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:
5 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 1
Average Mileage:
85,940 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #21

Feb 242019


  • 104,245 miles


My door lock keep lockimg and unlocking randomly on its own.. dose it worse driving down the road.

- Humboldt, IA, USA

problem #20

Jan 012017


  • 45,000 miles
Rear doors won't unlock.

- Cheektowaga, NY, USA

problem #19

Feb 142017


  • 46,000 miles
Can't open drivers door from inside or outside handles. Not safe to drive, if accident occurs how does the emergency personal get you out?

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #18

Jan 152017


  • 280,000 miles


Driver side door wont open, stuck shut. Handle feels like nothing is there. Cant open from inside or outside. This is very dangerous if was in a wreck or fire. Vehicle was in park as these are power locks and you can hear the unlocking sound however door doesnt open.

- Owingsville, KY, USA

problem #17

Aug 012007


  • 8,000 miles
The driver's side door gets stuck closed - sometimes if I 'snap' the outside handle it will eventually open, but it feels like I'm going to break it doing this. By 'snap' I mean to pull on the handle and let it snap back into position. I've been stuck inside the car and had to have someone 'snap' the outside handle to get the door opened for me. I've had incidents where I've had to crawl across to the passenger side to get out. This is not easy because you have to lift the console up in order to get by... and the console doesn't latch and everything falls out... not to mention I'm a little chubby and it's really hard for me to do in the first place. This problem is dangerous to potentially be locked in your car - what if I was in an accident"! what if I needed to get out of my car in a hurry for what ever reason!" I have been locked in 5 times and and locked out at least once daily for the last month. This has been happening on and off pretty much since I got the car in 2007, and every time I have taken it in to get looked at, the car dealership says they've never hear such a thing (I've brought it at least 3 times for this reason), and that they can't seem to get it to do it when they have it... again... this is a dangerous thing... not just an inconvenience - which it certainly is when the door won't close from this, but at least I'm not in it when that happens

- Syracuse, NY, USA

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problem #16

Apr 012015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
Driver door wont open form in or outside sometimes and if it does it will not latch properly and open while driving.

- Orion Il, IL, USA

problem #15

Mar 042014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 161,500 miles


Upon entering my vehicle, the drivers side door opened but would not latch when closed. After examining the door locks, lock buttons, handles both inside and out as well as the stricker and latch, I found that the door latch mechanism was stuck open. I functioned the locks and handles in order to release the latch. They would release but once pressed against the stricker they would again stick. I applied some lub and penetrating oil and this temporarily corrected issue. I had identical issue with passenger door and also issues when attempting to open both doors. One year after initial issue, the passenger door will not open. Had to remove door panel to gain access to the latch from inside the door. Latch has been replaced.

- Oakland City, IN, USA

problem #14

Mar 072015


  • 107,000 miles
This is about the fourth time my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt driver side door has been stuck shut. Previously, restarting the battery fixed the problem but now the issue appears to be mechanical. It's absolutely ridiculous that I have to climb out of my passenger side door with a fractured spine because Chevrolet and GMC cannot engineer a door properly.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #13

Aug 022013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 165,000 miles
Went to get out of car doors were unlocked but would not open. Rolled down window doors still would not open. Prayed apart door panel can not access actuator. Have to climb over seat to get in and out of car. Went to take car to inspection today and state of NJ said they would not inspect because it is a safety issue and they can not get in and out of my car. Called GM today and tried to schedule me am appointment to where I would have to pay out of pocket for and offer no other remedy I turned down and will take to my independent shop as it is a issue which should be recalled for as it's happened to multiple vehicles.

- Browns Mills, NJ, USA

problem #12

Nov 152013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
I have written at least 1-2 letters to GMC, spoke w/reps for hours for years, reached out to sm, & attempted to handle the issue myself, & I am disgusted & furious at the way GMC has brushed off loyal, paying consumers w/no regard. My vehicle was purchased brand new off of the lot & I loved it. After having mandatory recall work done in 2010, the vehicle was never the same. My passengers were often times frightened by the unfamiliar handling of a 2006: It jerked, bucked, cut off, & often times would not cut back on. Once, when driving a friend that serves in the military, I went to make a left turn & the car cut out of the turn & turned off. If traffic would have been coming, we both would have died that day. I cried & begged GMC for years that I feared for my life & something was very wrong w/the car. They denied any knowing of my issue & made me pay hundreds after hundreds in diagnostic fees that were fruitless labor. Dealers & reps made it seem as if I were crazy & just trying to be problematic instead of honestly addressing my issue & taking me serious. Once I finally received recall papers, my car ceased to take any more abuse. The engine has been yanked & knocked to the point of exhaustion & what was once my most prized possession is now a non-moving mass sitting in the driveway. I have accrued a number of speeding tickets due to the spastic speedometer moving out of control (which I took videos of & sent to GMC), scrunched the front of my hood due to the car locking up, & overall ruined my life as my 1st big investment in a genuine product of living left me stranded, literally. I have a copy of at least 1 of the letters that I sent in, the video footages, the links to the sm I addressed Chevy, pictures, witnesses, & documentation of invoices on file at dealerships. When I asked black Chevy in greensboro for my info, they said it should be linked to VIN.please

- Kings Mountain, NC, USA

problem #11

Apr 082014


  • 101,000 miles


A vehicle in front of my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt quickly applied their brakes which caused my daughter to quickly apply hers thus causing her to hit the rear of the vehicle in front of her. The air bags immediatly deployed. My son, who was in the passenger seat, noticed within seconds of the crash that the engine was on fire. He had to quickly unhook both his and my daughters seat belt so they could evacuate the vehicle before the cabin caught fire. Once my daughter was able to relax and gather herself and tell me what she had remembered about the accident, she told me that it was very difficult to apply the brakes and it didn't seem like it was stopping as quickly as usual. I ask her if she thought that the car had stalled prior to the accident and she stated that she didn't know what it would feel like to have a car stall while she was driving. I am unsure as to, number one, why the engine caught fire immediatly after a 35mph impact and two, why was it very difficult for my daughter to push on the brake pedal to stop at a time when you need to trust your vehicle the most"??"

