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 36 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #304

Apr 262009


  • miles


Powersteering and check engine light come on. There is then no powersteering and the car lurches forward as I accelerate. When stopping the car acts as though it is going to stall. The speedometer does not keep speed the needle just moves up and down. Took car in to Chevy dealer while still under warranty but they said they could not find problem. The car continues to do this just about every day and now is no longer under warranty.

- Marquette, MI, USA

problem #303

Oct 252009


  • 50,023 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt power steering went out while I was driving, and was forced to manually steer. As I tried to pull-off to the side of the road a cyclist darted out in front of me and almost hit the person because I was unable to steer that quickly. Luckily the bicyclist was quick enough to get out of the way. I do not feel safe in my car because I never know when this is going to happen.

- Fellsmere, FL, USA

problem #302

Nov 022009


  • 30,000 miles
Bought a used 2005 Chevy Cobalt for my son when he graduated from high school. It had less than 30,000 miles on it but no warranty because of the year. A couple of weeks later he started having problems with the power steering. In researching the problem I have found that it is a major issue with the 2005 and 2006 Cobalt. The dealership is well aware of the problem but their hands are tied because no recall has been issued. When you spend the money to replace the rack and pinion and the power steering motor it is a new design so Chevy is obviously aware of the problem because they redesigned the faulty part. I will pay the $2,000 to get my son's car repaired because his safety is a priority. What I don't understand is with the number of complaints how has Chevy gotten away with not issuing a recall. The power steering comes and goes randomly and if you are pulling on a steering wheel with no power and suddenly the power steering comes back you are likely to lose control and hit something or someone. My guess is that someone will have to be killed before it becomes an issue and I don't understand why it has to get to that point before they are forced to do something.

- Broken Arrow, OK, USA

problem #301

Oct 222009


  • 10,255 miles


My dad bought me a used 2005 Cobalt as my first car on May 2009 and power steering started to flash 2 days after I got the car. It went away, but it would come back on when it did, I felt the car some how pull or it felt heavy. I was driving out of my driveway when power steer flashed and the steering wheel was rock solid I couldn't turn, I freaked and left the car outside I called my dad, went back out and barely drove it in. My dad came home from work, I took him out to show him, but the car seemed normal. It felt like I was pulling a million pounds. I'm scared of driving it, that it's just parked in the driveway we got it used with 8,000 miles on it, so we have no warranty, and I certainly don't have $2,000 to fix it we need a recall. Now I'm driving it only to go 2 miles around my house!!! I often have to stop on the side of the road and re-start the car to unlock the steering wheel. By using this car, I am putting my life, and others in danger. Chevrolet has to do something about this, I thought that it was a simple fix, but when I found out how much it cost I can't do it. I don't think it's fare to us as customers to have a car we cant even drive. Now, the power steering dosn't work, the needle that tells you the speed doesn't work!!! we really need a recall from Chevy!! my dad bought the car with light transmission noise problems.the transmission was replaced. I don't have trans problems but the power steer has been there 2 days from getting it.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #300

Mar 152009


  • 43,000 miles
Bought 2005 Chevy Cobalt new. At about 40K miles of normal driving the power steering began to fail. After restarting the car, the power steering would be fine for up to a month, then up to a week, and finally it would fail after the 1st turn I made after starting the car. I am not a wild driver & I only drive about 5 miles per day on side streets. I had to pay Chevy $48 to check the car, and then $800 to a local mechanic to have the problem fixed after I found that my car was not recalled for this problem. I was told that Chevy wouldn't sell just the one piece that needed to be replaced (some kind of control module) so there was no other choice but to have the entire steering column replaced. The old part is not available. I have seen hundreds of complaints about this specific problem online. All it takes is for this problem to happen to a 16 year old girl on the road and we now have a death on our hands.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #299

Jul 012009


  • miles
Vehicle description: 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt power steering the power steering fails at random times, occurring during driving while the vehicle is in motion. It occurs at any given vehicle speed. This occurs sometimes one time during a particular driving period. Sometimes, will occur many times during a driving period. To temporarily fix the problem, the vehicle has to be stopped, turned off for a few seconds, and then started back up. This seems to reset the error code within the computer. But the problem will return at random. Research online suggests that many Cobalt owners experience the same issue. Many owners have had steering columns replaced, steering modules replaced, with no resolution to the immediate problem of continual power steering failure occurring at random.

- Ft Hood, TX, USA

problem #298

Oct 072009


  • 50,000 miles


I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt with less than 50,000 miles on in and the steering has locked up on it several times while driving. Luckily no damage or injury has occurred. I took it into a auto shop and they ran diagnostic on it and the codes came back as a faulty steering column and steering motor. After I got this news I googled this and to my surprise Chevy has never issued a recall on this serious defect. Hundreds if not thousands of people has had the same problem. Seems to me Chevy doesn't care about the well being of their customer.

