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 32 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #384

Dec 152009


  • 67,000 miles


2005 Chevy Cobalt has power steering failure. Power steering is fine and working until about 10 minutes into a drive. The power steering message comes on the display at the dash and steering becomes very difficult. Power steering returns upon restarting the vehicle but will usually fail shortly after. I have done internet research and found that this is a common problem for this make and model. My vehicle is in the shop now awaiting an estimate for repairs.

- Monongahela, PA, USA

problem #383

Nov 102009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 188,000 miles
The contact owns 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 35 mph on normal road conditions. A chime sounded inside of the vehicle. The "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The driver pulled over to the side of the road. The steering wheel required greater effort to turn. The engine was turned off and restarted. The vehicle was able to resume normal operation. The failure occurred intermittent. The vehicle has not been repaired at this time. The failure mileage was 188,000. Updated 02/03/10 updated 02/11/10.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #382

Jan 032010


  • 75,000 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt power steering went completely dead on me a couple days ago. It just all of a sudden stopped steering and had to stop in the middle of road and call wrecker to tow it home. I went to a autoparts store so they could take a look at it and they said to call my dealership because it was a electrical problem. I called the dealership and they said it would cost me $1800 to fix. I did research and found that hundreds of people have had this problem on their Cobalts as well.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #381

Dec 282009


  • 109,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 45 mph on normal road conditions; there was a loss of power steering. Suddenly, the "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The driver continued operation with caution. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for inspection. The steering column and motor kit were replaced at an estimated cost of $1,000. The failure mileage was 109,000.

- East Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #380

Jan 022010


  • 32,587 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt 32 587 miles. Driving on icy roads after shopping for a new couch, the power steering warning flashed and then I had no power steering. I pulled into a service station. I tried to check the fluid level to notice that my car has no power steering fluid, it has electric power steering. I turned the car off, it reset itself. Less than a mile down the road it repeated the warning and again no power steering on icy roads. I came home and looked online to see if there was a solution to this problem or a recall. I then found out that this is a frequent occurrence on the Chevy Cobalt. I contacted GM and was told take it to a service center, there is no recall and that I was out of warranty so any costs would be on me to pay for. This is a major safety problem. I cannot believe that this has not been addressed by a recall, and I am respectfully requesting this matter be looked into. All I had to type in was "Chevy Cobalt power steering" and found numerous pages of people who have had the same problem.

- Decatur, IL, USA

problem #379

Dec 202009


  • 51,000 miles
05 Cobalt steering problem stops working while driving.

- Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #378

Dec 292009


  • 80,000 miles


The power steering on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt randomly shut off. The light will come on and give an indication of "power steering". once the light comes on the wheel is extremely difficult to turn. If I turn the car off, and then back on it works again for approximately 20 minutes then shuts off again. The first time this happened I was driving home from work, pulling into my driveway, and the power steering light comes on. As I turned into my driveway the wheel became extremely difficult to move, and I crashed into a telephone pole. I am relatively fine from the crash except for some back and neck pain, but my car is cracked in the front.

- Manchester, NH, USA

problem #377

Dec 312009


  • 48,504 miles
1. driving at speeds of 45-55 mph. 2. 2005 Chevy Cobalt electronic power steering problem. My car out of no where will constantly feels like the car is going to die, jerks like I was driving over huge potholes and rumbles. So far it has happened 4 times but I haven't driving the car much since I just delivered my first child in November. I'm afraid to drive my newborn in my car! 3. I have not fixed my car since I do not drive it much until I go back to work. This Chevy Cobalt problem should be recalled since it is the most popular problem over the internet. Youtube, automotive problem and forum sites have multiple owners with the same problem. The part is the electronic power steering in the steering column which costs over a $1000! as a concerned new mother who doesn't have $1000 laying around to spend on my car, please force GM to make a recall. Thank you.

- Barlett, IL, USA

problem #376

Apr 122009


  • 70,000 miles
(12/31/09) I have not had powersteering since April on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt something needs to be done there are hundreds of complaints online about this problem I don't understand why there is not a recall on it. When it first started it would happen every couple of days, within a month the powersteering would only last a few seconds someone is going to get seriously injured if not killed if this isn't taken care of soon please help!

- Myerstown , PA, USA

problem #375

Dec 232009


  • 68,500 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt sudden power steering failure while driving on freeway in dallas, tx. There was no warning or problems prior to power steering going out, and we were in heavy traffic in an area with several curves in the road. This was very frightening and extremely dangerous. After turning vehicle off and back on, ps worked for a few minutes then went out again and continued like this for remainder of trip. There are many reports of this exact same issue from other Cobalt owners on the internet forums. See this is an electrical issue and a design flaw in the Cobalt. I was told by dealership service department that the steering column would most likely need to be replaced and was quoted repair cost ranging from $1000-$2000. My warranty has expired, and I cannot afford this at this time. Chevy needs to do something to fix this before there are injuries/deaths.

