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:
45 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
27 / 5
Average Mileage:
62,740 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 10 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #824

Jan 012012


  • 65,000 miles


After having been repaired several times under the power steering recall, the problems have become worse. The car stalls, lights flicker, the low fuel message will flash despite there being gas in the car, the power steering is completely inoperable, the speedometer rests on zero at all times, various warning lights are always illuminated and the car struggles to get out of second gear (it is an automatic.) the dealership service center gave diagnostic codes indicating possible issues with the body control module and electronic control module and stated that it wasn't covered under the recall, but that the power steering motor had again gone out, but they would not fix it. The car has stalled numerous times on -ramps to highways and in intersections and has become too dangerous to drive, but Chevrolet has refused to acknowledge the problem and only technical service bulletins exist, though they will now acknowledge them when asked, as though the problem is not a dangerous one. The entire electrical system of the car is faulty and should be recalled as it is a major safety concern.

- New Castle, PA, USA

problem #823

Jun 052012


  • 136,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 34 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated, the speed decreased to zero and the tachometer increased to 4,000 rpms. The locks on the door started going up and down and the vehicle became difficult to steer. The contact stopped and turned the vehicle off. After the vehicle was started, the failure was resolved. The failure recurred six times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who determined that the vehicle had too many fault codes to be diagnosed properly. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure however, did not offer any assistance. The VIN was unavailable. The current and failure mileage was 136,000.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #822

Jun 042012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I was driver and the wheel get stuck.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #821

May 262012


  • 70,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle was taken to the dealer for repairs under NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering: Electronic power assist system) in may of 2010. The contact stated that the repaired failed and the power steering assist failed, causing the steering wheel to become extremely difficult to turn. The vehicle was not further repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 70,000 and the current mileage was 120,000.

- Brookshire, TX, USA

problem #820

Apr 022012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 110,900 miles
When maneuvering the vehicle my steering wheel seizes up over and over again while making a turn. Consequently it must be turned hard to overcome this resistance. Often this causes the driver to over steer. It does this repeatedly even when going through the same turn. Correcting the over steer is also plagued by these same spots of hard resistance. If you turn the steering wheel while the car is not moving you can feel the same problem. Had the front end of the car inspected and those components are in good shape. You can hear a sound coming from the steering column when resistance is felt. The car had safety recall # 10023 repair done on 6/14/2010 at dutch Chevrolet in belfast, Maine (repair order 25485). I called Chevy and they said that the recall repair was warranted for 12 months or miles which ever came first. I have an appointment today 5/1/12 to have it looked at by the same dealer. The representative from Chevy said they will follow up on this however they did not offer to cover the cost of the repair. Bad enough that the problem is chronic, a real safety concern, but worse yet Chevy won't even take responsibility for a lifetime warranty on a recall repair. This is unconscionable. The consumer stated he went to the local dealer to have the steering problem diagnosed. It turned out the problem was not directly related to the original repair of the electric steering assist unit after all. Rather, the intermediate steering shaft U-joint needed to be replaced. The charge was slightly under $250. After discussing the problem with the warranty division, the consumer was given a discount of $150. The consumer no longer wished to pursue his complaint. Updated IVOQ 06/15/12

- Prospect, ME, USA

problem #819

Mar 302012


  • 99,997 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering:electric power assist system). After the repair was performed, the power steering warning indicator began to illuminate. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where the conrtact was awaiting further repairs. The contact had not experienced a defect with the power steering prior to the recall repair. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 99,997.

- Laporte, TX, USA

problem #818

Mar 122011


  • miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the steering wheel seized while driving at various speeds. The gauges on the instrument panel also displayed inaccurate readings whenever the failure occurred. The contact stated that she had to wait long periods of time before the steering wheel returned to normal functioning ability. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the failure was common for the make and model. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The contact also stated that prior to the failures, the vehicle was repaired under the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 10V073000 (steering:electric power assist system). The failure mileage was unknown. The VIN was unavailable.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #817

Jan 102010


  • miles
On January 10th, 2010 our daughter [xxx] 21 yrs. Old was killed in a car accident. We received a recall notice from GM in April 2010 on the car a 2005 Chevy Cobalt for power steering failure. The recall involves removing entire power steering mechanism built by a partially owned Toyota factory. I knew the minute I got the news that my daughter was killed so violently and that it did not involve another car that it had to be mechanical failure. It was too late to save our daughter [xxx] but not too late to save others, I contacted GM who sent three representatives to the coparts scrap yard in duryea where the Cobalt was stored in July to investigate the car accident. A photographer, an accident reconstructionist and a mechanical engineer that flew in from detroit, the objective was to remove the black box, computer from the car and analyze the data. We went to the scrap yard and for the first time saw the wreckage that was once a beautiful red sports car. All the windows including the sun roof were blown out, the Cobalt had flipped, rolled, ejecting[xxx] on to the highway where she was run over. We are not sure if [xxx] was killed on impact. The Cobalt burst into flames melting the instrument panel, shift, upholstery. At the coparts scrap yard in duryea, myself and my husband [xxx] father saw the car for the first time the Cobalt told the story of an extremely violent wreck. I was told by [xxx] that I would know the results from the black box data the next day. When I tried to contact GM through [xxx]that they would not communicate with our family. GM has my property and they will not release the data without us providing proof that the car was defective. This is not possible since they took the most valuable piece of information from the car. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Scranton, PA, USA

