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 13 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #81

Jul 302011


  • 80,000 miles


After parking car and shutting off the ignition the key will get stuck and not come out. This has happened several times. You have to either turn the ignition back on or jiggle the key around in the slot in order for it to release.

- Santa Clarita, CA, USA

problem #80

Aug 042011


  • 82,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy colbalt. The car constantly stalls in traffic. I took it to the machanic and he stated it was an electrical problem that is very common in this make and model car. The mechanic diagnosed it as a high speed communication bus which is part of the throttle body and that's why is stalls. Aka fly by wire. Have had two recalls. We are having so many problems with this vehicle.

- Mastic Beach, NY, USA

problem #79

Jul 292011


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 30 mph the electronic door locks began to open and close erratically. The steering wheel became stiff making it difficult to control the vehicle. The contact stated the power steering failed and the steering wheel needed excessive effort to turn the steering wheel while driving. The contact was able to drive the vehicle to her residence. There were warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel but the contact was unaware of which ones illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. There was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering:electric power assist system) that may be related to the failure. The manufacturer was not contacted to verify if the VIN was included in the recall. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Laplace, LA, USA

problem #78

May 202011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


I own a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ls sedan. This car every year like clock work has to either have a new transmission put into it, or has shifting problems. The car will be fine for about a year and then it struggles to shift gears and it will be subtle. Then it slowly starts to feel like the transmission is " slipping" when U reverse and then put it back into drive it slides back before it begins to move forward again. This car is only 5 years old but has had 3 transmissions in it's life time, and it's starting to feel like it's going for its 4th.

- Hayward , CA, USA

problem #77

Sep 302010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 70,796 miles
Car would no start on first attempt--stereo and all electrical components in car turn on, but car does not start at back into car about 10 minutes later, tried again--started right up. While driving, all gauges would drop all the way to zero and all electrical inside car goes dead. Upon parking, car would not immediately restart. Got electrical test at auto parts store, told it was reading bad battery--so I replaced battery at that time.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #76

Mar 232010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I was driving to a different state, and about 3 hours into the drive, I stopped for gas. After shutting the car off, I was unable to remove the key from the ignition. I was able to release the key by reaching under the steering column and pressing the manual release button. Even after having recall work on another item at a GM dealer, they didn't offer any sort of solution on how to get this fixed. I still have to press the manual release to get the key out. Contacted GM customer service through email and they offered no remedy and claimed no responsibility.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #75

Nov 012010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet colbalt lt. The contact stated that within a week after he purchased the vehicle the electrical system completely failed. The vehicle was repaired by the sales center, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 93,000 and the current mileage is 105,000. Updated 07.20.11

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #74

May 072011


  • 98,461 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key became lodged in the ignition. The failure drained the battery until the vehicle shut down completely. The contact had the vehicle towed to a dealer where he was advised that the steering column would need a new key cylinder. The dealer stated that if the key cylinder was not replaced, then the vehicle would continue to shut down in the future. The contact believed that the failure was a known safety issue with the year make and model due to the numerous reports found via the internet. The failure mileage was 98,461.

- East Wareham , MA, USA

problem #73

Jan 012010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
Second 2006 Chevy Cobalt owned. The first had an electrical issue and burned to the ground within a month of purchasing it. The air had gone out on it and we had returned it to dealer where it was serviced. Within a week it caught fire in traffic. We assumed the dealer did something incorrect when reconnecting the battery cables. Partly because the fire had started in trunk where battery was. We thought it was human error so we purchased another 2006 Cobalt. It started dying in traffic at intersections when stopped or when you allow it to idle. Took it to several auto stores and had put on machine. Answer was rapid misfire. Bought new sparkplugs and wires. Replaced those to no avail, tried gas treatments for the shuttering engine, to no avail. Took it to mechanics twice. They replaced the cooling sensor. Still cutting out and wouldn't idle properly. Took back to mechanic. He couldn't find anything. Noticed one headlight off when we picked it up. Took it home to investigate and headlight back on. We believe its a short somewhere in system. Doesn't die when lights are off. Approximately 98,000 miles. Had a minor issue with a gas leak. Took it to local dealer and was addressed immediately. No other major issues.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #72

Jan 132011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that after receiving repairs under NHTSA campaign: 10V073000 (steering: Electric power assist), the vehicle began stalling sporadically and the power steering warning light illuminated. The dealer advised that the failure could have been caused by the wiring harness under the dashboard which he discovered was corroded. The vehicle was taken to the dealer twice yet the dealer was unable to pinpoint the failure and could only suggest that it was the wiring harness, which was not repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 68,000. Updated 04/15/11 the consumer stated the dealer kept the vehicle for a week to correct the problem. The vehicle is currently operating in a normal manner. Updated 11/04/11

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #71

May 302009


  • 52,329 miles


2006 Chevy Cobalt ss/SC has been serviced more than 10 times in 5 months for sensors failing and electrical issues that are still occurring. Major problem occurring is car shutting itself off in traffic and at idle.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #70

Jan 242011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 90,167 miles
When the car is shifted to park and the engine is shut down, the key cannot be removed from the ignition. The ignition is locked in the on or acc. Position, if the key is left in place, the battery is drained. There have been instances where the doors will not lock with the key in the ignition and the ignition in the on position. When the car is in this condition, it cannot be left unattended because everyone has access to the car.

