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 9 of 51)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #844

Jul 172013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


I was driving down the hill and my car made a "ding noise" three times and on the display it said power steering at which time it made a clicking noise and I could barely turn the steering wheel, I made it about 3 feet with the car "bucking" and was able to pull into the nearest parking lot and sat there and turned my car off and then turned it on the steering wheel would only turn slightly and my car would not reverse. This happened about 3 years ago and I had it fixed for $800 and now it's happening again. I am fearful that this car is not safe to drive and I don;T know what is wrong with my power steering. I had a new engine put in last year and all this for a car that is only 7 yrs old. I don't have the money to keep replacing parts and I am concerned that this is not a safe car for myself and my children.

- Renton, WA, USA

problem #843

Jun 252013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 104,755 miles
I was driving down the road and the power steering gave out. I had this replaced in 2010 and it has already given out. I called the customer service line and they said it was my problem unless I went to the dealership and got another diagnostic test done on the car which was my responsibility. I was unaware of the first recall and was charged 100 deductible. I figured since I was there getting my car serviced I would get other things fixed.

- Tempe, AZ, USA

problem #842

Apr 222013


  • 101,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the steering wheel became hard to turn. In addition, the traction control and the power steering warning light illuminated as the failure occurred. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where a diagnostic was performed however, the diagnostic was unable to determine a specific failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 101,000 and the current mileage was 102,000.

- Decatur , GA, USA

problem #841

Sep 042009


  • 14,902 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph, there was a complete loss of power steering with the illumination of the warning indicator. The steering wheel was extremely difficult to maneuver which caused a slight loss of control and the vehicle crashed into another vehicle. There were no personal injuries. A police report was not filed of the incident. The vehicle was driven with caution and had not been repaired. In 2010, the vehicle was repaired under a recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 10V073000 (steering). The failure recurred two days after the remedy repair was performed. The vehicle was taken back twice to the dealer where the spark plugs were replaced. The failure persisted. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 14,902.

- Toms River , NJ, USA

problem #840

Oct 192012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 58,300 miles
My 2005 Chevy Cobalt begins to shake while driving on the freeway. I can feel the vibration starting through the floor board and eventually the whole front end begins to shake. The steering wheel violently shakes from front to back(versus side to side) and the vehicle is hard to control. I always have to pull over or get off the freeway. It feels like the whole front end is going to fall apart. After coming to a complete stop I can continue to drive without any problems. This began almost 6 months ago. I have had my car looked at several times and each time I take it and someone test drives it they cannot find a problem. They have done inspections of brakes, tires ( rebalance and rotate, checked front end alignment, checked steerage and linkage and they find nothing wrong. They also tell me that my car is in great condition. But it continues to shake all the time. Sometimes it won't happen for a week or two, sometimes it happens two or three times a week..

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #839

Apr 192013


  • 123,000 miles
I was almost killed in this car when my steering froze up on the highway. I couldn't turn my wheel. Thank god I was able to make it to the side of the road, but was very dangerous & scary. Long story short I had it checked out and was told it needs a new steering assist motor which was recalled back in 2010. My dealership claims they fixed it back in 2010 when the recall was issued. They claim to have the paperwork (actually only 1/2 of the paper work). If it was fixed it isn't working now and I was almost killed. This was a recall and I don't think I should have to pay $500. To get it fixed. I have complained to GM & spoke to [xxx] at your company and got nowhere! in fact [xxx] sided with the dealership. I would like this fixed at no expense to myself. If his issue is not resolved I am going to my local tv show and also to my state senator ron blumenfeld who will indeed resolve this issue if you are at all familiar with channel 8 and mr blumenfeld. I can't believe you would jeopardize someone's safety over the almighty dollar! I should not have to pay $115. Just to get it looked at and then another $500 to replaced the motor....yet again!! I look forward to hearing back from you. I am copying this letter to [xxx] as well as my attorney. Also, terryville Chevy, where I bought the car has been totally unhelpful and refusing to help me without money. It is a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Terryville, CT, USA

problem #838

Mar 052013


  • 45,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that both the traction control and power steering warning indicators illuminated until the engine was turned off. There was also a complete loss of power steering and the transmission began to down shift independently. The contact was able to continue to drive with excessive force being applied to the steering wheel. The failures would recur sporadically. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and repaired under NHTSA campaign id number 10V073000 (steering). The failure recurred one year after the recall remedy was performed. The vehicle was not repaired for the most recent failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 45,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #837

Feb 212013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 68,687 miles
When starting up the vehicle, the check engine and traction lights are lit up. The gauges fluctuate, as well as the temperture reading blinks. Loud clicking sounds can be heard coming from the shift selector. The steering wheel will not turn due to loss of power steering. After shutting off vehicle, the ignition will not release keys for about 15-20 seconds. Have also lost power steering on freeway at speeds of 70 mph. Have attempted to have GM and the dealership resolve the issue, first by having the recalled parts replaced. Problem is recurring for third time, after being "handled" by the dealership the last two times. A very dangerous and potentially life-threatening problem.

- Yelm, WA, USA

problem #836

Jan 092013


  • 111,944 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated the steering wheel seized while parking. The vehicle was shut down and restarted then functioned properly. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 111,944.

- Willingboro, NJ, USA

problem #835

Jun 022010


  • 43,643 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering assist failed. The contact stated that he had the vehicle towed to the dealer for inspection where they stated that the power steering motor needed to be repaired. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering:electric power assist system), but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified of the issue. The failure mileage was 43,643.