problem #816

Feb 022012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
While driving on a well maintained road, with no environmental factors (such as wind, rain, snow), I completely lost control of the steering of my vehicle. I did not hear any beeping, clicking, or any noises that would have indicated that there was something wrong. The car weaved across two lanes, and hit a guardrail before crashing front-first into a tree. Both airbags were deployed. I was able to safely make it out of the vehicle. I was later taken to an urgent care where X rays showed that my spine was out of alignment. I am currently suffering back and neck pain which keeps me from engaging in daily activities as well as performing my job to the best of my ability. I bought this car because it was supposed to be safe, yet it seems this vehicle is the cause of the crash, and my subsequent injuries.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #815

Feb 012012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 51,238 miles
I was driving with my new born baby when the power steering went out and I couldnt control the car.

- Meridian, MS, USA

problem #814

Jan 222012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


Pulling out of my parking space 2 hours after I parked, and my car started jerking forward. Then I noticed my check engine light came on, then power steering starting flashing across the screen then my T/C light came on. I ut the car off, and waited a few minutes, started it back up, it seemed fine, I drove 5 feet and my car jumped forward, I lost steering, power steering flashing in the lights on my dash, then my check engine light came on again, and my T/C light came on. My car starts and runs fine at an idle, if I try to drive it, it shakes horribly then it jumps forward and tries to die. If I had let my daughter drive, she would of had an accident!! and yet my car is not part of the 2005 steering recall!! what is the problem here!! I just did some research, and a few phone calls to find out there was a recall but my 2005 total electronic steering is not part of this recall when clearly my car is affected by it. I want answers and I want them now. I can not afford to pay 2000 to have something fixed that is not the fault of the driver, but the fault of GM and their not recognizing all these vehicles have a problem but only select ones.

- Arnold, MO, USA

problem #813

Jan 312011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 182,746 miles
Power steering failure. Shut off while driving.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #812

Dec 052011


  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the steering wheel seized while turning at 5 mph. A power steering service light also illuminated on the instrument panel during the failure. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent repair shop and the were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 12,000.

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #811

Dec 062011


  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the instrument panel gauges were defective, the transmission was shifting hard and the power of steering failed sporadically. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer and the manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 92,000.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #810

Nov 012011


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle was shaking excessively and would lose power while driving. In addition, the vehicle would violently jerk while making turns and the steering wheel would seize. Neither a dealer nor a mechanic was notified. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000 and the current mileage was 168,267.

- Olympia Field, IL, USA

problem #809

Apr 262010


  • 101,445 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering failed intermittently and as a result, several warning lights were illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for repairs under NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering:electric power assist system) yet the failure recurred one year later. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. No repairs were performed. The current mileage was 154,000 and the failure mileage was 101,445.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #808

Dec 222010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
The power steering motor on my 2005 Cobalt failed for the first time in December, 2010. Now, in October, 2011 I have had the power steering motor replaced as per the Chevrolet recall. Five days after the replacement of the motor, the exact same issues have returned. The car stutters at any speed, the power steering fails completely making the car nearly impossible to steer and the car has stalled at least half a dozen times so far. Chevrolet knows about this problem, but it is clear that the recall of the power steering motor alone does not fix the problem. The entire power steering mechanism seems to be at fault and it seems that Chevrolet will only cover the cheapest part of this fix. Chevrolet expects its customers to pay for their mistake and not only is this mistake an inconvenience it is a huge safety concern. My vehicle has stalled on an on-ramp, in traffic and once in an intersection. Chevrolet must be held accountable for this huge safety concern and fix the problem at its root.

- New Castle, PA, USA

problem #807

Oct 232011


  • 48,800 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that when traveling at various speeds, the power steering would fail intermittently. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer was notified of the failure nor was the vehicle diagnosed or repaired. The current and failure mileages were 48,800.

- Powell, OH, USA

problem #806

Oct 212011


  • 72,000 miles
The power steering light came on and became hard to steer. Luckily I was able to pull over and stop as there was no one else on the highway at the time. I've there was a recall on the part but when I called the dealer they seem to think they have already fixed the problem but I will bring it in tomorrow. After reading all the stories about this model its a wonder GM has done nothing about it. I will have to pay almost 100 dollar for them to just look at the car. Lords only knows what its going to take for them to attempt to repair it for good. I'm not really sure its worth fixing but who can just go out and buy a new car because GM sold junk in the first place.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #805

Oct 182011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,910 miles
Power steering stops working and then starts working sometimes when driving. Power steering pump was changed by Chevrolet dealer in March, 2011. By may, 2011, same problem of power steering working erratically resumed. Dealer looked at it again on 9/30/11 and was unable to fix. On October 18, 2011, a near accident occurred when the power steering started working during a sharp turn at 25 mph while entering an on ramp. The force it takes to turn the wheel at that speed is estimated at 30 lbs and while applying that force in the sharp turn and the power steering suddenly started working, resulting in my making a significant turn to the right and almost running off the ramp and down a 15' embankment. The vehicle is too hazardous to drive.

- Ooltewah, TN, USA

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