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:
47 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
27 / 5
Average Mileage:
64,211 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 17 of 52)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #711

Mar 062010


  • 70,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 20 mph with a loss of power steering. The vehicle was able to continue in operation with caution. Additionally, the transmission slipped and the speedometer fluctuated and displayed inaccurate readings. The manufacturer was notified; the vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle has not been repaired for the malfunction. The VIN number was unavailable. The failure mileage was 70,000. The current mileage was 72,000.

- Mcclellandtown, PA, USA

problem #710

Jan 302010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
The power steering on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt went out while I was driving, luckily it didn't result in an accident. I could have just as easily been in an accident due to the fact I couldn't turn my wheel at all. I took the Cobalt to a shop, and it turns out it was the motor. Apparently this happens to a ton of Chevy Cobalts all the time. This is sooo dangerous! also, occasionally my driver side door won't open from the inside or outside. This could be a huge safety risk if I needed to get out of my vehicle in a hurry.

- Grand Island, NE, USA

problem #709

Feb 212010


  • 57,500 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While traveling at approximately 20 mph, the driver noticed the power steering indicator light illuminated on the warning panel immediately followed by a loss of power steering assist. The driver shut off the engine and upon restarting, the power steering assist would reset itself. Within minutes, the failure would occur again. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where a diagnostic was performed. The dealer verified the power steering as well as another unknown part had failed. Repairs were made to the vehicle at the owners expense. There were no recalls on the vehicle. The approximate failure mileage was 57,500 and the current was 58,000.

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #708

Mar 062010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 78,850 miles


I had left my driveway and started heading down the road when my powersteering shutdown. Turn the car off and start it again and I have powersteering for a short time. Now it does it at least once a day. Waiting for GM to come up with a fix before I see a mechanic. Hard to steer but still drivable.

- Lebanon, NH, USA

problem #707

Dec 012005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Power steering failure at random. I bought a 2005 Chevy Cobalt brand new in 2005. After driving 40,000 miles I would get a power steering failure. When I first turn the car on I have power steering, but after a random moment of time it cuts out and the light on the dash comes on. It will go out in mid turn or while going straight & both forward and in reverse. Most reports I can find about the problem say it will cost about $2000 to fix and the problem recurs. The only way to get a part to fix it is to take it to the dealership and some dealerships are saying its the steering column while others say its a motor. I think its a scam from GM to make a part that goes out and charge an arm and a leg to fix. The failure happens daily now. Its difficult to turn the steering wheel. It is unsafe to turn into busy traffic in the city and driving around mountains. It was the cheapest new car I could find at the time because I'm poor, so forking over $2000 for a part that will go out again in another 40,000 miles is never going to happen. Even though there is a light on the dash to indicate a power steering failure, it does not show up on diagnostics. It is an electrical issue and not mechanical, so its not under warranty. I have not yet been in a crash, but I have come close many times. Many owners I have spoke with have this problem, and have crashed or come close to crashing on many occasions.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #706

Aug 152008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
I bought a used 2005 Chevy Cobalt about 2 years ago. A few months after the purchase the power steering started to fail at seemingly random intervals, but on an all to regular basis. I don't believe I had anything to do with the problem as I was simply driving down the road when it chose to first fail. It occurs numerous times daily and has nearly caused me to crash several times (especially when it fails mid-turn). Nothing has been done to correct seeing as they told me to fix the power steering I would have to replace the entire steering column costing me up to 2500 dollars. Something that I just cannot afford to pay for.

- Mcallen, TX, USA

problem #705

Mar 012010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 38,000 miles


Vehicle would not turn right steering issue. As a result the car continued straight, over median, over 2 curbs before driver could stop vehicle just shy of gas meter. Filed complaint with GM > the dealership where I purchased the vehicle informed me of a recall on GM Cobalt and the parts to fix problem will not be available. And it appears that is what happened why the vehicle would not turn. And my vehicle cannot be repaired.

- Broken Arrow, OK, USA

problem #704

Aug 102009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 57,155 miles
We have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. Issue 1: the power steering has failed intermittently while driving. The power steering has failed completely for the last 4 months but, now starting to work intermittently again. We called several dealers back in May 2009 about this issue. Some dealers were are very aware of the problem. The dealers told me the entire steering column has to be replaced because it is a electronic failure. The power steering is controlled by an electric motor instead of hydraulics that are found in most cars. The cost to replace the steering column is $1,200+. I would like this issue fixed because it has almost caused several accidents when it initially started. We want to sell the vehicle but, we do not want to pass this lemon on to another consumer who may not be aware of these issues. Issue 2: the wheel well covers and interior molding are attached to the vehicle with cheap plastic gromets that fail from fatigue and poor engineering. The wheel well covers have come off while driving. I reattached a partially attached wheel well cover with sheet metal screws and removed the rest. These items are accidents waiting to happen. I am disappointed in GM's quality and engineering practices.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #703

Mar 062010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 97,279 miles
My wife and I got into the car, we started to pull off from her parent's house and before we made it off their street, the car chimed and "power steering" was displayed on the dash. The power steering immediately became extremely difficult to manage, as we almost got into an accident on the street. It chimes as soon as we start the car and begin pulling out of our driveway, or pulling away from anywhere we are. It takes maybe 5 seconds from the time we start the car before we hear the chime. It is immediate. We have researched this online and found that GM has done a recall, finally, on these cars due to the malfunction of the chip for the power steering. We are contacting our local Chevy dealer today to see what steps we need to take next to fix the problem. We have only had this car for 2 years now.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #702

Aug 212009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 64,963 miles
I had no power steering/power steering on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt failed and the nearest place I could go was a local Goodyear repair shop. They kept my car for 3 days, had to order new parts and take out the steering column assembly and replace cost to me was $956.75. This occurred on Aug. 20, 2009. I had no idea that this was a defect until I just read about it now. 64,000 miles are on my auto and I am on a fixed income, cannot afford another auto.

