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 5 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #32

May 132013


  • 134,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving 55 mph and over steered to avoid striking a dog. The contact lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a boulder. The vehicle then flipped six times. The air bags failed to deploy. The vehicle was destroyed. The contact sustained a fractured nose, lacerations to the nose, a black eye, whip lash and shoulder injuries. A police report was not filed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not inspected for the cause of the air bag deployment failure. The failure mileage was 134,000.

- Asper, PA, USA

problem #31

May 072013


  • 174,800 miles
The light on the dash switches over and says that it is on whenever the vehicle is running and someone is sitting in it but it will ding at them until they put their seat belt on. Whenever they put the seat belt on, the driver information center (dic) on my dash tells me to service airbag and the light that tells when the airbag is on or off says that it is off.

- Trenton, MO, USA

problem #30

Feb 022013


  • 87,000 miles
Headed North bond on federal highway going appr. 45 when suddenly a car runs red light, seemly to make a U-turn. Unfortunately I was unable to completely stop in time and the cars crashed. It was horrifying experience. I slammed my face into the steering wheel no air bags ever deployed shocked considering my car is still under warranty. The complete front of my car hit her front/side passenger side. The impact was more then hard enough for those air bags to deploy.

- Pompano Beach, FL, USA

problem #29

Oct 242011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 90,276 miles


The collision with this vehicle into 2 trees at 45-50mph failed to deploy the 4 airbags. I first hit one tree head on after skidding on a road and losing control. The secondary collision happened with the 2nd tree. My head hit the driver's side pillar and I suffered whiplash.

- Hyde Park, NY, USA

problem #28

Oct 122011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
Driver was going down interstate was involved in a hit in run from behind, driver lost control of the car and car spun into the woods hitting several trees, as well as uprooted several trees. The passenger side of the car and the back of the car experienced damage from impact, with additional front fender impact. Driver's left side of the body was injured with bruising from the impact, and was evaluated at hospital and placed on medical profile.

- Port Wentworth, GA, USA

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problem #27

Aug 202011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
When it is hot/humid my 2006 Chevy Cobalt's service airbag would illuminate intermittently. After a replacement of the front brakes it now is on consistently. I will have to take the car into a service department to have it looked at now.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #26

Jan 142011


  • 58,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the air bag light illuminated on the instrumental panel on an intermittent basis for a month. The vehicle was inspected by an independent mechanic who informed the contact that the wiring harness had failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 58,000.

- Winooski, VT, USA

problem #25

Dec 312010


  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 60 mph, the vehicle went over a cement block causing the vehicle to go airborne, crash down in a nose dive into a field and roll over 7 times. The airbags in the vehicle did not deploy. There was a police report filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not contacted. The passenger was taken to the hospital and sustained a broken shoulder blade and a broken rib. The driver was not taken to the hospital but sustained a bruised left lung and bruises to the left side of her head. The approximate failure mileage was 92,000.

- Raymondville, TX, USA

problem #24

Jun 012010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
My Chevy Cobalt 2006, has had the issue with the emergency air bag lighting up and saying it is off and I get the message that the "air bag needs to be serviced". I have less than 45 thousand miles. Around June 2010, my mother and I were in the car and we were on the highway when we heard the beeping sound and the airbag light turned on, meaning the passenger side airbag was off. It is suppose to turn on automatically, but has not. Every time we start the car the beeping sound starts and the passenger side has no airbag protection. I have noticed that many people are who have the Chevy Cobalt have the same issue.

- Irving, TX, USA

problem #23

Mar 302010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles
I have had a problem with my 06 Cobalt back in early 07 it was under warranty at the 7 times I took it to the dealer for steering concerns. The dealership could not duplicate the hard steering problem or produce computer problem. I was very adamant about this and also got new tires thinking that was the problem. It was not ! I was not aware of any serious problem with the power steering, and was leary to drive my car (a gift from my mom) but had nothing else to drive. In March of this year on the 30th I was coming from a friends home and was on a side road I slowed to make a right turn and I could not get the car to go right, it was very hard to turn, and I went through the light and hit a tree head on and the air bag did not deploy. I was told later I missed the sensor. The car was totaled and G.M. won't do anything about this. I was told that even though the car sat for 2 months with a dead battery the computer does not loose data. (G.M.) I know of several Cobalt owners who have had the power assist replaced on more than one occasion and it still went out. The mechanics (a.S.E.)certified informed me it is not the power assist it is in the steering column, and should be replaced, but G.M. won't do that it would cost too much money. It is nice to know that G.M. would rather sacrifice the consumer rather than take care of them. I also understand the computer has a history of not recording properly when there is a problem. The rest of us who have had a crash with and without air bags need some kind of solution. G.M. is sweeping this under the rug!!!! thank you for your time. Updated portable 06/22/11

- Oregon, OR, USA

problem #22

Oct 182010


  • miles


Hit a vehicle from behind, the front end of the car is mess up, the air bag did not come out. Bump head nose and lips on the steering wheel. Had to go to the emergency room.