- Macomb Township, MI, USA

problem #10

Mar 262012


  • 35,000 miles
This vehicle is not safe to drive and was not built right. The manufactures knew for many years that the Chevy Cobalt 2006 would have a leaking gasoline system, and they kept this faulty defect to themselves for many years before bring this issue to the customer. I was driving the vehicle leaking gas for a few years unit the crack was large enough for me to smell it, while not driving, the ignition switch; with the key in it while the car was in park has started the car engine without turning the key. The key wont come out of the ignition switch. The car has turned off on me on the freeway more than 9 times. The car turned off on me going in reverse, couldn't control the brake and steering power to move out of the pole. While driving in the freeway I have had to quickly react; putting my emergency lights on and praying to god a car doesn't hit me, while with the left had side is quickly waving at the vehicles coming from behind to stop. Please help me. I have two children and im tired of being exposed to the dangers of this M defected life threatening vehicle. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bell, CA, USA

problem #9

Jun 072010


  • 82,849 miles
On June seventh, 2010, I was driving on the I-95 expressway. Suddenly, I lost the control of my car which was hit by another car driven for reymy w. portes (crash report # [xxx]). on February 21th, 2011, my husband, [xxx] had similar accident with his 2008 Chevy Cobalt. The fact that both crashes were so similar made dubious about our responsibility on them. On December 12, 2011 my husband presented a complaint to F. H.S. M. V. D. M. S. (complaint # [xxx]), on December 16, 2011 its answer was: "your complaints do not fall within its jurisdiction. Dejected, he didn"T any more action. I have just received from GM a warning about a defect which relates to motor vehicles safety exists in 2005-2007 model year (my) Chevrolet Cobalt, then I read on tv news, and internet, that GM issued that it's possible that the air bags might not deploy if there is an accident". in this moment we realized that both the 2006 and 2008 Chevy Cobalt air bags" did not deploy, regardless both vehicles crashes were on front bumper and maroone collision center charge to allstate the amount of $4183.16 to repair my car. We have received a significant amount of letters from lawyers, as well as allstate insurance dealing with injures damages and monetary compensation. Allstate paid to Mr. Portes the sum of $3 000, consequently our allstate insurance premium was raised substantially. This entire situation had caused stress, economic problems and lack of confidence in both my wife I. because both crashes happened in the afternoon rush hour, I-95 traffic was crowded and slow, but in other conditions and as consequence of air bag malfunction my wife and might have died. For the reasons explaining above, I, the writer, demand from GM a monetary compensation for the psychological, legal, and monetary problems caused by my car malfunction. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- North Miami Beach, FL, USA

problem #8

Mar 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt doors won't open from either the inside or the outside after rain. The handle moves, but the door won't open. This affects both passenger and driver doors, but fortunately hasn't yet affected both at the same time. When this happens, we can only get out of the car by the one working door. It takes days before the door works again. We're concerned about being trapped in the car in the event of an accident, fire, etc. We had the door lock/latch replaced, but the same problem still occurs.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #7

Jan 252009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
Crash car, steering became difficult to handle. Ran off road to right hit bank and flipped car several time. Car was going a little fast, but this car should have been able to handle the speed. One guy had a injury to his arm and the other was thrown from the car leading to his death.

- Ocean Isle, NC, USA

problem #6

Mar 202013


  • 129,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that both the passenger and driver's side doors would not open when the doors were unlocked. The contact took the vehicle to a local mechanic. The mechanic stated that the interior and exterior door latches would active normally but the locking mechanism malfunctioned and caused the door not to open. The mechanic replaced the entire door locking mechanism. The failure mileage was 129,000.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #5

Mar 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
The power locks suddenly do not work as usual. Usually, all the doors are locked when I drive the car while they are unlocked when I park the car. Now, there is no response of each door when I shift the car to park or drive. I hear some tick sound when I push the brake, which is not there when the locks work well. Sometimes it is very hard to move the power steering when I park the car.

- Center Line, MI, USA

problem #4

Dec 082011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
Door will not shut, than door will not open, than door opened while driving down street.

- Levittoen, PA, USA

problem #3

Sep 012011


  • 32,200 miles
Please have a safety investigation on this. I just came home from work and parked my car on the driveway. I noticed that when I tried to get out of the car, the door won't open.. I tried to open it from the inside and outside handle but the door still won't open...I was wondering how this could have happen when my car has never been into an accident and it was on the low 32K miles. I've done some researching online and found that a lot of people are experiencing the same problem with their Cobalt from model 2005 and up. This should really be a major safety concern! anyone could get into an accident while driving this defective car and couldn't get out because at any given time the driver side door would fail.. please investigate....

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #2

May 102010


  • 61,553 miles
Driver side door won't open at all no matter what I do.

- Watauga, TX, USA

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