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:
68 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
129 / 3
Average Mileage:
60,623 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments (Page 11 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #917

Oct 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 130,549 miles


I purchased a 2006 Cobalt from a private owner this week. I test drove it 3 times with no problems. After bringing it home, I attempted to turn off the car and remove the key. It would not turn off all the way and the key would not come out. I was very upset and scared. The car would restart so I was able to put it in the driveway and park it next to the garage. Since I could not remove the key I put a car club on it and locked the door. Then I parked another car behind it. I did not think about it but since the key was in the accessory position the battery went dead. The next day I was not able to remove the key and I was not able to start it. I called a local Chevrolet dealer. He checked the VIN for recalls and said there was not one on the 2006 Cobalt related to the starting solenoid binding up. He did tell me it is common and most cars that have the problem have a recall issued. This problem has caused me major distress and could be very unsafe if the car had experienced this problem somewhere away from home. I found out how to fix it by reading articles on the internet. Many people have reported this problem and Chevrolet has not listened to the consumers by issuing a recall and repairing the problem. There is a button in the steering column that needs to be pressed by a rod to tell the car that the car is in park and it is ok to turn it off and remove the key. The cars with problems have a rod that does not depress the button. People have to remove a cover on the steering column and reattach the rod when they can not remove their key. However, over time the rod slips to far that this is no longer a solution and the parts need to be replaced. Why should the consumer have to suffer this stress and worry about getting their car stolen because their key is stuck in it? Chevrolet needs to immediately take care of this ongoing, long standing issue.

- Kent, WA, USA

problem #916

Sep 062013


  • 166,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the steering wheel pulled to the left. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection where they stated that the vehicle needed an alignment. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 166,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #915

Sep 032013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 55,100 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that after having the vehicle repaired under NHTSA campaign I.D. 10V073000 (steering), the power steering system malfunctioned while driving 25 mph with the illumination of the power steering warning light. The contact did not take the vehicle to a dealer. The failure mileage was 55,100..... updated 10-17-13 the power steering light illuminated four days after the check engine light illuminated.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #914

Aug 222013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles


While driving at highway speeds the electric power steering went out displaying a "power steering failure" message in the dash and a beeping alarm occurred. The car crashed into a guardrail since the steering was unresponsive. This happened after the initial recall, so the supposed "good" electric motor was already installed, and it still failed. This car is dangerous, even after the recall and I am lucky to be alive. The car is now wrecked and I have bodily injuries. I hope GM will help assist with the several thousand dollar repair bill due to their knowingly faulty design.

- Robbinsville, NJ, USA

problem #913

Aug 012013


  • 116,425 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the steering wheel seized. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed of NHTSA campaign number: 10V073000 (steering) and repaired. The following day the failure recurred. The vehicle had not been taken back to the dealer. The failure and current mileage was 116,425.

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #912

Jul 022013


  • 116,368 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving approximately 60 mph, the power steering warning indicator illuminated and the vehicle began to slightly jerk. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnosis. The vehicle was repaired under a recall related to the NHTSA campaign id number 10V073000 (10V073000). After the remedy repair was performed the failure recurred. The dealer informed that the second repair would be at the owner's expense. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 116,368.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #911

Nov 222007


  • miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while decelerating from 55 mph, the power steering warning lamp illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent repair shop where the ignition switch, electrical component, axle, and shift was repaired. The failure recurred and the power steering warning lamp re-illuminated. The failure mileage was unavailable and the current mileage was 148,000.

- Belpre, OH, USA

problem #910

Jun 052012


  • 90,000 miles
The key gets stuck in ignition and will not come out. The key acts jammed and wont turn and cant be pulled out. Has been doing this for a while and has left me stranded multiple times.

- Lancaster, OH, USA

problem #909

Jan 092013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 83,433 miles
Having multiple incidents, the 2006 Chevy Cobalt, shuts off while in reverse and steering locks up at low speeds. I can turn the vehicle off and restart it. The first incidents were maybe once a month, but lately has happened up to 3-4 times a week. On 7/9/13 (mileage 95,755) it cut off while trying to merge into traffic slowly. That scared me. It is now posting a serious safety hazard. I researched and found there was a recall in 2010 for this same issue on the model of vehicle. When I chatted online with GM on 7/10/2013, I was told my particular VIN did not have any active recalls. I am filing the complaint based on the fact that it may not be my particular VIN number, but the issue is the same! there needs to be additional research, I believe my car is experiencing the exact hazardous mechanical issue! I would hate for it to happen and cause a serious accident, as I am in the atlanta area!.

- Norcross, GA, USA

problem #908

Jul 042013


  • 146,000 miles
Lately my car has been dying while coming to a stop or going to take off. This is really scary when I pull out in busy traffic! I was almost T boned one day but thank goodness I was able to restart my car in time. Then a new problem started soon after... I was driving on the highway doing speeds 65 mph when all the gauges on the dash started jumping around the steering wheel kind of locked up and my car began to jump and jerk. I struggled to get my car off the road onto an exit ramp where I shut my car off. I turned my car off, then I turned it back on. The alert gauge rang three times and said power steering on the dash board, I put my car in drive in hopes to make it home which was not far...when I took off my car shook and jumped while going all the way across a bridge. I pulled over yet again shut my car off and restarted it when I took off the second time and drove home I didn't have any problems. I left my car sit for several days the problem continues.

