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 2 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #301

Jan 232016


  • 158,979 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 35 mph, the check engine light, safety lock light, and power steering light illuminated and the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was able to be restarted; however, when the brakes were applied, the vehicle accelerated unexpectedly. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the bcn module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 158,979. Updated 04/13/16

- West Demoines, IA, USA

problem #300

Jan 062016


  • 90,000 miles
After recall on ignition switch my car still stalls and the power locks go up and while driving and it sometimes will not come out of park

- Omar, WV, USA

problem #299

Oct 282015


  • miles
The ignition switch was supposedly changed, still having trouble starting the car. Difficult to steer, sensors aren't working. Stationary when trying to start the vehicle, sensor lights comes on when driving, city highway.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #298

Oct 212015


  • 115,400 miles


Car while it's running gets a security light and engine light on and all gauges read zero besides the rpms jumping to a thousand. An display saying low fuel and power steering and when try to change display it reads ---------- and it did the same thing while driving down the road so I pulled over and turned it off and back on and only the security light stayed on. Very dangerous as the car will not move when it's happening it's like it's disabled.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #297

Apr 242014


  • 153,113 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving at approximately 45 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. In addition, the contact stated that a sulphur odor emitted from the vehicle. The vehicle was able to restart after an hour. The vehicle was inspected by an independent mechanic but was unable to diagnose the failure and the failure recurred. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was repaired under NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and 14V171000 (electrical system) but the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the throttle body needed to be cleaned and reset and the battery needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 153,113.

- Camden, SC, USA

problem #296

Sep 272015


  • 150,000 miles
Drove home from work and about 3 hours later I got into my car to leave, cranked my car and I had a message on my digital reading "power steering" and I could not turn my steering wheel at all!! I looked on youtube and see there are a lot of people having this issue with their Cobalt's, but yet there hasn't been a recall on this issue and was told to contact you guys. Why hasn't there been a recall?? I'm afraid to drive my car!!

- Hoschton, GA, USA

problem #295

Jul 132015


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key failed to release from the ignition switch and noticed strong fuel fumes emitting into the vehicle. The contact stated that the vehicle was previously serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system). However, the failure persisted. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer after the recalls were preformed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Mitchell , IN, USA

problem #294

Jun 232015


  • miles
I was pulling into the parking lot of where I work and my engine shut off. I have already had my ignition switch recall completed. My daughter was driving the car a few days later and the same thing happened to her as well.

- Barberton, OH, USA

problem #293

Jul 152015


  • 99,417 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle decelerated and would not accelerate. The steering wheel seized. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the ignition switch and two keys were replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 99,417.

- Laredo, TX, USA

problem #292

Jun 112013


  • 102,000 miles
First I had the control arm bushing replaced twice within the first year of owning it, the car was bought brand new. The last two years the car started to chug at stops display would read reduced power mil light would come on I had to stop the car, disconnect the battery then it would go away and could drive it. This last year the car will now upon starting the display will read power steering, security system locked this car does not have a security system, the gauges go haywire car dings low fuel, when trying to move the car shifts very hard, brake pedal hard to push, car surges and chugs when stopped.

- Jefferson, WI, USA

problem #291

Jun 102015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 70,800 miles


Chevrolet Cobalt had a ignition switch recall which I did and now a couple months later I can hear the ignition switch click on and off repeatedly, the anti theft system is now on and engaged, the symbol is constantly on, it thinks that my car is stolen, even when I drive it'll be on it'll disable my gauges, my gauges will not work and if they do they work for a second and go off repeatedly, the car will flash dash icons like if it was a christmas tree show, it looks like if an alien race came in and keep messing with it..sometimes the car won't even start, it won't kick over, on the digital display of my dash I get dash marks cause of a computer error cause of a another faulty ignition switch. The cars gauges as I try to drive will not work, the icons on the dash will keep rotating from other icons, this car is dangerous in my own opinion. When I drive the gauges won't work and it's so dangerous, I can't see the speed or my rpms, I can't see how much gas I have, my radio is no good, the leather they used for the seats was garbage, the paint was done by an amateur, the paint is coming off the car, rust is developing, my doors will open and close themselves, I never had this problem before doing the recall.the ignition switch turns off my airbags, my radio does not work, my wheels hubs have broke cause they used cheap wheel hubs on a sports car, the ignition coil packs are garbage.the car is defective, I spent close to $22,000 to $24,000, in 2006 for my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt 2.4 ss which has less than 71,000 miles.they pushed a cheap crappy parts car with cheap paint and no rust prevention, also the wiring of electronics in the car was complete [xxx], the wiring harnesses on all the wires is crumbling, the wiring to the battery in the rear trunk of the car is a fail, Chevrolet pushed a car out that was no ready for market, they pushed a car out that was defective and dangerous. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Norridge , IL, USA

