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 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #30

Jun 022013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 63,000 miles


Started car, shifter would not lock into any gear and the keys were locked in the ignition. Googled the problem and was told to open the compartment under the steering column to release keys, but it did not repair the gear shifter. Took to local repair shop and was told these break all the time and that Chevy keeps the parts in stock because they know the shifters break due to the metal post inside breaking the cheap plastic casing of the shifter control. Why has this not been recalled? my son was stuck in NY city at L in the morning with no way to get home.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #29

Jun 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while sitting in her parked vehicle, it rolled back and crashed into a porch. A police report was filed. The contact sustained bruises and abrasion on her arms. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 76,000.

- Wellsville , OH, USA

problem #28

Mar 112013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
I was pulling out onto the street with many cars approaching from a traffic light and I began to press down the gas pedal so I could safely get up to speed and I noticed the car not accelerating for the amount of pressure I was applying on the gas pedal the traction control light came on and stayed on and the transmission started jerking into all the gears, I drove it home 8 miles turned off the car and restarted the car and light had reset itself this same thing has happened three more times since this first time. All occurred on drive pavement no ice or other wet conditions. I've searched online and have seen many other people are have been reporting the same problem with the traction control light staying on and loss of power to the transmission and jerky shifting, in pretty much every year the Cobalt model was manufactured by Chevrolet I believe this is a major safety issue that General Motors should have a recall to fix these issues but, has not done so to this day, before I and other people driving the Chevrolet Cobalt get hurt or hurt other drivers because of these malfunctions that our out of our control.

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #27

Sep 012012


  • 70,000 miles


The throttle body becomes extremely 'gunked up, ' causing the engine to shut off if the rpms drop too fast. It happens most often when coming up to stop lights. However, the most dangerous time (which caused me to get rear ended due to not being able to immediately speed up) is when I switch lanes on the highway. I let my car slow down by removing my foot from the pedal, switch lanes, and when I put my foot on the pedal, I don't speed up. Why?? because the engine shut off when I first removed my foot from the pedal and let the rpms drop!

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #26

Feb 212013


  • 69,372 miles
My key is stuck in the ignition. The car is off however, the lights and radio will not turn off.

- Auburn, NY, USA

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problem #25

Jan 242013


  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the power steering and speedometer failed. Also, the contact stated that the transmission would not shift out of gear and the power steering warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for a diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage and current mileage was 42,000.

- Largo , FL, USA

problem #24

Dec 012010


  • 71,000 miles


Traction control light comes on and jerks when shifting gears. It happens at all speeds. When I cut the car back on, the light goes away. This happens off and on all the time.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #23

Dec 242010


  • 90,000 miles
First time we had problem was christmas eve 2010 car stumbled. Check engine light appeared T\C light appeared. Car dinged power steering came up on info center all as we were on a country road on our way to our families christmas. We stopped shut car off my husband got out and checked all fluids and fuses all were ok then we. Started car again and everything was back to normal for quite a awhile he said it might have just got confused there. Then the problem popped up intermittently here and there.right around October 2011 not sure of exact date but me and 3 children where on our way across the state of Indiana to see my husband that was working out of town and about 100miles into trip the cars power steering went out and made the car very hard to maneuver lights came on. As did in late 2010 so I pulled over and turned car off and did as my husband did and everything was good. But when I turned car back on it still had lights on so I called my husband and he told me to try unhook battery for like 10 minutes then hook back up and I did that and luckily it worked and we made it to where he was staying and we never had anymore problems till 9/15/12 when I was driving to see my mother and it happened again but this time in heavy traffic at a stop light and this time had all same symptoms but also a new one the transmission wouldn't shift from low gear. And it won't go off my husband researched on internet and found recalls for Cobalts and numerous complaints of same steering problems but when I called GM and gave woman my VIN she stated no recalls for my vehicle I don't understand if it is the same make of vehicle same problems they can pick and choose who has a problem and who doesn't. I am gonna try to solve this by taking to GM customer service, but if they not willing to work with me I will be more than happy to sign onto a class action lawsuit.

- Lawrenceburg, IN, USA

problem #22

Oct 112011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 45,983 miles
While driving down highway the traction control light came on. When I slowed to exit highway my vehicle began to shift funny and hard and became scarry. I then left stop sign and my car was shifting hard and felt like it was jumping eraticly. I was scared to drive at times and it continued for about an hour then I pulled into get something to eat and call my husband. After eating and telling my husband, I got back into car and it was fine. No more lights on the dash saying service engine soon or traction control light. It was fine for the rest of my way home. I went to work next day and all was back again, light for service engine came on and so did traction control. Then my car started jerking again and shifting real hard. Now my car does this at least 4 times a week. I had it looked at and they could not find anything they said. It happened again and I took it in and they said it was a front right wheel bearing showing up on code but nothing else. Had the bearing fixed and it still does it. I should have known that wasn't all it was cause it feels like the trans slipping and grabbing. To this day it still does it with everyone telling me they can't find problem.

