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 15 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #41

Sep 012009


  • 70,000 miles


I bought a 2006 Chevy Cobalt about six months ago. Three months after I bought it the power steering began to go out. It does not take power steering fluid there is a ps motor in the steering column. Everyt time I drive my car it goes out, it is not just every once and a while. When I restart my car the power steering will come back on. But within 100 yards it will go out again. The first time it went out I was going around a sharp curve and I nearly lost control of the car. The car behind me had to slam on there breaks because I started to fishtail. This is a major safety issue for me and other drivers and something really needs to be done about it. There is page after page of people who have the same problem. It seems to me that with so many people having this problem that there would be a recall on it. Obviously something was done wrong. It is dangerous and basically every time I get into my car I am risking my life. Its not worth it and you guys being a safety administration should really look into it.

- Bloomfield, KY, USA

problem #40

Dec 102008


  • 26,000 miles
The Chevy Cobalt 2006's power steering went out and key was stuck in the ignition. The entire gear shift was replaced to get the key out the ignition. The battery was unplugged to reset computer chip for power steering but the problem still continues. While driving the car has shut off, the needles for the fuel and speedometer continually jumps and the car jerks back and forth while continuing not to have power steering.

- Markham, IL, USA

problem #39

Sep 052009


  • 38,000 miles
1. my wife and I purchased a 2006 vehicle for my 20 year old daughter roughly a year ago. Everything was fine for the first 9 months. After that one day when my daughter was driving the vehicle it began to shake and the power steering light began to flash and she had no control over the vehicle, she had to pull over, turn off the vehicle and restart it and the car was fine until she got home. Everytime you drive the car literally every 2 miles you have to pull over and turn the car off and start it again, it is extremely dangerous and a hassle. We took the car to the dealership and they said because we didn't purchase a warranty it would cost 2,000 dollars to fix. Due to the poor economy we cannot afford to fix the car, but yet we put down 3,000 on the vehicle and we continue to be stuck with 350 car payments every month for a vehicle we cannot even drive. Something needs to be done about this car, we are extremely worried about anyone that has one of these cars. The car is not worth the money we are spending on it. We have no idea what to do about the situation and we are in a horrible position.

- Phoenix , AZ, USA

problem #38

Oct 232009


  • 50,300 miles


My 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt lt sedan car has a power steering malfunction. When I start my car the power steering is fine for about 100 yards and then I receive a message in my dash stating "power steering" and then my steering wheel is hard, almost impossible to turn. This happened while traveling on the interstate and almost caused me to crash. This malfunction is very dangerous because it always happens spontaneously. I have also had issues with my keys getting stuck in the ignition, sometimes for twenty minutes or more.

- Sanford, FL, USA

problem #37

Sep 302009


  • 67,000 miles
I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt lt and recently while I am driving the T/C, security, and power steering lights come on and my power steering goes out and my car starts bucking and jumping like crazy. The last time it happened while I was driving 70 down the interstate and I almost crashed into the divider wall trying to pull over. It has been brought into the dealership 3 times and they have no idea what is causing it. I have already paid for a new transmission module which was not the problem. It seems to reset after the car is turned off for a while but if it happens it could cause serious crashes. There are already thousands of reports on the same incident with this particular car.

- Metairie, LA, USA

problem #36

Oct 132009


  • 41,000 miles
In summer, 2009, problems began to arise with steering and cruise control on 2006 Chevy. Cobalt. A light in the dash would come on then steering becomes very hard, uncontrollable as if the car had no power assist at all. The power assist failures became more frequent so car was taken to Chevy. Dealer on 9/25/09. The service dept. Charged $181 and made some corrections but were reluctant to advise the problem had been corrected. On 10/20/09, a collision almost occurred during a right hand turn being made and the power steering failure coinciding.

- Wilson, NC, USA

problem #35

Oct 182009


  • 60,000 miles


My daughter just got a 2006 Cobalt and the power steering light came on a she couldn't turn the wheel and she was pulling in the parking lot to cheer at her football game and she had a little accident noone was hurt but she was very scared and didn't understand why it would do that. It is going to the shop Monday the 19th and when they put all new parts for the power steering and if it does it again I will have my attorneys in court with General Motors. I guess it is going to take someone getting killed or seriously injured before someone will take all of this seriously and recall this.

- Burleson, TX, USA

problem #34

Oct 172009


  • 33,000 miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, will not start. Power steering comes on dashboard. This occurs at random times, leaving me without a car sometimes for days. Already took it to dealership, said it was a wire, they replaced it, it still continues with the same problems.

- Tracy, CA, USA

problem #33

Oct 062009


  • 74,215 miles
Power steering goes out completely while driving in my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Problem started 1 October 2009 and is off and on. At times it scares me that I will get in an accident. Jiffy lube personnel stated that it is electronic and suggested taking to dealer. I am a student at northern Arizona university and cannot afford $100 for just looking at it. Suggested to me to file a complaint to your organization.

