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 30 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #537

Dec 282009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph the power steering light illuminated when the power steering failed; however, she was able to control the vehicle enough to drive onto the emergency lane. The vehicle was inspected by a local mechanic who was unable to duplicate or diagnose the failure. The dealers diagnosis found that the power steering motor needed to be replaced and if it recurred, the steering column would also need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired; althought, the failure has occurred 5 times. The failure mileage was 50,000. The current mileage was 53,000. Updated 3/12/10 updated 05/10/10

- Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #536

Dec 102009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 50 mph the power steering failed without warning and it became difficult to control the steering wheel; however, he was able to manually drive the vehicle to his residence. The power steering light illuminated after the failure occurred. The dealer stated that the power steering motor needed to be replaced at an estimated cost of $ 1,000. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 59,000 and the current mileage was 60,600. Updated 3/4/2010 updated 05/10/10

- Penbrooke Pines, FL, USA

problem #535

Sep 062009


  • miles
Power steering keeps going out after 5 minutes of driving, makes car hard to steer and control.

- North Port, FL, USA

problem #534

Dec 082009


  • 60,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately between 25-30 mph on normal road conditions, proceeding to make a right turn when a chime sensor sounded inside of the vehicle and the "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The driver continued in operation and exerted higher effort to turn the steering wheel. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for inspection. The vehicle has not been repaired at this time. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Ponchatoula, LA, USA

problem #533

Nov 072009


  • 82,000 miles
My 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt suffered sudden loss of power steering assist while traveling on highway. The effort to steer the vehicle increased to where I could not do more then guide the vehicle to the shoulder of the highway. When the auto was restarted the power steering returned to normal. I continued on my trip with caution. Within 10 minutes the problem recurred. I had the auto towed to a Chevrolet dealer where they replaced the power steering assist motor. I have driven much larger autos that have had power steering failures and have never encountered anything where the amount of effort required to guide the auto was so great. If this had been someone who was less experienced or who did not possess the physical strength of a full grown adult male the situation may have been catastrophic.

- Hershey, PA, USA

problem #532

Nov 152009


  • 39,000 miles
Sudden loss of power steering.

- Batavia, OH, USA

problem #531

Dec 012009


  • 55,000 miles


Random failure of power steering. Fails 3-5 times during 15-20 minute commute which causes vehicle steering to become stiff. Temporary resolution is turning vehicle off and back on, giving you another 5 minutes of power steering. Nothing has been done yet to fix the problem since it's an $800 - $1500 out-of-pocket repair at the dealership. I may try to purchase the power steering motor ($230- dealership only) and install myself but that means pulling out the steering column, disabling airbag, and hoping everything works correctly when you put it back together. This is very dangerous since this is my wife's vehicle which she uses to get to work and carry my 1 year old girl to baby sitter. This has failed during turns, and even when going 55 mph, it is still very difficult to make a 60 degree turn.

- Marion, OH, USA

problem #530

Feb 022010


  • 43,000 miles
I was driving normally on the highway and power steering suddenly went out. Steering became very stiff, and dash lights read "power steering." After pulling over and restarting the car, power steering came back for about 30 minutes, and then went out again the same way. I arrived at the dealership shortly after, and two components were required to fix the car. An electric motor and something else I can't recall the name of. Fortunately, there was no crash. I was lucky to be on a very straight highway. I had no warning prior to power steering going out, and had even had the car serviced early less than a week previous to this happening.

- Brentwood, TN, USA

problem #529

Jan 042010


  • miles
My daughter's 06 Chevy Cobalt ls steering loss power and she barley got her car out of traffic, she then waited ten minutes and started the car again and was able to drive 4 more miles before it happened again. This has continued to happen so I had to get it fixed before someone got hurt, this has cost me some very expensive car repairs, some thing needs to be done about this I've beentold by the repair shop that it could happen again since the part they replaced is the same part they ordered, which is faulty, I live in fear everytime my child gets in that car to go anywhere, and she needs a car to get to college. As I said before please don't wait for a tragedy that could be prevented. Thank you

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #528

Feb 022010


  • 38,000 miles
Power steering goes out of Cobalt. Power steering alert comes on to dash and car beeps. When car is shut off and restarted power steering returns. 3 incidents. 2 near misses with other cars.

