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 19 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #644

Feb 252010


  • 59,000 miles


Own a 2205 Chevy Cobalt and the power steering keep going out. Have to turn off car and then restart and sometimes this works, most times not. Very expensive to fix.

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #643

Feb 242010


  • 73,000 miles
My daughter was driving her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt yesterday afternoon and without warning, the power steering failed. After a while, she was able to drive it again, but later that same day, the power steering failed once again. As with the other complainant, she was traveling at a low speed, thank goodness!

- Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #642

Feb 252010


  • 50,000 miles
1. normal driving conditions 2. power steering failure randomly occurs causing loss of control. 3. shutting off car and restarting allows for temporary resolution.

- Lawrence, KS, USA

problem #641

Dec 202009


  • 38,198 miles


Powersteering failure on 2005 Chevy Cobalt. Steering failed on several occasions on trip from Chicago to newmiddletown Ohio on Dec. 20,2009 while my daughter was driving home for xmas break. It was late at night 11:30 P.M. and she had to stay overnight and get it repaired.

- Newmiddletown, OH, USA

problem #640

Feb 082010


  • 69,606 miles
My 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt has power steering issues. I was driving home from a friends home on Feb. 8, 2010. The "power steering " light came on and I had very little control of my car, there was no power steering at all. I was almost rear ended on another occasion when the power steering went out while I was making a left hand turn. This is very scary to me, as I have my granddaughter with me when traveling some days.

- Danielsville, GA, USA

problem #639

Sep 012009


  • 45,000 miles
My daughter bought a 2005 Chevy Cobalt from a dealer. The vehicle had less than 45K miles when the electronic power steering would suddenly turn off without warning making it extremely difficult to drive. It has gotten progressively worse. Research shows that this is a recurring problem with this model as safety is an issue. Chevy will do nothing as there is not recall at this time. Why do we go after foreign car manufacturers and do nothing to american companies? it would cost between 1500 and 2K to repair.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #638

Feb 122010


  • 49,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While the contact was driving 25 mph he noticed that the power steering light appeared on the dashboard, moments later the vehicle no longer had power steering. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealership and there were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 49000.

- Carnation, WA, USA

problem #637

Feb 242010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 75,300 miles
I have a 2005 chevorlet Cobalt with approximately 76,000 miles. While driving the message display on the instrument panel flashes " power steering" and the car becomes very difficult to control. The steering is extremely tight. If I cycle power the problem resets but recurs almost immediately. This problem continues to happen every time the car is driven.

- Oneonta , AL, USA

problem #636

Mar 052006


  • 10,000 miles
In March of 2006 I was driving about 40 mph & the check engine light came on. As soon as the check engine light came on the power steering locked up. There was a clicking noise that came from the shifter (where you put it in park, reverse, drive). The car started to jerk forward at random & the brakes did not work. I pulled over as soon as I could & turned off the car. After letting it sit for about 30 minutes I turned the car back on & it had reset itself. I called the dealership and brought the car to them immediately. They kept the car for 3 weeks & were unable to get the car to act up while on the diagnostic test. They said that there was nothing that they could do. I had numerous episodes over the next 6 months including multiple times when I was driving between 60-70 miles on the freeway. They could never get it to act up doing the diagnostic testing. I took it to another dealership. They contacted gmac; the dealership agreed to fix the computer system. They told me that they were going to replace one of the computers that they thought was causing the problem and & just write it off since by this point the mileage was at 31,000 but the problem started when the mileage was at around 10,000. When I got the car back it was October 2006. I did not have anymore problems until November 2009. I turned on my vehicle & it did the whole thing again. I turned my vehicle off & called a dealership. I had the vehicle towed to the dealership & they kept it for a month and a half. While they had it I was calling gmac to try & get while they had it I was calling gmac since the mileage was at 94,000. While talking to the service manager at frank parra dealership & gmac the computer was never replaced; only reloaded. To this day the problem has not been fixed & it still happens at random. It has also started to have problems with the locks. They lock at random & trap me in the car or will not let me in. There is a definite electronic issue!!!!

