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Chevrolet Cobalt Steering Problems

I was wondering if anyone has encountered the problem that I am having with my 2005 Chevy Cobalt. My first concern has occurred while I am driving in the highway. I am keeping a steady pace with traffic when all of the sudden my steering wheel begins to shake and I begin to hear a rattling noise. The noise ceases when I stop the car (meaning I pull to the side of the road), but since it is the 3rd time that it has happened to me, I am getting concerned.

Another potential problem with this car is the hubcaps. I find these to be very dangerous because since they are screwed into the lugnut, they have a tendency to loosen and loosen the lugnut as well. I have had to tighten lugnuts twice already because of this problem. Has anyone else had these problems? Please post any helpful information. Thanks.


  • After traveling on the interstate for 8-10 miles the steering begins to shake violently. It doesn't happen all the time, but several times a week. Of course it has not happened with me while driving the service manager of the Chevy dealership. I have to pull over and come to a complete stop and then I can get back up to speed. Again, it takes about 8-10 miles for it happen again. Is this happening to anyone else? Anybody know what it is? The dealership doesn't know.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Have you rotated your tires front to rear to see if that makes any difference? Under the hood the dealer needs to check the steering rack/linkage, and they should pull on the front wheels to see if there are any loose bearings. But you could have a balance issue or defective tire(s) and the easiest way to try to isolate the problem is to rotate the front tires back.

    This all assumes you have a completely factory car, no aftermarket wheels or tires.
  • My old car did that and it turned out to be the front axle. Not only did the steering wheel shake but the car bounced around and was very hard to steer. Very scary!
  • They rotated and claimed to have checked everything. They say that the Malibu has a steering problem and the Cobalt has the same steering system. The service manager has ordered me a new steering column, but they are on national back order. Now when I am traviling down the interstate and have to put on the brakes, the car feels like it is going to explode it shakes so bad. The service manager took the car and drove it to and from work for two days and it didn't happen to him. I then took him for a ride for an hour and the car never shook. It shakes all the time for me though.
  • Was it a Cobalt? If not, what type of car?
  • It was my 18 year old Toyota Corolla FX. After they replaced the front axle it ran great again.
  • wallstfunwallstfun Posts: 12
    I have a question also. Now that the warm weather is here I've been using my A/C alot. I notice that around the vents collect alot of condensation, The other cobalt in my family does the same but not as bad. Is this normal for this car? It gets bad enough where the water runs down the dash.
  • randydriverrandydriver Posts: 262
    Must be humid where you are. Not to be smart, I have seen that happen on very humid days down here. Dallas Texas
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    I have not heard of that one before, consult with your dealer.
  • grosloupgrosloup Posts: 239
    This is normal when it's very humid. In my Equinox I can see some mist (almost like smoke) but no smell coming out of my vents and sometimes frosting the plastic. It's like opening a freezer door when it's very hot and it's blown by the fan. It scared the s... out of me at the beginning but they told me it was caused by a humidity factor. When it happens I look at it and still can't figure it out.
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    There are a lot of cars with the same kind of hubcap set up as you describe. I have never heard of that effecting the lugnut tightness being that the lugnuts tighten just so far, leaving that 1/8" or so for space for the hubcap. If you tightened the lugnets without the hubcap in place, it shouldn't go all the way to the end thus leaving a space for the hubcaps thickness.

    The steering situation could be serious. Contact the service department as soon-as-possible.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    The A/C evaporator coil and the heater core are both contained within a plastic casement mounted up inside the passenger side dash. In warm, humid weather the cold evaporator core will draw moisture out of the circulating air inside the case. This should drip off and exit through a small tube attached to the bottom of the case to the road below. Check under your car to find that tube and verify that it's not obstructed. Sometimes when cars are sprayed with undercoating at the factory, the tube can be partially or totally clogged. If that happens, the only place the collected moisture can exit is to the car's interior. If the tube is open (from underneat the car probe it with a small screwdriver or rod to check for and clear obstructions), then some moisture at your A/C vents is unavoidable. However, if you ordinarily draw fresh air inside the car when running the A/C, that can be very problematic in high humidity areas - you're constantly introducing both hot air and additional moisture, which, in turn, tax the A/C to its full capacity and can't be too great for fuel economy, either. Set the system to "Recirculate" once you've cleared the hot interior air and achieved cool-down. No car is totally sealed, so there'll always be some fresh air entering. You won't suffocate.
  • sgr5516sgr5516 Posts: 156
    I'm considering buying an 06 Cobalt LS. I've been reading these forums and for any known issues with this car. GM has issued a TSB for this A/C condensation water blowing out of vents problem. When outside temp and humidity are high and system is run on high, water collects in a groove area of the lower HVAC case and does not drain out. The fix is to install a foam gasket. The TSB number is 05-01-38-016A issued 3/3/06. Problem affects Cobalts if end of VIN number is less than 67661747. If car is still under warranty, this is a free fix.
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    I am keeping a steady pace with traffic when all of the sudden my steering wheel begins to shake and I begin to hear a rattling noise. The noise ceases when I stop the car>

    Our Cobalt has begun to exhibit this behavior. The vibration increases exponentially when the brakes are applied. Occurs only on the highway after about a half hour of running, never on surface streets.

