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 8 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #864

Aug 132011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 25,749 miles


This submission is an addendum to the report that I submitted on Aug 15, 2011; reference number 10419491 with the attachments that include the police report, may statement and photos. I submitted my report two days after the accident. Now, after reading the news articles and the GM statements regarding the faulty ignition switch, it is apparent that what I thought was a steering malfunction (per the recalls I received and the statements made to me by GM representatives) was clearly the ignition switch. While driving down the freeway at 60 mph my dash lights turned on, I immediately lost steering control (I could not turn my steering wheel) and swerved had to the left crashing into the guard rail. The accident report shows my skid marks across three traffic lanes that clearly indicate that my ABS system also was not working. My airbags did not deploy even though my front end was crushed and the car totaled. Nothing on my car worked because the ignition switch had turned off. My original report should indicate that my car suffered an ignition switch malfunction that caused the accident. I was belted in so after being released from the hospital emergency room (I was taken by ambulance from the crash site) I was diagnosed with a cervical sprain, multiple cuts and bruises, sprained ankle and knee. My head impacted the windshield even though I had my seat belt on.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #863

Dec 182013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 137,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving approximately 40 mph the power steering suddenly malfunctioned making the steering wheel very difficult to turn. Since the incident occurred the contact discontinued driving the vehicle. The failure was not diagnosed nor was the vehicle repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 137,000.

- Bullville, NY, USA

problem #862

Feb 272014


  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while the engine was started the steering wheel failed. The power steering light illuminated while the failure occurred. The contact also stated that the dealer performed repairs to the vehicle under NHTSA campaign number 10V073000 (steering) however the failure was not corrected. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 22,000 and the current mileage was 30,000.

- Cicero, IL, USA

problem #861

Sep 102010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles


While making a left hand U-turn, car suffered a loss of power causing a loss of control, as a result a tree was hit causing the car to be totaled. This is as reported by my daughter who was driving at the time.

- Plainfield, IL, USA

problem #860

Jan 102010


  • 50,000 miles
On January 10th, 2010 our daughter [xxx] 21 yrs. Old was killed in a car accident. We received a recall notice from GM in April 2010 on the car a 2005 Chevy Cobalt for power steering failure. The recall involves removing entire power steering mechanism built by a partially owned Toyota factory. I knew the minute I got the news that my daughter was killed so violently and that it did not involve another car that it had to be mechanical failure. It was too late to save our daughter [xxx] but not too late to save others, I contacted GM who sent three representatives to the coparts scrap yard in duryea where the Cobalt was stored in July to investigate the car accident. A photographer, an accident reconstruction and a mechanical engineer that flew in from detroit, the objective was to remove the black box, computer from the car and analyze the data. We went to the scrap yard and for the first time saw the wreckage that was once a beautiful red sports car. All the windows including the sun roof were blown out, the Cobalt had flipped, rolled, ejecting [xxx] on to the highway where she was run over. We are not sure if [xxx] was killed on impact. The Cobalt burst into flames melting the instrument panel, shift, upholstery. At the coparts scrap yard in duryea, myself and my husband [xxx] father saw the car for the first time the Cobalt told the story of an extremely violent wreck. I was told by [xxx]that I would know the results from the black box data the next day. When I tried to contact GM through [xxx], miss price that they would not communicate with our family. GM has my property and they will not release the data without us providing proof that the car was defective. This is not possible since they took the most valuable piece of information from the car. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Scranton, PA, USA

problem #859

Feb 132014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 107,000 miles
TL - the contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the power steering warning lamp illuminated and the steering wheel became very hard to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the steering column needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 107,000.

- St Johnsville, NY, USA

problem #858

Feb 082014


  • 102,000 miles


TL- the contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, he attempted to make a right hand turn and the power steering failure light illuminated and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and they stated that the power steering module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 102,000.

- Saint Joseph, MO, USA

problem #857

Nov 182013


  • 202,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 10V073000 (steering) and after the recall repair was performed while driving approximately 65 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated. In addition, the steering wheel became difficult for the contact to maneuver. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 202,000.

- Willis, TX, USA

problem #856

Nov 042013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 169,000 miles
On November 11th, 2013, I was driving my vehicle down my street when all of a sudden, my car reads power steering and the tc light also comes on. The car begins to jerk as if it was going to turn off on its on. I immediately pulled over and turned the car off and waited about 5 minutes before I turned the car back on. When I started the car again the lights went off and the car drove as if nothing happened. On November 24th, 2013, I was leaving work and as I was pulling out of the parking lot into incoming traffic, the wheel all of a sudden just locked up on me and I almost had a serious accident. When I pulled over, the power steering light comes on again but this time so does the transmission light. I drove it to the nearest auto zone to get a diagnostics on it and they informed me that the codes that had showed up were dealer codes and only they could fix the problem. I stopped at the gas station to try and check the power steering fluid on it but there was no dipstick. When I turned the car on again, the power steering light and transmission light both turned off and the car drove as if nothing ever happened. I googled the codes that the gentleman gave me at auto zone and it turns out that there is a recall on my type of vehicle for the same exact issues. I called the dealership to try and get the issue fixed for free, but when I gave the mechanic the last 8 digits of my VIN, he stated to me that my car wasn't listed on the list of recalls despite the fact that im having the same issues as the cars that have actually been recalled. I don't know what to do and I fear for my safety as well as the safety of my kids and other drivers. Please help me to get this issue reported asap to GM. I love my car but I also love my kids and our lives.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #855

Nov 052013


  • 96,000 miles
I was driving my Chevy Cobalt on Tuesday around 25 mph when something popped up saying power steering, the steering wheel got completely hard and I couldn't turn it. Almost got into a car accident while making a left. Next day, nothing happened. A day after, it started with the problem again. Took my car to the mechanic and he told me that it might be that the pump went bad. This is outrageous and really scary. GM has to do something about it considering I am not the first one to complain about this.

