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 28 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #464

Dec 272009


  • 57,000 miles


My 2005 Chevy Cobalt power steering will fail without warning at random times. There is nothing that I do as a driver to cause it so far has I can tell. It will fail at any speed and in a curve or on a straight road. I've had this problem for about five weeks now. The first week it did it once a day, the second week it only failed once. The following two weeks it would fail anywhere from twenty seconds to one hour from starting the vehicle. The fifth week I only drove it once and the power steering stopped working in the middle of a sharp corner on a country road and I had to have the car pulled out of a ditch. If I shut the car off and restart it the power steering works again. Maybe for the rest of the day, maybe for only five seconds. There is no rhyme or reason for the timing of the failures. After the second day I called the dealer where I bought the car. They said that it was a common problem with the Cobalt and said that the entire steering column would need replaced with a price between $1500 and $2200. Very pricey! then after the first week I searched "Chevy Cobalt power steering" on the internet, and was shocked by what I saw. Over one hundred hits on the issue with page after page of horror stories of the same problem with power steering failure. So this issue is hardly unknown. And with tonight's mention of it on the cbs nightly news, it will hopefully gain some more attention. Please do not let this end up like the Toyota recall and let people die before it gets fixed, because it's only a matter of time. I have since stopped driving the vehicle that I still owe several thousand dollars on, and have been borrowing rides from friends and family. Being in the same position has 14.8% of America, unemployed, there is no way that I can currently afford the cost of the repair. And from what I've read online from other victims, even if I was still under my extended warranty, I would still have to pay since it doesn't cover the steering column. Help!!!

- Medora, IN, USA

problem #463

Jan 242010


  • miles
Electronic power steering keeps going out on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt. I will get maybe 1 to 5 minutes down the road and the power steering fails.

- Chesapeake , VA, USA

problem #462

Jan 072010


  • 36,500 miles
My power steering went has gone out on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt while I was driving many times.

- Grove City, OH, USA

problem #461

May 052009


  • 82,234 miles


Chevrolet Cobalt 2005 power steering failure. Began failing sporadically then failed consistently daily in may of 2009.......had power steering column replaced.

- Petersburg, VA, USA

problem #460

Jan 212010


  • 46,931 miles
My wife owns a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. She was turning into an intersection when her electric power steering failed without warning and she lost control of the vehicle. This caused her to be unable to complete the turn and was almost hit by the vehicle behind her. Luckily the driver behind her was paying attention and was able to avoid a collision. The car had to be taken to the dealer where they had to replace the power steering module and we were advised that if it eventually failed again (which they stated may be only a temporary repair) that we would have to replace the entire steering column.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #459

Mar 012009


  • 5 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt begins to shake while driving on the freeway. I can feel the vibration starting through the floor board and eventually the whole front end begins to shake. The steering wheel violently shakes from front to back(versus side to side) and the vehicle is hard to control. I always have to pull over or get off the freeway. It feels like the whole front end is going to fall apart. After coming to a complete stop I can continue to drive without any problems. This began almost a year ago. I have had my car looked at several times and the shocks replaced last year when it began. Each time I take it and someone test drives they cannot find a problem. They also tell me that my car is in near perfect condition. But it continues to shake all the time. Sometimes it won't happen for a week or two, sometimes it happens two or three times a week. I have also replaced the two front tires in hopes that it would correct the problem.

- Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #458

Dec 012009


  • 64,000 miles


My 2005 Chevy Cobalt is losing power steering abruptly and unexpectedly each and every time I drive it.

- Columbiana, OH, USA

problem #457

Jan 172010


  • 25,450 miles
My son was driving his 2005 Chevy Cobalt (less than 25000 miles) at 55 mph when the power steering warning light alerted him of the power system failure. He was able to safely stop the vehicle. The day after the event, the vehicle was taken to keddie Chevrolet for evaluation. A day later they replaced the power steering motor to the tune of $302.10. Guess who ended up paying the bill? us.

- Leechburg, PA, USA

problem #456

Sep 102009


  • miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt ls vehicle was very hard to steer in high traffic areas; which occurred on regular basis which led to the replacement of the electric power steering unit. Very expensive unit.

