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 16 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #21

Apr 182009


  • 85,200 miles


While driving at 35 mph, heard beeping and message on dic read"power steering". pulled to the shoulder and restarted the car. No message was displayed after restarting the car, but problem remains. Car will lose power steering now more frequently, at least 5 times during a 45 minute ride. Have to keep pulling over to restart the car to fix the problem. Car is 3 years old with about 85,200. Have not repaired it yet, car not under warranty.

- Vernon, NJ, USA

problem #20

Mar 022009


  • 54,000 miles
06 Cobalt with only 54,000 miles. Ignition module and coil system failed. Serious misfire in the engine made for this car to have a tough time moving. Dealer couldn't believe this had gone on me at 54,000 miles, neither could Firestone. Unreal. Dealer should be doing this repair free of charge and the manufacturer should be recalling 2006 Cobalts and replacing ignition coil systems. This is not a typical part of the engine to fail!

- New Britain, CT, USA

problem #19

Feb 032009


  • 45,044 miles
I purchased a used 2006 Chevy Cobalt first the ignition switch went out I had it replaced then drove to store car just died had to be towed replaced fuel relay censor driving back from dealer ship it dies in middle of 4 lane traffic now its back at the shop it only has 40,000 miles on the car looks like the lemon law needs to be enforced.

- Jackson, AL, USA

problem #18

Aug 012008


  • 50,000 miles


There were no events leading to the failure of the power steering in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. It happens everyday, atleast once every three minutes. In order to "temporarily" fix it you have to put the car in park and turn it off and restart the car then in about three minutes it goes out again. Then you have to repeat this. I am not the only one with this problem thousands and thousands of people are having the same problem with 2005 and 2006 Cobalts. You can search on the internet power steering problems Cobalt and you will see. This has been going on for about 5 months because on top of my car note and insurance I can not afford to fix this.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #17

Dec 222008


  • 59,000 miles
The car gauges and engine shut down in the middle of driving. The floor gear shift has been difficult to change gears and put in to park. Once car shuts down at least 15 minutes is needed for car to restart. Car shuts down at random times.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #16

Oct 012008


  • 7,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact and another passenger were locked inside the vehicle for over two hours. The driver thought that the lever on the right side of the steering column (under the steering wheel) was supposed to activate the windshield washer or headlights. Once she touched the lever, all of the doors and windows locked, and the key was locked in the ignition. The vehicle was unable to be started and the key would not release from the ignition. Hours after being locked in the vehicle, the contact was able to turn the key in the ignition and unlock the door. The dealer stated that the vehicle was working as designed. The contact traded in the vehicle for another model. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 7,000 and the current mileage was unknown.

- Alamosa, CO, USA

problem #15

Dec 052008


  • 66,000 miles


I have had to replace my fuel injector, my ignition switch, and now my steering has gone out. All where while driving and warning light comes on. I keep my car well maintained, recently got a mileage service done. I have seen many post on these issues. What is being done about recalls.

- Glen Burnie , MD, USA

problem #14

Aug 292008


  • 33,000 miles
I drove my car the night before with no problems. Got into it the next morning and had no vents, air conditioning, or passenger side air bag. Took the car to the dealership and they replaced the fuses, said it was fine. Two days later the same thing happened again. Took the car back to the dealership and told them to find out why it keeps blowing fuses. It is there now. This is the third time it has happened. The first time was about 4 wks. After I bought the car. The dealership said they had to replace the whole wiring system.

- Lawrenceburg, IN, USA

problem #13

Aug 082008


  • 42,000 miles
Friday night at a gas station. Started the car. Engine shut off when placed in reverse. Would stay running in park, neutral, and drive. Drove the car home. Called langs Chevrolet in beavercreek, Ohio Saturday morning. Was going to drive car in to dealership. Car would not start intermittently. When the car did start, it would run for 2-10 seconds then "power steering" would come on. Air bag lights would come on. Various intermittent codes would come on. Most of the time the all gauges would go off and the car would not start. Lang had car towed to dealership Saturday.. feels like the steering column is loose. Also, front suspension/steering makes rattling noise over rough surfaces. Will make a rattling noise while sitting still and moving steering wheel back and forth will repost with the results. Others...please do not repost the same complaint! this bogs down our search capabilities. Thank you, paulj

- Beavercreek, OH, USA

problem #12

Jul 182008


  • 35,000 miles
Car was sitting in drive way for 30 mins and burst into flames, and the whole car is a total waste. The fire was so hot that the siding melted on the house. Nothing left of the inside of the car.. a eye witness said the fire started in the dash and when it started it was gone in less than 15 mins.

- Nocona, TX, USA

problem #11

Mar 182008


  • 60,000 miles


The key can be removed from the ignition at any time no matter what gear the shift lever is in.

- Downers Grove, IL, USA

problem #10

Jun 092008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,990 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact experienced a loss of steering ability when she depressed the brake pedal. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle became uncontrollable and completely shut down. The contact could not turn the vehicle to pull off the road; however, no crash occurred. The current mileage was 49,000 and failure mileage was 48,990. Updated 07/29/08 the power steering light illuminated. The vehicle began to shake and when the brake was applied, the vehicle shook violently and immediately shut down. Updated 08/01/08.

