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 27 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #597

Nov 282009


  • 62,500 miles


Power steering has failed numerous times on the 2006 Cobalt ls I bought for my daughter in 2006. I made the purchase so she could commute from college. Thought the car would be a safe and reliable purchase---boy!!! was I wrong!!! this is a dangerous problem & GM needs to fix these Cobalts now. How do we, as consumers demand this & get it corrected" do lots of people have to die before someone will help us" I think I should have bought a Toyota! at least, the Toyota Corp is doing something about their defects----they're fixing them!

- Bluefield, WV, USA

problem #596

Feb 082010


  • 26,851 miles
Driving down the highway and power steering light came on. Power steering failed and unable to steer. Pulled to side of road. Restarted and power steering worked. Drove to garage and light came back on and steering failed and never came back on. Had wrecker pull to Chevy dealership for repairs. Dealer replaced steering column kit and motor kit at a cost of $983.43.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #595

Feb 052010


  • miles
I was driving home on February 05, 2010 when my steering wheel locked up and I did not have control of the vehicle. I was coming to a stop fortunately when this happened. This is the first time I have experienced this situation. A friend told me Chevy Cobalt have been recalled and I began my search online and have found numerous complaints regarding this issue. Several months ago, my fuel pump module had a small crack in it disbursing gasoline. The mechanic who worked on it said he had never seen anything such as this before. Im lucky I was not driving at a high speed or around a corner when my steering wheel locked up or my car didn't explode into flames from the gasoline disbursing throughout my car when I had to replace my fuel pump. Power steering and fuel pumps should not require regular maintenance. Chevy barely acknowledges the problem and say its not big deal, try your best to control your car when your power steering goes out. I've heard this becomes a regular occurrence after the first time.

- Sacramento , CA, USA

problem #594

Nov 012009


  • 60,000 miles


I have a 06 Chevy Cobalt with intermittent power steering failures. It fails after approx. 20 of daily driving with no prior warning. It becomes difficult to control and I consider it dangerous. GM is aware of the problems but is not being proactive to offer a solution or recall. I do not have the money to get it repaired but even so, repairs are also done with faulty parts. The car has 65K miles.

- Mount Olive, IA, USA

problem #593

Feb 102010


  • 92,850 miles
Just bought my Cobalt at used dealership and I have issues with the power steering. It feels really hard to turn and it makes noises that just don't sound right. I'm really concerned now reading these other complaints and I think the power steering needs to be recalled before someone does get hurt or killed. This is a serious safety issue!!

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #592

Oct 022009


  • 72,350 miles
I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls that I purchase used from a Chevy dealer with 70,000 miles here in miami. While driving my Chevy Cobalt, I attempted to make a right turn and my power steering stopped working and I almost crash my vehicle into a pole gladly there was nobody standing or other vehicle near the incident. It has now become an repeated incident meaning that is happening frequently. When the temperature out side gets to cold or too hot it stop working. It also makes a bee noise. I check thru the website review other Chevy Cobalt owners problem and they advice to remove the 60 amp fuse and place it back and it temporary correct the problem until it does it again. I took it to the dealer and they says that I have to replace the hold steering unit which over $1000 dollars which I do not have. I find out that the vehicle has a electronic steering gear instead of a hydraulic pump. I have done a research and find out that I am not the only person owning a Chevy Cobalt that is having the same problem. I research thru you website and several people already report the same problem. It is a safety hazard and a Chevy problem. Please I'm requesting that you guys investigate this problem further since is not an isolated problem. If you need to contact me please feel free. Please do not let someone get killed because of this. Thank you.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #591

Feb 102010


  • 54,956 miles


I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt and my 18 yr son was driving and the power steering went out and the message inside the car came on. The vehicle became very hard to drive and almost lost control of the car. When I got home I restarted the car but after 2 minutes of driving the same thing happened. It is extremely dangerous for him and I hear can cost up to $2000 to fix. Something needs to be done.

- Bellevue, NE, USA

problem #590

Feb 012010


  • 78,650 miles
I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ss. Back in January I had an incident where I was driving and the message center on the dash displayed "power steering." Once that appeared and chimed, I lost most manueverability of my vehicle and it became hard to steer. Once I got to my destination, I turned off the vehicle and back on, and noticed that the problem did not replicate. At the time, my Cobalt had approximately 78,650 miles. Since then, I had not had any occurrence until 2/1/10. Since 2/1/10, the problem occurs every day. It seems to occur after approximately 40-50 minutes of driving and then my power steering kicks out. Turning the engine off and back on will correct the problem, but within 5 minutes the "power steering" message reappears. The engine has to cool down for the length of driving time to increase. I drive a 44 mile commute daily one way, and experience this every day; seeing that I am not the only one experiencing this, it poses a serious safety risk especially when most of my commute is highway driving. I've had it kick out when I'm on an expressway exit ramp almost unable to continue my turn around the corner. I have seen that GM stated in rebuttal to this investigation that "if it goes out it requires extra effort." Being a fairly burly male, that extra effort is a lot! it is like you're going against quite a bit of resistance on the power assist components. I used to work for ups and drove their trucks; their package cars don't have power steering and I know how the lack of power steering feels; this is nothing in comparison. Just having a major snow storm here in the midwest, it poses additional safety concerns trying to maneuver on snow covered pavement. Another concern and question that can be posed, is that if it cuts out after approximately 40-50 minutes of driving, that may mean the power assist is overheating. Can that cause a fire in the vehicle? my Cobalt now is close to approaching 80,000 miles.

