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 9 of 56)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #957

Mar 102014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles


2006 Chevy Cobalt. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch recall notice. The consumer stated the power steering light illuminated on the dashboard. The dealer informed the consumer, rodents had made their way underneath the hood. The consumer stated the dealer never mentioned the ignition switch problem. The consumer received the recall notice, the following day. When the consumer called the dealer to inquire about the recall, she was informed the parts were not available.

- Oak Lawn, IL, USA

problem #956

Apr 022014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
I had become aware of the recall, just the week prior and was planning on making arrangements to have the car fixed, once the parts (3-4 weeks out from what I was explained) arrived. I was also explained via the dealer and what I read on line that the car should be ok to drive so long as there was nothing on the key. So I requested my daughter to only use the key with absolutely nothing on it, when using my car. At approximately 2pm on a clear sunny day, my daughter was exiting the freeway. As she was slowing down, the car suddenly shut off on her. Before she had time to react she hit another vehicle. She was fortunately not injured, mainly because she was already slowing down and had it been a few minutes earlier, things may have been drastically different. I have had this car for 7 years and I drove it quite a bit and let my daughter do so as well. I am angry that GM has allowed my daughter and I to be at risk for such a long period of time and even as I am writing this (2 weeks later) the only answers I have really been given from GM are answers I have had to call and press them on, which for the most part is almost no information at all. I am sure they are being inundated with complaints and having to deal with the media, congress, NHTSA, but I cannot feel any empathy or sympathy for that matter, when they have had years to deal with this and simply swept this under the rug. Harsh and swift action must be taken to punish them and set an example to all others. Enough with the bail outs. Time to start being accountable.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #955

Mar 262012


  • 35,000 miles
This vehicle is not safe to drive and was not built right. The manufactures knew for many years that the Chevy Cobalt 2006 would have a leaking gasoline system, and they kept this faulty defect to themselves for many years before bring this issue to the customer. I was driving the vehicle leaking gas for a few years unit the crack was large enough for me to smell it, while not driving, the ignition switch; with the key in it while the car was in park has started the car engine without turning the key. The key wont come out of the ignition switch. The car has turned off on me on the freeway more than 9 times. The car turned off on me going in reverse, couldn't control the brake and steering power to move out of the pole. While driving in the freeway I have had to quickly react; putting my emergency lights on and praying to god a car doesn't hit me, while with the left had side is quickly waving at the vehicles coming from behind to stop. Please help me. I have two children and im tired of being exposed to the dangers of this M defected life threatening vehicle. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bell, CA, USA

problem #954

Oct 022007


  • 45,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that an abnormal chiming noise was heard from the steering wheel area when suddenly, the power steering assist malfunctioned and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the electric power steering motor was faulty and needed the be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the defect was not remedied. The manufacturer was notified and no solution was offered. The failure mileage was 45,000.

- Roaming Shores, OH, USA

problem #953

Feb 072014


  • miles
My electrical issue: I have had my car diagnosed so many times because I could not find the reason why my car RPM keeps going up and down. Than it came down to an electrical issue. Power steering: While I am driving my power steering completely goes out therefore it is causing me not to be able to control the car and have had multiple times where I almost wrecked my car due to this issue. I could be driving and or turning and all of a sudden it just completely goes out causing me not control the car especially when the roads are wet. I saw there was a recall back in 2010 but so many people are having the same issue now that it's is not worth having death on their hands I just don't understand why nothing is up to date.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #952

