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 15 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #837

Jun 282011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


I just bought a 2006 Chevy Cobalt 2.2L. Two weeks ago I had to take it into a dealer for power steering issues. There is a recall open on it so they replaced the power steering motor. Now, just two weeks after fixing it, I turn my car on and there's no power steering again. I have already had it in once to fix this and it's still causing me problems. I work two jobs and don't have the money to be fixing this car repeatedly. I traded in a 1997 skylark for this 2006 Cobalt wanting a newer, less to repair car. I ended up with a piece of junk that I'm still 2 yrs away from paying off.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #836

Jun 232011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
I had steering motor replaced in 11/2010 after receiving recall notice. A few days ago I got into my car and the steering wheel was locked and the car would not start. I tried again and it started, but the car would jerk slightly when the car changed gears. Slowed to a stop and the steering wheel completely locked and I could not move it. Turned car off then back on a moment later. Continued to drive aprox. 20 miles, then when slowed to turn into a parking spot, the car completely shut down on me, steering wheel locked. Took the car into the dealership that did the recall---they cannot locate the problem or give me any answers on how to actually repair car. Won't acknowledge there is any problem with the steering motor that was replaced and insist it is a different issue, and thus, not their responsibility to repair free of charge. I have asked dealership to contact GM's tech support and they are reluctant to do anything for me thus far.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #835

Jun 152011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt steering column is falling apart and making all kinds of clunking noises while driving, Chevy already replaced the power steering motor because of a recall but refuses to do anything about the actual steering column which is falling apart and destined for failure with less than 80,000 miles

- Eldred, PA, USA

problem #834

Jun 062011


  • 34,265 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 20 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated with a loss of power steering. The steering wheel immediately became difficult to turn. The vehicle was driven to the side of the road and then towed to an independent mechanic. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 34,265. The VIN was unavailable.

- Detroit , MI, USA

problem #833

Mar 152011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 90,800 miles
The power steering light comes on and goes out. When the car is turned off and on again, it works for moments before it cuts off again. This makes it very hard to drive the car and increases the changes of crashes.

- Hot Springs National Park, AR, USA

problem #832

Jun 212010


  • 60,000 miles
Had to replaced worn out bearing on front wheel early in vehicle's life.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #831

May 042011


  • 41,088 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the power steering failed causing the steering to be hard to maneuver. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 41,088.

- Burlington, NC, USA

problem #830

May 082011


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated while driving approximately 40 mph the power steering failed and a power steering light began to illuminate on the instrument panel. The vehicle was pulled over and shut off. Upon restart the vehicle operated as normal. After driving for approximately 5 miles the failure recurred. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed or repaired. The failure and current mileages were 100,000.

- Racine, WI, USA

problem #829

Mar 192011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 85,691 miles
My Chevrolet Cobalt 2006 has a steering column problem. It makes noises, like a rattle and I bought the car on 03/16/2011, used and since the first week after precarious I've taken the car to get fix every day except for saturdays and still can not get it fix. It also shakes violently at times and its very, very scary.

- Zionsville, IN, USA

problem #828

Apr 102011


  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 50 mph, when the traction control, ABS and emissions warning lights illuminated. Suddenly, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver and the speedometer began fluctuating between 50 and 70 mp. In addition, the fuel level gauge began to fluctuate between one quarter tank to three quarters. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was contacted and advised the contact that the failure was caused by the body control module. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 79,000.

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #827

Mar 152011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 95,000 miles


I was driving home and lost power to the steering wheel and I was unable to turn the steering wheel left or right. Very stiff and pulled off to the side of the road. I called roadside assistance to come get me, after waiting 20 minutes, I turned it back on and the wheel was free to move again. This occured a second time last week when I started my car in the morning. I turned it off and on several times and finally it worked. The car is very unsafe and I was afraid to drive it as it may happen again going a faster speed. Currently the car is now at the shop looking at the power steering mechanism that is bad. It is a recall and already replaced and is bad again. This is a serious problem where the car can stop working at anytime which gives you no control over the vehicle.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #826

Jan 012006

Cobalt 4WD 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
I am requesting that dot NHTSA investigate the 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt intermediate steering shaft (part# 10394225) safety problem. This problem occurs when I am accelerating, decelerating, coasting (neutral), and braking. When I turn the steering wheel back and forth it makes a "clunking" noise giving me the notion that there is indeed something in the steering function that is broken. There have been numerous occasions upon accelerating where the steering wheel has overpowered my grip on the steering wheel causing my car to steer very hard to the left almost causing collision with other cars. The loss of control on steering is even worse upon low speed braking; the wheels have in the past turned at a 45 degree angle. Again, this has almost caused a number of collisions at stop lights where there are 2 or more lanes, or there is a turning lane. It is only a matter of time before irreparable damage is done. Cobalts have been known to replace this part 2-3 times over the course of 5 years in operation. So far no action to replace the part has been done on my part. Currently there is a technical service bulletin for the problem but there is no recall. There are significant amounts of testimonies and evidence that there is a serious safety problem here and I wish you to formally investigate. There is no incident report yet, disregard incident date.

