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 45 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #237

Sep 162009


  • 27,000 miles


Power steering goes out randomly along with a "power steering" message in dash. Requires car to be restarted to get it working again. This is a 2006 Chevy Cobalt with 27, xxx miles on it. GM has not set a recall for this problem, and it seems like thousands have it. If this failed while in a turn, it could cause serious injury or death. The cost to repair this is anywhere between $1,000 to $2,000. This is unacceptable.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #236

Sep 302009


  • 42,000 miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt power steering doesn't work. The car will not turn. This caused me to almost have an accident. The car is out of warranty and cost about 1,000 dollars to repair. After researching this problem I found it to be happening a lot. This is a real safety hazard. Is there a recall on this problem?

- Peoria, AZ, USA

problem #235

Aug 052009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel, and then there was a loss of power steering. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and a technician concluded that since he could not identify the cause of the failure, he could not provide a free remedy. Prior to the failure the ignition switch was replaced. The failure and current mileages were 78000. Updated 11/10/09 the consumer also stated the vehicle would cut off in the middle of traffic. The vehicle has been to the dealer 6 times. Updated 11/13/09.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #234

May 012009


  • 37,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The traction and the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel and there was a loss of power steering. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection. The technicians could not identify the cause of the failure; therefore, they could not provide a remedy. The failure mileage was 37,000 and the current mileage was 41,000.

- Hamilton , OH, USA

problem #233

Sep 302009


  • 63,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt power steering failed. I cant control my car...I cant drive my car. The wheel is so tight that it is very difficult to simply drive out of a parking lot. If this had happened while I was in a turn or in heavy traffic, I would have wrecked. It happens constantly now and it wont stop. I am being told it will cost me $1200 to fix it. There are thousands of people on the internet with the same problem. This needs to be a recalled item. Controlling a vehicle should be of importance to GM.

- Elmendorf Afb, AK, USA

problem #232

Sep 192009


  • 34,790 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 45 mph he lost power steering and it became difficult to control the steering wheel. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and the power steering motor was repaired at an insurance deductible rate of $100. The manufacturer was notified, and a representative stated that he would be reimbursed after the vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 34,790. The current mileage was 34,822.

- Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #231

Sep 052009


  • 42,000 miles


I was driving and the power steering keeps going out of my 2006 Chevy Cobalt, it don't matter whether I'm in a curve or not, its highly dangerous and could be very deadly if it happens at the wrong time, if I were to have to cut the wheel quickly I would just be hurting, because it won't, and if my pregnant wife is involved in an accident because of this, I will not hesitate at all to get a lawyer and take legal action against Chevrolet, because they have been informed of this defect and they refuse to do a recall on this there is a petition being signed right now to get it recalled and it better go through or they will be sued for there actions or non action shall I say, but there has been many complaints and someone needs to do something about it immediately or someone is going to get injured or possibly killed, and then its all on Chevrolet because there to sorry to back up there product and fix it. So I'm asking please help me fix this problem before its too late and someone is injured or killed, it cost over 1000 dollars to fix this I'm told and I can't afford it and shouldn't have to when its Chevy's fault its this way. So please help and get this problem fixed so my wife (4 months pregnant) can drive her car without being scared of the steering going out and I don't have to worry about contacting my lawyer to push the issue a little harder. Thank you and please help!

- Kermit, WV, USA

problem #230

Sep 152009


  • 73,000 miles
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt has multiple issues. Several occurred while the car was under warranty such as the ignition switch jamming, the gear shift not shifting into park, and the fuel pump leaking. The latest is with the power steering. I hear a click in the steering column, then the power steering goes out immediately and then the light on the dashboard alerts me that the power steering has failed. It does this without warning irregardless of how long the car has been running. Sometimes it occurs within minutes of starting the car, other times it occurs after driving for 30 or 40 miles. Many people have responded online about these complaints. All you have to do is google in "Chevy Cobalt power steering problems" and you will see hundreds of consumers with this problem. I called the GM customer hotline and got the run around. This problem is extremely dangerous because the power steering goes out suddenly and without enough warning. It becomes extremely difficult to maneuver.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #229

Jun 062009


  • 70,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt electronic power steering failure. Mileage 70,000. Turning key off/on restarts steering. Problem not repaired yet due to cost. Very dangerous.

- Mouthcard, KY, USA

problem #228

Sep 212008


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The traction control and the check engine warning lights intermittently illuminated on the instrument control panel and the vehicle stalled. The dealer replaced the shift column for $260 at the owners expense; however, the repair did not remedy the failure. He was in the process of notifying the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 50,000 and the current mileage was 56,000.

