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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,983 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 #5

Feb 032011


  • 66,000 miles


I bought my 2006 Cobalt brand new and it now has 66,000 miles on it. At about 15,000 miles the key locked in the ignition and shifting gears became almost impossible (automatic transmission). It was under warranty so I took it to the dealer and they replaced the shifter assembly. Now today (2/3/11) I wasn't having any problems with my car until I started it and couldn't press the shifter button in to put it out of park. It stayed stuck in park. When I tried to take the key out, it stayed stuck in acc. I was able to manually take it out by pressing the "plunger" under the steering wheel. Called the dealer and had to tow my car there. Again, my shifter assembly has to be replaced with a total cost (after towing, diagnostics, labor, and parts) of $450 out-of-pocket. Due to a cheap plastic piece in the gear shift. Ridiculous.

- Capulin, CO, USA

problem #4

Jun 242006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I have owned my 2006 Chevy Cobalt since June 2006 and have had numerous problems out of this car. I have had to pay out of pocket for every repair because they seem to all happen before a recall is issued and the dealerships will not refund money on the repairs. 1) A/C leaks water in passenger side floor board. I have had it in the shop 3 times and it is still leaking. No one can figure out why the water is leaking into the car. 2) gas tank had to be replaced due to fuel lines cracking. 3) power steering went out while my husband was driving on the interstate and was about 130 miles from home. 4) the car would die if the RPM's got too low, this was caused by a carbon build up on the idler. 5) there is no way to check the transmission fluid and it is starting to slip and take forever to upshift. 6) the key gets stuck in the ignition and will not come out. 7) the drivers side door gets stuck and will not open. 8) the door latch sometimes messes up and the door does not close. 9) the stereo display and buttons no longer work. I can not use the cd player for fear of losing the cd for ever since the eject button doesn't work. I can not see the clock or what station the radio is on. The car lost its value so fast that even after 4 yrs of having it I still can not trade it in due to the amt. I still owe on it. So I am stuck driving this piece of crap until it is paid for. I have already invested several thousands of dollars into this car for these problems. I believe that the car is a lemon and I should be reimbursed for the car and all of the out of pocket repairs I have had to make.

- Gilmer, TX, USA

problem #3

Apr 272010


  • miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, remote control system not good quality. I have two keys when bought the car. Just pass the 3 years, one key cannot unlock the car while can only lock the car. Another key works well. Compared my another Toyota car, already 7 years, the key only need replace battery and work. But Cobalt key electronic part worn out.

- Guelph, On N1g 4t6 Canada, 00, USA

problem #2

Dec 032009


  • 75,000 miles
I have sent a letter to Chevy directly and I feel this is an issue that should be addressed to you as well. I purchased a Chevy Cobalt a few years back. The Cobalt is an 06. For about 4 months now my key has been getting stuck in the ignition at the acc point. It will not allow me to turn past that point. I have found the little plunger to remove my keys in the steering wheel column. The second issue that arises with this is that my gearshifter moves when the car is off. This is a hazard as one day the shifter got shifted out of gear and started to roll away. My car is out of warranty, but this seems to be an issue I have seen posted on the net that many have experienced. My mother has an 05 Cobalt that had a similar problem she had the key assembly and the gear shifter replaced. I'm a soon to be mom and this issue needs to be resolved. I don't have any other complaints other than this.

- River Falls, WI, USA

problem #1

Nov 262009


  • 53,916 miles
We are buying a used 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls & the key has stuck in the ignition. We have found out through research that this has been a huge problem with others & the automatic shifter assembly has to be replaced. We have no warranty now & still owe too much on the car. Why is there no recall on this since there are so many complaints? every single web site we were on people have complained about this. This is a rotten deal.. every website has too many complaints. There absolutely should be a recall to fix this problem.----this was a message sent to Chevrolet of which they replied: Thank you for contacting the Chevrolet customer assistance center. I have processed the information on your vehicle and after thoroughly researching all the resources available to me; I was not able to find any recall associated to your vehicle. Recalls are vehicle identification number specific so not all vehicles of a model year are affected. I emailed back that they need to have a recall for this. It is costly to replace & not fair to the consumer. Please help.

- Omaha , NE, USA

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