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 12 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #101

Jul 262011


  • 155,560 miles


I was driving home one rainy day, about 45mph, dash lit up to shift. I looked and I was already in 5th. Next second everything on dash went out. No speedometer, no shift light, no mileage or trip meter, nothing. Only thing on dash that works is tach and digital display says power steering. Already had an appointment for recall work for power steering assist motor, thought that maybe that was what was wrong so I kept appointment. When got back from dealer, they tell me they replaced power steering assist motor and they had noticed the dash display and had done scan and it showed the power steering motor is went out! bought this car for my daughter, to drive back in forth to school, scared for her to drive it the 90 miles a day she drives to college. Thought this was just an isolated case but after checking online, I see that this is a major defect in these cars. Something needs done before someone gets hurt or killed.

- Genoa, WV, USA

problem #100

Aug 112012


  • 103,000 miles
While driving my 2006 Chevy Cobalt when I lost power steering which made it difficult to control my car around sharp turns due to the fact that I was not expecting the power steering to just go out on me like that. This type of problem is very dangerous especially when it happens while driving. I have already had my power steering fixed once due to a past recall and here I am again having problems with the same thing again!

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #99

Feb 082012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
My wife and grandson were in the car when power steering came on the dash. It caught her attention but didn't know really what had happened till she tried to turn and almost went in the ditch. We took it to the dealer and $700 paid to have the problem continue to recur. It comes and goes and if it is not a problem when we take it to the dealer they don't know what to do. All they say is it is in the wiring issue and think we should buy something else. I didn't know about all these problems till it occurred to us. We bought the car new and have like the 2006 Cobalt but this is the first I have heard they have a problem with the powersteering or wiring to the electric assist to the power steering. I am told they had a fix back in 2010 are we still qualified to have our car fixed under that recall. My son is going in the army in a couple weeks we wanted to let him have this car after he gets stationed somewhere but we can't give it to him when we are not trusting its safety.

- Gulfport, MS, USA

problem #98

Feb 242012


  • 52,000 miles


I purchased a brand new 2006 Chevy Cobalt and haven't had problems until recently (2012). My problem started in February 2012 when heading to a doctor's appointment. Started the car and the power steering light came on. Started pulling car off of parking lot where I live and the car had a jerking/bucking sensation to it and then shut off on me. Had car towed to Chevy dealer and the car wouldn't duplicate the same problem so I got the car back. 9 days later I go out again and the car starts with the same problem - power steering light on; jerking sensation and the speedometer dropped from 35 mph to 0. car went back to Chevy dealership. Again, car would not duplicate problems. Got car back & since I have been scared to death to have this vehicle on the road, it has sat for 2 months. After getting GM involved, tried to take vehicle back to dealer and once again - power steering light on; jerking/bucking sensation; clicking in gear console. 3 times now I have had this car back to dealership and now they decide it's the body control module (BCM), yet they indicated that on my first trip, that a stored code showed them the BCM was not communicating. Getting GM involved has been a waste of time because naturally since the warrant is off of the car, they don't want to do anything to soak up the cost of replacing this module which is going to cost me $685.

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #97

Apr 162012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Car will not start the computer states that "power steering" I took this to the dealer and they said that the problem was the fuse box I replaced it and there is still a problem I will take to dealer to check next problem.

- Somerset, KY, USA

problem #96

May 022011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
I have a 2006 Cobalt. Periodically I can't open the driver door from inside and I have to roll down the window to pull handle from outside to get out. And then fuss with the latch mechanism sometimes to get the door to shut. And right now my locks are going up and down by themselves while I drive and when I'm parked.. I lock my doors and I come out to my car and they are unlocked. And I can't disengage my alarm...soo every time I open the door I have to jump in and turn on the ignition. I called the local Chevy dealer and of course they haven't heard any complaints like this. Although, I've read many complaints like this.. they tell me if I want to bring it in, I have to pay for them to diagnose it! I'm still making payments on this car!

- Troy, NY, USA

problem #95

Nov 232011


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that she was unable to remove the key from the ignition. She was able to remove the key by engaging the release button located under the dashboard. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but was not diagnosed. The vehicle was taken to several independent mechanics, none of whom could provide a cause or remedy for the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 108,000.

- Euclid, OH, USA

problem #94

Aug 252011


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering, tire traction and check engine warning lights were illuminated. The automatic door locks would lock and unlock the doors independently and without warning, and the speedometer would become inoperative. The contact would have to shut the vehicle off and restart for the vehicle to perform as normal. The dealer repaired various components unknown to the contact on several occasions however, the failure would recur. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 150,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Pearland, TX, USA

problem #93

Jan 102012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while driving. When the failure occurred, the key would remain stuck in the ignition. The contact also stated that the failure occurred whenever the vehicle was driven over a pothole or bump. In addition, the contact stated that the all of the electronics would continue functioning when the vehicle stalled. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 80,000. Updated 04/10/12 the consumer stated he was unable to removed the key from the ignition. 04/16/12

- Dear Park, NY, USA

problem #92

Jun 092010


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While parked, the contact was unable to release the key from the igtion switch after numerous attempts. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, who advised the contact to have the vehicle inspected by a dealer. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Folsom, CA, USA

problem #91

Feb 022012


  • 67,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact could not remove the key from the ignition. In order to successfully remove the key from the ignition, the contact had to pull the emergency release on the steering wheel. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for a diagnostic test. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 67,000.

