florida and the dealer we purchased it from in jonesboro Georgia. Each time they dirve the car a few miles at highway speeds over 60 mph and declare nothing is wrong. As we stated above and to the dealerships, it takes a minimum of 45 minutes or longer at speeds over 65 mph for this vibration to happen, and sometimes it will not happen. We have started the lemon law process in Georgia and have asked for a replacement car or purchase back by GM. We are awaiting there actions. Since the manufacturer's last attempt to fix the car, in which my daughter drove 2 hours and the vibration started as they were existing the express way to the dealership, she over heard the service manager acknowleged "the problem is in the brakes' they contacted the GM rep in atalanta area, and decided to do nothing to fixe the car. Now yesterday, when my daughter was about to slow down on the connector in atlanta, due to slower traffic, the brake pedal went soft and then "hard as a brick" causing the car not to stop and hitting the pickup truck in front of her. The air bags did not deploy and she now has a "mild concusion". she had to miss work yesterday and today. What can be done to force GM to fix this brake problem or replace the car?

- Fayettevile, GA, USA

problem #2

Aug 272005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The consumer stated while sliding through a red light another vehicle hit consumer's on the driver's side rear. The vehicle then hit a pole, spun around, and hit another pole. The vehicle almost flipped over. It went up on two wheels and came back down. There was front and rear end damage. The vehicle was totaled. Upon impact, the airbags did not deploy, and the passenger's seat belt came off. The vehicle has not been inspected yet to determine why this happened on August 27, 2005. A police report was taken. The passewnger sustained injuries, hit chest and arm on the dash, board and she was bruised.

- Benton, AR, USA

problem #1

May 102005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,100 miles
Consumer bought a 2005 Chevrolet, Cobalt; had an accident which totaled the car out. The air bags did not deploy.

- Ponchatoula, LA, USA

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