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 35 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #437

May 172009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,200 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. He stated that the power steering would fail intermittently. The dealer could not duplicate the failures, however the body control module was replaced at the owner's expense and still did not correct the failure. On a separate occasion, while driving at speeds of 60 mph and the vehicle locked. The contact was unable to turn the steering wheel in either direction. The power steering warning light illuminated on the warning panel and the vehicle stalled. He was able to maneuver the vehicle off of the highway without incident. The failure and current mileages were under 80,200. Updated 2/17/10 updated 02/22/10

- Dallas , TX, USA

problem #436

Jan 152010


  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that whenever he was driving various speeds including 35 mph it became difficult to turn the steering wheel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that they needed to replace the steering column for $1000. There were no recalls or warranties for the failure. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 53,000.

- Mt Olive, IL, USA

problem #435

Jan 102010


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 25 mph for 15 minutes the power steering light flashed on the dashboard and the vehicle lost power steering. The contact lost control of the vehicle briefly and had difficulty parking the vehicle. The dealer informed the contact that the entire power steering system needed to be replaced. The failure mileage was 61,000.

- Norwich, CT, USA

problem #434

Jan 222010


  • 43,395 miles


Driving getting on the freeway and then the power steering stop working I had to drive home and I don't go to work because its dangerous driving when its hard to make a turn !! and its too expensive to get it fix!!!

- Kailua, HI, USA

problem #433

Dec 102009


  • 55,500 miles
We have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt that was purchased for our children's use. My very large husband had been using it while my daughter was away at college. The power steering all of a sudden started going out while he was driving. He would turn the car off, and the power steering would return, but it would cut out again. We brought it to our mechanic who fixed it, but it is a costly repair as he was required to buy the whole steering column just for one part. I understand from information I've read that just because it's fixed doesn't mean it won't happen again!!! I hesitate to let my daughter use this car again as this is a very dangerous problem. Please don't let anyone get killed before you make Chevrolet permanently fix this problem!

- Middletown, NJ, USA

problem #432

Jan 112010


  • 79,750 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt ls steering sticks when turning and has to be forced back to straight when coming out of a turn. This is very dangerous issue.

- East Providence, RI, USA

problem #431

Oct 312009


  • 43,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 25 to 30 mph on normal road conditions the "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The driver pulled over to the side of the road which required higher effort to turn the steering wheel. The engine was turned off including the illumination of warning light indicator. The vehicle was restarted and resumed normal operation. The identical failures occurred on a separate occasion. The vehicle has not been repaired at this time. The failure mileage was 43,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Morgantown , WV, USA

problem #430

Jan 102010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 47,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 30 mph the power steering light flashed on the dashboard and the vehicle lost power steering and the contact briefly lost control of the vehicle. The contact drove the vehicle home and notified the manufacturer regarding the failure. The manufacturer did not want the contact to have the vehicle repaired until further notice; however, the dealer informed the contact that the power steering motor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The contact is concerned about the safety risk since there were no related recalls. The failure mileage was 47,000. Updated 03/04/10 the power steering motor was replaced. Updated 06/15/10.

- Port St. Lucie, FL, USA

problem #429

Jan 242005


  • 66,000 miles
The contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 55 mph on the highway, the power steering light illuminated and within a second the power steering failed. He was unable to turn the steering wheel to the left or right and then he lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The vehicle will be repaired. He contacted the manufacturer a report was taken; however, no assistance was offered. The vehicle will be repaired. The failure and the current mileages were 66,000.

- Flatwoods , KY, USA

problem #428

Jan 102010


  • 24,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 35 mph the power steering light flashed on the dashboard and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The contact turned the vehicle off and then restarted it to reset the power steering. The failure has occurred intermittently. The manufacturer was not informed of the failure. The contact is concerned that there are no related recalls for his year, make and model vehicle. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 24,000.

- Pasadena, TX, USA

problem #427

Jan 252010


  • 78,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 50 mph the power steering light illuminated on the dashboard and the vehicle began shaking uncontrollably. The contact was able to drive home safely without any power steering. The contact has called the manufacturer regarding this issue. The contact is concerned about the risk involved when the power steering failure occurred. The failure mileage was 78,000.

