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 38 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #264

Sep 182009


  • 44,000 miles


Electronic power steering fails without notice. Must restart car to reset. Needs the electronic power steering motor replaced.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #263

Sep 252009


  • 70,000 miles
I've had my car for about 3 years now, been very delicate and have taken good care of it. Today I left my apartment and as I drove down the highway, the car started to jerk and spasm as I drove, as if it was having problems changing gears. The power steering light came on the dashboard readout screen. I pulled over, turned off the car and turned it back on, but the problem continued. I've read hundreds of claims from others online who are suffering from problem steering problems with the same car. Why hasn't this been recalled" it's dangerous, potentially deadly, and expensive to fix. I'm a college student just trying to make ends meet already, where am I going to get the money for this"

- Saint Charles, MO, USA

problem #262

Aug 312009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 25 mph the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control, and then the gears in the transmission began slipping. He had to exert great force to the brake pedal to stop the vehicle and shut the engine off. He was able to restart the vehicle and resume normal operation. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and repaired. The failure mileage was 59,000 and the current mileage was unavailable. Updated 11/17/09 after all the failed attempts of fixing the vehicle, the consumer was told the body control module needed to be replaced. The power steering would go out occasionally. All of the gauges were acting erratically. Updated 11/18/09

- Green Bay, WI, USA

problem #261

Sep 242009


  • miles


Leaking power steering motor. Many recorded failures of Chevy Cobalt power steering motor.

- Oakland, NJ, USA

problem #260

Sep 182009


  • 64,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 35 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel. There was a loss of power steering which could have increased the risk of crash. The vehicle has not been inspected, nor repaired for the failure. The failure and current mileages were 64000.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #259

Apr 272008


  • miles
1. 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt was working fine until loss of power steering. 2. the failure is loss of power steering due to the use of electric power steering instead of using hydraulics. Chevy has not perfected the electric power steering but put it in every Chevrolet Cobalt if I am not mistaken. It may have only been installed for the 2005 and 2006 models. You may start your vehicle and have everything running okay until you drive it for a little why, thus leading up to loss of power steering. I promise you that anyone that has bought a Chevrolet Cobalt between 2005 and 2006 for sure have had this exact same problem. Every person! the problem is consistently getting worse and is highly unsafe. This can not be delt with by taking it into a garage and hoping it will get fixed. 3. I have taken my Cobalt into the garage numerous times with nothing fixed. If this is not taken care of soon, people may die from loss of steering. Recall now!

- Rocky Mountain House, 00, USA

problem #258

Sep 202009


  • 66,500 miles


I have S 2005 Cobalt and when I was exiting on the highway, the steering wheel got very hard to turn and almost hit the curb. It was a U-turn exit, I looked at the dash and it stated "power steering" without any warning. I had my 2 year older daughter and my wife was in the car who is pregnant. My wife is normally who drives this car, I have no doubt in my mind that if she was in the car driving, she would have been in a serious car accident. I think this is a really serious problem that needs to be fix before someone seriously gets injured.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #257

Aug 172009


  • 63,488 miles
The electric power steering in my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt has a defective motor that GM refuses to pay for under warranty. It intermittently cuts in and out without any warning. Once it cuts out, the vehicle is nearly impossible to steer. This can happen on a city street or a busy highway. When driving, a click is heard in the steering column, then steering is lost all together. This problem has not happened to me alone, thousands upon thousands of people have experienced this as well. Proof can be found in a google search under "Chevrolet Cobalt power steering failure".

- Woodland, CA, USA

problem #256

Jan 012009


  • 40,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt and every time I drive it no matter how far at some point in that trip the power steering will cut off. At one point I had the radio on I did not realize the power steering had cut off and happened to be going around a really tight turn luckily I realized what had happened and was able to keep control of the car but if I hadn't there would have been serious consequences as that road is wooded area the last thing I would like to hit is a tree. Also in bad weather this could be seriously dangerous, if your power steering turns off and you need to maneuver quickly odds are you are not going to be able to. I drive 25 miles to work and back every day. When I get home and pull my car in the driveway its all I can do to pull it in the drive way my shoulder hurts from steering the car with no power steering many time I leave the wheels turned in the drive way because I do not have the strength to make them straight. What if a older person was driving this car do you think that they would be able to steer a car with no power steering" have any one there or at GM tried to drive a car with no powersteering?? because they can most certainly come drive mine and maybe then they might think that this deserves a recall? or if their families or children were driving this car would it warrant a recall? it doesn't matter because no one has died yet! is that really what it takes for them to correct something so serious?"

