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 25 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #637

Feb 182010


  • 60,750 miles


2006 Cobalt power steering went out driving down the road with my 19 year old daughter driving.

- Fayetteville, GA, USA

problem #636

Feb 162010


  • 17,840 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle made a couple of loud sounds as if a bell was ringing and then the power steering failed. The vehicle was turned off and then back on in order for the power steering to function normally. The contact had to turn the vehicle off and on at every intersection in order to have the power steering work properly. The current mileage was 17898. The failure mileage was 17840.

- Fredricksburg, VA, USA

problem #635

Nov 152009


  • 39,000 miles
I had a 2006 Cobalt that started having power steering problems shorting after reaching 36,000 miles. One time I was turning onto a road from a parking lot. The power steering went out and I could barely steer the car into the proper lane and avoid an accident as a car in the opposite lane was approaching. This is a dangerous engineering problem with Cobalt. I have not had any satisfactory reply from Chevrolet customer service on this problem. I believe, judging from many other complaints, that Chevrolet needs to issue a recall on this, or at least repair the problem at one cost to buyers. Thank you.

- Battle Ground, WA, USA

problem #634

Oct 252009


  • 45,508 miles


Vehicle was making a slow turn into a parking lot when the power steering experienced a complete failure. There was no prior warning that this failure was about to occur. This was the only time the failure was experienced. Steering became difficult, but since the vehicle was traveling at a slow speed, the driver was able to maintain full control and safely park the vehicle. The vehicle was allowed to sit for several hours and then restarted and the power steering was again operational. The vehicle was taken to a dealership for service the next day. A power steering motor kit # 6.605 was installed on the vehicle to correct the problem. The old part was retained by the dealer.

- Muskogee, OK, USA

problem #633

Feb 152010


  • 57,743 miles
Power steering went out on my 2006 Chevy Cobalt, has just a little over 57,000 miles and from reading the reviews on line I am not the only one that has had this problem.

- Alamogordo, NM, USA

problem #632

Feb 022010


  • 55,322 miles
About 2 weeks after purchasing a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt (or as of approx 2 weeks ago) the vehicle's power steering began to random shut off. The power steering is available every time the car is started but is always disable after 1-2 minutes down the road and stays that way until the car is turned off and restarted, although at that point it last 1-2 minutes again and so the cycle continues. The consequences as of yet are simply the bother and difficulty with 'winding roads' and parking lots. Due to experience with a similar car and minimal travel there have been no related accidents as of yet. The failure has yet to corrected due to various constraints.

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #631

Aug 272008


  • 59,000 miles


I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt and unexpectedly the power steering fails. It makes it very hard to turn into a parking space or any kind of movement for that part at slow speeds. Unfortunately I hear the fix cost over 1000 dollars, money that I don't have on a fixed income. I bought the car used in the summer of 2007 and by the summer of 2008 the problem started to happen sporadically and then more often. It seems to happen more quickly and often when it is hot outside and I live in Texas which is normally hot most of the year. It is very annoying to have to turn my car off to get the power steering to work.

- Waco, TX, USA

problem #630

Feb 042010


  • miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt power steering failure, no certain time or situation approx. Once a week.

- Huntland, TN, USA

problem #629

Nov 152009


  • 7,000 miles
Power steering system failure while driving. Restarting engine will restore power steering for a short time. The car alerts with warning chime sound and a dashboard message "power steering". this problem can happen every few minutes or, rarely, it may not happen at all during a short trip. This problem first happened in late 2009 on a very low mileage vehicle ( less than 9,300 miles to date).

- Bloomington, IL, USA

problem #628

Mar 102009


  • 24,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt which was purchased used with 10,000 miles. She stated that in temperatures over 50 degrees, the power steering would fail approximately every 30 to 40 seconds while driving at various speeds as low as 5 mph and up. When it failed, she had to maneuver the vehicle onto the emergency lane, shut off the engine momentarily and allow the power steering to reset itself. The manufacturer was contacted and advised taking the vehicle to a dealer for a diagnostic test; however, the closest dealer was over 100 miles away. She did not feel safe driving that distance since the failure began to occur frequently. The manufacturer advised the contact that they were closing her case until she took the vehicle into a dealer. No repairs were made to the vehicle. There were no recalls for the failure; however, there was an open investigation ( NHTSA action number PE10005; component :steering:electric power assist system). The failure mileage was 24,000 and the current mileage was 27,000.

