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 43 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #164

Jul 212009


  • 35,000 miles


My daughter has a 2005 Chevy Cobalt, the issue is the "power steering" indicator comes up and the vehicle becomes impossible to control. She has to pull over and turns off the car and restart it then the issue is resolved "this happens numerous times a day". this seems to be a serious design flaw as it looks like GM has moved away from the reliable hydraulic system to and electronic system. Along with the design flaw this is a serious safety issue as the vehicle becomes impossible to steer properly. Not sure what it is going to take to resolve this, but hopefully not the death or deaths of someone.

- Creve Coeur, MO, USA

problem #163

Jul 172009


  • 47,750 miles
I was driving my 05 Chevy Cobalt ls when the power steering warning came up on my dash and the power steering wasn't working. When I got home I shut my car off and turned it back on and the problem was gone. The next day when I was heading to work the power steering went out again not more than 20 seconds after leaving the house. The car continues to have this problem every time I use it. I have done research and know that this problem is from the manufacturer and should be recalled. I am fearful for my safety and the safety of others who are driving these or even near these cars.

- Loyal, WI, USA

problem #162

Jul 102009


  • 50,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt w/ about 50,000mi. Out of nowhere "power steering" is displayed in the driver information center and the power steering cuts out immediately making it very difficult to drive and almost impossible to turn the car. Power steering resumes if car is restarted but only for a few minutes. This has been going on for about a week and occurs every time I attempt to drive. I have seen numerous complaints from other Cobalt owners. I am currently not driving it because I don't feel safe. This is an extremely dangerous defect that needs to be recalled by Chevy.

- Saint Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #161

Jun 062009


  • 19,798 miles


I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. Went out out driveway and the power steering light came on. Drove back down and called the dealership. They said it was ok to drive it, the light just comes on. Had me test it and see if the ps did fail, which it didn't. went to drive it the next day or so and the check engine light came on. At that point we went to the dealership to see about the car being towed for repairs. After looking it over, the dealership said they would have to replace the steering column. From what I'm reading, this isn't an isolated incident with the Cobalts.

- Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #160

Jul 102009


  • 68,200 miles
I currently own a 2005 Chevy Cobalt, and up until now, I have been pretty satisfied. However, recently since I have hit over 60,000 miles, my power steering light comes on and then I lose control of the vehicle. The wheel is nearly impossible to turn. This has almost caused me to wreck on 4 different occasions. When I turn the car off and then back on, it goes away for awhile, but then always seems to lock back up again. You would think that the only thing you would need to do is add power steering fluid, but unfortunately this car doesn't have that, it is all electrical. I have done some research online and have noticed that I am not the only one with this problem. There are in fact hundreds, if not more with the same problem occurring. This is a very dangerous and costly problem($700-$1500), and of course I'm not covered under the warranty anymore, along with almost everyone else experiencing this problem. I just don't understand how headlights can be recalled, but something as serious as your steering not. This is a serious issue that should be addressed before someone loses their life over a faulty electric power steering problem. I have called a few dealerships in my area and every single one of them have said that there have been many cases exactly like mine, if they notice this defect, then why can't the people who make the decision to recall do something about it.

- New Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #159

Jun 272009


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Approximately two weeks ago, the power steering indicator illuminated while driving 55 mph. The power steering failed immediately after the indicator appeared. The contact experienced difficulty controlling the vehicle and believed that this was a safety hazard. The failure mileage was 150,000.

- Pope Air Force Base, NC, USA

problem #158

Jun 162009


  • 43,572 miles


I bought a 2005 Chevy Cobalt lt sedanfrom carmax in June 2008. Since I have had it the power steering has frozen numerous time during driving, locking up while going 45 mph is very dangerous to say the least. I have taken this car back to the dealer and they claim not to find anything wrong with the car. Now the power steering will lock up one day and the next day it will be fine for two-three weeks, then the same thing will happen again only worse. First time it happened, the power steering was slow to respond and the transmission was jerky. The second time, the power steering was hard to turn the lights came on in the drivers info center indicating a problem and the transmission started making clicking noises. The third time the power steering actually froze during driving, all the dashboard lights came on and the transmission, speed odometer all were acting if there was water in the gas or something meaning it was not responding when I put my foot on the gas. I have taken it back to carmax, they acknowledge a problem, but they "cant fix", they then say it has to be taken to a GM dealer who say they cant detect a problem during a diagnostic test. This a very dangerous situation and a very dangerous car to drive. I have refused to drive unless they fix the power steering, they have kept my car waiting for it to "duplicate" the problem which is ridiculous. This car needs to be recalled and that power steering system replaced. GM knows that this is a huge problem but refuses to now even listen to any complaints now that they are in bankruptcy. But this car definitely needs to be recalled before someone is killed.

