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 55 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #37

Dec 192008


  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 15 mph and making a left turn, the steering column failed. The contact's vehicle almost crashed into another vehicle. The vehicle was able to be safely maneuvered into a parking space, but the steering was very stiff when attempting to park. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the power steering motor failed. The cost to repair the vehicle would be $600. No repairs have been made. The contact is in the process of notifying the manufacturer. The current and failure mileages were 50,000.

- Horn Lake, MS, USA

problem #36

Dec 212008


  • 47,500 miles
I own a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt ls. When I purchased it in January 2008 it had approximately 62,000 kms. In the last year I have driven it for approx. 9000 km. In July 2008 I had my first problem with the power steering. I was driving out of my driveway and the power steering light came on. The car immediately stopped working after shaking for 2-3 seconds. I re-started the engine and the car moved but the brakes were shaky and it seemed as if I was out of gear. I took the car to the dealer 2-3 days later and they replaced my whole steering column with a cost of close to $1000 at the time as my car was out of warranty. The problem went away for a few months but unfortunately last night it began again (December 21). The power steering light came on and the vehicle started shaking while I was driving at 40 km/H. I did not lose control but it made my drive really difficult as I was driving on icy roads. Same as in the summer the brakes were shaky and the engine was out of gear and accelerating was hard to control. After stopping at a gas station and re-starting the engine the car worked fine. I am taking the car to the dealership again, but I cannot believe how GM does not recall this car as hundreds of people report the same problem. It's really dangerous to have the power steering go off randomly. And I don't even know what this is going to cost now.. I have spent over $1500 in repairs for this faulty car just in the last 6 months!

- Calgary Ab Canada, 00, USA

problem #35

Nov 222006


  • 3,040 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the vehicle had issues with the engine surging. She took the vehicle to the dealer and they stated that there was a dirty injector, in which they replaced. In January of 2007, the vehicle was taken to the dealer and they reprogrammed the computer for the surging issue. In March of 2008, the vehicle was returned to the dealer for a recall on the injectors. In addition to the surging, the vehicle would also shake violently when coming to a stop. The brakes and steering would not function correctly. The vehicle was taken to the dealer in October of 2008 and the powertrain control module was replaced. In November of 2008, the contact took the vehicle to the dealer again in regards to the violent shaking. The dealer could not duplicate the failure and advised the contact to call a tow truck in the event of a crash because they could not assist. In November of 2008, the vehicle began shaking violently and crashed into the preceding vehicle. There were no injuries. The vehicle was taken to another dealer, but they could not duplicate the failure as well. A complaint was filed with the manufacturer and the contact is awaiting their response. She was advised to not operate the vehicle. The speed was unknown. The current mileage was approximately 17,250 and failure mileage was approximately 3,040.

- Davie , FL, USA

problem #34

Sep 012008


  • miles


We purchased this car for our teenage daughter based on the reputation of Chevrolet. Driving down the road the powersteering goes out without warning. It can be restarted which will reset the powersteering for a short period of time however, this is unsafe. In mid turn or maneuver this is likely to happen which is likely to cause a crash. I have researched and it does not seem to be a random issue but many people with this same model of car are having this same issue. Chevrolet needs to take care of this problem!

- Kingwood, TX, USA

problem #33

Dec 022008


  • 49,625 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt. The power steering will go out while driving down the road. I can restart my car and it will work again for a period of time. The car is past its warranty stage and has 49625 miles on it. I bought the car from a Chevy dealership with 7000 miles on it. This is definitely a safety issue as who knows what may happen if the power steering goes out while changing lanes or making a rapid turn. I have researched on the internet and found alot of people having the same thing happen as well to the Cobalt they have. Surely this has to be a malfunction within the car and I believe should be addressed and fixed. I contacted the dealership and chevorlet assistants and I was informed to take the car in to have the problem diagnosed, which I am scheduled to do so; however this is costing me money. I realize that car break down and sometimes there are costs involved but I do not think this is just a problem that one individual car is having; this is an recurring problem that is happening in Cobalts with the electrically steering eps. It is not safe, it should not be happening in a newer model of car. What happened to the integrity of chevorlets? please advise or help in this matter before someone does have a fatal accident or die behind this problem.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #32

Jun 102008


  • 37,000 miles
Power steering (electric) has gone out on car along with 20,000 other peoples Chevy needs to fix my car and this problem.

- Wesley Chapel , FL, USA

problem #31

May 012005


  • 56,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 30 mph, the electric power steering indicator was flashing, which indicated that the power steering was not working. The failure made steering difficult. The lack of power steering almost caused numerous crashes. The current mileage was 60,440 and failure mileage was 56,000.

- Oshkosh, WI, USA

problem #30

Oct 012008


  • 48,000 miles
I was driving on a straight road when all the sudden on my 06 Cobalt the power steering went out and the dashboard says power steering. It would not work and had to manually turn it. This is a danger for many reasons. There is over 5000 complaints on the internet and this needs to be taken seriously!!

