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 34 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #344

Dec 072009


  • 29,543 miles


I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt ss with only 29K miles. Just today, myself, my wife, and both of my children were coming home on the interstate, and the power steering warning pops on then suddenly we have no steering at all. My only option was to stop completely in the middle of the freeway and restart the car 2 or 3 times just to get it off the road. The warning has come on before with just me in the car, and the steering locked up. I just turned the car off and back on and it worked long enough to get home, but now it is to the point to where restarting it doesn't work any more. I felt like I was loosing control of the vehicle, which is not at all pleasant when you are moving at 60+ mph. Im afraid that we are eventually going to get very badly injured with this happening. We don't have another car, so this is our only option.

- Clayton, NC, USA

problem #343

Dec 062009


  • miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt steering is going in and out. The power steering light comes on and the power steering goes away. Cutting the car off and then starting it back up restarts the power steering. The fuses have been checked and are good. What should we do?

- Antioch, TN, USA

problem #342

Nov 182009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 18 mph on normal road conditions the "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The driver exerted higher effort to turn the steering wheel. The vehicle was driven into a parking lot. The vehicle has not been repaired at this time. The current mileage was 34,628. Updated 01/15/10. Updated 01/19/10

- Oxford, MS, USA

problem #341

Dec 072009


  • 114,000 miles


The contact owns 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 70 mph on normal road conditions the power steering warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel and immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The driver exerted higher effort to turn the steering wheel. The vehicle was pulled over to the side of the road. The engine was turned off and restarted. The contact was able to resume normal operation with steering power; however, the identical failure recurred. The vehicle has not been repaired.. the VIN was unavailable. The failure and current mileages were 114,000.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #340

Nov 142009


  • 29,000 miles
I have 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt ss/SC that I bought new in May 2005. About 3 weeks ago the power steering started to malfunction. The car had approximately 29,000 miles on it at that time - it now has approximately 30,600 miles. The power steering stops working - the warning system chimes and a message "power steering" is displayed on the computer display. When this happens the car is hard to steer and control. What began as infrequent and intermittent problem has become a problem that occurs each the car is driven now, occurring within minutes if not seconds each time the car is driven. I deal with this problem by pulling over, turning the car off for a short time and restarting the car. I do this because the power steering is reset each time the car is turned off and restarted. The power steering then begins to function again only to fail again after a short time. I took it a dealer on 12/03/2009 and the service department found a possible poor connection at the pscm and motor. Dielectric grease was applied to the connections and reconnected. There is technical service bulletin (070232007B) for this problem.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #339

Dec 012009


  • 100 miles
On Tuesday December 1st 2009 I was driving on the interstate and my power steering just stopped working without warning. I was barely able to turn the wheel and get off the interstate safely. I was terrified. The next time I started my car the steering seemed to be fine, however later that afternoon the same thing happened. Once again, my steering wheel was practically useless. I immediately got my car to my mechanic and found out this is a big problem with Chevy Cobalts. I was going to have to replace the steering column and the motor costing $900. I am so disappointed in this matter and will be reporting it to GM as well.

- Henrico , VA, USA

problem #338

Dec 042009


  • 61,000 miles


I bought my daughter a 2005 Chevy Cobalt with 60,000 miles on it, while driving her power steering went out on the car. She was able to pull the car over without incident. After researching the problem it appears to be a common and dangerous defect in the Cobalt.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #337

Dec 042009


  • 73,261 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving between 5 and 35 mph the power steering light illuminated on the dashboard and the power steering failed to operate normally. The contact was able to gain control of the steering wheel with some difficulty. The dealer but was unable to diagnose the failure due to scheduling. The current and failure mileages were 73,261.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #336

Oct 012009


  • 62,000 miles
In the beginning of October I was driving to work and a warning light came on and power steering was on my message display. My car then began to buck everytime it was to shift from one gear to another and when would slow down to stop it would act like it was going to stall out. I had it towed to the dealer they said it was the body control module and fixed the problem. Not even a month later the same thing happened. I took it in to the dealer and they said they couldn't find anything wrong with it. 2 weeks later it happened again. I drove it right to the dealer and kept the car running and had a mechanic drive the car to show them the problem. It is now in the shop today 12/1/09.

- York, PA, USA

problem #335

Nov 012009


  • 0 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt purchased in 2006. Intermittently while driving the warning alarm would sound, the power steering warning light would illuminate, and then steering would become difficult. The dealer made numerous repairs to the vehicle, but would not disclose how they repaired the vehicle. The failure mileage was unknown. The current was 90,000.

- Charlton, MA, USA

problem #334

Nov 302009


  • 75,740 miles


Power steering suddenly went out; have read online about this happening to hundreds of other Chevrolet Cobalt owners.

