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:
12 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
7 / 3
Average Mileage:
118,358 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 #24

Jan 052017


  • 249,900 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Upon merging to enter the highway, the accelerator pedal became stuck and the brakes failed to respond when the brake pedal was depressed. The contact had to switch lanes, place the vehicle in neutral, and coast over to the side of the road. The vehicle stalled and was towed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 249,900.

- Murrayville, IL, USA

problem #23

Jan 042016


  • 127,473 miles
When driving the car it seems to feel like the brakes are being applied and the car is towing a heavy load and the speed will decrease as I continue to drive forcing me to park the vehicle. I turn the car off for an hour or two and it will drive normally again but if driven to long it will slow down with the same problem. This is a typical city driving, stop and go at stop lights or up and down small hills. The mechanic stated that it maybe the throttle body module but we are not sure.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #22

Feb 292016


  • miles
Ever since I purchased car it'seems been nothing but problems. First it was both control arm bushing after 1 month of purchasing my 06 Chevy colbalt. I've since had to replace the entire front end all except for the steering column.which makes a loud unsettling rattling noise when I go over the slightest bump or when I turn my wheel left to right while in the park position. But now even more scary my car has been stalling out randomly and I've seen other complaint's about this issue. I've had oil changes and tunes up and a diagnostic test and I've been told the car is's not okay! today it stalled out while accelerating at a green turn arrow and I got hit from the back by the car behind me turning as well. No huge damage but I'm afraid and would like to know what is the real issue.

- Rock Island, IL, USA

problem #21

Dec 062014


  • 1,003,000 miles


Strange sounds thought it was hubs recently but on, wasn't. maybe the crankcase, wasn't. got louder, more concerned now that my son's were using it to go to work. Realize the many recalls. Non responsive GM. Many weeks wait for replacement parts no loaners.

- Aroura, , OR, USA

problem #20

Nov 022009


  • 32,150 miles
I have owned my 2006 Chevy Cobalt since 2008. Starting in 2009 all the way until now 2014 I have had issues with the car that are related to the ignition switch recall. I took my car in to the Chevy dealer to take care of the ignition switch recall on November 5, 2014. I got my car back the same day, they replaced the ignition switch and gave me two new keys. Surprise! two days later on November 7, 2014 my car again had the exact same problems related to the ignition switch recall that it did before I took it in for the recall fix. Hence, Chevy's "recall ignition switch fix" does not solve the problem with these cars! my car still does the following things even after the ignition switch fix that is supposed to solve these problems. Whenever it pleases it will lose electrical power and turn off the engine, leaving me stuck in the middle of a busy highway, this has happened on numerous occasions!! as if that isn't bad enough there's more! the power steering light flashes, the check engine light comes on, the service airbag light comes on, the gauges on the dash completely stop working properly the speedometer needle goes haywire moving from 0 mph to 60 mph back and forth non-stop when I'm not even accelerating to those speeds. The RPM gauge does the exact same thing. The car jolts forward uncontrollably, like it is having a problem shifting especially when the RPM is between 2000 and 3000. When you go to brake you have to slam the brakes all the way down because you lose your normal braking power the car skids as you're braking and continues to jolt forward uncontrollably. Oh and on top of all of this sometimes the power steering completely goes out leaving you with all of the problems mentioned above and you can't steer properly! something needs to be done immediately! the ignition switch recall fix does not work! these cars should not be on the road period.

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #19

Aug 192014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 200,000 miles
I was driving down the road. I reached 55 and my engine shut off. I had no brakes or steering and went to right in ditch and hit a telephone pole.

- Rutledge, MN, USA

problem #18

Aug 192014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 200,000 miles


I was driving down the road. I just reached 55 mph. My ignition shut off and I lost steering and brakes. I went to the right into the ditch and hit a telephone pole.