- Little Elm, TX, USA

problem #374

Sep 242009


  • 88,000 miles


For the past 2-3 months my 2005 Chevy Cobalt loses it's power steering going over a small bump in the road (an uneven surface). If the car is restarted the power steering comes back until the next bump in the road. I've taken my complaint to Chevrolet and all they have done is told me to make an appointment with their mechanic. I've noticed that there are several Chevy Cobalt owners that are experiencing the same problem as me. I was also told that the whole power steering mechanism needed to be replaced for the problem to go away. I have also been told by mechanic friends of mine that, given time, the whole power steering could seize on me and I would have no way to avoid an accident. I have been pulled over by local pd because they thought I was drunk because I couldn't stay in my lane on a turn. I can't afford to be drunk because I'm a bus driver and I would get fired if I ever was drunk.

- Modesto, CA, USA

problem #373

Dec 202009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving the power steering warning indicator illuminated on the instrument control panel, and then the power steering failed. He contacted the dealer, and the technician stated that the power steering column needed to be replaced at an expense of $900. The failure and current mileages were 89,000. The VIN was unavailable. Updated 2/17/10 updated 02/22/10

- Rochester , NY, USA

problem #372

Dec 242009


  • 111,000 miles
Power steering failed without warning while driving, almost resulting in crash. The vehicle beeps and displays "power steering" on the screen in the dash when it fails.turning the vehicle off then on restores power steering, but after approx. A quarter mile of driving it fails again. There are hundreds of similar complaints listed online from other owners of the same vehicle.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #371

Dec 082009


  • 123,123 miles
I was driving down the road and I heard a dings chime I looked at my console and it read power steering and that moment my power steering went out and I had lost control of my car. I had to slam on my brakes due to a sharp turn ahead. Needless to say if would of been closer to the turn I may have been in an accident. Since then the console flashes the words power steering on and off and I can't turn the car when it happens my first child was born on Dec 10,2009 and I'm afraid to take him to the doctor or my wife to the groceries store this vehicle is a safety hazard for boththe owners and other motorist on the road a recall must be made before someone is seriously injured or killed shame on Chevy for selling such a low quality vehicle.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #370

Nov 202009


  • 87,000 miles
The power steering in my 2005 Chevy Cobalt ls fails unexpectedly. There seems to be no reason as to why, or when this will happen again. I believe that it is a safety hazard because there are random times when the electric power steering fails. The problem first occurred while driving around a sharp curve which almost lead to an accident. I'm not sure how often this occurs as it is random. However, I can say that I have not yet been able to drive for more than an hour without it giving out. Also, when you turn the car off and restart it, the power steering will come back on. But like I said before it is completely random as to how long it will remain on. There have been times when it would work for an hour after restarting it, to less than a minute after restarting it. I would like something to be done about this, because it is such a hazard and could take lives. I believe that the price for fixing a problem like this is over 1000 dollars without warranty. This is something that I am not ok with.

- Howard City , MI, USA

problem #369

Dec 242009


  • 53,500 miles
The power steering on my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt failed two days ago while driving the vehicle.

- Canon City, CO, USA

problem #368

Sep 182009


  • 67,000 miles
Power steering locks while driving on interstate while snowing why is this happening to alot od Chevy Cobalt consumers"?" this needs to be inspected..

- El Paso , TX, USA

problem #367

Dec 222009


  • 82,918 miles
While driving the car on the freeway, the power steering quit working. This made the car extremely difficult to steer, and could have caused an accident. When I got home I shut off the car, and came back later and the power steering was working again. I took the car to the dealer the next day and they told me the power steering assist motor was bad. I had the part replaced at a cost of $450.

- Warren, MI, USA

problem #366

Dec 232009


  • 65,878 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt and while driving down I-26 my power steering alarm came on, and I no longer had power steering. I got the car off the highway and called the dealer. They told me that the entire steering column has to be replaced.

- Charleston , SC, USA

problem #365

Dec 232009


  • 58,000 miles
My wife was driving to pick me up from work. When the car ding and the power steering message flashed across the dash. Then when she tried to make the turn she realized that she couldn't move the steering wheel. The vehicle only has 58,000 miles. She turned the car off and it worked for a minute then it went out again when another turn was made. Luckily she wasn't in really bad traffic but something. This is a big problem for a lot of people and needs to be looked into before someone gets into an accident which could have been prevented.

- Tampa, FL, USA

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