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:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
22,736 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

problem #16

Mar 012006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer requests reimbursement for ignition key lock repairs. The consumer stated the key became stuck in the ignition. The ignition cylinder was replaced. Also, she had ongoing problems with the brakes, which almost resulted in an accident. Updated 06/12/14 the consumer is seeking reimbursement. Updated 07/02/14

- Saint Albans, NY, USA

problem #15

Nov 162011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that when applying the brakes during rainy weather, the vehicle would be slow to respond. The dealer was contacted but denied any assistance with repairs to the failure. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 52,000.....updated 12/03/12 the consumer stated the vehicle was designed without a dipstick for the automatic transmission, so there was no way for him to check the fluid. The consumer stated the transmission pan was flimsy and he was having problems with the transmission. Updated evoq 12/13/12

- Helena, MT, USA

problem #14

Apr 292011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 41,336 miles
2006 Cobalt ls. Brakes sometimes stick. Like driving with the brakes slightly applied.

- Owings Mills, MD, USA

problem #13

Apr 092011


  • 28,000 miles


Front end ball joints are faulty and cause the car to sound like the front end is going to fall off! I had to have them replaced. The rotors have been nothing but trouble as well...third set!! the mechanic said the ball joint would break and you could wreck as your driving! have had this trouble since the day I bought the car..even had it at the dealership for front end problems the first three months that I had the car! the front end is not good on this car and can be very dangerous!

- Nemacolin, PA, USA

problem #12

Nov 152010


  • 44,500 miles
Brakes locking up on 2006 Chevy Cobalt. Vehicle is not equipped with anti lock brakes. Also a friend with 2005 Cobalt brakes completely locked seized. Brakes burned up. Car towed, and had to replace brakes.

- Owings Mills , MD, USA

problem #11

Aug 132010


  • 76,000 miles
Experienced issues with stopping distance and steering in 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt lt. Had brakes, shocks, and struts replaced...continued to experience issue with stopping distance and steering...took in to dealer and was advised the control arms were "dry rotted' seems to me that this was the most likely contributing issue to the problem with brakes shocks and struts. In addition due to issue with the control rods the U-joint in the steering column has been bent causing problems with steering.

- Elgin, IL, USA

problem #10

Jul 032010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 25,600 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while traveling at 10 mph, the rear spring on the driver side wheel that held the brake pads fractured and caused the wheel to lock. The vehicle was taken to a local repair facility where the mechanic advised that the manufacturer had changed the design of the part from a stem to a spring. The failure mileage was 25,600 and the current mileage was 26,000. Updated 10/13/10. Updated 10/19/10

- Friendship, WI, USA

problem #9

Nov 012009


  • 40,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls. It has been giving me several problems. I have been fixing one thing after another on my car. My car only have 46,000 miles. That is good for it being a 2006. I have problems with my brakes. I have replaced the master cylinder and now I have to replace the brake booster. But the worst problem that I am having now is the power steering. When im driving out of nowhere the dash light up saying power steering. When this happens it is extremely hard to turn. Especially if you are going at a slow speed. I have even been in an accident because of this. The only way to get my power steering to work normally is to turn the car off and turn it back on. At first it would work fine for awhile. But now it happens right when I start to drive. The dealership said it could cost over $1500 to fix the problem. I can barely afford to fix these other problems that I am having. I cant afford to pay $1500 to fix this problem. I was online looking to see if I can find a cheaper price. This is when I saw that there are hundreds of other people that have and still have the same problem that I am having. This is how I know that it is not something that I have done. With so many people having this problem, they need to fix it.

- Decatur, GA, USA

problem #8

Feb 072010


  • 18,300 miles
Front brake rotors warped twice had to get brakes and steering wheel has a shimmy in the front due to warped rotors and rear are noisy and wear down same as front had to get brakes done again and rotors will need to be replaced next brake job or when rotors warp again notice able and I don't want to put new struts because of front end constantly shaking when rotors warp.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #7

Nov 222006


  • 3,040 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle had issues with the engine surging. She took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that there was a dirty injector, in which they replaced. In January of 2007, the vehicle was taken to the dealer and they reprogrammed the computer for the surging issue. In March of 2008, the vehicle was returned to the dealer for a recall on the injectors. In addition to the surging, the vehicle would also shake violently when coming to a stop. The brakes and steering would not function correctly. The vehicle was taken to the dealer in October of 2008 and the powertrain control module was replaced. In November of 2008, the contact took the vehicle to the dealer again in regards to the violent shaking. The dealer could not duplicate the failure and advised the contact to call a tow truck in the event of a crash because they could not assist. In November of 2008, the vehicle began shaking violently and crashed into the preceding vehicle. There were no injuries. The vehicle was taken to another dealer, but they could not duplicate the failure as well. A complaint was filed with the manufacturer and the contact is awaiting their response. She was advised to not operate the vehicle. The speed was unknown. The current mileage was approximately 17,250 and failure mileage was approximately 3,040.