- Kailua, HI, USA

problem #627

Sep 222009


  • 60,000 miles


I hadn't had any problems with my car and then one day I was turning in a parking lot and the power steering went out. I got it into a parking stall and shut the car off, then proceeded to wait 10-15 minutes and started the car again, there were no problems until I started to dive again, it happened about 3 more times that day. It happened as I was driving the freeway coming into a curve in the road, in the parking lot as mentioned and pulling into my driveway. If I hadn't driven a car in the past with no power steering I would not have know or been able to steer the car safely. It could have been bad if I hadn't been able to control the car on the freeway. This has happened several more times since this first occurrence and every time it does happen it's not just once, it's several times that day then it will be weeks or longer without any problems. It is completely random and unsafe, you never know when it's going to happen and there is no warning. The "power steering" indicator comes up as it's going out.

- Santa Maria , CA, USA

problem #626

Nov 282009


  • 40,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt ls power steering seizing, not working. Only 40K miles on car, brought to GM dealer & was told that there was no warranty on power steering, had to have replacement steering column & motor at a cost of over 1000 dollars.

- Deerfield Beach, FL, USA

problem #625

Feb 072010


  • 49,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt power steering assist comes on every day after 5 min od driving U stop and shut the car off and start it up it comes back on 5min later...seems to happen at low and high speeds.

- Norwich, NY, USA

problem #624

Dec 282009


  • 27,000 miles
Power steering failure on 2006 Cobalt power steering just quits.

- Mercer, PA, USA

problem #623

Jan 202009


  • 52,300 miles
When driving the 06 Chevy Cobalt, the power steering fails while driving at moderate speeds. This happens nearly ever time the car is in use now and happens several times during the course of a 15 mile trip. The only recourse is to turn the key off and back on to get the steering to respond again.

- Lawrenceburg, KY, USA

problem #622

Sep 302009


  • 57,877 miles
I own a 2006 Cobalt. The power steering went out when my 29 year old son was turning onto a traffic circle in fort worth, Texas. The car hit the curb causing damage to the right tire and wheel. My insurance company (usaa) paid $4269.69 for repairs, $420 for car rental; I paid $500 deductible. Classic Chevrolet fixed the power steering without charge; however, if there had been a timely recall the accident would never have happened.

- Justin, TX, USA

problem #621

Feb 092010


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Whenever the contact drives the vehicle at any speed she noticed that the power steering will suddenly stop functioning. The vehicle was taken to the dealership where the contact was informed that the power steering mechanism needed to be replaced. There were no prior warnings.the current and failure mileages were 54000.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #620

Aug 132009


  • miles
Steering wheel is very hard to turn. This happens frequently. If the engine is turned off the problem goes away for a while, but soon returns. So far this problem has not caused an accident, but I am almost afraid to drive the car for fear of one.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #619

Jan 202010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 15 mph on normal road conditions. A chime sounded inside of the vehicle. Immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The driver pulled over to the side of the road with caution. The engine was turned off. The vehicle restarted and resumed normal operation. Whenever the vehicle was in operation the failure occurred intermittent. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle has not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The failure mileage was 61,000. Updated 07/12/10

- Maple Grove, MN, USA

problem #618

Feb 122010


  • 122,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 30 mph on normal road conditions. A chime sounded inside of the vehicle. The "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The driver exerted extreme difficulty turning the steering wheel. The vehicle was pulled over to the side of the road. The engine was turned off. The vehicle restarted and resumed normal operation. The failure occurred whenever the vehicle was in operation. Currently, the vehicle is at an authorized dealer for inspection. The failure mileage was 122,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Tupelo, MS, USA

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