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 26 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #617

Oct 172009


  • 48,600 miles


There were no events leading up to the failure. I have a 2006, Chevy Cobalt, and am one of the people that have had to have a motor replaced in my power steering. It just stopped working while I has driving down the road. No power steering!!!! I did talk to Chevy, because I thought it odd, having less the 50,000 on my car. I was a few miles from home, and was blessed enough to be near a church parking lot, to pull over. I am also young enough, and strong enough that I did get it back home, so my husband could check it. I did check with Chevy, to see if there was a recall, or if they were aware of a problem. They did not have a recall, and were not aware of a problem. This is what they said. Again, because I thought it odd. I had to take it to my local Chevy dealership, and it cost $418. I would have hated to have been in traffic, or in the middle of a turn, or a bad curve. If it had of happened in any of those 3, I may not have been able to control the car. I do believe it is a great safety problem. People that do not have a lot of arm strength, would have no stayed above I had to have it fixed.

- Killen, AL, USA

problem #616

Jan 012010


  • 34,000 miles
Power steering goes out after about two minutes of driving or less. It is very hard to turn the wheel and control the vehicle when driving. It goes away when the car is shut off but then the power steering goes back out. Very annoying and dangerous because you never know when it will feel like going out on you like going around a sharp turn which could cause an accident. It progressively gets worse. Needs to be addressed!

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #615

Feb 112010


  • 41,662 miles
Power steering failure there are 1000's of people with the same problem please help us.

- Heiskell, TN, USA

problem #614

Jan 262010


  • 65,120 miles


Power steering failed.

- Jasper, TN, USA

problem #613

Dec 022009


  • 62,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt lt and my power steering keeps cutting off when I go down the road the forces the steering wheel to lock up. I am terrified that I may have a wreck at any moment and I have a 3 yr old and 7 months pregnant! please please get this recalled asap!

- Hartsfield, GA, USA

problem #612

Feb 152010


  • 70,000 miles
Power steering stops working, making car hard to steer.

- Oak Island, NC, USA

problem #611

Feb 112010


  • 72,000 miles


Have 2006 Chevy Cobalt, have a power steering problem have heard that this is a major problem and others have had this. It locks the steering wheel while your driving, has failed on me and has almost caused me too lose control, have not had an accident yet, but would not like to experience this, or something worst. Thank you - a concerned consumer.

- Kerrville, TX, USA

problem #610

Jan 102010


  • 51,245 miles
My husband was driving our 2006 Chevy Cobalt when, without warning, the power steering went out. He crossed double yellow line before being able to regain control of the car. Could have been a very serious head-on collision had there been another car oncoming. Had to replace the entire power steering column and motor. Car had approx. 50,000 miles on it when this occurred and of course, just passed the warranty time. This is a serious safety issue. Why is Chevy/GM not taking accountability for a defective power steering column" there are 1,000's of people in our situation and it is unacceptable. Are they waiting for a fatality to occur" they are aware of the problem, as I called Chevy directly, but they will not pay for the repairs. Anyone driving a Chevy Cobalt should be made aware of this safety issue. I do not feel safe driving this car, nor do I want to drive my children in this car. You take it for granted that when you buy a car, the company producing the car is concerned for your safety. That is obviously not the case with the Chevy Cobalt. Shame on you GM to think about your own wallet before the safety of your customers. Makes you think twice to buy "american".

- Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #609

Sep 142009


  • 86,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt power steering goes out while driving.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #608

Jan 212010


  • 87,000 miles
I have a 06 Chevy Cobalt. I was exiting a busy highway when my power steering went out. I about got hit by another car because I could not get the wheel to turn. The powersteering on my car goes out at least once a day, but on an average day about 2-3 times. Today I was driving from wichita, ks back home to tulsa, ok and my powersteering went out 4 times within a matter of 10 mins. This is a major concern when I'm turning a sharp corner and my two small children are in the car. I am a very small woman and can't turn the wheel when the powersteering goes out. The only way I have been able to fix the problem is to pull over, turn off the car, then restart the car after waiting for at least a minute. Usually, I have to try about 3 times to get the powersteering to work again and it doesn't work for very long. Highways in tulsa, ok have very sharp and narrow exits and it is scary when I don't know if I'm going to be able to safely exit because I can't turn the wheel of my car.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #607

Feb 142010


  • 69,000 miles


I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt that has had a power steering problem. The power steering randomly quits working and the power steering problem indicator comes on. If you turn the engine off the power steering resets and then fails again unexpectedly.