- Middleton, WI, USA

problem #227

Sep 132009


  • 64,000 miles


Last Aug 2009 I was living my drive way and they steer wheel got stuck and I got trapped between my trees. I didn't know what happen so I just assumed it was me being a bad driver. Two weeks ago I was driving in a street and the bell in the computer start ringing and gave me a message "power steer" then the steer while got stuck again. I didn't know what to do so I stop and called a towing truck to get my car and take it to my mechanic. My mechanic kept it for a day and said that Cobalts 2006 and 2007 have this problem the computer does not communicate with the engine and that's what happen. I called General Motors and they asked me how many miles I had in the car which is 64,000 and then they told me I had to take it to one of his dealer shops to make sure. I told the lady to be sure they were going to consider this because I have to pay and then they will decide if it was a safety issue. I did pay a lot of money and they say -you are not under guarantee- I got mad because they knew since the beginning how many miles I had. Now if I turn left or right the steer wheel get stuck so I have to stop and turn off the car. After that I can drive ok. Is always dangerous if I'm in a busy street or highway. To repair they want $1,000 that I don't have. The lady who "helped" me her name is mariana jimenez and she told the they are going to pay for a gas leak that I had in this year too. Because that is a re-call. She said she will send the papers to get reimburse but she never did. The case number for the problem I have now from General Motors is 71759207211. They are only recognizing the problem with the gas leaking because that was a "safety issue" how is not a safety issue driving and the steer wheel gets stuck? so my complain is for the gas leaking that I pay myself and didn't get reimburse and the current problem. The Chevrolet shop wrote this in the invoice I paid "performed diag system check-U2107/U2100/CO475 stored in pscm silate to internal pscm motor failure".

- Eugene, OR, USA

problem #226

Sep 052009


  • 49,000 miles
I have 2006 Chevy Cobalt and have recently had problems with the power steering. The light turns on blinks then completely shuts off your steering, barely allowing someone to turn your car to safety. It works after a while yet continues to happen when you drive. I heard it is the power steering motor. GM really needs to recall this part in that I hope that I, as well as others, do not get into an accident because of this problem.

- Brownsville, TX, USA

problem #225

Sep 262009


  • miles
Well I've had my car a Chevy Cobalt 06 lt model 2.2 motor for about 2 yrs and the power steering just doesn't work anymore. It's defective I've asked other Chevy drivers and it has happen to their vehicles as well..

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #224

Apr 022009


  • 69,000 miles
1) the car was steering fine up until approx 69,000 miles. 2) the electronic power steering on this model car quits working arbitrarily. The power steering will initially function correctly every time the car engine is restarted (ignition turned off then back on) regardless of how long the engine has been on or off prior to the restart. Then at some point after the engine is running, the power steering will quit and you must apply tremendous force to the steering wheel to control the direction of the vehicle. The time between restart and occurrence of the power steering going out appears to vary with temperature, however the problem behavior is not consistent across all temperature ranges. In general, the cooler the ambient air temperature the vehicle is operating in, the longer the power steering will work correctly before it quits, but this is not always the case. The one thing that has been consistent is that once the power steering quits, it remains out until you turn the engine off and restart the car. 3) I have not attempted to have this problem repaired as estimates to repair the problem are in the $2000 dollar range.

- Washington, OK, USA

problem #223

Aug 062009


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that intermittently while driving he experiences a loss of power steering. The inability to steer while driving increases the risk for vehicle crash. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and a technician concluded that the power steering motor needed to be replaced at an expense of $356. He is in the process of having the vehicle repaired. The manufacturer was notified, but no assistance was provided. The failure and current mileages were 50,000.

- Palestine, TX, USA

problem #222

Sep 222009


  • 42,000 miles
The electronic power steering in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt ss goes out randomly at different speeds. The power steering resets itself when I turn off and on the car. So far it has happened to me 5 times the latest one I was going down a backroad going 45 miles per hour and it just turned off. Luckily there wasn't anyone around me and I was able to stop and shut off the car and turn it back on. Also, luckily I was close to home so I didn't have to drive it much farther with a chance of it happening to me again.

- Conyers, GA, USA

problem #221

Sep 152009


  • 67,000 miles
Power steering message appeared on message center; wheel became hard to turn and then there was no longer power steering. Happens intermittently; when you turn the car off and back on the power steering works fine (for a short period). Doesn't depend on the speed or anything I'm doing; the first time it went out I was pulling into a parking lot, now it happens when I'm on the freeway, turning, going slow, it doesn't matter. There are times I can drive to the store and it doesn't go out at all and there are times when I don't make it to the end of my street before it goes out. I have read many other complaints from people who have had the same problem and most say the entire power steering system has to be replaced to fix it even though it's generally the power steering motor that is going bad/shorting out. Have to take it to dealership to find out specifically what's wrong, they said it could be "a number of problems." I haven't even had this car a year; there's 67,000 miles on it; power steering shouldn't be an issue.

- Warren, MI, USA

problem #220

Jun 012009


  • 40,000 miles
I bought my 06 Chevy Cobalt in October 2008. The power steering started going out just a few of months ago. Just yesterday I can't keep it on for more than five minutes. If I turn the car off and back on it works for a few minutes but goes right out. This has happened daily for the past 2-4 months. I am very disappointed in my choice of vehicles because it has been nothing but problems, and it only has about 45000 miles on it. This often happens while attempting to turn onto the freeway and makes the car very difficult to turn. This car is very dangerous, and there is nothing I can do about it because of the expense for fixing it. Have not taken it to a dealership yet.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #219

Sep 212009


  • 42,000 miles
Sudden loss of power steering while driving vehicle.

- Georgetown, TX, USA

problem #218

Aug 192009


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately between 65 to 70 mph on normal road conditions; the steering wheel locked. The "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. There was difficulty steering which resulted in a higher effort to turn the steering wheel. The vehicle steered in one direction. The contact was able to drive into the emergency lane. The warning indicator remained illuminated until the engine was turned off. The vehicle was able to resume operation. The failure recurred. The vehicle was in the process of being taken to an authorized dealer for inspection. The contact had concerns of the safety risk involved. The failure and current mileages were 77,000. The VIN was rejected from the system.

- Palm Coast , FL, USA

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