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 47 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #197

Sep 032009


  • 50,000 miles


2006 Chevrolet Cobalt power steering failure while driving, in D or R and when attempting to parallel park. It's an intermittent problem which causes me to have to excessively tug on the steering when to make a turn. This can only be repaired if it does this while in the possession of the Chevy service department. Once the car is cut off the steering motor resets itself and the failure code is gone. So I would have to drive to the dealership while its happening! nothing has been done to fix this, just the instructions to bring it in when it happens again.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #196

Sep 072009


  • 12,000 miles
While turning or sloxwng down my car shakes violently and pulls to the left. I recently put new tires, alignment and rotation thinking this would solve the problem and it has not. It feels as though my steering wheel is going to shake off. The dealership suggested the new tires and it has not helped. This is a huge safety concern and something needs to be done.

- Waterford, CT, USA

problem #195

Sep 022009


  • 15,550 miles
I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls with only 15000 miles on it and driving on the highway..the light came on and said power steering and the steering was shot..couldn't barely move the steering happens alot now...cant even drive for a couple of blocks..have to go to the Chevy dealer and since I bought it from a private warranty..have to pay out of pocket!.

- San Diego , CA, USA

problem #194

Sep 042009


  • 70,680 miles


My Chevrolet Cobalt 2006 was purchased used at a Kia dealership in July 2008. On Friday, 9/4/09, as I was driving back from the mall with my four-year-old daughter in the car, the dashboard display flashed powersteering and my powersteering failed immediately. The car has just over 70,000 on it. The dealer said it will be $800 to fix. Should a steering column really fail this quickly for the amount of money I'm paying for this car?!

- Cleveland, NC, USA

problem #193

Aug 202009


  • 57,000 miles
I bought my 2006 Chevy Cobalt in June of 2008, and within 6 months of having it the powersteering would go out. I have an extended warranty on my car and the part is not covered. What happens is I will be driving, and at random the light for the powersteering comes on and the steering becomes really tight. Now if I turn the car off and on it resets itself, but usually it will go out again. I have also noticed it seems to do this either when the weather is really cold or really hot. Its very scary especially on the freeway. Recently I was in an accident because of the powersteering. I made a claim with GM and they did an investigation. When the investigation came back to GM they declined the repairs. So now im stuck paying for a car the doesn't work.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #192

Sep 042009


  • 104,000 miles
4 times yesterday 9/3/09 on interstate highway 35 (Texas) had major problems trying to get over to the exit when my power steering failed... I have four kids and saw a huge 18 wheeler in my rearview mirror... I thank god that I made it off the highway safe but drove home with no power steering. Looking for someone to fix it but labor day weekend... need recall to happen now!!! I still owe $9,000 and can't drive anywhere with this power steering failure happening over and over. I thought GM was a reliable dealership!! please recall

- Lockhart, TX, USA

problem #191

Sep 032009


  • 56,090 miles


Power steering light on dashboard comes on and power steering goes out in the steering wheel. After turning car off then back on it will go away but problem will repeat itself every thirty minutes or so. Also the key will not come out of the ignition when car is turned off.

- Waco, TX, USA

problem #190

Sep 032009


  • 84,977 miles
The power steering light came on in our 2006 Chevy Cobalt without warning and we lost power steering. We were nearly in an accident but my husband recovered the wheel. Cost to repair is $960. This is outrageous.

- Lexington , KY, USA

problem #189

Jul 152009


  • 38,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 45 mph on normal road conditions; there was a loss of power steering. There was extreme difficulty steering and required effort to turn the steering wheel. The "power steering" warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The warning indicator remained illuminated until the engine was turned off. The contact was able to drive the vehicle to the emergency lane. The vehicle was restarted which reset the power steering switch and it resumed normal operation. When ever the vehicle was in motion the failure recurred. An authorized dealer stated that the failure was contributed to the power steering switch. The vehicle has not been repaired. The contact had concerns of the safety risk involved. The VIN was unavailable. The failure and current mileages were 38,000.

- Traverse City, MI, USA

problem #188

Aug 192009


  • 112,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving the warning light came on stating that the power steering was low. The contact lost power steering control and found it difficult to drive to the emergency lane. After turning the engine off, he was able to restart the vehicle and drive normally. The dealer stated that the motor within the power steering unit needed to be replaced. The repair cost was $900. The dealer advised him that there was a related recall in 2007 and may have been mailed to the previous owner. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 112,000. Updated 10/08/09

- Hemet, CA, USA

problem #187

Aug 282009


  • 62,000 miles


I own a 2006 chevorlet Cobalt lt. Recently my power steering went out on me while I was driving down the road causing me to nearly hit someone. When I looked under the hood, to my surprise, I was unable to locate the power steering reservoir. After researching this online I found that it is all electronically and will nearly cost me $2000 to correct. This problem happens randomly which is a major safety hazard! if I shut the car off then start it back up the system does reset itself, but still will come on at any given time.

