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 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #31

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 #30

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 #29

Aug 172007


  • miles
Vehicle stalled while highway driving.

- Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, USA

problem #28

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

problem #27

Mar 062014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
I was driving on busy road car keeps almost stalling out. Start up the car after 10 minutes car drives fine. Next time I'm driving car is not accelerating. Then car keeps stalling out.

- Cocoa, FL, USA

problem #26

Apr 142008


  • 31,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated when she attempted to start the vehicle, the engine would not start. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who advised a new key was needed to start vehicle. The contact purchased a new key and the failure was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 31,000. Updated 5/28/14

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #25

Mar 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


Driving down the road and all items on gauge cluster die and come back on over and over again. Security light pops on ABS light comes on air bag light comes on. I lose power steering when this happens and sometime vehicle wont start and my security light pops on. Sometimes nothing in my gauge cluster wont work and all warning lights will appear when driving down the road or as soon as I start my vehicle.

- Bennington, VT, USA

problem #24

Mar 072012


  • 62,300 miles
I called two local Chevy dealerships today. One said they are waiting on instructions from GM to decide how to resolve the situation. The other said their service manager is out until Wednesday and only then can they apply through GM for a loaner car and that process takes a few day. I have watched someone die in a car crash and I didn't quite understand the severity of this issue until I realized that people have been killed. As a one car family, getting to work so that we can keep our head above water is always my main priority. GM is not helping me, I have also sent them the same information I am sending you. My husband cannot drive this car to work until the problem is fixed, it is not safe and we are financially screwed. I have driven hundred of my clients, all with developmental disabilities in my Cobalt. GM not only knowingly put my family's lives at risk, they put the lives of hundreds of individuals with developmental disabilities at risk also. If you need a text book example of the ignition switch issue on the Cobalt, by all means, come get mine. It will reliably fail.

- Oxford, OH, USA

problem #23

Mar 072012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 62,300 miles
I would have filed sooner but was unaware of your Agency and assumed that I should contact my local GM dealership. 2 days after I bought my 2006 Chevy Cobalt, the keys remained locked in the ignition. I have to use the emergency key release button to get my keys out. I reported this to the dealership who informed me in 2012 that there was no recall and I would have to pay to resolve the issue myself. I bought a Cobalt because it was economical and we did not have the money to pay for the repairs. To this day, we use the emergency switch to release my keys. 1 week after I bought my Cobalt, the engine and all power would die and I would have to restart the car. This happened when I was idling, going 25 miles/hr and up to 65 miles/hr. I called the Chevy dealership who informed me that there is nothing they could do, unless I wanted to pay to have the issue fixed. I even had another recall repaired last year at the Chevy dealership and again addressed the power failure. They looked for an issue, did not find one and literally made me believe it was "user error". my car still shuts off in the middle of driving, almost on a daily basis. I addressed the situation, I was ignored. I did not have the money to explore the issue more thoroughly, we had no choice but to deal with it. I am sending a second message to you following this because I am over on the word count. Please look for it.

- Oxford, OH, USA

problem #22

Feb 042014


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 10 mph and attempting to decelerate when the vehicle suddenly stalled. The contact restarted the engine and the vehicle operated normally until later recurring. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 30,000.

- Medina, NY, USA

problem #21

Oct 202013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 164,100 miles


I was traveling on a 2 lane road that I travel most every day, the road is not busy most I was entering a sharp curve suddenly the car engine quit and next thing I knew I was raking the guardrail on the right side of the road, .damaged the car more than it was worth, this was only the 2nd time the car had done this but I had only owned it about 11/2 yrs.the guardrail saved us from going over a 300 ft.mountain into the river.thankful for that guardrail, but left without anything to drive.

- Manchester, KY, USA

problem #20

Mar 132014


  • 225,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while traveling various speeds, the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was found that the computer needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 225,000.

- Bloomingburg, NY, USA

problem #19

Jan 192013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I bought the car 2 years ago. I noticed that the car stalls mostly when the temp outside is around the single digits. Doesnt happen all the time, and sometimes when the temp isnt that low. Unfortunately I still have to work and I was driving to work one morning, the car stalled on and icy road and I ended up in a snow bank. The car of course started right back up like nothing was wrong and ran for a couple weeks with out a problem. I have a constant problem with the car stalling, I even had a new engine put in because I was told it would fix the problem when I couldnt start my car at all one day and had to have it towed to a shop. Not even a week after the new engine, the car began stalling again, showing up with power steering warning lights and my mph gauge went haywire. Ironically, sometime around this whole problem, the recall for the ignition switch came out.

