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 17 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #684

Nov 252009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,726 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving at speeds of 55 mph the power steering alarm flashed on the dashboard and triggered the alarm. Immediately, the vehicle lost power steering and proceeded to drift to the left into oncoming traffic. The contact had to utilize extreme bodily force in order to avoid crashing with oncoming traffic and maintain control of the steering wheel. She was able to maneuver the vehicle off the highway and shut off the engine. When starting the ignition, the power steering reset itself and was operating normally. The failure occurred two additional times and the vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where he replaced the entire power steering column and assembly. There were no failures after the repairs were made. The failure mileage was 65,726 and the current mileages was 82,000. Updated 4/7/2010 the power steering assist module was replaced. Updated 05/12/10.

- Fort Valley, VA, USA

problem #683

Feb 182010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
Power steering column and motor replaced for over 1,000 dollars also bushing. Engines stalls when pressing gas and brake pedal. Key wouldn't come out ignition and my car wouldn't stay in park. Had to pay a locksmith to remove the key. Headlights keep having to be adjusted. Wheel bearing and struts need to be replace but I don't have the money for all of these repairs for a 2005 vehicle. Its to many problems for such a newer vehicle. What is Chevy going to do about this, how many more people have to die or get injured.

- Hardwick, GA, USA

problem #682

Feb 202010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
Chevy Cobalt power steering. Starting about a week ago my power steering would randomly go out, most of the time it happened when the temp outside got above 50. The first time this happened I almost hit a car and ran off the road. I went and had my car fixed Friday and paid 500 dollars to have it fixed. I found out today there was a recall being done. I called the Chevy dealership and although the recall says its for the Cobalt 05 to 10, which mine is an 05, it apparently does not have the VIN number of the ones being recalled. I think this needs to be reviewed on what Cobalts they are recalling but its really odd how mine only messes up when the temp was over 50.

- Hazelgreen, AL, USA

problem #681

Dec 102009


  • 52,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While the contact was driving 45 mph he noticed that the power steering light had appeared on the dashboard, at the same time the vehicle lost all power steering. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealership and there were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 52000.

- Reynoldsville, PA, USA

problem #680

Oct 102009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 99,689 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalts power steering fails frequently. This happens at all speeds and terrains making you rapidly adjust to the change in steering capability. This is exceptionally terrifying while driving in inclement weather.

- Superior, WI, USA

problem #679

Feb 272010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 56,500 miles
I drive a Chevy Cobalt (2005) which was purchased new. Current it's got ~55000 miles on it. This past week I experienced three times sudden loss of power steering while driving - twice on local driveways and once on the freeway. The problem remained on as long as the engine was not shut off. Restarting the engine seems to solve the problem temporarily as no one knows when it is going to happen again. I have been a defensive drive so I was able to handle the situations calmly without causing any trouble; but this is dangerous. Right now the car is at the GM service center for a checkup and hopefully a fix. Apparently there have been over one thousand cases like this. I believe that a recall should be issued for safety concerns. Thank you.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #678

Jun 282009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


2005 Chevy Cobalt as soon as you start vehicle it has power steering but as soon as you start driving a dinger alarms and displays the power steering message. And then there is no power steering, however it is drivable but in my own opinion not safe because it does take alot of force to steer especially at low speed!!!!

- Palm Bay, FL, USA

problem #677

Oct 142009


  • 61,882 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately between 15-20 mph on normal road conditions. A chime sounded inside the vehicle; followed by the power steering warning light indicator illumination. Immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The driver pulled over to the side of the road. The engine was turned off and restarted. The vehicle was able to resume normal operation for a short period of five seconds. In addition, the front driver door caused an extremely intense electrical shock whenever accessing the door. The front driver side seat belt buckle failed to function. The failure occurrences were whenever the vehicle was in operation. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer. The technician refused to perform a diagnostic testing without a service charge. The vehicle has not been inspected for the failure or repaired at this time. The contact had concern of the potential safety hazard. The failure mileage was 61,882.

