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 16 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #817

Dec 052010


  • 86,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 60 mph, the contact stated that the power steering failed and the contact had minimal control over the vehicle steering. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer was informed of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The current and failure mileage was approximately 86,000.

- Forthworth, TX, USA

problem #816

Nov 202010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt that is having power steering issues. I thought that the recall repair would fix the issue as I had it repaired a week ago. After the repair the power steering light came on and the car became hard to steer. The car was taken back to an authorized dealer and they charged me $43 to diagnose the problem and came up with several codes in the computer but could not duplicate the issue. They reset the computer and it happened again today. No power steering and the car started shuttering the power steering light came on and the traction control light comes on. When I turned the car off and restarted it I then had power steering but the check engine light was still on. This is a very dangerous situation and I do not believe GM is fixing the right problem.

- Elsmere, KY, USA

problem #815

Nov 152010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 64,325 miles
Vehicle power steering failed again two weeks after dealer performed mandated recall work to fix power steering failures with this model of vehicle. With most recent steering failure, dealer claims they can't duplicate the problem and that they do not have to perform any more warranty work to fix the power steering since they say they already did the required recall work. What leaves us with a vehicle that potentially still suffers from intermittent lose of power assist to the steering.

- Woodland, CA, USA

problem #814

Nov 032010


  • 89,887 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While the contact was driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle began to shake and a loss of power steering occurred with the illumination of the power steering warning indicator. The speed odometer also became inoperable. In addition, the engine and traction control warning indicators illuminated on the previous day. The contact continued to drive with excessive force applied to the steering wheel. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where they recommended that the vehicle be taken to a dealer. The contact was in the process of taking the vehicle to the dealer. The failure mileage was approximately 89,887.

- Medford, MA, USA

problem #813

Oct 192010


  • miles
Chevy 2006 Cobalt power steering failed four times since August 13th power steering motor replaced.

- Lawton, OK, USA

problem #812

Oct 152010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
My daughter owns a 2006 Chevy Cobalt, (which I provided much of the $$ for) it has approx 32K miles. It recently developed an issue with a knocking sound from under the dashboard that continues for 10-15 seconds almost every time the car is started. She took the car to a local trusted repair shop, and it was determined to be a power steering problem that the mechanic felt should /could be a recall item and suggested that she take it to the dealership; charged $48. Dealership checked out car free of charge (that is suspicious) for 2 hours, and determined that it was a problem with the intermediate steering shaft part # 15800140. They referred to bulletin # 04-03-08-006D.the approx cost to repair it would be $1100, but it was deemed safe to drive although the knocking sound would be a nuisance. Soon after I researched the internet and easily found numerous complaints, injuries, and accidents from Cobalt steering problems for 2005-2009 vehicles, yet it was not a recall item. I know that my daughter's current issue will only get much worse and the value of the car is very diminished. The odds of selling it are slim. Please! make Chevrolet recall Cobalt for their steering defects a.S.a.P. we work hard and can't afford to repair this vehicle. But, I will pay to have it repaired to save my daughter's life, what choice do we have?

- Fairview Park, OH, USA

problem #811

Oct 142010


  • 8,200 miles


I have a 06 Chevy Cobalt. Since October 2007, the power steering has been going out and the transmission has been acting up. At the beginning, the problem would occur only once in a while. Now it is happening everyday. I'm currently a nursing student and rely on my car. There have been many times when my car would start acting up and during dangerous conditions such as thunderstorms or just in an unsafe part of town. I was happy when a power steering recall was issued, but after having the recalled fixed, the problem is still occurring! I'm a Michigan native and know first hand the impact on the economy on the american auto industry. I wanted to support the local economy by choosing this car. Now I don't think I would ever buy a GM car again. Something more needs to be done! this car is not safe!!!

- White Lake, MI, USA

problem #810

Oct 092010


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 65 mph, the power steering failed when the contact attempted to turn left to exit the highway. She had to use additional force to complete the turn and avoid a crash. The failure occurred several times. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who would not offer assistance. The contact called the manufacturer. The failure mileage was approximately 82,000 and the current mileage was approximately 86,000.

