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 18 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #664

Jun 202009


  • 40,000 miles


My daughter, a college student in abilene, tx., drives a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. She had been driving her vehicle in normal conditions when she realized her power steering had stopped working.

- Sugar Land, TX, USA

problem #663

Dec 062009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
I own a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The power steering failed while I was traveling on the highway with my four year old daughter in the car. Thousands of other Cobalt owners are experiencing this same problem with their vehicles. Chevy needs to be forced to recall these cars. They are unsafe and someone may die.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #662

Feb 252010


  • 61,000 miles
Power steering went out while driving on the high way. Luckily I am a strong man and was driving and not my wife. The front passenger seat belt is now no longer usable due to the fact that it is stuck buckled together for the 2nd time. It can no be detached. This is a safety hazard. And now I must replace this seat belt and buckle.

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #661

Feb 272010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 75,090 miles


I am not able to get my key out of the ignition of my 2005 Chevy Cobalt ls. This has been a persistent problem since I bought the car in 2006 (was a rental). Up until today (2/27/10) I've always been able to get it out eventually. Now however, my car will not start - it just clicks, and my shifter won't move. The car doesn't recognize that it's in park. After doing some research online, it appears many people have had this problem. The conclusion is that there is a defect in the transmission shift cable. Please see this link: this is not the only problem I've had with this car: Power steering failure after about 45,000 bad wheel bearing after about 50,000 cd player replaced because it wouldn't eject cds (this is still a problem even though the dealer replaced it with the same manufacturer's model) faulty glove compartment. I feel this model of car is dangerous and should be recalled after all the problems people are experiencing with it.

- Kaukauna, WI, USA

problem #660

Sep 152008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
I purchased a 2005 Cobalt ls for my son to drive to and from work and school, the car hand approx. 54,000miles on it, 2 months later my son informed me that the power steering light came on while driving and the car became hard to control, he pulled over and stopped the car and restarted it after being unable to find any obvious damage and the light went out and the steering returned. This continued to go on to the present day. We are able to pay the $1500 the dealer wants to replace the entire steering column. Sometimes we can stop the car and restart it and the steering returns, you never know when and how long the steering will stay out for. I have also contacted Chevrolet to see anything is being done to repair this, (no).

- Zion, IL, USA

problem #659

Dec 302009


  • 61,305 miles
Power steering indicator comes on while driving and the power steering goes out.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #658

Feb 252010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles


My 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt all of a sudden started having issues with the power steering. It would go in and out until it finally got to hard to drive. I took into the dealership and was told that the power steering unit had gone bad. I had it repaired to the tune of $400. Imagine my surprise when I went on line to find out that this very problem is being investigated by the national highway and safety commission. I was really upset with the dealership and with Chevrolet because I was never notified that it was a problem. I would like to have this investigated further. I feel that this is unfair to consumers for dealerships to charge us for issues the manufacturer should take responsibility for. In addition, the gear shift mechanism is also faulty. Sometimes it is almost impossible to get the key out of the ignition. This has occurred before, resulting in having the whole mechanism replace in November 2008 and now it appears that it may have to be replaced again. When you put the car in park, it does not go all the way into gear and you have to keep putting the gear from neutral to park until it release the ignition.

- Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #657

Dec 202008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Power steering fails to work and makes driving difficult.when changing lanes. It is a 2005 Cobalt. This started after 70,000 miles and warrety expired. Contacted GM and they didnot help. The estimated cost of repare is over $1200. It is an electronic device.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #656

Feb 232010


  • miles
The power steering on my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt suddenly goes out. I have found that if I turn the car off and back on then the power steering will return for some period of time. I haven't had any real accident with it to date, but I can testify that the power steering does go out in Chevy Cobalts. It's pretty difficult for me to turn the steering wheel when this happens, and I'm a grown man of average strength.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #655

Sep 122008


  • miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt and I got it two years ago it had 40,500 miles when I bought it and at around 45,000 miles the power steering started having problems and it goes out and comes back numerous times and im afraid that one time it will go out while driving and when I take a turn or something it will come back and it will jerk the car it happened to me already almost causing me to hit the wall I researched the problem before and found alot of things about the same problem the results are on

