ANNOUNCEMENT: The Car Book 2018 is now online!

Ratings on over 1,000 new & used models going back 5 years, from the Center from Auto Safety. Learn more about The Car Book 2018 here. 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:
47 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
27 / 5
Average Mileage:
64,290 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 33 of 52)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #393

Jan 112010


  • 76,703 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph, the power steering failed. There were no warning lights prior to the failure. She was able to re-start the vehicle and the power steering would function for about 30 seconds before it would fail again. The dealer and the manufacturer have not been notified. The vehicle has not been repaired. The current and failure mileages were 76,703.

- Grapevine, TX, USA

problem #392

Nov 222009


  • 72,000 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt has experienced power steering failure at 72,000, this happens in less than 1 minute of driving the car, makes it very hard to turn left or right after coming to a full stop. This is very dangerous and could cause a serious accident.

- Madison, TN, USA

problem #391

Dec 092009


  • 75,000 miles
Power steering problems on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt.

- Townsend, 00, USA

problem #390

Jun 012009


  • 60,000 miles


2005 Chevy Cobalt has a problem with its power steering. My car loses power steering without warning. If I turn the car off and back on the problem goes away for a while. I also have a problem with my ignition. The key gets stuck in the ignition when I turn the car off and is hard to get out.

- Chapin, SC, USA

problem #389

Dec 272009


  • 480,000 miles
Power steering would fail at any time. I couldn't steer the car. It was very dangerous especially on the highway.

- Haverhill , MA, USA

problem #388

Dec 102009


  • 45,000 miles
Bought a new 2005 Chevy Cobalt. The car had serious air conditioning leaking problems right away that took over a year to solve. We were about to go lemon law on the car when Chevy came out with a service notice and got the leak solved. The car then had a headlight that would fill up with water and short out the head light. The dealer told me to drill a hole in the bottom of the headlight case and the water would leak out. The dealer told me to do this!!! the car recently started to have problems with the odometer jumping around while your driving. While that's happening the power steering locks up as the car is being driven. It happened the first time with my 22 year old daughter driving the car to school doing 65 on I95. Scared her and she had to try get the car over three lanes to the side of the road. She was able to do it and after restarting the car, the steering was working again. It took two weeks for it to happen again, this time on a side road as she is not allowed to drive it on the highway anymore. She is a student and needs to get to college. We have contacted Chevy and they tell us it's not under recall and it's going to cost between $600- $1200 dollars. It could either be the powersteering motor or the steering column. They won't know until they get in to the work. I looked on line and found a lot of other people with the same problem in the 05-06 model. This car needs to be recalled as the problem is going to kill someone on the road. The expense is both unnecessary and a burden in these tough times. My child is a student and does not need to shoulder this burden because of the bad engineering by Chevy. I know they are bankrupt and this is a burden we should not have to take. Some one is going to die!

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #387

Nov 012009


  • 50,000 miles


I purchased a used 2005 Chevy Cobalt ss in 2007. Within the first month of having it my check engine let came on. The warranty was already up but I took to a shop my family has taken its cars for years. The shop was unable to locate the problem - they even took a specific class on my car and were unable to diagnosis it. To date, the check engine light continues to go on and off. Most recently, it came on and so did a "power steering" message. Immediately after, my steering locked up and became almost impossible to steer. The worst part of this is that there was no warning and it being winter there was ice everywhere. I found myself sliding across the free way. I didn't think I was going to be able to control the vehicle but thankfully made it home. Thank god, not Chevrolet. It is going to cost over $2000 to fix it out of my own pocket and I'm just not willing to do so until I know for sure that Chevrolet will not be recalling it. From what I have read online, I am one of hundreds of people who have had this exact problem. Many have actually send petitions out. This is definitely a safety issue and it is ridiculous that Chevrolet will not recall this but will recall their headlights?! I couldn't even believe that when I read it. I have been unable to get a straight answer from the dealership here locally or the main phone number for Chevrolet. I'm just put on hold. I'm a responsible, single woman with a mortgage and I need a reliable car. I guarantee I will never buy another Chevrolet since I found out this is the way they treat their consumers. What's worse is that it is not just my particular year or model, every person I've talked to read about has a different year and some are the four dour sedan or normal coupe. This means that the problem with the power steering will continue to be an issue since Chevrolet is continuing to build their Cobalts at such a low standard. I'm incredibly disappointed. I hope this is recalled so I can feel safe behind the wheel again.

- Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #386

Jan 062010


  • 90,000 miles
Power steering failure.

- Blasdell, NY, USA

problem #385

Jan 032010


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 40 mph on normal road conditions. A chime sounded inside of the vehicle. Immediately, the "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel, followed by a loss of power steering. The driver pulled over to the side of the road which required higher effort to turn the steering wheel. The engine was turned off. The vehicle restarted and resumed normal operation. The failure occurred intermittent. The vehicle has not been repaired at this time. The failure mileage was 120,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Climax, GA, USA

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

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