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 37 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #284

Oct 082009


  • 61,000 miles


I own a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt ls and twice the power steering has failed while I was driving, once on the freeway and once while turning. The dashboard read "power steering."

- Arroyo Grande, CA, USA

problem #283

Jul 282009


  • 74,000 miles
Electrical power steering unit failure.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #282

Apr 102007


  • 57,000 miles
Electrical power steering unit failure. Failure occurred at 57,000 miles (odometer). New unit installed-not covered under warranty.

- Arden Hills, MN, USA

problem #281

Oct 122009


  • 53,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact noticed that while making a right turn, the steering wheel began making a grinding noise. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer and there were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 53000.

- Scott Township, PA, USA

problem #280

Oct 072009


  • 72,000 miles
This Cobalt was my second car and I work really hard keeping it in great condition by constantly getting the oil changed, tune-ups, you name it. On Tuesday while driving down the highway at 65 miles per hour all of the sudden my car rang "ding ding" and on the digital reading dash said "power steering". my steering went completely out without warning almost causing a severe accident on the highway. Luckily, I was strong enough to get the car over! turns out the fix ranges anywhere from $900-$1500 in parts alone, so in labor it will be several hundred more. I can't believe that with all these complaints on here Chevy has yet to issue a recall. Lives were put in direct risk. I am a student studying at a major university with a minimum wage paying job so raking up that amount of money will be near impossible in a timely manner. In the mean time I will be forced at the mercy of my friends for rides to school, work and errands. This is absolutely ridiculous!

- San Marcos, TX, USA

problem #279

Oct 112009


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While attempting to make a right turn into a parking lot the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel, and the power steering failed. She was able to safely restart the vehicle to resume normal vehicle operation. She notified the dealer, and a technician advised her that she would have to pay a diagnostic fee of $1000 to inspect the vehicle. No repairs were made. The vehicle identification number was unavailable. The failure and current mileages were 43,000.

- Toledo , OH, USA

problem #278

Oct 072009


  • 59,600 miles


Power steering in my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt constantly goes on and off. Can be very dangerous at times. Many other people have the same problem, with an estimated cost of $2,000.

- Baltimore, MH, USA

problem #277

Oct 052009


  • 52,000 miles
Nearly crashed as power steering cut out while on highway. It has cut out several times. It happens unexpectedly and randomly. If the car is turned off and on again it seems to reset making you feel it is fixed but only cuts out again unexpectedly. The car is fairly new. It is very difficult to drive when this happens. It is my daughter's car. This is criminally dangerous and people will be killed or injured if it is not recalled. Young women and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. It is just a matter of time. This should not be unfamiliar to you. Loss of control of a vehicle of any sort is potentially catastrophic.

- Prairie Village, KS, USA

problem #276

Sep 252009


  • 60,039 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving between 15-25 mph the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel, and then the vehicle lost power steering. He was able to safely restart the vehicle to resume normal operation. The failure and current mileages were 60,039.

- Kissimmee, FL, USA

problem #275

Oct 032009


  • 55,710 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering suddenly stopped functioning while driving. The vehicle had to be shut off and re-started to continue driving. He stated that the failure occurred each time he made a left or right turn. The failure occurred intermittently. A local mechanic stated that the power steering motor and/or module was defective. The dealer and manufacturer have not been notified. The vehicle has not been repaired. The current mileage was 55,746 and the failure mileage was approximately 55,710.

- Cahokia, IL, USA

problem #274

Apr 142009


  • 105,000 miles


Power steering goes out instantly when I start to drive. Turning the car off and back on again make it work again for only for a very short time, about 2 mins. It is very difficult to drive without the power steering. I'm barely 100lbs and it's nearly impossible. My arms are very sore & my right arm I having problems I believe due to having to drive this car w/O power steering. It also present a very serious driving hazard as I've already nearly escaped several crashes at high speeds by not being able to turn the car fast enough. I have read numerous complaints on this issue and find it extremely hard to believe that this model has not been recalled entirely due to not only this issue but many others I've read as well. It would be in GM's best interest to due so immediately before they have a wrongful death lawsuit on there hands.

