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 13 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #877

Aug 112012


  • 103,000 miles


While driving my 2006 Chevy Cobalt when I lost power steering which made it difficult to control my car around sharp turns due to the fact that I was not expecting the power steering to just go out on me like that. This type of problem is very dangerous especially when it happens while driving. I have already had my power steering fixed once due to a past recall and here I am again having problems with the same thing again!

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #876

Jul 062012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 111,148 miles
Traction control light comes on and causes the car to shift very rough and steering wheel jerks.

- Painesville, OH, USA

problem #875

Jun 272012


  • 110,050 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was traveling 55 mph when the power steering failed. The power steering warning light illuminated after the failure. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 110,050.

- Hewett, WV, USA

problem #874

May 142012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 52,207 miles


GM case no.: [xxx]05/14/12- dropped off car @ ourisman Chevrolet, bowie, md, power steering light came on while driving. 05/15/12 by advisor, my car was fixed, power steering motor replaced. Drove car & power steering light came on, steering wheel barely turned, almost had an accident, & had a hard time accelerating. Took car for repair at dealership. Dealer found found communications errors, further diagnostics cost approximately $264 for diagnostics test. Cost for diagnostics waived depending on module to be repaired. Spoke w/ service advisor, told steering control module not recall item. Service supervisor denied the repair costs waived. Call from dealer, quoted repair price of for steering control module $1361.27. Spoke with GM customer service, investigated my complaint, forwarded to supervisor, dealer advised the repair of power steering control module not part of the recall, not part of the steering system, given GM case no. 71-1069830519. Dealer denied waiver of charges for diagnostics since the 1st quoted price for initial diagnostics was $150 to find problem and a diagnoses a non-recall item would be $265.63. Service manager tony & not waiver for diagnostics fee, power steering module could not have become faulty from the power steering motor. Advised dealer I was picking up my car, was told it was taken apart at that moment since they assumed I would have it fixed, gave no approval of repairs. I told dealer would pick up car 05/29/12, was going out of town, told was ok & it would be ready to pick up. Spoke further with supervisor from GM cust. Serv. Ctr., told dealer stated power steering module not a recall item & refused to repair. 05/29/12 picked up car, car had tow written on windshield, was told car would not be towed if left over the weekend. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #873

May 142012


  • 141,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 10 mph and attempting a right turn, the power steering failed. As a result, the steering wheel became very hard to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the power steering motor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired however, the repair failed to remedy the failure. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer who advised that the steering column needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not further repaired. The failure and current mileage was 141,000.

- Garland , TX, USA

problem #872

Feb 082012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
My wife and grandson were in the car when power steering came on the dash. It caught her attention but didn't know really what had happened till she tried to turn and almost went in the ditch. We took it to the dealer and $700 paid to have the problem continue to recur. It comes and goes and if it is not a problem when we take it to the dealer they don't know what to do. All they say is it is in the wiring issue and think we should buy something else. I didn't know about all these problems till it occurred to us. We bought the car new and have like the 2006 Cobalt but this is the first I have heard they have a problem with the powersteering or wiring to the electric assist to the power steering. I am told they had a fix back in 2010 are we still qualified to have our car fixed under that recall. My son is going in the army in a couple weeks we wanted to let him have this car after he gets stationed somewhere but we can't give it to him when we are not trusting its safety.

- Gulfport, MS, USA

problem #871

Feb 242012


  • 52,000 miles


I purchased a brand new 2006 Chevy Cobalt and haven't had problems until recently (2012). My problem started in February 2012 when heading to a doctor's appointment. Started the car and the power steering light came on. Started pulling car off of parking lot where I live and the car had a jerking/bucking sensation to it and then shut off on me. Had car towed to Chevy dealer and the car wouldn't duplicate the same problem so I got the car back. 9 days later I go out again and the car starts with the same problem - power steering light on; jerking sensation and the speedometer dropped from 35 mph to 0. car went back to Chevy dealership. Again, car would not duplicate problems. Got car back & since I have been scared to death to have this vehicle on the road, it has sat for 2 months. After getting GM involved, tried to take vehicle back to dealer and once again - power steering light on; jerking/bucking sensation; clicking in gear console. 3 times now I have had this car back to dealership and now they decide it's the body control module (BCM), yet they indicated that on my first trip, that a stored code showed them the BCM was not communicating. Getting GM involved has been a waste of time because naturally since the warrant is off of the car, they don't want to do anything to soak up the cost of replacing this module which is going to cost me $685.

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #870

Apr 262012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
We bought this car on Jan 21 of 2011 used at john howard in morgantown wv and 3 months later the power steering light comes on and beeps and there is no power steering. This has happened 3 to 4 times since. I contacted john howard but they don't want to take care of it unless I pay for it. There was a recall on this part they are saying failed (or failing) and when I contacted the Chevy dealer they say they are no longer responsible for it because 19000S mile ago it was replaced and once the recall was done then it is our problem. After talking to them longer they suggested I go to a GM dealer have it tested on my expense and if its the same thing that the recall was then they would talk about replacing it on their charge. After going to harry green in clarksburg they tell me I am responsible for whole thing that the part is out of warranty, something GM did not tell me. My thing is if they are having this much trouble with the power steering on this car, which they are, I should be no where responsible for their mistake they made over and over again. Instead I pay over $8000 for a car I expect to last longer than 3 months without pumping money into it last and I have to refix a recall that didn't work to begin with. Some where some how someone should be responsible and I don't feel that it should be me.