- Round Lake, IL, USA

problem #589

Jun 022007


  • 15,000 miles
My power steering on my 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss is going out and is very loud and clunky.

- Garden City, UT, USA

problem #588

Jan 242010


  • miles
Without warning the message screen next to the speedometer read "power steering" and the wheel became very difficult to move. Meanwhile, the car was still driving motion, but the direction of the wheels was nearly inalterable. The only remedy is to bring the car to a complete stop, turn off the engine, and restart it. This can be very hazardous in traffic, as well as in areas of limited driving space. This has occurred in my vehicle 18 times in the past 13 days. During one occurrence, nearby police officers took notice of my struggle and came over to find out what was wrong.

- Elmhurst, IL, USA

problem #587

Aug 052009


  • 48,000 miles


Power steering going out on & off at the beginning & now is after one minute of driving, it gets very stiff hard to maneuver I was about to crash so many times.

- Newark , CA, USA

problem #586

Dec 202009


  • 52,136 miles
06 Cobalt power steering.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #585

Dec 162009


  • 49,800 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt electric power steering failed at 49,800 miles. This happened unexpectedly while my daughter was driving on the highway, luckily she was able to pull over and park without an accident.

- Neche, ND, USA

problem #584

Oct 052009


  • 37,668 miles
I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls in which the power steering went out. Thankfully I was not driving on the highway, I was just going 2-3 mph out of a parking deck when without warning I had absolutely no steering. I had to take it to the nearby Chevy dealership $456 later it was fixed.

- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA

problem #583

Feb 032010


  • 57,588 miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt, near 58,000 miles, recently had the power steering go out on it. While driving, the power steering suddenly became tight and difficult to turn. I looked down and saw "power steering" displayed on the display. I was able to steer it home and immediately began my online research. I read that often times turning the car off and then back on will "reset" it. I went out and tried it and it worked. Unfortunately, it only lasted about 10 minutes before I got the message again and the power steering clicked off. Luckily there is a bit of a warning right before it goes out, you can hear a click and then 3 dings and then it locks up. It has been a week now since I first started having the issue and it has progressively gotten worse with each day of driving, going from lasting 10 minutes before failure, to lasting only 15-30 seconds. After the 3rd day I finally gave up on it and began driving my older much more reliable, dependable Chevy cavalier. Today I am taking the Cobalt to the dealership for repairs. I was quoted a price between $450-$600 to repair. I filed a complaint with GM as well. The mechanic at the dealership informed me that they were well aware of the issue and he sees at least one in per month with the same issue. This is not very safe and is obviously a major issue. I am lucky to be able to handle the car when the steering goes out, but what about those with disabilities or the ones who lack the upper body strength? this issue needs to be resolved with GM before they have a much more fatal issue on their hands. The Chevy Cobalt is by far the worse vehicle I have ever owned with all it's issues and I have lost complete faith in the Chevy name because of it.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #582

Feb 032010


  • miles
I was driving home from work when I exited the freeway my power steering went out and did not come back until I turned off my car and restarted it. This problem has happened many times now sometimes 2 times while driving to work. It just recently started. It was cold and I had my heater on when it first started to happen.

- Pasadena , TX, USA

problem #581

Jan 202010


  • 58,000 miles
I have an 2006 Cobalt & the power steering has went out it is very difficult for me to drive... when the car is turn off it goes away for a short time & comes right back... very concerned for my safety.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #580

Sep 262009


  • 70,000 miles
Electric power steering.

- Bryan, TX, USA

problem #579

Feb 082010


  • 49,000 miles
During normal driving alert tone sounds, dic says "power steering" and power assist is lost. Vehicle becomes very difficult to control. If I pull over, turn engine off then restart, the problem clears up, however, it will re-occur within a few minutes. Problem happening with greater frequency during last two weeks, now happens every ten minutes or less. I drive mostly on city streets. Problem has occurred too many times to count in the past two weeks, at least 30 times in 5 hours of driving. Yesterday problem occurred 5 times in 15 minutes. Very dangerous.

- Waterford, MI, USA

problem #578

Nov 102009


  • 75,000 miles
The power steering in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt gave out after three years of ownership without warning. Since it is an electronic power steering system, there was no warning, just a sudden total loss of power steering while I was driving. The vehicle became extremely difficult to turn and this created an extremely hazardous situation. I took the car to my mechanic and he replaced the power steering motor which then fixed the problem.

- Austin, TX, USA

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