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 8 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #181

Mar 262014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that she attempted to have the vehicle repaired under NHTSA campaign number:14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) but was made aware that the parts were not available. The contact stated that the manufacturer had exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repairs. The contact had not experienced the failure.

- West Dallas, WI, USA

problem #180

Mar 262012


  • 35,000 miles
This vehicle is not safe to drive and was not built right. The manufactures knew for many years that the Chevy Cobalt 2006 would have a leaking gasoline system, and they kept this faulty defect to themselves for many years before bring this issue to the customer. I was driving the vehicle leaking gas for a few years unit the crack was large enough for me to smell it, while not driving, the ignition switch; with the key in it while the car was in park has started the car engine without turning the key. The key wont come out of the ignition switch. The car has turned off on me on the freeway more than 9 times. The car turned off on me going in reverse, couldn't control the brake and steering power to move out of the pole. While driving in the freeway I have had to quickly react; putting my emergency lights on and praying to god a car doesn't hit me, while with the left had side is quickly waving at the vehicles coming from behind to stop. Please help me. I have two children and im tired of being exposed to the dangers of this M defected life threatening vehicle. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bell, CA, USA

problem #179

Feb 222014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
Driving down hwy.knee bumped keys in ignition and the car shut off thank the lord she was able to turn car back on. My concern is we just purchased the car not long ago and will I be contact about recall for this very reason.

- Butler, OK, USA

problem #178

Apr 012014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated there was a recall under NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 ( air bags, electrical system) and the part needed was unavailable to perform the repair. The manufacturer was not notified. There are no failures at this time. The VIN was unavailable.

- Granbury, TX, USA

problem #177

Feb 072014


  • miles
My electrical issue: I have had my car diagnosed so many times because I could not find the reason why my car RPM keeps going up and down. Than it came down to an electrical issue. Power steering: While I am driving my power steering completely goes out therefore it is causing me not to be able to control the car and have had multiple times where I almost wrecked my car due to this issue. I could be driving and or turning and all of a sudden it just completely goes out causing me not control the car especially when the roads are wet. I saw there was a recall back in 2010 but so many people are having the same issue now that it's is not worth having death on their hands I just don't understand why nothing is up to date.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #176

Feb 212014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch recall notice and unsatisfactory customer service at dealership. The consumer stated the vehicle shut off many times while driving, on a major highway. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, prior the announcement of the recall, only to be told there was nothing wrong. The consumer stated since the announcement, she felt as though she was lied to and advised to keep driving the vehicle.

- Roselle Park, NJ, USA

problem #175

Mar 062014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that she attempted to have the vehicle repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 but was made aware that the parts were not available. The repairs were unable to be performed for the recall. The contact stated that the manufacturer had exceeded a reasonable amount of time for satisfying the recall repairs. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #174

Dec 112007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle stalled without any warnings. The contact mentioned that when the failure occurred the driver engaged the brakes but the vehicle failed to stop and crashed into another vehicle. The air bags failed to deploy. A police report was filed and no injuries were reported. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the technician stated that the head gasket needed to be rebuilt. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 10,000 and the current mileage was 69,000. Updated 05/27/14

- Riverside , CA, USA

problem #173

Feb 242014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact received NHTSA recall campaign id number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and stated that the parts were not available. The dealer did not give a specific date when the parts would be available. The manufacturer was also notified and could not provide an estimated date for when the contacts vehicle would be repaired. There are no failures at this time.

- Elizabethton, TN, USA

problem #172

Dec 102013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
There is a BCM (body control module) problem in all Cobalts which hasn't came to light yet it's very dangerous. It's all over the internet and there are videos on youtube, search for "Cobalt electrical problems" "Cobalt power steering warning" this problem will cause the car gauges to go crazy and it will say engine light, power steering, the transmission goes into safe mode and shifts very hard and then car wants to chug and stall while your driving forcing you to pull over if possible to avoid causing a major accident and then you have to turn the car off this just as dangerous or more dangerous then the ongoing ignition switch recall. While looking on the internet for answers to why this is happening I have found lot's and lot's of other people who are having the exact same problems I have a 2006 ss Cobalt and this is what is happening to me. It has happened 5 times in the last 2 months, I have made arrangement with a GM dealer from where I have purchased the car to have the BCM (body control module) replaced at my expense and hopefully this will make my car safer. But I don't know if it will for sure. Repeat this is not related to the on going ignition switch recall on the 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt models, this is another safety issue that needs to be addressed and investigated right away. Please take action right away to avoid further loss of lives*

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #171

May 022008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


The first time this happened was on a trip to a bowling tournament in cincinatti. I was on the South side of indianapolis on 465 I believe when I hit a bump and the car shut off. I thought it was strange at the time, but just put it in neutral, restarted the car, and continued driving. I thought maybe it was an some type of safety device to shut of the car if I hit the oil pan or something else on the bottom of the car. I pulled over later, checked the oil, looked underneath and did not think anymore about it. It happened several more times when hitting bumps but especially in road construction zones during repavement near bridges when there is a change in road height and once or twice in pot holes. I have just learned to slow down to 25-30 in these areas to avoid this. It has probably happened 4-5 times total since I purchased the Cobalt in September 2007, but probably has not happened in several year. I have never really noticed that the ignition key shut off, but I have not really looked for that either.

- Lisle, IL, USA

problem #170

Nov 152011


  • 60,000 miles
It was a single car crash which happened at night during a rain shower. Their were no witnesses, but the car crossed the opposite lane of traffic and ran into the back end of a lowboy trailer ( a trailer used to Transport heavy equipment ) the two 19 year old girls in the car were killed. Nothing about this accident made sense until I heard about the ignition issue with the Cobalt. Their are many reasons that the ignition could be the root of this accident, and if it can be determined that this is in fact true I would like to be part of the process that sees that those responsible for the decision to put profit over safety are punished.

