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Chevrolet Cobalt Electrical Problems



  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,702
    edited July 2012
    >RF cruise control

    What's "RF"?

    Disconnect the cruise control.

    You need to have the transmission scanned. Sounds like something is losing electricity for a control module. When transmissions detect they've lost control of the shift timing, they revert to a limp mode which gives a quick shift to prevent clutch slippage.

    I assume your car has a transponder in the key and does have a security system? I know if mine is opened manually by key without using the remote after using the remote to lock, it sounds the security horn until the key goes into the ignition lock. Odd, but logical. I'm assuming the same security system w/ transponder key applies to the base models.

    Do some reading about connection problems in the fuse box giving strange symptoms. To me, this sounds suspiciously like it might be related.

    Although when I can get to them, I'll read about the security and transponder in my FSM set for 2008. If I find there's a relationship where the security system affects the shift times as part of security, I'll post it.

    Good luck. I'd do lots of searching and reading on the net.

    This message has been approved.

  • Sorry to reply to something so old but I'd like to reply to your post. I drive a 2008 cobalt and my daytime running lights do not come on anymore. I have a burned wiring harness that runs along the radiator core support. Any idea if GM will issue a recall?
  • Fortunately, I haven't had that electrical problem. Mine seems to be more in the electronics rather than electrical. In fact, just this past Friday, all the idiot lights came on and the DIC rolled through most if not all the info messages, like, Low Fuel (more than 1/2 tank), no power steering (sometimes yes, sometimes no), low tire pressure, etc. Then the indicator light for the security system came on (I don't have a security system) and the automatic shifted like it was my teenager just learning how to drive a stick. If that wasn't enough, the radio would be mono for a little while then stereo and then back to mono and all the analog gauges (fuel, RPM, speedometer) were pegging maximum/minimum values. It did all of that again this morning and I drove it right to the GM dealer and had the service advisor look at the dashboard while the motor was running so he could see what I was talking about. I'd brought it in before but they said they couldn't do anything unless it was acting up. They agreed it was acting up. After three hours of tracing wiring, reseating all control module(s) connections, checking wires for abrasion, they found NOTHING wrong. It took them about 8 hours to do all of that and have come to no resolution. They still have the car and want to test drive it in the morning to see if it will act up for them. At this point, I don't have a great deal of confidence in either the vehicle (no long trips in this car!) or GM's ability to find/fix the problem. I've spoken with other Cobalt owners, of different years, and they have had similar problems, with similar results from service techs. If this car wasn't already paid for I'd seriously consider trading it in. However, I've kind of become accustomed to no car payments. But, still...

    Sorry about your problem. I'll have to watch out for that one.

    Thanks for passing it on.

  • Good morning stower17,
    If you would like for us to check and see if there are any open recalls on your vehicle, please email us the last 8 digits of your VIN at with your inquiry and we'd be happy to do so.

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • Good morning George,

    We look forward to an update on what your dealership has found after keeping your vehicle overnight. If you would like for us to follow up on this with them, please send the following information to us via email at so we can set up a Service Request: your name and Edmunds username, phone and address, the last 8 of your VIN and current mileage, and the name of your dealership.

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • I wish you luck in getting the problems fixed. There have been times when my radio will sound like its in mono mode and if i turn the radio off then back on its back in stereo. Very odd for sure. My DIC has done weird things throughout the years and sometimes the screen will display false messages. All my cars prior to this one have been 20 years or older with triple the mileage and they have fewer problems than these cobalts! Very frustrating.
  • I went out Wednesday morning to start my car, and it wouldn't start. Not even a clicking noise. The horn worked and the radio. So, it doesn't appear to be the battery. When the wrecker driver arrived, he tried several times to start it and the same thing. However, by the time it got to the dealership it started. It was there for two days and it always started and they said they can't figure out what's wrong with it if it starts all the time. So, I went and picked it up yesterday and am just hoping I don't get stuck far away from home late at night. The same thing happened in April of 2011, but it started by the time it got towed to the dealership. So, they said they couldn't find anything wrong. It happened again in May of 2011 and they replaced the battery. They won't do anything now though. So, I'm just stuck until the next time it happens. Any suggestions from anyone about what I could do to find the problem if this happens when I'm away from home by myself?
  • Good morning judycp0,

    We're sorry to hear that your car wouldn't start for you last week, and that the problem was not able to be duplicated by your dealership when you went in. Keep us posted on if this should happen again as we're here to assist! We can be reached at

