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Chevrolet Cobalt Electrical Problems



  • My 06 Cobalt is going thru the "shifter ordeal " in that I cant get the key out due to the shifter being broke . My problem now is , while I wait for the dealer to get the parts my battery drains cuz the clock on the radio wont shut off . I jump started it twice(once with dealer mechanic ) , the second time by my self (11 o'clock at night wouldnt you know it). This somehow created a whole new problem ! Now the dash says "Engine Power Reduced" and the throttle does not work . I looked this up in the book . It says this is happening to avoid engine damage . How do I fix this and why did this happen ? :sick: :sick: ">
  • I have a 2006 cobalt which i bought in Jan 2006. Since April 2007 my car has turned off 6 times. Once when i was on a highway going a 100km. Dealership says nothing is wrong. I told them i did not want to drive it because it was unsafe. He told me it was "my perogitive". I have been in contact with GM and they told me there was nothing they can do until the dealership recognizes the problem.
  • cmhj2000cmhj2000 Se, Pa.Posts: 374
    I've seen and heard of a similar issue with several 05 & 06 Cobalts doing this. In almost every case it was the ignition switch not making contact.

    Have found the condition is more likely to happen with those that have a lot of junk hanging on the key chain. Not saying you have a lot of junk on your key but that has been an issue with several cars besides the Cobalt.
  • Hi thank you for responding to me. When i first had this problem they told me that it was due to my keys and how many i had. so i removed all my keys except to turn the car on. Since than it happened 6 more times. It happened again last night at 11pm so i took it to the dealership this morning after contacting gm again. They put a black box in my car in june. this black box is like the ones they have on airplanes to record data if a plane has engine problems or crashes. this box however when you hit it records what happens before hand. I had the box plugged in last night so when the dealership read the data this morning they decided that for the past 10 months my car has been turning off because of a faulty throttle switch. i don't know if this makes sense. they are replacing the parts and guess i will have to wait and see. If anyone else is still having this problem i advise you to go to your dealership and demand a black box or call GM until they listen. Personally i'm not going to stop until I know they are going to do something to fix all the cobalts.
  • abrenabren Posts: 1
    so, your cobalt was still partially on and it was okay to jump it?
    i've got the same problem and ive been afraid to try it since i can't get the key out.
  • kuhlkuhl Posts: 5
    It now has 92,000 miles on it. I drive for a living, and this little car was wonderful for the first year that I had it. With new snow tires on it, it out climbed my husband's Suburban in the ice and snow. I did notice that, at night, when turning on the brights, all the lights went out. The next summer, I had a constant pool of water in the passenger side front floor, whenever the ac was ran everyday. It started dying on me at intersections, and slow uphills. In the fall, the shifter pin broke, and I was going out every 3-4 hours during the night to start it to keep the battery up for the next morning. I took out the console and manipulate it with the little lever thing. Then, the power steering stopped working when it died. I now have days when the locks click constantly, or just when I think I can hop out with it running for a delivery. Then, I am locked out. Now the power steering goes out when I am driving around a curve. It died on me today seven or eight times, in dangerous intersections, backing out of driveways into traffic, going up subdivision hills. I have called out of work indefinitely, to try and get another vehicle going somehow. I paid cash for this car, not enough stash built back up yet to replace it. I am just wondering if changing the throttle switch will remedy the dying problem. I have taken as good of care of this car as possible, I am feeling such disappointment. You would think a car you pay cash for would at least last 100,000 before falling apart. If anyone has had the throttle switch changed, could you let me know your results? Thanks!
  • I own a 2007 chevrolet cobalt coupe, i recently installed 2 10" subwoofer with a 250 watt amp, however the check engine light came on the car, sometimes it goes away, and sometimes i get the messages service airbags and power steering. why is this happening and how can i fix it?
  • kuhlkuhl Posts: 5
    I have a 2005 cobalt, and this same issue was only the beginning of sorrows. When turning the brights on, all of the lights go out. You have to jiggle the switch to get anything back on. The stereo locks up from time to time for no reason at all. Then, you might notice the shifter not wanting to go all the way into Park. Next, the engine stops getting a constant flow of gas, power steering fluid and engine oil. Mine is sitting in the driveway, with a $250 trade in value as we speak. Supposedly, they resolved some of these issues that they still haven't owned up to, for the newer models. My advice: trade it now!
  • Has anyone had any problems with the headlights on the 2008 Cobalt where they sometimes don't light up at night?
  • I would if I could, but to no avail. My vehicle was totalled because the headlights weren't on at night when I thought there were. I was just wondering if anyone had the same problem on the 2008 models.
  • bulldoggbulldogg Posts: 3
    i own a 2007 chevy cobalt, first time the check engine light came on it was a fuel injector, the dealer replaced it. the car had 12,0000 miles on it. the light came on again this friday, now the light went off. Does the engine light have to be on for the dealer to find the problem? the car has the same problems hesitation, rough idle.
  • grosloupgrosloup Posts: 239
    No, the engine light doesn't have to be on to find a problem. A similar thing happened with my vehicule.The "theft alarm system light" came on and when a went to the dealer the light was off. They simply plugged a machine under the dash and they had a numeral code that told them exactly what the problem was even if the light wasn't on.
  • bulldoggbulldogg Posts: 3
    thanks grosloup!!!! :)
  • dmathesodmatheso Posts: 3
    Dear cobalt 06,
    I am experiencing problems with my Cobalt as well. My biggest issue is the security lock flashing on my console when I go to start it in the morning. If I wait half an hour an try again it will usually start and then there are no problems until the next time. I've had it into the dealer 3x's with this issue but it starts for them and then they can't log an error code to identify the problem. My warranty is up, I'm tired of paying the dealer for nothing and nobody can figure this out. I've read through this forum and can't find any solutions. If there is anyone that can help me I'd really appreciate it. Other than that I love this car and thankfully haven't had any of the other problems some people on here have identified.
    This is a great forum. Thanks for any help you can give me.
  • cmtracycmtracy Posts: 8
    I have had my 06 Cobalt at the dealer 6 times in past 6 months with electrical issues from CD playing replaced twice, key stuck in ignition, but biggest safety issue was the 3 times my car died on a highway here in PA. I had all my documentation, letters to GM, owner to dealer, emails. My problems started at 17K. I was so stressed and fed up I contacted our state's Lemon Law. In PA, the Lemon Law is 1 yr/12K but since my problems were recorded at 17K, I was able to get some free help. If you have the Lemon Law available to you, I know my attorney helps NJ, MD, and PA, please try to get some help. I thought it was a total loss for me since I was ready to trade in the lemon and take another big loss.
    GM offered my free oil changes and tire rotations for 1 yr, BIG DEAL the car didn't run! I was so disgusted, I emailed the Lemon Law in my state and after a few weeks I did get some help.I received money for a down payment on a new vehicle and my attorney fees were paid by GM. GM did refuse to buy my lemon back of course, why should a big corporation take such a big loss. I could have lost my life. After the 3rd time my car completed died on an icy hill in Dec. I decided I couldn't drive it 50 miles a day anymore. Luckily, I proved my case and GM settled. I hope that everyone with 05 and 06 Cobalts can keep calling GM 866.697.7482 or These cars should have been recalled. GM settled 3 weeks after my Lemon Law claim. Obviously, GM knew there is a problem. I appreciate all the feedback on this website also. The service manager was so rotten to me, I wouldn't buy a piece of gum from him. I always told the company line, "We never have trouble with cobalts", I guess my cobalt broke the mold here in Pittsburgh. I enjoyed the car, even purchased the extended warranty but the car never made it past 21K with me. Pretty pathetic for GM. Never again......
  • hey charly . . .

