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 12 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #784

Apr 282011


  • 46,000 miles


Last year, my 05 Cobalt experienced power steering failure and concurrent hard shifting between gears upon power steering notice of failure. I took my car in to the dealer to be fixed in accordance with the associated recall. Last week, one year later, I have experienced the same exact problems again. The car will chime and report "power steering failure". if driving above 15 mph, there isn't much to notice regarding power steering, however, if changing speed requires your car to shift up or down to a different gear, the car will jerk ("hiccup") heavily, as if an inexperienced driver was trying to drive a car with a manual transmission. The car has 46,000 miles on it and this is clearly not my problem. Please insist that GM issue a recall with a real remedy for this issue.

- Pa, PA, USA

problem #783

Mar 102009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Power steering assembly was "replaced" under the recall, but still continually goes out off and on. Very unsafe!!

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #782

Apr 012010


  • miles
When going down a hill or coming to a stop the whole steering wheel shakes. Took it to a garage and he said that the U joint in the steering column is bad and is very dangerous to drive, could lose control of the car. My daughter drives this car, but not anymore. Garage says he has had alot of Cobalt's with this issue. There should be a recall on this, or does someone have to die first?

- Franklin, PA, USA

problem #781

Mar 162011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


The power steering failed in my 2005 Cobalt. I took it to the dealer where they replaced a recalled power steering motor. They just called me and told me that didn't fix my power steering failure and I will be charged for any farther work being done. They obviously admit having a problem with their power steering system but what they replaced didn't fix my problem.

- Baden, PA, USA

problem #780

Feb 172011


  • 95,000 miles
Car loses power steering randomly, dealer wont recognize recall. Will be turning and car will all of a sudden lose the power steering causing my car to jerk and I need to correct.

- Burnsville, MN, USA

problem #779

Mar 232011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 155,500 miles
Electric power steering assist stopped functioning. Driving on highway, driver info center message "power steering" displayed. No steering assist. Parked vehicle for short time and assist returned. Drove for short period and assist again ceased to function. Have not been to dealer yet to fix the problem.

- Pinckney, MI, USA

problem #778

Feb 012010


  • 67,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering:electric power assist system). The vehicle had the recall repairs performed but continued to experience a loss of power steering. The vehicle was taken to the dealer multiple times where the technician was unable to duplicate or diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 67,000.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #777

Mar 162011


  • miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt has been having some issues with a knocking sound while driving. Almost sounds as if something was loose and hitting something else is the only way I know to describe it. People who have drove in my car thought it was bad shocks or struts, but those have been checked and working fine. It makes the noise while driving, hitting normal bumps in the road, etc. I had a mechanic look at it and he replaced some lower arm bushings in the front end. But that did not fix the problem. He looked at a service bulletin and narrowed my problem down to two things. One being the electric motor in the steering column. This part was supposedly replaced by my local dealer when Chevy put out a recall on it. The other part was the steering gear that turns the wheel. He said this could cost up to $500 to replace and didn't want to take a chance and that not be it. I did not have the money to replace it any way. He said he did not see a safety issue driving the car as is for now. But I wanted to report the problem in case others with this vehicle are having the same issues so a recall can be done.

- Eaton, OH, USA

problem #776

Jan 102011


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle was being driven by another person. The driver lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle rolled over and the driver was ejected from the vehicle, where she was run over by other passing vehicles and fatally injured. The vehicle then caught on fire. The vehicle was destroyed. A police report was filed. In April 2010, the contact received notification of NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering:electric power assist system) and believed that the power steering failure caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The manufacturer inspected the vehicle and removed the black box for investigation. However, the manufacturer had not notified the contact of any outcome of the investigation. The current and failure mileage was 50,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Scranton, PA, USA

problem #775

Feb 122010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 73,900 miles
Power steering light comes on, power steering goes out, all display lights begin going off and on, speedometer needles go crazy, clicking noise in dash, car sputters when stopping and jerks real hard when beginning to resume driving after stopping. All of these things happen at the same time, not always just off and on, never know when its going to happen. Had recall on power steering assist motor, had that replaced at 70,558 miles, starting having same problems again. Had steering column, shaft and link replaced at 73,117 miles. Car seemed ok for about a month and then again at 73,900 miles same problems are happening again. Contacted GM, was told the recall was done so anything else that happens now is my responsibility. Have seen 100's of other comments from Cobalt owners having the same problem with vehicle and GM. There is obviously more of a problem with these vehicles than just the power steering assist motor. Something more should be looked into and done with this issue. It is and or can be a very dangerous problem when occurring (steering going out at anytime) like I've seen on many comments from others, does someone have to die before something is done about this problem? GM states that this vehicle has a 5 star safety rating but yet they don't want to fix a problem as serious as this. I like many others can't afford to keep fixing this problem just to keep having it re-occur. I had to pay out $950 a month ago and like I said before am now having the same problems. I had to borrow money to have the first repairs done and have no way to have it done this time (can't afford it) so now again like I've seen many others comment I have no choice but to drive around in a vehicle that's steering could and will go out at anytime. If there is anything I can do to find out or have done to fix this problem, please let me know. A very concerned and scared driver. Thank you!

