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:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
74,752 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 1 of 2)

problem #32

Oct 232016


  • 136,000 miles


My problems are came about with the electronic power steering on this vehicle as I have searched and found the problem too be very common. Found that it has been widely recalled including my model year with numerous complaints too the NHTSA. The first time it happened I was getting ready too go to a doctors appointment, the power steering message came on the dashboard, everything seemed too be working except the speedometer and it drove fine. On the way back home however the car would no shift past first gear. I took it too a mechanic that lives next too me. He said the wiring harness was bad, replaced it, got it back. Drove fine with no problems for three weeks, even the driver front blinker was working which had never worked since I got the car back in March of this year. Then after the three weeks the power steering message came back on and all the same symptoms are back, no speedometer, hard shifting if any, it even caused the engine light too come on this time which an auto parts store determined too be a random misfire. I changed the spark plugs and it went off. My theory is that the tcm is not grounded correctly too handle this and shorts out as I have found that others have grounded the tcm and it has fixed all the problems too their claim. I searched recalls on my car using the VIN and my car is not listed on it and since this has been recurring and I've had all the problems everyone else has noted I feel that is a great concern. The message and all the effects happen as soon as I start the car if it's going too happen (so far). It first happened on the date indicated and then again on 11/15/2016.

- Noel, MO, USA

problem #31

Jul 052016


  • 181,000 miles
I was driving the car on the highway, going about 38 mph and the power steering warning beeped and displayed on my dash. The steering tightened up a bit, and the car slowed down, as I was driving (I don't know what the car slowed down to because the speedometer then dropped to zero, but the tachometer continued to rev (I want to say) between 2 & 3 RPM, while the car was still in motion. The locks were clicking up and down too while this was all happening. Then the car bucked and the speedometer began working. The power steering warning light remained lit during the whole time. I was able to pull into a parking lot for safety. This was clearly a driving safety issue due to the vehicle slowing down when the power steering warning light came on. There were other affected parts, but I was not able to select the boxes: Electrical; other (speedometer) this also happened today: 07/10/16, prompting another complaint to be filed.

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #30

Jun 222016


  • 182,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 40 mph, the power steering seized and the engine light illuminated without warning. Directly after, the vehicle jerked and accelerated without warning and the speedometer malfunctioned. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 182,000.

- Brick, NJ, USA

problem #29

Jan 062016


  • 90,000 miles


After recall on ignition switch my car still stalls and the power locks go up and while driving and it sometimes will not come out of park

- Omar, WV, USA

problem #28

Apr 242014


  • 153,113 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving at approximately 45 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. In addition, the contact stated that a sulphur odor emitted from the vehicle. The vehicle was able to restart after an hour. The vehicle was inspected by an independent mechanic but was unable to diagnose the failure and the failure recurred. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was repaired under NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and 14V171000 (electrical system) but the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the throttle body needed to be cleaned and reset and the battery needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 153,113.

- Camden, SC, USA

problem #27

Sep 052014


  • 160,000 miles
The first time this particular problem began, because there have been oh so many others, I turned on the car and a power steering messaged appeared. There was no check engine light or anything else, just the "power steering" message. This happened intermittently for about 2 months. Then one evening while accelerating from a stop light, the car started to hop, the "power steering" message came on with a dinging alarm, the car slowed down to about 5 mph, and the power steering was gone, along with the breaks. It was extremely difficult to turn or stop the car. We were able to get it off the road, where we turned the engine off and on a few times. Each time with no success in fixing the issue. Finally after letting it rest for about 15 min, we were able to turn it on and it returned to normal. Since then, intermittently the "power steering" message comes on and dings, the car hops, and the power steering goes out. I took it to the dealer and they said the steering column needs to be replaced at a cost of $800. I can't understand this, since my steering column has rarely been move, maybe a total of 30 since I bought the car in 2006. I am the original owner and very few people, outside of myself, have driven this car, lending to minimal adjusting of the steering column.