- Marion , OH, USA

problem #21

Jun 172012


  • 74,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to lock in the park position. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 74,000 and the current mileage 74,764.

- North Potomac, MD, USA

problem #20

Mar 012012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer states several issues with vehicle related to recalls the consumer stated there was a smell of gasoline inside the vehicle, five sensors were bad, there was a problem with the fuel pump and fuel injection system. The RPM's jumped, when the vehicle was in cruise control mode, the cruise control would shut off for no reason. The consumer had a difficult time starting the vehicle, after she filled the tank, the vehicle would steer to the left, and there were times when the vehicle would jump out of gear.

- Ripley, WV, USA

problem #19

Sep 242010


  • miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss has a transmission/traction control issue. The traction control light will come on at random and when it does, my car with slam into the next gear. The problem used to be when I would accelerate with high rpms but now it happens all the time. Any time the tc light comes on I can hear something grinding under the hood and that's when I know I will have a serious problem. When I took it to Chevy, they said they couldn't find anything wrong with the car but I am still having this problem! GM needs to do some research on this problem!

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #18

Oct 012011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key was stuck in the ignition. The dealer diagnosed that the gear shifter had to be cleaned. The manufacturer denied any assistance with repairs to the defect. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was unavailable and the current mileage was 100,000. Updated 11/23/11 updated 03/12/12

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #17

Sep 012011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer states issues with power steering in April 2010, the consumer received a letter stating there was a safety recall on the power steering motor and when the part arrived, it would be fixed free of charge. The consumer went to the dealer and the recalled part was replaced. However, it also caused the transmission to slip and hard braking whenever the power steering message appeared. The consumer informed the dealer of the problem and the dealer stated it had nothing to do with the recall. The consumer returned to the dealer again. The dealer claimed the problem was the control arm bushing. The dealer replaced an im insulator, link, loose sway bar bushing and the steering gear. The consumer stated she continued to experience the same problems with the transmission, and the vehicle loosing power. The consumer returned to the dealer and the mechanic stated the vehicle had an electrical problem.

- Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #16

Jun 082010


  • 89,887 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact had the vehicle repaired according to recall 10V073000 (steering: Electric power assist system). The dealer changed the code, but made no mention of replacing the electronic power assist. The vehicle would not shift out of first gear. When driving, the vehicle would not accelerate and gear shifter became stuck in first gear. The current and failure mileages were 89,887.

- Summerville, MA, USA

problem #15

Oct 142010


  • 8,200 miles
I have a 06 Chevy Cobalt. Since October 2007, the power steering has been going out and the transmission has been acting up. At the beginning, the problem would occur only once in a while. Now it is happening everyday. I'm currently a nursing student and rely on my car. There have been many times when my car would start acting up and during dangerous conditions such as thunderstorms or just in an unsafe part of town. I was happy when a power steering recall was issued, but after having the recalled fixed, the problem is still occurring! I'm a Michigan native and know first hand the impact on the economy on the american auto industry. I wanted to support the local economy by choosing this car. Now I don't think I would ever buy a GM car again. Something more needs to be done! this car is not safe!!!

- White Lake, MI, USA

problem #14

Apr 172010


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Whenever he shifted out of park the gear began to drag, make a scraping noise and was extremely difficult to move. The dealer stated that they were unable to repair the vehicle since there was no recall. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure and current mileages were 62,000.

- Florence, KY, USA

problem #13

May 122010


  • miles
Having accident because power steering went off. The car was in shop (vara Chevrolet san antonio, tx)on April 28, 2010. Asking dealer to fixed it. Saying no parts. After 2-3 weeks got an accident, dealer still did not have parts. Took car to the shop. (benson Chevrolet san antonio tx) dealer called allstate without asking or informing us. They did not want to pay. Car is in the shop since May 13 2010 until today's date (June 27 2010) asking for rental car. Local dealer authorized it. After GMC Chevrolet found out we put a complaint on BBB cancel rental meantime the car is still in the shop. Due to the complaint. They knew the consequence why sent letter without no parts and now do not want pay for the repairs.the car is 2006 and it has 4 recalls. 1. fuel pump. 2. power steering not fixed on time. 3.power train: Automatic transmision.4.structure. Already had fuel pump and power steering defected.

- Elmendorf, TX, USA

problem #12

Apr 062010


  • 90,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt-power steering stops working and at same time transmission shifts very hard. Left front turn signal intermittently works. All problems are related to Chevy Cobalts electrical wiring and circuitry. Dangerous to drive and unreliable. There is no pattern and all problems have occurred in the last year approximately six times.

- Wagoner, OK, USA

problem #11

Oct 252009


  • 470,000 miles
Began driving on to highway. Between the shift from 3rd to 4th gear, the clutch pedal depletes completely and does not return. After towing the car to a dealership, we find the firewall is broken. When a new firewall was put in it was noticed that the part of the firewall was modified and reinforced. I still have the old part to show proof of the change made.

- Norwich, CT, USA

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