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 56 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #17

Aug 082008


  • 42,000 miles


Friday night at a gas station. Started the car. Engine shut off when placed in reverse. Would stay running in park, neutral, and drive. Drove the car home. Called langs Chevrolet in beavercreek, Ohio Saturday morning. Was going to drive car in to dealership. Car would not start intermittently. When the car did start, it would run for 2-10 seconds then "power steering" would come on. Air bag lights would come on. Various intermittent codes would come on. Most of the time the all gauges would go off and the car would not start. Lang had car towed to dealership Saturday.. feels like the steering column is loose. Also, front suspension/steering makes rattling noise over rough surfaces. Will make a rattling noise while sitting still and moving steering wheel back and forth will repost with the results. Others...please do not repost the same complaint! this bogs down our search capabilities. Thank you, paulj

- Beavercreek, OH, USA

problem #16

Jul 282008


  • 30,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt - randomly loses power steering. Has been occurring 3-4 times per week. Has been to Chevy dealership 3 times (still under warranty) - they say they cannot find any problem. This is a dangerous situation as it has occurred while driving at 55 mph. Car has to be stopped and restarted for power steering to go "back on". I have read many complaints regarding this same thing occurring in other Cobalt vehicles. There has not been an accident yet, but this needs to be addressed.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #15

Jul 212008


  • 30,763 miles
Chevrolet Cobalt steering issues and electronic controls. The electronic power steering fails when driving, the dash lights light up and the car bucks and is very hard to steer. This is the 6th visit since December 8, 2007. Service visits on 12-8-07 (computer reset, steering column replaced), 4-29-08 (computer reset, no work done), 5-21-08 (updated software to BCM and ebcm), 6-26-08 (BCM replaced, replaced GM high speed land terminal, and power steering module), 7-21-08 (replaced psm terminal connector) twice. Could not even drive car off the lot. Car still in shop. Service technician stated " we have no idea what the problem is." GM to make visit to service center to assess situation. This car is unsafe to drive. When the steering goes out the car is not as responsive to control at highway speeds and is unsafe.

- Reisterstown, MD, USA

problem #14

Jul 132008


  • 46,511 miles


What else my power steering keeps going out and I can't believe the NHTSA won't do a thing about it. What's it going to take 100S of deaths to get anything done. I can't stress it enough. Its a Chevy problem but yet Chevy want the owner to shell out $2000 to get this fixed. Are you kidding me! I can't believe that this form has the question "number of deaths" shouldn't we be trying to prevent deaths with this thing not total them up. Frankly I surprised there aren't more deaths. You have no clue how hard this car is to turn. Maybe if I put 100 deaths in the blank someone will actually read the complaints and how the courage to do something about it! here a website for 90 more complains. what to help us out"?"

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #13

Jul 022008


  • 39,700 miles
My car has the power steering constantly just shutting off while I am driving and fear that I will not be able to keep control of the vehicle every single time this happens to me. My fiance has almost been in two wrecks because the power steering shuts off at random times while driving.

- Saint Joseph, MO, USA

problem #12

Jun 262008


  • 62,242 miles
I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt lt, which I purchased brand new. It now have 62,000 miles on it. Yesterday (6/26/2008), was my first incident with a problem that has continued into today. I was driving on the highway and the car bell beeped twice. I looked at my dashboard which read "power steering" and at that moment, I lost all power steering to my vehicle. I immediately became nervouse, pulled over, and shut the car down. When I started the car up again, the problem was gone. Now, randomly, I have lost pwer steering 5 times and each time it goes away with shutting the car down. Since these have been random events, they have made my car dangerous to operate as they have been occuring on the highway, while making a U-turn, and while parallel parking on a busy street. The car will be brought to the dealership to be diagnosed and has not been diagnosed yet. The problem has been common with other 2005-2006 Cobalt owners and many times, the entire steering column has needed to be replaced.

- Saugus, MA, USA

problem #11

Jun 142008


  • 71,990 miles


I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt. I was driving on a windy road last week and all of a sudden a message flashed on my dash that read power steering, and I had no power steering as I was going in to a turn just about lost control of the vehicle. I have researched the problem on-line to find out thousands of other Cobalt owners are having the same problem with there power steering, which is electronic. There is no recall on this. This has been featured on local news channels. GM has done nothing about it...

- Hickory, NC, USA

problem #10

Jun 202008


  • 27,000 miles
While traveling the speed limit on a 4 lane hwy72 West of walnut, ms, my daughter (16) crashed her 2006 Chevy Cobalt ls. My daughter said that suddenly the car "wouldn't go where I wanted it to". also immediately prior to losing total control my younger daughter (11) asked her sister, "what's wrong with the car?" losing complete steering function, the car shot at a 45 degree across the rightmost lane (leaving 4 plain black tire marks on the pavement), hit and climbed the embankment and rolled over once or twice and came to rest upside down. A cursory search on the internet showed more than a few similar incidents like my daughters.. I don't like witchhunts or hunters but something seems to be amiss in this and like vehicles. Its a cute car, one that kids would like. Maybe this will keep others from getting injured or even killed. I imagine state farm will total the car but it is currently still intact as the wreck just happened yesterday. No air bags deployed, no hard frontal crash, mostly roll damage and two terrified but okay children. Thanks

- Walnut, MS, USA

problem #9

Sep 272007


  • 32,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that the power steering locks frequently while driving at any speed. The failure normally occurs when driving in reverse out of her driveway. She pulled over and had to turn off and restart the vehicle in order for the steering to unlock. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the repair would cost $800. The repair would consist of changing the power steering electrical system. On June 14, 2008, the contact was unable to turn off the vehicle. She had to remove random fuses in order to shut off the vehicle. The manufacturer stated that they would assist with a $200 certificate because there was no recall. She will not have the vehicle repaired and wants the manufacturer to trade the vehicle. The VIN and speed were unavailable. The failure mileage was 32,000 and current mileage was 67,000.

