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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
19 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 #4

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

problem #3

Jun 012006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2006 Cobalt dash lights will not work when lights are turned on manually while driving with windshield wipers on and it is cloudy or foggy it is not dark enough for auto lights to come on but it is dark enough that without dash lights you can not see how fast you are going.

- Wurtsboro, NY, USA

problem #2

Oct 272005


  • miles
Consumer 2006 Cobalt instrument panel lights do not illuminate when switched on. When the head lights were turned on manually that is when the consumer discovered the problem. The only time the instrument panel lighting illuminated was when the automatic light system was activated at night.

- Hampstead, MD, USA

problem #1

Mar 132006

(reported on)


  • miles
Petition for proceeding to remedy a safety defect and hazard which has resulted from the failure of GM to comply w/FMVSS 101 on the 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The only time the instrument panel lights operate is when the vehicles automatic lighting system is activated. The consumer is unable to manually turn on the instrument panel lights. ***transferred to ovsc***

- Hampstead, MD, USA

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