- New Bern, NC, USA

problem #333

Jun 012008


  • 60,000 miles
Every time I drive my 2005 Chevy Cobalt, before I can get rolling good, the power steering fails. This makes turns difficult and dangerous. We have contacted our local dealer numerous times for repairs but are told we would have to pay over $1,000 out of pocket to get the steering column replaced. This is crazy!!! this is a major, major safety concern. We will never buy another Chevy, the car is dangerous and the customer service is horrible.

- Lake City, FL, USA

problem #332

Sep 172009


  • 57,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt coupe and the power steering keeps going out. I see this as a major safety issue. If I have no power steering, how am able to swerve to avoid collisions, objects in the road, deer, etc.?

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #331

Nov 182009


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving he heard a beeping noise, and then he lost power steering. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealership. The current and failure mileages were 36000.

- New Richmond, OH, USA

problem #330

Nov 142009


  • 63,000 miles
While driving under normal conditions, attempted to take a right hand turn at normal speeds when the power steering failed (locked up). Was able to navigate safely to side of road. Stopped and restarted the car and power steering operated fine. The problem re-occurred intermittently. Car was returned to dealer where the electronics system in the power steering was replaced.

- East Wenatchee, WA, USA

problem #329

Nov 182009


  • 55,478 miles
~dear sir/MA'am~ hello. My name is jennifer nelson. I drive a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. I love the car, but there is a problem and I don't know who to contact. I hope this is the right place. I do not know a lot about cars, but as I was driving to work yesterday and I tried to get in the turning lane but not knowing my power steering pump had just stopped working for some reason and I almost smashed into the back end of a semi and I was going 45mph. I contacted the place I bought my car from (gateway Chevrolet-fargo, nd ), and they said they will only fix it if I get into an accident of some sort. All I have is the power train warranty left for coverage, and that doesn't cover the power steering. The car is only at 55,478 miles and they will only help me if I get into an accident" that is not right. I don't care who you are, that is not right. My husband actually was looking online today and it is a common thing in Chevy Cobalts. There has been at least one fatality from the power steering not working in another victims Cobalt, yet they still have not put out a recall on it. I don't understand. Do I have to die before this gets fixed? I paid more than I should have for this car to begin with... and they will not help me unless I crash the car" that makes no sense. Please help me! I am scared to drive and this is the only car I have. Please please help me! you can call my cell phone with any questions or you can reach me at home after 5:30pm cst. Please help me with this. If you are not the right place, please send me some sort of direction. I need help with this. P.S. I've signed a petition online I am number 202 on the petition. The link is below: you can visit it to see proof, if not whatever. It is great proof that this is a manufac.default and it should be recalled! thank you for any help you can give me.

- Moorhead, MN, USA

problem #328

Nov 172009


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 25 mph and making a right turn the power steering locked which forced her to turn on her hazard lights, drive onto the emergency lane and turn the vehicle off. She was able to continue driving normally after 5 minutes. There were no warning lights on the instrument control panel. The dealer was not contacted. A local mechanic was unable to duplicate or diagnose the failure. The failure recurred on two occasions. The failure mileage was 60000 and the current mileage was 61000.

- Washington , DC, USA

problem #327

Nov 132009


  • 32,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 35 mph on normal road conditions, the "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. A chime sounded inside of the vehicle, followed by a loss of power steering. The driver experienced resistance when she attempted to turn and gain control of the steering wheel. The engine was turned off. The vehicle restarted and resumed normal operation. The failure continued to occur intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for inspection. The failure was contributed to the power steering motor. The vehicle has not been repaired. The contact had concern of the safety risk involved. The failure mileage was 32,000 and the current mileage was 33,000.

- Mather, PA, USA

problem #326

Nov 132009


  • 65,000 miles
I was driving down the highway and all of a sudden "power steering" flashed in the information center and steering became extremely difficult. When I stopped and started the car up again it was fine. I checked the manual and it only said that if this happens it's a serious problem and to contact the dealer. I have since read that this is a defect occurring with Cobalts.

- Morristown, NJ, USA

problem #325

Nov 052009


  • 67,000 miles
My girlfriend bought an 05 Chevy Cobalt from a local dealership that inspected the car 15 minutes before we drove it off the lot. 25 hours later as my girlfriend is exiting the highway, slowing down from 55 mph. The powersteering fails on her and sends her into the guard rail doing about 40-45. I have been pn forums and have found an obscured amount of the same complaints. Something really needs to be done about these Cobalts before someone dies. Luckily she was only knocked around a little and wasn't seriously injured.

- N. Tonawanda, NY, USA

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