- Idamay, WV, USA

problem #869

May 072012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt and I was driving today about 45 mph on the main St and then I was going to turn to my house I reduce my speed and when I turn my steering wheel I couldn't cuz it got lock I almost hit the car the was on front of me and then the light on my dashboard turn on saying power steering idk what to do I got really scare im not going to drive the car no more I came home and told my husband to check it and he told me that the car dont even have power steering fluid idk if this car have a recall on the power steering please help me!

- Rogers, AR, USA

problem #868

Apr 022012


  • 58,494 miles
The contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering failed while driving 35 mph. The dealer was notified, who stated that there was a recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 10V073000 (steering: Electric power assists system). The vehicle was repaired under the recall in August 2010 when the vehicle had 58,494 miles on it. The dealer stated that they would not repair the vehicle for a second time unless the contact assists with the expenses. The manufacturer was notified, who stated that they would not authorize the recall repairs a second time. They offered no further assistance. The failure mileage was 58,494 and the current mileage was 64,326.

- Beckley, WV, USA

problem #867

Mar 142012


  • 53,500 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering failed, giving resistance when attempting to turn the steering wheel. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 53,500 and the current mileage was 54,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Pheonix, AZ, USA

problem #866

Mar 032012


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the steering wheel seized without warning while attempting a turn. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times for the failure where the dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The steering camshaft sensor was replaced, but the failure was not corrected. The steering continued to seize sporadically when the contact attempted a turn. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 40,000 and the current mileage was 41,923.

- Waltham, MA, USA

problem #865

Jan 012012


  • 10,600 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated. The vehicle exhibited abnormal jerking and began pulling to one side. The dealer inspected the vehicle but was unable to diagnose the failure. The failure recurred with the addition of the steering wheel violently shaking. The contact allowed the vehicle to cool and the failure subsided. Two months later while driving 60 mph, the failure recurred with the illumination of the power steering warning light. In addition, the vehicle independently decelerated. The vehicle was towed back to the same dealer who again, was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired and the failure persisted. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 10,600.

- Corpus Cristy, TX, USA

problem #864

Aug 252011


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering, tire traction and check engine warning lights were illuminated. The automatic door locks would lock and unlock the doors independently and without warning, and the speedometer would become inoperative. The contact would have to shut the vehicle off and restart for the vehicle to perform as normal. The dealer repaired various components unknown to the contact on several occasions however, the failure would recur. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 150,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Pearland, TX, USA

problem #863

Mar 162012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 79,479 miles
When you are driving and slow down to make a turn or stop at a traffic sign, the power steering goes out and it is impossible to steer. On this make and model all of the power steering is electronic, so there is no way to repair it ourselves. I have done a little researach online and have found that there are several active recalls on this car due to power steering going out and has caused several accidents for other people. Please advise the best solution.

- Sapulpa, OK, USA

problem #862

Mar 052012


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, the steering and engine warning lights illuminated and the steering wheel became hard to turn. The contact had to place the vehicle in neutral and push the vehicle home. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure and current mileage was 73,000.

- Beaverton , OR, USA

problem #861

Feb 262012


  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact started the ignition and attempted to turn the steering wheel numerous times, however there was no response. A complete loss of power steering occurred without any warning. In addition, the failure occurred on separate occassions while driving and would reset after the engine was turned and restarted. On February 17, 2011 the vehicle was repaired under a recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 10V073000 (steering: Electric power assist system). The contact did not experience a steering malfunction prior to the recall remedy being performed. The vehicle had not been repaired for the most recent failure. The contact planned to notify the manufacturer of the insufficient recall repair. The approximate failure mileage was 48,000.

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #860

Feb 102012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 51,000 miles
I had received a recall in the mail for my car back in 2010 for power steering. I took it to the dealer and they fixed the problem. So I thought. A couple of times after that I had been driving and the car would completely shut off and lock up but be fine when I turned it back on. Then a few days ago I was driving to work when my check engine light came on then my steering wheel locked up and it was hard to turn the wheel I came very close to wrecking. I took it back to the dealer and they told me I need a new steering rack. I had been researching this problem online and there is an awful crazy amount of complaints of the same prob. One lady even said how her daughter had wrecked over this problem. Lots of other complained of getting the problem fixed time and time again and it just keeps happening. This is a major problem that someone is going to be killed over and needs to be addressed. I asked my dealer shouldn't that be fixed for recall since it has to also do with my power steering and he replies with we replaced it back in 2010. But the problem is that replacing the power steering once doesn't stop the problem from happening again! im 2 1/2 months pregnant and this scares me to be driving this car that has this problem that can happen at anytime. Please help me get to the bottom of this issue before someone dies over it. Thank you!

- Mckees Rocks, PA, USA

problem #859

Feb 032012


  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the steering failed and the power steering light illuminated before the failure occurred. The steering wheel seized and became difficult to control. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 125,000. The VIN information was not available.

- Magnolia , TX, USA

problem #858

Feb 082012


  • miles
Stopped at the stop sign to make a left hand turn when I started off the car would not straighten up so it sent me into a ditch and field.

- Salisbury, NC, USA

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