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:
44 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
37 / 4
Average Mileage:
47,769 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #52

Mar 302014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 103,163 miles


The power steering went out. Airbag light and power steering light came on.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #51

Nov 152011


  • 60,000 miles
It was a single car crash which happened at night during a rain shower. Their were no witnesses, but the car crossed the opposite lane of traffic and ran into the back end of a lowboy trailer ( a trailer used to Transport heavy equipment ) the two 19 year old girls in the car were killed. Nothing about this accident made sense until I heard about the ignition issue with the Cobalt. Their are many reasons that the ignition could be the root of this accident, and if it can be determined that this is in fact true I would like to be part of the process that sees that those responsible for the decision to put profit over safety are punished.

- Apollo, PA, USA

problem #50

Sep 132012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
On 9/13/2012 my niece was driving her 2006 Chevy Cobalt. It was a clear night with light traffic. All of a sudden her car veered to the right and crashed into a tree. She died of blunt force trauma to the head. There were no brake marks and the air bags did not deploy which you would have expected with such a violent collision.

- Morristown, NJ, USA

problem #49

May 072008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,125 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 mph, the engine stalled without warning. After restarting the vehicle, the vehicle resumed normally. The failure recurred three times. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer. There was a recall related to the failure under NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) however, the contact was not able to have the vehicle serviced because the remedy part was unavailable. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was unavailable. Updated 5/19/14 the consumer stated the instrument panel lit up, the radio stayed on, and the steering went out. Updated 08/19/14

- Scranton, PA, USA

problem #48

Mar 022013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
After several contacts and attempts to seek assistance from local dealership & GM with the ignition and gear shift problems, both concluded that vehicle VIN number was not part of any current recall. Owner (55 year old) repeated contact due to concerns of mechanical symptoms identical with existing Cobalt recalls. Family was involved in a single vehicle accident at 10:00 am on 3/2/2013. Gear shift and steering simultaneously locked while navigating a corner on local highway. Vehicle crossed centerline, launching over a snow bank and continuing air-born for 30 to 40 yards. Only 1 of the 2 air bags fully deployed. Total loss of vehicle and several ongoing injuries with three occupants of vehicle. (29 year old, 55 year old, and 79 year old) neither the local dealership or GM ever acknowledged vehicle defects. The local dealership had removed the dash cover, console cover, and steering column cover and make some type of adjustments prior to accident. Law enforcement was on scene and no citations were issued. Damage exceeded the value of the vehicle.

- Stevens Point, WI, USA

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problem #47

Sep 022013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The check engine light illuminated at random upon starting on multiple occasions. There was a loud noise upon starting the vehicle on multiple occasions. The air bag light sensor illuminated multiple times intermittently. The failure was not diagnosed by an authorized dealer. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags and electrical system) and the part was unavailable. The authorized dealer provided an estimated time frame for when the part would be available. The vehicle was not repaired and the failure continued to recur. The approximate failure mileage was unknown.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #46

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 #45

Mar 242014


  • 199,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving approximately 45 mph, he swerved to avoid an animal in the road. The vehicle rolled over and landed into a ditch. The air bags failed to deploy with the substantial impact. The contact suffered injuries to the back, chest, and multiple body bruises. A police report was filed. The vehicle sustained massive damage. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was being inspected. The contact experienced the related failure as mentioned in the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 199,000.

- Zuni, VA, USA

problem #44

Jul 052012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
On 7/05/12 my daughter was in a 2006 Chevy Cobalt that was involved in a major accident. She stated she lost control of the vehicle because the steering would not allow her to steer & regain control of the vehicle. As a result of this the car left the road and flipped several times and landed approximately 25ft into a wooded area. No air bags deployed. Injuries sustained: Loss of consciousness, concussion and several lacerations.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #43

Feb 032014


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while attempting to turn a corner at approximately 20 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The failure was recurring. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who was not able to diagnose the problem. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign id number:14V047000 (air bags and electrical system) but the dealer did not provide a specific date when the parts would become available for the necessary repair. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 90000.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #42

Mar 032014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to loaner car issue from dealership. Loaner vehicles, were supposed to be issued, until the recall was rectified.

- Elysburg, PA, USA

problem #41

Mar 232014


  • 103,000 miles
I was driving on the highway, and my Cobalt suddenly lost power steering. I received flashing warning messages for power steering and another one saying "service air bag." I am worried that if I am in an accident, the air bags will not deploy. These two things happened simultaneously.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #40

Feb 102008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
With the recent talk of the GM recall lawsuit, I wanted to post a complaint. In Feb of 2008 I was driving on an interstate with a speed limit of 55mph, I cannot recall how fast I was going, but in that general vicinity if not a little more. I lost control of my vehicle and collided head on with the center cement barrier. I hit, spun around, and most likely hit the wall again on the passenger side of the car. No airbags were deployed during the accident and both myself and my passenger had to be treated for injuries sustained in the accident. My injuries were very consistent with the airbags not deploying as I hit my face and nose on the steering wheel, and my knees underneath the wheel. I had black eyes for weeks and they thought I may have possibly hairline fractured my nose. I had on my safety belt. My passenger did not have her safety belt on, and sustained injuries to her head and limbs. Fortunately there were no fatalities, but it was very scary knowing I hit something at that speed head on, and once again on the side with no airbags deploying.

