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 45 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #124

Apr 182006


  • 31,000 miles


Have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt and on four separate occasions, the power steering has gone out on vehicle. Almost impossible to drive. After getting it off the road and shutting off engine and restarting, worked ok. Took to dealership for them to check, they could find nothing wrong and said they had no history of this type of problem. This is a very dangerous situation and could results in death or injury. GM has tsbs out there, which of course is customer pay, and they will correct GM defective issues. The cost is approx. $800. There have been enough complaints on this issue since 2005. A GM recall should be made mandatory. This is major safety factor. A recall by GM should be directed.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #123

Mar 092009


  • 40,000 miles
The power steering goes in and out intermittently. There is no warning. Particularity turning curves and corners. The dash board warning systems warns of this after the fact and you're in panic mode. When you shut down and restart it performs normally for a while and does it again. Also, when going around curves or making 90 degree turns, the steering "slips" and bumps as if you've run over something. Its as if the joints of the car aren't fitted together property.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #122

Jan 112009


  • 34,000 miles
Power steering in my Chevy Cobalt (2005) shuts off and car is difficult to drive.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #121

May 072009


  • 33,000 miles


No events leading to failure. Chevy Cobalt 2005 model 33,000 miles power steering random catastrophic failure key sticks in ignition nothing was done to correct the failure by the manufacturer (no recall) even though multiple complaints and problems have been identified with the power steering in these models.

- Martinez, GA, USA

problem #120

Apr 302009


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact experiences periodic power steering failure while driving various speeds. The steering wheel cannot turn to the left or right and she must turn and pull the wheel with great force to pull the vehicle to the side of the road. The vehicle has not yet been taken to the dealer. The failure mileage was 50,000.

- Waterford, NY, USA

problem #119

May 012009


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 20 mph on normal road conditions, the steering wheel locked and the power steering warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The warning indicator remained lit until the engine was turned off. The vehicle was pulled over to the side of the road and the engine was turned off and restarted. The vehicle was able to resume normal operation; however, the failure recurred three times while driving. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing and the steering column code was reprogrammed. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for identical failures. Currently, the steering column is being replaced. The VIN was unknown. The failure and current mileages were 54,000.

- Twinsburg, OH, USA

problem #118

Apr 252009


  • 22,000 miles


There were no events that led up to this power steering just went out. A month before we had the key stuck in ignition problem. Paid $300 to get that fixed now it is back in the shop for power steering failure. I called GM about this and the rep said they had no other complaints about this issue. Are you kidding me?? I told him it was all over sites on the internet and he said I shouldn't pay any attention to that as GM has no power over what people reported on these sites and they should contact GM. He again tried to tell me that I was the only one reporting this problem!!

- Bolivar, OH, USA

problem #117

Apr 262009


  • 51,501 miles
I just purchased a 2005 Chevy Cobalt as my wife drove it to the store the power steering locked up & shut off she almost got into a wreck she had to force car off the road. Spoke to a Chevy mechanic said this was a common problem with 2005-2006 Chevy Cobalts, this is a defect in the steering column. Looked on the internet & there are lots of people with this model having the exact same problem yet there is no recall from GM. This is a safety hazard my wife could have been killed should these vehicles be on the road? please investigate this problem. We had the car for 3 days now and it happened 4 times it is now in the hands of a mechanic.

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #116

Apr 082009


  • 79,400 miles
Power steering message and failure began in April 2009. Power steering fails and displays message at random during turns, straight, high or low speeds, and will usually reset after engine shut off and restart. This failure and message can happen several times a day. Called GM after finding similar occurrences on the internet; they recommended a diagnostic at their dealership. Diagnostic revealed a C0475 code, which is a steering column motor short. The recommended course of action was to replace the steering column for $880 P&L. mileage of 2005 Cobalt is almost 80,000. This power steering failure is a huge concern for me since it is my wife's car. It is very possible for the failure to occur just before or during a needed reaction to an emergency situation, or could even cause an adverse reaction if failure occurs during a high-speed turn. This car isn't nearly old enough to "throw away" and get something newer, yet the price of the part and repairs seems to suggest it is time to do so. It's too bad for us we owe more than it's worth... and now this.

- Aliso Viejo, CA, USA

problem #115

Nov 302007


  • 25,000 miles
Power steering light comes on dash and car loses power steering immediately. Major safety concern while driving. It is happening often. Usually 1-2 times a month. I am not the only person who has this problem. Upon looking it up online and seeing that there's hundreds of other people with the same problem, it caused me to file this complaint. It obviously is a wide spread issue. I contacted GM through E-mail and they have yet to respond. It has been about 2 months. Also the key gets stuck into the ignition, I do not know if it is relevant to the steering issue but everyone who has the steering issue also has the key/ignition problems. When I experience power steering failure, I feel out of control of the vehicle. Luckily for me, it has not caused a crash, but I can certainly see how it could. I feel like GM should step up, take responsibility for this, and fix the problem instead of letting it be, and letting their customers drive unsafe vehicles. I feel unsafe.

