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 6 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Sep 242009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles


Hit electric pole and went airborne. Airbag non-deployment. Updated 02/13/10 the consumer stated she hit her head on the steering wheel. Updated 02/16/10 updated 05/05/10 updated 03/10/10 the consumer believed the steering problem caused her accident and now a recall has been issued. Updated 03/05/10

- Smith Center, KS, USA

problem #11

Aug 022009


  • 66,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt, went off the road through a brick wall, off a 3 foot drop off and into a house. The car is totaled and most of the damage is in the front, the sensors are crushed and no airbags deployed. The car has 60K miles on it. Airbags were never deployed before and no codes were on the car saying it was bad.

- Hesperia , CA, USA

problem #10

Nov 102007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the catalytic converter failed a total of three times. The first failure was repaired under the three year/30,000 mile factory warranty. The second failure was repaired under the extended warranty, along with the cam sensors. The dealer stated that the failures were due to the converter becoming clogged. The third time the converter was replaced under the extended warranty as well. Currently, the catalytic converter is failing for the fourth time. The vehicle would hesitate upon acceleration and lose power for several seconds before stalling. The vehicle has not been repaired to correct the fourth failure. The failure and current mileages were less than 83,000. Updated 9/1/09 updated 09/04/09. According to the paperwork, on July 18, 2010, the consumer was involved in an accident and the air bags failed to deploy. Updated evoq 08/19/10

- Housotn, TX, USA

problem #9

Jun 022009


  • 24,590 miles


Airbags failed to deploy during T-bone collision at a speed of aprox. 45 mph. No serious injuries occurred. Airbags would not deploy even when dealership representative tried to make them deploy. Vehicle had a recall on side airbag and was taken for repairs; however none of the airbags deployed.

- Salisbury, NC, USA

problem #8

Feb 112009


  • 4,900 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 35 mph, the vehicle was involved in a crash. The frontal air bag deployed and the material in the air bag burned the contact's arm. The air bag appeared as if it would catch fire. The vehicle is currently at a body shop being repaired. A police report was filed. The current and failure mileages were 4,900.

- Vernon, TX, USA

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problem #7

Dec 032007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
I was the owner of a 2006 Chevy Cobalt. On December 3, 2007 I lost control of and hit head on into a guard rail on the right side of the road doing 50-55 miles and hour. The car spun and hit the back end on the same guard rail and shot me across the street into the guard rail on the left side hitting the front drivers side. The car stopped and the air bag never deploy. I called and alerted GM and they adv would send someone out to look at the car (which could take up to 14 bus days) but would not pay for storage. They adv they would replace the airbag if they found malfunction but since the car was totaled they would do nothing.

- Colonial Beach, VA, USA

problem #6

Sep 052007


  • miles


My teenage daughter swerved to miss a deer, hit a utility pole head on, dead center of the bumper, snapping it off at the base. Her car was totaled. It was 2006 Chevy Cobalt. The air bags did not deploy. If it had not been for the pole being old, there is no doubt she and her passenger would have sustained huge injury or worse. There is no explanation as to why the air bags did not deploy.

- Clay City, IN, USA

problem #5

Aug 302007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 55 mph, the contact lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle struck the embankment, flipped over, and landed on the roof. The roof detached and the vehicle was destroyed. The air bags failed to deploy. The contact sustained injuries to the back and shoulders. The insurance company has not determined what caused the air bags to fail. A police report was filed. The dealer information was unavailable. The current and failure mileages were 15,000.

- Clarksburg, WV, USA

problem #4

Jan 062007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt sedan had 2 incidents of going out of control 9 days apart. First time was when car was put in reverse and slight tap of gas pedal resulted in car rapidly reversing until hit mud area on grass and light pole. Second incident was when car was in forward and stopped to open trunk. Car lunged forward with such force that it went through garage wall. Air bags did not deploy either time. Car towed to dealership. Parts ordered to replace damage but not yet checked out mechanically to see what went wrong with forward & reverse incidents and why air bags did not deploy.

- Youngstown, OH, USA

problem #3

May 012006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,520 miles
I was driving my 2006 Chevy Cobalt when I was taking a friend to the airport. I was on I-495 N in the lane leading to the exit that takes you to the airport toll road. I applied my brakes and the car did not slow down. Hoping to coast down the exit and pull off to the side of the road, I turned the steering wheel to veer the car left. The car kept going straight. I kept hitting the brakes and turned the steering wheel to the left, but the car did not stop, nor did it turn. We crashed into the guardrail at about 50 mph. The airbags did not deploy. Turns out the car shut off while I was driving it. This was the second time this had occurred. It happened back in May 2006 and I took it in to the dealership. They kept it for a couple of days and said it was fine. Apparently not.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #2

Aug 072006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 19,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 55 mph on the highway with the cruise control engaged, the brake pedal was depressed and the vehicle lurched forward without warning. Multiple attempts were made to disengage the cruise control by constantly applying brake pressure, but the vehicle continued to accelerate. The vehicle suddenly careened through two lanes of traffic, struck a guardrail, and rolled over into an embankment where it finally came to a stop. The contact was wearing a seat belt, but minor injuries were sustained. Due to the extensive body damage, the vehicle was deemed totaled. The police were alerted and a report was taken. The manufacturer was also alerted. Updated 9/20/2006 - the air bags did not deploy.

- Worden, IL, USA

problem #1

Jan 272006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,700 miles
Brakes failed. Hit another car at stop light. Car slowed but would not stop. Felt ABS kick in but brakes only slowed car down. Less than 5 mph. No aib bag inflation. Car was a loaner from dealer, while my car was being worked on. Had car towed back to dealer and they said they found no problem with brakes. I know how to drive and I find it hard to believe that brakes don't work when you use them.

- Akron, OH, USA

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