- Bradenton, FL, USA

problem #39

Sep 182013


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving approximately 35 mph, the engine stalled with the illumination of the warning indicator. The vehicle restarted and resumed normally. The failure recurred twice. There was a recall related to the failure under NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). The dealer informed that the vehicle was included in the recall; however if the ignition switch was not faulty the owner would be responsible for the diagnostic expense. The contact was displeased to know of the diagnostic charge associated with the recall. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The vehicle had not been repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 80.000.

- Sheboygan, WI, USA

problem #38

Oct 012013


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start and the key became stuck in the ignition. The vehicle was towed to the contacts residence where the battery was replaced. The contact later attempted to start the vehicle and the key because fractured in the ignition switch. The contact was able to remove the fractured key and resumed by utilizing the spare key. The contact stated that the vehicle would exhibit an abnormal noise when attempting to start, which required numerous attempts. The contact later received notification of NHTSA campaign id number: 14V047000 (air bags and electrical system). The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 58,000.

- Garden, TX, USA

problem #37

Mar 012012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds the vehicle suddenly stalled. The engine was restarted and the vehicle resumed normally. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who replaced the battery, cleaned the fuel system and changed the spark plugs but the failure persisted. Additionally, the contact stated that the key would sporadically become stuck in the ignition switch. The manufacturer was notified and the contact was informed that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number 14V047000(air bags, electrical system). The contact stated that the vehicle had experienced the same defect listed in the recall. The failure mileage was 85,000.

- Alexandria, AL, USA

problem #36

Feb 242014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
My wife and her mother were driving on a street in the city that we live in. This street does have a mild to moderate amount of traffic depending on the time of day. It is a two lane road that for the most part goes through the residential area of the city that we live in as well as the neighboring city. The speed limit predominately is 35 mph. At the time of the incident, my wife was traveling to the South in which the roadway proceeds down a short, mild downgrade in to a natural wash or stream bed and then back up an upgrade to the South side of town and the neighboring city. My wife was traveling downhill when suddenly she lost power to the vehicle and the steering locked up. The engine was still running but all the electrical components of the vehicle such as the gauges and the car stereo ceased to work.due to the steering locking up and my wife being unable at the time to control the vehicle, she drifted in the opposite lane, bounced off a curb on that side of the road and then drifted back into the appropriate lane before coming to a stop. Fortunately for the safety and well-being of my wife and her mother, no other vehicle was in or approaching the opposite lane. When the vehicle came to a stop, the engine stalled when the key ignition was in the run position. My wife proceeded to switch the key in the off position and then proceeded to restart the vehicle. The vehicle then started up like normal. My wife proceeded to drive the vehicle to her original destination which was only a couple of miles away. She then notified me by cellphone in which we started the process of trying to get this issue resolved.

- Yucaipa, CA, USA

problem #35

Dec 182013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
On 12/18/13 I began to notice a "humming" noise coming from the car. The humming noise got increasingly worse over the next few days. At the same time I noticed the "service airbag" sign came on and the radio began flash and attempted to eject a cd without me manually pushing the button or cd being inside it. The "humming" noise progressively got worse and the steering wheel began to stiffen up. After 2 weeks of the problem becoming increasingly worse, I decided to have my mechanic do a complete diagnostic test. He believed that the diagnosis is the electrical power steering and stated that after much research the cost would be $900+ because the repairs would have to be by a certified GM and parts would have to be specially ordered due to the nature of the way the car was manufactured. He also stated that apparently this problem is an ongoing issue with this particular make/model car and regretfully was unable to repair it. I am a single mom and value me and my child's safety but at this time the no repairs have been made due to the obscene amount of money in question to repair it and ongoing financial hardships. I am filing this complaint because I feel this problem can lead to a more serious issue and may be a part of a bigger issue.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #34

Dec 312009


  • miles
On December 31, 2009, my 25 year old daughter was driving along an interstate in her Chevy Cobalt. She crashed into a tree along the side of the interstate. Her airbags did not deploy, and her seatbelt did not lock. She died on impact, according to the police on reviewing the scene of the accident, my son observed that the tracks left by the car before it crashed were in a straight line, suggesting that the brakes either had not been applied or had not worked. On doing research, he found information online suggesting that there had been other, similar crashes in Cobalts and that the ignition switch was thought to be defective. We have already addressed this with GM and completed our action, and, at the time, I filed a consumer complaint to document the issue. I just read that this Agency will be investigating the issue, and I wanted to make sure you were aware of my daughter's death in a Cobalt in which the air bags did not deploy, the seatbelt did not lock, and that we strongly suspect, though GM never confirmed this, had a defective ignition switch.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #33

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

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