- Cedarpines Park, CA, USA

problem #26

Jan 112015


  • miles


I was stopped at a stoplight. When the light turned green I put my foot on the gas pedal and the car would not move. As my foot left the brake pedal it still did not move. While still on the highway, I turned the car off and back on. Once I turned it back on, the car was able to move as normal. The following Friday, the same thing happened (I was stopped at a stop sign and could not accelerate afterstopping.) this happened multiple times (I turned the car off and on multiple times) and finally, as I was driving normally again with my foot on the accelerator, the car slowed down on its own and came to a stop on its own, as my foot was still on the accelerator.

- Linden, NJ, USA

problem #25

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 #24

Sep 102014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 192,000 miles
The vehicle started to emit an odor of fuel when parked, not running. A few days later a visible puddle of fuel was under the body of the car. This has been recurring every day since the first occurrence. Now a visible leak from above the fuel tank can be seen dripping fuel at an accelerated rate.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #23

Jun 192014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
On the first week of June 2014, my 2006 Chevy Cobalt went in for the safety recall 13454 (replacement of ignition switch). (this was the second recall this car has had.) on June 19th, 2014 with the new ignition switch installed by the local Chevy dealership, while driving the car in town, at speeds of 20 and 30 mph the car lost power to steering, brakes which made difficult even to stop and maneuver safely off the road. The car lost most of the engine performance but stayed running. The car was then turned off and restarted, with dash light warnings of engine light, tc light and a car security emblem light on. The car ran with very limited power and strange clicking noise which was coming from the shifter. I have cell phone video of the shifter nob clicking along with cell picture of the dash warning lights that are on. Car had to be "man handled" to get it to a safe destination. The battery was disconnected a then reconnected, with the thought of resetting computer. When battery was reconnected the car was 100% back to normal. For how long, is anyone guess, this strange occurrence has happened more than once. The car is scheduled to go to the Chevy dealership for further diagnostics. They informed that it will be a week or so because their all booked up. What a pain in the (you fill the blank). If I had enough $$ to replace the car, I would have this car crushed so that I would no longer be responsible for any accidents it may cause.

- Hermiston, OR, USA

problem #22

Oct 132010


  • 25,000 miles


Vehicle check engine light came on, followed by traction control light, along with severely reduced engine power. Has occurred multiple times since, about every 3 months. Have had diagnostics performed and it is a code P060E, which translates into 'indeterminate fault'. could result in major accident in it occurred while turning across lanes of traffic or at highway speeds as there is a sudden slowing. Recurs about every 3-6months and after a few days, self corrects.

- Kernersville, NC, USA

problem #21

Mar 262012


  • 35,000 miles
This vehicle is not safe to drive and was not built right. The manufactures knew for many years that the Chevy Cobalt 2006 would have a leaking gasoline system, and they kept this faulty defect to themselves for many years before bring this issue to the customer. I was driving the vehicle leaking gas for a few years unit the crack was large enough for me to smell it, while not driving, the ignition switch; with the key in it while the car was in park has started the car engine without turning the key. The key wont come out of the ignition switch. The car has turned off on me on the freeway more than 9 times. The car turned off on me going in reverse, couldn't control the brake and steering power to move out of the pole. While driving in the freeway I have had to quickly react; putting my emergency lights on and praying to god a car doesn't hit me, while with the left had side is quickly waving at the vehicles coming from behind to stop. Please help me. I have two children and im tired of being exposed to the dangers of this M defected life threatening vehicle. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bell, CA, USA

problem #20

Oct 082009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 50,020 miles
Starting the car and pulling out, the power steering not working, car hesitating when accelerating and then I pull over and shut the car off. I wait a few seconds and start the car again, and its running fine. This started a month or so after our purchase (used) on May 15,2009. The dealer did not have any weekend service. The date above is when we 1st reported for service. But turning the car off/on always fixed the problem. Service dates-10/8/09,10/15/09,8/28/10,5/19/11.3/27/12. Dealer couldn't find any dialogistic problems. I brought the car in & running, on 7/2/13, while running a mechanic drove it, said he knew the problem. Dialogistic showed 2- cost $430. To repair. 2wks. Later, happened again, dialogistic showed 6. estimate $6-$800 plus. Too much to fix it. In the past 3 yrs., four times while driving at 60mph, on hwy., no power steering, gas hesitating, & down shifts to 25+/-while flooring the gas, car bucking, & speedometer bouncing B'twn.30-50. Very freighting and once there was no place to stop.