Apr 062014


  • 96,000 miles
I own a 2006 Chevy Cobalt that yes is involved in the ignition switch recall. Just putting the key in the ignition I am sure helps a bit. But I have been checking the ignition position when I stop at lights and stop signs and a few times the key has slipped a little not enough to bounce it into the off position. But enough that if I did not push it back into position and I hit a bump it would have. However it has not been recalled in the steering column recall. I have for months off and on had a whining noise in the steering wheel and when it does this the car is hard to steer. On the way home from work the other day the steering wheel started to whine when I was turning onto the highway and steering got harder. When I hit the highway the warning light came on and car started to ding at me. I pulled over and turned car off for a minute and turned it back on and car was fine. When I got home I looked to see if there were other Cobalt owners having this issue. And there are hundreds of 2006 owners and even more for 2005 having the issue. That is when I found they were recalling cars for this issue but only 2010 Cobalt's which they had recalled in 2010 for the same issue. But the rest of us are not included in the recall but are having the same problem. There is also another problem with the 2006 Cobalt's front end. I brought my car in a couple months ago because it was making a banging noise in the front end. And found that the lower tie rods and the bearing were bad on both sides of the car. I again hit the internet to see if other owners where having this issue and I found again hundreds of 2006 Cobalt owners where having this same issue. And many of them stated that they contacted Chevy to talk to them about the issue and they were told that it was not a safety issue so therefore Chevy was not going to recall the car and fix the problem it was our issue.

- East Hampton, NY, USA

problem #951

Oct 082009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 50,020 miles


Starting the car and pulling out, the power steering not working, car hesitating when accelerating and then I pull over and shut the car off. I wait a few seconds and start the car again, and its running fine. This started a month or so after our purchase (used) on May 15,2009. The dealer did not have any weekend service. The date above is when we 1st reported for service. But turning the car off/on always fixed the problem. Service dates-10/8/09,10/15/09,8/28/10,5/19/11.3/27/12. Dealer couldn't find any dialogistic problems. I brought the car in & running, on 7/2/13, while running a mechanic drove it, said he knew the problem. Dialogistic showed 2- cost $430. To repair. 2wks. Later, happened again, dialogistic showed 6. estimate $6-$800 plus. Too much to fix it. In the past 3 yrs., four times while driving at 60mph, on hwy., no power steering, gas hesitating, & down shifts to 25+/-while flooring the gas, car bucking, & speedometer bouncing B'twn.30-50. Very freighting and once there was no place to stop.

- Milford, CT, USA

problem #950

Mar 302014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 103,163 miles
The power steering went out. Airbag light and power steering light came on.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

problem #949

Mar 192014

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
Yes I was at a friends house then I came back down turned my key and the power steering sign came on I drove it to auto zone I went in to get power steering fluid and I had no place to put the fluid in I looked at M manual and it was not even listed in the book at as a part of my car I asked a specialist at auto zone where does the fluid go they told me my power steering is electrical so I need to go to my closet dealer then I turned it back on and it went away but a reminder it was hot that day so when it cooled off im guessn it went away.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #948

Sep 132012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
On 9/13/2012 my niece was driving her 2006 Chevy Cobalt. It was a clear night with light traffic. All of a sudden her car veered to the right and crashed into a tree. She died of blunt force trauma to the head. There were no brake marks and the air bags did not deploy which you would have expected with such a violent collision.

- Morristown, NJ, USA

problem #947

Mar 022013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


After several contacts and attempts to seek assistance from local dealership & GM with the ignition and gear shift problems, both concluded that vehicle VIN number was not part of any current recall. Owner (55 year old) repeated contact due to concerns of mechanical symptoms identical with existing Cobalt recalls. Family was involved in a single vehicle accident at 10:00 am on 3/2/2013. Gear shift and steering simultaneously locked while navigating a corner on local highway. Vehicle crossed centerline, launching over a snow bank and continuing air-born for 30 to 40 yards. Only 1 of the 2 air bags fully deployed. Total loss of vehicle and several ongoing injuries with three occupants of vehicle. (29 year old, 55 year old, and 79 year old) neither the local dealership or GM ever acknowledged vehicle defects. The local dealership had removed the dash cover, console cover, and steering column cover and make some type of adjustments prior to accident. Law enforcement was on scene and no citations were issued. Damage exceeded the value of the vehicle.

- Stevens Point, WI, USA

problem #946

Aug 012013


  • miles
These cars are notorious for the electrical steering mechanisms to fail, parts break inside of the steering column making rattling sounds constantly while driving, my master mechanic father couldn't even figure out how to fix it, the stability is wobbly, hard to keep in a strait line while driving. These model year vehicles are terrible and needs to be part of the GM recall pertaining to the electrical steering. Look at any Cobalt complaint forum, its insane, these cars are dangerous and have had nothing but problems since I bought the car.

