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:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
97,508 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments

problem #11

Dec 262016


  • 141,103 miles


On September 19th, 2016 I bought a new two pack of sylvania 3157 ll long life lamps from wal-mart and used one to replace my old left rear blinker light which had burned out. The lights are specified as valid replacement lights for the 2006 Chevy Cobalt. On December 26th, 2016 I noticed that the same left rear blinker light was not working again. On December 27th, 2016 I again attempted to replace the blinker light unsuccessfully. On this day I noticed that the plastic on the bulb had burnt and melted at the bulb's connection point onto the metal contacts of the blinker assembly (see attached photos). This seems to be a potential fire hazard for the vehicle. Upon researching, I found other folks complaining about similar issues with their running lights on the Chevy Cobalt as evidenced here: the vehicle was in motion on a city street when the bulb melted.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #10

Feb 112015


  • 148,686 miles
I took my car to a repair shop after hearing a strange noise while driving to work. After an analysis, I was informed that the engine had no oil in it and the noise I was hearing was called "engine knock." I was also informed that the engine was completely shot due to lack of oil. My oil light on my dash never came on to alert me of any problems with my oil. When I start my car, the oil light along with all the other emergency lights (I.e. traction control, check engine...) light up as usual and then go off, so I know the actual light works but I think there may be a sensor issue.

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #9

Nov 202014


  • 120,000 miles
I have been calling sutliff Chevy in harrisburg pa a numerous number of times. Since they replaced my key system the car now just shuts off half the time and the other half the auto lights will not shut off causing the battery to die and leaving me stuck. When I call the service dept they blow me off, I have to leave messages and don't get a return call. I never had any problems with this car since I bought it new and one recall and the car is a piece of crap and so it the assistance I am getting. I used to love my Chevy and would never buy anything else and that over, . I realize my car is out of warranty and it to your problem but I will get the work out.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #8

Nov 132013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles


My car has been mildly having problems when you would stop at a light or pull into a parking spot it acts like it wants to cutoff. I got the letter on the recall and it definitely gave me anxiety driving the car especially since I have to travel 180 miles quite often for my kids. I had the recall fixed and yet still had the minor problem. I say minor only because it did not cause anything bad to happen at that time. Also noticed that my car was not acting right with the two keys they gave me sometimes it would start and sometimes it locked up. But not every time. About two months after that I went to lunch and my key got locked in the ignition and the car would not start. Figuring I trust be the battery I went bought a new battery but the car still wouldn't start. I had it towed to GM dealership and they told me it coded for the ignition switch and the fuse box. But then called me back and said it was the fuse box and the body control module and the fuel pressure censor. I tried to trade it in and the value of a car I bought just a year and a half ago for 11,999 is now only worth $3000 even to the maker of the car I would be stuck paying on a car that is unsafe still and makes it to where I cannot get a new car because of the amount I still owe on the vehicle.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #7

Jun 072010


  • 82,849 miles
On June seventh, 2010, I was driving on the I-95 expressway. Suddenly, I lost the control of my car which was hit by another car driven for reymy w. portes (crash report # [xxx]). on February 21th, 2011, my husband, [xxx] had similar accident with his 2008 Chevy Cobalt. The fact that both crashes were so similar made dubious about our responsibility on them. On December 12, 2011 my husband presented a complaint to F. H.S. M. V. D. M. S. (complaint # [xxx]), on December 16, 2011 its answer was: "your complaints do not fall within its jurisdiction. Dejected, he didn"T any more action. I have just received from GM a warning about a defect which relates to motor vehicles safety exists in 2005-2007 model year (my) Chevrolet Cobalt, then I read on tv news, and internet, that GM issued that it's possible that the air bags might not deploy if there is an accident". in this moment we realized that both the 2006 and 2008 Chevy Cobalt air bags" did not deploy, regardless both vehicles crashes were on front bumper and maroone collision center charge to allstate the amount of $4183.16 to repair my car. We have received a significant amount of letters from lawyers, as well as allstate insurance dealing with injures damages and monetary compensation. Allstate paid to Mr. Portes the sum of $3 000, consequently our allstate insurance premium was raised substantially. This entire situation had caused stress, economic problems and lack of confidence in both my wife I. because both crashes happened in the afternoon rush hour, I-95 traffic was crowded and slow, but in other conditions and as consequence of air bag malfunction my wife and might have died. For the reasons explaining above, I, the writer, demand from GM a monetary compensation for the psychological, legal, and monetary problems caused by my car malfunction. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- North Miami Beach, FL, USA

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problem #6

Feb 202014


  • 170,030 miles
While driving around a corner lost all power and control of car. Therefore I was unable to steer the car and hit the back of a parked car.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #5

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

problem #4

Jun 012011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
At first my headlight bulbs just kept blowing and I had to keep replacing them. Eventually, one side went out and would only come back on after the bulb shield was adjusted. The bulb shields eventually stopped holding the device together and my headlights completely quit working all together.I also noticed a melted liquid running down from the bulbs themselves inside the shields. It was apparent that the wiring had melted. I took it to Chevrolet dealer in my city and was told that the entire wiring system melted and had to be replaced including the wire that hooks the system to the battery inside the engine. Turn signals are not even working at this point. I was told that I had to replace both head lamps instead of just the one affected one because if I didnt it would just burn out again. I was estimated $700 for the repair which was way too much for my pockets. I have already submitted this same vehicle for the power steering issues which I paid for and then was reimbursed 9 months later after the recall finally went through and the fuel pump issues that had a recall as well. I recently had to replace a fuel injector as well. I know that the 2005 model had a recall on head lights and I am sure that my vehicle has been affected by the same defective parts. I have been without headlights for 4 months now.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #3

Jan 042010


  • 38,500 miles
Intermittent power steering failure on 2006 Chevrolet cobolt. Car has 39000 miles with electric steering. Not under warranty. Called 4 Chevy dealers and all service dept told me they seem several. Also headlight fogs up frequently after heavy rain. Dealer told me to drive around and it will go away. It takes about 2 weeks to almost clear up until another heavy rain.went to the dealer about the fogged up lens and another customer who bought their car 2 weeks earlier had the same problem.the electric power steering should not go bad on a 2006 with 38,000 miles. Electric power steering is new technology. No belts, pumps or fluid. Safety issue.

- Owings Mills , MD, USA

problem #2

Jun 272009


  • 70,359 miles
No brake lights. I am searching as to why the light bulbs and fuse keeps blowing out, there appears to be a live wire shorting out between the fuse and the brake switch. With the brake switch disconnected, the fuse still blows. Updated 07/17/09 the consumer stated the problem was resolved by replacing it with a brake switch. Updated 07/21/09.

- Yorktown, VA, USA

problem #1

Jun 302006


  • 500 miles
When making right turns, the turn signal indicator will cancel sometimes and not cancel sometimes. It does not seem to matter how far the steering wheel is turned. It has done this since it was new. The left turn signal seems to be fine. As this is a "company car", I have been instructed not to take it in to get it fixed until there is an official recall.

- Downers Grove, IL, USA

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