- Flagstaff, AZ, USA

problem #32

Aug 052009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel, and then there was a loss of power steering. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and a technician concluded that since he could not identify the cause of the failure, he could not provide a free remedy. Prior to the failure the ignition switch was replaced. The failure and current mileages were 78000. Updated 11/10/09 the consumer also stated the vehicle would cut off in the middle of traffic. The vehicle has been to the dealer 6 times. Updated 11/13/09.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #31

Mar 092009


  • miles


I bought my 2006 Chevy Cobalt in May 2006. There has been a power steering problem occurring with my car for about 7 months now. Every now and then, the car completely stops working or the car begins to jolt every time I press the gas pedal. It makes it very difficult to drive and I have to pull over. Sometimes after I shut off the car the problem disappears, but sometimes it stays there for a few days. The engine light also goes on as well as the tc light. It is very dangerous to drive like this because the steering wheel also hardens up to the point where you can no longer turn the wheel. It has happened to me while my car has been parked and while driving on the highway and on a regular road. I have taken it to a mechanic and he was unable to detect the problem. I spoke to the dealer and they said to take it right when the problem occurs because if the problem disappears they will be unable to detect it. I took the car on Sept. 9, 2009 when it was giving me problems and was very close to the dealer, but since it was 30 mins before they closed they could not inspect it. I took it back the next day and now I'm waiting on the results and estimate, which today's date is Sept.11, 2009. They said the estimate ranges from $200 to $900. I've looked up recalls on this problem and there were none made even though many other people are having the same exact problems. I feel very unsafe driving this car and I would like this problem to be heard and fixed.

- Hollywood, FL, USA

problem #30

Sep 042009


  • 104,000 miles
4 times yesterday 9/3/09 on interstate highway 35 (Texas) had major problems trying to get over to the exit when my power steering failed... I have four kids and saw a huge 18 wheeler in my rearview mirror... I thank god that I made it off the highway safe but drove home with no power steering. Looking for someone to fix it but labor day weekend... need recall to happen now!!! I still owe $9,000 and can't drive anywhere with this power steering failure happening over and over. I thought GM was a reliable dealership!! please recall

- Lockhart, TX, USA

problem #29

May 272009


  • 17,000 miles
The electric power steering in my Chevy Cobalt has a problem. I live in the virgin island, St. Croix. The temp gets to 100 degree. I get three warning dings and the word power steering on my dashboard and immediately I have no power steering. When it cool down, it will work fine. On St. Croix it cost over $1000 to check and fix please help. The islands are hilly and it is dangerous to take conners and hills with out power steering.

- Christiansted, VI, USA

problem #28

Aug 032009


  • 77,345 miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, 77,000 miles words powersteering lit up on dash and I was unable to steer car while moving. No consequences on block from my house but it is not a fluid system. This is not preventable and I viewed one report with over 375 complaints of the same problem with 2005 - 2008 Cobalts. This needs to be recalled if this is a steering column problem with such prevalence. I travel quite a distance to work. What if I had been on the interstate as usual?

- Pompano Beach, FL, USA

problem #27

Jul 281992


  • miles
Power steering failure. Electrical system failure.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #26

Jul 142009


  • 53,000 miles
The power steering light on my 2006 Cobalt came on randomly. There was nothing to lead up to the incident. Then later the light had disappeared for a week, until it came up again. This time I received the light warning as well as losing my power steering. It is not constant, but is becoming a more common thing. I have not fixed the problem yet because the dealer can not figure out what the problem is with regular diagnostic testing, and I will not fork out the money to have the dig further into the car. I am looking on fixing the problem myself, but still do not know what the problem may be. I do not want to buy a used item and have the same problem happen. I have been reading up on this problem and it seems to be a pretty common thing with the Chevy Cobalt's and Pontiac G5's. what I would like to do is find an oem part with a warranty, put that is also hard because I don't know if there is a new aftermarket oem part that has been changed so that this problem does not occur again.

- Woodbury, MN, USA

problem #25

Jun 272009


  • 70,359 miles
No brake lights. I am searching as to why the light bulbs and fuse keeps blowing out, there appears to be a live wire shorting out between the fuse and the brake switch. With the brake switch disconnected, the fuse still blows. Updated 07/17/09 the consumer stated the problem was resolved by replacing it with a brake switch. Updated 07/21/09.

- Yorktown, VA, USA

problem #24

May 312009


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The power steering stopped functioning after a warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The failure occurred while driving 10 mph. The contact was still able to drive the vehicle, but with great difficulty. The vehicle has not been inspected by a dealer; however, the contact was informed that the repair would be expensive since there were no recalls on the instrument panel. The VIN was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 68,000.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #23

Oct 072008


  • 80,000 miles
The 2006 Chevy Cobalt that I have constantly shuts off when backing up, and into the middle of heavy traffic.

- Savannah, GA, USA

problem #22

Apr 272009


  • 39,600 miles
My "ignition module" gave out at 39,000 miles!!!! isn't that a defect"??" it cost me $335 to repair, even though I bought a $2,000 extended warranty when I bought the car last year (2006 Chevy Cobalt).

- Los Lunas, NM, USA

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