- Montevallo, AL, USA

problem #945

Mar 272014


  • 140,000 miles
Randomly the electric power steering goes out, it went out while turning a corner and bounced off a oncoming car in a turn lane, this happens constantly and I just got the car, they want me to pay just to look at it I don't have 200 to look till I hear a large number of other owners are having the same issue.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #944

Jul 052012

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • miles
On 7/05/12 my daughter was in a 2006 Chevy Cobalt that was involved in a major accident. She stated she lost control of the vehicle because the steering would not allow her to steer & regain control of the vehicle. As a result of this the car left the road and flipped several times and landed approximately 25ft into a wooded area. No air bags deployed. Injuries sustained: Loss of consciousness, concussion and several lacerations.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #943

Mar 232014


  • 103,000 miles
I was driving on the highway, and my Cobalt suddenly lost power steering. I received flashing warning messages for power steering and another one saying "service air bag." I am worried that if I am in an accident, the air bags will not deploy. These two things happened simultaneously.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #942

Mar 212014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while traveling various speeds, the vehicle suddenly stalled. The contact also mentioned that the power steering ocassionally failed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage and VIN was not aviailable.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #941

Feb 162007

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
I purchased my 2006 Cobalt in February of 2007 with mileage of +/- 30000, within the first 2 weeks I had to have the steering column and power steering assist replaced and had to pay for front end alignment caused by the steering a) steering wheel shaking when driving at highway speeds and very violently when breaking and B) the power steering going out. The car now has 107000 miles on it and have had trouble with this same shaking when driving and it being violent when breaking. The dealership states GM is aware but I still have had to redo my front brakes twice (which helps temporarily)..the last time being in June or August of 2013. The shop tells me the problem the first time was the front rotors were sticking and the ground them down smooth. Then the shaking started again. I had to take my car in to have the rotors ground down again and have a serpentine belt replaced. So here I am again 7 months later and will have to do this again because the shaking has started again and is becoming so bad it will have to go to the shop again at my cost for something they know about but will not fix. I have already received a recall letter regarding the ignition problem but am told that the parts are not available and will be informed when they are. This steering/braking problem is serious and I some times fear that either something will break inside the car or I will not be able to hold on to the steering wheel and will wreak. I am afraid to drive my car any distance or speed because I fear it will fail and I see that this has been an ongoing problem since 2007 and people have complained but have received no satisfaction.

- Post Falls, ID, USA

problem #940

Mar 012013

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Driving down the road and all items on gauge cluster die and come back on over and over again. Security light pops on ABS light comes on air bag light comes on. I lose power steering when this happens and sometime vehicle wont start and my security light pops on. Sometimes nothing in my gauge cluster wont work and all warning lights will appear when driving down the road or as soon as I start my vehicle.

- Bennington, VT, USA

problem #939

Jan 252009

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
When the accident happen, my son and his friend were going to his other friend house to stay. His friend that lived said he was having trouble controlling the steering they ran off the road hitting the side of the road flipping the car, my son was thrown out of the car and was dead on the scene.

- Ocean Isle Beach Sw, NC, USA

problem #938

Jan 252009


  • 22,000 miles
You know when my son bought this car, I know he thought he had the best, this is part of your reviews. New for 2006 are ss sedan and coupe models with normally aspirated engines. These new ss models fit between the lt and ss supercharged models. Their price, power and performance and body work are all toned down from the ss supercharged coupe, but they're sporty cars and possibly the best choice in the lineup, boasting 171-horsepower engines and sports suspensions.this car was suppose to handle good. But now he is dead because of this car. Do you people at chevorlet even know how people feel or what kind of emotion a parent goes through with losing a child and how my life has changed. I will never see him get married, have children. I will never be able to talk to him, feel him, tell him I love him. Yes, I'm hurt. I want you to pay for the mess you have done for my son's life and the life of others. Because you guys hid this mess for years you knew. How many people have too get injured or die. Just look at all the recalls just for this car. Just to think Chevrolet has been the choice of vehicles we have always driven.

- Ocean Isle Beach Sw, NC, USA

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