    i have a 2005 cobalt and i may have the same problem . . . .

    recently (2 months ago) i noticed that oen of my headlights didnt work when i unlocked it with my remote. so i figured i need a new bulb . . then it came back on so i forgot about it.

    NOW when i hit my unlock on the remote BOTh low beams come on . .like theyre supposed to . . but when i put my key int he on position and go to start my car they both go off. High beams both work . . . but not the low beams . . . i can go up and hit the driverside headlamp and it will comeon but it wont work for the other low beam.

    it happens more consistantly now than before so .. . im also curious how to fix it because i dont think a bulb replacement will do since they both work . . .

    if you hear anything let me know :)

  • imlike my cobalt so far . . . i have 108,000 miles on it . . a lot of highway miles . . . im recently having headlamp trouble . . . did you have any problems with headlights not coming on . .? i dont knwo if i can do the lemon law since so many miles when it occured . . .

    any help you can provide :)

  • gerald41gerald41 Posts: 37
    I had an 06 before it was recently totaled. I use to chat with the srvice manager while waiting for my car. He use to tell me that I was a lucky one that my Cobalt had so few issues. He said it wasn't till the 07's did GM get the bugs out of the car. I heard many with electrical problems , even my cobalt had to have the radio changed due to a short. If you do research on the net for TSB's ( technical service bullitens) you'll read alot of issues GM knows about on the 05-06 Cobalts. Never buy a new design car the first 2 years of production.
  • Thanks gerald . . .

    yeah when i bought it . . it was totally an impulse buy . . it was actually a mistake but whatever. I havent had trouble with it at all really . . . i had to replace the MAP sensor and TPS sensor . .. but then found out those warnings were probably being set off by carbon build up in the throttle body . . but still i have 2 new parts on it lol.

    other than that i really havent had any trouble with it . . just recently with the headlights . . and it has 108k miles so ive been pretty fortunate also . . . no other problems . .. the E brake light and highbeam display has come up once or twice but not for awhile.

