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 49 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #157

Aug 122009


  • 58,800 miles


Last night I was driving and noticed my power steering light kept flashing. A few minutes later my car started jerking back and forth, cutting in and out, and shuckling when I turned the steering wheel. I assumed my gas was faulty, so I cut the car off, put in octane booster and more gas. After this it ran okay, but I am complaining because I felt like my safety was in danger because of how my car was responding. If this happens again I will complain again. I am still under warranty and will take this to the dealership.

- Dalton, GA, USA

problem #156

Jul 302009


  • 32,500 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 55 mph, the interior chime sounded three times. In addition, the power steering warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Suddenly, the power steering failed and the driver had to exert greater effort to turn the steering wheel. The consumer pulled over to the side of the road and the engine was turned off. When the vehicle was restarted, the power steering was functional again; however, the warning light remained lit until the engine was turned off. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing and they stated that the failure was contributed to the power steering unit, which needed to be replaced. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 32,500. Updated 09/14/09. Updated 09/16/09.

- New Bedford, MA, USA

problem #155

Aug 102009


  • 44,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. It has the problem where in the middle of driving it will randomly shut off the power steering. The steering wheel will even lock up at times. I have almost been in several accidents because of this. It is my only means of transportation. I am stuck with this car, because it costs around 1100 dollars to fix! I searched the internet and there is a countless amount of people that are having this problem. I fear for my life every day that I have to drive this car. Now this car has 44K miles on it and it is just out of warranty. I do not want any one else killed because of this poor manufacturing. If there is a class action lawsuit, I want to be involved! also, this issue happens almost everyday for the past month and continues. Once I pull over to the side of the road (if I can) and shut the car off then turn it back on, the power steering resumes working and I can drive for a while again.

- Matthews, NC, USA

problem #154

Aug 102009


  • 80,726 miles


I have a 2006 Cobalt and the power steering just went out. I have heard several people complain about power steering system failing on theirs as well.

- Campton, KY, USA

problem #153

Aug 102009


  • 85,000 miles
I am driving my Chevy Cobalt 2006 on a busy road and all of a sudden my power steering light goes on and my wheel will not turn. I couldn't even steer my car to avoid traffic at first unless I really tugged at the wheel. This is extremely dangerous! estimated repair is 2000! on a 2006 car now that it is out of warranty!

- Ferndale, MI, USA

problem #152

Aug 102006


  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving at any speed, the power steering fails. When the failure occurs, the contact must turn off the engine and wait momentarily for the vehicle to restart. In addition, the power steering locks, which makes the key difficult to remove from the ignition. The contact must rattle the key, place the vehicle into park, and continue shifting in order to release the key. The failure mileage was 28,000.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #151

Aug 032009


  • 27,500 miles


Power steering failure while on way to work. Warning light came on prior to power steering failure. Dealer contacted, and car taken in the next day. Although the warning light did not come on and the steering worked the next day, was told there was a problem with the electronic components in the steering column, and the motors were faulty. Parts had to be replaced.

- Burbank, CA, USA

problem #150

Aug 052009


  • 61,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt power steering keeps going out and when you cut it off and recrank it will work for a little while then same thing happens again. Bought it used in 2008 didn't think I would need warranty so I didn't purchase it and from what I'm reading on different forums this is an ongoing problem for many Cobalt owners its time Chevrolet did a recall to fix this dangerous issue.

- Fieldale, VA, USA

problem #149

May 202009


  • 46,020 miles
I was driving down the road in may and the power steering cut out while in motion. I immediately pulled over, turned engine off and then restarted the vehicle. The power steering began working again, but then cut out again after a few miles while still driving. This occurs every time I drive the car; works, cuts out, I restart the vehicle, power steering begins working, then cuts out again....everytime I drive!! my mechanic has tried replacing the computer chip and everything short of dismantling the vehicle. He informed me that he discovered that thousands of Cobalt owners have had the same problem. Unfortunately, GM refuses to do a recall despite the danger of the failure. The power steering column needs to be replaced. I am hoping GM will step up to assist their customers that cannot afford this repair.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #148

Aug 082009


  • 84,076 miles
The events leading up to this failure were none. I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt and my electrical powering steering went out on a trip with my two children. I am so upset about this. The "power steering" light came on exactly one minute before this happened on the highway. I had no notice and had to pull hard off the highway and restart the car. I took it to the Chevy dealership (without a warranty) and it is going to cost $2000. I do not have this kind of money and also still owe $10,500 on a car that is dangerous to drive my children in. The entire steering column will have to be replaced is what the Chevy dealership said.

- Auburndale, FL, USA

problem #147

Jul 012009


  • miles


2006 Chevy Cobalt steering is going out while driving. Very concerned. Why has this not been a recall.

- Valrico, FL, USA

problem #146

Aug 042009


  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 30 mph, the contact heard a chiming noise inside the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Suddenly, the power steering failed. The driver had to exert greater effort to turn the steering wheel. The power steering warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The driver proceeded to a parking lot and turned off the engine. Roadside assistance was called to the scene and the vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer. The technician stated that the steering column motor assembly failed. The vehicle was being repaired. The VIN was unknown. The failure and current mileages were 28,000.

- Boventry, CT, USA

problem #145

Aug 062009


  • 32,210 miles
The power steering stops working, and I have to turn off my car and it works again for only one minute! and it stops working again!

- Hidalgo, TX, USA

problem #144

Jul 242009


  • 37,359 miles
Car traveled 75 ft while in park with the engine running and entered a lake at a girl scout camp. Vehicle declared a total loss by insurance carrier. Car had the shifter assembly binding replaced on 10/6/08 with mileage of 28201 mi. At an authorized Chevrolet dealer while still under warranty because the key could not be removed from ignition because the car did not recognize it was in park.

- Elizabeth, NJ, USA

problem #143

Aug 032009


  • 48,500 miles
The power steering goes out in my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ss coupe. When this happens it causes the steering to be very difficult to steer and a crash could result.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #142

Aug 042009


  • 62,305 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While approaching a stop, the contact noticed that the power steering suddenly stopped working. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The failure mileage was 62,305.

- Carrolton, TX, USA

problem #141

Aug 032009


  • 61,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt, power steering keeps going out.

- Fieldale, VA, USA

problem #140

Aug 032009


  • 77,345 miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, 77,000 miles words powersteering lit up on dash and I was unable to steer car while moving. No consequences on block from my house but it is not a fluid system. This is not preventable and I viewed one report with over 375 complaints of the same problem with 2005 - 2008 Cobalts. This needs to be recalled if this is a steering column problem with such prevalence. I travel quite a distance to work. What if I had been on the interstate as usual?

- Pompano Beach, FL, USA

problem #139

Aug 042009


  • 37,877 miles
Chevrolet Cobalt's power steering disables the car, while in operation! the brakes disengage and transmission shakes violently.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #138

Aug 032009


  • 43,750 miles
1. we were driving and a light came on that said that there was a problem with the power steering. 2. it happens within several seconds of starting the car, that the power steering fails. 3. went to the Chevy dealership and they said that there is a shortage in the power steering box and that I would have to replace it and it would cost $1,000.

- Oklahoma City , OK, USA

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