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:
30 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
121 / 3
Average Mileage:
64,401 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 11 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #121

Nov 072013


  • miles


Door handle won't open from the inside of driver side. I have to roll down my window to open it. This has happened before inside and out when I was under warranty. As well as a whistling noise from my passenger vent and rattling windows. Supposedly this was all fixed. Except the part for my air vent. Now I can't even open my manual door. I have read this is a common problem with my model of car. I feel everything is poorly built. Door is rusting out on drivers side. Yet, I have take great care making sure it stays clean. But the fact that I can't get out of my door. And it's winter time. Is scary. I did not go with electric due to that fact of getting something expensive fixed. In the past. It was temporary. But now it won't work at all. Again. Before it would happen at times. On either door. Getting in or out. But now the driver side won't open from the inside at all. And what if the window is frozen and the passages side won't open either. Worried.

- Cleveland Hts, OH, USA

problem #120

Nov 192013


  • 122,000 miles
After two hub failures, stabilizer link failures, ignition coil failure, rear defroster failure, power locks failure, and now the steering rack is making a grinding noise and causing premature wear to the front right tire. I believe there is a tsb on the steering rack. This should be a recall I won't ever by a GM again.

- Lake Geneva, WI, USA

problem #119

Apr 162012


  • 43,000 miles
Have been told various times I need new struts and shocks. I think this is ridiculous seeing as though I have do not have many miles on my car and the year of my car. Dealerships have told me that it does not make sense that a car a 2006 and with low miles on it should need shocks and struts right now. I have had nothing but problems with this car since I paid it off. Wheel baring, shocks struts, problems getting key out of ignition, headlights and tail lights leaking water into it, slve cylinder and master cylinder, fuel pump. I will never buy a Chevy again!

- Oxford, MA, USA

problem #118

May 152011


  • 30,000 miles


Key gets stuck in ignition and can not get it out. Has been doing this for years. Takes several minutes to just get the key out. Sometime have to keep keys in car overnight.

- Oxford, MA, USA

problem #117

Oct 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 130,549 miles
I purchased a 2006 Cobalt from a private owner this week. I test drove it 3 times with no problems. After bringing it home, I attempted to turn off the car and remove the key. It would not turn off all the way and the key would not come out. I was very upset and scared. The car would restart so I was able to put it in the driveway and park it next to the garage. Since I could not remove the key I put a car club on it and locked the door. Then I parked another car behind it. I did not think about it but since the key was in the accessory position the battery went dead. The next day I was not able to remove the key and I was not able to start it. I called a local Chevrolet dealer. He checked the VIN for recalls and said there was not one on the 2006 Cobalt related to the starting solenoid binding up. He did tell me it is common and most cars that have the problem have a recall issued. This problem has caused me major distress and could be very unsafe if the car had experienced this problem somewhere away from home. I found out how to fix it by reading articles on the internet. Many people have reported this problem and Chevrolet has not listened to the consumers by issuing a recall and repairing the problem. There is a button in the steering column that needs to be pressed by a rod to tell the car that the car is in park and it is ok to turn it off and remove the key. The cars with problems have a rod that does not depress the button. People have to remove a cover on the steering column and reattach the rod when they can not remove their key. However, over time the rod slips to far that this is no longer a solution and the parts need to be replaced. Why should the consumer have to suffer this stress and worry about getting their car stolen because their key is stuck in it? Chevrolet needs to immediately take care of this ongoing, long standing issue.

- Kent, WA, USA

problem #116

Jun 052012


  • 90,000 miles
The key gets stuck in ignition and will not come out. The key acts jammed and wont turn and cant be pulled out. Has been doing this for a while and has left me stranded multiple times.