- Floresville, TX, USA

problem #9

Jun 092008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
1) when purchasing this used vehicle from the dealer, we were informed the previous owner had broken his key in the ignition switch, hence the broken ignition lock mechanism. Lie 2) car began making a front end noise or so I thought, the next day as my daughter in law and my grandkids were driving home the power steering indicator light turned on, she applied her brakes to slow down and all the lights on the panel turned on and her steering locked. The truck behind us was forced off the road to avoid slamming in to us. After getting online to see if there was going to be an easy and inexpensive way to repair this problem I was appalled to read all the complaint regarding these same issues. I lost my oldest child to faulty seat belts on the 01 Ford Ranger edge. This is indeed a safety issued that needs to be resolved immediately before someone is seriously hurt or killed.

- Floresville, TX, USA

problem #8

Mar 252008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles
My 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt with 37,000 without warning did not start up properly the first thing in the morning. Car engine chugged along and would accelerate. The car didn't want to 'go'. related or not the car gas mileage decreased from an average of 30 mph to closer to 23 to 24 about 6 months ago. The dealership indicated that there are similar complaints that have been logged. The dealership further indicated that GM has issued an technical service advisory based on similar complaints.

- Lakeview, NY, USA

problem #7

Sep 142007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 17,800 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 35 mph, the vehicle experienced electrical failure and lost power steering. The contact crashed into a ditch. A police report was filed. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The current and failure mileages were 17,800. * updated 12/12/07 the consumer stated electrical problem resulted in loss of gauges and also resulted in low fuel message. The consumer stated the accident resulted in $6,500 worth of damages. Updated 12/12/07

- Valley Center, KS, USA

problem #6

Aug 012007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt purchased used with 28000 miles on it. All my problems started about a month after I bought the car. The steering wheel started shaking violently when driving at 50 mph and over so I took it in to a Chevy dealer and they rotated and balanced the tires and that seemed to fix that problem. About 2 weeks I was driving home and I was sitting at a red light and the car just shut off. I restarted the car and every thing was fine on the dash board, no warning lights or messages in the driver information center. I started driving again and when I press on the gas there was this loud grinding noise and it felt like the car was not shifting gears properly. So I pulled over on the side of the road and turned the car off for about 10 minutes and restarted it and it drove fine. Now at this point im just thinking that there is a malfunction in the computer. I took the car to the dealer the next day and they scanned the computer and found no errors and everything was checking out fine. About 3 weeks later I was driving on the highway and I lost complete control of steering and the power steering message in the driver information center was displayed along with the check engine light. Unable to steer I had to stop in the middle of the highway and shut the car off. I waited about 20 minutes and restarted the car and the power steering warning message and check engine light had gone away and I gained steering control again. I once again took the car to the dealer and they could not find anything wrong with the car. Now some days when I start my car the power steering warning message and the check engine light come on and some days the car drives fine and its really starting to frustrate me. In addition to the steering problem I am unable to remove my key form the ignition. To this day none of my problems have been resolved.

- Cordova, TN, USA

problem #5

Oct 182006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,025 miles
Power goes off after you shut the car off. You have to press the button in the trunk on the battery before it will crank. Power button for the trunk does not work. You can start the car and it will still keep trying to crank.

- Resaca, GA, USA

problem #4

Nov 022006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5 miles
(1) car shuts itself off while I was driving down the freeway. During@ rush hour I veered away ( w-no power to car ),from traffic behind me. Parked, shut car off, took key out of ignition, then replaced and started it back up, and proceeded enroute. (2) after market cruise control failure to shut off and turn on. (3) result of above (2)after market cruise control takes its own mind and decides to fully accelerate until gearing down in hopes it 'awakes' the computer (automatic transmission),then cruise control will finally shut off. (consequence ) passenger had a heart attack. I called a taxi. "he's ok" (4) service air bags light have been on since 20, K miles I now have 47, xxx miles. (5)stock tires and rims wobble with irritating continous noises -can't ge rid of it. (6) stock seats driver and passenger sides both were installed incorrectlythey are really slantedlike this ( / \ ). (7) a clunking bucket sounding noise fills very slowly, (health problems) an odor is always present leaving me light headed, nautious while driving, dizzy exiting car, and with breathing problems -like shortness of breath. I have severe back problems now, and can not sit in the car for more than 20 min, upon a break of fresh air and a walk for the spine. (8) brakes sound and feel (when applied),scratchy.@5,000 miles the Chevy dealership had to turn and shave allready my disc brakes saying they were worn in. (9) my heater makes a lot of noises when using it. (10) acceleration hesitation.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #3

Dec 122006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles
- the contact stated that her 06 Chevy Cobalt experienced stalling incidents on several occasions. The vehicle stalled while driving at various speeds. The weather condition at the time of the incidents has been fairly warm. The contact has taken the vehicle twice to the dealership the first time was on 12/05/06 and they replaced the ignition switch. The vehicle still continued to have the same problem, so she took it to the dealership for a second time and the dealership replaced the kill switch. The contact can provide copies of invoices if needed.

- Avondale, AZ, USA

problem #2

May 012006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,520 miles
I was driving my 2006 Chevy Cobalt when I was taking a friend to the airport. I was on I-495 N in the lane leading to the exit that takes you to the airport toll road. I applied my brakes and the car did not slow down. Hoping to coast down the exit and pull off to the side of the road, I turned the steering wheel to veer the car left. The car kept going straight. I kept hitting the brakes and turned the steering wheel to the left, but the car did not stop, nor did it turn. We crashed into the guardrail at about 50 mph. The airbags did not deploy. Turns out the car shut off while I was driving it. This was the second time this had occurred. It happened back in May 2006 and I took it in to the dealership. They kept it for a couple of days and said it was fine. Apparently not.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

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