- Clinton, OH, USA

problem #774

Dec 272010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 99,940 miles


With no advanced signs or warning (mileage at 99,930), upon starting the vehicle, the traction control and security light came on. The car's RPM revved up and down and wanted to stall. The fuel gauge jumped back and forth. There was a constant clicking in the gear shift and the steering wheel locked into place where I could not turn it. I shut the car off and restarted three additional times before everything seemed to go back to normal and I was able to drive. The next time this occurred was when mileage was at 99960. After several attempts at stopping and starting the vehicle, the traction control and security warning lights went out and I put the car into gear to drive, only to be practically jerked out of my seat with hard shifting and acting light it wanted to stall when coming to a stop. I drove the car directly to the dealership and the problem continued on the entire drive there. Once the car was shut off, the problem could not be recreated at the dealership and therefore I was sent on my way with no explanation of what might be wrong. The next repeat event occurred 3 weeks later (mileage 100,450) but corrected itself with several off/on of the engine. Next occurrence again at 100,600 with same results. This has not yet happened while driving, but I did ask the dealership about the possibility of this happening and he said if it did, I would easily be able to control the car and pull off the road. Personally, I do not want to experience this while driving 55-65 mph! the dealership said that this could be a costly fix since it is a process of elimination and no guarantees each time whatever they tried would fix it...not much confidence coming from the Chevy dealership mechanic!!

- Haw River, NC, USA

problem #773

Jan 172011


  • 67,822 miles
I took my car to a Chevy dealer for safety recall 10023 after I was driving home from work and I heard beeping and the 'power steering' appeared in the console. Once the power steering light came on, the gears had a slamming sound and the car would only drive 10 mph at max speed. The day I picked it up, the same thing happened a mile away from the dealer but this time I heard the clicking sound the brake will make when you take the car out of park, shook the entire car when the gears shifted, drove only 10 mph and felt like it would stall if I came to a complete stop. I pulled it over in a parking lot and immediately had it towed back to the dealer who, the next day after looking at the car again, told me he could find nothing wrong with the car. Fed up with this dealer, I took it to a local garage to have it inspected, again nothing. I do not feel safe driving this car at all now. I don't understand how there can be so many persistent problems with this car, yet no mechanics can say there is an issue. The power steering light should only come on when there is a serious problem, and for one to not be detected is very frustrating. I have been without a car for nearly 2 weeks now and have gotten no closer to feeling safe with me or my family inside of it.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #772

Jan 132011


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 60 mph when the check engine and power steering warning lights illuminated. Within moments, the steering wheel became extremely stiff and difficult to turn. The vehicle was taken directly to an independent repair facility where the battery was disconnected and reconnected. The steering wheel was operating as normal. The failure recurred approximately 5 miles after leaving the dealer. The failure and current mileage was 90,000.

- Winona, MO, USA

problem #771

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 #770

Dec 232010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 92,605 miles
My power steering will stop working while I drive and I have to physically manipulate the vehicle to a stop and turn off the car and restart it to reset the electirical motor in the power steering.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #769

Sep 012010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Chevy dealer replaced power steering assist, since the repair, issue has been recurring. Transmission slips and knocks the car forward, power steering error appears, tachometer and speedometer short out.

- Marion, IA, USA

problem #768

Nov 152010


  • 95,000 miles
Power steering was recalled in my 2005 Chevy Cobalt...but the whole steering column needs to be recalled. I will never by a Chevy again.

- Monett, MO, USA

problem #767

Oct 172010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 40,350 miles
I recently purchased used my 2005 Chevy Cobalt and Sunday a week after having the car gave me problems. According to the carfax report the power steering was replaced in April assuming do to the recall. But I got in my car and the power steering read across the mileage area and chimed. Very little noticeable issues do to steering but when I came to a stop light it vibrated really bad and then everytime it shifted(its an automatic) to another gear higher or lower it would act like it had shifting problems. Also when I would come to stops at a light or stop sign it would vibrate really bad to the point where it seemed like it would stale out. It had only stalled once. I just hope someone can resolve this issue because it seems like tons of people are having this issue.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #766

Dec 152009


  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 75 mph, the power steering failed. The contact pulled to the side of the road and turned the engine off. When she restarted, the power steering reset itself and functioned properly. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where it was repaired according to recall 10V073000 (steering:electric power assist system). While drivign 35 mph, the power steering failed again and she almost crashed into a pole. The contact called the dealer and schedule another appointment. The manufacturer had not been notified. The failure mileage was approximately 89,000.

- Hope Mills, NC, USA

problem #765

Oct 122010


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the power steering light flashed on the instrument panel and the steering wheel suddenly locked up. The contact pulled over and turned the vehicle off. The power steering functioned properly after the vehicle was restarted. The vehicle had not been examined or repaired. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Foxworth, MS, USA

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