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:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 2
Average Mileage:
87,197 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #50

Jan 212011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch and other vehicle problems and unsatisfactory customer service at dealership. The consumer stated the vehicle would not shut off for about 10 minutes after she switched the ignition to the off position and removed the key. The consumer stated while driving, the vehicle suddenly ran out of gas. There was no warning. The very same day, she received a recall notice in the mail regarding an issue with the fuel pump. Also, the consumer discovered the batter exploded, when an odor began to come inside the vehicle. Also, the engine light illuminated, the ac and heat did not work, the dash lights worked occasionally, the transmission was slipping and the interior was falling apart. The vehicle overheated, the ac compressor failed. While driving on the highway, the vehicle stalled. Then something went wrong with the battery and toxic fumes from the battery in the trunk were being sucked into the vehicle. The consumer exited the vehicle, opened the trunk and hot battery acid was all over the place. Updated 09/08/14

- Kerrville, TX, USA

problem #49

Jun 252014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
My key has been stuck in the ignition for a month now. It has caused my battery to die every time I leave it parked. I took my car to get the ignition recall fixed and when I asked if they could remove it they told me only at an additional cost because it was not part of the recall. When I got my car back I was given two new keys with one stuck in the ignition still. I was really confused as to why they said they couldn't remove my key without charging me when they obviously removed my old key to give me a new set and somehow managed to get it stuck again. After looking up how to fix it I believe the problem is with the shifter. There have been lots of complaints all over the internet with various Chevrolet models regarding this same issue.

- Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #48

Jun 182014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,805 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while parked in a residential garage, the vehicle started rolling backwards and the driver door crashed into the wall. There were no injuries were reported. Also, the contact mentioned that she was able to remove the key out of the ignition switch while the vehicle was in park. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 93,805. Updated 10/7/14 the consumer stated the stereo has had many problems, it failed intermittently. Taking the key out of the ignition was difficult and strange noises could be heard upon attempting to do so. There were also to incidents that while driving the vehicle would lose all power. Updated 5/13/2015

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #47

Jun 052014


  • 110,455 miles


Attention General Motors, I received the many letters your company sent updating the status of the recall on my car. I appreciated your efforts in addressing the situation. I took my car to davis Chevrolet in houston tx to cash in the recall voucher on 5/6/14. On 6/5/2014 I was told that my car was ready. I was not given a receipt. Page 10, may, 2014, bulletin no: 14113B was left in my care. I was given a different style of key, key ring, and the same instructions to use prior to repairs. To add insult to injury, it says to make sure any driver knows about the (same) dangers of the original safety recall letters. I took the car back because it keeps stopping to the degree that I did not drive it unless I necessary. I was told that it may be the throttle from sitting up too long. They said I had to pay for it. I complained about not receiving paperwork. I received paper work that reads the car was not safe to drive. I was given an agent will who I asked if they put in the part that was being built for the car and he said yes. Also, he told me the car was safe even before the repairs. How is the car considered repaired when it has the same limitations as in the recall letters? this remedy does not show any concern for consumers feeling of trust, safety, or comfort in your product. For example, it is a common occurrence for a family member to use a relatives car without the owner knowing it. It would be the most fatal experience to learn about it through that persons death because they did not know (or understand) the terms of what you consider a safe enough result. GM this tells consumers that you do not care. I am asking that you look at my case. I am trying not to take legal action.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #46

Apr 012014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 88,857 miles
My car was taken to franklin motors on 05/15/2014 to replace the faulty ignition switch 14V047 & 14V171. I was given a rental car in the meantime. My car was returned to me 06/12/2014. That same night when I attempted to turn off my car and remove the key it was difficult. Today, 06/13/2014, I attempted to turn off my car, and remove the key. The key would not turn, the car would not turn off, I could not take the car out of park. After several turns of the steering wheel and jiggling the keys the car finally turned off. My concern is that if the ignition was actually fixed as it should have been why am I having the same issues I had before it was taken to the dealership" I am now scared to drive this car. I have no other means of transportation. I have grandkids that I pick up and I need a safe car that I can trust. I no longer feel safe in this vehicle. Franklin motors once again has my car. What do you suggest I do? how am I to feel safe in this vehicle once it is returned to me again? I want something done to ease my mind. I don't want to have to ride down the road and be one of GM's statistics that something happened to me because of a faulty vehicle that was supposedly fixed" thank you the dealer informed the consumer, the ongoing problems she continued to have, was due to a problem with the gear shifter, and had nothing to do with the ignition. Updated 1/6/2015

- Bardstown, KY, USA

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problem #45

Jun 012014


  • 111,000 miles
While driving the traction control light comes on randomly then begins to shift very ruff and hard. When it has been turned off the traction control light doesn't come until driving again for about 5 minutes. The shifting has made it difficult to drive and has almost caused me to be in accidents.

- Hesperia, CA, USA

problem #44

Dec 112013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 142,000 miles


TL - the contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000. The contact stated that the failure recurred after the repairs were completed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 142,000. Dr updated 8/27/14 the consumer stated the vehicle experienced power failure at any given time. Updated 09/8/2014

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #43

Apr 072014


  • 124,000 miles
TL- the contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that when the key is out of the ignition, he is able to take the gear out of park. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer or independent mechanic. The manufacture was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 124,000 miles and the current mileage was 125,000 miles.

- Reading, MI, USA

problem #42

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 #41

Apr 032014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
The car randomly out of nowhere lost power and a check engine light comes on and says engine power reduced. This is extremely unsafe especially if this were to happen at freeway speeds. Engine codes came back and provided that there are issues with the throttle position sensor. 4th recall on this vehicle and currently awaiting results from murdock Chevrolet 2375 S 625 w, woods cross, ut 84087 (801) 298-8091.

