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 6 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #904

Jun 012011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


Not sure exactly when it happened, but it has been occurring for years now. I have spent thousands of dollars in diagnostics, parts, and labor trying to fix the mystery problem! I'm fed up! it seems to happen randomly and fix itself randomly. Sometimes it lasts a couple days and sometimes longer than a couple weeks. The problem: My car will lose power steering, it starts shifting really hard and the gauges inside get all screwed. Occasionally when it happens it just won't shift at all. It will stay in first gear. The inside gauges: The speedometer will bounce all over the place, never staying still. The radio will also get loud and quiet by itself. The power locks would frantically go up and down themselves, until I took out the spark plug for those. It is very difficult to drive when the power steering goes out, not like cars that were built without it in the first place. The very hard shifting cannot be good for the car and is dangerous when I am driving during winter months or rainy weather. I live in Michigan and it snows a lot. Even the Chevy dealership can't tell me what is wrong and I have paid to have numerous parts replaced that have not fixed the problem. I've read other boards online with people having the same issue. I just cannot afford to keep paying to not get the problem fixed. I hate driving such an unreliable car with two young children, four years and 10 months. It happened multiple times when my little one was a newborn. Felt like I was giving the poor baby whiplash when the car switched gears. It's an automatic so there is nothing I can do about it.

- Baroda, MI, USA

problem #903

Apr 012014


  • miles
On Saturday March 29th 2014 I had my recall fixed on the power steering at ryan chevorlet here in minot nd. I get it fixed and parked my car at home until Monday April 1st I am driving down the highway and come to a stop light then I began to hear a clicking noise in my dashboard then a notification pops up for my traction control. As I start to move my speedometer is moving from 10 to 20 but im barely going 5. my RPM's are going up also then a notification for my power steering comes up then im worried. I get to my destination and my power steering goes out and I can not turn the vehicle and it shuts completely off. I try to turn it on and it turns over just doesn't start. I call the Chevy dealer here and they say they will take a look at it. They had my vehicle for a while just to tell me my car needed gas. Does this make sense or am I being fooled" I have research this issue and it seems like it has happened before to other people. Could someone help me"

- Minot, ND, USA

problem #902

Jun 202008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 38,000 miles
I have this problem on my 2005 Cobalt of the gauge cluster going nuts, speedometer and RPM gauge jumping up and down, the lights in the cluster, ABS, security, brake, engine and some others start flashing, the transmission starts clicking near the shifter and the automatic transmission shifts very hard, in fact when slowing for a stop sign or traffic light I have to shift to neutral and then pull the shifter to 1st just to get it to go without stalling, the worse part of this problem is when this starts while traveling down the hi-way and the power steering stops working and I am going around a curve and it intermittently starts working and I have to try not to over steer causing an accident, this first appeared in 2008 and has done it since, no one can fix it not even the dealership.

- Crowder, OK, USA

problem #901

Jun 032014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated the power steering failed intermittently as the power steering warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician was not able to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unavailable and the current mileage was 154,000.

- Warrenton, GA, USA

problem #900

Apr 112014


  • 137,231 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact received notification for recall NHTSA campaign id number: 14V171000 (electrical system), NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering) and NHTSA campaign id number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). The recalls repairs were performed but the failures recurred. The dealer was notified of the failure but no action was taken to remedy the failure. The contact stated that the check engine and ABS sensor illuminated intermittently. The steering wheel became hard to maneuver and each time the contact applied the brakes it made a loud noise. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for further inspection, diagnosis and repair. The technician indicated that authorization from the manufacturer was required. The contact was waiting for the vehicle to be inspected and repaired again by a another dealer. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 137,231. Pam

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #899

Jun 302010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
This problem was fixed in the past. It never solved the problem and when I went to the dealer they told me it had been fixed. Problem is random so there is no way to prove it was never fixed. It is dangerous - want a rental!!! I had to wait 3 months for the ignition switch to be replaced and had to borrow a car during that time. I finally asked for a rental and low and behold 3 days later my car was repaired...

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #898

Jun 142014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 112,000 miles


I was traveling at 40 mph when the check engine and traction control lights lit up on the dashboard. Steering was extremely hard, the power steering was not working and I pulled into the nearest parking lot. After several times restarting the car, the power steering was working again.

- Willow Grove , PA, USA

problem #897

Jun 072013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 135,531 miles
While traveling about 30-40 mph, lost control of car, could not steer, crashed through trees, car totaled. Air bags did not deploy.

- Annapolis, MD, USA

problem #896

Jun 082014


  • 131,951 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While turning the vehicle at an unknown speed, the steering wheel became loose and difficult to turn. The power steering indicator illuminated during the failure. The vehicle was repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering), but the failure recurred. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 131,951.

- Rosedale , MD, USA

problem #895

Jun 072011


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the power steering warning lamp illuminated as the steering wheel became very hard to maneuver. The contact mentioned that when the failure occurred, the vehicle would jerk violently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 150,000.

