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:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
31,537 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

problem #13

Sep 112009


  • 80,000 miles


2005 Chevy Cobalt--power steering goes out suddenly on car.

- Wapakoneta, OH, USA

problem #12

May 302009


  • Manual transmission
  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering indicator illuminates periodically. When this occurs, all power steering is lost and the vehicle becomes very difficult to steer. The contact must turn off the vehicle and restart it in order to reset itself. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the power steering control module was out of warranty; therefore, they would not pay for the repair. The contact will call the manufacturer for assistance. There was no recall for the steering wheel. The failure mileage was 107,000. Updated 07/08/09 updated 07/08/09.

- Sycamore, AL, USA

problem #11

Dec 102008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,300 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 50 mph, the contact changed lanes quickly to avoid another vehicle and the steering locked. The contact attempted to maintain control of the vehicle, but he spun out twice and eventually pulled off the road. The day before the failure, the power steering indicator illuminated for two seconds on the instrument panel. The contact found numerous complaints regarding this component. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The failure and current mileages were 35,300. Updated 12/30/08. Updated 01/05/09.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #10

Mar 032008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles


The electronic power steering sensor fails while driving and shuts off the power steering without warning, or a chance to pull off the road. If I make it to the side of the road without being hit, I can restart my car and the power steering comes back on. By default the computer shuts off the power steering to prevent damage to the car. GM has made the decision that a $900 power steering sensor is worth more than my life.

- Orange, TX, USA

problem #9

Nov 122007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving between 65-70 mph, the vehicle completely shut down without warning. Also, the power steering shuts off without warning. The power steering light would illuminate. The vehicle has not yet been diagnosed. The purchase date was unknown. The current mileage was 25,000 and failure mileage was 22,000.

- Blue Ridge, VA, USA

problem #8

Apr 152007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 45,000 miles
My 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt ls started having power steering failure about 3 months ago. The power steering would completely shut off at random times while driving the car. The problem got worse and worse, and now the power steering only works for the first 20-40 seconds of driving and then shuts off. It is a safety hazard as the vehicle is very difficult to steer without power steering. The dealer refuses to fix the problem because my warranty is expired, however a car with 49,000 miles on it should not be experiencing power steering failure.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #7

May 112007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 50 mph, the steering wheel locked and the contact was unable to steer. She stated that the fuel pump light remains illuminated. The dealer has not inspected the vehicle. The VIN was unavailable. The current mileage is 48,000 and failure mileage was 45,000.

- Bryson City, NC, USA

problem #6

Jun 032006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,400 miles
After recently purchasing a 2005 Chevy Cobalt, I noticed the steering felt like it was in a bind and I can hear a rubbing noise when making right hand turns. I have become aware of other complaints concerning this exact same thing. I am concerned the power steering will go out and I will lose control of the vehicle. I know there are two service bulletins out on this; NHTSA item numbers: 10019478 and 10017497. Please advise me of the details of these bulletins and what is being done to correct this problem.

- Middlesboro, KY, USA

problem #5

Jun 022006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,500 miles
My new 2005 Chevy Cobalt purchased 08/28/05 has impaired my driving ability twice now. My power steering light has been generated each time before I was unable to drive or steer properly. On 04/11/06 was on the hwy 1st time and exited off safely. June 2nd 2006 8 weeks later 2nd time occurred down town dropping off child to daycare and my way to work for important work meeting. Power steering light came on again and began to jerk my car aggressively back and forth until I got safely home. Called dealer to get towed to them they gave me a 1800-222-1020, but failed to tell me that it would be towed to the nearest Chevy dealer where the car is now. Customer service and the dearlerships have given me the run around for four days, and the Chevy customer service and dealership indicates suggest no manufacture defect issue or safety. No reassurance to the Chevy Cobalt or what their willing to do for safety precautions does not seem to addressed, or what I can or cannot do with the car. No car loaner was going to be given until the service manager saw a problem first. It has been difficult to get a straight answers and quality customer care as to a considerable defect with the steering of the vehicle or the impairment of this type vehicle that can cause serious injury or death. I requested a refund back T. still waiting to hear from either one. I was told between 12 and 2pm today June 6 2006 I would get an answer. No phone call as of yet. Its 2:30pm.

- Hollister , CA, USA

problem #4

May 262006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,800 miles
: the contact stated while driving 10 mph the power steering and power brakes failed. The power steering and T-C lights on the dash illuminated. This happened three times. The vehicle was towed to the dealer were an unknown computer part was replaced. Updated 06/23/06.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #3

Jul 072005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles


The 2005 Chevy Cobalt power steering has a serious problem. As stated in the hand book if you turn the steering wheel to the stop position you may lose power assist, that does happen. In my opinion you should never lose power steering. It occurs often with me because I teach driver education, and in Pennsylvania part of the test requires parallel parking. When teaching students we very often lose power steering. If you are in a city situation and you have to make many turns to get into a spot you will lose power steering. General Motors claims this is not a big enough problem to warrant looking into. I feel in can very well be a safety hazard.

- Havertown, PA, USA

problem #2

Dec 272005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,879 miles
: the contact stated while driving the power steering failed. The steering wheel was very hard to turn. After the vehicle was parked the power steering fluid was checked. The vehicle was taken to the dealership where a diagnostics test was performed. The dealership was unable to duplicate the problem. On December 27, 2005 while at 35 mph the power steering failed again resulting in an accident. The vehicle was totaled. The seat belts were worn, but there were minor injuries, the manufacturer has been contacted. Updated 2/13/2006 -

- Cold Spring, KY, USA

problem #1

Jul 062005

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owned a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. This vehicle was rented by the consumer for three days. The vehicle was making a squealing noise, and got into a severe accident. The problem was either in the steering or the tires. An investigator was looking into the problem. Contact believed that the accident was caused by this noise. She lost complete control of the vehicle while going around a curve, resulting in a collision. 2 occupants sustained injuries. The police reported that contacts vehicle hit the left side of a diesel semi truck, but she stated that vehicle hit the front of the other vehicle. Also, the police report stated that there was moderate damage to the diesel truck. The police report was available if needed.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

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