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 37 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #397

Dec 302009


  • 58,200 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 55 mph, the power steering failed on her vehicle on a frequent basis. The power steering light would illuminate on the dashboard and then she noted that the steering wheel would be extremely difficult to turn. She pulled over and turned the vehicle off and re-started it; however, the vehicle would function correctly for a while and then fail again. She called the dealer and was informed that she would have to pay for a diagnostic test. She had not spoken with the manufacturer. The vehicle has not been repaired. The current mileage was 58,460. The failure mileage was approximately 58,200.

- Los Lunas, NM, USA

problem #396

Dec 052009


  • 29,800 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. He stated that the power steering failed intermittently while he was driving and caused him to lose steering control and have much difficulty controlling the steering wheel. He would turn the vehicle off and re-start it and was able to continue driving until the failure recurred. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The vehicle has not been repaired. The current mileage was approximately 30,000. The failure mileage was approximately 29,800.

- Anoka, MN, USA

problem #395

Dec 302009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact was driving approximately 65 mph in rainy weather conditions when 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. The vehicle was able to resume normal operations. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle has not been repaired for the malfunction at this time. The failure mileage was 33,000. Upadted 02/18/10

- Seattle , WA, USA

problem #394

Dec 292009


  • 77,800 miles


As of last week, I have had steering problems with my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. I will be driving and then all of a sudden my power steering goes out and I am not able to steer safely. If I shut my car off and turn it back on, the steering works fine but only for a short time. The first day I would be able to drive again for a little while before the steering went out again, but now it is almost immediately - one week later. Currently, there is not a recall on the steering problems for this electric steering system, but I have seen and heard a lot of complaints about this. I have only had my car for two years, and already had to replace the fuel system due to a crack and leak. I am not looking forward to replacing my steering system as well!

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #393

Jan 042010


  • 38,500 miles
Intermittent power steering failure on 2006 Chevrolet cobolt. Car has 39000 miles with electric steering. Not under warranty. Called 4 Chevy dealers and all service dept told me they seem several. Also headlight fogs up frequently after heavy rain. Dealer told me to drive around and it will go away. It takes about 2 weeks to almost clear up until another heavy rain.went to the dealer about the fogged up lens and another customer who bought their car 2 weeks earlier had the same problem.the electric power steering should not go bad on a 2006 with 38,000 miles. Electric power steering is new technology. No belts, pumps or fluid. Safety issue.

- Owings Mills , MD, USA

problem #392

Jan 012010


  • 50,500 miles
I was driving my Cobalt Saturday morning and power steering went out. I stopped car and turned engine off. I started car and was able to drive it but the power steering went out again. This is very dangerous. I have three small children. I am going to the dealership tomorrow and expect the runaway. But I am well aware that this vehicle should have been recalled a long time ago from what I have read. Please do some thing before someone is seriously injured or killed.

- Lewisburg, TN, USA

problem #391

Dec 282009


  • 19,640 miles


Driving down the freeway, the power steering went out of my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. I have to replace the power steering motor. Mileage is 19,640.

- Alexander City, AL, USA

problem #390

Jan 022010


  • 11,800 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering warning light illuminated intermittently and the power steering failed while driving approximately 35 mph. The dealer stated that it would cost $600 to repair the vehicle since the power steering failure occurred when the vehicle was cold. The failure mileage was 11,800.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #389

Dec 232009


  • 43,000 miles
1) the power steering warning light lights up on the information center 2) the car losses its steering and starts bucking uncontrollably, this occurs every time I drive the car, the consequences are the car sits because it is undriveable due the fear of causing a deadly accident to my self or someone else 3) nothing has been done to the car because this is going to cost 2000 dollars to fix although I have contacted General Motors and they have not yet responded to the problem because the car is no longer under warranty.

- Pittston, PA, USA

problem #388

Jan 022010


  • 67,000 miles
1) driving on highway 2) power steering goes out in Cobalt. Occurs everytime I drive the Cobalt, and consequence is hard driving and real potential for an accident. 3) told not under warranty to replace, since no recall was issued on this safety issue. Still driving under potential hazardous conditions, due to the large expensive I would need to absorb to correct the problem.

- Groveland, IL, USA

problem #387

Jan 022010


  • 55,000 miles


I have had the same issue with my Chevy Cobalt, 2006 for the past couple of years. Power steering will flash several times on the dash board while driving and eventually the steering wheel will start jerking to the left and right. Which is very scary while driving. After that the car will start jerking back and forth. Almost like driving a standard car. I have taken to numerous dealers and they cannot find the problem. This has been an ongoing issue. I have not had anything else go wrong, but the power steering.

