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 41 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #204

Aug 202009


  • 48,000 miles


Power steering stops working. At least 3 times.

- West Chester, OH, USA

problem #203

Aug 152009


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 40 mph she noticed that a light illuminated on the electrical instrument panel stating power steering failure and then she lost steering control. After restarting the vehicle, she was able to drive normally; however, she had to continuously shake the steering wheel so that it would not lock. The contact did not notice and failure or warning lights prior to the failure. A local repair facility stated that the power steering was failing and the cost for repair would be $900. The vehicle has not been repaired. The manufacturer stated that the vehicle was related to an existing recall and to file a complaint regarding the failure. The failure mileage was 73,000 and the current mileage was 73,010.

- Cincinatti, OH, USA

problem #202

Aug 172009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. When the steering light illuminated, the steering wheel changed to manual which made it very difficult to make left and right turns. The failure has not been diagnosed by a dealer. The current and the failure mileages were 22,000. Updated 09/23/09 the dealer stated the power steering motor failed. Updated 09/29/09.

- Cape Coral , FL, USA

problem #201

Aug 172009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 49,000 miles


While the contact was driving he noticed that the power steering light had appeared on the dashboard and shortly after the vehicle no longer had power steering. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealership and the contact did not notice any differences beforehand. The current and failure mileage is 49000. Bml. Updated 10/06/09. Updated 10/06/09.

- Lower Burrell, PA, USA

problem #200

Aug 072009


  • 30,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt power steering failure with 30K miles.

- Delaware, OH, USA

problem #199

Apr 022007


  • 45,000 miles
Intermittent power steering failure and key locking in ignition switch. First started about a 1 1/2 ago when the key locked up in the ignition and power steering failed. They claimed to have fixed it but now the power steering locks up more than ever. I can handle the steering (barely) when this happens by my wife at 4'11 and 106 lbs can no longer drive the vehicle. The power steering now goes out everytime I drive the car.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #198

Oct 012008


  • 54,000 miles


The contact owns 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The steering failed it switched from electric to manual which made it difficult to turn. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician located the failure as the steering column. The estimated cost for repair was $600 to $2,000. The manufacturer stated there is not a recall on the vehicle for the failure therefore they will not assist with the repair. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 54,000 and the current mileage is 79,000.

- Belton , MO, USA

problem #197

Aug 152009


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 20 mph, the driver noticed that the power steering light illuminated on the dashboard and that the vehicle had suddenly lost power steering. The failure occurred intermittently. The current and failure mileages were 50000.

- Chardon, OH, USA

problem #196

Jul 052009


  • 360,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The power steering cuts out intermittently causing the car to become hard to handle. The car only has 36,000 miles and the service rep at the Chevy dealership told me that the is a common problem with this type vehicle. I think this is a safety problem that should be recalled.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #195

Aug 082005


  • 55,000 miles
I bought a 2005 Chevy Cobalt ls as new in 2005. The car has 55,000 miles on it and has been well taken care of. I am a hypermiler and do what I can to baby the car down the road. Around a week ago, I was driving the car and out of nowhere the power steering goes away and a message is displayed on the led display near the tachometer, it reads "power steering". I stop somewhere and turn off the car and then back on, the power steering immediately works okay again. Each time I drive the car, this happens at some random point. It is always fixable by turning off the ignition and re-starting the car. I did research online and discovered there are a ton of people reporting this exact same problem with atleast the 2005 and 2006 models, and maybe more. I feel that this is a potentially life threatening problem as a sudden loss of power steering can be the cause of a serious or fatal accident. From what I can see, General Motors has not issued a recall. I find this alarming considering this is a known manufacturer's defect and is a widespread problem.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #194

Aug 152009


  • 110,000 miles


Today is Aug 16 2009 and I have been having problems with my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt for a while. Since the last year my steering wheel has been shaking every time I put on the brakes, and starting the last 3 weeks the power steering illuminates and the steering wheel just locks and I would have to pull the vehicle on to the shoulder and shut off the engine and restart it and then it works again.this normally happens 2 or 3 times a day. I have not taken it to the dealer yet although I did speak to a service advisor about the situation and he thinks it might be the power steering pump and that it would probably run me about $1200 to fix it. I really cannot afford that kind of money due to me being unemployed. The last date that this incident happened was on Aug 15 2009. Please I need your help and assistance. Thanks

- Ft. Wash, MD, USA

problem #193

Aug 102009


  • miles
The Chevy Cobalt power steering light keeping coming on. My steering wheel keep freezing up.

