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:
12 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
87,741 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #51

Jan 032015

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 99,000 miles


Traction control light came on. Car started running very rough and then lost all traction and shut off.

- Clackamas, OR, USA

problem #50

Oct 252014


  • 99,000 miles
We were driving down the road in Oct when all of sudden dash lights up flashing dinging going crazy the car keeps jerking forward like its trying to shift into a gear for the whole 40 min drive it drove fine on the way home. It has done this maybe three times since the other day I was driving my grand children to school when the car started to jerk forward then just stopped running and lost power steering, in a three way intersection, my car finally started up after about 10 mins. In Oct when the car started having problems I called our dealer they said the car had all the recalls done that it would cost 90 to check it out and that they wouldn't be able to find anything unless it was having the issues at the time they had the vehicle I ended up calling GM about the problem only to be told I am sorry that you had a stressful morning we can give you a case number and will get back to you within 24 to 48 hours may car now sets at my daughters house I will not be driving this car for fear I may injury or kill my grandchildren or others this vehicle id a death trap GM needs to own up and buy out these vehicles so upset right now shame on them how many lives need to be lost before they do something this time?

- Queensbury, NY, USA

problem #49

Nov 142014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 55 mph, an alarm sound was heard, the check engine indicator illuminated, and the fuel gauge lever moved to empty. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Wartrace, TN, USA

problem #48

Nov 292013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 101,000 miles


I was driving the car at about 32 mph when the engine shut down. I traveled across four lanes hitting the curb head on then hitting a concrete flower bed( approximate hit 12-14 inches), traveling over this again hitting a curb in a parking lot and then the car came to a rest. The airbags did not deploy and the car was not running. This is not the first time the car has stopped running like this. When I first purchased it in February 0F 2006 within the first week the ignition would not turn over requiring a trip to the dealership. The ignition has been replaced at least 5 times. About three months into owing it I was driving down the road and the engine was trying to restart it self. It then stopped and I ended up in a ditch. Again the airbags did not deploy. Finally, in 2012 a school bus backed into the front of the car with it running and the airbags did not deploy. The igniton was replaced on 6/04/2014 under the mandatory recall. Within 3 days the ignition once again would not turn on and then when it did the engine dragged as if the battery was bad. The battery is one year old. I have had this problem non-stop since the replacement part. I called graff Chevrolet in mt. Pleasant and I got the standard response, "we can"T duplicate it". when I insisted the car needed to be looked at I was told, we have the right to refuse service and we can no longer service your car". I've called other dealerships only to be told the car needs to go back to where the recall part was replaced.

- Mount Pleasant, MI, USA

problem #47

Oct 042014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 122,117 miles
While driving, the door locks went up and down and immediately after, the engine raced and RPM gage went up significantly.

- Ozark, MO, USA

problem #46

Sep 152014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I was driving on a highway at 65 mph and the traction control light and check engine light on the dashboard came on and when I had to accelerate then the car started shifting really roughly. I was half way to my destination and then the traction control light went off and the car shifted smoothly on acceleration. The check engine light stayed lit but the car seem to run fine. When I got home I researched the issue and found that there was over 1800 complaints about this same issue. My car is now parked because I thinks its not reliable. I think this should be, yet, another recall for the Cobalt.

- Eagle Creek, OR, USA

problem #45

Aug 192014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 200,000 miles


I was driving down the road. I reached 55 and my engine shut off. I had no brakes or steering and went to right in ditch and hit a telephone pole.

- Rutledge, MN, USA

problem #44

Aug 192014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 200,000 miles
I was driving down the road. I just reached 55 mph. My ignition shut off and I lost steering and brakes. I went to the right into the ditch and hit a telephone pole.

- Rutledge, MN, USA

problem #43

Aug 072014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 144,200 miles
At approximately 7:47am cst on August 7th 2014, I was making a right hand turn when the engine and all electrical components died. I was able to restart the car and safely drive, with no check engine lights/other dash warnings, approximately half a mile back home. There was no warning on the dash (ie check engine light) before the massive failure occurred; it was instantly dead. This fits the characterization of the ignition switch failure in the affected GM models. I was one turn from merging on the freeway. Had this incident occurred a minute later, the potential for severe injury/loss of life was great. I have been waiting on a list since April to get the defected ignition switch repaired. I have called several times for updates, and have been told up to 800 people were ahead of me for repairs. When I reported this incident to GM via the ignition switch recall hotline, they suddenly found the parts needed to repair my car. This is suspect to me. They are also claiming that this incident was not ignition switch related, but the fact remains that this was a near-miss incident with potential catastrophic implications that fits all descriptions of ignition switch failures. I have followed the instructions by GM to drive with only the key in the ignition and to avoid bumpy roads, but this incidents has made me feel extremely unsafe to drive this car. GM is not treating this defect in the ignition switch as seriously as it needs to, as the possibility for severe injury/loss of light is great. There is no warning that power will be lost. I do not feel safe driving this car knowing that GM knew about this defect for over a decade and is insisting that cars with the defect are safe to drive.

