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:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
34,111 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Owner Comments

problem #7

Mar 102010

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles


Hydraulic cylinder went out on an 06 Chevy Cobalt with 42,000 miles on it. Was driving it less than 15 mph in a residential complex on level ground when the clutch went loose. Could not shift and had to roll it into park. Both hydraulic cylinders were replaced (spent $1400 so I'm assuming they were new parts) and now the clutch sticks and the car is overheating. Still waiting as to what is to be done with the new problems.

- Augusta, GA, USA

problem #6

Jul 252009


  • 64,000 miles
I had bought a 2006 Chevy Cobalt. Once I started driving it for about a week I noticed a loud noise every time I would hit a bump of any kind. I also noticed from time to time I would lose power steering momentarily. Luckily this has never happened besides when I was in places like small parking lots or driving very slow, but it could potentially be dangerous. And the noise sounds like the car is just about to fall apart. I hear the noise 9/10 times I hit a bump. I went to the dealership about this issue and they told me that many people had been complaining about it but there has been no recall issued so if I wanted the problem fixed I would have to pay out of pocket and it was roughly $1500 he said.

- Yuma, AZ, USA

problem #5

Feb 272009


  • 30,275 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt coupe. While driving approximately 55 mph, the clutch failed and prevented the vehicle from accelerating into the proper gear. Prior to the failure, the contact noticed that the tachometer fluctuated abnormally. Upon further inspection, he noticed that the clutch was burned out. The vehicle was towed to a dealer and they stated that the failure resulted from normal wear and tear. The clutch was replaced at the cost of $1,600. After the repair, the failure continued. The manufacturer did not assist. The failure mileage was 30,275 and current mileage was 37,800.

- Mcafee, NJ, USA

problem #4

Nov 252008


  • 40,000 miles


Clutch/trans have had to have trans rebuilt and replaced 5 times for locking into gear and locking up front wheels while driving has almost caused 6 accidents and cost me hundreds of dollars in tires and rentals also towing have documents as well love the car but GM as disappointed me this is from some one loving GM products for 23 years this product is going to hurt or even kill someone I have seen many blogs with people having the same problems.

- Joppa, MD, USA

problem #3

Jan 022009


  • 48,500 miles
Driving as normal on a highway at approximately 70 mph when I realized the tachometer was fluctuating as if I were at a stand still and revving the engine, I had to slow down to merge onto another highway and when I tried to reaccelerate from 50 mph to 70 mph in 4th gear the tachometer shot up and the engine was at a high rev but would not go any faster, I shifted to 5th, the engine continued to rev and the only light that came on was a light telling me I needed to upshift from 5th gear. I pulled off the nearest exit and had to stop at a red light, I pulled away from the red light and the engine screamed at me as I changed gears. I got the vehicle safely in a parking lot and I could smell something burning and I realized it was my clutch, the gears were changing fine and since I have driven standard transmissions for 15 years and know how to drive a manual and I do not ride the clutch I thought there might be a hydraulic issue or something broken in the gear box or clutch assembly. I had it towed to the dealership I bought it at since it was still under the extended warranty. They said the clutch shouldn't be burnt out since it is an 06 and has only 48K miles on it and they called GM to try to get them to pay for it because they say the extended warranty I bought doesn't cover a clutch. GM said they would only pay $400 of the over $2000 bill, and said it burned out because of my driving habits. I filed a complaint with the better business bureau at 800-955-5100. GM called me about the complaint with their standard answer of "we can't help you. We don't sell defective equipment." I have done some research and found that the clutch and fly wheel are extremely thin so they do burn out at a much faster rate than a clutch should. This is typical GM cutting the typical corners in their workmanship and design.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #2

Dec 152006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 8,000 miles
While traveling North on I-75 through cincinnati, oh my manual transmission popped out of 5th gear and into neutral traveling at appx. 70 mph. This same incident has happened 10 times so far and the vehicle has only 9000 miles. It is happening in 5th gear between 50 and 70 mph at 2-3000 RPM. The car was taken to the dealer who could not duplicate the problem so they would not work on it. Now it seems I am being ignored by the dealer and Chevrolet as well. Apparently they are hoping I just go away! I have also pointed out to the dealer (kerry Chevrolet in alexandria, ky) and Chevrolet Corp. Themselves through E-mail, which have elicited no response, that their is a website for Cobalt owners ( that has a forum for problems and service. This forum has hundreds of owners who are experiencing problems with their transmissions. Anything from simply popping out of gear to complete failures and lockouts.

- Florence, KY, USA

problem #1

Mar 012006

Cobalt 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 2,000 miles
2006 Chevy Cobalt, shifter won't engage @ 500 miles-dealer trades cars. 2006 Chevy Cobalt, clutch burns up @2000 miles, dealer replaces clutch plates at no charge, will charge for another occurrence of same nature. Dealer states abuse is cause of clutch damage.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

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