- Natchitoches, LA, USA

problem #8

Jun 092008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,990 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact experienced a loss of steering ability when she depressed the brake pedal. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle became uncontrollable and completely shut down. The contact could not turn the vehicle to pull off the road; however, no crash occurred. The current mileage was 49,000 and failure mileage was 48,990. Updated 07/29/08 the power steering light illuminated. The vehicle began to shake and when the brake was applied, the vehicle shook violently and immediately shut down. Updated 08/01/08.

- Floresville, TX, USA

problem #7

Jun 092008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles


1) when purchasing this used vehicle from the dealer, we were informed the previous owner had broken his key in the ignition switch, hence the broken ignition lock mechanism. Lie 2) car began making a front end noise or so I thought, the next day as my daughter in law and my grandkids were driving home the power steering indicator light turned on, she applied her brakes to slow down and all the lights on the panel turned on and her steering locked. The truck behind us was forced off the road to avoid slamming in to us. After getting online to see if there was going to be an easy and inexpensive way to repair this problem I was appalled to read all the complaint regarding these same issues. I lost my oldest child to faulty seat belts on the 01 Ford Ranger edge. This is indeed a safety issued that needs to be resolved immediately before someone is seriously hurt or killed.

- Floresville, TX, USA

problem #6

Dec 092007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
My wife was driving the car at 25 mph on a straight road. The dashboard warning light came on warning that the power steering was inoperative. This made the car virtually impossible to make the turn at the next intersection. She pulled over to the side of the road so that she did not get in to an accident. She restarted the car and the warning light was not on. After traveling about 2-3 miles the same incident happened and the steering without the electronic assistance was not an option and she pulled to the side of the road. She contacted GM who had to tow the car to the Chevrolet service station. The steering computer module was replaced. This incident took place in December 2007. On April 30,2008 the same scenario happened except this time the check engine light, T/C light and power steering light was on and the car was bucking. She contacted GM again who had the car towed to the Chevrolet service station. The service station referenced service bulletin 070232007. The codes where reset and the car was test drove. At this time no codes where present. The service center called to inform us of this condition. They however did not feel comfortable sending the vehicle back to us at this time. The service center kept the car an additional 24 hours to test drive and code test. After 24 hours the service center contacted us to pick the vehicle up. As a car owner I do not feel confident in my wife driving this unsafe vehicle. The electronic steering when inoperative makes the car uncontrollable and very unsafe. This is the second incident with the same conditions. This makes this car unsafe and an accident waiting to happen. When a cars electronic steering fails the car should still be controllable and this car is not.

- Reisterstown, MD, USA

problem #5

Jan 072008


  • miles
While driving on a straight road my power steering failed and I lost control of the car. The car jerked severely and eventually caused me to cross over a double yellow line into the parking lot of a tow truck company. I hit 2 tow trucks and my car was totaled.

- New Windsor, NY, USA

problem #4

Jan 172008

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. While driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle began to make noise and the power steering light illuminated. The vehicle then began to jerk and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle shut off and would not restart. The current and failure mileages were 39,000.

- Coalinga, CA, USA

problem #3

Nov 172007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,363 miles
2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. Shakes violently after driving about 30 minutes on the highway. Does not do this just around town 4 or 5 miles from home. Dealer cannot reproduce this shaking problem nor can they find the problem. It shakes so bad that I am afraid to drive into the city. I do alot of business in the city so I am at a loss as to how I am going to work. I am an independent sales person.

- Crosby, TX, USA

problem #2

May 172007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 14,210 miles
This is in documentation of my 2006 Chevy Cobalt. Replaced the steering column, replaced steering shaft, rubbing and grinding, knocking on steering column and floor pan area, when coming to a stop car RPM's will drop so low that the car will almost die, speakers have a rattle like they are going to quit working, lost power assist while in a turn once documented has now happened twice, when using turn signal with high beams on lights will shut off, passenger side bumper was pulled away from headlamp.

- Walker, WV, USA

problem #1

Mar 282007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 2,500 miles
- the contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that there was a sound in the front end of the vehicle under the hood. She had been hearing that noise since she purchased the vehicle. She said that one could hear the sound 85% of the time, and that it was usual while driving at a slow rate of speed. The weather was not a factor. The dealership told the contact that this was normal for this type of vehicle. The current mileage was 20,600 and the failure mileage was 2,500. The consumer switch dealers due to the fact berglund stated noise is normal. Pinkerton(dealer) tries to assess what the problem is decided multiple cases of gear concerns and replaced steering gear but the consumer states they can't really pinpoint the problem. Consumer has provided various invoices. Update

- Roanoke, VA, USA

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