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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,093 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

problem #10

Sep 032012


  • 64,927 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the ignition key failed to release and the gear shift lever shifted out of park independently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician replaced that the R&R solenoid key release, solenoid key lock and shifter assembly. The vehicle was included in recall NHTSA campaign number: 14V04700 (air bags, electrical system) and NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system). The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 64,927.

- Henrico , VA, USA

problem #9

Jul 282014


  • 170,000 miles
My car was part of the GM recall for the incorrect ignition switches. It was returned to me on July 23rd, fixed or so I was told with a new ignition to fix the issue. However within a week of having the car back, it was doing the same as before the recall fix was done. Slipping into accessibility mode and not giving me any option to hit the gas, only pull off if I was able, turn the car off, then back on and go. This happened a couple of times when I was going upwards of 40 mph. The last few times this has happened was pulling from my street into a busy street with traffic going upwards of 55 mph. I had to pull off as quickly as I could onto the shoulder and turn off the car, back on again and go meanwhile hoping to not be hit. I contacted GM again and was told that my recalled part was fixed and this had to be another issue. However, it's the exact issue that happened before my car was fixed. I'm 7 months pregnant and often drive with my 16 month old son in this car with me. I do not feel safe driving it and cannot just go purchase a new car. I feel like this needs to be looked into further to find out if there are more issues after the initial recall fix.

- Locust Grove, VA, USA

problem #8

Feb 032014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact received a recall notice for NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system: Ignition switch). The dealer and manufacturer stated that the parts for the repair were unavailable and did not provide an estimated date of arrival. While driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle stalled twice and crashed into a curb. The dealer stated that the collision repairs would not be covered by the recall, and only the recall remedy would be honored once the parts arrived. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 50,000. Updated 9/4/14 updated 12/18/14

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #7

Jun 192014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles


On the first week of June 2014, my 2006 Chevy Cobalt went in for the safety recall 13454 (replacement of ignition switch). (this was the second recall this car has had.) on June 19th, 2014 with the new ignition switch installed by the local Chevy dealership, while driving the car in town, at speeds of 20 and 30 mph the car lost power to steering, brakes which made difficult even to stop and maneuver safely off the road. The car lost most of the engine performance but stayed running. The car was then turned off and restarted, with dash light warnings of engine light, tc light and a car security emblem light on. The car ran with very limited power and strange clicking noise which was coming from the shifter. I have cell phone video of the shifter nob clicking along with cell picture of the dash warning lights that are on. Car had to be "man handled" to get it to a safe destination. The battery was disconnected a then reconnected, with the thought of resetting computer. When battery was reconnected the car was 100% back to normal. For how long, is anyone guess, this strange occurrence has happened more than once. The car is scheduled to go to the Chevy dealership for further diagnostics. They informed that it will be a week or so because their all booked up. What a pain in the (you fill the blank). If I had enough $$ to replace the car, I would have this car crushed so that I would no longer be responsible for any accidents it may cause.

- Hermiston, OR, USA

problem #6

Apr 242014


  • miles
I received the recall notice sent out by GM regarding replacing ignition switches, ignition cylinders and keys. I called carr Chevrolet on April 24, 2014 and was told the parts would be ordered and I would receive a return call when available to schedule an appointment. At that time I was told the order would take 14-21 days to come in. Approximately June 1, 2014 I received a postcard from GM noting my vehicle had not had service done; on June 6, 2014, I phoned carr Chevrolet to follow up on how long the order would take: The service department again said I would receive a phone call when the parts were in and that the parts took 30-45 days to come in. I had to insist that he look up my name to ensure that the parts had been ordered. Initially, he said gave a date of April 25, 2014, then changed the order date to May 15. When I inquired about the difference, he said that all orders are placed as soon as they come in, and told me that I called on May 15, 2014. I said I would check my notes because that didn't sound right; indeed I called on April 24, 2014 to order the parts. I am dissatisfied that carr Chevrolet waited 22 days to order my parts, and that I have waited, without resolution, a total of 46 days. It is my understanding that there have been 13 deaths caused by this faulty ignition switch and related components, and I am angered that carr Chevrolet 1) does not seem to take this recall seriously enough and 2) argues with the customer and lies about when parts were ordered.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #5

Feb 012014


  • 101,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle intermittently stalled without warning. The dealer was unable to diagnose the failure. Two months later, the contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and 14V171000 (electrical system). The vehicle was taken to the dealer for the recall repairs, but it did not remedy the failure the contact was experiencing. The vehicle recently stalled and was towed to the dealer, who was able to diagnose the vehicle after two months as the ignition switch needing to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired and the manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximately failure mileage was 101,000.

- Pittsfield , MA, USA

problem #4

Mar 212014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


Dear sir or madam, we have recently received the above-mentioned recall notice for our 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Immediately we contacted the local Chevrolet dealership, but were told that the parts to fix the problem would not be available until sometime in April 2014. Considering that GM has known about this problem for quite some time, but failed to inform its customers, we are definitely not satisfied with the handling of the situation. We are a military family and since we bought this particular vehicle in 2005, we have had to move five times due to military orders. All of those moves were across country, from West coast to East coast, back to West coast and in the last move from West coast to the midwest. Considering all the miles we have put on this car, without knowing that there was an issue with its ignition switch/key, it is very worrisome, even upsetting, to have been left in dark for so long by GM. Additionally now, we have been put into the situation of having to wait even longer, due to the parts not being available, which potentially puts us into continuous danger. Truly, as a long-time customer of GM products, this should not be the way of how one gets treated; and we have had the strong desire to voice our dissatisfaction. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Mundelein, IL, USA

problem #3

Dec 312009


  • miles
On December 31, 2009, my 25 year old daughter was driving along an interstate in her Chevy Cobalt. She crashed into a tree along the side of the interstate. Her airbags did not deploy, and her seatbelt did not lock. She died on impact, according to the police on reviewing the scene of the accident, my son observed that the tracks left by the car before it crashed were in a straight line, suggesting that the brakes either had not been applied or had not worked. On doing research, he found information online suggesting that there had been other, similar crashes in Cobalts and that the ignition switch was thought to be defective. We have already addressed this with GM and completed our action, and, at the time, I filed a consumer complaint to document the issue. I just read that this Agency will be investigating the issue, and I wanted to make sure you were aware of my daughter's death in a Cobalt in which the air bags did not deploy, the seatbelt did not lock, and that we strongly suspect, though GM never confirmed this, had a defective ignition switch.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #2

Sep 172010


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle was parked with the key stuck in the ignition switch. The contact was unable to remove the key from the ignition switch after numerous attempts. The contact then engaged the emergency ignition key release and was able to remove the key from the ignition. In addition, the gear shift selector would not lock into any desired gear. The contact noticed a four inch pin lying across the bottom of the gear shift box. She was uncertain if the pin loosened and then completely detached from a device within the gear shift box area. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Dravosburg, PA, USA

problem #1

Jan 012007


  • miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt shakes real bad when driving. Customer stated that he had the vehicle get a front end alignment twice and after a while the vehicle begins to start shaking again. The consumer stated the steering jammed and he was unable to remove the key from the ignition. Switch. The tumbler was replaced.

- Walls, MS, USA

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