- Adrian , MO, USA

problem #907

Jun 022012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles


Steering becomes harder to turn and does not want to return to straightened position without effort. I don't understand why only some colbalts from 2005-2010 have been recalled for this problem. Please let me know if there is any new models under the recall thanks

- Jamestown, NY, USA

problem #906

Apr 302012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
I was driving to work, after having the used car for 3 months, when I noticed my steering wheel shaking while I was driving at 60mph. The faster I go, the louder this problem gets. I just purchased 4 new tires in June 2013, had them mounted, balanced and aligned and I still have this shaking problem. When I had a previous problem (with my fuel pump leaking) I noticed many other similar complaints about this shaking (around May 2013) online. I took a trip to Michigan for a funeral and had to go back roads instead of interstate due to this severe shaking. Have there been any other complaints sent in" will this become a recall issue as well" please advice.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #905

Jun 122013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 169,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while parked, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. The failure recurred intermittently and as the contact drove at various speeds. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnosis but was not repaired. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 10V073000 (steering) but was advised by the manufacturer that the VIN was not included in the recall. The approximate failure mileage was 169,000.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #904

May 312013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
Vehicle traveling at about 35mph when a chime was heard, the steering got stiff, and the vehicle jerked to the left. This caused the vehicle to cross the center line of the road into on-coming traffic. The front left (headlamp) area of the vehicle made contact with an on-coming vehicle front left (headlamp) area. The crash caused injury with the insurance company totaling out the vehicle. GM recall number N100023 applies however this recall was supposedly completed on 12 August 2010 when the vehicle had 39,000 miles. Several days prior to this accident the vehicle exhibited the same signs when driving at about 20 mph. Vehicle was not brought to a repair facility since it was at that time a isolated incident and the complaint could not be duplicated. I would like to know how I can pursue to have someone perform an engineering analysis of the electric power steering motor to see if any of the following applies: Was in fact this part actually changed out by the GM dealership, if so was the correct part number used, and finally after the part (regardless of part number installed) is discovered to be at fault what legal rights do I have. I am the original owner of this vehicle.

- Swansboro, NC, USA

problem #903

Jun 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
Power steering unit failed on vehicle. Car had significant trouble turning corner but did manage to make turn. After making the turn, the wheel would not return to center causing the vehicle to strike curb. Contacted Chevrolet as there is a recall on some 2005-2010 Cobalt models but was told vehicle not covered under recall despite the power steering unit being bad.

- Hamlin, NY, USA

problem #902

May 172012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, the power steering assist failed to properly operate while the traction and check engine warning lights illuminated. The failure recurred twice. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where it was advised to the contact that the power steering module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure persisted. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 50,000.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #901

Nov 012011


  • 60,000 miles
Vehicle has been having problems with steering since the power steering assist motor was replaced per the recall. Vehicle was serviced about 6 months ago by a Chevrolet dealership because the steering wheel was locking up, and the front end was rattling. The following parts were replaced: Front stabilizer end links, steering column, and serpentine belt. The steering has since developed a delayed response and requires full turns from center to end to turn right or left around corners. The turning radius has significantly declined. The car also pulls right or left when braking if the steering wheel is off center. The rattling from the front end also has resurfaced and is bad when going over bumps. Current mileage is 83,000.

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #900

Feb 282013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 156,231 miles
When driving the gauge cluster lights up while both the mph and RPM needles jump around. Total loss of power steering as well as the transmission goes into limp mode. Lost control on freeway thankfully no one were in the 2 lanes that the car veered into at the time. Was able to stop the car in the service lane. There are many complaints of this same issue.we have received no recall information and we are not under the current recall for whatever reason. Same issues as original recall fits in years recalled for...why not include us? took the Liberty of paying for both the eps motor and module with no success. I am currently out $1,500 this is not fair.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #899

Feb 212013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
The steering mechanism on the vehicle has become faulty, fortunately this occurred on leaving my house and I was not traveling at speed.. as one drives the steering begins to pull heavily to the right and one has to forcibly hold the steering wheel to keep the vehicle from leaving the road. I took the vehicle to a local mechanic. The initial thought was that this related to the rack and pinion. This was replaced but didn't solve the problem. The mechanic made some inquiries and found that the vehicle had been subjected to a recall for faulty steering. After further examination, he found that the issue related to a sensor in the steering column which had become faulty.since a recall had been carried out in August 2012, he suggested I refer the matter back to the vendor who performed the recall. The vendor jimmy gray of southaven have told me that the recall was only for a steering motor replacement and that the sensor replacement was not covered. Apparently one needs to replace the entire steering column when the sensor fails. I contacted GM and they are supporting jimmy gray and refusing to replace the sensor as part of the recall. The issue related to the motor assembly may have been wrong in the first place, it could have been the senor all along causing the problem. It would be greatly appreciated if you could look into this matter and advise. This vehicle belongs to my son, I cannot let him drive it the way it is at present.

- Olive Branch, MS, USA

problem #898

Dec 012011


  • miles
Power steering shuts off when started, especially in cold temperatures. Even when the car runs for a few minutes to warm up, steering wheel is still rigid and stiff. Definitely not driveable. Gears shift extremely rough and violently. Unsafe in all situations, especially stop and go traffic. At idle it nearly stalls. Traction control light comes on when all these things exist.

- Munhall, PA, USA

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