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 1 of 2)

problem #32

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 #31

Feb 212014


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving approximately 25 mph, the vehicle stalled without any warning lights illuminated. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number 14E021000 (ignition switch) and the vehicle was taken to the dealer to remedy the recall however, the failure recurred. The failure was not diagnosed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Lebanon, NJ, USA

problem #30

Jun 252014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact received a notification for recall NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). The contact mentioned that after the recall repairs were performed the key would work in the ignition switch but failed to unlock the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Mapleton, GA, USA

problem #29

Jun 182014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,805 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while parked in a residential garage, the vehicle started rolling backwards and the driver door crashed into the wall. There were no injuries were reported. Also, the contact mentioned that she was able to remove the key out of the ignition switch while the vehicle was in park. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 93,805. Updated 10/7/14 the consumer stated the stereo has had many problems, it failed intermittently. Taking the key out of the ignition was difficult and strange noises could be heard upon attempting to do so. There were also to incidents that while driving the vehicle would lose all power. Updated 5/13/2015

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #28

Mar 052014


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that immediately after receiving repairs for recall NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system) he turned on the vehicle but when attempting to turn off and remove the key, it failed to come out. The dealer was unable to determine the cause of failure and refused to provide any additional assistance. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that they would follow up with him. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage were 75,000.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #27

Aug 142007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 11,000 miles
Smelled gas and saw gas leaking from under car. Small fire started and put it out. Took car in. Steering wheel locked up fixed but never right. Now the ignition switch is being fixed but all the lights in the dash are lighted up due to this. No turn signals. Car is not right. Car has never been right!

- Lantana, FL, USA

problem #26

May 282006


  • miles


On May 28, 2006, my husband was driving solo in a rented 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt on an undivided highway leading from the North rim of the grand canyon. The road conditions were excellent: It was 9 am on a Sunday morning with very little traffic, on a straight, dry road with open country on either side. Witnesses to his accident report that after he passed a camper at a normal speed for that highway and began to pull back in front of it, his car abruptly veered off the lane and onto the right shoulder, where he lost control. The car fishtailed, skidded back onto the highway, and rolled over several times. Other drivers stopped immediately to help, but my husband was unresponsive and died a week later without regaining consciousness. All who saw the accident were at a loss to explain how or why it occurred. My husband was an experienced and very careful driver, in good health and alert that morning. The recent news about faulty ignition switches in Cobalts of that era finally provides a plausible explanation. He had long legs and could easily have bumped the steering column or ignition keys during normal operation of a car that was unfamiliar to him. It's far too late to examine the car, but I hope this account contributes circumstantial evidence that there were more deaths caused by those faulty switches than will ever be proven-- or redressed.

- Cornwall Bridge, CT, USA

problem #25

Jan 102012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while driving. When the failure occurred, the key would remain stuck in the ignition. The contact also stated that the failure occurred whenever the vehicle was driven over a pothole or bump. In addition, the contact stated that the all of the electronics would continue functioning when the vehicle stalled. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 80,000. Updated 04/10/12 the consumer stated he was unable to removed the key from the ignition. 04/16/12

- Dear Park, NY, USA

problem #24

Nov 282011


  • 117,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that she was unable to remove the key out from the ignition or turn off the vehicle. The contact mentioned that she was able to remove the key by engaging the release button located under the dashboard. In addition, the contact mentioned that the power steering lamp illuminated and the steering wheel seized. The power steering started to work again once she turned the vehicle completely off. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure and the vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 117,000.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #23

Aug 012011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the key would become stuck in the ignition. The manufacturer was notified of the failure, but denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 65,000 and the current mileage was 72,000. Updated 12/01/11 the consumer stated the key would get stuck in the ignition and there was no release button to remove it. The consumer stated he would have to leave the vehicle on, or leave the key in the ignition and disconnect the battery. The consumer also stated the power steering failed a times and the speedometer did not work and the windows wouldn't roll down. Updated 12/08/11 updated 12/12/11 the consumer stated the brake does not have to be applied to shift out of park. The consumer experienced other problems due to the problem with the ignition. Updated 12/15/11

- South Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #22

Feb 032011


  • 66,000 miles


I bought my 2006 Cobalt brand new and it now has 66,000 miles on it. At about 15,000 miles the key locked in the ignition and shifting gears became almost impossible (automatic transmission). It was under warranty so I took it to the dealer and they replaced the shifter assembly. Now today (2/3/11) I wasn't having any problems with my car until I started it and couldn't press the shifter button in to put it out of park. It stayed stuck in park. When I tried to take the key out, it stayed stuck in acc. I was able to manually take it out by pressing the "plunger" under the steering wheel. Called the dealer and had to tow my car there. Again, my shifter assembly has to be replaced with a total cost (after towing, diagnostics, labor, and parts) of $450 out-of-pocket. Due to a cheap plastic piece in the gear shift. Ridiculous.