- Glasgow , KY, USA

problem #676

Feb 212010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
The power steering is failing on my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. I will be driving, a chime sounds, the power steering light comes on and I have no power steering. I have to turn the car off, then back on to reset it. I will then have power steering for a short distance before it happens again.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #675

Feb 182010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 123,319 miles
Power steering started to go out occasionally. It would come back on if I turned off and restarted the car. Quickly became more frequent. Took car in and got the power steering motor component replaced, they kept the old motor.

- Hutto, TX, USA

problem #674

Mar 012010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 49,500 miles


I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt, on March 1, 2010, Y car's message center "dinged" and the message "power steering " was being displayed. The tachometer, and speedometer both started jumping up and down, that seemed to stop after a couple of seconds, my steering seemed a little stiffer but nothing really noticeable, a few minutes later, pulling up to a stop light it started jerking like someone was shifting gears hard in a standard, or like the clutch was popping. This is ridiculous, not to mention it scared me half to death, I drive 400 miles to my parents every weekend, and I Transport my younger siblings all the time. This is dangerous! and needs to be fixed.

- Bokchitok, OK, USA

problem #673

Jan 102010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt lost power steering while driving down the road, and my wife narrowly avoided a head on collision. Rather than head into on-coming traffic, she swerved toward the shoulder hitting a mailbox. I wish a GM engineer was standing there instead of the mailbox.

- Mount Ulla, NC, USA

problem #672

Feb 282010


  • 27,500 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt electrical power steering failure. A couple of beeps and power steering is noted on the dashboard and at the same time you loose complete power steering while driving. Has happen twice in the last two days.

- La Vista, NE, USA

problem #671

Feb 122010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
My 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt has a power steering problem. The power steering randomly goes out while driving and the problem has become more frequent. It now occurs within minutes every time I drive the car. This car has an electronic power steering system. It is extremely dangerous to lose power steering while driving, making turns, parking, etc. I have read numerous complaints from other consumers regarding this issue and I really hope that GM issues a recall to fix this problem. It is very difficult to steer the car and at this point I am nervous to drive it at all. Thank you for taking this into consideration.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #670

Feb 252010


  • 69,000 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) this is the second time my 2005 Chevy Cobalt power steering went out on me in the past year. The first time I had the whole steering column replaced and it cost me $400 for a used part and labor (a new part was way too expensive). That was April 2009. This past week it has gone out again, and I do not have the extra money to get repaired at the time. When I start my car the power steering is fine until I drive about a block or two then the "power steering" alert comes up on the dash board and it will not fix unless I shut off the car and start all over again. But this only correct the problem for another block or two. [xxx]

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #669

Jan 112010


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately between 35 mph into a curve on normal road conditions. The vehicle steered uncontrollably out of the lane and crashed into another vehicle on the driver side. There was a loss power steering without warning. The police, fire department and ambulance were called to the scene. There were no personal injuries. The vehicle was towed to an independent auto shop. The vehicle was completely destroyed. The cause of failure has not been determined at this time. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Kittanning, PA, USA

problem #668

Feb 142010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
The power steering goes out on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt on a frequent basis making the car very hard to turn and unsafe to drive. I am concerned that one day I will not be able to control the car and cause and accident with serious injuries or worse. I see there are hundreds of other incidents of this nature and the list continues to grow on a daily basis. Please have GM issue a recall and provide the needed repairs before more people experience collision and injury or death.

- La Mirada, CA, USA

problem #667

Aug 282009


  • 94,000 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt was randomly losing it's power steering. Once I had that costly repair, it began randomly stalling. Usually at intersections, but sometimes just for slowing down. I've had it in to be fixed several times. It has improved but it still happens occasionally.

- E. Chatham, NY, USA

problem #666

Oct 152009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Randomly when I'm driving a warning comes up stating something about the powering steering & the steering wheel locks & I can't move right or left. This has happened around 6 times to me so far, all on the interstate or a main road. Luckily there have been no injuries & I was able to say in my lane & struggle to pull over. I have to usually stop the car completely & power it off to unlock the steering. Also, twice before while I'm actually driving the keys have fallen out completely. The key also gets stuck when I'm trying to turn the car off.

- Covington, VA, USA

problem #665

Sep 012009


  • 80,000 miles
Power steering shuts off frequently (every few minutes) while driving.

- Manheim, PA, USA

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