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 25 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #524

Feb 022009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles


There were no events leading to the failure of the power steering system. I was driving the car under my everyday commute and the power steering system went out and the message center flashed power steering. Since the initial failure there has been no power steering in my vehicle. The system appears to function properly until driving begins and then the steering system shuts down and leaves me with just a rack and pinion system to operate with.

- Palmerton, PA, USA

problem #523

Feb 022010


  • 97,000 miles
Power steering goes in and out.

- Cambridge, MD, USA

problem #522

Nov 202009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,561 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt which was purchased on October 8, 2009. While starting her vehicle and attempting to drive, the power steering light illuminated on the warning panel and the steering wheel would not respond. There were also several instances where she was almost rear-ended while driving approximately 25 mph due to the steering wheel not responding when she attempted to make a left or right turn. The failures occurred without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer; however, they could not duplicate the failure. The failure continued to occur and the dealer advised her to replace the power steering pump and steering column. The failure mileage was 51,561. The current mileage was under 51,682. Updated 3/10/10 the dealer replaced the intermediate shaft. Updated 06/18/10.

- Sturgeon, PA, USA

problem #521

Dec 152009


  • 50,000 miles


We were driving our 2005 Chevy Cobalt on a major highway and the words "power steering" came on the dash display. My husband was driving and said he didn't have any power steering. Luckily he was driving because I would not have been able to control it to get it back home almost 2 hours away. We had to spend 450-500 for the new power steering unit then pay someone to put it in. We had just bought this in August 2009. This happened in December 2009. We bought this for our 16 year old son who had just got his drivers license and now we are afraid to let him drive it. There wouldn't be enough money in the world to sue for if something happened to one of my kids in this car. I hope GM fixes this.

- Smithville, OH, USA

problem #520

Nov 202009


  • 54,000 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt has power steering issues since I bought it (11/09). The traction control light comes on and power steering comes on the message board. When this happens and I am driving it, it is very hard to control my steering and jerks when I accelerate and/or change gears. It also becomes a little harder to come to a compete stop. I took it to the dealer and they greased the wires thinking that it was a connection problem. It worked alright for about a month and a half but then the light flashed on again about 2 weeks ago and has flashed on randomly ever since. This seems to be an ongoing problem.

- Oswego, IL, USA

problem #519

Aug 152009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt and the power steering went out as I was leaving work. It happened a few times on my way home. I was able to get it to the dealership but had a very difficult time making turns. The end result was having to have it be replaced.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #518

Feb 042010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,968 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 20 mph the power steering light illuminated and the power steering failed. The contact was able to maneuver the steering wheel and drive onto the emergency lane to shut the engine off. Within 30 minutes. She restarted the vehicle; however, the failure recurred three times. The dealer was contacted and advised the contact to bring in the vehicle to have diagnosed. No repairs have been made. The failure mileage was 55968. The current mileage was 55975. Updated 03/10/10 the consumer stated the power would go out every time the vehicle was turned on. Updated 05/20/10.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #517

Oct 012009


  • 50,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt and when I'm going down the road a light comes on and the computer saying "power steering" and I lose all power steering. If I turn the car off and turn it back on it is fine (maybe for a day, maybe for an hour, or maybe just for a few minutes). It goes off some times stay off for days.

- Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #516

Feb 022010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
My 2005 Chevrolet Cobalts power steering continues to keep going on and off. I have talked to many other Cobalt owners and this is happening to them as well. The other night I was driving on the highway during some snowy weather and my car slid out of control and because my power steering was off it took a very long and hard time to get it back under control. I ended up sitting sideways on the off ramp. Completely dangerous that the power steering goes off anytime it wants a serious accident is going to occur and GM has done nothing about it. I called them to tell them about the problem and if they were going to fix it for me as this is something that I think should be covered by them. I said they should have a recall on these cars and she said that recalls are for safety reasons. I am sorry but since when has power steering going off whenever it wants while making a turn, while going 100 or 50 not a safety issue? I am frustrated and annoyed with gms attitude about this problem, I know of hundreds of people who have called to complain and they will do nothing for us and their !@#$% cars. I don't have the extra money to fix their problem. I feel like it shouldn't even be a question of a recall. This is a very serious and scary problem and I am afraid that someone's life will be at risk because of this.