problem #290

May 022015


  • 110,000 miles
Vehicle gave off 3 chimes while driving at approximately 20 mph and the T/C light and engine light went on. Various other lights on the dashboard started flashing and the car started to lose power. "power steering" read across the led readout and the vehicle became hard to turn. The vehicle ended up in the middle of an intersection facing oncoming traffic. A head-on collision ensued with oncoming traffic.

- Cleburne, TX, USA

problem #289

Jan 012007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
Email from congressman van hollen on behalf of constituent re recall on 2006 Chevy Cobalt (send reply to Ms. Austin morris). The consumer stated she was involved in an accident in 2007 and the vehicle was totaled. The consumer stated the faulty ignition was the cause of the accident. However, the consumer stated GM stated the accident occurred during the time, they were filing for re-organizations and was not going to honor the recall.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #288

Apr 112015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 148,000 miles
My vehicle suddenly and completely turned off by itself, while I was driving on a very busy, dangerous highway. Note- I already had the ignition switch repaired under the recall, and I have nothing on my key ring!!! I contacted the GM customer service number (1-800-222-1020) and it felt like no one is taking this complaint very seriously. They put me in contact with the dealer that did the recall repair, and I now have an appointment scheduled in 12 days, which I have to pay for diagnostic testing at $104/hour!!! what's happening to my car now is the same thing that was happening to initiate this recall (and lawsuits) in the first place. How can they be so nonchalant about this complaint, and furthermore, make me pay for it? clearly there is a different problem than what GM is claiming, as I've searched online and have found others still having the same dangerous problem of their car completely turning off in the middle of driving, since they too have had the repairs!!!

- Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #287

Apr 022015


  • 80,000 miles
The driver's side door will not open with the key, the remote, or the buttons on the door. My wife had to climb out the passenger side door.

- Elberfeld, IN, USA

problem #286

Sep 182014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key became stuck in the ignition switch and released after numerous attempts. The vehicle was previously repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). After the recall remedy was performed the ignition key would only released when the steering column button key release was engaged. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Grundy, VA, USA

problem #285

Dec 112014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to total power loss and other vehicle problems. The consumer stated the dashboard lights flickered and the power steering failed. He also stated the truck would not open, after the ignition recall was performed.

- Tewksbury, MA, USA

problem #284

Mar 062015


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated after turning off the vehicle, the key became stuck in the ignition switch. The key remained in the ignition switch until the vehicle was driven because it failed to release after numerous attempts. On a separate occasion while driving, the traction control and engine warning lights illuminated intermittently with a reduction in the engine power. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and currently being diagnosed. The vehicle was previously repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system) however, the remedy did not correct the problem. The manufacturer was not notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 82,000.

- New Holland, PA, USA

problem #283

Dec 012013


  • 90,000 miles
I have read on multiple forums one being, aside from just one website being evident of reports for my request I to have found that my vehicle's air bag light turns on when there is no one in the seat (passenger) as well as turns off when there are person's in the seat. Not only that, but at random times on the main console while driving, it will say "service air bag" while also illuminating the red air bag display on the driver's hud (assuming that is for the driver's air bag) please please look into this. Preferably the passenger side, it would be nice to have the air bag on at all times or to allow the driver/passenger to turn it on or off. I have called several mechanics at Chevy dealerships who all say they can't just turn it on and to service it they would only make the seat sensor more sensitive, I don't believe that will solve this issue. As far as I know the air bag won't deploy when the "service air bag" shows up.

- Lakewood, WA, USA

problem #282

Mar 142015


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 70 mph, the vehicle suddenly decelerated. The contact mentioned that when the accelerator pedal was depressed, the vehicle failed to accelerate and the tracking control and check engine warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000.

- Lynchburg, MO, USA

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