- Calexico, CA, USA

problem #809

Sep 202010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I have a problem power steering my Chevrolet Cobalt 2006.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #808

May 282010


  • 70,000 miles
All of my electrical components go crazy including the gauges, radio, headlights, power breaks/ steering. The car also stalls upon stopping and in traffic(usually going over 40mph). It has stalled several times in traffic causing other cars to swerve or slam on their brakes. Im shocked I haven't been hit yet. Then the car will also overaccelarate. On one occasion I barely touched the gas to pull away from a stop sign and the car accelerated very quickly through the intersection and into the park across the street. After all this happens the battery will die and the key will get stuck in the ignition. The same basic cycle occurs every few months. I have had it to the dealership four times this week alone and each time it acts up again within hours. They do not seem to have any idea how to fix it either.

- Rockford, IL, USA

problem #807

May 162010


  • 69,000 miles


Lost control of the car going around 50, rolled across the road and then into a ditch where I hit a tree. Car was totaled.

- Snow Camp, NC, USA

problem #806

Aug 292010


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 40 to 45 mph the dashboard light illuminated within seconds the steering failed. The driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into an embankment. She received bruises to the body. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure and the current mileages were 68,000.

- Mount Airy , NC, USA

problem #805

Jul 172010


  • 75,000 miles
Power assist steering fails to operate during normal operation of vehicle. Stopping and turning the engine off and on remedies the failure. This occurrence is random and without a noticeable pattern. However, the problem seems to occur more often during hot weather conditions.

- Fayetteville, GA, USA

problem #804

Aug 032010


  • 62,873 miles
My daughter has (had) a 2006 Cobalt. We were co-owners of this car but she was the primary driver. We did receive the recall notice and took it to a GM dealer on 6/21/10 for the repair. On Tuesday, August 3, 2010, she was driving home on a two lane country road and was less than 1/4 mile from home when she wrecked. The car suddenly pulled to the right side of the road and couldn't be steered back, she side swiped a telephone pole, the car pulled hard the other way, she fought for control of the car but lost. She kept hitting the brakes and the car spun around and was stopped when it got stuck on steps and a railing on a downhill slope into someone's yard. Thankfully she was not seriously hurt but is suffering from back and neck pain and had abrasions and bruises. She had to crawl out a window because neither door would open. We have pictures of the car and parts that went everywhere. Can you help us and direct us what to do?

- Natrona Heights, PA, USA

problem #803

Aug 012010


  • 54,342 miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt has been under repair for the faulty steering since I got it. I had it taken care of under recall, this weekend the steering totally locked up I did not have manual steering I had nothing and I was on an S turn when it happened. GM is reluctant to fix it again. I had this fixed twice under the recall and it is getting worse.

- Naples, ME, USA

problem #802

Jul 282010


  • miles
We encountered harding of the steering wheel when we tried to parallel park our 2006 Chevy Cobalt. The problem persisted and we are having steering problem.

- Murray, KY, USA

problem #801

Jan 112010


  • 29,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while approaching a traffic light her power steering light came on. The power steering failed for approximately five minutes then the steering wheel began to function normally. The failure occurred approximately three times. The contact received the recall notice approximately six months ago for NHTSA campaign id number: 10V073000, electric power assist system steering. She called the dealer several times and was informed that the parts were not available. The contact does not feel safe driving the vehicle with an existing safety recall. The failure mileage was approximately 29,000. The current mileage was approximately 34,000. Updated 10/05/10.

- Spence , IA, USA

problem #800

Jul 112010


  • 61,500 miles
Electronic power steering suddenly went out while driving.

- Rock Island, IL, USA

problem #799

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 #798

Feb 152010


  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 10 mph, the steering wheel became extremely difficult to turn without warning. The contact had a recall repair performed for the power steering that was partially repaired. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer who stated that the entire steering column would possibly need to be replaced. The manufacturer would not provide any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 96,000 and the current mileage was 97,000.

- Warner Robins, GA, USA

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