Notes: The 2006 Cobalt continued to carry the torch first lit by the 2005 model year. To be clear, that torch is burning bright with widespread power steering issues, electrical curiosities and a dangerous ignition switch defect which led to a massive recall by GM. This isn’t a great torch to carry.

The 2006 added it’s own special flare with gas leaks due to cracks in the “return portion of the modular reservoir assembly.” A recall of 2006 Cobalts was issued to fix the problem, but only to vehicles sold in or current registered in Arizona and Nevada, leaving other owners to pay for repairs themselves.

Between this car stalling while driving, giving owners fits with power steering failure and having it be a potential tinderbox because of gas leaks, we felt we had no other option than to award it our “Avoid Like the Plague” badge.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
29,746 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.

2006 Chevrolet Cobalt accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments

problem #6

Aug 012012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the power steering seized and the vehicle stalled. The contact had to wait a few seconds to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. After diagnosis, the contact was advised that the anti theft module had failed and was later replaced. Immediately after the repair, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was approximately 97,000. The current mileage was approximately 109,507. Updated 03/07/13 the consumer stated the power steering will shut off, the transmission will shift very roughly, the instrument cluster go on and off, and the car will die at various speeds. When this failure occurred the steering would lock up. Recently, 02/13/2013, the vehicle had no power steering then, it suddenly turned on nearly causing the vehicle to fly off the road. Updated 03/11/2013

- Olathe, CO, USA

problem #5

Aug 012011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key would become stuck in the ignition. The manufacturer was notified of the failure, but denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 65,000 and the current mileage was 72,000. Updated 12/01/11 the consumer stated the key would get stuck in the ignition and there was no release button to remove it. The consumer stated he would have to leave the vehicle on, or leave the key in the ignition and disconnect the battery. The consumer also stated the power steering failed a times and the speedometer did not work and the windows wouldn't roll down. Updated 12/08/11 updated 12/12/11 the consumer stated the brake does not have to be applied to shift out of park. The consumer experienced other problems due to the problem with the ignition. Updated 12/15/11

- South Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #4

Jul 222008


  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle was unsafe because the speedometer, instrument panel, and a host of other failures were occurring with the vehicle. The check engine light illuminated, but the dealer could not diagnose the cause of the failure. The warranty has expired and the dealer still is unable to locate the reason for the failures. The contact filed a complaint with the manufacturer regarding the warranty. The failure mileage was 13,000 and current mileage was 31,000.

- Pavo, GA, USA

problem #3

Mar 202007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 3,400 miles


Events that lead to failure: 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt randomly shut off, instrument gauge needles randomly flicker/twitch, bad smell that in my opinion resembled a burnt food/sulfur combination. It started out lightly and randomly for a few weeks, but became heavier and constant over a week. A knocking noise came from the rear of the car, idle surged, and cruise control failed to disengage. Failure & consequences: Fire! component that failed was a canister/sending unit rear of the gas tank with the consequence of a fire and the total loss of my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The evening prior I contacted my local dealer about the smell and I told them I have no warning lights on. The next day driving to the dealership the smell/odder intensified. My thoughts were, we'll at least they can't say they don't smell it or give me the "can't duplicate it" decision. I only made it halfway when my car had a major electrical/mechanical failure. I was assisted by cars traveling behind me as one pointed out my car was on fire and the car shut down, all without any warning lights! the fire severely burned the entire back half of the car. After being inspected by a very well seasoned fire inspector the fire was diagnosed to come from a canister/sending unit malfunction. Again no warning lights GM! in my opinion the random shutting down of the car, the gauges twitching/flickering, the strange knocking noise and the smell/odder was all part of the same problem. Corrected failures: In reference to the fire, that will be up to GM however, after reading the NHTSA alarming number of 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt complaints and technical service bulletins one would be led to believe that there should be more than just a couple of recalls.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #2

Jan 012007


  • miles
2006 chev Cobalt warning lights did not come on to state that something was wrong* the consumer stated she ran over something in the road and as a result radiator was damaged which caused coolant to leak.

- King City , MO, USA

problem #1

Jun 172006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76 miles
When turning the headlights from the automatic to the manual position the dashboard instrumentation does not light up. This poses a safety hazard on cloudy / foggy days when the automatic sensor sensitivity is set to high to allow for proper lighting of the headlights and dash instrumentation. When the lights are switched to manual this should bypass the automatic sensor and allow for dashboard illumination however this is not the case.

- Penngrove, CA, USA

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