- Maywood, IL, USA

problem #192

Aug 092009


  • 63,000 miles
I own a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. It currently has 63,000 miles on it. The electronic steering system has been randomly shutting off. When the steering system fails, I am left with no control whatsoever. I never know when the system will shut down. This makes driving on the highway especially dangerous.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #191

Aug 122009


  • 43,600 miles
I have 2005 Chevy Cobalt, and the power steering indicated came on and all of the sudden the car stops.

- Bridgeport, CT, USA

problem #190

Jul 272009


  • 64,000 miles
Power steering began to fail a few weeks ago. As I am driving the power steering notice comes on and I lose power steering in the middle of driving. I pull over, turn off the acr, and restart it and the power steering is back. Some days it doesn't happen at alla nd others it may happen every few miles. It has not been fixed. The small garage I took it to could not figure out what was wrong with and recommended we look into recalls. And then I found many complaints on this same problem and it costs anywhere from $600 to $110- to fix. I will not be spending that kind of money. And GM will not recall it.

- Northampton, PW, USA

problem #189

Jun 282009


  • 61,000 miles
As far as I know, there were no accidents leading to the failure, but 2 months ago, I started experiencing power steering failures in my 2005 Chevrolet lt. After shutting the car off, and back on, the problem disappeared. Then it started happening more frequently, once, even 8 times in one day. I didn't take it into the dealership for the first time until 7/21/09 because it was getting too risky to drive. I have taken it to the dealership to get the steering column replaced but the problem still persists. They have given me various excuses as to why this problem keeps occurring but none of them are valid. When they test drive it, they claim it never acts up for them, but it does it randomly, there is no pattern to why it acts the way it does. I have taken it to the dealership a total of 5 times already. They have the car now because on 8/10/09, I nearly got into an accident and had to jump the curb in order to avoid getting hit because I couldn't make a left turn into traffic. I then suffered a severe anxiety attack and needed assistance from family members to come pick me up and get the car towed back up to the dealership. I am only 19 years old, & this is my first car. All I want is something safe to drive so I can go to school, work, and perform my other tasks alive and in one piece, please help those of us experiencing these problem to get GM to provide a recall on these cars. I love this car, but it is not worth losing my life over. I have paid a total of $938 on the steering column & $138 for towing expenses. This has got to stop, & I cannot afford another car. Thank you for your time and consideration, andrea johnson

- Harper Woods, MI, USA

problem #188

Aug 112009


  • 61,000 miles
I purchased my 2005 Chevy Cobalt, used in February 2006. In February of 2008 the electric power steering began to go out if you made several sharp turns (I.e. parking garages.) after apprx. Six months the power steering began to go out sporadically while driving down the freeway. This problem continued throughout the year. In the past four months, the problem has escalated to the point that I cannot even drive 1/4 of a mile with out the power steering going out. When this happens, all you have to do in order to reset the steering is put the car in park and turn off the engine. Upon restarting the car the problem corrects itself, however; it goes out again immediately.

- Lemoore, CA, USA

problem #187

Jun 152009


  • 45,000 miles
Power steering in a 2005 Chevy Cobalt, with 45,000 miles will go out for randomly. If you turn the car off and back on it works fine for a short period of time then it will go out again. It is very difficult to steer and is dangerous to make turns quickly while driving.

- Land O' Lakes, FL, USA

problem #186

Aug 072009


  • 81,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt with 81K miles on it. First time it happened was today. While driving to the store from work I heard a ding, looked at the dash, and saw the power steering message. I immediately noticed that my power steering was out. I pulled off into a parking lot, restarted the car, and things were fine again. After stopping at the store, the same thing happened two more times during the drive home, each time requiring that I pull over and restart the car in order to regain power steering. Everything I have found online says that it will cost 1100 dollars to fix as the entire steering column needs to be replaced.

- Pottstown, PA, USA

problem #185

Aug 062009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 30 mph, the power steering warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Immediately, the power steering failed. The warning indicator illuminated intermittently. The driver had to exert greater effort to turn the steering wheel. The vehicle only steered in one direction. The vehicle was pulled over into a parking lot and the engine turned off. The vehicle was in the process of being repaired. The failure and current mileages were 63,000. Updated 09/18/09. Updated 09/21/09.

- Blytheville, AR, USA

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