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 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #10

Sep 102009


  • 46,000 miles


I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls I got it like a year ago and it has a really bad power steering problem when I got it from the dealer it was good for a couple of months. Then the power steering started to fail I was going to moreno valley through the curves and it just shut of on me so I had to pull over. So I turned of the car and waited. When I turned it back on it worked for like ten minutes then it shut of again. Now I just turn on my car and as soon as I press the gas the power steering turns off. It is really hard to park and to control it. I tried to take it back to the dealer but my warranty was expired. My Cobalt is not the only one with the problem I did some research and alot of people have the exact same complaint as me. I think this car should be recalled for the safety of the driver and the pedestrians.

- Banning, CA, USA

problem #9

Jan 202010


  • 21,000 miles
I purchased a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, at the end of August 09. Since then, it has been in the shop for knocking sounds in the front end that altered the brake from functioning properly over 4 times. The dealer could not always replicate it, therefore it was not fixed. Eventually the noise stopped, then a few months ago the key got stuck in the ignition several times, and finally the shifter had to be replaced. At this point I haven't even owned the vehicle for 5 months, and now a few days ago the power steering shut off in the middle of driving. I pulled over the best I could shut the vehicle off and restarted it. Everything reset and it was fine. Yesterday the event occurred on an exit ramp of a high way and nearly killed me. Once again its back in the shop. This car is a death trap, I'm lucky I was not killed. This is a serious problem and forums all over have people with the same problem. I bought this car because I believed it was safe, and now I'm terrified to drive it by any means. The dealerships aren't any help, they assure the problems are fixed when they really are not.

- Woodbury Heights, NJ, USA

problem #8

Oct 272009


  • 78,000 miles
2006 Cobalts should be recalled. I have one with the power steering problem, GM does not want to fix it. Please help..!

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #7

Sep 112009


  • 64,000 miles


Gear shift will not lock in the park position, resulting in key sticking in the ignition. I have not had problems with it coming out of park, but it is only a matter of time because it is happening more and more.

- Fernley, NV, USA

problem #6

Jul 272009


  • 47,230 miles
Couldn't get key out after starting, car would not go off. Shift lever would not go into park. Went to dealer.they said it was the transmission shift interlock switch. The dealer replaced the floor shifter. Dealer kept part.

- Dalton, PA, USA

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problem #5

Oct 132007


  • miles
Starting in October 2007, I have had ongoing power steering problems with my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. Without warning, the power steering will suddenly quit while the transmission will start jumping. The car becomes unable to drive. This will happen while driving. The problem will occur and then go back to normal a short time later. I have brought my car into the dealer four times now concerning this issue. I have been told that they don't know what to do. I am not the only one experiencing this problem. After doing some research, I have found that this happens to be a very common problem with the Cobalt. There is currently an online petition to have the Chevy Cobalt recalled. This is a huge safety issue!!! I am afraid to drive my car. Something needs to be done before someone is killed.

- White Lake, MI, USA

problem #4

Feb 182007


  • miles


Yes, I would like to say that I own a Chevrolet Cobalt lt coupe(used), I've had this car for about a year and a half. Probably about 3 months after owning it the gear shift slipped out of place. Meaning that the lever you push to put the car in and out of gear is loose. I can move the "stick" up and down without any worry. I can easily accidentally hit the stick and it could possibly go into reverse. I have taken it to my mechanic and he stated that he could not fix it, but believes there may be a recall. I'm only saying this because I'm afraid that while I'm going down the road and myself or a passenger accidentally hits the stick a little, that the car will switch into a different gear and ruin my engine or cause a wreck.

- Blue Ridge, TX, USA

problem #3

Jan 092009


  • 55,000 miles
While driving our 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt a loss of steering control has occurred over 3 times which includes erratic transmission and gearshift noises. If this had occurred on the highway in any of these occurrences a crash would have resulted. After conducting an online investigation there are thousands of owners of Cobalts which have the same problem with the electronic steering and other electrical problems within the steering column. Nothing has been done to correct the problem due to the dealer wanting to charge $2K. It is clearly a manufacturing defect with most dealers stating it is.

- West Alexandria, OH, USA

problem #2

Aug 302008


  • 28,900 miles
For the past three weeks, my 2006 Cobalt has been shifting hard, giving me a "power steering" message in the dash, security light on, total power steering failure, and a knocking noise in the gear shifter. I've had it to the dealership on numerous occasions for these problems. They replaced the ignition switch and said it was fixed, and a week later it started doing it again. Now they are telling me that they can't find the problem and treating me like I have no idea what I'm talking about. I've only had the car for two years, and my warranty expires next year. It went from happening once a week to happening daily. Sometimes I'll drive it, and nothing will happen. Other times all I have to do is start the car and it starts doing it.

- Ashland, OH, USA

problem #1

Aug 212007

(reported on)


  • miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt with several different issues customer states that car is a lemon and that she drove the 2007 Cobalt and it ran beautifully* the consumer stated the entire shifter system had to be replaced. The ignition key would not turn in the ignition, the steering column was replaced and the system was reprogrammed, the rotors were machined.

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

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