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 29 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #444

Feb 022010


  • Manual transmission
  • 58,000 miles


Power steering: 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt ss supercharged (manual transmission). I would like to add my two cents to the complaints on the power steering system in my car, mentioned above. It has not caused me an accident but has caused a few close calls. I have noticed a few things about the failure: -there is an 'overall frequency' with which power steering outages occur, depending on a number of factors I have observed: -turning off and restarting the ignition (even going 80mph on the highway) will immediately fix the issue for a random period of time, based in part on the current 'overall frequency'. -tire wear (resulting in additional surface contact, presumably) increases the frequency of the failure. -warmer temperatures seem to make outages more frequent. -'spirited', high-RPM type driving (my car is the supercharged model) results in more frequent steering system outages...usually with the system failing just after reaching the peak RPM of a given gear, and regardless of whether the car is currently turning. -the system can go days and weeks without failing. It is usually possible to guess how soon the outage will return based on how hard the wheel is to turn once the system has failed. If the wheel is very hard to turn, based in part on the factors above, then restarting the car will only correct the issue for a very short period of time (sometimes as little as 15-20 seconds). If the wheel is easier to turn when the steering is out, the system stays active for considerably longer periods (perhaps 1 hour) before failing again.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #443

Apr 102006


  • 20,000 miles
Several incidents involving steering of 2005 Cobalt 2-door. Each incident occurred on the freeway while driving straight at 55 to 65 mph. Front end of vehicle "jumped" side to side and steering wheel responded only with considerable effort. Last occurrence was witnessed by highway patrol who escorted me from the freeway with lights flashing. Eventually, dealer did replace entire steering mechanism (2006) and problem has not recurred. Also have had to have braking system replaced as well as components related to the computer system.

- Garden Valley, CA, USA

problem #442

Feb 022009


  • 54,000 miles
Electric power steering pump went out when my daughter was coming home from school she could control car on 2/2/09 we called gmac to see if there had been a recall of this part they said it had not so we called the car lot from we purchased the car and had to pay out of pocket to get the car fixed. I hate to think what would have happened if she had not remained calm when this happened after getting car fixed she was afraid to drive it for a while. I cannot believe that no one in this big company had no idea there was a problem with the power steering from reading the blogs in 2/09 there were complains then the company need to reimburse me for the money fixed to take care of the problem.

- Jackson, MS, USA

problem #441

Jun 012009


  • 55,000 miles


Power steering failure. Steering at first started going out only during U-turns or other sharp turns. Then, steering would go out suddenly after driving for 30-60 minutes. Finally, steering would shut off about 15 seconds after starting my car. Had to replace the entire steering column.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #440

May 102009


  • 23,200 miles
Power steering failure on 2005 Chevy Cobalt. Has happened off and on approx. 5 times. Steering became difficult at low speeds. No accidents.

- Monroe, MI, USA

problem #439

Dec 092009


  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering failed while driving approximately 45 mph and he lost control of the steering wheel. The failure occurred at least ten times. He turned the vehicle off and restarted it since occasionally it would correct itself. The power steering light also illuminated after the steering failed. He took the vehicle to the dealership and was informed that the issue was prevalent; yet, the dealer did not make any repairs. The manufacturer was not notified. The current mileage was approximately 55,000. The failure mileage was approximately 52,000.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #438

Apr 082008


  • miles


We have a Chevy 2005 Cobalt. The front end make a really bad riddling noise and sometimes the steering is hard. I call and took it to a dealer and they said they was no recalls. I said I heard it on tv and also the papers. My daughter is the one that drives this car most of the time. I want to know is she going to be safe. Please let me know asap. I don't want anything to happen to her. Its asking for a date of incident I'm not sure. Guess" the noise is mostly on rough roads. The steering is about one time every ?" thank you please let me know.

- North Royalton, OH, USA

problem #437

Jan 042010


  • 63,400 miles
Driving down the road and at any random point the power steering light goes on, now the steering wheel is extremely hard to turn. This occurs on a daily basis. The amount of times this happens is very random. The most times it has happened in a day is 7 driving within a 30 mile radius. The only temporary thing to fix it is try to safely pull off the road and shut the car off and start it back up, but it can go out again within the next mile.