- Conyers, GA, USA

problem #894

Mar 032014


  • 48,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving approximately 20 mph the steering wheel box disconnected and the contact lost control of vehicle. The dealer was notified of failure and no solution was offered. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 48,000. Updated 8/11/14

- Canadensis, PA, USA

problem #893

Jun 012014


  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while traveling 70 mph, the power steering failed and the power steering warning light illuminated. There was also a buzzing chime that sounded throughout the vehicle. The vehicle was turned off and once restarted, the power steering resumed normally. The failure recurred four times. The manufacturer was notified and of the failure. The vehicle was not inspected or repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 114,000.

- Copejil Dueo, MO, USA

problem #892

May 312014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Power steering gave out while driving.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #891

Dec 032005


  • 4,700 miles
I rented this brand new Cobalt 4 months after hurricane katrina from mobile Alabama, so as to go back to my home town of san francisco, ca. By the time I made it through los angeles, at around 430 am. I lost control of car due to severe stiffness in the steering. Which led to the vehicle running off of I-5 heading North bound at a speed of 60 miles per hour. Visibility was good, I veered off the freeway into the median portion of I-5, and I tried to slow down but no response which led me to roll over few times, end to end and over and over, luckily I was wearing my seat belt and it held very well, suprisingly, no airbags, none of them deployed, and all the windows blew out, and not the reinforced kind including the front wind shield. The ambulance came, and so did the California highway patrol. There is a report about it which indicates that no airbags were deployed, and I do have pictures of car after incident. I had few bumps and bruises and had few cuts from the glass on my arms and legs, and I had to acquire a few rounds of physical therapy and accupuncture.but luckily I was in good spirits.the car was covered under 3 insurances, which paid for some damage, including my discover card, and my grandma's aarp. And the rental car company.

- Ocean Springs, MS, USA

problem #890

Jun 012005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 1,500 miles
I purchase my vehicle brand new in 2005 and had continual problems with the car shutting off while driving ever since. I had this car at the dealer for annual maintenance as well as for the car shutting off while driving. I had the cart in the shop monthly for them to evaluate until they said there was absolutely nothing they could do they cant find anything wrong. Went to another dealership and still no satisfaction I even called GM to complain several times and I cried that I was going to get killed and they said there was nothing they could do. Now 13 + people are dead. I have my car at the dealer and it was a fiasco. They gave me back my car with a check engine light on and said I should pay for diagnostics. Really?? they had my car I did not give it to them that way. I called GM and they told me to pay for diagnostic my car is to old so they wont make them do anything. Nice real nice - I guess I am lucky to still be alive today - I wish I could sue them but I work hard and don't have that kind of money to spend. Again they are lucky they have no penalty. They don't care and they will only do what they are forced to do not what is the right thing to do. They should not have been bailed out they should never have that privilege again. In this world only the strong survive and the weak fail. Let them fail.

- Sound Beach, NY, USA

problem #889

May 012014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch recall notice. The consumer stated the first week of owning the vehicle, it would not start. When she called the dealer, the told her to move the steering wheel up and down and tap on the accelerator pedal. There were times through out the years, where the vehicle would not start. Also, the vehicle would pull to the left, the oil pan was leaking, the ignition switch was replaced, the left turn signal was inoperable, and the oxygen sensor was replaced.

- Troy, MI, USA

problem #888

Sep 012013


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving various speeds, the vehicle stalled and the power steering warning light illuminated without warning. The vehicle was able to be restarted. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the motherboard needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate mileage was 90,000.

- Brokville, IN, USA

problem #887

Apr 182013


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while accelerating from a complete stop, there was a loss of power steering and the warning indicator illuminated. The steering wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle was previously repaired under NHTSA campaign id number 10V073000 (steering). The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000.

- Owosso, MI, USA

problem #886

Jul 302013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer requests reimbursement for power steering motor recall repairs. The consumer stated the power steering went out on the vehicle. If she turned the vehicle off and back on, the steering would resume normal operation momentarily. The power steering light did illuminate and there was an alert sound. A diagnosis revealed the electronic power steering motor failed. The consumer contacted the dealer, who originally performed the recall, in 2010. They informed her they were no longer required to replace the power steering motor again. The consumer went to another establishment and had the steering motor replaced at a cost of $ $633.11.

- Pittsburg, CA, USA

problem #885

Apr 252014


  • 127,000 miles
As I was driving down the road at 57mph the power steering sign came on and a noise then I sudden lost power steering. I slowed down and pulled over and cut off. I then cut the car back on and the power steering light went off. Then I drove on and then the power steering went back out. I contacted the dealership were I got it from and they said it was nothing that they could do. They told me to contact GMC dealer company. GMC told me they could fix it but I would have to pay out my pocket.

- Ellerbe, NC, USA

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