- Hooper, UT, USA

problem #69

May 282010


  • 70,000 miles
All of my electrical components go crazy including the gauges, radio, headlights, power breaks/ steering. The car also stalls upon stopping and in traffic(usually going over 40mph). It has stalled several times in traffic causing other cars to swerve or slam on their brakes. Im shocked I haven't been hit yet. Then the car will also overaccelarate. On one occasion I barely touched the gas to pull away from a stop sign and the car accelerated very quickly through the intersection and into the park across the street. After all this happens the battery will die and the key will get stuck in the ignition. The same basic cycle occurs every few months. I have had it to the dealership four times this week alone and each time it acts up again within hours. They do not seem to have any idea how to fix it either.

- Rockford, IL, USA

problem #68

Aug 052006


  • 12,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt key comes out of ignition and it still runs. Key gets locked in steering column and will not release. Have to wait anywhere from 1 minute to 3 hours. Radio shorted. Automatic transmission slips and car will not accelerate (this happens while car is being driven). Car will not start indicating a "lock key", have to cycle automatic shifter through gears before it will start. Car will not start and just clicks. Battery reads $12.21 volts. Vehicle has a loose thumping noise in front axle area. All these indications generated a year after purchase and becoming more frequent.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #67

Jul 162008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ls. The contact was driving approximately 45 mph when the reduced engine power warning light illuminated followed by reduced engine power. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer five times where the speed sensor, throttle body, power steering motor and accelerator pedal were replaced to no avail. The failure persisted after the several repairs were performed on the vehicle. The failure and current mileages were 52,000. Updated 10/13/10 updated 10/14/10

- Bronston, KY, USA

problem #66

Jun 252010


  • 48,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt ls: Power steering failure, as well as tach & speedometer fluctuations. Transmission shifts rough. Engine light is on, as well as an icon that looks like a car with a lock on it. All this happened at one time...between the time I parked it after work (no problems), til I went out and started it again to go to the store.

- Schuylkill Haven, PA, USA

problem #65

Jun 242006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I have owned my 2006 Chevy Cobalt since June 2006 and have had numerous problems out of this car. I have had to pay out of pocket for every repair because they seem to all happen before a recall is issued and the dealerships will not refund money on the repairs. 1) A/C leaks water in passenger side floor board. I have had it in the shop 3 times and it is still leaking. No one can figure out why the water is leaking into the car. 2) gas tank had to be replaced due to fuel lines cracking. 3) power steering went out while my husband was driving on the interstate and was about 130 miles from home. 4) the car would die if the RPM's got too low, this was caused by a carbon build up on the idler. 5) there is no way to check the transmission fluid and it is starting to slip and take forever to upshift. 6) the key gets stuck in the ignition and will not come out. 7) the drivers side door gets stuck and will not open. 8) the door latch sometimes messes up and the door does not close. 9) the stereo display and buttons no longer work. I can not use the cd player for fear of losing the cd for ever since the eject button doesn't work. I can not see the clock or what station the radio is on. The car lost its value so fast that even after 4 yrs of having it I still can not trade it in due to the amt. I still owe on it. So I am stuck driving this piece of crap until it is paid for. I have already invested several thousands of dollars into this car for these problems. I believe that the car is a lemon and I should be reimbursed for the car and all of the out of pocket repairs I have had to make.

- Gilmer, TX, USA

problem #64

Mar 012010


  • 29,500 miles
Key in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt won't come out of the ignition. This happens intermittently. Say once every ten starts. The web page indicates Chevy is aware of the problem: I have not seen any recall of this problem but there is a fair number of owners who experience it. Chevy should recall and repair this for all owners for whom it has occurred.

- Evans, GA, USA

problem #63

May 212010


  • 70,000 miles
I see there are issues on the fuel module on the 2006 Chevy Cobalts, and I took it to get replaced however when I take my car to get diagnosed it continues to say there is something with a misfire, and my fuel evaporating. I am having multiple problems with my 06 Cobalts and has I have done extenuous research and every problem I've found online over 1000 complaints and blogs, and sites where customers are all complaining about the same issue. I am a working college student and drive to work and school everyday. My car stopped on the freeway the other day, and almost caused an accident however the vehicle slammed on their brakes. Not only the fuel line but also my car key does not come out the ignition. All these issues are ongoing and I have found over 10,0000 unsatisfied consumers all with the same issues with the Cobalts. This is a big issue, and I am tired of dealing with Chevrolet as this is there product and they are only trying to get the money and make you pay for all the services. These are major issues all going out at the same time.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #62

May 172010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 39,575 miles
In April 2010 my daughter's 2006 Chevy Cobalt's clutch was replaced. There was about 38,500 miles on the vehicle. All the regular maintenances where done to keep this car in shape. The total of the repair was $1400 dollars doubled that of the Chevy cavalier. Yesterday on May 17th she was driving on a busy street in albuquerque, New Mexico around 5pm traffic time. Her vehicle just stopped went dead with no warning, she was almost rear ended. The car's battery is good and she had about half tank of gas so those weren't the problems. She pushed it into the nearest parking lot and waited but the car would not turn over. There is no sound when she turns the car on, this is insane with the problems we have with this vehicle within a three year period. The dealers do not care about the cost we are putting into this vehicle but something has to be done to help the consumers. My other daughter has the same year and make of her sister' Cobalt they were bought on the same day. Her vehicle is an automatic and her power steering is going out already. There has to be something we could do as frustrated consumers.

- Rio Rancho , NM, USA

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