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 36 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #417

Oct 152008


  • 48,500 miles


Electronic power steering failure. 99% of driving time is without power steering. Received estimate to repair; re-manufactured part is $900 plus labor to remove old and replace part. Still paying monthly on car and can't afford the repair.

- Lehigh Acres, FL, USA

problem #416

Jan 112010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 60 mph on normal road conditions the "power steering" warning light 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 as a result of the warning indicator. The vehicle restarted and resumed normal operation. The failure occurred whenever the vehicle was in operation. The vehicle was inspected by at an independent mechanic who stated that the failure was contributed to the power steering module. The vehicle has not been repaired at this time. The failure mileage was 65,000. Updated 2/22/10 the dealer replaced the steering column and motor. Updated 06/17/19

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #415

Jul 032009


  • 44,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt power steering failure.

- La Plata, MD, USA

problem #414

Dec 172009


  • 44,016 miles


I halve a 2006 Chevy Cobalt and the power steering keeps going happens randomly. This is a common problem...why is GM not recalling this problem? with the economy we cant afford to fix this problem. It is there problem to have safe cars on the roads and trust me this is not safe...we need to get something done with this immediately..

- Sellersville, PA, USA

problem #413

Dec 242009


  • miles
Re: 2006 Chevy Cobalt (purchased June 29, 2006) while traveling home on christmas eve, the power steering alarm beeped and immediately the power steering was disabled and it became difficult to steer the car. It started after around about 45 minutes of continuous driving.the car has to be restarted to regain power steering and the problem (disabling of power steering) returns after about 30 minutes of driving. Due to financial situations the car hasn't been taken to a dealer for repairs. Diagnostics costs will be $91, to check sensors which dealer stated was most likely the issue.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #412

Jan 152010


  • 41,102 miles
I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt and on a recent trip my powering steering goes out and the power steering light comes on. When car is shut off and started again it returns to normal. Had to do this 3 times on a 20 mile trip. No action has been done yet since it has just occurred but saw online where many Cobalt owners are having the same problem.

- New Eagle, PA, USA

problem #411

Jan 072010


  • 46,000 miles


The power steering intermittently stops and I don't have power steering at all. It takes a quick reaction on my part or I loss control of the vehicle. It does this without warning, but then the warning light comes on to indicate power steering. It left me stranded once. I feel it is a safety issue and it could be a hazard if I was driving in our busy rush hour traffic and it decides to go out. I have called Chevrolet myself to inquire about recalls after reading many reviews online. I have also talked to a couple of local Chevrolet dealerships and they informed me that they are electronic power steering and not fluid driven vehicles. Both places told me they have replaced a lot of them in the 2006 Cobalts, even recently. Chevrolet themselves just typed in my complaint for review and they would see if any other complaints have been made regarding this same type of vehicle. I fear that my daughters life is at risk driving this car, but still needs to go to work. There may not have been any injuries or deaths this time, but how many will it take before they place a recall on this issue?

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #410

Jul 152009


  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that when she drove approximately 6 mph over a bump in the road there was a clanking noise in the steering wheel. While driving the steering also failed and the warning lights illuminated. The contact had to drive onto the emergency lane, turn the vehicle on and off so that it would reset itself. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the diagnostic fee was $105; although, the warranty was valid. The failure mileage was 71,000.

- Park Forest, IL, USA

problem #409

Dec 012009


  • 73,259 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt which was purchased in 2007. She stated that the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The dealer stated that she was turning the steering wheel in the wrong direction and that is what caused the steering wheel to lock. The dealer also stated that when the steering wheel locks that is a normal function for her year, make and model vehicle. The failure also occurred on a highway while driving approximately 55 mph without making any left or right turns. The failure and current mileages were under 73,259.

- Hoffman Estates, IL, USA

problem #408

Nov 272009


  • 59,500 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt.on the date indicated below my power steering went out, and I could not steer the car. Fortunately, there was no accident, but no the power steering goes out every time I drive the car. There should be a GM recall for this problem.

