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 28 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #577

Jan 292010


  • 45,000 miles


I had just turned on the on ramp to get O the highway and my power steering failed at 25 mph. I later took to dealer to have them check it out and they said I will need a new power steering column and electric motor. Dealer said it will be a $1100 fix. I think GM should pay for this, seeing how so many other Cobalt owners are complaining about this problem.

- Flagstaff, AZ, USA

problem #576

Aug 202008


  • 36,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls coupe. I have a problem with the power steering, as do many other Cobalt onwers. The power steering motor will turn off unexpectedly while driving. I've never been in an accident or had any other serious problems with the car. This makes the car very difficult to drive while at low speeds.

- Bastrop, TX, USA

problem #575

Sep 012008


  • 45,000 miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt-power steering failure. I have no power steering in this car now. The electrical unit that powers the power steering has gone out-failed. I took the car to a Chevy dealership and was told it would cost at the very least $800 to fix. I cannot afford to have this repaired. My son uses this car daily (now with no power steering) to and from work and to school. His commute is 1 hour on the interstate one way. My son follows a website for Cobalt owners and tells me that almost all of the emails on the website are regarding the failure of the electrical unit for the power steering. We have also had to replace the fuel tank and fuel injectors on this car. Will there be any recall for the Chevy Cobalt? there should be!!!L

- Gretna, LA, USA

problem #574

Sep 012006


  • miles


I bought a 2006 Chevy Cobalt brand new and immediatly questioned why the sterring wheel shook whenever I braked. I was told by the dealer and another independent mechanic that because the vehicle was a small plastic gas saver that it was to be expected. The shaking of the sterring wheel gets very severe when going downhill and in incidences of quick stops. I was so sure this car was an accident waiting to happen I did not allow my 17 year old driver to drive it. Now, I am hearing about other cevy Cobalts that have steering failure and I no longer accept the answers that I have received from the so called professionals. I hope the government will force GM into a recall before my steering fails and I find myself in the hospital because my steering has failed

- Stafford Springs, CT, USA

problem #573

Aug 152009


  • 35,000 miles
I own a 2006 Cobalt which I leased new in 2006 and in the past 8 months I have had the power steering go on my car 4 times. All four times was during parking the vehicle. I have been teaching my 16 year old daughter how to parallell park and this is when the incidents happened. All of a sudden I could not steer the car and this would last up to 10 minutes and then it would start working properly when not turning the wheel so much. I was told there was nothing wrong with the car. Since this happened to me, I keep hearing about alot of other people with the same problem. This concerns me very much as the times it happened to me I was fortunate that I have not been in an accident or injured but there is no guarantees the next time I may be as fortunate. Also at times the steering makes creaking noises when taking sharp turns...this concerns me greatly and I do not feel safe drining this car anymore.

- Fredericton, 00, USA

problem #572

Dec 162009


  • 39,000 miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt's electronic power steering goes out without warning making steering the car almost impossible creating a very dangerous situation. Great effort is needed to turn the steering wheel 90 degrees (this is not like driving an old car without power streering). Condition started at about 39000 miles and the car has about 40550 miles on it today. Problem occurs at various intervals but is becoming more frequent. The car must be stopped, engine shutdown, and car restarted to temporarily clear the condition. Situation has not been corrected as of 2/8/2010. Chevrolet customer service said a recall is pending (they allegedly are cooperating with nhsta at this time on a recall), but cannot commit to fixing their defect in my car. Internet research indicates repairs can be up to $2000 becuase individual repair parts can only be purchased as a large kit. I have begun discussions with local dealership trying to get Chevrolet to do the right thing and pay for the repair since it is a well documented defect currently being investigated by nhsta. This is a serious defect in the car's design that places the driver and other motorists on the road near the car when the power steering system goes out. This can happen at any speed at any time leaving the public at risk.

- Decatur, AL, USA

problem #571

Jan 152007


  • 45,000 miles


2006 Chevy colbalt.power steering has went out on several times.

- Moorefield, WV, USA

problem #570

Aug 032009


  • 35,000 miles
Power steering goes out when turning slowly

- Lothian, MD, USA

problem #569

Feb 052010


  • 42,000 miles
The power steering in the Cobalt just fails. First time in the parking lot of a jewel with lots of people in the lot barely able to turn wheel to park. Turn car off and back on the power steering comes back on. 2nd time I was on the highway on a trip 1.5 hours into trip the power steering light came on and I had to drive off the road. Restarted the car and about 10 minutes into trip power steering went out and I drove without it for the remaining hour. One the return trip the power steering went out again on the highway after 1.0 hours of driving at a consistent speed.

