NHTSA Investigates Power Steering Problems in 2005-2009 Chevrolet Cobalts

February 02, 2010
By: Robert Silverman

The New York Times is reporting that the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation regarding the electric power steering system in 905,000 Chevrolet Cobalts, model years 2005-2009.

NHTSA says more than 1,132 complaints have been filed by Cobalt drivers, with eleven accidents and one injury reported. Most of these incidents have occurred within the past six months. Drivers complained that once the power steering system failed, it became difficult to control their car and keep it in the traffic lane. 

General Motors has said they will answer any questions posed during the investigation, and the case will either result in an analysis of the power steering engineering or the matter will be closed.

Kimmel & Silverman frequently receives calls from distressed drivers who have complained about power steering in their Cobalts, as well as other GM vehicles including the Impala and Malibu. That being said, we have found that General Motors is a very responsible company and takes consumers’ issues very seriously. Most power steering issues we have brought to the company’s attention have been resolved efficiently to the consumer’s satisfaction. Most claims we open start with power steering noises, where steering shafts have been lubed or steering columns have been replaced.

If you find yourself experiencing problems with your power steering, and have been back to an authorized GM dealership three or more times to report the problem, or the vehicle has been in the shop for an extended period of time while the service team investigates the matter, you may be entitled to remedy under State Lemon Laws or Federal Warranty Law. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us for more information.

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22 Responses to “NHTSA Investigates Power Steering Problems in 2005-2009 Chevrolet Cobalts”

  1. #1 miranda loupe says:

    my 18 year old son drives this vehicle to school 2008 cobalt i would
    like more info on this matter i just heard this on the news yesterday

    • #2 LemonLaw says:

      The investigation is a preliminary one. As we mentioned, we have handled thousands of these types of claims, not just with the Cobalt, but with other GM vehicles as well. The important thing is for your son to understand the situation and if he hears a noise or suffers a steering issue where it becomes difficult, he needs to bring the car back to an authorized GM dealer asap for repair. If he is in three or more times, contact us.

      • #3 Patty says:

        My daughter has a 2008 Cobalt and has mentioned noise lately. Now that it has been officially announced in the media today for failure, I’ll be taking it in as soon as possible.

        Any news on GM’s bad paint? The cobalt has a spot on the hood that has grown to over a half dollar size. Same deteroriation as the 1989 Grandam I bought new. Paint did same thing within 3 months but GM waited a few years then put conditions on the recalls. We had already repainted our car so were exempt from the recall. They should have reimbursed us. and They should put a warranty on the paint. At least 5-6 years

        • #4 Reynaldo says:

          My girlfriend got into an accident a year ago. Her steering went out and her car flip over on the highway. She did not get back her car and she is swamped with medical and hospital bills. Can you guys help her?

          • #5 LemonLaw says:

            At this point, we would not be able to get involved due to the year that has lapsed.

            • #6 Elle says:

              So what do I need to do if my car’s power steering is out? Just take it to the nearest dealership and have them fix it? I haven’t gotten anything in my mail about it, but then again I bought my 2005 Cobalt at a Used Car dealership.

              • #7 LemonLaw says:

                You need to visit an authorized GM dealer and ask if there is any TSB or silent warranty associated to this problem.

                • #8 mike ballard says:

                  we bought my daughter a 2009 cobalt at carmax and today the power steering went out twice . she would pull over ,shut the car down,and restart it to work again. this issue sound to be the same?

                  • #9 LemonLaw says:

                    Possibly–please get your car to the GM dealer.

                    • #10 Kristi says:

                      Took my 2005 Cobalt to the dealer for repair when the recall was sent out last year. A few months later we started to hear a rattle in the front when we would hit a bump in the road or turn the car. Took it back to the dealer and was told it was three different things (none of which was the steering). Took the car to an independent mechanic and he said it was the part that was replaced during the recall. He replaced it and took the time to call the dealer to see if they would pay for the repairs. They said no as recalled parts were not covered under a warranty. That was in November. In May we started to hear a rattle again. Took the car back to the independent mechanic. He said it was the same part and replaced it again. We are again hearing the rattle. What should we do since the dealer wasn’t honest with us? Is this a lemon???

                      • #11 LemonLaw says:

                        Due to the age, I would say no. Is there any warranty left on the car?

                        • #12 Jamie says:

                          My 2007 Cobalt was taken in for the power steering repair and then my problems started. Started to hear rattle noise, like described by Kristi, and took it back in two weeks later. Dealer claims they never heard the noise and i still am but they found a leaky axle boot so the whole axle was replaced and now i am hearing the original rattle plus another noise and the car has trouble getting up to speed on the highway. has a little shudder going on while its trying. Could this car be a lemon.

                          • #13 LemonLaw says:

                            @Jamie: There may be a claim under Federal law. Give us a call at 1-800 LEMON LAW to discuss.

                            • #14 Heather says:

                              The power steering motor just went out in my 2007 Cobalt today. It had been doing the same things that everyone else has described and when we hooked it up to a scan tool, it said the power steering motor needed to be replaced. Does this mean if I take it to a GM dealer, it will be fixed free of charge?

                              • #15 LemonLaw says:

                                Depends on your warranty.

                                • #16 Monica says:

                                  I bought a 2009 Cobalt, it has been in 3 times for the power steering. They replaced the steering column on a Thursday (for free), Saturday night it did it again. It’s in the dealer AGAIN. My steering wheel also shudders when building up speed, but they told me I needed 4 new tires. I don’t know what to do or what money to put into this car. I believe the dealer that sold me the car sold me a lemon, it’s not the same dealer that is trying to repair it for me now.

                                  • #17 Elizabeth Craig says:

                                    I am currently driving a 2008 Chevy Cobalt. It continuously pulls to the right. I have had it back to the GM dealer twice and to another GM dealer for a second opinion. The GM dealer I purchased it from says it just needs new tires. The second dealer says the tires are good, but the alignment is out of place. They adjusted the alignment, but the car continues to pull to the right. The steering is so loose, I am afraid that on of driving on the highway at speed because the pull is so bad. I just purchased this car last August and has been into the shop for various reasons (besides these 3x).

                                    How do I get this matter settled?

                                    • #18 Joseph says:

                                      i have a 2007 cobalt and i was goin around a turn and thats when my power steering went out. good thing i was right around the corner from my house and off the highway. people say its the motor and i am in the parts business so i can check it out no problem. did any one else have this problem and if so what was the cause?

                                      • #19 LemonLaw says:

                                        Check out the nhtsa defect database at http://www.nhtsa.gov.

                                        • #20 JeSsica knowles says:

                                          What do I do I live in the Bahamas and I’m experience the same problem….. I took it back to my local GM dealer but my car is out of warranty… I will like to know the exact problem so I can try fix it.

                                          • #21 Ben Gogna says:

                                            I bought an 06 HHR a few years back and every winter, I am dropping close to $500 every winter in repairs to get a leak fixed that initially was said to have come from the sunroof, but then since moved to the defrost/cowl seam.

                                            I have researched this numerous times online, but this year I have came across many others with the same problem.

                                            I feel there should be a recall/or some type of aide to fix this issue.

                                            • #22 Paul chafe says:

                                              My son drives a 2009 cobalt and the steering shuts down regularly. We are told it’s an overload that is sensed according to the code. The dealer says it’s due to the steering joints seizing up. You turn the car off and it resets. It’s friggin dangerous. The car has only 34000kms which is about 20000 miles. It definitely a saftey issue and they the dealer want $1500.00 to fix it. Since we started having the problem I’ve checked around and every one is alike. Not good enough GM.

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