- Roswell, GA, USA

problem #157

Jul 082009


  • 36,500 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt is having some power steering issues which seems to be a very common problem however the GMC/Chevy dealerships are charging horrific prices for diagnostics and repairs when the is common in most if not all Cobalts.....

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #156

Jun 152009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 70 mph, the power steering failed. The vehicle was towed to a repair shop and it was confirmed that the power steering failed. In addition, the power steering warning light illuminated. The dealer stated that the vehicle was not covered for the repair; however, it has not yet been repaired. The failure occurs intermittently. Through online research, the contact discovered numerous consumers experiencing the same failure. The failure mileage was 57,000 and current mileage was 57,005. Updated 8/28/09 updated 09/03/09.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #155

Jul 082009


  • 40,548 miles
I was at a stop sign and pulled out to negotiate a turn when my car seemed to stop. The car then started to move slowly, but I had a difficult time turning the wheel. The words "power steering" appeared in the service messages area.. I was able to reach home but negotiating the turns was like driving a manual car. I called my local dealership who told me to bring it in. I took it to my local dealership this morning, and the steering seemed normal, with no error messages appearing. This afternoon, I was told that the code indicated I needed a new steering column. Car is in the garage now and a new steering column will be put in by tomorrow. Cost quoted to replace the column is $500 plus change. I also E-mailed General Motors and hope for a response.

- Coal Township, PA, USA

problem #154

Jul 022009


  • 49,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving various speeds, the power steering fails and cannot be maneuvered. The contact stated that the steering has failed while driving to her residence, which is located on a curved road. The GM manufacturer advised her to get the vehicle diagnosed and to call them back with the results. The contact has been trying to reach the GM representative, but he is refusing to take her call. The failure mileage was 49,000.

- Luray, VA, USA

problem #153

Jun 172009


  • 68,000 miles
I bought a 2005 Chevy Cobalt at a locate dealership. After 3 months the power steering turns off at random. It started when I was entering a freeway at a curb and all of a sudden I notice the car was pulling straight because the power steering was out. I almost lost control of the car because of this. I took the car to the dealership that I bought it to, and they said it's not part of the extended warranty, and I would have to pay for labor and parts cost. The failure happens basically if I have been driving my car more than 30 minutes and the dealership did not do anything to correct the failure. There numerous complaints on Chevy Cobalts regarding the power steering failure through researched, and I can not believe it has not been recalled.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #152

Jul 022009


  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving various speeds, the power steering light would illuminate and the steering would become very difficult to maneuver. The failures occurred without warning. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The current and failure mileages were 76,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #151

Jul 052009


  • 39,000 miles
The electric assist power steering failed while driving AT40 to 50 miles an forced me over to the side of the road, I was lucky I was in a open area, I didn't hit any thing. I turned the car of waited a few minutes turned it back on and it worked fine. This is the second time this has happened and a similar. Incident when it stalled on a railroad track. They checked the ground and replaced the fuse block. I searched the internet and this seems to be a common problem with many GM electric assist power steering units. This is a very dangerous condition. I do not have the part.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #150

Jun 192009


  • 641,000 miles
Was driving out of parking deck at work when power steering went out. This happens on a daily basis and is dangerous. Checked and found out this is a major complaint of 2005 Cobalts. Expense to have repaired is not an option at this time. Safety hazard not knowing when it will go out each day.

- Maumelle, AR, USA

problem #149

Jul 012009


  • 80,000 miles
Failure of power steering. I will be driving and my power steering will fail while I am driving down the road. This problem happens daily alomst everytime I drive. Happens more frequently after a U-turn or sharp turn and during hot days.

- Taylorsville, UT, USA

problem #148

May 302009


  • Manual transmission
  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering indicator illuminates periodically. When this occurs, all power steering is lost and the vehicle becomes very difficult to steer. The contact must turn off the vehicle and restart it in order to reset itself. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the power steering control module was out of warranty; therefore, they would not pay for the repair. The contact will call the manufacturer for assistance. There was no recall for the steering wheel. The failure mileage was 107,000. Updated 07/08/09 updated 07/08/09.

- Sycamore, AL, USA

problem #147

Jun 212009


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving between 25-30 mph, the power steering warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Immediately, a chime sounded inside the vehicle. There was a loss of power steering and the steering column locked. The driver experienced extreme difficulty steering the vehicle, which resulted in greater effort to turn the steering wheel. The warning indicator remained illuminated until the engine was turned off. The contact pulled the vehicle over into a parking lot and then turned off and restarted the engine. The vehicle restarted and resumed normal operation. The failure recurred on a separate occasion. The vehicle has not been repaired. The VIN was unknown. The failure and current mileages were 50,000.

- Winter Haven, FL, USA

problem #146

Jun 152009


  • 62,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt power steering failure.

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

problem #145

Jun 062009


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering fails sporadically at any speed. The dealer stated that she would have to pay $700 for the repair. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 60,000 and current mileage was 82,000.

- Paris, IL, USA

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