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #29

Sep 292008


  • 52,225 miles
I was driving my 2006 Chevy Cobalt when the power steering went out and I received a power steering error message. I took it to a GM certified dealer to be diagnosed and my steering column control motor had shorted out causing me to lose my power steering. This part being an electric motor is not covered under warranty and the electric circuit failed under its own Accord. My power steering has not show any other problems before this incident and regular maintenance has been performed. I was able to get stopped safely but the loss of my power steering at a high speed could have resulted in a severe accident or harm to others. The entire motor must be replaced for a cost of $850 for this short not to occur again.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #28

Aug 062008


  • 37,000 miles
In my sons 2006 Chevy Cobalt, at any giving time the power steering light comes on the dash and he loses steering on the vehicle, once you cycle the ignition it works for a little while then happens again. I have read several complaints about this and it's costly to repair over $2000. I know GM knows about this so why aren't they doing something about this mechanical issue that is going to kill someone!! I believe a recall should be done because of the unsafe issue while driving or turning a vehicle and lose control. This problems happens at least 3-4 times a day and son just doesn't have the money to repair. He just joined the army in Sept. 4, 2008 and is going to need his car in va. For his training. Could you please provide a push to GM on this issue.. please!! thank you..

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #27

Sep 282008


  • 25,500 miles


My electric power steering in my 2006 Cobalt has gone out about ten times at random times in the past two days. Going about 65 mph on the highway it shut off scaring the light out of me. It shuts off at random times and if you turn the car off and back on it will start working again. I believe this is not safe to have happen in any car. I only have about 25,000 miles on my car for it to start acting up. I am going to take it to the dealer ship tomorrow morning to see if my warranty covers it. I have seen boards online and many people are having the same problem with there Cobalts.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #26

Sep 242008


  • 40,000 miles
I turned on my car today to go to work and it read "power steering" on my gauge. I try to back my car out and it was extremely hard to turn. I put it in drive to drive and drive it around my addition and it began to jerk and act like it was going to die. I turned it off and back on and it was still having the same problem. I went to my local autozone to see if they could tell me what was wrong with it, but of course when the tech rode around in the car with me the problem completely stopped. I have read many blogs of the happening with the 2006 Cobalts. And, of course, it is no longer in warranty. As a single young adult I can not afford to fix this. With our economy problems we have today I can barely afford to live.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #25

Sep 012008


  • 42,000 miles
Intermittently loses power steering while driving. (known defect by dealer).

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #24

Sep 052008


  • 63,000 miles
I was leaving my apartment complex and was in the process on turning right onto the main street when my car wouldn't allow me to continue to turn right so I forced it until I was straight again and then I had to stop(in the street) to see why I couldn't turn and my message board was flashing power steering. I then tried to turn into a business to get off the main road but couldn't turn in so I turned off my car and started it again and the power steering returned but only for a few seconds. I had to continue to stop and turn my car off and turn it on again just to return to my residence. The power steering is completely gone and I can't even drive my car. I called GM and they told me there was nothing they could do since it was out of warranty and I called the dealership and they told me to bring it in but I informed them that I lived three hours away and didn't feel safe driving the car down the highway and they said all they could do was have me bring it in and can cut me a deal on the repair. I informed both companies that I was not working and they told me there was nothing they could do. I went online to see if there were others with this same problem when I found that there are several people with the same problem and nothing is being done about it. I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt lt.

- Temple , TX, USA

problem #23

Sep 092008


  • 53,213 miles
Power steering does not work. I know several other owners with the same problem. Please advise me on a solution and reason for such on a new car.

- Owings Mills, MD, USA

problem #22

Aug 222008


  • 57,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving 85 mph, the power steering warning light appeared on the instrument panel. Seconds later, the contact noticed that the power steering failed. When he turned off and restarted the vehicle, the power steering worked properly. The dealer stated that the steering column needed to be replaced. The contact did not notice any differences beforehand. The current and failure mileages were 57,000.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #21

Aug 222008


  • miles
The electric power steering randomly failed, making steering nearly impossible. The power steering comes on whenever I turn the car off and back on, but it fails repeatedly. It happened about ten times over the course of 3 hours of delivery driving for a chinese restaurant. I have not done anything to correct the failure, because to replace the electric power steering motor, the entire steering column must be replaced, and that costs almost $2000. I cannot afford that, but I still have to make my living delivering pizza and chinese food, and I'm truly scared that I'll end up dead or severely injured as long as this problem persists.

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #20

Aug 212008


  • miles
My 2006 Chevy Cobalt keeps having power steering issues. I've taken it back to the shop only for them to say there was a computer error. They get the check engine light to come off, but two weeks later it does it again. My power steering goes completely out with my transmission knocking. I took it in back in July and the problem keeps coming back. I've researched this online, and seen that there are a lot of other people who has had this done to them as well.

- Merced, CA, USA

problem #19

Aug 212008


  • 61,000 miles
I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt that I purchased used in August of 2007. Recently the power steering has been going out (while the car is in operation) which makes it very difficult and very dangerous because it becomes nearly impossible to turn the wheel. My wife has had this happen to her several times just in the last two weeks and it has happened to me a few times. My research online into this issues shows that it is not unique to my vehicle at any means, many people have suffered the same thing and notices have been sent to GM about this, so far with no result. I fear that if it hasn't happened already, the wrong car will go out on the wrong person trying to make a turn and a fatality will be the result if this car's unusual steering system isn't recalled soon.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #18

Aug 182008


  • 36,565 miles
This is the 7th trip to the service center since December 2007. The same symptoms happen on each trip. The electric power steering fails. The lights on the dash board light up. The car starts to buck and the steering wheel is almost unbearable to drive. The gear shift clicks and makes strange noises.

- Reisterstown, MD, USA

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