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • I had an issue like this with my car. It just would not start, and after paying to have it towed, and for the dealership to run diagnostics on it, i ended up paying about $150 for a blown fuse!! Yes a little $4 fuse cost me almost $150. There is a fuse under the hood that controls the car starting. You might want to pull up a diagram and see where it is at on your car. Try changing it out. Also, I have a battery (in my trunk), that Autozone ran tests on to see if it was bad, and it came back OK. However, since my car wasn't starting, and I tried the fuse fix, I went ahead and bought a new battery. Vola my car started again. These are the 2 things I have had to do when my car would just not start. Gotta love these P.O.S. Cobalts. I am stuck with one full of electrical issues!!!! Never again will I buy a Chevy!!!!
  • Help!!! My daughter just purchased a 2007 Cobalt in July - she hasn't even made her first payment yet and the car won't start. :mad: :cry: We are so frustrated and aggrevated. We can't afford to have it towed to the dealership - she doesn't have a warranty either. We have had the battery checked - they said it is good but it is old. We have replaced the starter - that wasn't the problem. Any other suggestions? We need her car running but can't even afford to get it towed much less pay to get a diagnostic on it. PLEASE PLEASE we are needing to get it fixed!! :mad:
  • I had the same problem. I did a post regarding this on my 05 Chevy Cobalt. I did have mine towed to the dealership and it ended up being a fuse. Open the fuse box under the hood. Look for a 20amp IP IGN fuse. Replace it and see if the car will start. I also had my battery checked on a different occasion and they said it was good, but my car still would not start. I replaced the "good battery" and it started again. But I would start with the fuse. Here is a diagram I found online, it is at the very bottom of the post. tml
    You will see this fuse located to the left of one of the bigger fuses called "Cool SER/PAR". The fuse you are looking for is a smaller fuse. GOOD LUCK!!! :)
  • Does the engine crank over and not start, or do you turn the key and NOTHING?
  • I have had my cobalt for only a short time and from the time i drove off the lot until about a month after everything was great. Then one day as I was driving I flicked the button to turn my power to my radio on and my car started shaking and soon after cut completely off. I couldn't do anything!!! I was in the middle of the road and my key wouldn't even turn in the ignition. I had it towed to my mechanic and he informed me that it was electrical problems in the car so in return I marched myself up to the dealership and demanded why they didnt inform me on the problems with my car before I bought it. She let me know that it wasnt broken before I bought it. Really? Anywho I had it fixed and sure enough after the electrical problems were "fixed" my power locks in my car went out. I would lock my car from the door panel (because I didnt have the nifty remote thingy) and noticed when i went out to my car about 30 minutes later that my car was unlocked! I didnt understand it until I heard a sound like a motor clicking on and off happening. I walked out to my car and sure enough it was locking and unlocking my car. I had to have them disconnect my power locks just so i could do it manually. At the same time having that situation fixed, my mechanic informed that i had a leak in my fuel tank... ALL WITHIN 2-3 MONTHS OF ME OWNING THIS CAR!! My speakers are done for and I hardly ever use the radio. I could blame this on the dealership and partly i do but honestly I have seen so many others with the same problems with this car. I dont know what to do anymore... I am honestly losing hope.
  • Good afternoon rachellauren90,
    We're sorry that you've had so many difficulties with your Cobalt. If you would like for us to check into this further, please email us at (include your name and Edmunds username, phone and address, the last 8 of your VIN and mileage, and the name of your involved dealership).

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • radguy1987radguy1987 Posts: 1
    edited October 2012
    i have a 2008 chevy cobalt i have had it for almost 3 months now it was running fine until a day ago i left my house for work but my car wouldnt start. i called my chevy roadside and they came and gave me a jump car was running fine until i turned it off and back on again. the car began shaking horribly and i had to take it to a mechanic and they are saying my cobalt is full of electric issues. i am the sole provider for my family and i think this car might ruin everything any help would be appreciated it is coming up with internal failure codes.
  • I am the original owner of my 2008 Chevy Cobalt. I have had to have a couple of minor things done and have taken it in more than once for recall problems. I have recently been contacted by GM to participate in something regarding the engine. My issues are as follows; My airbag notification came on about a month ago. At first it was an on and off thing. Now it stays on all the time. I have had no accidents or problems with this before. This weekend I got in the car and my stock stereo was blinking. The whole thing. It was not playing anything and I did not want to touch it or mess with it while driving so when I got to my destination, turned the car off, then turned the key to turn on the stereo, the stereo was blank. It has not turned on since. Just no power whatsoever. My tire pressure says its low and needs to be looked at but that was a problem that I have had fixed. That just started again when the stereo went out. My pressure reads at 23 lbs per tire. Im not sure how my brand new tires (less than 1200 mi) could all 4 lose so much pressure over night with no signs of trauma. Please advise. :sick:
  • radguy1987 and cwcrombie,

    We see that you're both having some troubles with your Cobalts, and if you wanted for us to check into anything further with you (warranty or recall information, working with a dealership, etc), please contact us at with more details (including your name and Edmunds username, phone and address, the last 8 of your VIN and current mileage, and the name of your dealership).

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • Change the battery in your key fob! I just got a new battery from Fred Meyer for $4.29 and my car alarm no longer goes off randomly like it started doing when the battery was crying for help. Hope that fixes it for you too!
  • Dude every car has it's problems (we don't live in a perfect world). I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt SS and I have a friend with 2005 Cobalt aswell and we both have little or no problems with our cars. I think your problem might be lack of maintenance and NO TLC, It also sounds like you have an electrical problem that can be easily fixed if you have any money (which you make it seem like you don't). For your information a diagnostic of your car from the dealership doesn't cost an arm and a leg...also it wouldn't be "GUESSING" the problem, it will tell you exactly what needs to be repaired. As for your break pedal problem maybe try spraying some WD40 where the pedal sticks. Lastly your little sueing the pants off Chevy rant will NEVER become a reality lol.
  • hi, I also have had problems with both my tires & the radio, which also goes blank. Not sure what to do because I bought my car used. Very sad. Will go back to Altima.
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