- Bridgeport, OH, USA

problem #186

Jul 012009


  • 87,000 miles
My 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ss coupe's electric power steering system has been cutting in and out for the past 2 months now, and seems to be getting worse by the day. I attempted to make an appointment at the dealership because steering is so important but since my vehicle is slightly out of the vehicle warranty, Chevrolet wants to charge me an arm and a leg just to look at the vehicle. I have had nothing but stupid problems with this vehicle and it is time for Chevrolet to take responsibility for putting human lives at risk. This is ridiculous! we need a recall!

- Bayville, NJ, USA

problem #185

Jul 272009


  • miles particular event led up to the failure - it started suddenly. 2. the power steering fault flashes then you lose power steering, when you stop the car and turn it off it resets itself, it started sporadically but has been steadily increasing in frequency, nothing has happened yet but am afraid for wife to drive car - especially with the children. 3. have checked for any recalls, etc. Apparently this is becoming a common problem - I am going to check with my local dealer but do not have a lot of hope because the vehicle is about 10,000 mile out of warranty.

- Madison Heights, VA, USA

problem #184

Aug 272009


  • 38,500 miles
I own a 06 Chevy Cobalt and the power steering light came on and car turned of in the middle of rush hour--not safe!! Chevy needs to recall and correct.

- Hopkins, SC, USA

problem #183

Jul 242009


  • 38,500 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. He stated while driving he lost power steering functions and noticed a failure light illuminated on the instrument panel. He then pulled off to the side of the road. The vehicle was shut off then restarted. The failure stopped and it resumed normal driving functions. A few miles later the vehicle power steering failed again. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and inspected where it was determined that the electric power steering unit had failed. No repairs were made. He will contact the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 38,500 and the current mileage was 39,000.

- Bainbridge, GA, USA

problem #182

Jul 202009


  • miles
Driving along in my 2006 Chevy Cobalt and the power steering just goes out and almost ran off road going around curve with kids in car. Dealership says it is an electronic motor that will cost over $2,000 to fix and no one else will touch it. I've since seen many complaints on this matter and wonder how many deaths does there need to be before there is a recall on this manufacturer defect!

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #181

Jun 012009


  • miles
The contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ls. When starting the vehicle, she noticed that the power steering light was illuminated and the steering wheel was difficult to turn to the left and right. She stated that the failure occurred immediately after the warranty expired. The failure and current mileage were unknown.

- Owens Cross Roads, AL, USA

problem #180

Jan 202009


  • miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt that has power steering problems. The power steering locks up making it impossible to turn, I avoided an accident but I have not drove the car since. I had it towed to the nearest dealership and the cost of repair is $1200 dollars. No one can tell me why this has happened. I have gone on the internet and discovered that I am not the only one that has had this problem with this particular vehicle. So I can only assume that it is a manufacturing error. With the economy the way it is I am not able to afford to pay for this repair. I am financing a car I don't even drive.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #179

Aug 172009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. She states when driving the vehicle the steering locks up and then the light illuminates on the instrumental panel. And then she would have to shut the vehicle off and then restart it. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and they replaced three fuses. After the repair was performed there was an electrical smell and the power steering got worse. The vehicle has not been taken back to have it diagnosed again for the power steering but she is planning to take it back. The lock up on the steering happens about six to ten times daily. The failure mileage was 65000 and current mileage was 75000. Bl updated 10/5/09 the dealer found the steering motor and column bad. Updated 10/07/09.

- Carrollton, GA, USA

problem #178

Aug 232009


  • 38,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. At about 38,000 miles, the power steering would occasionally go out. This has become progressively more frequent, until now it happens almost all the time. A few times I could barely manage to turn a corner because of the effort it took to steer, and came within inches of going off the street into the ditch. Without power steering, it seems harder to turn than even a car that never had power steering. I've contacted my local GM dealer but they would not repair it without first my paying for an analysis, and with no guarantee that they would repair the problem if it was the power steering motor. My wife dares not drive this car for she fears she could not turn the steering if the power stops.

- Battle Ground, WA, USA

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