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:
4 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 1
Average Mileage:
43,124 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 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Jun 062009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact is unable to remove the key from the ignition. The key was usually released from the ignition when the column lock was pressed. The dealer was unable to correct the failure. The manufacturer stated they are not aware of the failure. Updated 09/16/09 updated 09/17/09.

- Pembroke, MA, USA

problem #11

Aug 102006


  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving at any speed, the power steering fails. When the failure occurs, the contact must turn off the engine and wait momentarily for the vehicle to restart. In addition, the power steering locks, which makes the key difficult to remove from the ignition. The contact must rattle the key, place the vehicle into park, and continue shifting in order to release the key. The failure mileage was 28,000.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #10

Jun 162009


  • 58,500 miles
The car shifter button won't release the key. In other words the key will not come out of the ignition. This is the first time it has happened. The repair shop has to put a new shifter in because they couldn't buy just the interlock system (button). The repair shop says it sounds like a lot of people have the same problem because the dealership had several in stock. I have read several complaints online concerning this problem. It is dangerous when you have to leave your key in your car overnight.

- Beech Grove, IN, USA

problem #9

Apr 182009


  • 56,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was unable to remove the key from the ignition switch after several attempts. The ignition was turned to the ┐off┐ position and the gear shift was placed in the "park" position. When the ignition key release control button was pushed, the contact was able to remove the key from the ignition. The failure occurred intermittently. There were no prior warnings. The vehicle is in the process of being repaired. The contact is aware of the safety risks involved. The failure and current mileages were 56,000.

- Coalingal, CA, USA

problem #8

Aug 262008


  • miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt:key is getting stuck in the ignition have to remove the access panel under the steering column to access button to release key I work for a towing co. In westeren pa and have had several calls of this nature the vehicle in regaurds to belongs to my sister in law thank you.

- Braddock, PA, USA

problem #7

Feb 012008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
The gear shift panel shicks and will not release the key out of ignition.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #6

May 262008


  • 16,000 miles


With out warning. The key stays locked in the ignition, due to a faulty shifter ( microswitch pin) and will not release. Problem happens every time the car is put into park, and tried to pull the key from the ignition. Dealer service tech's claims the defective part is cheaply made and 6 out of 10 colbalts have this problem. To fix the problem complete replacement of the shifter.

- Niles, OH, USA

problem #5

Sep 172007


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
1) when parking my Cobalt, 3 of every 5 times my key becomes stuck in the ignition. I have to do things like--apply the brake off-and-on repeatedly, shift in-and-out of park repeatedly, and sometimes even rock the car back-and-forth with my body until it "clicks" into place and I can take my key out of the ignition. I work late shift at the hospital. It is a very scary situation to be stuck in the dark--in the middle of a parking lot--not able to get the key out of the ignition. 2)periodically, when I start up my Cobalt, the clock on my dashboard will start back at "12:00". it is very frustrating to have to keep resetting my clock. Why is this happening? 3) as I drive my Cobalt, the back windows slowly roll themselves down. I am constantly having to reach back and roll them up. They do not roll themselves down all the way, but they crack themselves enough to hear the air coming in. 4) since I bought my Cobalt I have had problems with my headlights pointing downward too much. I have brought them in to be adjusted on more than one occasion. They are still not adjusted correctly, and--at times-- I have to squat down in my seat at night in order to see "under" my headlights, so I do not cause an accident. There was a wreck associated with this headlight problem late in '06 involving a deer on the highway becuase it was impossible to see in time.

- Wadesville, IN, USA

problem #4

Aug 212007

(reported on)


  • miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt with several different issues customer states that car is a lemon and that she drove the 2007 Cobalt and it ran beautifully* the consumer stated the entire shifter system had to be replaced. The ignition key would not turn in the ignition, the steering column was replaced and the system was reprogrammed, the rotors were machined.

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #3

Oct 282006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,165 miles
Upon driving up the on ramp to I-985, the car just shut off for no reason. I was able to move the car to the side of the road, take the key out and restart it. I got the car about 4 feet, and it stopped again. I let the car sit for about 5 minutes, and then restarted it.

- Oakwood, GA, USA

problem #2

Aug 302006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles
The contact stated while driving at various speeds the engine shut off four times suddenly without warning. After sitting a short while, the vehicle restarted every time. The check engine light did not illuminate in the vehicle prior to each incident. The manufacturer alerted the dealership the problem was with the ignition coil. The dealership replaced the ignition coil and corrected the problem. Updated 9/20/2006 -

- Edmond, OK, USA

problem #1

May 212006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150 miles
Two of my friends and I went to brunch on Sunday, 5-21-06. I had purchased the vehicle on 5-13-06. It is a Cobalt ss. We parked the car in the parking lot. I could not remove the key from the ignition. Since I had another key, I turned the motor off and locked the door. When we came back about an hour later, I opened the door and was able to remove the key. The dealer states: "they inspected shifter and lock cylinder per bulletin 06-07-30-004B and was unable to verify the complaint..." then I started the car with my foot on the brake and put it in reverse. The car lunged backwards, I put it in neutral and then park, then put the hand brake on, but nothing would stop it until it hit a tree brace in the parking lot. The dealer stated, "unable to duplicate but reprogrammed the PCM with updated calibrations J6354..." of course, they would not repair the damage to my 7-day old car. I am lucky there were no people walking in the parking lot at the time!! I obtained 3 appraisals to repair the damages, the lowest being $790.91. I believe GM is responsible for this. It definitely was a safety hazard and I'm afraid it will happen again. Thank you.

- Margate, FL, USA

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