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 44 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #144

Jun 152009


  • 72,100 miles


I own a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, and about a month ago I was driving down a country road when my "power steering" message was displayed on my dashboard stating it had shutoff. This then lead to my car trying to shut itself off in the middle of the road going 55 miles per hour. The gauges were flashing, radio was flashing, the car would not shift gears and was rocking back and forth, and I couldn't really steer the car. After I was able to get it under control and stopped and shutoff it seemed to reset the system and I had no problems until a few days ago. I was driving on a very busy interstate during rush hour while going about 80 miles per hour, and the situation happened again except I was nearly in a collision with semi truck trailers, it took all I had to get it off the road without hitting anything. This scared me to death. This time the system did not reset, but I was able to limp it to the Chevy dealer near my apartment. Come to find out it was the :body control module" that was bad. It cost me $508 dollars to fix this one issue. Two weeks ago I had to take it in for a lower left front control arm bushing that was bad, and also the shifter solenoid was bad, and I had spent nearly $1100 for all of those safety issues as well.

- West Chester, PA, USA

problem #143

Jun 152009


  • 60,800 miles
Power steering stopped working along with thousands of other Cobalt owners. I haven't replaced it yet. After reading other forums the car is doomed to do it again. I have had the standards factory cd player replaced 4 times. First at 12K miles, finally last time at 60K. The key becomes locked in the ignition daily. I have to reach a finger in the whole underneath the steering column to hit the key release button. Just a poorly made car and everything goes out right after the warranty.

- Lone Jack, MO, USA

problem #142

Jun 102009


  • 80,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt, power steering randomly goes out in my vehicle while driving. I can turn the car off and when I restart usually it is fixed but light comes on and steering goes out without warning. This seems very dangerous, fortunately haven't wrecked yet. Cost to fix about $2,000. Looked up on internet and about 400 other comments and complaints on 1 website regarding same problem. Sounds like recall should be issued!

- Anderson, SC, USA

problem #141

Jun 082009


  • 70,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 65 mph, the power steering failed and the vehicle shook. The vehicle has not been to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The contact feels that the vehicle is unsafe to drive because the loss of power steering and the shaking could cause a crash. The current mileage was 74,950 and failure mileage was 70,000.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #140

Jun 142009


  • 71,717 miles
The steering wheel locked up in the car and the dic/ instrument panel displayed 'power steering'. the steering system shutdown completely with no prior warning of any kind. This happened in the middle of a very busy intersection and I was unable to steer the car in any manner. This is a safety issue that poses risks and threat of property damage, severe injury or death to the car owner, other car drivers on the road, others cars on the road, pedestrians and other building structures. This could happen again at any given time. Research indicates that this safety issue progressively increases. Repair requires the replacement of the steering column, pscm (power steering control module) and power steering motor unit estimated to cost upto $2000. Research on the internet also indicates a number of customers whose vehicles have electric power steering (as this car does) as opposed to conventional hydraulic steering systems have experienced this issue. GM has issued the following communication on this topic, but this particular bulletin does not refer to owners of 2005 Cobalt car model. Bulletin gmp07-217 - 07126 special coverage adjustment message #:vsu20071643 special coverage adjustment #07126 dated: December 3, 2007 since this is a serious safety issue resulting from a manufacturing defect, I am requesting that Chevrolet reimburse me or pay for the cost of repair even though my car is past the standard manufacturers warranty period.

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #139

Jun 122009


  • 51,000 miles
The problem I am reporting is with my 2005 Chevy Cobalt ls. The power steering quit working suddenly with no warning. This failure happened while driving down a major road and cause all power steering to go out. Once the car is shut off it starts working again, but each time the mean time between failures decreases. The failure happens so often now that I can't drive the car. The steering column has to be replaced now since GM does not sell individual parts.

- Barksdale Afb, LA, USA

problem #138

May 082009


  • 83,000 miles


I was driving down the high and all of a sudden my power steering came on and has been for 2 months now. I have looked up the issue and I am not the only owner of Cobalt to have these problems. I have the 2005 Cobalt ss supercharged wit 84,000 miles on it.

