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 24 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #544

Sep 012009


  • 70,000 miles


2004 Chevy Cobalt power steering failed while driving. Car has not been driven due to safety oncerns. Plan to take to the Chevy dealer for diagnosis and possible repair febuary 2010. Will get rid of car as soon as humanly possible before a serious accident occurs.

- Antelope, CA, USA

problem #543

Jan 122010


  • 61,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt with power steering problems. I can be driving down the interstate at 70 mph and hear a snapping noise in the fuse box and then instantaneously the word power steering is displayed on the dash board monitor. When that happens, there is no power steering. I pull over to the side of the road, turn off the car and restart the car and the power steering resumes. On 1/12/2010 I drove this car to topeka, Kansas and had no problems going there which was 80 miles. On the way back home, the power steering quit working 7 times in a 60 mile. Towards the end of the 60 mile drive, the power steering would go out within 5 seconds of restarting the car and driving less than 100 feet. I limped the car to work with no power steering and let it sit for several hours. After work, I didn't have any problems driving the remaining 20 miles to my home. The power steering is problem is very intermittent, it can be problematic several times in one day and then not have any problems for a couple of weeks. The temperature the day I had so many problems was cold (20 degrees), however this has been going on for 6 months now and started when it was very hot, over 100 degrees. Unfortunately the problem seems to be getting more frequent. I went to a Chevy dealer and they want to charge me $100 to hook it up to a computer to determine if there is a problem. With this many complaints, there should be no charge to hook the car up to a computer to determine what is wrong. Out of frustration, I parked the car and started using an older car for work. The Cobalt has 70,000 miles on it and it is starting to have all kinds of issues with the electronics. There needs to be a recall on the power steering before it turns into a Toyota problem and someone gets killed.

- Hiawatha, KS, USA

problem #542

Feb 062010


  • 45,000 miles
Two an a half years ago my vehicle started to just turn off randomly while driving, it started about every 4-5 months then about a year ago it started happening about twice a month. I brought my vehicle to the shop and they stated that the problem was the fuel pump. It was replaced since then. I have not had a problem with the vehicle turning off in the middle of me driving. Now February 6, 2010 I was driving and the power steering randomly went out. Sometimes if I turn my car off and restart it will have power steering again sometimes it does not help. This has been occurring for 2 days now and it happened yesterday 3 times and today 3 times. I was driving through the mountains and almost caused a couple of collisions because of this. I plan on going to the shop tomorrow and I will keep any parts they replace.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #541

Jan 012006


  • 40,000 miles


Powersteering cuts out for no real good reason. I believe it is a bad design. Motor not powerful enough or circuit breaker value too low. Its a !@#$% problem. There is nothing wrong with it. It happens every time you drive the car. There are thousands of complaints on the internet with the so called fix done 3 times with the same result. This isn't rocket science and it tempts you to just increase the available current. GM deserves to go out of business for their careless handling of it. This car is a certified lemon with numerous problems that every one off the line has, just google it. My car has an evap error, bad unlock button on remote, pws error, cabin air quality sucks, like sucking on the tail pipe in front of you, transmission doesn't shift up properly, you have to have a feather touch to get it to shift up. Clicking sound on shifter every time you hit the brakes, key gets locked in steering, you have to move shifter and or hit brake to get it to release it. They need to get to the root of the steering problem so that when it is fixed it stays fixed. Insanity - using the same parts and expecting a different outcome. Being a electronics major I know this is a !@#$% error that is rooted in the design.

- Reynoldsburg, OH, USA

problem #540

Sep 012009


  • miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt power steering continued to go out daily- had to have it replaced. Husband would be driving and no power steering.would turn off car and then turn the car back on and could drive. Several dates too many to remember. A recall should be mandated as this is a safety hazard.

- West Union, OH, USA

problem #539

Feb 022010


  • 50,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt, 52000 miles, power steering goes out while driving at random times. Must restart engine to get it to work. Sometimes it stops every few minutes. Please advise if there is a recall pertaining to this issue, as it could easily cause a crash.

- Tempe, AZ, USA

problem #538

Jan 252009


  • 38,000 miles


Recently purchased a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. Three months later in January while driving, the power steering went out. Pulled in a store parking lot, shopped fifteen minutes, started the car and had power steering. This happened again seven days later. I took it in to my mechanic who said it was an electronic power steering pump and shutting down was a safety feature if it over heats. It happened a few times during the summer and again around December. This can happen no matter what the temperature. I went online and found out it could cost thousands to replace the whole system.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #537

Feb 062010


  • 27,109 miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt the power steering module goes out and the vehicle is very hard to steer. Could cause an accident. It has been happening on and off for a week. I have looked at other complaint websites and it looks like this is happening a lot to other people.

- St Charles, IA, USA

problem #536

Feb 012010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
At 53,000 miles my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt experienced a severe power steering loss. While driving 65 miles per hour, my steering froze to the point of very little control of my vehicle. I could barely get it pulled over to the side of the road. I turned off the ignition, sat for a few minutes, then re-started my car. No problem. I began driving again and after going less than a mile, the same incident happened. No steering! I immediately drove my car to my dealer. They had to replace the steering column and assist the tune of $848.13!! needless to say, this is something I could ill afford. After doing some research on this problem, I realized that numerous Cobalt owners had the same problem! it was even mentioned in the 02/02/2010 issue of usa today. I believe that Chevrolet should do the right thing and recall these vehicles now! why do they wait for someone to be killed or maimed because of their faulty workmanship?! no wonder american automakers are going to be a thing of history in the near future. At least Toyota stepped up to the plate and is doing the right thing for their customers. Updated 06/05/14

- Morton, IL, USA

problem #535

Jan 012010


  • 48,000 miles
I own a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. I bought the car used with 37,000 mi. It now has 49,500 mi. A few weeks ago the alarm sounded while driving and the power steering failed. I pulled over checked under the hood and found no power steering belt. Checked the manual to find it to be electronic. Started the car and the power returned. It has been failing intermittently. I planned to take it for repair, but found on the web that it cost $1,000. As I save up for the cost it fails every few days or so. I would think this could be very dangerous in a curve or defensive driving incident. Inexperienced drivers could have serious difficulties. The alarm does not sound every time. I felt the wheel tug to the left looked down and saw the power steering warning on the dash.