- Summerville, SC, USA

problem #407

Jan 102010


  • 65,000 miles


During normal vehicle operation power steering went randomly off and on until brake completely.

- Saint Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #406

Jan 122010


  • 58,000 miles
The power steering on my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt went out today as I was driving around on base. With the research I've done online, and from talking to friends who own Cobalts, I have found out that this is not an isolated incident. I have learned that there is a persistent problem with the Cobalt's power steering. I have to fight to turn the wheel when making a turn, and pulling into a parking space was next to impossible. Yet when I shut off the engine, wait, and turn the car back on, it runs fine.

- Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #405

Apr 182008


  • 27,819 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact started the ignition and the "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The warning indicator remained illuminated until the engine was turned off. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician was unable to duplicate the failure. On a separate occasion the vehicle loss complete power steering which resulted in greater effort to turn the steering wheel. The failures occurred intermittently. The vehicle has not been repaired for the malfunction. The contact had concern of the safety risk involved. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 27,819. The current mileage was 46,594.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #404

Jan 102010


  • 38,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt. First the odometer, speedometer, radio and other dash instruments stopped working. The next day the power steering stopped working. Took it to the auto parts store to have a diagnostic test which showed nothing was wrong. Bought a new fuse which did nothing. Have not taken it to be fixed for money reasons. This is my son who is away at college only form of transportation.

- Leavenworth, KS, USA

problem #403

Jan 102010


  • 59,700 miles
2006 Cobalt le 4 door power steering randomly stops functioning, very dangerous and caught me completely by surprise the first time it happened, causing a near miss accident.

- Sulphur Springs, TX, USA

problem #402

Dec 202009


  • 41,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls. While driving the car an alarm sounds the power steering illuminates and the steering wheel locks up making it extremely difficult to steer. The first time it happened I was able to pull off to the side of the road and shut the car off. Waited a few minutes then restarted the car everything seemed fine and then it did it again about a mile down the road. This is very scary not to mention dangerous. With this happening on a constant basis I have been unable to drive the vehicle therefore causing additional expense for alternate ways to work. The local GM dealership refused to even look at the car anymore saying they were advised by GM. This is because the original dealership we purchased the car from is being sued by GM for a 7 million dollar debt and they don't want to deal with their issues. The car has spent more time in the shop than we have been able to drive it. I have well over 30 repair orders for my steering column alone. We had a mechanic contact the local GM rep to see if he could help but the rep wont even call back. We had started to have problem with the car within 24 hours of leasing it new. GM has done nothing we contacted an attorney but it seems GM would rather pay their high price attorneys to give us the run around than fix the problem and satisfy a customer. The problem occurred at 41,000 miles warranty is expired. Due to this experience I will never buy another GM vehicle again.

- Gibbsboro, NJ, USA

problem #401

Dec 272009


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ls. The contact was driving approximately 55 mph on normal road conditions. The "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel and immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The driver pulled over to the side of the road which required greater effort to turn the steering wheel. The engine was turned off and restarted; however, the vehicle resumed normal operation. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic which recommended that the vehicle be inspected by an authorized dealer. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer which quoted a diagnostic charge of $100 the vehicle has not been repaired for the malfunction. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Carmel , NY, USA

problem #400

Dec 282009


  • 67,770 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt lt. He stated that while entering the highway, the power steering light warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel. The steering wheel became difficult to move to the left or right. The contact stated that after he was able to drive onto the emergency lane and restart the vehicle, the power steering would then become operable. The failure occurred intermittently. The dealer advised that there were no related recalls and since his the warranty was not valid the contact is liable for the estimated repair cost of over $900. No repairs were made to the vehicle. The current and failure mileages were under 67,770.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #399

Mar 022007


  • 36,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt coupe power steering goes out needs to be recalled for repair this is a wide spread problem that Chevrolet refuses to acknowledge.

- Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

problem #398

Jan 062010


  • 58,613 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While the contact attempted to make a left hand turn he noticed a power steering warning light appeared on the dashboard and within a few minutes, the vehicle no longer had power steering which caused the contact to crash into a ditch. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer and there were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 58613.

- Connersville, IN, USA

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