- Rutledge, MN, USA

problem #17

Apr 262014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 78,079 miles
4/26/20142006 Cobalt recall for ignition switch. At that time yellow ABS, traction control and red brake system failure. Called local dealer said car safe to drive. 5/31/2014 to 6/3/2014 after dealer said brake warning and ABS not related took to very local shop no tow, had brakes inspected, no leak pads and shoes ok. The shop found ABS fuse blown. Codes in diagnostic U0121, U2105, U2106, U2108. Wires traced to short in ignition switch. Paid $106.95 for inspection. Car unable to be repaired due to parts on back order. 6/7/2014 call from GM car picked up by rogers towing 11am. GM call was send to dealer no discussion of rental at this point. Car sent with recall papers/tuffy inspection and tech service bulletins and other recall info. Also 1 key and remote sent 6/7/2004 call from dealer approx. 1pm, they haven"?T looked at car, but apparently read report. Service manager stated didn?"T really consider the tuffy report was a valid report and the see this all the time with recalls. Told me that again the fuses blowing are not related. Explained again, this warning light issue was not happening prior to incident #1. stated only issue with key was for the detent. Dealer will work on securing rental. 6/13/2014 contacted us senator about delay, 4 hours later car was ready, put new fuses in ABS and traction control worked for a week, lights come on and off randomly while driving, car stalls occasionally and 7/19/2014 started today ignition key is extremely hot when removed from lock cylinder after 4 to 10 minutes of driving, advised daughter to bring to place of purchase determine what else is going on.

- Palm Coast, FL, USA

problem #16

Jun 192014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
On the first week of June 2014, my 2006 Chevy Cobalt went in for the safety recall 13454 (replacement of ignition switch). (this was the second recall this car has had.) on June 19th, 2014 with the new ignition switch installed by the local Chevy dealership, while driving the car in town, at speeds of 20 and 30 mph the car lost power to steering, brakes which made difficult even to stop and maneuver safely off the road. The car lost most of the engine performance but stayed running. The car was then turned off and restarted, with dash light warnings of engine light, tc light and a car security emblem light on. The car ran with very limited power and strange clicking noise which was coming from the shifter. I have cell phone video of the shifter nob clicking along with cell picture of the dash warning lights that are on. Car had to be "man handled" to get it to a safe destination. The battery was disconnected a then reconnected, with the thought of resetting computer. When battery was reconnected the car was 100% back to normal. For how long, is anyone guess, this strange occurrence has happened more than once. The car is scheduled to go to the Chevy dealership for further diagnostics. They informed that it will be a week or so because their all booked up. What a pain in the (you fill the blank). If I had enough $$ to replace the car, I would have this car crushed so that I would no longer be responsible for any accidents it may cause.

- Hermiston, OR, USA

problem #15

Dec 032013


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while traveling various speeds, the vehicle failed to respond to deceleration attempts and the contact crashed into the preceding vehicle. Upon impact, the air bags failed to deploy. The driver was thrown forward and hit their face on the dashboard and sustained injuries to the face and back. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure and current mileage was 90,000.

- Howland , ME, USA

problem #14

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 #13

Dec 102013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
There is a BCM (body control module) problem in all Cobalts which hasn't came to light yet it's very dangerous. It's all over the internet and there are videos on youtube, search for "Cobalt electrical problems" "Cobalt power steering warning" this problem will cause the car gauges to go crazy and it will say engine light, power steering, the transmission goes into safe mode and shifts very hard and then car wants to chug and stall while your driving forcing you to pull over if possible to avoid causing a major accident and then you have to turn the car off this just as dangerous or more dangerous then the ongoing ignition switch recall. While looking on the internet for answers to why this is happening I have found lot's and lot's of other people who are having the exact same problems I have a 2006 ss Cobalt and this is what is happening to me. It has happened 5 times in the last 2 months, I have made arrangement with a GM dealer from where I have purchased the car to have the BCM (body control module) replaced at my expense and hopefully this will make my car safer. But I don't know if it will for sure. Repeat this is not related to the on going ignition switch recall on the 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt models, this is another safety issue that needs to be addressed and investigated right away. Please take action right away to avoid further loss of lives*

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #12

Nov 152011


  • 60,000 miles
It was a single car crash which happened at night during a rain shower. Their were no witnesses, but the car crossed the opposite lane of traffic and ran into the back end of a lowboy trailer ( a trailer used to Transport heavy equipment ) the two 19 year old girls in the car were killed. Nothing about this accident made sense until I heard about the ignition issue with the Cobalt. Their are many reasons that the ignition could be the root of this accident, and if it can be determined that this is in fact true I would like to be part of the process that sees that those responsible for the decision to put profit over safety are punished.

- Apollo, PA, USA

problem #11

Sep 132012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
On 9/13/2012 my niece was driving her 2006 Chevy Cobalt. It was a clear night with light traffic. All of a sudden her car veered to the right and crashed into a tree. She died of blunt force trauma to the head. There were no brake marks and the air bags did not deploy which you would have expected with such a violent collision.