- Derry, NH, USA

problem #90

Apr 042011


  • miles
As I was coming to stop at a red light, I heard a ding and "power steering" flashed on my dashboard. My car then started to jerk, and continued when I sped up. This has happened several times after the first incident.

- Defuniak Springs , FL, USA

problem #89

Dec 192011


  • 40,000 miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt had wheel bearing issues starting at 40,000 miles. At 50,000 miles my front end suspension (lower control arm and bushings), struts, and doors locks started acting up. My door locks will jam and I will be trapped in my car until they (door locks) decide to work again. Fortunately for me usually only one stops working at a time. The dealer says that it just needs greasing; I have tried every grease under the sun and none has fixed the problem. This is a serious safety issue and this car should have a recall to at least fix the doors!!!.the dealer wants to charge over $1,000 per door for repairs. I have heard of some peoples doors never opening again and the door having to be cut off to be repaired. If something were to happen you need to be able to quickly and safely get out of the car. Please please please recall this door issue on the Cobalt!

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #88

Dec 082011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
Door will not shut, than door will not open, than door opened while driving down street.

- Levittoen, PA, USA

problem #87

Aug 232010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Power steering message appeared within a few days of having it serviced due to the power steering recall. Power steering message appears all the time (almost every time I drive it). Sometimes power steering message appears and car starts jerking and is hard to steer). When that happens I have to pull over and shut the car off and restart it. Sometimes this works but occassionally it doesn't. a couple of times I have went to back out of my parking spot at work and have not been able to turn the wheel at all. I have contacted the dealer where it was serviced and Chevy and basically was told that they couldn't help me unless I took it to have the problem diganosed at my expense (70- 200 and something dollars), and "if" it is related to the power steering recall they may help me with the cost of the repair. I don't think I should have to pay to have the problem diagnosed when their solutiion to their recall didn't fix the problem. My key has gotten stuck in the ignition a couple of times.

- Seneca Falls, NY, USA

problem #86

Jan 292011


  • 120,000 miles
I noticed issues starting shortly after we bought the vehicle in 08 with the door locks erratically locking and unlocking themselves. My husband fixed the issue by disconnecting the electric locks. Then in January of 2011 the car completely stalled while turning. We started it up and got it home. We went through all kinds of things figuring out what was wrong. We changed the catalytic converter, spark plugs, and manifold was running fine for a while but still at idle it felt like it was going to stall. Then one day it wouldn't start at all and the key got stuck in the ignition. We jumped the vehicle and the key came out. Then we got the codes read at auto zone and found we needed a ignition coil. So we replaced that. Ran good but the stalling feeling at idle was still present. Then the key got stuck in the ignition again and the shifter button was pushed in and the shifter would move without using the brake.I found people have had all these issues online and found the release switch. I used this switch and the shifter is back to normal. We have a limited income and we cant afford all of these issues, but it seems that they are all very common with these cars.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #85

Jul 122011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
When driving or at idle 2006 Cobalt will stall when the heater or air conditioning is turned on. Loss of power steering is lost as well as all other power. When the heater or air conditioner is turned off car will start again. There are no engine codes displayed.

- Cincinnati , OH, USA

problem #84

Sep 012011


  • miles
Vehicle has various problems which started with the fuel gauge going to empty not matter how much fuel there was, this issue was never fixed properly. Front suspension rattles and lower control arm bushings are cracked, diagnosed, but not repaired by Chevrolet. Interior dome light has a short as does the radio, intermittent. Also paint is peeling off of the door handles, radio and dashboard control buttons. And just recently there is an odor of gasoline coming from somewhere on the vehicle. The vehicle has a little over 21,000 miles on it.

- Peekskill, NY, USA

problem #83

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 #82

Sep 062011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
The power steering failed on yesterday September 6th, 2011. The mph needle does not move at all on the RPM needle. In order to get the vehicle to move what it seems to be 30 miles per hour I must press hard on the accelerator. There was a recall on the vehicle and I received a letter to have the car looked at by darcars dealership. I took the car to the dealership May 2011 and the representative stated that the steering column was replaced and everything is fine. Now 4 months later the vehicle is in worse condition then it was prior to me taking it to the dealership. Not sure what to do at this point.

- Riverdale , MD, USA

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