- Wells, ME, USA

problem #18

Mar 122014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 189,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 10 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was maneuvered to the side of the road and was restart after several minutes. The failure was recurring. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who replaced the ignition switch however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was not further repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 189,000.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #17

Aug 252013


  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 45 mph on a highway, the vehicle stalled. The failure was recurring and the vehicle would not immediately start after each failure. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was advised that the mass airflow sensor would need replacing. The vehicle was previously included in a manufacturer's recall pertaining to the power steering but was omitted from NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering). The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 160,000.

- Morristown, TN, USA

problem #16

Mar 082014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 139,111 miles
I was driving East on us hwy 2 at 55 mph when my car suddenly dropped speed to 35 mph and the engine light came on and the dash read red eng pwr. It was a very scary experience, I was able to coast to a side road as I live in northern Wisconsin and there is not a shoulder to pull on to due to the high snow banks. I parked the car and shut it off and it had no power no speed control. I let it sit for 1 hour and when I turned it back on the engine light was off along with the dash reading and the car was normal. This is awful! this car is awful!

- Ashland, WI, USA

problem #15

Feb 262014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 139,000 miles
I was driving East on us hwy 2 at 35 mph when my car suddenly shut off. I was in the middle lane and was able to pull to the right lane with no traffic coming. This happened 3 more times in a 2 mile distance. I parked the car and immediately notified Chevy and my local Chevy dealer. Chevy told me my car had a recall that would not be available until April 1. von holzen Chevy dealer said unless they knew what was wrong and I paid 600 they would not fix it.

- Ashland , WI, USA

problem #14

Feb 162014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 41,489 miles
I was stopped at a turn around East of garfield on 16 mile road in clinton township Michigan. Proceeded to complete turn and go West on 16 mile road when I felt my vehicle (2006 Chevrolet colbalt) had a loss of power. There was no response when I stepped on the gas pedal. The dashboard lights blinked. Then with in seconds I was struck by a vehicle in my passenger side rear, then I spun around and another vehicle hit me in the driver rear side. None of my air bags deployed. The clinton township police questioned the other two drivers who struck me but never questioned me to explain what happened. The first vehicle that hit me the man had a cut on his leg and refused medical treatment. The second vehicle that hit me the female was able to drive home. I was taken to the hospital by ems because my head, neck, back, hip and leg was hurting me. When I was in the hospital the police officer came up to me and gave me a ticket with two separate violations, and stated that I caused the accident. The officer never asked me what happened and when I tried to explain to him, he just said that's why its called an accident and left the hospital. My 2006 Chevy colbalt is totaled according to the insurance company. I found a NHTSA 14V047000 recall on the ignition switch failure on this NHTSA website. GM's recall number is 13454.I have record of 2 repairs to that same ignition by the dealership in 2006 and 2009. I believe that the faulty ignition caused me to loose power and acceleration thus causing the accident and injuries.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #13

Aug 092013


  • 39,000 miles
I re-entered the highway (I65) southbound from rest stop. As I approached cruising speed and merged into the outside lane, I deployed the tilt steering lever and pulled the steering wheel down to my preferred position. Since I usually drive another vehicle and was not used to this one, I pulled too hard on the steering wheel causing it to come down abruptly and hard into the full down position. This caused the ignition to shut off. My speed was about 70mph. I began to slow and edge towards the shoulder when I recovered my faculties, put the car in neutral, and restarted the vehicle with the key while still in motion at about 50mph. I resumed my trip as normal and cautioned my daughter against rapid steering column adjustments while driving. I read the recall news today and thought it might be helpful if I recounted my experience with the ignition failing on my vehicle.

- Franklin, TN, USA

problem #12

Jan 092013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 83,433 miles
Having multiple incidents, the 2006 Chevy Cobalt, shuts off while in reverse and steering locks up at low speeds. I can turn the vehicle off and restart it. The first incidents were maybe once a month, but lately has happened up to 3-4 times a week. On 7/9/13 (mileage 95,755) it cut off while trying to merge into traffic slowly. That scared me. It is now posting a serious safety hazard. I researched and found there was a recall in 2010 for this same issue on the model of vehicle. When I chatted online with GM on 7/10/2013, I was told my particular VIN did not have any active recalls. I am filing the complaint based on the fact that it may not be my particular VIN number, but the issue is the same! there needs to be additional research, I believe my car is experiencing the exact hazardous mechanical issue! I would hate for it to happen and cause a serious accident, as I am in the atlanta area!.

- Norcross, GA, USA

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