- Capulin, CO, USA

problem #21

Nov 042010


  • 60,000 miles
I have a 2006 Cobalt and the key was stuck in the ignition. The car could not be put into park. The car was basically in neutral. I had to leave my car in the "on" position over night. I had to have my car fixed at vann Chevy in carrollton tx and had to pay $640 for the repair. I had to get the whole shifter replaced from the shift button to the floor. Chevy contacted me today and stated that they would not reimburse me for the problem. Chevy stated at this point it is not a recall even though people all over the country have had the same problem.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #20

Aug 302010


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that when the gear was placed into park the key will not release from the ignition, to release the key he places the gear into park several times until the key releases. The vehicle will be taken to the dealer to be diagnosed. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage 75,000 and the current mileage was 77,000.

- Hampton , VA, USA

problem #19

Jun 152010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while the gear selector was in the park position, the ignition key would not release. The contact could only remove the key when engaging the ignition key release switch. The failure occurred whenever the ignition was placed in the ignition. An authorized dealer was notified of the failure and stated that failure was a common problem. The failure had not been diagnosed or repaired when the complaint was filed. The failure mileage was 82,000. Updated 10/15/10 bf updated 10/21/10

- Eaton, OH, USA

problem #18

May 082008


  • 45,052 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that when the keys were in the ignition while the vehicle was parked, she was unable to remove the keys from the ignition. The gear shift selector was also stuck in the park position and could not be removed. The dealer replaced the ignition at the owner's expense. In addition, while driving at speeds of 20 mph, the power steering locked without warning. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the steering column was replaced a second time, at the owner's expense. The manufacturer stated that there were no recalls and the warranty was not valid. The manufacturer would not provide any assistance. The failure mileage was 45,052 and the current mileage was 72,000.

- College Park, GA, USA

problem #17

Jan 272010


  • 68,000 miles
I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss. My key often gets stuck in the ignition, taking quite some time to fiddle with to get out. As well, and a much more serious complaint, is the failure of my power steering. My power steering light has come on quite often in the past 2 weeks. Turning the car on and off takes the light away. However, today while taking a turn at a green light, my power steering literally failed on me. This is not safe, and after much research, I have learned its a common defect of 2005-2009 Chevy Cobalts.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #16

Dec 202009


  • 39,083 miles
I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt lt. I have 39,000 miles on it and have had numerous issues with the car! the main issue seems to be the power steering. I was 4 hours from home and my power steering light came on. My wheel locked up and was hard to steer. I cut the car off and back on and it seemed to correct it for about a minute and then locked up completely. This has been an issue in numerous Cobalts that I have seen. I talked with other people who own them and they have the same issues mine has. That goes to show there is an issue with the Chevy Cobalt. Most people have had the key stick in the ignition (I have had to have that replaced) and now power steering! please do something!

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #15

Sep 192009


  • 36,000 miles
I currently own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt. The current problem is that the key will not come out of the ignition. When this occurs all of the interior electronic features stay on as well as the exterior lights. I did have the shift assembly replaced. Prior to it being replaced, it occurred randomly but then started to happen more frequently. The battery is being drained by this problem which in turn is causing a secondary issue. The dealer who replaced it stated that this a common occurrence in all Chevy Cobalt's yet it has not been recalled. I feel that Chevy needs to look at the matter to recall this problem. It is not right for me to pay for Chevy's mistake when they know this problem is happening.

- Kissimmee, FL, USA

problem #14

Aug 112009


  • 50,500 miles
I have two issues with my 2006 Chevy Cobalt: 1. Aug 2009 the power steering went out completely while driving, rendering it nearly impossible to navigate. It works everytime I turn on the car for approximately 1-3 minutes and goes out everytime it's driven. I've been quoted that it will cost me $565 just for the part which must be ordered from a GM dealer only since the warranty ran out at 50K miles, the power steering went out on me at around 50500 miles. Just past the mark. This is a very dangerous issue that seriously needs to be addressed and recalled by GM for I've read hundreds of complaints from others who drive the same make and year. 2) the second issue is that the key locks in the ignition at least once a week making it impossible to start the car. Please look into these problems with this car for they can be very dangerous before someone loses their life over it.

- Oakland, FL, USA

problem #13

Nov 262009


  • 53,916 miles
We are buying a used 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls & the key has stuck in the ignition. We have found out through research that this has been a huge problem with others & the automatic shifter assembly has to be replaced. We have no warranty now & still owe too much on the car. Why is there no recall on this since there are so many complaints? every single web site we were on people have complained about this. This is a rotten deal.. every website has too many complaints. There absolutely should be a recall to fix this problem.----this was a message sent to Chevrolet of which they replied: Thank you for contacting the Chevrolet customer assistance center. I have processed the information on your vehicle and after thoroughly researching all the resources available to me; I was not able to find any recall associated to your vehicle. Recalls are vehicle identification number specific so not all vehicles of a model year are affected. I emailed back that they need to have a recall for this. It is costly to replace & not fair to the consumer. Please help.

- Omaha , NE, USA

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