- St.Louis, MO, USA

problem #137

May 272009


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 60 mph, the steering locked up and the contact was forced to pull the vehicle over. The vehicle was towed and is unable to be driven. There were no prior failures with the steering. The dealer stated that it would cost $2,000 to repair the steering. The electrical system was also defective and will not activate the air conditioning or lock the doors. The VIN was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 73,000.

- Antioch, TN, USA

problem #136

Dec 012008


  • 50,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt that I bought new in 05. At about 50K miles, the power steering would occasionally stop working and the car was incredibly hard to steer. This happened randomly, sometimes driving straight, sometimes turning. I had a few near collisions when it failed mid-turn. After finding out the replacement part was close to $1000 from Chevy, I found a suitable donor car and salvaged the electric power steering unit. I swapped it out and have had no problems in the 15K miles since. I still have the failed power steering unit available for inspection.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #135

May 302009


  • 37,500 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering constantly failed. Once the vehicle was started, the steering would become stiff within one minute. She was unable to maneuver the steering wheel without applying maximum force. The manufacturer would not assist with the repairs because there were no recalls. The VIN was unknown. The failure and current mileages were less than 37,500.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #134

Jan 012009


  • 20,000 miles


2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Power steering fails at all speeds. Impossible to steer the car. Could definitely cause collisions at high speeds. Should be a recall. GM is unwilling saying they do not have enough complaints. Someone is going to get hurt.

- Seguin, TX, USA

problem #133

Mar 052009


  • 53,000 miles
While driving, power steering will stop functioning making it difficult to impossible to make evasive actions.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #132

Jan 012009


  • 20,000 miles
2005 Chevy Cobalt - loses power steering. Dealership cannot diagnosis and neither can my mechanic. Teenage driver. Very unsafe to have happen to her while driving.

- Seguin, TX, USA

problem #131

May 282009


  • 85,156 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving various speeds, the power steering activates and the steering wheel becomes difficult to turn. The failure has occurred three times. Through online research, the contact discovered many consumers who were experiencing the same failure. The vehicle must be shut off and restarted in order to deactivate the power steering. The dealer stated that they will charge $109 just to diagnose the vehicle. The vehicle has not yet been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 85,156.

- Saint Amant, LA, USA

problem #130

May 292009


  • 40,900 miles
Sudden loss of power steering while vehicle in motion.

- Chamblee, GA, USA

problem #129

May 102009


  • 63,200 miles
Power steering light comes on. Then the power steering go out. This seems to happen more often when the temperature outside is hot.

- Yorkville, IL, USA

problem #128

Apr 272009


  • 65,000 miles
I have been having problems with my 2005 Chevy Cobalt it can be working fine and then suddenly the power system shuts of and my steering wheel gets really hard impossible to turn. It has been increasing in time every time we use the car.

- Angleton, TX, USA

problem #127

May 192009


  • 66,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 45 mph, the power steering light illuminated on the instrument panel. The electronic power steering failed when attempting to make a turn and almost caused a crash. It took great effort for the contact to complete the turn. The current and failure mileages were 66,000.

- Potosi, MO, USA

problem #126

Apr 152009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,950 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer because he heard a noise coming from the steering column. The dealer stated that a new steering column was needed. There were no warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel at the time of the failure. The current and failure mileages were 34,950. Updated 05/27/09 an ignition switch was needed as well. Updated 05/29/09

- Osage Beach, MO, USA

problem #125

May 182009


  • 37,500 miles
I have a 2005 Cobalt ls and the power steering goes out now within 5 minutes of driving the car. I use to be able to turn the car off and it would correct the problem, but now turning off the car doesn't correct the problem. I know what part needs to be replaced, but no one sells just that part, they want to try to sell you a whole steering column for $1500 or more. I think it is disgraceful that GM is asking for bail out money, but they will not recall this model of car to fix the problem. I cannot afford to go to a GM dealership and pay to have this problem fixed. I am not responsible for paying for this it is GM's responsibility! GM wouldn't be in financial trouble if they built cars that didn't have problems or if the cars they built that had problems they took responsibility for fixing them. I don't think I can trust GM anymore. Eventually someone is going to get seriously hurt or worse.

- Rougemont, NC, USA

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