- Brooksville, FL, USA

problem #114

Apr 242009


  • 74,000 miles


Power steering stops during driving (electric). My daughter was almost involved in an accident when this happen.

- Rossville, GA, USA

problem #113

Apr 242009


  • 56,000 miles
Electronic power steering fails at 40,000 miles!!! GM is claiming it is not a "defect" and also requiring the entire steering column be replaced.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #112

May 012008


  • 80,000 miles
The power steering on the 2005 and later Cobalts quits either intermittently or continuously. In my case, the ps only works for 2/10 of a mile before quitting. After that point it is only manual drive. There are websites and blogs that are dedicated just to this problem including this site has 335 instances of this problem as of today. GM has failed to step up and fix this. In fact, they insist that the entire steering column must be replaced. However, this site shows that it is usually only one component but that component cannot be purchased separately. The entire column replacement runs from $800 to $2000 whereas the component alone has to be much cheaper and is actually simple to replace. I tried the remedy listed by wayne from zion il #318 on the first website listed here and while it didn't work for me, there was so much black powder coming out of it I couldn't believe it. No wonder it doesn't work! this part is basically sealed so it must be made in unclean conditions. I believe it is made in Japan (one of the posts mentions it). I believe that power steering issues are a major defect and why nothing has been done by this organization or GM is beyond me. While it may be safe to drive in manual steering, having it change in the middle of a turn (as is reported in the posts) is not safe! another problem that seems to be related is the key not coming out of the ignition. I say related because most cars with the first issue seem to have the second issue too. Lastly, these cars also have the A/C leak directly into the passenger compartment causing mold and mildew and therefore unsafe breathing conditions in the car. Check the posts, dealers "can't find anything wrong" with them. How do I force your organization to do something about this as I know I'm not the only one to complain?

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #111

Apr 202009


  • miles
1. power steering light comes up while driving and power steering goes off/locked, I can't move either right or left. 2. it occurs every when you drive the vehicle. 3. this is problem with electrical power steering for Chevy Cobalt 2005.

- Groton, CT, USA

problem #110

Jan 152009


  • 37,500 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering light illuminated on the instrument panel and the power steering failed. She had to place the vehicle into park or neutral and then shut off the engine in order for it to restart. The power steering functioned sporadically before completely failing again. The failure occurred every time the vehicle was in use. The manufacturer informed the dealer of a tsb for the issue and stated that the repair would cost $700. The vehicle has not been repaired. The current mileage was approximately 39,200 and failure mileage was approximately 37,500.

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #109

Apr 102009


  • 49,000 miles
Power steering cuts out while operating vehicle extreme safety hazard if in the middle of a turn.happens at warmer temperatures, can be reset by turning off and re-starting vehicle. Problem re-occurs at random.

- Cheektowaga, NY, USA

problem #108

Jan 032009


  • 52,500 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving various speeds, the power steering shuts off. As a result, the vehicle becomes unmanageable to turn and uncontrollable. In order for the vehicle to reset itself, the contact must shut off the vehicle and wait a few minutes for it to restart. Occasionally, this process must be repeated several times. He had to tow the vehicle to his residence after the most recent failure. The contact took his vehicle to the dealer on April 13, 2009. The failure mileage was 52,500.

- Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #107

Mar 232009


  • 40,222 miles
2005 Chevy. Cobalt electric power steering unit in steering column failed while driving. This failure occurred at 40,222 miles and happened about 15X. Absolutely no steering was possible, and this happened in traffic, once the vehicle was turned off I had steering again, then within seconds I would get the message power steering and the steering would be gone again. The cost to repair was $849 and only GM has the part. From the information on the internet, this is a defect with the part, and GM has known about it since fall of 2005. The shop manager at hudiburg Chevy. Was not aware of any problems but when he asked his ticket writer, he acknowledged he has seen alot of this problem with this model vehicle.

- Newalla, OK, USA

problem #106

Apr 052009


  • 52,082 miles
Steering motor was determined defective by GM at 50K miles. Tires wood catch grooves in the road pulling the car unexpectedly. Shuttering of steering wheel while going straight. Knocking/ rattle sounds from steering column on rough/ bumpy roads. This happens all the time. These problems started about 35K, right after my warranty expired. After contacting GM and a Chevy dealership, the cost will be $850. And it is a "common problem", design error. At 52K driving normally down the road, power steering shut off, "power steering" displayed, and the steering wheel was excessively hard to turn.

- Dana Point , CA, USA

problem #105

Sep 122008


  • 38,000 miles
I have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt ls and around 38,000 miles the power steering flashed in the dash and I lost all power steering in a parking garage. There is no warning that's its going to happen besides the flashing in the dash 3 secs before it goes. This happened everytime I drove over 20 miles at a time, and I go to school in syracuse so I drive the thruway everyday so it was extremely hard to drive with it. I had to get the whole steering column replaced because the power steering is electric. It all cost 675$ I was able to get almost all of the labor charges dropped after working and talking with a Chevy dealership.

- Bellona, NY, USA

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