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 17 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #797

Oct 252009


  • 47,000 miles


I have a 06 Cobalt recalled for power steering. In October of 09 I started calling GM over my power steering going out. My car is under the powertrain warranty then and still is with just 50,000 miles. I called GM researched, and signed the petition for the recall and got nowhere but lies from them. I thought that maybe they could fix it under the warranty before the recall that they said they knew nothing about went into affect. They told me to get a diagnostic test which cost 100 dollars out of my pocket which I did. Still no result, now we have a recall 2 months after they told me that they would not fix my car. The thing that troubles me now is that there is another lie being told because the diagnostic test says that there is 2 things that should be fixed not just one, the cheapest one, the recall is only going to fix the motor. The column is also suppose to be fixed because the motor will not solve the problem altogether it is just a bandaid sort of thing. This is what the dealer told me that GM required before the recall. This is about a $1500 problem.why are they not going to fix all of it like they said it required before recall. It goes out when you get to 10 or 15 mph and stays out until car is shut off. They are lying about when it happens, it happens all the time who only drives 10mph impossible! I have been getting on the ramps on highways in a curve and it would go out, very dangerous very unsafe because it is extremely hard to turn steering wheel, it is very hard to keep car steered straight, not to mention trying to park or back up it is almost impossible and dangerous on hitting other vehicles that are close to you. I drive in fear every day with a new car, I have got neck and back problems now from this. I have a list of front end wear & tear damage from this being out for 10 months now. I have a 87 yr father who was a GM worker, who I take to appts in this car, which we both fear everytime we are in it. GM needs to fix both problems.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #796

Jul 032010


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving various speeds, the power steering light illuminated and the steering wheel locked which was difficult to turn. She will had to use extreme force to turn the steering wheel. The vehicle was not repaired. The dealer was not notified. The failure and current mileages were 80,000.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #795

May 122010


  • miles
Having accident because power steering went off. The car was in shop (vara Chevrolet san antonio, tx)on April 28, 2010. Asking dealer to fixed it. Saying no parts. After 2-3 weeks got an accident, dealer still did not have parts. Took car to the shop. (benson Chevrolet san antonio tx) dealer called allstate without asking or informing us. They did not want to pay. Car is in the shop since May 13 2010 until today's date (June 27 2010) asking for rental car. Local dealer authorized it. After GMC Chevrolet found out we put a complaint on BBB cancel rental meantime the car is still in the shop. Due to the complaint. They knew the consequence why sent letter without no parts and now do not want pay for the repairs.the car is 2006 and it has 4 recalls. 1. fuel pump. 2. power steering not fixed on time. 3.power train: Automatic transmision.4.structure. Already had fuel pump and power steering defected.

- Elmendorf, TX, USA

problem #794

Jun 252010


  • 48,000 miles


2006 Chevy Cobalt ls: Power steering failure, as well as tach & speedometer fluctuations. Transmission shifts rough. Engine light is on, as well as an icon that looks like a car with a lock on it. All this happened at one time...between the time I parked it after work (no problems), til I went out and started it again to go to the store.

- Schuylkill Haven, PA, USA

problem #793

Jun 242006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
I have owned my 2006 Chevy Cobalt since June 2006 and have had numerous problems out of this car. I have had to pay out of pocket for every repair because they seem to all happen before a recall is issued and the dealerships will not refund money on the repairs. 1) A/C leaks water in passenger side floor board. I have had it in the shop 3 times and it is still leaking. No one can figure out why the water is leaking into the car. 2) gas tank had to be replaced due to fuel lines cracking. 3) power steering went out while my husband was driving on the interstate and was about 130 miles from home. 4) the car would die if the RPM's got too low, this was caused by a carbon build up on the idler. 5) there is no way to check the transmission fluid and it is starting to slip and take forever to upshift. 6) the key gets stuck in the ignition and will not come out. 7) the drivers side door gets stuck and will not open. 8) the door latch sometimes messes up and the door does not close. 9) the stereo display and buttons no longer work. I can not use the cd player for fear of losing the cd for ever since the eject button doesn't work. I can not see the clock or what station the radio is on. The car lost its value so fast that even after 4 yrs of having it I still can not trade it in due to the amt. I still owe on it. So I am stuck driving this piece of crap until it is paid for. I have already invested several thousands of dollars into this car for these problems. I believe that the car is a lemon and I should be reimbursed for the car and all of the out of pocket repairs I have had to make.

- Gilmer, TX, USA

problem #792

May 272010


  • 74,000 miles
Steering locks up.

- Independence, VA, USA

problem #791

Jun 092010


  • 88,000 miles


Electric power steering stops working and "power steering " appears on the display. If the car is shut off and restarted the power steering will work again. This has happened more and more frequently since the first occurrence last week. It now happens 5-10 times per day on a 15 mile round trip commute. I called the dealer today and was told that the recall did not apply to my wife's car, it is scheduled for service on Friday June 18, 2010.

- North Brookfield, MA, USA

problem #790

Jun 142010


  • 70,000 miles
My 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ls 4 door sedan has the power steering go out quite frequently, two days ago my girlfriend was driving it and was stopped at a T-intersection. After making the stop she proceeded to make a left hand turn, at that time the vehicle accelerated uncontrollably and she ended up with all four tires jumping the curb. I do not know if the power steering went out at that particular moment, everything happened pretty quick. All I know is I have numerous concerns as to this cars road reliability.