- Davie , FL, USA

problem #6

Dec 052006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 45 mph, the vehicle began sliding when the brake pedal was depressed. The vehicle landed in a ditch. The contact placed the vehicle in reverse and was able to drive out of the ditch. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for leaking fluids. The vehicle has gone off the road on three occasions while depressing the brake pedal. The vehicle was taken to the dealer three times for the brakes and they found no failures. The powertrain and failure mileage were unknown. The current mileage was 34,120.

- Frankfurt, KY, USA

problem #5

Oct 242006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,000 miles
I purchased a 2006 Cobalt ls level 2 used in October of 06. Shortly after the purchase my car started a moderate tone whistling and my heater started making a clicking noise which both are very annoying. I have brought my car to the dealership whalen Chevrolet in greenwich NY many many times and all they ever say is the noises are normal there's nothing they can do about it. Shortly after those problems came about my wipers stopped working in a storm for no apparent reason, when I brought the car to the dealership for this problem they blamed it on me saying I was mis-using my wipers, apparently your not supposed to use them. Within days of that problem my car started to bump when I'd touch the brakes, once again I brought the car to the dealership and what do you know the dealership said it was my fault and the brake rotors needed to be planed down. Still to this day the car is whistling the entire time it runs and the heater is clicking away like always, it is apparent to me that this is no replacement for the lack luster cavalier, it is the cavalier it's just prettied up a bit. To this point the shabby engineering of this car has cost me well over $500 in repairs & diagnosing to try and solve a problem the GM certified mechanics at whalen Chevrolet in greenwich NY can't seem to figure out---oops I mean it's supposed to sound like it's falling apart.

- E.Arlington, VT, USA

problem #4

Nov 022006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5 miles
(1) car shuts itself off while I was driving down the freeway. During@ rush hour I veered away ( w-no power to car ),from traffic behind me. Parked, shut car off, took key out of ignition, then replaced and started it back up, and proceeded enroute. (2) after market cruise control failure to shut off and turn on. (3) result of above (2)after market cruise control takes its own mind and decides to fully accelerate until gearing down in hopes it 'awakes' the computer (automatic transmission),then cruise control will finally shut off. (consequence ) passenger had a heart attack. I called a taxi. "he's ok" (4) service air bags light have been on since 20, K miles I now have 47, xxx miles. (5)stock tires and rims wobble with irritating continous noises -can't ge rid of it. (6) stock seats driver and passenger sides both were installed incorrectlythey are really slantedlike this ( / \ ). (7) a clunking bucket sounding noise fills very slowly, (health problems) an odor is always present leaving me light headed, nautious while driving, dizzy exiting car, and with breathing problems -like shortness of breath. I have severe back problems now, and can not sit in the car for more than 20 min, upon a break of fresh air and a walk for the spine. (8) brakes sound and feel (when applied),scratchy.@5,000 miles the Chevy dealership had to turn and shave allready my disc brakes saying they were worn in. (9) my heater makes a lot of noises when using it. (10) acceleration hesitation.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #3

Nov 222006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 4,000 miles
: the contact stated the brakes failed while backing out of a school parking spot and depressing the brake pedal. The driver crashed into a storage unit and pole causing damage to the storage unit, pole and vehicle. There were no injuries sustained. The vehicle was driven home and later towed to an independent repair shop where no problem was found. A police report was taken.

- New Plymouth, ID, USA

problem #2

Jun 012006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles
: the contact stated while traveling 30 mph, the brake pedal was depressed and the brakes did not respond. The vehicle stopped when hitting another vehicle. The dealership was unable to determine a problem. Two months later, while traveling 30 mph, the same problem occurred. This time the vehicle struck another vehicle causing minor damage and injury. There was a police report taken at the scene and the vehicle was taken to the dealership. The manufacturer sent a representative to read the black box. According to the black box, the vehicle was traveling 42 mph with the accelerator pedal slightly depressed, four seconds later the vehicle made impact at 30 mph. The dealership is unable to determine the problem.

- Liberty, NC, USA

problem #1

Mar 292006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Front brakes rotor and pads worn out after 6000 miles.

- Fayetteville, GA, USA

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