- Statesboro, GA, USA

problem #825

Feb 052011


  • 23,000 miles
Our 2006 Chevy Cobalt has issues with the powersteering. It malfunctions often but with no apparent trigger. The warning system is not reliable because it doesn't always give warning of the failure, and sometimes it dings and no failure occurs. When malfunctioning the steering is extremely difficult to use. A great amount of force is required to turn the steering wheel. The problem may occur at any time and at any speed. Then when the steering is locked it often frees up spontaneously! this is very dangerous!!! this is my second complaint. We purchased our 2006 Chevy Cobalt new and at about 23K miles we began to have problems with the power steering. The power steering assist motor has been replaced several times and the column was also replaced. We just had the psa motor replaced through the recall for the second time. Our particular car was not even listed in the recall but the dealership did the repairs because of our longterm issue. I believe there must be some other part causing the problem (sporadic and unreliable steering) because the psa motor has been replaced several times but the problem continues to reoccur. Now our car has high mileage and GM is unwilling to "do" anything to make this right. We have been paying for this defective and dangerous car for 4 years now and the problem has still not been resolved! I'm afraid this issue will cause serious injury or death, it must be fixed! this defective product is a hazard to all people on the road. The 'new' psa motor does not work any better then the original part.

- Huggins, MO, USA

problem #824

Feb 152006


  • 49,800 miles
When turning sharp right in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls 4dr, there is a loud, metal rubbing sound coming from the passenger side wheel well, as if steering is hitting something underneath. Only happens when turn is sharp, such as a U-turn or coming out from an alley, driveway, etc.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #823

Dec 012009


  • 93,245 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving 60 mph when the steering wheel exhibited a beeping sound and became extremely stiff and hard to turn. She then turned the vehicle on and off repeatedly as the steering wheel reset temporarily before recurring within a few minutes. The power steering warning light was then illuminated and the failure recurred. The manufacturer was contacted who advised the contact that they would research the failure and contact her with a decision. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 93,245.

- Castro Valley , CA, USA

problem #822

Jan 272011

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Steering: Electric power assist system - I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Four months ago, I took the vehicle to the dealership to have NHTSA recall campaign number: PE10005 10V073000 completed. For the last four months the vehicle performed as it had prior to experience the power steering issue that prompted me to have the recall performed. For the last week, I have experienced intermittent power steering loss. Each time, while driving the power steering loss warning message appears and I have a overall loss of power steering, the braking system is compromised as it is slow to respond and the vehicle (an automatic transmission) shakes violently as if it was trying to shift gears. This loss typically subsides at higher speeds. I believe that the replacement part is also defective. The power steering returns if the vehicle is stopped and the engine is turned off then back on, however after less than 1/2 a mile the power steering loss warning message appears again and the issues return.

- Wellsville, NY, USA

problem #821

Jan 032011


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000 (steering: Electric power assist system) and took the vehicle to the dealer for repairs. After having the repairs performed, the vehicle began to shake violently when driving at various speeds. In addition, the engine would exhibit and unusually loud grinding noise. The check engine light was illuminated after the vehicle began the failure. The vehicle was inspected by the dealer yet he was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not further repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 75,000.

- Willis, TX, USA

problem #820

Nov 252010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 64,400 miles
Problems with the power steering..had the[xxx] moto replaced and now they telling me I need 2000 worth of work to fix the issue.. information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Hampton, NH, USA

problem #819

Dec 022010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 93,057 miles
In April I received a recall for the Chevy Cobalt 2006, it was for the power steering assist motor, I waited nearly 7 months even though I placed order in April. I finally got it done after the power steering light went off in Dec. And called the dealership with my frustration because I never received a call that the part was in. A week later the power steering light went off again, come to find out I need a new power steering column (this is a 4 year old car!!!), so the recall should not just be the motor but the steering column as well, this is very dangerous, the steering completely goes and you can barely turn the steering wheel. This needs to be looked into asap before someone gets hurt or killed.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #818

Dec 032010


  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 30 mph, the power steering failed and the wheel was difficult to maneuver. The contact turned the vehicle off and restarted it to reset the power steering. The manufacturer had not been notified. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 44,000.

- Lubbock, TX, USA

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