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 14 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #744

Apr 202010


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owned a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The vehicle was traveling approximately between 45-50 mph and suddenly wandered into the opposing lane. The driver was involved in a head on fatal crash. A police report was filed of the incident. The vehicle was towed to an impound lot. The cause of failure had not been determined at the time of the complaint. The vehicle was completely destroyed. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Seneca, IL, USA

problem #743

Sep 012008


  • 80,000 miles
I own a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. GM did replace the power steering motor, but I still do not have the power steering back. The service company told me that it was the power steering module that has gone bad and it is not covered by the recall or the warranty. It is causing my vehicle to jump and sputter. When this occurs I loose all my safety gauges like my speedometer, gas, etc. The vehicle even cuts off completely when I come to a stop at intersections. What do I do now? oh yeah, I even had the transmission worked to make sure it wasn't that either.

- King George, VA, USA

problem #742

Feb 182010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
Power steering stops working while driving, you can pull over stop and restart engine then the power steering comes back for a while. This is very dangerous. Something should be done but so far nothing has.

- Williamsburg, KY, USA

problem #741

May 102010


  • 175,364 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving at 30 mph, the steering wheel locked up while the contact was turning. The contact noted that the steering was difficult but she managed to get the vehicle into a parking lot. She then turned off the vehicle and waited five minutes to restart; after the restart, the vehicle behaved normally. However, the failure occurred again. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic but it had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The contact called the authorized dealership and the dealer informed that a recall was in progress for the steering. The current and failure mileages were 175,364.

- Ft Worth, TX, USA

problem #740

Apr 232010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
March 26, 2010- 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt started beeping. "power steering" warning appeared. Car became hard to steer. Car sputtered and stalled out. After turning the car off and back on, car functioned normally enough to be driven to fairway motors in hazleton. Power steering was found to be broken and was fixed under the recall. April 1st, 2010- car started beeping. "power steering" warning appeared. Car sputtered and stalled out as I pulled into a parking lot. The steering wheel would not turn at all, it was stuck in place. The car was towed to armen Chevrolet in ardmore. The power steering was once again found to be faulty and was fixed. April 23rd, 2010- once again the car started beeping. "power steering" warning appeared and the car sputtered and stalled out on us 30 in the middle of traffic. Turned the car off and on again and was able to get the car to armen Chevrolet again. Armen Chevrolet can not find anything wrong with the car. Diagnostics are negative, no record of the incident in the cars memory, 130 mile test so far has not replicated the problem. I contacted the district specialist for Chevrolet, nick christensen, who claimed to be keeping in contact with armen Chevrolet, stated to me today (Monday, May 3, 2010) that the dealer had driven my car 240 miles, did not find anything wrong, and nick advised me to go pick up my car. The dealer informed me that in fact, they have only driven the car 130 miles, found a faulty shifter (which is not related to the car stalling out, but still needs to be fixed before I take the car), and that they still need to continue driving the car until they reach 240 miles. Nick also stated that after the dealer has driven the car 240 miles, if armen Chevrolet can't find anything wrong with the car that they can't do anything further and that I basically have to take my chances with the car stalling out in the middle of traffic again (for the 4th time) and I should have it taken to dealership at that time.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #739

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 #738

Mar 132010


  • miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated she received notification of NHTSA recall campaign id number and contacted her local dealer to secure an appointment for repairs. The dealer advised the parts needed to make the repairs were not yet available. An independent mechanic attempted to locate the parts needed for the repair also but to no avail. The vehicle was not repaired and the contact believed the recall was not being addressed within a reasonable amount of time. There were no failures to date. The current mileage was 123,000.

- Deltona, FL, USA

problem #737

May 122008


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While the contact was driving approximately 45 mph the power steering failed without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The failure was related to the body control module (BCM). The vehicle was repaired for the malfunction. The contact received a recall notification after the service repair was performed on the vehicle. The prior repair was not included in the reimbursement. The contact stated that the defect was related to computer failure. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The failure mileage was 50,000. The current mileage was 80,000.

- Shrieveport, LA, USA

problem #736

Apr 252009


  • 77,909 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While the contact was driving approximately 50 mph the steering wheel locked without warning. The vehicle stopped in the middle of the road. The power steering warning light illuminated. The vehicle was towed to the residence, and then to the dealer. The technician replaced the steering column and the bushings at the cost of $1322. A recall notification was received after the service repair. The defect was related to the recall under NHTSA campaign id number 10V073000 (component: Steering: Electric power assist the manufacturer refused to reimburse for the prior repair related to the recall. The failure mileage was 77,909.

- Lowell, MA, USA

problem #735

Mar 032010


  • 41,223 miles
In October 2008 while driving 15 mph my 2005 Chevy Cobalt had a power steering failure which almost caused a collision with another vehicle. My vehicle jumped a curb, luckily no one was hurt. There was only 41,223 miles on the vehicle. I had to tow the vehicle to a GM Chevrolet dealership where they informed me that I had to pay $773.81 to replace the steering column, because it was out of warranty. On March 3, 2010 after having accumulated 62,522 miles driven on my vehicle. I while driving to the store, started having steering problems. I noticed that the steering was becoming difficult to turn. Then I became aware (while watching the news that night ) that a recall on the electric steering motors for 2005 Chevy Cobalts was issued. I contacted GM Chevrolet but was told I had to wait to receive a recall letter on my vehicle. I informed GM Chevrolet of my previous steering problem in 2008, but was offered little assistance. I was informed that if I wanted the vehicle inspected I would have to pay a diagnostic fee and I would have to pay for any repairs performed. I was made to wait a month for a recall letter. In my circumstances I think requiring me to pay for a diagnostic and repair on a vehicle which has a recall is unfair, considering I had a previous problem steering in 2008, before a recall was issued. I received the recall letter yesterday, and had the vehicle repaired today, but I couldn't drive the vehicle for the last month, because of the steering problem. Now they are stating that they will not reimburse me for the original repair that was done on 10/30/2008, even though another GM dealership informed me that it was the same problem, although in 2008 they replaced the whole steering columns which was the norm, but now the are correcting the steering problems by replacing the electric steering motor.