- Perry, IA, USA

problem #386

Nov 102009


  • 68,000 miles
I have had alot of problems with my car, 1st my radio went out, it just went out and it would only work when I held the power button down and there were always things flashing on the screen, so after a few weeks of this happening my car wouldn't start, I would get it jumped and the other person wouldn't even have to start their car to jump mine it only took a second. After having to replace my battery it was discovered that my radio was drawing too much energy even when the car was turned off and it was causing my battery to die, so now I have no radio in my car I had to have it unhooked. Then while I was still dealing with the battery issue, my power steering started going out, I thought this was some how related to my battery so when I got that fixed I thought it would get better it didn't. I will be driving along and the chime will go off and it says power steering and it goes out. I wrote GM a letter with my concerns and complaints, and after having it looked at by the dealership and being told this is nothing I did to my car, GM refused to help me with my car they said parts wear out and I have to get it fixed myself, I have had estimated done it is going to cost about $750 for a new steering column.

- Harper Woods , MI, USA

problem #385

Dec 152009


  • miles
The power steering light in my 06 Chevy Cobalt comes on and shuts off my power steering. This locks up my steering wheel and makes it almost impossible to drive with. I have been on sites with many people having the same problem as me and there is no recall for this car. Someone is going to get in a horrible accident because of this defect in the Cobalts. The only way to stop this problem while driving is to stop your car completely and turn it off and then back on.

- Longwood, FL, USA

problem #384

Dec 292009


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 30 mph the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel, and then there was a loss of power steering. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealership. The current and failure mileages were 85000.

- Hudson, FL, USA

problem #383

Dec 282009


  • 60,371 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt loses power steering while driving. I had just gotten off the highway and my car lost all power steering. Took it to a shop the next day and they said there was a bulletin out that these electric motors can overheat if you car sits idle for too long or you are stopped and the wheel is turned a certain way. It was a very snowy day and the roads were very icy. There would have been no way for me to swerve quickly out of someone's path if they cut in front of me or god forbid a deer would have jumped in front of me. I have a 6 year old daughter and thank god she wasn't in the car. I would hate to get in a severe car accident because there is a defect with a Chevy part. This should definitely be recalled and fixed immediately. I imagine there are several parents that have this car and how unfair is that? I was told to just shut my car off and let it cool down. Well that's a fabulous idea on a highway when the roads are icy. Good idea. I should have thought of that. This is a serious malfunction that needs to be fixed.

- Parma, OH, USA

problem #382

Apr 152009


  • 25,000 miles
I was driving on the highway in tampa when my car started to make a "dinging" noise. I then realized that the steering wheel started to get hard to turn. I looked at the information screen on my dashboard and it said 'power steering'. I wasn't sure what to do so I restarted my car and the problem seemed to go away. About an hour later while driving it happened again. I took it into the nearest Chevy dealership to see what the problem was. The gentlemen informed me the power steering had indeed gone out and needed to be replaced but wasn't covered under warranty. He allowed me to drive back to where I'm stationed at because I'm not old enough to rent a car and needed to report off leave. On the way back my power steering went off and this time after I restarted my car it went out again after about 30 seconds. When I returned to my base I took it to a local Chevy dealership and they informed me that the repair would cost between $1000 to $1200. I have not been able to replace the part as of yet and am scared to drive my car.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #381

Nov 102009


  • 85,000 miles
I have a 06 Chevy Cobalt and the power steering goes out after a couple of minutes of driving. Since the Chevy Cobalt has an all electrical power steering system it is very expensive to fix the problem. There have several cases where this same problem has occurred in the same make and model. I feel its a factory defect. It is very unsafe to drive with your power steering out. I had a close in counter with getting in a car accident due to the power steering.

- Visalia, CA, USA

problem #380

Dec 262009


  • 49,100 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 25 mph the "power steering" warning light illuminated on the instrument panel, and then there was a loss of power steering. The driver exerted greater effort to turn the steering wheel and continued normal vehicle operation. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle has not been inspected at this time. The failure mileage was 49,100.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #379

Sep 282009


  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving the power steering fails without warning. This condition causes difficult steering. He has to restart the vehicle to reset itself. A technician from the dealer stated that it cost $2000 to replace the power steering motor. The failure mileage was 48,000.the VIN number was unknown.

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #378

Dec 152009


  • 70,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt and I am recently having problems with the power steering light coming on, my rpms go up and down by themselves causing the car to move even when I let off the gas and the power steering goes out completely. It has only happened a few times so far, but I almost hit someone when the car's rpms where fluttering. This is a serious problem and should be recalled to ensure that no one is seriously injured.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

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