- Milford, CT, USA

problem #19

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 #18

Nov 172012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 103,459 miles
Car stalls due to throttle position sensor defect. This happens when I come to a stop and the weather is cold. The choke gets stuck in either the open or the closed position. This has happened numerous times on numerous different occasions. I have been told by dealerships that this is a known problem which is why they keep the part in stock. However Chevy/GM has not issued a recall. This part is far to expensive for me to replace. I would consider this a hazard due to the vehicle stalling in mid traffic which could result in an accident. I can keep the vehicle running by having one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas and putting the car in neutral as I come to a stop. This too could result in causing an accident as two feet are not suppose to be used to drive.

- Lakewood, OH, USA

problem #17

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 #16

Sep 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Driving on 127 North toward lansing Michigan at 75 miles per hour when the engine lost control causing the car to go no faster than 15 miles per hour on the highway. This is a safety risk to the driver as well as others. I have replaced the gas peddle sensor which did not correct the problem, next I will replace the throttle body. The codes can be reset to correct the problem temporary if you purchase a $300 dollar code reader. I have also had to replace the front bearings twice. On 2/16/2014 I hit a pot hole and knocked a bolt loose that holds the cars frame together so at this point the car is unsafe to drive. At least I'm hoping its loose and not broke. The car shakes terribly due to the frame bolt. This is a big safety concern.

- Jackson, MI, USA

problem #15

Jul 212013


  • 29,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, with the cruise control activated, the brakes seized when depressed and did not deactivate the cruise control function. The contact crashed into a median strip and upon impact, the air bags failed to deploy. The contact sustained bruising, whiplash, and shoulder and neck injuries. The vehicle was neither repaired nor diagnosed. A police report was not filed. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure was approximately 29,000..

- Harrodsburg , KY, USA

problem #14

Dec 242010


  • 90,000 miles
First time we had problem was christmas eve 2010 car stumbled. Check engine light appeared T\C light appeared. Car dinged power steering came up on info center all as we were on a country road on our way to our families christmas. We stopped shut car off my husband got out and checked all fluids and fuses all were ok then we. Started car again and everything was back to normal for quite a awhile he said it might have just got confused there. Then the problem popped up intermittently here and there.right around October 2011 not sure of exact date but me and 3 children where on our way across the state of Indiana to see my husband that was working out of town and about 100miles into trip the cars power steering went out and made the car very hard to maneuver lights came on. As did in late 2010 so I pulled over and turned car off and did as my husband did and everything was good. But when I turned car back on it still had lights on so I called my husband and he told me to try unhook battery for like 10 minutes then hook back up and I did that and luckily it worked and we made it to where he was staying and we never had anymore problems till 9/15/12 when I was driving to see my mother and it happened again but this time in heavy traffic at a stop light and this time had all same symptoms but also a new one the transmission wouldn't shift from low gear. And it won't go off my husband researched on internet and found recalls for Cobalts and numerous complaints of same steering problems but when I called GM and gave woman my VIN she stated no recalls for my vehicle I don't understand if it is the same make of vehicle same problems they can pick and choose who has a problem and who doesn't. I am gonna try to solve this by taking to GM customer service, but if they not willing to work with me I will be more than happy to sign onto a class action lawsuit.

- Lawrenceburg, IN, USA

problem #13

Jul 262011


  • 155,560 miles
I was driving home one rainy day, about 45mph, dash lit up to shift. I looked and I was already in 5th. Next second everything on dash went out. No speedometer, no shift light, no mileage or trip meter, nothing. Only thing on dash that works is tach and digital display says power steering. Already had an appointment for recall work for power steering assist motor, thought that maybe that was what was wrong so I kept appointment. When got back from dealer, they tell me they replaced power steering assist motor and they had noticed the dash display and had done scan and it showed the power steering motor is went out! bought this car for my daughter, to drive back in forth to school, scared for her to drive it the 90 miles a day she drives to college. Thought this was just an isolated case but after checking online, I see that this is a major defect in these cars. Something needs done before someone gets hurt or killed.

- Genoa, WV, USA

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