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Chevrolet Cobalt Electrical Problems



  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    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.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • 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!!! :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496
    Does the engine crank over and not start, or do you turn the key and NOTHING?

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  • 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.
  • boopadoop1boopadoop1 Posts: 3
    edited February 2013
    I have a 2008 chevy Cobalt bought new in Sept 2008. The very 1st winter check engine light came on but went out by the next day.I called the dealer and they told me because the light went out they could not check to see why the light came on. Now a few weeks ago we had temperatures below freezing for a week. My check engine light came on and stayed on.I paid $95 for a diagnostic and was told the secondary air valve was corroded shut and was rusted due to moisture in the system. I have a problem with the ignition turning but that is covered under the recall,however this problem is not covered estimate $550 So I email GM,they offer to pay for everything except $200 My argument is the car has less than 40k miles on it.Why does a part that corrodes so easily cost $500 to replace? So I leave.The very next day the temp rises above freezing and magically the check engine light goes out,and stays out. Two days later it's raining pretty hard and I am travelling down a steep hill.My brake light comes on and stays on for a few seconds,goes out,then the brake fluid low light just flashed briefly and goes out. I check the brake fluid and master cylinder is full. I report it to GM and my dealer.They insist my car has more problems.The next day the tire pressure low warning light comes on and stays on.I check the tire pressure,and it's normal.I go to a local gas station to check tire pressure but their pump is malfunctioning.Go back next day. Check pressure,it's normal and as soon as temp outside rises above freezing,pressure low light goes out.I think my car has a sensor problem that occurs when the temp drops below freezing. GM will keep their offer to pay $300 of the $500 original estimate,but I may be paying $300 for something that isn't broken! I think GM should recall the Cobalt. Too many issues. I still owe 5k on a vehicle that's trying to nickel and dime me to death and it has less than 40k miles on it! speakers take turns working and not working when I had it 2 yrs. :lemon:
  • My stereo speakers take turns on which ones want to work,front to back left to right.Right now the only speaker working is the left rear speaker. GM stopped making this car for a reason,and now I'm beginning to understand why!
  • I sued gm and the dealer both denied but settled oout of court. got all my expenses plus a few more dollars. will never buy anothe rgm product. no quality control or inspection at factory. gm just rolls them out and hope for best. enough complaints then recall otherwise all repairs on your own.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    edited February 2013
    >I sued gm and the dealer

    What was the court name and location and the names on the suit? This would be interesting to see the claims that GM and the dealer settled on. Case/docket number? Attorney name? or did you use small claims?

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • kaylavkaylav Posts: 1
    I purchased my car in feb. of 2009 and it had 29,000 miles on it. now four years and a 100 thousand miles later i am having nothing but problems. about a year or so ago my car started cutting out real bad while i was driving and took it to a mechanic. in town and he couldn't find anything wrong other than just so happened my ignition locked up and had to be replaced.. a week later a recall letter was sent and no i did not get fully reimbursed. well then the real fun started. every time i get gas my car will not start. it wont turn over and when it does it sputters and dies. after that now just when i go to get into it it will start but then start idling really hard and my rpms go up and down and then it will die. just today we got gas and my fiance decided to leave it running but as soon as he pulled the gas cap off it hissed letting out air from the pressure and my car died. I've taken it everywhere and either it doesn't do it when its there or they have no clue. i owe more than its worth and i cannot keep having to take it to places just to pay money for someone to tell me they don't know. also not long after i got it my front speakers would only work when they wanted to and now my back ones for a year or more now are the only ones that work. my cruise control don't work it will show its on but the reset and set button will not turn it on. however the buttons below it work. wire problems are my guess but as for now keeping it running and not getting stranded is my main concern and im hoping for some insight if anyone knows or has any suggestions. Its GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!
  • My daughter almost died today!!! Her car decided to go into total engine failure with little to NO brakes and very little steering wheel capability. She is 97 lbs with no upper body strength. She had to go off the road flip and hit a tree to avoid hitting other drivers on a very busy 4 lane. I just called and was advised there was no open recall for my VIN#...hmmm..I am very very suspicious that the entire system shuts down and nothing is wrong. Hardly makes sense. Better believe I WILL have this investigated by a professional, and if I find fault or defect, I will sue! My daughter's life is worth more than that piece of crap!~ Additionally, think of all of the other innocent drivers on the road who could have fallen victim to this defective piece of crap~~ BEWARE~
  • rdesantisrdesantis Posts: 30
    Ok, so my tailights no longer light up when i turn my lights on, but my brake lights signals and reverse lights aswell as my headlights work fine. Although the halos on my headlights seem to be out but im not sure thats connected. My radio works fine and the DIC and lights for my AC defrost, airbag and air circulate buttons light up aswell as my warning lights. but the rest of my dash is out. ive tried the dimmer and replaced the "clster" fuse. Did i replace the wrong fuse or is it not fuse related. My dome light also works fine.

    Anyone know which fuse it is?
  • rdesantisrdesantis Posts: 30
    Okay, took the Problem to the dealer.... Quoted from recipt:

    "Cause: scan, no codes, no park or interior lights, check PL fuse, ok, check BCM, no power at X3 A7, trace wire back to under hood fuse block.

    Correction:repair poor connection at X5 D1, Check all lights working oK.

    It was 0.8 hrs...just charged m72$ for labour....unfortunatly my factory warranty expired 30 days before repair :(
  • dumdonndumdonn Posts: 6
    u will have to sue. no customer service and u can write the 3 top officials CEO dan akerson down and get no help. general motors is set up to hear and not react until u sue. be sure to quote state statute numbers with your complaint. they will settle out of court as they did with me. I should have asked for more but I just wanted to break even. even the dealer refused to help.
  • rdesantisrdesantis Posts: 30
    The first correction failed. Same problem occured. could not diagnose the exact issue. Since dash and tail lights operated on the same fuse, mechanic separated fuses (ran dash lights on its own fuse), one for dashlights other for tail lights. that way problem could be traced, if dash lights blew the fuse then it was that fuse, if tail lights blew its own fuse, then we would know if it was an interior or exterior issue.
    Took it home and it blew again!! Took back, tech trace problem back to tail light fuse therefore an external issue. he was going to replace an entire electrical line ($$$ in labour) and happened to do one more look around vehicle and noticed and kink and exposed wire in the trailer harness wiring. Patched the exposed wire and lights on (with another replaced fuse). Lets hope this helps ;)
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