- Moreno Valley , CA, USA

problem #436

Feb 012010


  • 80,050 miles
Power steering failure 2005 Chevy Cobalt.

- Shelton, CT, USA

problem #435

Dec 262009


  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving, the power steering failed both at low speeds and high speeds including approximately 35 mph. The failure occurred 7 to 8 times beginning on 12/26/09. The steering wheel became very difficult to turn and suddenly; the problem would correct itself and occasionally it could take longer. He has not taken the vehicle to the dealer at the time of the complaint nor had he spoken with the manufacturer. The vehicle has not been diagnosed or repaired to-date. The current mileage was approximately 38,000. The failure mileage was approximately 35,000.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #434

Jan 292010


  • 57,000 miles


The contact owns 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 60 mph the power steering failed without warning. She was able to drive onto the emergency lane and turn the vehicle off. The power steering reset itself and the vehicle began driving normally. A local mechanic stated that they were unable to diagnose the failure and to take the vehicle to a dealer. The current and the failure mileages were 57,000. Updated 3/12/10 the power steering motor was replaced. Updatd 05/14/10.

- Fairmount , WV, USA

problem #433

Aug 182007


  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that there was a clicking noise, the warning light would illuminate, and then the power steering failed on several occasions. The problem became progressively worse whenever he made a right and left turn. The dealer could not find any error codes while running a diagnostic test. The manufacturer was not notified when the complaint was filed. The vehicle has not been repaired to-date. The current mileage was approximately 100,000. The failure mileage was approximately 63,000.

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #432

Jul 092009


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving various speeds including approximately 35 mph the power steering light illuminated and the contact lost control of the vehicle. The power steering light did not shut off unless the vehicle was turned off. The failure continued to occur intermittently. The failure mileage was 80,000 and the current mileage was 84,000.

- Yuma, AZ, USA

problem #431

Dec 012009


  • 110,000 miles
I was driving my 2005 Chevy Cobalt when I tried turning a corner and the steering wheel failed to work causing me to hit a curb. I then seen that my power steering light was on and that's what caused this.

- Everett, WA, USA

problem #430

Dec 222009


  • 29,000 miles
The power steering fails repeatedly. We pull over, turn off the engine and restart the car and the power steering works for a while; sometimes five minutes, sometimes five days. But it's been happening off and on again for over a month now. Our mechanic says the repair will be over $1000.

- San Leandro, CA, USA

problem #429

Jan 292010


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 25 mph when the steering wheel became uncontrollable. He had to shut the engine off so that the vehicle could reset itself. The manufacturer stated that the warranty was not valid and the repair cost was $2000. There were no related recalls. The failure mileage was 15,000.

- Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #428

Jan 222010


  • 51,000 miles
Power steering failed while driving almost resulting in an accident. Steering works for about 5 minutes then goes out. Comes back after restart but then goes immediately back out. This is a very unsafe condition because it is unpredictable. Brought to dealer. Very expensive fix. Still not resolved

- Mechanicville, NY, USA

problem #427

Dec 102009


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 45 mph the power steering warning light would illuminate on the vehicle and immediately after the power steering would lock. An hour after driving the vehicle the steering failed at least three times. He had to put the vehicle in neutral, turn the vehicle off and wait for the power steering to reset itself. There were no recalls for the failure. No repairs were made to the vehicle. The failure mileage was 50,000 and the current mileage was 64,015.

- Charlotte Courthouse, VA, USA

problem #426

Jan 132010


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The driver stated that after driving a long distance at approximately 45 mph the vehicle made a clanking noise and the steering wheel failed to operate normally. The dealer has not diagnosed the failure. The failure mileage was 75,000.

- Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #425

Jan 222010


  • miles
The contact has a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 5 mph out of a parking lot the contact suddently lost control of the steering and crashed into a vehicle. The contact was found at fault; although, he doesnt agree since the loss of power steering caused the crash to occur. The vehicle was destroyed. The mileage was unavailable.

- Killeen, TX, USA

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