- Apollo, PA, USA

problem #169

Sep 012010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I was driving my Cobalt all of a sudden the RPM's red lined and I had no power. I had to coast into a nearby parking lot. I waited about 30 min, started it back up and it seemed fine. Then I started to have trouble getting my key out of the ignition. There were several times I had to leave my key in the ignition because it would not come out. The next problem came when I would hit the brakes. If someone in front of me suddenly stopped and I had to hit the brakes hard, the car would idle really rough and shut off. That has been a constant problem for the past 2 to 3 years. I called the local koons dealership, they told me these problems were common and that I needed a new BCM. So, I purchased a new BCM. The service department told me that the BCM was "plug and play". basically, it was a few clips, a few bolts and that I could install it myself, so I did. It didn't solve the problem. I called back and the guy that answered the phone told me to unhook the battery and wait 15 minutes, then hook it back up. Not only did it not solve the problem, but by unhooking the battery the anti-theft locked my radio. When I called back the third time the service department told me I needed to bring the car in and have them reset it for 300$. being as thought I just spent 300$ on the BCM I didn't have the money. I bought the Cobalt because it was a Chevy and a small reliable car. I was also a college student so the price was right. Since the recall for the ignition switch has come out, I called the koons dealership and asked about a refund on the BCM because that obviously wasn't the problem. They told me I was out of luck and they weren't going to help me. Now, I have a death trap, im out the money for the BCM, and I don't have money for a new car. Thanks for sticking it to your customers GM! I will never by another GM.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #168

Jan 132014


  • 66,586 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start until after numerous attempts were made. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) however, the vehicle was not taken to the dealer for repairs. The manufacturer was not contacted. The approximate failure mileage was 66,586.

- Scranton, SC, USA

problem #167

May 072008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,125 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 mph, the engine stalled without warning. After restarting the vehicle, the vehicle resumed normally. The failure recurred three times. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer. There was a recall related to the failure under NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) however, the contact was not able to have the vehicle serviced because the remedy part was unavailable. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was unavailable. Updated 5/19/14 the consumer stated the instrument panel lit up, the radio stayed on, and the steering went out. Updated 08/19/14

- Scranton, PA, USA

problem #166

Mar 022013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
After several contacts and attempts to seek assistance from local dealership & GM with the ignition and gear shift problems, both concluded that vehicle VIN number was not part of any current recall. Owner (55 year old) repeated contact due to concerns of mechanical symptoms identical with existing Cobalt recalls. Family was involved in a single vehicle accident at 10:00 am on 3/2/2013. Gear shift and steering simultaneously locked while navigating a corner on local highway. Vehicle crossed centerline, launching over a snow bank and continuing air-born for 30 to 40 yards. Only 1 of the 2 air bags fully deployed. Total loss of vehicle and several ongoing injuries with three occupants of vehicle. (29 year old, 55 year old, and 79 year old) neither the local dealership or GM ever acknowledged vehicle defects. The local dealership had removed the dash cover, console cover, and steering column cover and make some type of adjustments prior to accident. Law enforcement was on scene and no citations were issued. Damage exceeded the value of the vehicle.

- Stevens Point, WI, USA

problem #165

Feb 112013


  • 141,178 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving approximately 25 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. After numerous attempts the contact was able to start the vehicle. The failure occurred thirty times over a one year period. There was a recall notification related to NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000; however, the contact never received documentation. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who replaced the ignition switch; yet, the failure continued to occur. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 141,478.

- Danville, VA, USA

problem #164

Aug 012013


  • miles
These cars are notorious for the electrical steering mechanisms to fail, parts break inside of the steering column making rattling sounds constantly while driving, my master mechanic father couldn't even figure out how to fix it, the stability is wobbly, hard to keep in a strait line while driving. These model year vehicles are terrible and needs to be part of the GM recall pertaining to the electrical steering. Look at any Cobalt complaint forum, its insane, these cars are dangerous and have had nothing but problems since I bought the car.

- Montevallo, AL, USA

problem #163

Sep 022013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The check engine light illuminated at random upon starting on multiple occasions. There was a loud noise upon starting the vehicle on multiple occasions. The air bag light sensor illuminated multiple times intermittently. The failure was not diagnosed by an authorized dealer. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags and electrical system) and the part was unavailable. The authorized dealer provided an estimated time frame for when the part would be available. The vehicle was not repaired and the failure continued to recur. The approximate failure mileage was unknown.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #162

Jan 012007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
Letter from constituents regarding problems their son experienced with his 2006 Chevy Cobalt; considers it to be a lemon, seeking reimbursement (full document not imaged). The consumer stated his son was making a right turn, when the vehicle suddenly stalled, leaving him without steering capabilities. The vehicle darted to the left, across the opposite lane of traffic, where he crashed into a curb. The left control arm collapsed, he hit his head on the door post and the air bag did not deploy. The vehicle was towed, the consumers residence. On a separate occasion, the vehicle stalled again on the freeway, and again steering capabilities were lost. There was no accident, but the vehicle would not re-start, and it had to be towed to the dealer. Their testing could not locate the problem. The same problem happened 6 more times, resulting in a tow to the dealership. Each time, the problem was blamed on the power control module. The third incident happened while his son was driving on a curvy mountain, the vehicle lost power and there was no steering ability. His son was traveling at a low speed and he steered the vehicle into a ditch damaging the radiator, the engine pan and the front bumper cover. The last accident totaled the vehicle, when the vehicle stalled in traffic, the anti- lock brakes failed and the air bags did not deploy.

- Brownsville, CA, USA

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