- Milton Ontario Canada, 00, USA

problem #515

Jul 202007


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Within 30 seconds of turning the vehicle on, the contact loss power steering. When he restarted the vehicle the power steering would reset for 30 additional seconds. In July 2007, the failure occurred intermittently; however, it currently fails whenever the contact drove the vehicle. He took the vehicle to a repair shop and was informed that the entire power steering system needed to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. He has not contacted the manufacturer to-date. The current mileage was approximately 75,000. The failure mileage was approximately 50,000.

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #514

Mar 012008


  • 50,000 miles


I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. About March of 2008, I was leaving work & my car beeped & showed "power steering" in my notifications. My wheel locked up. Since then I cannot drive more then about 15 feet without the power steering shutting off. It has gotten much worse in the 2 year period. I have called the dealer many times & they tell me it is $1000 to fix it. I do not have this kind of money to fix a car I bought brand new. It went out right after I reached 50,000 miles & that is exactly what my extended warranty was for, up to 50,000 miles. A friend of mine bought the same car as mine about a month after me & her power steering went out right after 50,000 miles as well. She paid $1100 to fix it with the dealer. Now that I have seen this on the news last night as it has caused 1100 accidents, I think it should be recalled.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #513

Jan 202010


  • 2,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. I have had my powersteering light come on, and I cant steer the car very well. I have also had many numerous electrical problems. I have taken it to the dealership 2-3 times & they always tell me there is nothing wrong. But, I am not imagining this, and it happens repeatedly. There has been times where I haven't been able to drive the car. Also, when it happened while driving I almost lost control while turning.

- Enon, OH, USA

problem #512

Dec 242009


  • 65,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt lt power steering repeatedly goes out while driving. News reports of your investigation today are saying this happens at low speed. It consistently happens to me while driving at highway speed on my daily commute to/from work, usually in heavy traffic on the dallas freeways. It first began to happen on christmas eve 2009, and now happens daily. It is very frightening, dangerous and expensive to repair. This is a safety problem that Chevrolet should take responsibility for. It is not caused by normal wear and tear... it is happening to too many people. Go to: thank you very much for investigating this matter.

- Little Elm, TX, USA

problem #511

Feb 012010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 55,140 miles
Electric power steering failure while driving.

- Louisville, OH, USA

problem #510

Nov 132009


  • 55,000 miles
My power steering on my vehicle always cuts out when I am in traffic, or in a turn. It is very unsafe.

- Lorraine, 00, USA

problem #509

Jan 152010


  • 37,500 miles
My steering rack in my Cobalt makes a clunking noise when turning left and right. It also wanders and will not drive strait at highway speeds. It has been doing this for quite some time but has recently been getting worse.

- Duncannon, PA, USA

problem #508

Jan 122010


  • 85,500 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt power steering quits constantly while driving and becomes very hard to steer off road. First power steering lights comes on and immediately you loose power steering must pull off road shut down wait several minutes then restart and power steering comes back only for several miles then continues to do the same.

- Poer Norris, NJ, USA

problem #507

Sep 012009


  • 21,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt and periodically it starts shifting really hard and the power steering goes! I have to stop the car, shut it off, let it sit, start it, shut it off, repeat three times, then it is okay for a while.

- Brook Park, MN, USA

problem #506

Feb 012010


  • 16,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt. Power steering failure. Highway speed. After seeing the numerous sites and support boards with this same issue I had to have the system replaced. It was not safe to drive. This came from the GM dealer where I had the car fixed. If the car was not paid for next month I would drive it to a GM dealer and they can have it!!!

- Mesquite, NV, USA

problem #505

Sep 102009


  • 75,000 miles
My 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt has serious loss of power steering. It happens 1-10 times a day and causes me to have almost no control over my vehicle. When this happens I cannot drive the car and must stop as near as possible to a safe spot and turn it off. I have noticed a recent investigation into this issue and want to log my complaint.

- Bowling Green, KY, USA

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