- Robbinsville, NJ, USA

problem #854

Jun 032009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 61,624 miles


My power steering has gone out on 6/3/09,7/31/10, 10/8/13. It been in the shop many more times and they can not seem to find anything wrong. The power steering light comes on and then wants to die. I do not want this to lead to an accident. What can we do to protect other 2005 Cobalt owner? the recall was fixed and still having many of the same problem. It has no warning just does it whenever it wants! I could be turning or driving on the interstate. The car needs to be recalled!!! I have been putting up with this long enough.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #853

Aug 112009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
In Aug 2006 purchased a 2005 Chevy Cobalt ls 4 door sedan. After having for 6 months, needed new front brakes, had replaced and was informed that the rotors were warped; had to replace two other times. Finally got another manufacturers installed. Since getting this car have also had the key stuck in the ignition whereas I couldn't get it out dealership can not reproduce (and it is out of warranty). Am still having this problem to date, more so now because of having to replace the steering column. (see below) in Mar 2010 because of recall had steering replaced. In July 2011 it was replaced again, and again (9/13/2013). I lost control of the car while making a turn almost hitting a parked car. Mechanic was able to reproduce this. But because GM is the only place that you can get these parts you therefore have to use them.(no after market parts made) it cost me $792 to get this replace this (out of pocket).. since getting this car, have had to replace struts, springs, shocks, brakes, control arm bushings most of this as I understand it would normally with higher mileage. When I got the car it had I believe 22K miles on it. Now it has 54200 on it...that's roughly 5K/yr. All maintenance has been performed and the car has not been abused. GM needs to do something with these cars not just ignore the problems.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #852

Nov 142012


  • 127,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the power steering malfunctioned and the power steering warning lamp illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 127,000.

- Rockville , MD, USA

problem #851

Sep 042013


  • 156,635 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while parked, the power steering warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for a diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 10V073000 (steering). The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 156,635.

- Edmonton , KY, USA

problem #850

Aug 242013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 56,900 miles
On Saturday morning 8/24/13 I got into my car and backed out of the driveway. Once I backed out of the driveway and put the car into drive the car started to jerk. I kept driving for about another 50 feet to a stop sign. It jerked to whole way to the stop sign. There I made a U turn to go back home to get my father. He got in the car and we drove back to the same corner and once again it jerked the whole way to the stop sign. So we went back to the house so my dad could get some his shoes on so we could take it to where I bought the car. While he was in the house I turn the car off. When my dad got back in the car and I turn the car back on and drove to the sign the jerking had went away. I drove the car the rest of the day and put around 75 miles on it that day with no other problems. On Sunday night 8/25/13 I got into my car to drive into town. I drove about block and the car began to jerk and shake again. I drove about another block and pulled into a parking lot. Once I stopped I noticed the power steering light on the dashboard had come on. I turned my car off and sit there for a little while turned it back on and drove in town with no problems the rest of the night. On Monday 8/26/13 I drove the car 30 miles back to where I bought it with no problems. Their service department has been trying to recreate the problem now for 3 day with no success.

- Gettysburg, PA, USA

problem #849

Aug 202013


  • 112,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the steering wheel locked and the power steering warning lamp illuminated. The contact mentioned that the vehicle had been repaired under recall NHTSA campaign number: 10V073000 (steering) once before. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 112,000. Returned by usps on 10-22-2013. Second attempt on 10-31-2013 failed.

- Glenburnie, MD, USA

problem #848

Apr 012011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
After starting the Cobalt or even if I am driving down the interstate at 70 mph, the T/C lights, brake lights, power steering lights all light up on the dash. The speedometer and RPM gauges start going crazy. The radio will also go in and out. Usually on the interstate, the car will continue to drive, which is very scary. But if I am in town or slowing down to stop, the car will cut off. Then after I crank it again and start to move, the transmission changes gears really rough and feels like it is going to fall out. The only thing I have found to fix this (after weeks at different dealerships) is to turn the car off and flip the key on and off several(20 plus) times.

- Graham, NC, USA

problem #847

May 012013


  • 120,000 miles
Vehicle has a rattle and vibration at highways speeds from 50-80. Steering is very loose and rattling sound is loud. Also, at slow speeds and going over bumps there is a clunking sound in the steering column and rattling noise from wheel.

- Ormond Beach, FL, USA

problem #846

Jul 182013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
The traction control light came on, the car started jerking really bad. The check engine light came on, and the "power steering" started flashing on my dashboard. My power steering went out, I was unable to steer the car. I had the car towed to the dealership, they could not get it to duplicate the problem. Exactly one week later, it did it again, once again I had it towed to the dealer. They had the car for 2 weeks and could not get it to duplicate the problem. So, once again I have the car back, lets see how long it takes to screw up this time.

- Mount Vernon, OH, USA

problem #845

Aug 052013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
At random times, my 2005 Chevy Cobalt will pop up a "check engine" light and a "traction control" light, where I lose my power steering, the motor shifts hard into each gear, and the motor runs very rough. Also, there are clicking sounds at the shifter, like it is trying to shift into a gear or something. This is a serious hazard and as I've read online, I am not the only one this has happened to. There are thousands of others. This entire car needs to be recalled because no one knows what is doing this!

- Conover, NC, USA

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