- Elk Grove Village, IL, USA

problem #42

Jan 212011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch and other vehicle problems and unsatisfactory customer service at dealership. The consumer stated the vehicle would not shut off for about 10 minutes after she switched the ignition to the off position and removed the key. The consumer stated while driving, the vehicle suddenly ran out of gas. There was no warning. The very same day, she received a recall notice in the mail regarding an issue with the fuel pump. Also, the consumer discovered the batter exploded, when an odor began to come inside the vehicle. Also, the engine light illuminated, the ac and heat did not work, the dash lights worked occasionally, the transmission was slipping and the interior was falling apart. The vehicle overheated, the ac compressor failed. While driving on the highway, the vehicle stalled. Then something went wrong with the battery and toxic fumes from the battery in the trunk were being sucked into the vehicle. The consumer exited the vehicle, opened the trunk and hot battery acid was all over the place. Updated 09/08/14

- Kerrville, TX, USA

problem #41

Apr 262014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 78,079 miles


4/26/20142006 Cobalt recall for ignition switch. At that time yellow ABS, traction control and red brake system failure. Called local dealer said car safe to drive. 5/31/2014 to 6/3/2014 after dealer said brake warning and ABS not related took to very local shop no tow, had brakes inspected, no leak pads and shoes ok. The shop found ABS fuse blown. Codes in diagnostic U0121, U2105, U2106, U2108. Wires traced to short in ignition switch. Paid $106.95 for inspection. Car unable to be repaired due to parts on back order. 6/7/2014 call from GM car picked up by rogers towing 11am. GM call was send to dealer no discussion of rental at this point. Car sent with recall papers/tuffy inspection and tech service bulletins and other recall info. Also 1 key and remote sent 6/7/2004 call from dealer approx. 1pm, they haven"?T looked at car, but apparently read report. Service manager stated didn?"T really consider the tuffy report was a valid report and the see this all the time with recalls. Told me that again the fuses blowing are not related. Explained again, this warning light issue was not happening prior to incident #1. stated only issue with key was for the detent. Dealer will work on securing rental. 6/13/2014 contacted us senator about delay, 4 hours later car was ready, put new fuses in ABS and traction control worked for a week, lights come on and off randomly while driving, car stalls occasionally and 7/19/2014 started today ignition key is extremely hot when removed from lock cylinder after 4 to 10 minutes of driving, advised daughter to bring to place of purchase determine what else is going on.

- Palm Coast, FL, USA

problem #40

Jul 162014


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while at a stop light, the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was able to restart and after a mile, the vehicle started smoking. The vehicle was towed to a private mechanic and diagnosed that the ac compressor and the serpentine belt burned and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 60,000.

- Berlin, NJ, USA

problem #39

Mar 192010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 43,565 miles
Chev. Cobalt /06, 2.2 L. ls, loss engine, coolant & oil lubrication systems at night at 73 mi/hr, hit something, passing trucks in right track, engine overheat extremely, before can pull out. 1st.. mechanic shop, / car insure, decide engine was fixable. 1 week after fix, and run, engine damaged the engine head gasket. 2nd mechanic (General Motors serv. Depart.,took over they claim replace engine head and gasket. (insure paid $2,300) for repair. What they did ? engine got noise internally & overheat to more serv. If insure don't pay extra. & complain no good.... 3er mechanic. (my self in house garage) rebuild the engine to the pistons rings, crankshaft bearings, new exhaust camshaft, lifter(damaged previously, also roller, all news, this damages were view by the last mechanic(the dealer GM.)& also it was never a new engine head installed. After this an electric storm, the alternator has damaged thevoltage regulator ECM(electronic module engine control),throttle body, ++++ no have a idle but engine hunting alarm malfunctioning, power door lock, automatic transmission interlock don't care if @ 70 mi/hr select to rev. Or park.....what will happened !!!"?"