- Morristown, NJ, USA

problem #10

Nov 202013


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevy Cobalt. The contact became involved in a crash in which the air bags did not deploy. The details of the crash were limited however, the contact was traveling 20 mph when the crash occurred. There were no injuries and a police report was not filed of the incident. The contact also stated that the brakes malfunctioned. Additionally, the ignition switch failed. The failure mileage was 110,000.

- Hillsboro, KY, USA

problem #9

Feb 162007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
I purchased my 2006 Cobalt in February of 2007 with mileage of +/- 30000, within the first 2 weeks I had to have the steering column and power steering assist replaced and had to pay for front end alignment caused by the steering a) steering wheel shaking when driving at highway speeds and very violently when breaking and B) the power steering going out. The car now has 107000 miles on it and have had trouble with this same shaking when driving and it being violent when breaking. The dealership states GM is aware but I still have had to redo my front brakes twice (which helps temporarily)..the last time being in June or August of 2013. The shop tells me the problem the first time was the front rotors were sticking and the ground them down smooth. Then the shaking started again. I had to take my car in to have the rotors ground down again and have a serpentine belt replaced. So here I am again 7 months later and will have to do this again because the shaking has started again and is becoming so bad it will have to go to the shop again at my cost for something they know about but will not fix. I have already received a recall letter regarding the ignition problem but am told that the parts are not available and will be informed when they are. This steering/braking problem is serious and I some times fear that either something will break inside the car or I will not be able to hold on to the steering wheel and will wreak. I am afraid to drive my car any distance or speed because I fear it will fail and I see that this has been an ongoing problem since 2007 and people have complained but have received no satisfaction.

- Post Falls, ID, USA

problem #8

Mar 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Driving down the road and all items on gauge cluster die and come back on over and over again. Security light pops on ABS light comes on air bag light comes on. I lose power steering when this happens and sometime vehicle wont start and my security light pops on. Sometimes nothing in my gauge cluster wont work and all warning lights will appear when driving down the road or as soon as I start my vehicle.

- Bennington, VT, USA

problem #7

Aug 142013


  • miles
1. brakes wear uneven in the front. Rotors, pads, and calipers were replaced.difficulty with bleeding brakes.1 year later with 11,000 more miles on car the pad was worn and grinding rotor.replaced both front rotors, caliper again. 2 techs had an extremely hard time bleeding the brakes for the peddle to rise. Car stopped but peddle went to floor.they worked on bleeding the brakes for 2 hours.they repeated the procedure 6 times. Bleed every wheel and pumped brakes over and over again.could not get peddle up. This happened with the other brake job as well. Could not let my daughter drive the car. Took car home and the next day was on the way to another dealer when the brake peddle came up. 2. daughter was in an accident before second brake job and hit a pick up truck in rear as stopping no one was injured and air bag did not deploy. 3. have friend with 2005 Cobalt where her brakes completely locked up. Had to get vehicle towed and brakes replaced.

- Owings Mills , MD, USA

problem #6

Dec 312009


  • miles
On December 31, 2009, my 25 year old daughter was driving along an interstate in her Chevy Cobalt. She crashed into a tree along the side of the interstate. Her airbags did not deploy, and her seatbelt did not lock. She died on impact, according to the police on reviewing the scene of the accident, my son observed that the tracks left by the car before it crashed were in a straight line, suggesting that the brakes either had not been applied or had not worked. On doing research, he found information online suggesting that there had been other, similar crashes in Cobalts and that the ignition switch was thought to be defective. We have already addressed this with GM and completed our action, and, at the time, I filed a consumer complaint to document the issue. I just read that this Agency will be investigating the issue, and I wanted to make sure you were aware of my daughter's death in a Cobalt in which the air bags did not deploy, the seatbelt did not lock, and that we strongly suspect, though GM never confirmed this, had a defective ignition switch.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #5

Feb 292012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
Vehicle was exiting interstate 81, traveling approximately 55 mph. Though braking, the car was not slowing properly and the steering was very hard, power seemingly lost. The car could not be steered around the left hand curve and hit a bridge abutment and spun around before coming to rest with the motor not running. This apparent mechanical failure was noted in the police report of the accident.

- Maybrook, NY, USA

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