- Lancaster, OH, USA

problem #115

Jul 042013


  • 146,000 miles


Lately my car has been dying while coming to a stop or going to take off. This is really scary when I pull out in busy traffic! I was almost T boned one day but thank goodness I was able to restart my car in time. Then a new problem started soon after... I was driving on the highway doing speeds 65 mph when all the gauges on the dash started jumping around the steering wheel kind of locked up and my car began to jump and jerk. I struggled to get my car off the road onto an exit ramp where I shut my car off. I turned my car off, then I turned it back on. The alert gauge rang three times and said power steering on the dash board, I put my car in drive in hopes to make it home which was not far...when I took off my car shook and jumped while going all the way across a bridge. I pulled over yet again shut my car off and restarted it when I took off the second time and drove home I didn't have any problems. I left my car sit for several days the problem continues.

- Adrian , MO, USA

problem #114

Dec 012011


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the ignition failed. The key could not be released from the ignition. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 40,000 and the current mileage was 50,000.

- Cokeville , WY, USA

problem #113

Jun 092013


  • 111,000 miles
When car shifter is placed in park, key will not move past the acc position and cannot be removed from the ignition at all. Key must be left in the vehicle.

- Oshkosh, WI, USA

problem #112

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 #111

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 #110

Feb 282013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 156,231 miles
When driving the gauge cluster lights up while both the mph and RPM needles jump around. Total loss of power steering as well as the transmission goes into limp mode. Lost control on freeway thankfully no one were in the 2 lanes that the car veered into at the time. Was able to stop the car in the service lane. There are many complaints of this same issue.we have received no recall information and we are not under the current recall for whatever reason. Same issues as original recall fits in years recalled for...why not include us? took the Liberty of paying for both the eps motor and module with no success. I am currently out $1,500 this is not fair.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #109

Feb 142013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 99,500 miles
Steering wheel became very difficult to turn while on a freeway entrance ramp. Fortunately I was able to retain control of vehicle. No further issues until 8 days later when again the vehicle become very difficult to steer. I consider the malfunction of the power steering unit to be a dangerous issue. I called the GM help line 2/23/2013 and was told the vehicle was recalled at 54,000 miles to address the steering issue and any needed repairs at this time will be at my expense.

- Lakeside, MI, USA

problem #108

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

problem #107

Jan 162013


  • 46,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the check engine and battery lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the alternator was replaced twice. The contact also stated that the battery and relay were also replaced but the failure recurred. The dealer was unable to diagnose the failure. The failure mileage was 46,000 and the current mileage was 46,500. The VIN was unavailable.

- Reading, PA, USA

problem #106

Aug 012012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the power steering seized and the vehicle stalled. The contact had to wait a few seconds to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. After diagnosis, the contact was advised that the anti theft module had failed and was later replaced. Immediately after the repair, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was approximately 97,000. The current mileage was approximately 109,507. Updated 03/07/13 the consumer stated the power steering will shut off, the transmission will shift very roughly, the instrument cluster go on and off, and the car will die at various speeds. When this failure occurred the steering would lock up. Recently, 02/13/2013, the vehicle had no power steering then, it suddenly turned on nearly causing the vehicle to fly off the road. Updated 03/11/2013

- Olathe, CO, USA

problem #105

Nov 072012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I was in the food for less market and my car - blow up or whatever it was on fire when I came out after someone state "a Chevy volt was on fire, come to the front", then he said, "will the person with a Chevy volt, come to the front - color purple" that's when I went to see what was going on. My car was on fire and the fire people was putting it out. Oh, my goodness!!!!!!

- Altadena, CA, USA

problem #104

Sep 072012


  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key became stuck in the ignition. In addition, the gear shifter could not be shifted out from park. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 103,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #103

May 252012


  • 24,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that key became lodged in the ignition and she was unable to remove it. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who diagnose that the ignition housing needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 24,000.

- Livalette, WV, USA

problem #102

Aug 242012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
Key gets stuck in ignition and will not come out of the actual ignition when you shut off the car. I have to reach inside the steeling column to push a release button each time to get the key to be released.

- Chicago, IL, USA

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