- Des Plaines, IL, USA

problem #568

Oct 082009


  • miles
Please go to get to review all of the complaints by Chevy Cobalt owners. These cars are defective and dangerous, particularly the power steering issue. I have an '06 Cobalt and the electric power steering went out without warning suddenly at around 62,000 miles. GM refuses to fix it because the warranty expired on the car at 60K. They want nearly $1000 to diagnose and repair.

- Madison, FL, USA

problem #567

Aug 282009


  • 74,000 miles


Approximately 6 months ago..power stee ring light came on and complete loss of power steering occurred. The vehicle must be shut down and restarted to recycle the power steering..this has ceased working because the power steering does not last more than 2 seconds after restarting. When the power steering light is on it is extremely difficult to maintain control of my vehicle. I have replaced fuses and I am just short of taking it to the dealer and upon research noticed more than a few complaints about this problem with this vehicle.

- Palm Coast, FL, USA

problem #566

Oct 152009


  • 90,000 miles
Power steering failed. It was off and on several times until it finally would not come back at all. We had to be put on a waiting list for the actual part. Once it came in, we had it repaired.

- North Huntingdon, PA, USA

problem #565

Feb 062010


  • 52,629 miles
Driving on surface street and the power steering warning came on the dash panel. Then the power steering failed. Pulled car to curb, shut off engine and restarted car engine, power steering resumed. While returning to my home power steering failed two more times.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #564

Dec 172008


  • 35,000 miles
Electronic power steering failure. Every time vehicle is driven the power steering goes out. This makes the vehicle very difficult to control while turning.

- San Leon, TX, USA

problem #563

Nov 202009


  • 48,000 miles
The power steering goes out. It started happening at around 40 miles an hour and has gradually started going out at even lower speeds. It only happens when the steering wheel is straight. It happens during acceleration and braking. I cannot even get out of a small parking lot with out it going out. It is hard to turn and hard to steer when this happens. It happens every time I drive my car.

- Pelham, AL, USA

problem #562

Oct 312009


  • 48,000 miles
My electronic steering is no longer working. As soon as I start my car, it last for a few seconds and then it goes out and I have to steer unassisted. This is very difficult to do at low speeds. It impedes my manueverability especially with respect to parking and parallel parking is impossible. My wife can longer drive this car since it requires the strength of hercules to steer car.

- Plainsboro, NJ, USA

problem #561

Jan 282010


  • 49,125 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt power steering failure, now occurs every 100 miles. Is okay after car re-starts, then fails again a few minutes later.

- Waterford, MI, USA

problem #560

Aug 152009


  • 36,000 miles
The power steering in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss supercharged went out suddenly. When I turn the car off and then back on, the power steering is fine while I am parked, but as soon as I begin driving again the power steering goes back out. The vehicle only had about 36,000 miles on it when the power steering went out.

- Lennon, MI, USA

problem #559

Nov 082009


  • 62,000 miles
My sons 2006 Chevy Cobalt power steering would go out while he was driving he would have to pull off to the side of the road turn the car off start it back and it would be ok and it would happen again over and over. We went back to the Chevy dealer and had it fixed paying our own money.

- Homosassa, FL, USA

problem #558

Jan 282010


  • 76,000 miles
As I was driving to work my power steering light in my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt came on and it got really hard to steer. As I tried to get the side of the road I had to cross over into the right hand lane and then onto the shoulder. Somewhere between the right lane and the concrete barrier the power steering kicked back in, seems how I had the wheel turned so sharply toward the shoulder I nearly hit the concrete barrier. This is a serious problem and from what research I have done this is quite common. If they think it may be in over 900,000 cars, you would think a company like GM (that has had enough problems with debt and in the public eye)would take care of this. This is going to turn into a problem like Toyota. Its not a cheap fix the dealer said 2 hours of work for what could cost me up to $3000. This car is almost 5 years old. The car is barely worth $5500. Mine is sitting in the driveway, I refuse to drive it with a 2 year old. This stubborn attitude that GM has is very sad due to the fact that many people that have Cobalts from the years indicated would be upgrading to other vehicles, too bad they wont be anything made by GM.

- Maggie Valley, NC, USA

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