- Joliet, IL, USA

problem #701

Mar 062010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 51,300 miles


Power steering went out in 2005 Chevy Cobalt. I am small I could barely steer. Will call dealer today

- Willoughby, OH, USA

problem #700

Mar 062010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 69,500 miles
The power steering on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt all of a sudden went out while I was driving. I could barely control the car. I am a 22 year old female and this scared me half to death since I almost crashed and could not turn the wheel.

- Catonsville, MD, USA

problem #699

Mar 052010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 72,500 miles
Power steering failure in my 2005 Chevy Cobalt.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #698

Mar 012010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
I previously submitted a complaint on the power steering on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt. I had the power steering motor replaced before recall and was told that I can get a refund on the repair. Now I have a rattle when driving in the steering column area and concerns me. I wonder if driving with the power steering issues I had caused more damage to my car. It feels very loose and I am concern I may loose control of my vehicle.

- Kissimmee, FL, USA

problem #697

Dec 212009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
The power steering on my daughter's 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt went out on December 21, 2009. We called Chevrolet and complained about the power steering motor lasting only 65,000 miles. They said they wouldn't do anything about it. So we spent $250 to have the motor replaced. Now we find out in March they are recalling this vehicle for faulty power steering motors on 2005 to 2010 models. They had to know there was a problem in December. Smells very fishy. My concerns are: Is this a new and improved motor that was put in or an old defective model and we will be reimbursed the money we spent for something they have now recalled the vehicle for" any suggestions"

- Red Oak, IA, USA

problem #696

Jul 132009


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that on three occasions, she lost the power steering and could not control the vehicle. She first noticed the failure in July 2009. She had to coast to the side of the road, turn the vehicle off and then restart the vehicle. Once restarting, the problem seemed to correct itself. She had not taken the vehicle to the dealership and had not spoken with the manufacturer to-date. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The current mileage was approximately 74,000. The failure mileage was approximately 60,000.

- New London, CT, USA

problem #695

Mar 312007


  • 55,000 miles
Driving 2005 Chevy Cobalt and power steering goes out. Trying to get out of or in a parking space and power steering goes out.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #694

Jan 252010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 91,000 miles
I can be driving down the road at any rate of speed, and the power steering warning light will come on & chime, by the time the chime stops the power steering has gone out. I can stop the car, turn it off, turn it back on and it fixes the problem for about 2-5 minutes then the situation repeats itself. It happens constantly to the point the car is almost not drivable. It has progressively gotten worse over time.

- South Fulton, TN, USA

problem #693

Dec 012009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
The recent recall regarding Cobalt power steering prompted me to actually report this. We have a 2005 Cobalt ls we purchased used, and the loss of power steering has occurred several times over the past couple years, but to my knowledge, only in our driveway upon putting it into gear. It has never happened while on the highway."power steering"message pops up on info panel, and a combination of things seem to occur together. The transmission seems to "clunk" upon shifting into gear, and usually the traction control dummy light comes on as well at that time. The problems have always corrected themselves, so no incidents to report, but rather concerned now upon hearing more. The car now has 98000 miles, but found paperwork from previous owner that complaint was made to dealer at 31000, and the electric steering motor was eventually replaced @ 67000. So it appears this car is already on it's second motor. I have never taken it in, as the previous replacement cost over $1000, and couldn't afford that. This recall couldn't come soon enough, as my kids recently started driving it to school.

- Dodgeville, WI, USA

problem #692

Apr 102008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
I could have died. I was driving around a turn three dump trucks were coming toward me and my power steering went out. I luckily swerved off the road causing front end damage to my car. I paid out of pocket some where close to $800 for repairs for the crash. The power steering was working fine for awhile till a little after September 26 when it went totally out again making it where I was unable to turn the wheel and it no longer safe to drive. I was told today that they are offering me $5,000 for my 05 Chevy Cobalt. The power steering went totally out a few days after September 26 and had caused an accident earlier on in the year. They are now holding my car at a palm Chevrolet dealership in ocala fl. When going to retrieve my car they said GM wouldn't be able release my car do to the power steering rendering it unsafe to drive. When I first talked to GM they sounded as though it would be no problem they would fix the car and all the repairs needed from the accident. Now they want nothing to do with the repairs. It has been in the shop for a month and out of service since September. I don't think I was born yesterday. The repairs for power steering is $1,400. Less than the $5,000 that they want to pay me so they can fix the car and resell it leaving me to drive a piece of junk that runs if I could find it that cheap. I paid a little over $18,000 for a stock model car. I put $800 in to it from the accident leaving only body work to be done. I'm trying to raise my ten month old son. Without a car it has made it impossible to go to college or get a job. Not to mention having to pay over $1,000 on insurance for a car I can't use. I want my car and I want it fixed. Can you please help?

- Summerfield, FL, USA

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