    Haven't tried the dealer route yet as without a code or known problem they will be unable to duplicate so I'm hoping there will be more incidents showing up (selfish, I know).
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    --"Haven't tried the dealer route yet as without a code or known problem they will be unable to duplicate"--

    I wonder what mechanics relied on before there were computer-stored fault codes... Get your car to a dealership and find out what's going on before you kill yourself (and/or someone else). If the vibration/shimmy occur for you, do not presume it won't occur for a tech under the same conditions. It's their problem, not yours - that's why GM issued you a warranty. (From the perspective of having no access to your car, what you're experiencing sounds like the possibility of a loose wheel.)
  • prdmprdm Posts: 145
    Thank you,I did retourque all the wheels, they were fine. This is not a dangerous situation unless, of course, it gets worse; the severity remains the same. I'm looking to blame the electric steering as the new Malibus have related issues.
  • Good Day,

    Have you been able to get this problem resolved? I am experiencing this same problem and the dealership does not know what is wrong with it either. Initially, I had the tires rotated and the car balanced, but the problem persisted. I was then told to change the breaks, break plates, and do a flushing of brake fluids - which I did not do because it costs about 250 dollars and which is NOT covered by my warranty. Honestly, I think that the dealership is just trying to find ways to take my money. The dealership never seems to find a problem covered by warranty. If they thought it was a balancing and rotation problem at first, why did they come up with another "problem" the second time around? :mad: I am going back there tomorrow, but I would like to know how you were able get this resolved - IF you did get it resolved, that is. Thanks.

  • My name is John. I am leasing a cobalt for 36 mo. Thank God I am NOT buying it. I have been reading the postings. I had the problem with the key getting stuck in the ignition. They replaced the ignition but the problem persisted and they replaced the shifter assembly. 2 weeks ago the violent shaking of the steering column started. The power steering message came on but then it worked fine for the dealer. What a joke. They had it for 6 days and could NOT figure it out because the computer did not retain the error codes when I shut the car off! I reluctantly took the car back but after just 2 days, the EXACT same problem occurred! I had it towed a 2nd time! Today is now day 5 of this second round of visits! They have determined the problem is an electical short in the ignition but there is a national backorder on the part(s)! I was told it could take "1 - 2 weeks but it could take 3 - 4 days" What a joke! My dealer stinks! I will NEVER buy another Chevy! They gave me a loaner Impala with a steering column that does not sound too great. Gotta love it!
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt and I am hearing a "klunking" noise when I make right turns between 10-20 mph. GM has been contacted as the dealer can hear the klunk but cannot figure out how to fix it. Gm has advised my dealership that they are aware of the problem but do not know how to fix it. I have also been told by Gm that this is not a safety issue. A suspension problem not a safety issue???? I sure think it is. Has anyone out there experienced this problem and if so has it been fixed? Im out of hope for Gm. Next resort is trading it in for something more dependable.
  • gwonggwong Posts: 2
    I bought a 2006 Cobalt LS. During the first service with the dealers they changed a wheel because of defective quality. At about 2,000 km there were rattling noises when I applied the brakes approaching traffic lights and the car tended to pull to one side. I took it to the dealers and they replaced a brake rotor saying that it had worn out prematurely. The noise persisted so I took it back to the dealers again. Now they say that there was something wrong with the steering column and that GM was aware of it. They also said that GM is "updating" a certain part of the steering column and will let me know when the new part comes in. As the noise got louder, they told me to take the car in for inspection. I have taken the car in a few times and they said GM told them to check if there was any damage. Each time they said that the noise is not dangerous and asked me to continue driving until the new car part arrives. It has been over a year now and my car has done 37,500 km. I tell you the truth: there has not been a day when I am not worried when I or my family drive the car; and every km that I drive is a hugh frustration to me - how many people bought a new car and has to suffer with the annoyance for over a year? The dealers ( a very pleasant one) told me that they will get me in as soon as the part arrives and said that if the rattling gets worse, to bring the car in again.(a joke!) Theu never said when the part will be ready. The noises still appear whenever I approach a stop or when I drive over a gravel road or my unpaved driveway. So it is haunting me all the time. I will be a nervous wreck soon. Will GM buy the car back from me at a pro-rated discount since they cannot fix it or has not come up with a solution?
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