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 49 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #44

Mar 302005


  • miles


2005 cobolt power steering blew fuses. Now light comes on car jumps tries to die on me. Power steering light comes on.

- Columbus, IN, USA

problem #43

Aug 302008


  • 38 miles
Two weeks ago my 2005 Cobalt ls sedan suddenly starting having problems with the power steering. While driving my warning light displayed "power steering" and I noticed that trying to steer the wheel was extremely difficult. I drove to a safe place and turned the car off and then restarted it and the power steering was working fine. I am noticing that the time the power steering is working correctly is getting to be less and less. This problem is very dangerous and someone could get seriously hurt or killed if Chevrolet continues to ignore the problem.

- Rougemont, NC, USA

problem #42

Sep 092008


  • 36,325 miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt - power steering warning message comes on and eventually caused the car to stall or shake.

- Barre, VT, USA

problem #41

Sep 102008


  • 50,000 miles


My family were driving in our 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. As we made a turn off the highway the power steering went out. My car careened off the road and off into the median. My one child had a small head injury from the accident. Luckily we were not turning into traffic at the time, some one would have been killed. After researching this issue I have found the power steering on the Chevrolet Cobalt have a high rate of failure. I would like to know how many people have to be seriously injured before this issue is resolved through a recall of the vehicles to correct the problem.

- Apollo Beach, FL, USA

problem #40

Aug 252008


  • miles
Air bag light is on continuously and now the power steering light goes on and you loose steering as you are driving. The air bag light was fixed 1 time by dealer and now it is on again and they say they will not fix it because it has been tampered with but they are the only one's to work on it I have my repair invoice. The power steering light just started coming on and now you loose steering as soon as it goes on. It almost caused an accident the first time it happened because I was going around a curve and a car was coming the other way and I lost my steering. Luckily I didn't hit the other car but I think this is a major safety hazard.

- Boyertown, PA, USA

problem #39

Aug 162008


  • 64,000 miles
On Saturday, August 16th, 2008 I was driving on the highway going about 55-60 mph and as I was slowing down to approach a left turn, a chime noise sounded and the "power steering" message came on and as I was in my left turn, the power steering completely went out and made my car almost impossible to turn the wheel. I pulled into a service/gas station right down the road and tried turning off my car to see if that would help. Once I restarted my car the power steering message was no longer on and the steering wheel went back to normal. This same problem occurred once the next day. As the days went on, the problem got more and more frequent to the extent of now it happens like four or five times a day. To get the power steering to work once it goes out, I have to either restart my car at redlights, stop signs, or sometimes even in the middle of the road. This is a very dangerous problem that needs to be addressed by GM. I took my car to a GM dealership last Friday and I was told my steering column needed to be replaced. I have researched this issue, and I see it is an ongoing problem with GM. I have notified the customer service department at GM and am awaiting a call back from them to see how they can accommodate me with this situation.

- Graysville, AL, USA

problem #38

Aug 032008


  • 33,200 miles


My 2005 Cobalt has had electrical and power steering problems ever since I leased it. Intermittently, while driving, the instrument messages start flashing (usually "power steering"). the car then becomes very hard to steer and brake, the engine surges up and down. On Aug 3rd the car was involved in a minor accident when it was steered into a curb, possibly caused by another equipment failure. I took the car in to a Chevrolet dealer again, when it failed again two more times after the accident. Both times the dealer found error codes. However, they said they had a "tsb" on this problem, from Chevrolet which says to just clear the logs, give the car back to the customer and to "perform no work". they are putting lives in danger by following this procedure. I have copies of the service orders to confirm my statement.

- Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

problem #37

Aug 182008


  • 64,000 miles
When I turn the steering wheel I hear metal clunking kind of like a ball joint coming out.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #36

Aug 232008


  • 49,500 miles
The time the incident occurred was when we were on our way (my wife and I) to Canada for a wedding, we got to our destination and the all of the sudden the car literally starts hoping down the road, then in the middle of the road it completely stalled. The power steering light came on the dashboard and then the check engine light came on. We looked in the manual, because we have only had the car for a month and found the power steering piece to contact GMC. Well being in the city and all dealerships closed we couldn't do anything. We shut the vehicle down and tried to restart, the same thing occurred- we were able to drive it to a mechanic near by (when finally it was working) and they had no idea what to do because of the electric power steering. We gave up and finally went home to my mother in laws house. I researched on the internet and then I came onto not one but many websites via google on how much trouble people are having with their Cobalts. We are very unfortunate and do not have warranty left over. So when it comers to replacing the $2000 part we can not. I really need my car to run properly -my wife and I live in the United States and its a long way home!!! I really hope we do not get into a vehicle accident along the way due to the power steering malfunction, otherwise our lawyer and GMC will be talking. At this time I want a resolution from someone! how can GMC produce a vehicle with multiple known issues and continue to sell it without notifying people how deadly it is. I am very upset and I will never buy another GMC product again. If anyone at this company can do some easy research and find out that there are so many people with the know issue of power steering out there. I want a resolution and someone to pay for the consequence. I need to be contacted asap!!!

- Altmar, NY, USA

problem #35

Aug 212008


  • 50,359 miles
After picking up the children I take care of, I took them home as usual. To my surprise, as I turn onto their street in a residential neighborhood, my power steering went out. I was turning slightly right at approximately 5-10 mph and the light on my instrument panel indicated "power steering." I put the car in park, wait a few minutes, put it in drive again, and still no power steering. I turned the car off and when I turned it back on again, things were back to normal. As I leave work, power steering is back to working, until I merge onto the highway and my power steering goes out in the middle of the freeway entry way. I managed to hold my car steady to get to the emergency lane, but to do so I had to cross another lane of traffic. The instrument panel again indicated "power steering." I turned the car off, back on again and it was normal. Driving a vehicle and having no indication that the power steering is out, until it's too late, is unacceptable. GM is aware of this problem, and yet they do nothing about it, and that is also unacceptable.

- Buckner, KY, USA

problem #34

Aug 202008


  • 35,051 miles


Highway driving to visit friends at the beach. "power steering" appears on the dash and the steering wheel goes stiff. We managed to pull off the highway; upon restarting the car, the message was not present. The same message and power steering failure recurred six times that same day. This is a clear safety hazard as any sudden loss of steering in a critical moment could cause a serious accident. I have not yet taken the car to be repaired yet because the diagnosis seems clear from multiple reports of the same issue (see for over 110 additional complaints) the standard response from GM appears to be to replace the electronic power assist assembly at customer cost greater than $600. This is unacceptable for such a common failure and for such a serious safety hazard. This car is only three months out of warranty coverage. Also please note that there was an NHTSA investigation (PE07023) of the electronic power steering unit of the 2005 Pontiac G6 which may be the same system failing in the same way.

- Somerville, MA, USA

problem #33

Jul 292008


  • 29,500 miles
2005 Cobalt 2.2L 5-speed 30,000 miles I was driving on a highway when I received a power steering message on my cars dashboard display but being on a straight road didn't really notice that there wasn't actually any power steering I wanted to pull off at a rest stop to look under the hood but when I came to the end of the exit ramp for the rest area I could barely steer the vehicle and almost hit a concrete barrier now the steering cuts in and out usually about 2-10 min after starting the car I have read online that the repair can cost anywhere from 600-2000 dollars not having that kind of money right now I am driving w/out power steering awaiting a recall from GM.

- Rossford, OH, USA

problem #32

Jul 012008


  • 28,000 miles
The electric power steering (eps) on my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt shuts off at random intervals. In order to regain eps function, the car must be turned off and restarted. This happens at least 4-6 times during a 30 minute trip. Chevrolet will not cover to substantial cost to fix the eps system if it is not under warranty. Research has led to me believe that this has happened with several Cobalts (05-08 all models).