- Land O Lakes, FL, USA

problem #734

Oct 092009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 53,313 miles


While driving the power steering failed. The power steering motor was replaced and the power steering column.

- Saint Marys, GA, USA

problem #733

Oct 272009


  • 66,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 40 mph, the power steering failed. She then noticed the failure on an intermittent basis. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealership for a diagnostic test; the dealer informed the contact that the power steering was defective. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The failure mileage was approximately 66,000. The current mileage was 70,485.

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #732

Nov 162009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, had power steering motor fail while driving in November 2009, had it replaced at a Chevrolet dealer, dealer stated steering shaft will also fail as a result of bad motor and should be replaced, no money, steering shaft now making noise and vibration, Chevrolet dealer said steering shaft is bad and needs replaced, GM representative, after 10 days of dealing with them said until I receive letter from GM they will not reimburse even though I had GM dealer do work. They stated steering shaft not included in recall although car is becoming increasingly difficult to drive. Please help. Thank you

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #731

Apr 022010


  • 90,000 miles
I was driving on rt 222 in Pennsylvania when the power steering in my Chevy Cobalt failed. This made it difficult to steer the vehicle. I stopped teh vehicle approx 20 nminutes after the power steering failed and turned the vehicle off. I then restarted the vehicle and the power steering began working again.

- Terre Hill, PA, USA

problem #730

Aug 152009


  • 72,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While attempting to pull away from a stop light at 5 mph, the engine suddenly shut off. The contact was able to restart the vehicle but the power steering would not function. Each time the vehicle was restarted, the power steering would stop working once the steering wheel was turned. The vehicle was towed to the dealership where the contact was informed that the power steering was defective. The dealer repaired the problem and the contact had not noticed any failures since. The failure mileage was approximately 72,000. The current mileage was approximately 76,600.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #729

Mar 222010


  • 73,477 miles
Power steering failed while driving my 2005 Cobalt. I pulled over on the side of the road, turned the engine off. When I turned on the car power steering worked. However since then it randomly happens while driving. Notified dealer today, they have not returned my call. (paddock Chevrolet buffalo NY)

- Niagara Falls, NY, USA

problem #728

Jun 062009


  • 42 miles
I have a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The power steering intermittantly goes out. This has been going on for about a year and I have taken it back to the dealer twice, but they have been unable to fix it.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #727

Jan 292010


  • 63,000 miles
Chev 2005 Cobalt 63000 mile on the clock, I purchased the car in December 2008. In Jan 2010 I was driving on a highway at 50 miles an hour when a chime sounded and the console flashed power steering. I did not feel much difference in the car at that time. This next happened 2 days later. It seemed that turning the car off would rectify the problem. With in the month, the car was experiencing the problem on each drive I took with in the first 15 min. I had a problem while in the school car park that it failed and I lost all control I was able to stop the car with the brakes. Almost hitting a small child and the car mounting the curb as I was unable to turn the wheels. I contacted GM in late February when the incident happened and was told the problem is not something they are aware of and that maybe a patch on ice caused the loss of control. It was the following day that while driving on the highway at 50 miles an hour the chime sounded and the console flashed power steering. The car lost all power. It did not stall or run out of gas it quick working. I was unable to get the car to restart. I was lucky that I was in the right hand lane of traffic and was able to pull over to the hard shoulder. The car would not start for over an hour. When the car started I returned home. I had a mechanic look over the vehicle while it was working and no problem other than the failure of the power steering could be found. The car has lost all power and shut down with in 5 mins of the car running. The car will not start. It will be days before the start. It now when it starts, the chime sounds and flash power steering flashes and the car shuts down. This is an unsafe car. The problem is serious and life threatening. To think I could have taken the life of a child if the car had not stopped when it did. The car is sat in the garage I am not able to drive.

- Chino Valley, AZ, USA

problem #726

Mar 032010


  • 67,101 miles
Power steering failure

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #725

Apr 042007


  • miles
I have a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt I think I got the car in like February of 2007 I'm not sure on the dates but I say a little bit after I had got it like about 6 or 7 mouths after I had bought the car it stated to do what it wanted to do like the power steering would lock up on me on a turn or when I would turn the wheel really sharp. My sister was driving the car and she was like you need to get this fixed before you have a wreck or something bad happens. I'm like I cant get it fixed the warranty has ran out on the car. Then I would turn the car off and turn it back on and it would work fine. Then on one occasion me and my 2 friends was going shopping and I let her drive my car and we was in the middle of the intersection when she adjusted the steering wheel and the car shut completely off on us while going down the intersection cars were everywhere around us. All the gauges went down all the light went off everything just cut off and shut down so we let it coast to the gas station that was on our right we could not do anything the steering wheel was hard so it took 2 of us to turn it. I think that something in the electrical system has a short in it or is felling because my lights when I put it in gear or out of gear the light dim on me and then my power locks don't work so I cant lock my car any time I want to. The locks sometimes you can hear them going up and down in the car. My car got broken into the other night and I have a police report for that because my locks did don't work there for somebody got in my car and stole something from me. If my locks would not keep going up and down then I could keep my car locked. But about a month ago my light on my gear shift just quit working. I have to like tap on it or put the gear shift up in park then back down to drive for it to come on and then it will go right back off. Then I have to change headlight and bulbs around my car every other day cause they just go out. But it has to be electrical cause they short out.

- Frankfort, KY, USA

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