ANNOUNCEMENT: The Car Book 2018 is now online!

Ratings on over 1,000 new & used models going back 5 years, from the Center from Auto Safety. Learn more about The Car Book 2018 here. 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:
69 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
129 / 3
Average Mileage:
62,854 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 48 of 59)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #217

Sep 212009


  • 24,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 25 mph, she noticed the power steering warning light was illuminated and suddenly, the vehicle no longer had power steering. The failure has not been diagnosed by the dealer and there were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 24000.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #216

Sep 192009


  • 78,000 miles


The contact owns 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 20 mph the power the steering failed and made it difficult to control the steering wheel. Within seconds, the power steering light illuminated. The contact previously noticed a burning smell in the engine area. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure; however, he replaced the engine oil. The vehicle identification number was not available. The failure and the current mileages were 78,000.

- Lancaster , TX, USA

problem #215

Sep 212009


  • 40,101 miles
Electric power steering system failed while driving on the interstate. After stopping, shutting car off, and restarting car the power steering appears to be functional again. This happened today, as well as 2 times last week.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #214

Sep 102009


  • 42,000 miles
I was driving my 2006 Cobalt on a straight roadway, the power steering went out and was very hard to steer, it does that very frequently now and my pregnant wife is afraid to drive it because of its defect. I think Chevrolet should have to fix this before someone gets hurt or killed because they don't want to back up there product, I think a recall would be very handy for this situation.

- Kermit, WV, USA

problem #213

Sep 192009


  • 83,000 miles
Power steering failure. Driving in curvy area, power steering went out. Little control of vehicle, driving at 25 miles per hour. Even in dead stop, could not turn steering. Have to stop vehicle, turn off ignition and turn back on. Will let you drive for limited time and then same thing occurs. Afraid to drive vehicle that still having to make payments on, cost to repair too great. Small children in home and ride in vehicle, afraid accident will occur and hurt my children.

- Gray Court, SC, USA

problem #212

Mar 102009


  • 685,302 miles
Power steering stopped working while driving.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #211

Sep 122009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 29,800 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel, then steering became difficult. The vehicle was restarted after five minutes, and then she resumed normal operation. The vehicle was taken to dealer, in which the technician concluded that she would have to pay $1000 to replace the steering column. No repairs were made. She is in the process of contacting the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 29,800.the current mileage 29,826. Bl updated 10/20/09 the dealer made the repairs. Updated 10/22/09.

- Georgetown, SC, USA

problem #210

Aug 262009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while exiting a parking space, she lost power steering. The inability to steer while driving could lead to a vehicle crash. The vehicle has not been taken to the dealer for inspection, nor has it been repaired. The current and failure mileages were 48000. Updated 11/17/09 updated 11/18/09.

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

problem #209

Mar 012009


  • 60,000 miles
Driving at different speeds (even 70 + mph on interstate) the power steering would go intermittently on our 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt.

- Blue Ridge, GA, USA

problem #208

May 162009


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering intermittently fails. The inability to steer while driving increased the risk of a vehicle crash. He notified the dealer and was advised by a technician that it would cost approximately $800 to $1000 to replace the component. No repairs have been made. The current mileage was 67,106. The failure mileage was 62,000.

- Harlingen, TX, USA

problem #207

Aug 112009


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. He stated that while driving he lost power steering and noticed a failure light illuminated on the instrument panel. He then continued driving normal without any additional power steering failures. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and inspected where it was determined that the electric power steering unit failed. The vehicle has not been repaired since no warranty is available. The failure and current mileages were 54000.

- Montclair, CA, USA

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