- North Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #31

Aug 012008


  • 31,600 miles
Recently, after hitting the 30,000 mile mark on my 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt ls, the power steering has been failing more and more frequently. I will be driving in a straight line or in a turn and either one will cause the failure to happen just the same. It has been failing more and more frequently, starting at about twice a week to now 4 to 5 times a day and makes driving incredibly dangerous. I refuse to take this car through any mountainous areas for fear of losing control and hurting my loved ones beside me. This absolutely needs to be dealt with immediately, for the safety of all drivers on the road, not just those in the Cobalt. Please make this happen, as I've read many other complaints across many message boards describing the same exact problems with their Chevy Cobalts. Stacy.

- Bend, OR, USA

problem #30

Mar 212008


  • 43,000 miles
05 Chevy Cobalt with power steering light going on randomly. The dealership can't find the problem. It is not safe to drive. The car starts to shake and I am losing control over it!!!

- Carlisle, PA, USA

problem #29

Jul 072008


  • 81,000 miles
I was driving to work and my power steering went out and then as I was going around a curve, the steering wheel locked. I went into the oncoming lane and was able to turn my car off and restart it again. I drove for another 30 seconds or so before the steering went out again. The steering continued to go out after driving a short distance after everytime I started to drive. The steering column had to be replaced.

- Delafield, WI, USA

problem #28

Jul 162008


  • 39,000 miles
My daughter is having problems with the power steering going out on the car, which is very dangerous. The problem is random. Her warranty has run out and the repair would cost about $2000.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #27

Jul 192008


  • 53,000 miles
I was driving down the highway making a turn and my power steering went out it beeped at me and the dash displayed "power steering". when I restart my car its fine for a wile but then it dose it again and from what I can tell speed, turning, rpms, temperature distance have nothing to do with it. I was ran off the road due to this with my wife and child in the car my daughter smacked her head on the window I tore something in my should just trying to steer.

- St. Charles, MO, USA

problem #26

Jun 122008


  • 56,900 miles
I own a Chevy Cobalt 2005. While driving the power steering light comes on and then the steering locks. I almost crashed, thank god there was no cars behind me. This is happening frequently now. I don't have a guarantee anymore. I took the car to a mechanic he said that it is a accident waiting to happen. He has never seen anything like that in his 20 years of experience being a mechanic. Now everytime I start my car the light comes on and the steering wheel becomes so hard to turn or control. I went on this website and there are so many people who have this problem. I only have 57000 miles on my car. Please help!!!!

- Nanuet, NY, USA

problem #25

Jul 262008


  • 16,000 miles
Re: my son's car, a 2005 Chevy Cobalt 16, xxx miles purchased used on May 19, 2008 at 14,869 miles at a local Ford dealer. Twice in the last week, while driving home from work on the interstate doing approx 60 mph, warning chimes sounded and seconds later a "power steering" and "low traction" lights appeared. Steering became all but inoperable, car became extremely hard to handle and car "shook". upon stopping and restarting the car, things went back to normal. His comment was that if some "old feeble person" was driving, they would have had an accident. Looking at complaints on various websites, this is a very well known problem to Chevrolet (General Motors) in that the new "electric power steering" is prone to failure. Dozens (hundreds) of people have complained about numerous accidents and Chevrolet's response has been that if they can't find a "code" to point to a steering failure, then there must not be a problem. Currently the car has been with boemler Chevrolet in arnold, Missouri Monday 7/28 and today Tuesday 7/29. Monday afternoon they called and said they would like to keep it another day since they could not get it to fail and couldn't get a "code" to diagnose the problem. Multiple times in the websites, customers have said that the steering column had to be replaced to fix the problem. This problem has caused other customers to have accidents according to the complaints I have read. I don't know if they've been smart enough to read their owner's manual to get the proper people to complain to. I realize that complaining on some website is not going to get anything done, and that it must be done through proper channels. This is a very serious problem that must be addressed by Chevrolet (GM) before more people get hurt or worse. I think a voluntary recall on their part would look a lot better than having a "class action lawsuit" filed against them.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

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