Print this page 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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
59,100 miles
Total Complaints:
42 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (25 reports)
  2. should be recalled based on the number of complaints (4 reports)
  3. access door under column - push button & it will release key (3 reports)
  4. dealer replaced the ignition lock cylinder (3 reports)
  5. replaced the shifter (3 reports)
  6. had shifter replaced (2 reports)
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #42

Jan 202012

Cobalt LT 2.2lV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,923 miles


The key would not release, and it required a combination of tapping the brake, jiggling the key, and pressing the release button on the gearshift to get it to finally release the key. Sometimes it would 'click' and release the key only to immediately 'click' and lock it back in again.

This was (finally) considered fixable under extended warranty years later, so I had my gearshift replaced under warranty and the problem went away,

- Michael I., Burlington, ON, Canada

problem #41

Jul 102013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

This problem is so annoying. I wish there was a recall. This car sucks!!

- Monica H., Corpus Christi, TX, US

problem #40

May 012013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Key stuck in ignition. ALL THE TIME. There is a button under the steering column that when you press it, it will release the key but it is very tricky! You can't leave your car at valet or let anyone drive it because they can not get the key out, EVER!

- Gina L., Chino, CA, US

problem #39

Dec 052013

Cobalt SS V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles


Only a few months back was when this problem has started. I'd put my car in park, and went to turn my car off and the key would get stuck in ACC. I couldn't figure out why so I took my car out of park and put it back in, sometimes I only had to do it once, but other times I had to do it more than once. I called the dealership and told them about the problem and they told me to bring it in, but when I got there my car decided it wasn't going to do it this time so they couldn't do anything because we had to "Duplicate the problem". Well every time I duplicated the problem they were closed or I was at work or something. But up until two days ago I had been able to fix the problem for the time being. This is very annoying and something must be done about this. There are so many people complaining about this problem. Something Must Be Done !

- Cassandra N., Ctr. Barnstead, NH, US

problem #38

Feb 082014

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles

I bought the car used on 8/23/13 and and this is only 2/9/14. I went out to start my car and I put the key in the ignition and then there was nothing. I could not change gears, think I might of left it in drive when I shut it off. That wasn't it. So I want to take my keys out and they would not come out of the ignition. Well then I thought maybe I might have a dead battery. OK, I went to check that and GUESS WHAT! The button don't work, and the key is stuck in the ignition.

Well luckily I had a extra key made when I bought the car. Well anyways I got the trunk open. I found the battery. I was going to take the battery out and have it charged. But now I can't get the battery out. So this was on Sat. 2/8, I live in a small town where they roll up the sidewalks after 12 noon on Saturdays. We have a few stores open but not for cars.So now I have to wait for Monday to come before I can do anything. This is my plight.

Wishing you a better day.


- Joyce B., Lena, WI, US

problem #37

Jan 102014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

click to see larger images

key gets stuck in the ignition

I'm finished spitz so just going to give car to charity.

- joshuae777, North Hollywood, CA, US

problem #36

Oct 252012

Cobalt LT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,282 miles


Okay I just got my car back from the dealership from another recall about the gas tank, or something like. Well it was fine when I took the key out, but when I was at Walmart. Oh no! It wouldn't come out of the ignition. There was no sign of a clicking sound. It just wouldn't come out. The radio was still on when I opened the door. I get back to work from Walmart when I finally got it out after turning the car on and off several times. It happened again at work. I was getting really pissed off. This time it did not come out for a long time. I would say it took 45 minutes to get it out. I finally turned it off and on for the last time and put my car in neutral, and turned the lights on auto, and then it came out. This has happened many times before. I am getting frustrated. I can't take it in because I can't afford to pay for it. I think they need to recall this issue.

- Jessica R., Humble, TX, US

problem #35

Nov 012010

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

This issue is really annoying to me. When the key gets stuck, I can hear a clicking noise coming from the steering column. My father told me that it had to do with the security system, but I'm not sure to this day. I have come to the conclusion that if I wait for the clicking to stop, which is usually just 2 sets of clicks, then the key will come out, no problem. But, regardless of how long it takes for the clicks to end, this should not be happening, at all. Obviously a manufacturing issue, and I really don't have the desire to take money out of my pocket to fix this problem.

- Michelle G., Bradenton, FL, US

problem #34

Jul 252011

Cobalt ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

I cannot believe that Chey would not recall a recurring problem like this since the only solution outside of an expensive fix at the dealership is disconnecting your battery every night.That sounds real safe for a non-mechanical person like me! Also, you have to leave your key in the ignition, not that anyone would actually want to steal a Cobalt. Thieves have enough to worry about; they don't want to lose power steering while driving the getaway car! (Yes, my car also was victum of the power steering recall.) And don't get me started about installing the computer chip in a low end model like this? Chevy is so narcisistic to think that anyone wants their cars anymore. If this issue was a one off, I would think that this is just my luck, but this problem is across the board for the cobalts. Wake up Chevy and take care of your customers!

- gamela, Colorado Springs, CO, US

problem #33

Oct 012011

Cobalt LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

Seems like more than just the 2006 chevy cobalt is having 'key stuck in the ignition' problems. Had to have the ignition cylinder replaced...had to pay over $200.00 to have the dealer recode the key..the ignition would not turn completely off so it stayed stuck in ACC with the key stuck which made the battery die. Then we have the job of disconnecting & reconnecting the battery every time we went somewhere since it dies after being stuck in ACC with the key.