- West Point, MS, USA

problem #21

Feb 132010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 50,278 miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt has the air bag light on. I received a possible recall notice in February 2010 stating that there were problems with the steering. The letter stated that I would be receiving a letter stating were and when to take my car in for check up. It is July 2010 and I have not received any notice. I'm afraid that this defect will cause an accident. I called the Chevy dealer here in salinas ca, and they told me that they did not have the parts yet and that I should wait for that letter and my car could not be checked until then. Please help out it is very scary and I'm very concerned. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

- Salinas, CA, USA

problem #20

Apr 082010


  • 79,000 miles
No events leading to malfunction. Air bag system disables randomly during normal driving. "service air bag" displays on digital interface. No correction was made by owner. After a few days the malfunction became less often and eventually stopped with intermittent recurrences thereafter.

- Quail Valley , CA, USA

problem #19

Apr 102010


  • 85,000 miles
Service airbag light on.

- Saskatoon, 00, USA

problem #18

Mar 262010


  • 86,500 miles
I own a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Well to begin, I initially had an issue with my shift column, which I researched and found out it was a common issue with this vehicle. It would cause my key to get stuck in the ignition. I took it to the delearship and they replace the whole column. Then a a couple of week later, my vehicle was accelerating really fun, I just blew it off for a moment, until I then tried to put my car in reverse one day, and it would not go anywhere. I took it to the delearship and they told me my transmission is slipping, at 86,000 miles. The dealearship has my car, and is trying to figure out if it's even worth fixing. Im also wondering if this problem could have been caught the intial time they fixed the vehicle, and figured it was my shifting column, because even with my transmission slipping, it also affected the shifting column. One other problem I have had with the vehicle is the air bag sensor, I have not got this fixed yet, because the dealearship wants to charge $99 just to see exactly what's causing my airbag sensor to not come on, when I have passengers with me.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #17

Oct 032009


  • 54,000 miles
2006 Cobalt 2 door, I was heading to work a couple of months ago when the airbag light turned on after I parked the car and restarted it the light did not come on. After I got off of work I tuned the car on and the light did not turned on after about 15 seconds into driving the car the light came back again. It continued for the next 3 days I was going to take it to the dealer but the 4th day the light stayed off. Then 3 weeks later the same thing happened and it as well kept lighting up for the next 3 days and when I was heading to the dealer the 4th day the light did not come on. It has not happened since then. Did the research on it and lots of owners have the problem. So far no accidents on the car but I would like the airbags to deploy if I were to be in an accident.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #16

Oct 242009


  • miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) I have photos of my crash that I feel was due to mechanical failure with my 2006 Cobalt. I drove straight off the road and into some smaller trees causing both airbags to deploy and my wife spending 6 days in the hospital....I do not have the car now I have already rid myself of it unknowing of the recall. I have photos that your company is more than welcome too. Please do not have me be one of theones to fall through the cracks. [xxx]

- London, OH, USA

problem #15

Feb 052010


  • miles
I was driving home on February 05, 2010 when my steering wheel locked up and I did not have control of the vehicle. I was coming to a stop fortunately when this happened. This is the first time I have experienced this situation. A friend told me Chevy Cobalt have been recalled and I began my search online and have found numerous complaints regarding this issue. Several months ago, my fuel pump module had a small crack in it disbursing gasoline. The mechanic who worked on it said he had never seen anything such as this before. Im lucky I was not driving at a high speed or around a corner when my steering wheel locked up or my car didn't explode into flames from the gasoline disbursing throughout my car when I had to replace my fuel pump. Power steering and fuel pumps should not require regular maintenance. Chevy barely acknowledges the problem and say its not big deal, try your best to control your car when your power steering goes out. I've heard this becomes a regular occurrence after the first time.

- Sacramento , CA, USA

problem #14

Jan 222010


  • miles
My daughter was driving on highway 40 East in North Carolina car was hit from behind car went across several lanes of traffic and hit rail steering over compensated and air bag did not deploy car was towed and was declared a total loss.

- Southern Pines, NC, USA

problem #13

Feb 032010


  • 28,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt with 39K miles. My steering wheel shakes when driving, it is sometimes hard to turn, the radio turns on and off, and the check engine light & air bag light are on. I took the car to the dealership and they said nothing is wrong with the car. They got the lights to turn off. My warranty is now expired and the same lights came on again.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

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