- Republic, MO, USA

problem #426

Jan 232010


  • 98,000 miles
Out of nowhere while driving down the highway "power steering" appears on my display and the power steering goes out. I was able to pull over and shut the car off. When I turned it back on the power steering was fine and then after less than 2 minutes the same thing happened. I have been searching the internet and have found several complaints about the exact same problem with Chevy Cobalts. Estimated price to fix this problem is $2000. There is now reason this shouldn't be a recall when there are so many owners that are experiencing the exact same issue. This system failure is very dangerous and something needs to be done and fast.

- Otsego, MN, USA

problem #425

Dec 212009


  • 66,983 miles
As I was going down the highway the powersteering of my car went out. I couldn't move it or turn it. Pulled to the side and turn it off and turn it on again and as soon as I put it in to drive it locked it self again.

- Ganado, TX, USA

problem #424

Jan 072010


  • 71,492 miles
Power steering light came on in vehicle and steering wheel get tight and will not turn. I was told by the dealer that this is a continuous problem with all cheverolet Cobalts....I feel that GM should be responsible for fixing this problem not the teenage daughter was driving when it went out on her car and by the grace of god she did not have an accident and got killed.

- Sparta, GA, USA

problem #423

Jan 172010


  • 82,000 miles
In my 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss with 82,000 miles the electric power steering will appear on the dash and then my steering completely goes. This has happened atleast 20 times this week and is getting worse. I brought it in to a garage that said they did an analysis and nothing is wrong. There is obviously a problem. When this occurs I need to turn my car off and then on but the steering will go again in time. This is dangerous.

- Ridgefield, CT, USA

problem #422

Oct 012009


  • 51,000 miles
Strong fuel odor during operation and after turning off engine on a 2006 Chevy Cobalt. Research shows this is a common problem with this make/model. Several owners report similar problems. Spoke to GM, they claim no open recalls or service bulletins exist. Owners have reported the problem being cause by defective fuel pump assemblies. Again GM refuses to take action. This among other defects on these cars is a perfect example of consumers being but in danger by faulty vehicles. Since GM refuses to acknowledge the problems with there vehicles government intervention in the case is a must.

- Yuma, AZ, USA

problem #421

Jan 192010


  • 48,000 miles
I was driving down the road in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. Without warning the power steering goes out. The power steering light pops on the dash and then it is gone. When you shut the car off the power steering comes back for a short period of time. This occurs everytime I drive it now. My car only has 48000 miles on it. When it goes out it is very hard to steer and control your turns. After reading all the complaints online about this problem with the Cobalt surely there should be a recall. So far nothing has been done to correct the problem.

- Waycross , GA, USA

problem #420

Jan 202010


  • 22,169 miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt power steering frequently goes out. The warning code states power steering failure, at this time all power steering is lost. We took the car to GM service and they said their diagnostic test show no problems, so they refuse to work on the car. Car is now park, because we are afraid to drive it. Car only have 22,169 miles on it.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #419

Oct 052009


  • 80,100 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 5 mph, the power steering light illuminated and the steering wheel locked. He was able to slow down and turn the vehicle off. After a few minutes he turned the vehicle on, the power steering failed and the steering locked again. The dealer stated that they could not do anything for him since his warranty expired. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 80100 and the current mileage was 90300.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #418

Jan 202010


  • 21,000 miles
I purchased a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, at the end of August 09. Since then, it has been in the shop for knocking sounds in the front end that altered the brake from functioning properly over 4 times. The dealer could not always replicate it, therefore it was not fixed. Eventually the noise stopped, then a few months ago the key got stuck in the ignition several times, and finally the shifter had to be replaced. At this point I haven't even owned the vehicle for 5 months, and now a few days ago the power steering shut off in the middle of driving. I pulled over the best I could shut the vehicle off and restarted it. Everything reset and it was fine. Yesterday the event occurred on an exit ramp of a high way and nearly killed me. Once again its back in the shop. This car is a death trap, I'm lucky I was not killed. This is a serious problem and forums all over have people with the same problem. I bought this car because I believed it was safe, and now I'm terrified to drive it by any means. The dealerships aren't any help, they assure the problems are fixed when they really are not.

- Woodbury Heights, NJ, USA

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