- Abingdon, VA, USA

problem #297

Oct 242009


  • 47,950 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 35 mph on normal road conditions; proceeding to make a right turn when the "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The steering wheel locked, begin pulling in one direction, and it became difficult to control the steering wheel. Immediately, the engine was turned off and restarted. The contact was able to continue driving normally. The warning indicator remained illuminated until the engine was turned off. The failure continued to occur whenever the vehicle was in operation. The vehicle is in the process of being inspected by an authorized dealer. The contact had concerns of the safety risk involved. The failure and current mileages were 47,950.

- West Chester, PA, USA

problem #296

Sep 052009


  • 4,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt ls. While driving the "power steering" warning light illuminated on the instrument panel, and then there was a loss of power steering. The vehicle was restarted to reset the error code, and to resume normal vehicle operation. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing, but because he could not duplicate the failure he could not provide a remedy. No repairs were made. The failure mileage was 4,000. The current mileage was 5,277.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #295

Oct 272009


  • 49,664 miles
1. taking a left turn, my car dashboard flashed a "power steering" warning and my power steering went out. 2. the power steering goes out at least 2-3 times day making it very dangerous to drive. 3. I will be taking the car to the dealership to be repaired. I've been told it could be the power steering motor or the steering column. I cannot afford to replace the column and if that is what is wrong I will be forced to continue to drive the vehicle in its current condition.

- Port Saint Lucie, FL, USA

problem #294

Oct 262009


  • 36,080 miles


On way to work on 10/26/2009 and power steering goes out. Second time in less than one year. First failure occurred on 11/24/208 and dealership corrected problem by replacing BCM and steering column. Also, said no communication with PCM causing check engine light to come on. Car is currently at dealership waiting to hear from them on second. Occurrence. The problems the second time were identical to first occurrence.

- Anniston, AL, USA

problem #293

Oct 232009


  • 53,000 miles
Power steering message appears on my daughter's 2005 Chevy Cobalt and the power steering fails.

- Berlin, MA, USA

problem #292

Oct 222009


  • miles
I drive an 05 Chevy Cobalt and the steering component/transmission went bad. Just bought the car a few weeks ago. Last night I was simply driving to the library when all of a sudden the power steering flash on the dash board, the steering got really tight, the check engine light came on, other lights sporadically flashes, the speedometer goes berserk, the rm's same issue, even one point the gas meter was going out of control. And the car will shake badly. The car was working just fine the few hours I drove before. Luckily I was able to get it home without hurting anyone. I've read that many people have suffered the same problem and that Chevy should have a recall. I have not taken it to a dealer yet because I don't have the money for repairs.

- Auburn, AL, USA

problem #291

Oct 162009


  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While turning into a parking lot the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel, and then there was a loss of power steering. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and a technician concluded that the power steering motor needed to be replaced. The current and failure mileages were 45681.

- Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #290

Oct 152009


  • 61,000 miles
Vehicle was operating normally while driving on the interstate. Power steering alert came up on the dash and power steering instantly went out. Fortunately I was on a straight stretch of highway and managed to make it home safely. Power steering has not worked since. I am still looking for a reasonably priced remedy.

- Lebanon, IN, USA

problem #289

Sep 222009


  • 70,000 miles
The power steering has been going out on my 2005 Chevy Cobalt. At first it only happened every couple of weeks and now it is doing it every day.

- Graham, NC, USA

problem #288

Oct 042009


  • 50,000 miles
Power steering issues with my 2005 Cobalt.

- Walden, NY, USA

problem #287

Oct 202009


  • 43,750 miles
Have a Chevy Cobalt 2005 that the power steering goes out randomly. Have to shut the car off and then back on to get it to work again.

- Brooksville, FL, USA

problem #286

Sep 042009


  • 43,000 miles
I have 2005 Chevy Cobalt. At first the power steering went out with less than 50000 miles on the car. When I restarted the car, the power steering comes back on. However, the car does it all the time now. Sometimes in the middle of turning. I switch the ignition key back and then forward to make it come back on but sometimes the car stalls. I do not have the money to fix right now considering I am still making payments on the car.

- Lakeville, OH, USA

problem #285

Oct 102009


  • 104,216 miles
I own a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The power steering intermittently goes out causing the steering to be almost impossible. I am sure you realize what a serious problem this is. I have found that this is a defect from the factory but that GM refused to make it a recall item. I feel that GM should have to fix the defect at no charge to us owners. 8tr

- Mt. Vernon, IL, USA

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