- Rockford, IL, USA

problem #789

Jun 142010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
Power steering went out.

- Cypress Inn, TN, USA

problem #788

Dec 302009


  • 62,000 miles
Power steering failure in my car. Started Dec 2009 and failed every once in awhile and now it fails everytime I drive it.

- Mack, CO, USA

problem #787

Nov 192009


  • 78,000 miles


2006 Chevrolet Cobalt loses variable assist power steering randomly. Requires great effort to turn when system fails. This problem was not a one-time event - it occurred several times before I could arrange repairs. The entire steering column and all power assist associated parts were replaced, as the dealer stated this would be the corrective action. Old parts were not retained, as I had the vehicle repaired by a reputable, ase certified shop. This car is used by my 17 year old daughter as a commuter car, school and such. This problem was repaired at my expense. Now, GM has issued a recall, but the very dealer that diagnosed the problem is telling me that this Cobalt is not in GM's recall database. Sure enough, I went online and checked and it isn't in there. This appears to be just one more attempt by GM to Dodge their ethical responsibility to correct serious defects in their vehicles or to reimburse owners that have repaired a defect that later becomes a recall issue. This is why americans don't buy american vehicles. They are poorly made and the manufacturer won't stand behind them when there is a serious problem.

- Hendersonville, TN, USA

problem #786

Jun 022010


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle would make a chiming sound, followed by the illumination of the power steering warning light. The steering wheel would then become extremely hard to maneuver. The contact stated that the power steering would reset itself once the vehicle was shut off and back on. However, the failure would recur within a few traveled miles. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired and the VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 60,000 and the current was unknown.

- Millington, TN, USA

problem #785

May 202010


  • 43,000 miles
Power steering on my 2006 Chevy Cobalt keeps going out, at any time.

- Chapel Hill, TN, USA

problem #784

May 262010


  • 96,000 miles
I own a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ss and my wife was driving on a 100' high freeway and someone cut her off while they were merging into her lane she tried to swerve out of the way and she told me that when she tried to turn the wheel it was very hard to do so and then got extremely loose and caused her to over correct and then she hit the side concrete guard rail and then rolled and landed with the hovering about a 100' from her death. She was under the speed limit, wearing a seatbelt, air bags deployed and the police officer's were amazed that she didn't go over the edge. I have photos to provide.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #783

Sep 132008


  • 0 miles
The power steering system went out on my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. Unsure exactly when it went out.

- Washington, UT, USA

problem #782

Apr 242010


  • 63,967 miles
Power steering failure car veered to left hitting oncoming car.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #781

Dec 242009


  • miles
I began having problems with the electrical power steering assist in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt in December 2009. The power steering indicator would come on the message screen, followed by a dinging sound & difficulty steering my vehicle. I learned of the "voluntary" recall of my model vehicle on a news broadcast & decided to await written notification from Chevy. The letter never came, but the problem has worsened. My car is becoming increasingly difficult to steer & I called Chevy about it yesterday. I was informed that my car's VIN isn't included in the recall & I would be responsible for the repairs as I shouldn't be having the problem. I haven't had the car repaired because I've had estimates of $90 to look at it & steering replacement costs ranging from $1200-$2000. I can't afford the repairs right now, but am afraid of a possible accident as it's especially difficult turning around curves.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #780

Apr 152010


  • 37,743 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering failed immediately after the vehicle was turned on. The steering wheel became difficult to turn. The contact had to turn the vehicle off and after it was restarted, the power steering seemed to reset and function normally. The contact was previously involved in a crash twice due to the steering failure which made it difficult to control the vehicle. The contact didnt mention if there were any injuries involved in the previous crash. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that he would have to pay for the repairs. The current and failure mileages were 37,743.

- Kings Hill St Croix, VI, USA

problem #779

Apr 242010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 72,200 miles
I was driving down a dirt road traveling between 15 and 20 mph. I had made it safely up the road and down the road till I started to turn a corner. It was a blind corner and as I started to turn I noticed the steering was really tough to control. I had lost power steering, the change was so sudden and it caused the steering wheel to jerk that I lost control of the car and slide across the road and into a very deep ditch. The angle I impacted caused damage to my front driver side bumper, fender, driver side front and rear door panels and rear bumper. It also cracked my bumper in two places and broke part of the driver side splash guard loose. There looked to be damage to the driver side headlight as well. I have contacted the dealership where I bought the car and they have order a replacement motor for the car and referred me to the GM customer service to find out whether the other repairs that need to be done will be taken care of by GM. On a side note I received a letter from GM issuing the recall and stating that I will be sent a letter when parts become available.

- Medford, OR, USA

problem #778

Apr 102010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
My powersteering went out on me as I was approaching my brother's home. The car started to get slow and then it would not turn. It was very hard to turn and it was very scary. I drive about 30 miles to work and 30 miles back home and that is not safe at all to drive. Something has to be done about this matter before someone gets seriously hurt.

- Chicago Heights, IL, USA

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