- Naples, FL, USA

problem #38

Jun 032014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
For months I have been having problems with my ignition switch, I have been calling every week to the Chevrolet dealership closest to my home and each week they tell me to call back next week. Well this week my car finally died on me. Luckily I had parked and went into a store and when I came out the it would not start rather than stalling on the road. So I called the dealership and explained what my car had done and at that time they told me to call triple aaa and have them tow my car to the dealership. I was told that if it was my ignition switch it would be fixed and I could get a rental until the parts come in. Well needless to say I called the towing company (aaa) and my car was towed up there the next day when I called to check on it I was told that it was my starter and now I owe a hundred and two dollars towing fee and have to pay them over six hundred dollars to do the starter work. I could not afford this so now I'm out of more money to have my car towed away from there. I go and buy a starter that cost over two hundred dollars only to put it on and my car still don't work. I am so disappointed in this company and I am afraid of this car. I am not a mechanic and I am not sure what this ignition switch may or may not do if I continue to drive. I was under the impression that I could get a rental according to the news and I am yet to get anyone to even act as if they care. This is a plea for you to help me. I am a single mother of four, working two jobs and this is my only source of transportation. Please help me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Tunica, MS, USA

problem #37

Apr 282014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who was not able to neither replicate nor diagnose the failure. The contact received notification for recall NHTSA campaign id number: 14V047000 (electrical system) and stated that the parts were not available. The dealer did not provide a specific date when the parts would become available. The manufacturer was also contacted and could not provide an estimated date for when the contacts vehicle would receive the recall repairs. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was unknown.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #36

Feb 082013


  • 80,000 miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss supercharged started malfunctioning in Feb 2013 driving the hwy the car would jolt as if it was running out of gas same thing occurred on April 2013. The big problem happened Sept 2013, driving 75 on the fwy my Cobalt started to jolt and loose power and the speed started slowing down all the way to 30mpg I was barley able to make my way through traffic to get to the side of the road, once pulled over my Cobalt didn't want to start and when it did it would only go about 100 feet and slow down then turn off. Since then my Cobalt has not been able to function properly. At low RPM's it dies off. Since that day my boost gauge doesn't work. My mpg's have dramatically fell about 10, ill fill up half the tank and the next thing you know it drops to empty. Also while driving when I hit pot holes the car turns off. It has a hard time starting up. I've read through the forums and other people have had this problem. Is there a recall for this yet and if not who not"! wouldn't you think cars failing on the fwy is a major red flag"

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #35

Apr 212014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while traveling various speeds, the vehicle suddenly stalled. The contact mentioned that the failure was experienced multiple times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage and VIN was not available.

- Old Bridge, NJ, USA

problem #34

Apr 022014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
I had become aware of the recall, just the week prior and was planning on making arrangements to have the car fixed, once the parts (3-4 weeks out from what I was explained) arrived. I was also explained via the dealer and what I read on line that the car should be ok to drive so long as there was nothing on the key. So I requested my daughter to only use the key with absolutely nothing on it, when using my car. At approximately 2pm on a clear sunny day, my daughter was exiting the freeway. As she was slowing down, the car suddenly shut off on her. Before she had time to react she hit another vehicle. She was fortunately not injured, mainly because she was already slowing down and had it been a few minutes earlier, things may have been drastically different. I have had this car for 7 years and I drove it quite a bit and let my daughter do so as well. I am angry that GM has allowed my daughter and I to be at risk for such a long period of time and even as I am writing this (2 weeks later) the only answers I have really been given from GM are answers I have had to call and press them on, which for the most part is almost no information at all. I am sure they are being inundated with complaints and having to deal with the media, congress, NHTSA, but I cannot feel any empathy or sympathy for that matter, when they have had years to deal with this and simply swept this under the rug. Harsh and swift action must be taken to punish them and set an example to all others. Enough with the bail outs. Time to start being accountable.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #33

Apr 082014


  • 101,000 miles
A vehicle in front of my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt quickly applied their brakes which caused my daughter to quickly apply hers thus causing her to hit the rear of the vehicle in front of her. The air bags immediatly deployed. My son, who was in the passenger seat, noticed within seconds of the crash that the engine was on fire. He had to quickly unhook both his and my daughters seat belt so they could evacuate the vehicle before the cabin caught fire. Once my daughter was able to relax and gather herself and tell me what she had remembered about the accident, she told me that it was very difficult to apply the brakes and it didn't seem like it was stopping as quickly as usual. I ask her if she thought that the car had stalled prior to the accident and she stated that she didn't know what it would feel like to have a car stall while she was driving. I am unsure as to, number one, why the engine caught fire immediatly after a 35mph impact and two, why was it very difficult for my daughter to push on the brake pedal to stop at a time when you need to trust your vehicle the most"??"

- Macomb Township, MI, USA

problem #32

Mar 182014


  • miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer seeks reimbursement for recall repairs. The oxygen sensor, throttle body spacer and ignition coil were all replaced.

- Williamsburg, VA, USA

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