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 14 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #61

Apr 272010


  • miles


2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, remote control system not good quality. I have two keys when bought the car. Just pass the 3 years, one key cannot unlock the car while can only lock the car. Another key works well. Compared my another Toyota car, already 7 years, the key only need replace battery and work. But Cobalt key electronic part worn out.

- Guelph, On N1g 4t6 Canada, 00, USA

problem #60

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 #59

Nov 042009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 52,246 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) April 07,10 hello, I [xxx], have recieved your letter about the safety recall involing my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, which I heard a shaking noises when the car reach between 30 to 40 mph in the front steering colum. I took my 2006-Chevrolet coblat to jefferson Chevrolet -Nov. 04, 2009; and told the guy-that test drove the car. I waited from 8am-4pm; and paid $343.34. In addition, when I gotten into my 2006 coblat the- shaking in my steering colum was still there, so I made an U-turn and went back to jefferson Chevrolet and asked the guy that test my car; I said please come and take a ride with me, because I like to know what did I spend $343.34 for. I call jefferson Chevrolet before I left their, and spoke with Mr. Jerry and told him every thing, and he told me to bring my car back on Nov. 05,2009- which I did, and when Mr. Jerry and myself tested drove, he sat in the passenger seat while I drove and he told me that I still have "noises in my steering colum". finally, when I received your letter on April 07, 2010- about the safety recall, I called Mr. Jerry@ jefferson Chevrolet and asked if they had the part for my 2006- Cobalt; which he said that's not what's wrong with my car. P.S please help me I know that it's something in the steering cloum- that's what I took my car to them to fix this problem; I don't want to be hurt or cause hurt, because of this problems. This is my only transportation to get to work to still make to make $340.46 car payment / car insurance. [xxx]

- Warren, MI, USA

problem #58

Feb 202010


  • 32,222 miles


Car has lost all power twice while in motion. Second time had car towed to local dealer and they had a new program downloaded to the computer which controls the car function. Said it was a sensor mis-reading the car and had to have the software rebooted. This is totally unsafe for a moving car. Also experiencing problems with key ignition lock not releasing the key- diagnosed as a problem with the gear shifter. Many people having these problems. These are both issues the GM should own up to.

- Bellevue, WA, USA

problem #57

Mar 262010


  • 86,500 miles
I own a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Well to begin, I initially had an issue with my shift column, which I researched and found out it was a common issue with this vehicle. It would cause my key to get stuck in the ignition. I took it to the delearship and they replace the whole column. Then a a couple of week later, my vehicle was accelerating really fun, I just blew it off for a moment, until I then tried to put my car in reverse one day, and it would not go anywhere. I took it to the delearship and they told me my transmission is slipping, at 86,000 miles. The dealearship has my car, and is trying to figure out if it's even worth fixing. Im also wondering if this problem could have been caught the intial time they fixed the vehicle, and figured it was my shifting column, because even with my transmission slipping, it also affected the shifting column. One other problem I have had with the vehicle is the air bag sensor, I have not got this fixed yet, because the dealearship wants to charge $99 just to see exactly what's causing my airbag sensor to not come on, when I have passengers with me.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #56

Mar 202010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 72,250 miles
Yesterday 03/20/10 on Saturday night at 11:30pm to 11:40 pm my vehicle Cobalt at close to 40 km/hr speed stop working. Like ignition off. All gauges goes to off condition like vehicle is moving without engine running.outside temp.-1degree C. I placed emergency lights on and put in parking mode then I restart my car again and it starts. This is happened second time. I took to dealer last month but there was no code. I complained to GM earlier also. They told me take to dealer when it happen and in running condition. But on Saturday at 11:30 pm on night which dealer service station is open? I have 4 times earlier sudden acceleration problem in the same vehicle also. Pl do something before it met with accident.

- Brampton, 00, USA

problem #55

Mar 122010

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer states steering and front end problems. The consumer stated the vehicle has been to the repair shop 3 times for front end problems. The coil pack and module had to be replaced. The shift lever failed and would not release the key when the engine was turned off.

- Greenville, PA, USA

problem #54

Oct 252008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,575 miles
Feb. 28, 2010 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls sedan 4 cylinder 4 door automatic transmission I purchased the 2006 Chevy Cobalt brand new from a Chevy dealer. I fully maintained and serviced the vehicle as required and when necessary. On October 25, 2008 I was driving the 2006 Chevy Cobalt and I was driving onto the cross county parkway heading eastbound when the vehicles steering system failed thus causing me to lose control of the vehicle thus crashing the vehicle onto the parkways guardrail. I was very shaken, the vehicle sustained serious damage, and the county police was called to the scene. A police report was filed soon thereafter. The 2006 Chevy Cobalt had to be towed off the parkway and back to my home. GM should really investigate the Chevy Cobalt for steering system failure.

- Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #53

Feb 282006


  • 2,000 miles
1. the instrument panel gauges continue to move after vehicle is shut off. Occurs daily and has done so since purchase of vehicle 2/2006. Dealership replaced engine computer twice while vehicle under warranty but only after I personally contacted GM. 2. while driving car the steering wheel and car pulls to the left. Dealership states they can not reproduce this condition yet other family members who have driven the car have had this happen to them. Saw on news broadcast a possible recall for this. 3. ignition in steering column will not turn on. Ignition replaced 4-5 times by dealership. 4. gear shifter sticks or will not go into gear. Replaced while under warranty and under service bulletin numerous times. 5. while trying to start car starter or something drags. Has done this since purchase of vehicle. Dealership claims they can not reproduce condition.

- Mount Pleasant, MI, USA

problem #52

Dec 272009


  • 56,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 25 mph on normal road conditions. Suddenly, the engine and traction control warning light indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The warning indicators remained illuminated until the engine was turned off. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing. The technician was unable to duplicate the failure. The failure mileage was 56,000.

- West Valley, UT, USA

problem #51

Feb 152006


  • 104,000 miles


I was driving in the freeway and the power steering was not responding for a moment so I was so scared a thought I was going to cause an accident so I stop for a while and it was working again but when I got home I tried to parked my car and the same problem happened I don't know what to do my dad check the car to put some fluid on the power steering but we found that the system is electric, today could be really dangerous not only for me but others that were driving close to me in the freeway.

- San Ysidro, CA, USA

problem #50

Feb 052010


  • miles
I was driving home on February 05, 2010 when my steering wheel locked up and I did not have control of the vehicle. I was coming to a stop fortunately when this happened. This is the first time I have experienced this situation. A friend told me Chevy Cobalt have been recalled and I began my search online and have found numerous complaints regarding this issue. Several months ago, my fuel pump module had a small crack in it disbursing gasoline. The mechanic who worked on it said he had never seen anything such as this before. Im lucky I was not driving at a high speed or around a corner when my steering wheel locked up or my car didn't explode into flames from the gasoline disbursing throughout my car when I had to replace my fuel pump. Power steering and fuel pumps should not require regular maintenance. Chevy barely acknowledges the problem and say its not big deal, try your best to control your car when your power steering goes out. I've heard this becomes a regular occurrence after the first time.

- Sacramento , CA, USA

problem #49

Sep 262009


  • 70,000 miles
Electric power steering.

- Bryan, TX, USA

problem #48

Feb 032010


  • 28,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt with 39K miles. My steering wheel shakes when driving, it is sometimes hard to turn, the radio turns on and off, and the check engine light & air bag light are on. I took the car to the dealership and they said nothing is wrong with the car. They got the lights to turn off. My warranty is now expired and the same lights came on again.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #47

May 142008


  • miles
My power steering tends to go out while driving. Traction control light comes on. The shifter clicks. My speedometer and rmps go nuts. My ABS and brake light flash. The car stalls when I stop in traffic or at lights. They reprogrammed the computer chip three times and replaced the part once. I now am having the problem again and they said its not their problem.

- Burlington, NJ, USA

problem #46

Jan 172010


  • 82,000 miles
In my 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss with 82,000 miles the electric power steering will appear on the dash and then my steering completely goes. This has happened atleast 20 times this week and is getting worse. I brought it in to a garage that said they did an analysis and nothing is wrong. There is obviously a problem. When this occurs I need to turn my car off and then on but the steering will go again in time. This is dangerous.

- Ridgefield, CT, USA

problem #45

Jan 172010


  • 82,000 miles
While driving my car 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss will automatically loose power steering. This has happened about 20 times in the last 6days. I need to turn the car off and then back on in order for my electric power steering to work again for the time being until it goes again. I have brought it in to get looked at and they did an analysis report stating there is nothing wrong. Obviously there is a problem when my electric power steering randomly goes while I am driving this is dangerous! I have read many other complaints against this car doing the same thing. Something needs to be done.

- Ridgefield , CT, USA

problem #44

Dec 272009


  • 45,000 miles
I can't remove the key from the ignition. Some of interior electrical remain on which drains the battery.

- Marlborough, MA, USA

problem #43

Dec 132009


  • miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt - key frequently gets stuck in ignition and power steering has begun to fail.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #42

Nov 162009


  • 42,000 miles
Key will not come out of the ignition on a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt.

- Covington, LA, USA

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