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:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 1
Average Mileage:
47,498 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 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Dec 012007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving at any speed, the power steering intermittently shuts off. The failure has progressively worsened over time. The dealer stated that the steering column needed to be replaced at the cost of $2,000. The VIN, engine size, and purchase date were unknown. The current mileage was 55,000 and failure mileage was 49,000.

- Jacksonville, IL, USA

problem #11

Jan 232008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
Power steering is failing constantly when driving. The power steering words come up on the dash and then it quits--very dangerous if it happens suddenly during a turn. So far, I'm fortunate that it happens only when driving straight. When I turn car off and restart it's O.K. for 5 or 10 minutes. I have 53,000 miles on car. From what I've read online, they will tell me it needs a new steering column and it will cost between $1200 and $2,000 to repair! very unhappy, very concerned for safety and now, out of warranty, will have to pay that much for something that sure sounds like a major safety defect?

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #10

Jan 182007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 49,862 miles
I have had my 2005 Chevy Cobalt since July 2005. At 800 miles I had it serviced for a leak in the passenger floorboard. It was in the shop 5 times before they found a fix. Next was the lights flashing on the dashboard, specifically the check engine, brake and high beam lights. Then the heater would not blow so it was in the shop to have that fixed. Then the reverse lights stopped working and there is condensation in the headlights. Now, two days ago, my power steering light comes on and it becomes very hard to steer. I almost had an accident when I couldn't turn fast enough. When you turn the car on and off it works again temporarily. I will be taking it to the shop again, but at this point it has 50,000 miles and is out of warranty. Very disappointed with the quality of this car!!

- Driftwood, TX, USA

problem #9

Dec 042007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles


Electronic power steering assist fails without warning causing loss of steering control.I called the dealer I bought the car at and was advised this was not under warranty and I would have to pay $1200 to have it repaired.I then called General Motors to report this as a safety issue and asked for a field rep and was refused information to contact a field rep.

- Hixson, TN, USA

problem #8

Sep 152007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,500 miles
Electronic power steering went out with out warning. It's a good thing that I wasn't making a turn at this impartial moment because if I would have been I would have crashed into something. If I turn the car off and then back on again it starts to work but only for a short period of time. It seems that the cooler it is outside the longer that the power steering works, however it does continue to turn off. I believe that the system thinks that its over heating and is locking up the power steering. I have found several other people with this exact same problem, and I mean exact.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #7

Aug 052007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 72,000 miles
Power steering motor failure, nearly caused a crash because I could not turn the vehicle.

- Brampton, 00, USA

problem #6

Oct 082006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,698 miles


: the contact stated while driving 10 mph, the steering became very tight and the vehicle jerked violently. There were no warnings prior to the incident. The vehicle was taken to a service dealer who was unable to determine the problem. Updated 10/30/06.

- Bellevue, KY, USA

problem #5

Sep 272006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 20,000 miles
Power steering goes out and electrical panel fluctuates. This happens at all speeds and at a standstill. Car has been in the shop 8 times for this defect.

- Groveland, FL, USA

problem #4

Jul 242006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle became difficult to steer after being driven for ten minutes. The vehicle is usually driven by student driver's who practice parking on a daily basis. The vehicle was taken to the service dealer who determined the overdrive limits on the power steering engaged automatically when the power steering was used excessively. The manufacturer could offer no repair because the override feature was manufactured on the vehicle to keep the power steering pump intact.

- New Richmond, WI, USA

problem #3

Jan 012006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles
We bought this car in July 2005. Since this time, it has been in the shop 8 times for various reasons. Mainly the steering. Going over bumps, it rattles very loudly. The steering column, struts, mounts, and almost everything to do with the steering has been replaced twice!! still rattles loudly. GM tells us that is not a safety hazard. There is a fix in progress but may take 6 months to a year! I pay a lot of money a month for a rattle trap! other items that have been replaced on the car is the radio, the blower motor, the right headlight, all 4 door bezels, all 4 door weather stripping due to wind noise, the shifting column because I had trouble getting the key out of the ignition. This has been the worst new car purchase I have ever made. I have already been in touch with the BBB about it.

- Brazil , IN, USA

problem #2

Mar 162006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle was returned to the dealer five times due to intermittent power steering failure and electrical problems. The steering wheel locked suddenly twice while driving, at various speed. The wheel locked on numerous occasions while the vehicle was stopped. Each time the power steering light illuminated on the dash during the failure. The wheel unlocked after the engine was shut down and restarted four times. The following electrical problems occurred intermittently, all the gauges fluttered, the fuel gage showed an inaccurate reading, and the emergency brake light illuminated while driving. On one occasion the dealer replaced the power steering housing, but this did not remedy the problem. On all other occasions the dealer completed diagnostic testing, but was unable to determine the cause of the problems. The consumer stated the gas tank was full of gas, however the low fuel illuminated on the dash. The radio malfunctioned twice. Updated 04/06/06.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #1

Feb 082005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 11 miles
Auto purchased new. Car and steering wheel pulls/drifts to the left. Steering wheel does not return to center after making left hand turn. Auto was fully inspected and found to have no damaged parts. Dealer has decided to replace electric steering column unit. Replacement part will take 1 to 2 weeks for delivery.

- Dorchester, MA, USA

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