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #654

Feb 252005


  • 94,000 miles


I bought a Chevy Cobalt ls for my son to drive back and forth to college. What I thought was a dependable car. My son informed me last night (2-25-10) that the power steering light came on and he had a hard time driving car. The light has not came on since incident. I took the car to a Chevrolet dealer today (2-26-10). The service tech tried to talk me out of having in hooked to a computer. She verbalized it probably won't show anything when hooked to diagnostic computer. Informed her I wanted it done anyway. When I returned home, I had a message on answering machine that power steering pump needs to be replaced. So I got on the web. Tried to locate a replacement. Apparently they can only be bought through a dealer. While looking on the web I found over 60 complaints with same problem. Just reading about 10 complaints, someone had wrecked and had pictures posted on complaint. Found a parent on U tube (that's where I got this web site) who was telling other owners to complain so that GM would have to fix steering problem. I'm not a genius, but seems like if there are this many complaints and I only started looking today on internet, that GM would have to recognize there is a problem and recall these vehicles and fix the problem. I guess enough people hadn't died or they haven't had enough bad publicity like with Toyota cars. It speaks volumes about GM if these are the factors they motivate them to change. We own 3 other GM vehicles. I plan to contact GM headquarters Monday (3-1-10), which I am sure I will be told poor me boo hoo.

- Kimball, WV, USA

problem #653

May 152009


  • 70,000 miles
About a year ago our family's 2005 Chevy Cobalt the power steering went out and went out every once in awhile. Now it is going out more frequent and goes out as soon as not even going 1/2 mile down the road. When it goes out you will hear a click and gets hard to steer nothing has been done yet to repair the problem.

- Brookwood, AL, USA

problem #652

Feb 242010


  • 42,312 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. She stated that while driving 5 mph with her foot her on the brake pedal, the vehicle accelerated on its own. She then lost all power to the vehicle including the steering which made it very difficult to control the steering wheel. She applied the emergency brake in order to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. They were unable to duplicate, diagnose or repair the failure. The failure and current mileages were 42312.

- Clifton Heights, PA, USA

problem #651

Feb 012009


  • 70,000 miles
Power steering continuously goes out on our 2005 Chevy Cobalt. It requires us to pull over, turn the car off, wait, and then restart the car before it resets itself. We have now come to the point where it goes out and no matter how many times we stop and restart the car it doesn't work. We can't afford the $1000 it's going to take to get it fixed by the dealer ship at this time. The company should be held responsible for this problem considering its a defect in the electrical system. We haven't had any problems from the car other than the power steering.

- Brookwood, AL, USA

problem #650

Jun 172008


  • 40,000 miles
I was driving my 2005 Chevy Cobalt in June 2008 and as I was making a left turn, my car dinged and the power steering went completely out. I hit the median and ran off the road barely missing another vehicle and a walk sign. I took to the dealership and was told this was a common problem, but there is no recall it was an $875 repair since my warranty had just expired 2 months prior. The car had about 40K miles on it at the time. I can't afford that repair. I'm a single mother. Now for over a year I've been driving this car with no power steering worrying about the safety of my kids and passengers and angry that nothing is being done by the auto makers. This is obviously a safety issue. The problem occurs within about 30 seconds to a minute after I begin driving. I have power steering when I first begin driving, but it always fails in the first minute.

- Middleburg, FL, USA

problem #649

Feb 202010


  • 51,432 miles
Electric power steering signal comes on when driving and it makes driving very hard to steer. It locks up and the steering of the vehicle makes it hard to turn the wheel when turning needs to be done.

- Washington, IL, USA

problem #648

Jan 102010


  • 54,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt car. Power steering failure, speedometer and RPM needles jump up and down like crazy, engine stalls, when press gas and brake pedals, car jerks forwards and backwards, warning lights on dashboards go on and off. When steering wheel failure happens, very very difficult to turn the wheel, almost locked up. This happens almost every day now and it's almost undrivable. Only 55,000 miles on the car.

- Stevens Point, WI, USA

problem #647

Feb 252010


  • 66,000 miles
1) driving at a low speed 2) power steering message appeared on dashboard. Lost power steering completely. 3) restarted car.

- Edmonds, WA, USA

problem #646

Feb 242010


  • 45,000 miles
We own a 2005 Chevy Cobalt and the problem is the power steering light comes on while going down the road and the steering locks up and you can't steer the car. This is a very dangerous situation and just wandering what can be done about it. I have also heard that there have been many others with the same problem from the Cobalts, wondering why Chevy has not done anything about it? thanks

- Brilliant, AL, USA

problem #645

Jan 102010


  • 50,000 miles
2005, while driving down a paved doing about 45mph the steering went out causing my car to run into a ditch; resulting in body and mechanical damage.

- Lexington, TN, USA

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