- Mentor , OH, USA

problem #834

Nov 172012


  • 117,600 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 10 mph, the power steering warning lamp illuminated as the vehicle stalled. The contact mentioned that once she was able to restart the vehicle it hesitated and started shaking violently. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 117,600 and the current mileage was 117,631.

- Rialto, CA, USA

problem #833

Nov 122012


  • 174,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the power steering assist failed and the contact lost control of the vehicle, crashing into a ditch. There were no injuries. The vehicle had been previously repaired for the power steering assist under recall NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering:electric power assist system). The vehicle was not taken to the dealer after the crash. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 174,000.

- Palmer , AK, USA

problem #832

Nov 042012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 87,666 miles
After having taken my car into the Chevrolet dealer for a power steering failure the car acted up again. They replaced the power steering motor however after about 1 hour of driving the cruise control disengaged and the power steering message came on the display. The gauges started going crazy and the check engine light would flash on and off as well as the parking brake light. At lower speeds there was a clicking sound from under the automatic transmission box and the car jerked when changing gears. This is extremely dangerous as driving on the free way at those speeds can lead to fatalities. I am extremely thankful nothing happened. General Motors needs to get this right as clearly replacing the power steering motor is not the solution to the problem!

- Berrien Springs , MI, USA

problem #831

Apr 262012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 78,200 miles
While backing car up steering went out. Steering wheel would spin around. Found out that the lower shaft in steering column and the gear coming out of steering rack separated. Had to change steering rack / lower shaft / clock spring. Cost $1200 if this had happened while driving @ 65 mph with no control things would have been a lot more serious. I have my 24 month old baby in the car most of the time. Checked recalls and there seems to be none for this year car, but there is a recall for 2006 with similar problems.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #830

May 152012


  • 68,000 miles
The 2005 Chevy Cobalt, as well as possibly every other model year Cobalt has more problems than just the power steering motor failures. The speedometer no longer works in my vehicle, the low-fuel warning pops up no matter how much gas is in the car, the engine warning light illuminates, as well as the anti-theft light, battery light (the battery is brand new) and just about every light on the dashboard. Though this isn't a big problem, the radio locks itself and cannot be used until the car is turned off and turned back on. The car struggles to get out of first gear and has stalled repeatedly at red lights and on ramps to the highway. I have had the power steering recall repair done twice and when I took the car back to the dealership in may because the power steering warning had popped up again and the power steering stopped working, they said it was not the power steering and they sent me home in my stalling, jumping car with no power steering. Speaking to a Chevy customer service representative, they told me to go have the car diagnosed (they did run a scan at the dealership and came up with codes U2107, U2100 and U2105) and that I should be responsible for the cost. I asked why they didn't suggest this at the dealership, and was never given an answer other than a repeated I should be held responsible and it's probably a bad ECM or BCM. The car is out of warranty and Chevy offered 50% of the repair cost, but how is this a problem that I caused and should be responsible for at all? this car is incredibly unsafe to drive and I have read a number of similar complaints for this vehicle online. GM must be held responsible for their faulty vehicles. The power steering recall did not take care of everyone's problems and the customers should not be held responsible for the manufacturer's failure.

- New Castle, PA, USA

problem #829

Sep 092012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,162 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact started the ignition, and a sudden loss in the power steering assist occurred. The vehicle was restarted numerous times before operating normally. In June 2012, the vehicle was repaired for the defect under NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering: Electric power assist system). The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 22,162. Updated 02/20/13 the consumer stated the power assist fails while driving. No P.S. warning lights except when driving. The dealer stated no warranty on recall repairs. Updated 2/20/2013

- Hillsbora, OH, USA

problem #828

Mar 012010


  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge and several warning lights illuminated intermittently. The contact stated that while driving, power steering failed. As a result, the steering became hard to maneuver. The vehicle was not taken to a repair shop or dealer for inspection or repair. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who stated that the vehicle should be taken for diagnostic. The failure mileage was 103,000 and the current mileage was 153,000.

- Brookshire , TX, USA

problem #827

Aug 292012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
The power steering message was on and the car ran like a dog and shifted roughly and traction control light was luminated and had no power is similar to all other accounts on this year and model" I need to know if GM is going to fix it and if it happens again am I going to loose control of the car? I understand it has a recall on it but considering the miles I have on it are they going to honor the recall? I don't have money to fix it so I don't know what to do if it happens again" I never seen or had anything like this before and I have always had GM products form Oldsmobile, Pontiac and mostly Chevy I need reliable transporting on my job please tell me GM make this right by me [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Davenport , FL, USA

problem #826

Aug 082012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
In the first incident, the power steering on my 2005 Cobalt suddenly failed while accelerating up to highway speeds making it very difficult to turn. The power steering failure lasted until the vehicle was shut off after reaching my destination. The next day the power steering failed suddenly again twice and the failure would last until the vehicle was shut off. It's the same problem listed in recall #10V073000, but according to Chevy, my vehicle isn't one included in the recall.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #825

Aug 012012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 97,882 miles
My car was in the recall for power steering and I had the dealership replace the parts. I believe the recall was in 2010. Within the last year I had the power steering motor replaced because it was doing the same thing it was doing before the recall. I lose power steering and the car jerks intermittently. There is no warning and it happens at all speeds. I was told to pull off to the side of the road, turn the car off and it should fix itself. Unfortunately, the car started doing the same thing tonight. I am horrified that this is still happening and feel like the car is a death trap. I don't feel safe driving it and especially not with my children in the car. I plan on taking this issue up with Chevrolet again, in the hopes that they should pay for it. Please contact me for further information, I feel very strongly that this car should be recalled again for this issue.

- Franklin, TN, USA

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