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #635

Feb 232010


  • 50,000 miles
Power steering just goes out. This could be deadly. Several complaints have been posted on this same problem with 2005 Chevy Cobalt.

- Medina, OH, USA

problem #634

Feb 232010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


As my 18 year old daughter was driving home from school, her power steering light went on as the warning bells in her dash rang. At that point, she lost all power steering in her car. She said that it took all of her strength to make the remaining turns to get home.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #633

Jun 152008


  • 50,000 miles
Around 50K miles my 2005 Chevy Cobalt lost power steering intermittently on average around twice a day. It was only while in drive, never in reverse or park. Then around 60K-70K it would go out immediately after I put it in drive but never in park or reverse. Then around 80K it started happening intermittently while in reverse. I am at 100K and I am concerned it will go out more frequently while in reverse. I have had some "near misses" when it goes out while in a turn or backing up. I think this is a potentially fatal issue and also interferes with resale opportunities.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #632

Dec 192009


  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering failed. The failure has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired when the complaint was filed. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 48,000. The current mileage was 50,597.

- Shelbyville, KY, USA

problem #631

Feb 212010


  • 28,880 miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, 28,880 miles. Purchased new off showroom floor in July 2006. I am the only owner. Power steering went out on the vehicle. Dealership said it might be the power steering box and replacing it cost me $375 and half a day off work. If this doesn't work, I was told I would need to replace the steering column. This car has only 28,880 miles!

- Richmond Hts, OH, USA

problem #630

Sep 152009


  • 75,000 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt's power steering goes out at random times and cannot be tested unless the power steering indicator is on, however in order to drive to a service station the car must be restarted which resets the computer and it cannot be tested. I have nearly lost control of my vehicle numerous times especially while driving in inclement weather. I have had occasions where I have had to restart the car as many at 15 times in one trip while at other times it may not happen for as many as 4 days.

- Newell, WV, USA

problem #629

Feb 192010


  • 39,000 miles
Power steering issue was observed at low speeds but also presented extreme lurching of the vehicle. The power steering and traction control warnings were present at the time the car began lurching. Very dangerous in traffic.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #628

Nov 092009


  • 45,000 miles
I was driving home from work one evening and the power steering light came on, nothing happened. Then later that evening my husband and son drove to the grocery store and on the way home the power steering went on and off like 4 times. The total drive from the store is approximately 2 miles from our home. And the speed he was driving is a 45 mph highway. Due to lack of funds we have been only driving when we absolutely had to. We have noticed that as the weather has been colder the power steering doesn't go out as often. But it still continues to go on and off. But we now have our car in a shop to get fixed this week. Hopefully this will resolve all issues.

- Neosho, MO, USA

problem #627

Feb 212010


  • 99,437 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated as he was driving 55mph the power steering failed. The power steering warning light came on as he was making a right turn and the vehicle was very uncontrollable while trying to pull into the driveway. The vehicle had not been taken to the dealer at the time of the complaint.the GM manufacturer was called. Previously, the vehicle had only been taken to the dealer for routine maintenance before this failure occurred. The failure mileage was 99,437.

- Bel Pre, OH, USA

problem #626

Feb 102010


  • 45,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt - power steering fails daily after driving for approximately 10 miles. Random, loose ability to steer and control the vehicle and I have to shut it off and reset it. This is my teenage child's car and this is a danger to his safety. He cannot even drive the car because it is such a safety concern, I now drive it to work 40 miles one way and deal with it so he can be safe.

- Jackson, OH, USA

problem #625

Jul 212009


  • miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt power steering gave out my daughter ran off the road because she could not steer her vehicle. This has been an ongoing issue. On separate occasions the power steering mechanism "froze" the car would not steer left or right, this occurred while driving multiple times.

- Harper Woods, MI, USA

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