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:
45,440 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 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

Jun 092009


  • 40,000 miles


I own a Chevrolet Cobalt (2006) with 40,000 miles. The car will start, but occasionally the power steering will go, the engine light comes on, and it will sputter and have trouble accelerating. When I stop it makes a thud noise. This occurs once every two days, and to this point it is in the local Chevrolet dealer being diagnosed.

- Brown Deer, WI, USA

problem #7

Nov 222006


  • 3,040 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle had issues with the engine surging. She took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that there was a dirty injector, in which they replaced. In January of 2007, the vehicle was taken to the dealer and they reprogrammed the computer for the surging issue. In March of 2008, the vehicle was returned to the dealer for a recall on the injectors. In addition to the surging, the vehicle would also shake violently when coming to a stop. The brakes and steering would not function correctly. The vehicle was taken to the dealer in October of 2008 and the powertrain control module was replaced. In November of 2008, the contact took the vehicle to the dealer again in regards to the violent shaking. The dealer could not duplicate the failure and advised the contact to call a tow truck in the event of a crash because they could not assist. In November of 2008, the vehicle began shaking violently and crashed into the preceding vehicle. There were no injuries. The vehicle was taken to another dealer, but they could not duplicate the failure as well. A complaint was filed with the manufacturer and the contact is awaiting their response. She was advised to not operate the vehicle. The speed was unknown. The current mileage was approximately 17,250 and failure mileage was approximately 3,040.

- Davie , FL, USA

problem #6

Dec 282007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Vehicle will not start after it is turned off after a period of driving. This occurs at least 5-10 times a week. The vehicle was taken back to the dealership, bresee Chevy in liverpool, NY for this problem, and we were told nothing could be done because the problem could not be replicated. We were told that we had a bad battery cell and were charged for a battery replacement after owning the vehicle for 2 years. The vehicle now has a "engine low power" warning and the engine light is on. The vehicle runs erratically, and there is concern of stalling while driving. This vehicle was purchased brand new in November of 2005, and is only used for commuting to work on the highway. Also, the tires on this vehicle were completely bald at 38,000 miles and had to be replaced, and the bearings on the front end also had to be replaced. This vehicle has major problems-it is an overall nightmare!

- Baldwinsville, NY, USA

problem #5

Aug 012007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles


I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt purchased used with 28000 miles on it. All my problems started about a month after I bought the car. The steering wheel started shaking violently when driving at 50 mph and over so I took it in to a Chevy dealer and they rotated and balanced the tires and that seemed to fix that problem. About 2 weeks I was driving home and I was sitting at a red light and the car just shut off. I restarted the car and every thing was fine on the dash board, no warning lights or messages in the driver information center. I started driving again and when I press on the gas there was this loud grinding noise and it felt like the car was not shifting gears properly. So I pulled over on the side of the road and turned the car off for about 10 minutes and restarted it and it drove fine. Now at this point im just thinking that there is a malfunction in the computer. I took the car to the dealer the next day and they scanned the computer and found no errors and everything was checking out fine. About 3 weeks later I was driving on the highway and I lost complete control of steering and the power steering message in the driver information center was displayed along with the check engine light. Unable to steer I had to stop in the middle of the highway and shut the car off. I waited about 20 minutes and restarted the car and the power steering warning message and check engine light had gone away and I gained steering control again. I once again took the car to the dealer and they could not find anything wrong with the car. Now some days when I start my car the power steering warning message and the check engine light come on and some days the car drives fine and its really starting to frustrate me. In addition to the steering problem I am unable to remove my key form the ignition. To this day none of my problems have been resolved.

- Cordova, TN, USA

problem #4

Jan 202006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the engine warning light illuminated. Prior to the light illuminating, the vehicle appeared sluggish while driving 20 mph. The rear tires would occasionally spin, regardless of the road conditions when accelerating from a stop. The dealer installed an 02 sensor, but the light continues to illuminate. The number of cylinders was unknown. The current mileage is 3,900 and failure mileage was 200.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #3

Nov 022006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5 miles
(1) car shuts itself off while I was driving down the freeway. During@ rush hour I veered away ( w-no power to car ),from traffic behind me. Parked, shut car off, took key out of ignition, then replaced and started it back up, and proceeded enroute. (2) after market cruise control failure to shut off and turn on. (3) result of above (2)after market cruise control takes its own mind and decides to fully accelerate until gearing down in hopes it 'awakes' the computer (automatic transmission),then cruise control will finally shut off. (consequence ) passenger had a heart attack. I called a taxi. "he's ok" (4) service air bags light have been on since 20, K miles I now have 47, xxx miles. (5)stock tires and rims wobble with irritating continous noises -can't ge rid of it. (6) stock seats driver and passenger sides both were installed incorrectlythey are really slantedlike this ( / \ ). (7) a clunking bucket sounding noise fills very slowly, (health problems) an odor is always present leaving me light headed, nautious while driving, dizzy exiting car, and with breathing problems -like shortness of breath. I have severe back problems now, and can not sit in the car for more than 20 min, upon a break of fresh air and a walk for the spine. (8) brakes sound and feel (when applied),scratchy.@5,000 miles the Chevy dealership had to turn and shave allready my disc brakes saying they were worn in. (9) my heater makes a lot of noises when using it. (10) acceleration hesitation.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #2

Nov 062006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
: the contact stated while traveling various speeds, the vehicle stalled without warning. The dealership cannot duplicate the problem.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #1

Sep 112006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle stalled suddenly without warning while driving at various speeds. The vehicle would start after the gear was put into neutral. The dealership was aware of the problem, but was unable to duplicate the problem.

- Chicago, IL, USA

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