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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
90,245 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Sep 162016


  • 119,870 miles


Had ignition switch replaced for recall about a yr ago. While driving on interstate car showed power steering in info line. Then odometer, speed, info numbers all stopped working. Pulled in gas station, car won't start, key won't come out of ignition. After a few mins, car started back up and now anti-theft light is on. Managed to drive tha car 100 mi. Back home but noise like lawnmower coming from front and felt like transmission stuck or slipping. Was terrified that car was gonna blow up or just stop and get hit by semi. The car has also just stopped a couple of times after having the ignition switch replaced. I had no problems with this until it was replaced. I did have the fuel leak happen and the electrical lights stop working and dim or get brighter with braking. This car is so dangerous to the drivers as well as public, it should not be in the road and consumers should not have to spend money they can't afford to fix a manufacturers screw-up.

- Corbin, KY, USA

problem #21

Jul 052016


  • 181,000 miles
I was driving the car on the highway, going about 38 mph and the power steering warning beeped and displayed on my dash. The steering tightened up a bit, and the car slowed down, as I was driving (I don't know what the car slowed down to because the speedometer then dropped to zero, but the tachometer continued to rev (I want to say) between 2 & 3 RPM, while the car was still in motion. The locks were clicking up and down too while this was all happening. Then the car bucked and the speedometer began working. The power steering warning light remained lit during the whole time. I was able to pull into a parking lot for safety. This was clearly a driving safety issue due to the vehicle slowing down when the power steering warning light came on. There were other affected parts, but I was not able to select the boxes: Electrical; other (speedometer) this also happened today: 07/10/16, prompting another complaint to be filed.

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #20

Dec 032015


  • 168,372 miles
It doesn't matter of I'm driving at just sitting at the traffic light but the T/C, engine lights come on N make my car jerk like it's the transmission kicking back so in March 2016 it got so bad to the point I could no longer even put my car in reverse so I had to have a brand new transmission which cost me $1500 then the same day I got it back all the lights came right back and I've taken it several times to the mechanic and it gives him a P1174, P0014 code. I'm afraid one day while I'm driving my car is just going to fall apart with how badly it jerks but once the T/C light does go off it stops jerking and will drive smooth but the engine light may or not still come on and makes my car drive sluggish N the RPM guages go crazy like I can accelerate but the car doesn't seem to be accelerating.

- Valdosta, GA, USA

problem #19

Jan 062016


  • 90,000 miles


After recall on ignition switch my car still stalls and the power locks go up and while driving and it sometimes will not come out of park

- Omar, WV, USA

problem #18

Oct 312015


  • 85 miles
Traction control light and power steering light came on while driving straight at about 80. The car became jerky while taking a slight left (almost like a delay in the steering wheel). Came to a light and the idle starting flirting. Drove forward it lurched a bit went and pulled in. While stopped I shifted between drive, park rev, the transmission would slam into gear. Idle fluttered. Shut off vehicle for 20 seconds lights and issue went away. Car is at 117,000km

- Langley, WA, USA

problem #17

Oct 282015


  • miles
The ignition switch was supposedly changed, still having trouble starting the car. Difficult to steer, sensors aren't working. Stationary when trying to start the vehicle, sensor lights comes on when driving, city highway.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #16

Jul 182015


  • 106,000 miles


I was driving 60mph down main highway when all the sudden the rpms went really high and the power steering indicator light came on. I pulled to the side of the road as soon as possible, turned the car of and back on started driving again. The car would not shift out of first gear and was hard to steer. Started going up a small hill to try and get it of main road and it stalled in the middle of the hill. These cars are nothing but a safety hazard and something needs to be done!

- Dolgeville, NY, USA

problem #15

May 042015


  • 195,000 miles
Electrical warning light (T/C) reappear does not turn off through normal drive. Tempature display not obtain data for outside hear index. Power steering warning is showing during usual operation small resistance with turning of wheel not noticeable if unaware of car capabilities. Power train possible transmission failure no power going up a vertical highway height causes stoppage of momentum while excelerator is being applied to the max. Taken car to dealer for professional opinion considering the asking price being huge that number of defects are large only having the car for two years these problems are exhausting.

- Seale, AL, USA

problem #14

May 022015


  • 110,000 miles
Vehicle gave off 3 chimes while driving at approximately 20 mph and the T/C light and engine light went on. Various other lights on the dashboard started flashing and the car started to lose power. "power steering" read across the led readout and the vehicle became hard to turn. The vehicle ended up in the middle of an intersection facing oncoming traffic. A head-on collision ensued with oncoming traffic.

- Cleburne, TX, USA

problem #13

Oct 062014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 68,110 miles
I live in buffalo, NY so this is more of a problem than not. During the cold months went he temperature goes below 20 degrees the car fails to start. I have replaced the fuel pump, spark plugs, intake, mass air flow sensor, and battery. I will be trying the crankshaft position sensor next. The car will crank strong, and continue to crank for several minutes. It will then stop, and begin to crank again when the key is again turned. However the car never turns over. The only thing I can imagine is that something is communicating with the ECM or ECU, not to start. This only occurs when it is very cold out as I purchased the car in late September, therefore I have to experience with the vehicle in warm temperatures.