- Micanopy, FL, USA

problem #534

Jan 012010


  • 22,500 miles


My power steering on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt goes out. I have about 23,000 miles on my car. When I drive, the power steering just goes, it's very hard to continue to drive. It basically is a constant problem as well.

- Chicago , IL, USA

problem #533

Jan 042010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt suddenly lost power steering while driving. It would occur everyday on and off. I would have to re-start the car in order for the power steering to come back on. If the power steering was off I couldn't turn the car (being 7 months pregnant). We had to take it in to a dealership to fix the problem and it cost an outrageous amount. I have heard this is common in these vehicles and is unacceptable. Although it did not lead to a crash in my case it very well could've.

- Redmond, WA, USA

problem #532

Feb 052010


  • 24,000 miles
The power steering on my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt stopped working. It works for approximately 2 minutes after starting up the car and then a message comes on the display that says "power steering" and the power steering fails to work after that. This occurs while I'm driving!

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #531

Apr 032009


  • 80,000 miles
I'm making a complaint about the 2005-2009 Chevy Cobalt power steering. I drive a 2005 Chevy Cobalt ls and last April 2009, I noticed my power steering going out. I was in the middle of no where in New York state with a 2 year old in the car with me. Since then it has gone out completely with about a 2 min window that I do have it after I start the car. I had contacted GM through email, had a diagnosis ran on it and reported it back to them, when only to be told that they could not help me with it. I don't have the money to repair it knowing that I need a new steering column to fix it. So I do not have any power steering and on top of that the sensor for the air bags comes on too. These two problems have been very scary for me and my 2 year old daughter.

- Hampton, NH, USA

problem #530

Feb 052010


  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 45 mph he noticed that the power steering light appeared on the dashboard and within minutes, 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 45000.

- Yuccavalley, CA, USA

problem #529

Jan 032009


  • miles
The power steering on my 2005 Cobalt rarely works. It works when the car is initially turned on but turns off soon afterwards. This began ~1 year ago.

- Mt. Vernon, IL, USA

problem #528

Sep 122008


  • 52,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt and about 2 years ago my power steering went out. I was driving one day and the road started to curve to the right and as soon as I started to turn the steering wheel, the power steering went out. I pulled over and turned the car off and then back on and I had power steering again. As weeks went by it just kept turning off on me and eventually never came back on. Now when I start the car and as soon as I turn the steering wheel, the words"power steering" comes on. I have been driving for 2 years without power steering and I refuse to pay GM to fix this when I see thousands of people complaining online about the same thing.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #527

Jun 192009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,849 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 40 mph, the power steering light illuminated on the dashboard and she lost power steering capabilities. She was able to drive onto the emergency lane, turn off the ignition and restart the vehicle. After being restarted, the vehicle performed normally since the power steering reset itself. The following week, the failure recurred. Three days later, while driving to 2.5 miles to a repair shop, the vehicle lost power steering twice. The mechanic stated that the steering motor and control needed to be replaced. The repairs were made and the failure has not recurred. She has not called the manufacturer. The current mileage was 27,699. The failure mileage was approximately 24,849. Updated 03/12/10

- Allison Park, PA, USA

problem #526

Jan 072010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
I was driving down a very busy road when suddenly the reader suddenly said power steering. Then the power steering stopped working. I couldn't turn the wheel with out a very hard turn with both hands. I finally got to safe spot and called for help. When help came it was working. Then when the car got to about 40 miles per hour it suddenly stopped working again & didn't begin working again. I called the dealer. They were going to charge $100 just to check it. So I took it to a car shop that said it was the motor in the power steering. He said it would cost between $500 to $1000 dollars to fix. I went ahead and got him to order the new power steering motor. It ended up costing around $600 to fix. Then I saw on the news that it may be being recalled & alot of other people where having the same problem. This car is only 5 years old & only has like 80,000 miles on it.

- Walls, MS, USA

problem #525

Jan 202010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
I was driving my 2005 Chevy Cobalt home and without notice or warning my power steering light came on and the power steering failed. I was unable to turn the corner immediately after this incident. I pulled over to the side of the road and turned the car off. I had my husband meet me and he assumed it was the power steering belt. Upon inspecting the car, he determined it wasn't the belt and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. We drove the car home and it sat for approximately 1 week. I drove the car less than 10 miles and it the same thing happened. I again pulled over and turned the car off and restarted it. The power steering was fine and I continued to drive it home. I went approximately another 5 miles and the power steering went out again. Each time the steering fails, I immediately turn the car off and re-start it. I also hear a "click" sound immediately prior to the power steering going out. I have not been able to have this car fixed due to the financial situation and I do not feel comfortable selling the car to someone else. The car has 112,000 miles on the odometer.

- Edwardsville, IL, USA

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