- Bonney Lake, WA, USA

problem #273

Aug 212009


  • 50,000 miles
I have been having an issue with my 2005 Chevy Cobalt. The power steering just randomly goes out. It started about a month ago. I had to leave my car parked for 2 weeks until I could afford to bring it in. I thought it might have needed power steering fluid, but there is no place to put this fluid. The car has some type of electrical power steering system. The steering wheel becomes difficult to turn sometimes impossible to turn. This is dangerous; I almost hit another car and a pedestrian after my steering wheel locked up. It stopped for a few weeks then the steering wheel began to lock up again. This happens every few days. Last night I was almost hit by an oncoming car because my steering wheel locked up in the middle of a turn. I have been quoted that this is a common defect with this car and it will cost $1100. After simply putting in Chevy Cobalt and power steering into a search engine on the internet, I have seen that hundreds maybe thousands of Cobalt owners have this same issue. There are petitions all over the internet for the power steering just going out. This shows me that I am not the only one with this problem. If many Cobalt owners have this issue with the power steering, I think that this is a manufacturing issue. I think something needs to be done about this defect.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #272

Jan 012009


  • 55,000 miles
Electronic power steering failure in a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. First started failing intermittently around 55K miles. Now fails within a few seconds of starting the vehicle (62K miles). GM says they cannot fix without completely replacing steering column. Have found hundreds of complaints online for the same problem.

- Linn Creek, MO, USA

problem #271

Sep 232009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 25 mph the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel and there was a loss of power steering. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the electronic control module was being repaired at an expense of $1100. He was in the process of notifying the manufacturer. The vehicle identification was unavailable. The failure mileage was 74,000 and the current mileage 74,020. Updated 10/29/09. Updated 10/29/09.

- Waukesha, WI, USA

problem #270

Sep 262009


  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 35 mph, the power steering warning light intermittently illuminated and the vehicle loss power steering. The manufacturer was notified, but no assistance was provided. The failure and current mileages were 63,000.

- Monroe, MI, USA

problem #269

Jul 152009


  • 30,000 miles
The Cobalt power steering randomly fails making it extremely difficult for the driver to steer. This has happened in many instances, with many people and should be considered very dangerous. You have to replace the entire steering column to fix the problem. There should be a recall. There is no warning before it happens and there is nothing you can do to prevent the problem. Dangerous.

- Tigard, OR, USA

problem #268

Sep 272009


  • 68,567 miles
Electric power steering problem in my Cobalt keeps going out while driving and leaving me with no control to turn the vehicle. Will be taking it to dealer for 2nd time over this problem, and keep being told this isn't a Chevy issue however over 20,000 complaints over this defect to Chevy..

- Greenwood, IN, USA

problem #267

Sep 252009


  • 9,300 miles
Chevy Cobalt 2005 traction control light would come on for no apparent reason starting summer of 2009. On Friday, September 2009 I was 5 blocks away from home...heard "bing bing bing", lost power steering, ABS made the car buck, and traction light came on. I drove the car 4 blocks to my mechanic who advised me to get the car towed to a Chevy dealer which I did. Hawthorne Chevrolet said they couldn't find the problem. On the internet if you type Cobalt 2005 defects multiple reports of the same problem are being reported to GM. GM denies a problem and will not cover the repair. I am frightened to drive this car as you get no warning of failure.

- Garfield, NJ, USA

problem #266

Sep 042009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that when turning the steering wheel she heard a thumping sound. The vehicle was taken to a local repair facility and the intermediate steering shaft was replaced. The failure and current mileages were 38000. Updated 11/06/09 updated 11/06/09.

- Elcajon, CA, USA

problem #265

Sep 202009


  • 55,000 miles
The electric power steering unit of my daughters 2005 Chevy Cobalt turns on and off without warning. This causes near loss of control as speed. If it were to happen in a turn it could be catastrophic. This is a safety recall issue but Chevy has yet to issue a recall. Numerous complaints are on the web. The dealer will charge to diagnose the issue and then advise that the vehicle needs to have the steering column replaced.

- Lomita, CA, USA

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