- West Union, OH, USA

problem #527

Jan 202010


  • 90,000 miles


I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt and I am having a problem with my power steering. It is often hard to turn the steering wheel and I hear a rattling noise in the steering chamber while I am making turns. Also, the power steering malfunctioned as I was driving which caused my steering wheel not to move at all. Fortunately I was not near other cars and was able to stop the car and turn it off in time. I re-started the car and the power steering must have reset itself and began working again.

- Mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #526

Feb 022010


  • 65,535 miles
In my 2006 Chevy Cobalt I have lost control of my steering wheel 3 times. It happens between 50-55 mph on the highway. I will be driving on the highway hit my brakes and my car begins to shake violently. I have taken it to a mechanic for this problem. However, there is nothing they could do because they could not replicate the problem. They tried at several different speed.

- League City, TX, USA

problem #525

Jan 102010


  • 36,505 miles
Power steering suddenly failed resulting in a near loss of control of the car

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #524

Jan 282010


  • 60,000 miles
Power steering stopped working on 1/28/10, as I was driving home from work. It started working again on 2/1/10, and then stopped and then started again. I took the car to my mechanic and he said that the entire steering column would have to be replaced.

- Eagle Mountain, UT, USA

problem #523

Feb 032010


  • miles
I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt with a little over 62,000 miles. I bought it used and have had it a year and three months. Ever since I purchased the car I've had issues w/the electronic power steering. It acts up on a daily basis. The power steering cuts on and off while I'm driving the car. It makes it almost impossible to steer the car at all. My arms ache at the end of the day from struggling to steer and keep control of my car. It is especially scary when you are on a sharp exit ramp and the power steering isn't working and then cuts on. I've come very close to losing control of my car many times. I've looked into having it replaced but the cost of the parts and labor are expensive and being a single mother of two I can't afford to have it replaced. I've seen countless numbers of websites and complaints on the internet of other Cobalt owners w/the same power steering issue. It's ridiculous that GM won't do a recall! this is obviously a manufacturers defect and GM needs to fix it before someone loses their life! this is my first GM vehicle and I can guarantee it will be my last!

- Front Royal, VA, USA

problem #522

Sep 152009


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that whenever she turned the vehicle on the power steering locked up and this occurs also when she puts the vehicle in reverse as well. This has occured everyday where the light illuminates in the instrumental panel. The dealer was contacted and they told the contact to bring it in for diagnostic. There have been no repairs done to the vehicle. The failure mileage was 50000 and current mileage was 84729.

- Rialto, CA, USA

problem #521

Jun 102009


  • 65,695 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. She stated while driving at speeds of less than 50 mph, the power steering failed three times within her traveling period, without warning. She would pull over at each time the failure occurred and shut the vehicle off. Once the vehicle was restarted, the power steering would reset itself. The vehicle was taken to the nearest dealer where they replaced the power steering module at the owner's expense. There were no recalls for the failure. There were no additional failure since the repair. The failure and current mileages were over 65,695.

- Naples, FL, USA

problem #520

Feb 032010


  • 28,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt with 39K miles. My steering wheel shakes when driving, it is sometimes hard to turn, the radio turns on and off, and the check engine light & air bag light are on. I took the car to the dealership and they said nothing is wrong with the car. They got the lights to turn off. My warranty is now expired and the same lights came on again.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #519

Aug 212009


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While the contact was driving the vehicle she noticed that the power steering light had appeared on the dashboard, moments later the contact noticed that the vehicle no longer had power steering. The vehicle was taken to the dealership where the contact had the power steering control module replaced. There were no prior warnings and the current and failure mileages were 73000.

- Suffolk, VA, USA

problem #518

Aug 012009


  • 45,000 miles
Power steering on my 2006 Chevy Cobalt went out.

- Crowley, TX, USA

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