- dlmb, Harrisburg, PA, US

problem #32

Jan 232008

Cobalt LTZ 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,406 miles


the shifter knob kept sticking was not able to keep car in drive, nor would the key release. took even more time off for the dealership to fix the problem. PROBLEM CAR. i had to have the shifter replaced.

- tuell, Jacksonville, FL, US

problem #31

Oct 102011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,069 miles

It's very annoying and think they should do a recall on it with all these complaints. My 2006 cobalt now has 90,000 miles on it and everything is going wrong. I have to push this little white button to get my key out. This is ridiculous. I'm ready to get rid of mine. If I didn't have almost a year to pay on it I would. I HATE THIS CAR!!!!

- brandimmelton, Horn Lake, MS, US

problem #30

Jun 012011

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

As a temporary fix-located in the manual page 2-20, theres a hidden door under the steering column and if you put your finger in and push the little white button the key will release. This was a major pain in the ass because when the key was left in the ignition it drained the battery causing another problem!!! GGGGRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- deeberzz, Grants Pass, OR, US

problem #29

Mar 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles


I just got it at the end of last year it would not start start then the key was stuck I was able to get the key out after like an hour and a half because the car can't tell what its doing so I had to disconnect the battery.

- Karen L., San Diego, CA, US

problem #28

Aug 012009

Cobalt LS 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

click to see larger images

key gets stuck in the ignition key gets stuck in the ignition

The reason this is so delayed is I was asked the other day to fix it. CAN'T REMOVE KEY,BECOMING A PAIN. I removed the covering around the column, removed the small solenoid. removed the spring, reassembled the solenoid, put a small plastic wire tie to hold the plunger depressed from vibration. there is no current to it because there is a DIODE IN LINE with the solenoid and that is the problem. they come as ONE UNIT. COST at the dealer for the assembly is about $60.00. I tested the solenoid without the diode and it's fine but you can't get just the diode except at a junk yard and take a chance.DO NOT JUMP THE DIODE. It is a special diode and you will shoot 12 volts back to the BODY CONTROL MODULE (BCM) and that is BIG dollars. I will repost if I find a solution.

Update from Jul 3, 2011: Well guys I can eat a little crow. I reinvestigated the problem after owner said he could put it in gear with/out putting his foot on the brake.The shifter button had stuck in. There is a lever in the lower part of the assembly with a pin going threw it, a wire had wrapped around the pin holding it down not letting the button return.This on the drivers side of the counsel. The pin goes through to the passenger side to hit a microswitch that activates the solenoid to remove the key so you can't remove it without putting it in park. I actually fixed two problems by unwrapping wire. completely fixed

- mr fixit, Minneapolis, MN, US

problem #27

Jan 282011

Cobalt LS 2.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

I bought my 06 chevy cobalt in November of 2008, ever since then I have done nothing but put money into the POS. I hate it but stuck with it til I can afford something else. My car had one owner before I bought it and about a month and a half after I bought it the keys got stuck in the ignition. Now I do not have to push on the brakes to move to another gear. I have taken it to the local junk yard and they showed me a small button under the steering wheel panel to push and turn the keys back at the same time to get them out. It is a hugh pain in the ass and has been for over a yr now. My anti-lock brake light and traction control light are both on and is what I believe to be caused from this key locking situation.

My car is definately not in warranty anymore and I can not afford to pay for this to be fixed. I can honestly say I would never sell my car to anyone because I do not want others to have to deal with this POS car, and I will never purchase another car from GM as much as I have been screwed over buy them with this car.

- lindsaybandy, Osage City, KS, US

problem #26

Jun 252006

Cobalt LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles

at random times, the key remains stuck in the ignition. You have to turn the engine back on, sometimes more than once, and hopefully it will some out after that. Major pain in the butt! Just one of many complaints with this car.

- Dana D., Corinth, MS, US

problem #25

Feb 142010

Cobalt LS 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

This is bull sh*t! Everytime I try to take the key out of the ignition I have to push this stupid white button to get the key out. I was told that I have to pay $400 to get a new shifter system... How is this not on a recall. Now my 2006 looks worse than a1996 because all of the plastic surrounding my steering wheel had to be removed so that I can access the button...

- Larinda C., Jacksonville, AR, US

problem #24

Jun 042010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,206 miles

For the past week my Cobalt has been intermittently having a problem with the key being stuck in the ignition, and yesterday I tried everything I could think of for over 3 hours to get the key out an well the key is still stuck today, I had to send my car to my parents house so it will be safe as the key is in the ignition and I can NOT lock my car. My brother (a mechanic) has looked at it and believes it is a problem with a solenoid (or how ever u spell it) and he says because of this failed solenoid the car does not recognize it is in park when it is parked so the key will not release also when the key is stuck it allows you to shift from park to drive/reverse with OUT applying the brakes. I have only had this car for a couple months now and got it because it only had 1 owner and was kept in perfect condition and it was/is running great except for this issue.

- evaf, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

problem #23

Jan 022010

Cobalt LS V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,543 miles

When you purchase a Brand New Vehicle you do not expect the amount of problems BIG and small to occur. It is very frustrating to have your key get stuck in the ignition and have to 'fitness' the vehicle to make the car start. UGH!

- angry az gurl, Phoenix, AZ, US

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