- Oak Island, NC, USA

problem #606

Feb 122010


  • 12,200 miles
Power steering wont work.

- Tupelo, MS, USA

problem #605

Dec 202009


  • 55,463 miles
I had never had any problems with my car until the power steering light came on one day and I couldn't steer the car all of a sudden. I had never experienced any thing like that before so I pulled over and turned off the car. After re-starting the car it was fine. However, the power-steering continued to lock up on atleast once a day, but with increasing frequency. I did not have the money to have it checked out, but I was able to drive it as long as I used full force with both arms to steer and turn. It is now to the point where the power steering locks up immediately upon starting my car. It is increasingly difficult to make simple turns and it has become a safety hazard. This is a fairly new car and should not have this issue.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #604

Nov 152009


  • 41,000 miles
Beginning in November 2009 the power steering on my 2006 Cobalt would go out intermittently while I was driving. In one instance it actually happened during a turn and I almost had a head-on collision with the vehicle in the opposite lane. By the second week of January 2010 the power steering was going out two to three times a day. As of this week it almost never works. When I called my dealer they refused to acknowledge this is a pervasive problem. They suggested I bring the car in and pay $95 to have them asses the issue. I have not done that yet and based on all the other complaints I have read I probably will not do that until Chevrolet takes action to repair the defect. I consider it a safety issue because it is easy to lose control of the car while trying to make a turn. Now that it is out most of the time it limits how far I can drive the vehicle because it is very tiring to maintain control over it for long periods.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #603

Dec 202009


  • 52,400 miles
When driving the power steering would cut off after the car was driven for a short distance. This was 8 weeks ago. Now, the power steering is completely not working.

- Columubs, OH, USA

problem #602

Feb 122010


  • 88,000 miles
Hi, about a week ago I was driving my 2006 Chevy Cobalt to work when I noticed it was kind of wiggling down the straight away of the 4 lane highway I was on. The cars behind me must have noticed because they quit passing me. I went straight back home after work that day and the car was fine. In the week since I have noticed a few oddities in turning the car, most being what loud pops. Now, the car has had a pop in the front end since I bought it that the dealer never has been able to fix and I was sure it was in the right front strut until yesterday. It's just been a little more random lately happening with no curves or bumps in the road. Yesterday on the way home I was turning right and the scroll on my dash read "power steering." I went ahead and turned and found absolutely no power steering help. Drove about a mile down the road with no power steering until I made it to a gas station where I restarted the car. The power steering was back with no warning message after doing that. The car was again fine for about a mile down the road where the message reappeared and I was immediately without power steering again. From all the messages I'm reading online this can be a very expensive fix and very dangerous. Going from great steering to no steering help can be a big shock when it happens in an instant and will lead to accidents. Please help us Cobalt owners.

- Booneville, MS, USA

problem #601

Feb 122010


  • 26,244 miles
Steering problem. Power steering fails. Hard to steer.

- Fiskdale, MA, USA

problem #600

Jan 172010


  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 40 mph the power steering failed; however, the vehicle reset itself after it was turned on and then off. The dealer stated that they were not aware of the failure and the diagnostic test fee was $70. There were no related warranties or recalls. The failure mileage was 28,000.

- Terre Haute, IN, USA

problem #599

Feb 102010


  • 55,000 miles
I got 'power steering' message on my dic when I was getting out of parking lot.... then it was really hard for me to control my steering wheel. I turned the car off and started it back again, and it seemed to work fine for a few mins, then it started having a same problem again.

- Ringgold, GA, USA

problem #598

Jan 292010


  • 40,688 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that when driving approximately 35 mph, the power steering light would flash on the dashboard and then the steering wheel would lock. The failure occurred once every 2 to 3 days. She had not taken the vehicle to the dealer or talked to the manufacturer. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The current mileage was 41,088. The failure mileage was approximately 40,688.

- Columbus, OH, USA

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