- Charles Town, WV, USA

problem #255

Jul 152009


  • 42,000 miles
I own a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt ss, at random times while driving my power steering completely dies, I have to drive the car with all the force my arms can produce, it occurs about 90% of the time I drive the car. I have found out through research that this has happened to hundreds of people with the same car.

- Ellenwood, GA, USA

problem #254

Sep 152009


  • miles


Problem started out of the blue. Traction control light comes on, power steering goes out, transmission shifts hard, clicking noise in gear shifter, gauges for speed and rpms bounce around, lights for E-brake and ABS flash, and check engine light comes on. This can occur at any time. Sometimes it is as soon as you start the car. Other times it is while I am driving. Can not predict when it is coming. Surprisingly I have not got injured driving. I have learned to muscle the car when the steering goes out. I am afraid to drive my car but have no choice sometimes. It is the only car my family fits into. I feel I am putting us all at risk every time we get in it. I have taken it in several times, the first couple times they couldn't find anything. I got it to the dealer when the problem was happening. The only thing they could find was to replace a recalled transmission valve. It did nothing for the problem. It still happens when ever and stops pretty much the same. You do have to turn the car off. It can take one time or several times turning the car on and off. No one can seem to give me any answers. I really feel this problem needs to be solved. I bought the car in 2005. First incident in fall of 2007. Replaced valve in spring of 2009.

- Grand Junction, CO, USA

problem #253

Sep 122009


  • 60,348 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt has power steering failure. The car drives fine for the first mile then power steering warning will come on the car will no longer have power steering until the car is shut off and restarted. Occasionally the key will be difficult to remove from the steering column once the vehicle is shut off. Three time the keys were left in the car overnight due to same problem. There is also a rattle coming from the steering column at low speeds. The date I inputted is only when the power steering started to fail all other issues have been on going for the past year.

- Lutz, FL, USA

problem #252

Aug 202009


  • 79,820 miles
I own a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt and the power steering has intermitent failure.

- East Fairfield, VT, USA

problem #251

Sep 172009


  • miles
The past few days when driving my 2005 Cobalt the power steering goes completely out and I lose control of the car.

- Urbandale, IA, USA

problem #250

Apr 172009


  • 100,462 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. Shortly after I went over 100,000 miles, my power steering went out while on the freeway. I exited the freeway and pulled into a gas station and shut the car off. I could not find the power steering oil reservoir to check my levels. Got in my car and the power steering was just fine. Over the next week, it went out 4 to 5 times randomly. I checked the web for this problem and found that it is an inherent problem with the electric motor GM put into this vehicle (plus other models). Since it started, it goes out anywhere from once a day to 7-10 days a day. The problem is completely random. After finding out that many other Cobalt owners have the same problem, and the fact that it is a danger to operate when it suddenly goes out, I feel that GM needs to do a recall on this motor. Just because people have not died in mass numbers because of this does not mean that this problem is not dangerous.

- Sun City, CA, USA

problem #249

Sep 112009


  • 40,300 miles
The Chevrolet Cobalt has a very apparent and common issue with the power steering motor. Unlike most cars the Cobalt has an electric motor which facilitates turning the steering wheel. However the electric motor will often stop working unnecessarily. This is extremely dangerous due to the fact it can occur without warning at anytime, including while turning. I have actually been in the middle of a turn on an exit ramp and had the steering go out. Luckily I was able to regain control of the car with out crashing into the guard rail. Please address this concern before someone gets seriously hurt or killed. There should be recall on this particular issue what the Chevrolet Cobalt as it is a well know problem among Cobalt owners and GM.

- Apex, NC, USA

problem #248

Aug 152009


  • 55,000 miles
The power steering went out on my Chevy Cobalt 2005. It is a defective part.

- Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #247

Sep 142009


  • 65,000 miles
Electric power steering goes out while driving 2005 Chevy Cobalt at any speed. Happens often, have been able to pull over and turn car off and restart then power steering works again for a while. Very dangerous at high speeds(55mph) have seen many reported problem with same issue with this year and model..

- Oak Lawn, IL, USA

problem #246

Sep 102009


  • 73,000 miles
My Chevy Cobalt 2 door coupe has a problem where the electric steering just stops working while driving and it disables the traction control system and the ABS system I got it fixed which the warranty I had didn't cover for 1K and then 4 days later it happened again. I have researched this issue and found that it happens a lot with these cars and after they are fixed it keeps happening. Also when this happens the motor will not idle properly and the trans slams when shifting gears.

- Wayne, NJ, USA

problem #245

Sep 122009


  • 118,246 miles
I am driving down the freeway and the cars power steering would just go out. It was very difficult to make a turn at any speed. The only way to try to help the problem is to pull over, turn off the car. But that only helps out for a few minutes, then the powersteering will go out again. Then the process will start over again.

- El Campo, TX, USA

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