- Farmington, UT, USA

problem #40

Sep 012010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


I was driving my Cobalt all of a sudden the RPM's red lined and I had no power. I had to coast into a nearby parking lot. I waited about 30 min, started it back up and it seemed fine. Then I started to have trouble getting my key out of the ignition. There were several times I had to leave my key in the ignition because it would not come out. The next problem came when I would hit the brakes. If someone in front of me suddenly stopped and I had to hit the brakes hard, the car would idle really rough and shut off. That has been a constant problem for the past 2 to 3 years. I called the local koons dealership, they told me these problems were common and that I needed a new BCM. So, I purchased a new BCM. The service department told me that the BCM was "plug and play". basically, it was a few clips, a few bolts and that I could install it myself, so I did. It didn't solve the problem. I called back and the guy that answered the phone told me to unhook the battery and wait 15 minutes, then hook it back up. Not only did it not solve the problem, but by unhooking the battery the anti-theft locked my radio. When I called back the third time the service department told me I needed to bring the car in and have them reset it for 300$. being as thought I just spent 300$ on the BCM I didn't have the money. I bought the Cobalt because it was a Chevy and a small reliable car. I was also a college student so the price was right. Since the recall for the ignition switch has come out, I called the koons dealership and asked about a refund on the BCM because that obviously wasn't the problem. They told me I was out of luck and they weren't going to help me. Now, I have a death trap, im out the money for the BCM, and I don't have money for a new car. Thanks for sticking it to your customers GM! I will never by another GM.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #39

Jan 122012


  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to shift into park. The contact disassembled the gear shift assembly to find that the pin became detached. The contact placed the pin back in position and was able to shift into park. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 76,000.

- Arcade, NY, USA

problem #38

Jan 252009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
When the accident happen, my son and his friend were going to his other friend house to stay. His friend that lived said he was having trouble controlling the steering they ran off the road hitting the side of the road flipping the car, my son was thrown out of the car and was dead on the scene.

- Ocean Isle Beach Sw, NC, USA

problem #37

Jan 252009


  • 22,000 miles
You know when my son bought this car, I know he thought he had the best, this is part of your reviews. New for 2006 are ss sedan and coupe models with normally aspirated engines. These new ss models fit between the lt and ss supercharged models. Their price, power and performance and body work are all toned down from the ss supercharged coupe, but they're sporty cars and possibly the best choice in the lineup, boasting 171-horsepower engines and sports suspensions.this car was suppose to handle good. But now he is dead because of this car. Do you people at chevorlet even know how people feel or what kind of emotion a parent goes through with losing a child and how my life has changed. I will never see him get married, have children. I will never be able to talk to him, feel him, tell him I love him. Yes, I'm hurt. I want you to pay for the mess you have done for my son's life and the life of others. Because you guys hid this mess for years you knew. How many people have too get injured or die. Just look at all the recalls just for this car. Just to think Chevrolet has been the choice of vehicles we have always driven.

- Ocean Isle Beach Sw, NC, USA

problem #36

Jan 172013


  • 58,697 miles
Since I bought this car in may of 2011 I have had nothing but problems. In March of 2012 my fuel pump went out while I was driving due to a recall from several years earlier, which I don't understand why it wasn't replaced before I bought the car especially if I bought if from a dealership. In January of 2013 my gear shift assembly went out luckily after I was done driving and in the process of parking which resulted in my keys getting locked in the ignition. A month later my switch board stopped working in my steering wheel which turns off my signals when I turn and my keys still occasionally get locked in my ignition. My O2 sensor just went out, shortly after I got the car I learned one of my valve covers is leaking oil, and I just replaced my ignition coil pack! I am afraid to drive this car any longer especially with the new recall about the ignition. This car is a hazard to anyone driving it. I should not have this many issues when I have only owned the car for three years. I believe GM should recall the whole car. I tried taking my car to the dealership in February to inquire about the recall and they sent me away and said to wait to receive something in the mail to see if my car qualifies. Seriously"?" I'm not sure what actions I should take to ensure my safety. I don't have the money to fix this car that has everything under the hood failing all at once! every day I drive this car I am putting myself in danger. Any information back would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #35

Aug 142013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
When my daughter exited her car she grabbed her backpack from the passenger seat. One of the straps from the backpack hooked around the shifter and moved it to neutral. We did not know the shifter did not lock when you put it in park.the car started rolling backward down our driveway with the drivers door open. The door caught one of our trees in our yard pinning it against the front fender damaging the door and front fender. She had her key in her hand so the ignition was not on. After reading on the internet several of these shifters are defective. This is a dangerous issue that GM is ignoring.

- Coolville, OH, USA

problem #34

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

problem #33

Feb 162014


  • 90,000 miles
The car does not want to shift from first to second gear and when it does, it is very jerky. Acceleration is very limited.

- Fulton, MO, USA

problem #32

Oct 292013


  • 7,200 miles
I just recently purchased a Cobalt 2006 but after 3weeks my steering did not respond the way I was controlling it did not allow me to make a perfect turn made me do a sharp turn since I felt the adjustments get hard but then it loosened up allowed me to take control how a driver is suppose to control his own car not letting your car take control of me the driver. Currently it got repossesed just because I lost my job but now that I found out its dangerous on the road. Thinking that day I lost control for about 10 sec. What about if it could be more dangerous next time and my nephews, my family can get hurt not just me this time in the car with me and one of my family or me can loose a life but the dealer did not notify me on this safety recall when signed but now they don't want to transfer cars even though I can pay monthly. Please help me soon as possible don't got a car to take/back to work for these 3 weeks.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #31

Nov 152012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
Gear shifter gets stuck. I have to go under my hood and pull the cord in order to release the gear shifter to come out of park.

- Laurys Station, PA, USA

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