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:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
1,276 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

problem #6

Mar 012014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


2006 Chevy Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch recall. The consumer called the dealer regarding the ignition switch recall. They informed him, it would be at least 3 weeks before the part would be available. The consumer stated with only 19,000 miles on the vehicle, within the last 6 months, the power windows stopped working and last month, the cruise control stopped working.

- Mercerville, NJ, USA

problem #5

Mar 012012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer states several issues with vehicle related to recalls the consumer stated there was a smell of gasoline inside the vehicle, five sensors were bad, there was a problem with the fuel pump and fuel injection system. The RPM's jumped, when the vehicle was in cruise control mode, the cruise control would shut off for no reason. The consumer had a difficult time starting the vehicle, after she filled the tank, the vehicle would steer to the left, and there were times when the vehicle would jump out of gear.

- Ripley, WV, USA

problem #4

Apr 082008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The cruise control on the car goes off by it self I was almost rearened by another car.

- Sun City, AZ, USA

problem #3

Mar 202007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 3,400 miles


Events that lead to failure: 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt randomly shut off, instrument gauge needles randomly flicker/twitch, bad smell that in my opinion resembled a burnt food/sulfur combination. It started out lightly and randomly for a few weeks, but became heavier and constant over a week. A knocking noise came from the rear of the car, idle surged, and cruise control failed to disengage. Failure & consequences: Fire! component that failed was a canister/sending unit rear of the gas tank with the consequence of a fire and the total loss of my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The evening prior I contacted my local dealer about the smell and I told them I have no warning lights on. The next day driving to the dealership the smell/odder intensified. My thoughts were, we'll at least they can't say they don't smell it or give me the "can't duplicate it" decision. I only made it halfway when my car had a major electrical/mechanical failure. I was assisted by cars traveling behind me as one pointed out my car was on fire and the car shut down, all without any warning lights! the fire severely burned the entire back half of the car. After being inspected by a very well seasoned fire inspector the fire was diagnosed to come from a canister/sending unit malfunction. Again no warning lights GM! in my opinion the random shutting down of the car, the gauges twitching/flickering, the strange knocking noise and the smell/odder was all part of the same problem. Corrected failures: In reference to the fire, that will be up to GM however, after reading the NHTSA alarming number of 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt complaints and technical service bulletins one would be led to believe that there should be more than just a couple of recalls.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #2

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 #1

Feb 242006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,250 miles
: the contact stated while driving 75 mph the cruise control would not deactivate. To deactivate the cruise control the brakes were applied at least 4 times each time harder than the time before in combination with turning the cruise control off. When it deactivated there was a loud grinding noise that was heard. Within the next 20 minutes of driving the cruise control activated without being turned on, this occurred on 2 occasions. It was deactivated in the same manor as stated before. The vehicle was taken to dealer for inspection. The dealer test drove the vehicle however the problem could not be duplicated therefore no repairs were made.

- Saginaw, MI, USA

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