- Tonawanda , NY, USA

problem #12

Jan 252015


  • 137,000 miles


Was driving on highway at 65mph and car shut off with no warning and reading engine disabled. Pulled over turned it off and back on the same thing happened 5 minutes later.

- Dolgeville , NY, USA

problem #11

Jun 252014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 94,548 miles
Driving on highway and heard three dings and my car flashes power steering, it was difficult to steering to the next lane to try and get off the freeway then it just suddenly started working fine. But now I'm worried that it will happen again. I've received two letter about the recall but no dealer in my area has the parts, was told I'd be called when they arrive.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #10

Feb 082013


  • 80,000 miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss supercharged started malfunctioning in Feb 2013 driving the hwy the car would jolt as if it was running out of gas same thing occurred on April 2013. The big problem happened Sept 2013, driving 75 on the fwy my Cobalt started to jolt and loose power and the speed started slowing down all the way to 30mpg I was barley able to make my way through traffic to get to the side of the road, once pulled over my Cobalt didn't want to start and when it did it would only go about 100 feet and slow down then turn off. Since then my Cobalt has not been able to function properly. At low RPM's it dies off. Since that day my boost gauge doesn't work. My mpg's have dramatically fell about 10, ill fill up half the tank and the next thing you know it drops to empty. Also while driving when I hit pot holes the car turns off. It has a hard time starting up. I've read through the forums and other people have had this problem. Is there a recall for this yet and if not who not"! wouldn't you think cars failing on the fwy is a major red flag"

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #9

Oct 082009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 50,020 miles
Starting the car and pulling out, the power steering not working, car hesitating when accelerating and then I pull over and shut the car off. I wait a few seconds and start the car again, and its running fine. This started a month or so after our purchase (used) on May 15,2009. The dealer did not have any weekend service. The date above is when we 1st reported for service. But turning the car off/on always fixed the problem. Service dates-10/8/09,10/15/09,8/28/10,5/19/11.3/27/12. Dealer couldn't find any dialogistic problems. I brought the car in & running, on 7/2/13, while running a mechanic drove it, said he knew the problem. Dialogistic showed 2- cost $430. To repair. 2wks. Later, happened again, dialogistic showed 6. estimate $6-$800 plus. Too much to fix it. In the past 3 yrs., four times while driving at 60mph, on hwy., no power steering, gas hesitating, & down shifts to 25+/-while flooring the gas, car bucking, & speedometer bouncing B'twn.30-50. Very freighting and once there was no place to stop.

- Milford, CT, USA

problem #8

Aug 012013


  • miles
These cars are notorious for the electrical steering mechanisms to fail, parts break inside of the steering column making rattling sounds constantly while driving, my master mechanic father couldn't even figure out how to fix it, the stability is wobbly, hard to keep in a strait line while driving. These model year vehicles are terrible and needs to be part of the GM recall pertaining to the electrical steering. Look at any Cobalt complaint forum, its insane, these cars are dangerous and have had nothing but problems since I bought the car.

- Montevallo, AL, USA

problem #7

Feb 282013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 156,231 miles
When driving the gauge cluster lights up while both the mph and RPM needles jump around. Total loss of power steering as well as the transmission goes into limp mode. Lost control on freeway thankfully no one were in the 2 lanes that the car veered into at the time. Was able to stop the car in the service lane. There are many complaints of this same issue.we have received no recall information and we are not under the current recall for whatever reason. Same issues as original recall fits in years recalled for...why not include us? took the Liberty of paying for both the eps motor and module with no success. I am currently out $1,500 this is not fair.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #6

Dec 012011


  • miles
Power steering shuts off when started, especially in cold temperatures. Even when the car runs for a few minutes to warm up, steering wheel is still rigid and stiff. Definitely not driveable. Gears shift extremely rough and violently. Unsafe in all situations, especially stop and go traffic. At idle it nearly stalls. Traction control light comes on when all these things exist.

- Munhall, PA, USA

problem #5

Jul 062012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 111,148 miles
Traction control light comes on and causes the car to shift very rough and steering wheel jerks.

- Painesville, OH, USA

problem #4

May 202011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
I own a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ls sedan. This car every year like clock work has to either have a new transmission put into it, or has shifting problems. The car will be fine for about a year and then it struggles to shift gears and it will be subtle. Then it slowly starts to feel like the transmission is " slipping" when U reverse and then put it back into drive it slides back before it begins to move forward again. This car is only 5 years old but has had 3 transmissions in it's life time, and it's starting to feel like it's going for its 4th.

- Hayward , CA, USA

problem #3

Oct 062010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
Chevy Cobalt 2006 car stalls when stopped at a red light. It keeps getting worse. The electronic control module needs to be replaced to fix the problem. But this is a safety issue and should be on a recall. I have read on the internet of other people complaining of the same issue.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

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