- Berlin, MD, USA

problem #455

Dec 202009


  • 85,542 miles
Power steering failure while in operation -- 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #454

Aug 082009


  • 60,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 35 mph the power steering light illuminated on the dashboard and the vehicle lost power steering function. The contact was still able to drive and control the steer wheel although it became difficult when she made left and right turns. The contact has not taken the vehicle to a dealer for diagnostic testing at this time. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #453

Dec 122009


  • 40,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt with 40,000 and the power steering intermittently doesn't work. I can turn the car off and back on and I have power steering for around 30 seconds before the dic displays "power steering" and I lose all power steering. I've taken the vehicle to the dealer and they say I need a new steering column to correct the issue at a total cost of over $900! this is ridiculous. The vehicle just went out of warranty and now I have a $900 bill. Steering is very difficult and dangerous to drive with sharp turns. I believe GM has a problem with the durability in their motor and not the steering assembly. After paying the bill at the dealership I took the old column and disassembled the electric motor. The springs for the brushes are blue/red in color signifying significant heat to them. The brushes themselves are almost non existent. There was hardly any contact onto the armature of the brushes, possibly from the springs losing strength from excessive heat. Inside the motor, it was full of dust from brushes. There's also a slight burn mark on the case of the motor on the inside where the wire from one of the brushes was close to. The dust could be conducting electricity going from the brush going straight to the case.

- Decatur, IN, USA

problem #452

Aug 012009


  • 75,000 miles
Complaint on my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt power steering. It went out at the 75K mileage mark and does not work. It will reset when the car is turned off but immediately displays "power steering". it had caused me a few near misses.

- Randleman, NC, USA

problem #451

Dec 152009


  • miles
I own a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt that has in the past two weeks begun having problems with the power steering. My wife has been driving and the power steering immediately turns on and the wheel locks. She has had this problem in middles of turns and has had many problems. Normally, when she restarts the car, the power steering turns off only to come on either minutes or immediately. This is a major danger if she continues to drive with this. We have an appointment this Friday concerning this issue.

- Duncansville, PA, USA

problem #450

Feb 022010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 20,100 miles
Power steering failure.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #449

Dec 082009


  • 47,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering failed on several occasions while driving 40 mph. There was a beeping noise and the power steering indicator illuminated indicating that the power steering was lost. The contact shut the engine off and restarted the vehicle. After restarting the vehicle, within a few miles, the power steering failed again. The contact has not taken the vehicle to a dealer for a diagnostic test. The failure mileage was 47,000.

- Morton Grove, IL, USA

problem #448

Dec 192009


  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 20 mph and making a left turn, the power steering light illuminated. The turned the vehicle off to reset the power steering; however, the failure recurred. The dealer has not diagnosed the failure. The failure mileage was 48,000 and the current mileage was 50,400.

- Mansfield , OH, USA

problem #447

Mar 182009


  • 42,500 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving the power steering failed intermittently since March 2009. The contact had to shut the engine off and restart the vehicle to reset the power steering. The dealer stated that the steering column needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not notified. The vehicle has not been repaired. The current mileage was 51,784. The failure mileage was approximately 42,500.

- Charlotte, MI, USA

problem #446

Feb 012010


  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 12 mph, the power steering light illuminated and the contact lost control of the steering wheel. He was able to drive to his residence. The manufacturer and the dealer will be notified. The failure and current mileages were 52,000. Updated 03/04/10.

- Bethalto, IL, USA

problem #445

Nov 242009


  • 47,285 miles
I was driving my mother's 2005 Chevy Cobalt in phoenix, AZ on the 101 freeway. While driving at approximately 60 miles per hour the power steering discontinued to function. I am an experienced driver and was able to react to the failure. The following week the car went to kempton's Chevrolet dealership, the entire steering unit needed replacement. Luckily we have a relative who works for GM and was aware of the problem with the Cobalts. GM helped with the repair cost, however my mother still had to pay $500. My mother is retired and living on a fixed income.

- Safford, AZ, USA

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