    yeah in hindsight i wouldnt have bought a new car at all . . . i LOVED My cavalier 1999 . . . i had NO trouble with it i sold it with 205k miles and got 3000 for it ha

    well thanks again

  • bulldoggbulldogg Posts: 3
    my check engine light came on again. i went to the dealer , they said that there is a service bullitin for the fuel injectors on the 07 chevy cobalt. i own a 07 chevy cobalt LS. my car has had a history of injector problems. my car has 17,000 miles on it. i hope this helps anyone with the same problem...
  • I have an 06 cobalt, the car is my baby. I have done a few modifications to it, and it seems just when i am pleased with the car, it dissapoints me again. It has 70 000 km on it, the car has been in and out of the shop since the first 10 000kms. Such problems as steering columns, 02 sensors, tie rods, warped rotors, engine lights, overheating, 2x wheel bearings...etc etc....I still love my car....but it is more of a love/hate relationship. The car is not under warrenty anymore...which does scare me. Recently I realized my tail light was out. So i went to the store and bought new bulbs. easy fix right??....The bulbs didnt cure the problem and i realized that the bulbs were fine. Checked the fuses....alll fine...Soooo my brake light works, signal works, hazards work.....but no running light...??? Nothing is an easy fix with this car...After exchanging words with the not so pleasent sevice rep i have decided to bring it into an independant shop where i will pay minimum 100 dollars, if not way more to fix a TAIL LIGHT!!???...Like WTF?...SO I am just curious if anyone else has had a similar problem or even any advise/ideas of what i could check? It would be greatly appretiated!
  • It's been a couple years since I got my 2005 cobalt, but the issues are the same:

    I have a 2005 Cobalt - bought new with a 10yr/100k warrantee.
    * High Beam and EBrake indicators coming on and off very sporadically.
    * CD player giving ERROR or LOCKED message until I restart car.
    *** My key keeps getting stuck in the ignition. while the car is off, I have to shift it into Reverse then back into park to hear the 'click' releasing my key.

    ~ I found the TSB for almost all these issues but won't pay for subscription so can't see details. My dealership's kinda dickin me around & wants to charge me $100 to tell me what is/isn't wrong when I've already had it seen by a mechanic.

    * Who else has these issues and how are you handling it? Anyone give me more info on how to use/read the TSBs?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,471
    Bulletin No.: 06-07-30-004C

    Date: June 27, 2006

    Various Concerns With Shifter and/or Ignition Key (Replace Shifter Assembly/Shifter Components or Ignition Lock Cylinder)

    2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
    2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit (Canada Only)
    2007 Pontiac G5

    with Automatic Transmission 4T45-E (RPO MN5)


    This bulletin is being revised to add models and model years. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 06-07-30-004B (Section 07 - Transmission/Transaxle).


    Some customers may comment on any of the following concerns:
    ^ The shifter is hard to move or binds.

    ^ They cannot remove the ignition key.

    ^ It takes high effort to rotate the key.

    Cause 1

    The shifter button may be sticking in the handle.

    Cause 2

    The pin that activates the micro-switch may have moved out of position (refer to illustration above). This causes the micro-switch to fail to engage when the vehicle is placed in Park. If this condition is present, the customer will not be able to remove the key from the ignition.

    The illustration above shows the switch in a correct position.

    Cause 3

    Metal flashing left in the cylinder may cause a high effort to rotate the key.

    Cause 4

    The slider may be binding in the guides. This may cause the shifter to become difficult to operate.

    Correction 1

    Verify that the shifter button is inoperative by evaluating if the park pawl pin on the shifter assembly moves when activating the button. If the parking pawl does not move when the button is activated, the shifter handle will have to be replaced. Refer to Floor Shifter Control Knob Replacement in SI.

    Correction 2
    Important: A change has been made to the shifter assembly for service. The replacement shifter assembly will read PRNDIL (Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, Intermediate and Low).

    Verify that the micro switch is out of position. Replace the shifter assembly. Refer to Floor Shifter Control Replacement in SI.

    Correction 3
    Important: Refer to instruction sheet that is supplied with the lock cylinder kit. BO 47869 is an essential staking tool and must be used for the repair.

    Replace the ignition lock cylinder. Refer to Ignition Lock Cylinder Replacement in SI.

    Correction 4

    Replace the slide indicator and guides in the shifter following the procedure below:
    1. Apply the parking brake.

    2. Remove the upper console trim. Refer to Trim Plate Replacement-Console Front in SI.

    3. Remove shifter knob. Refer to Floor Shifter Control Knob Replacement in SI.

    4. Remove the indicator plate. Use a flat-bladed screwdriver to release the locking tabs.

    5. Remove the shifter indicator lens.

    6. Pull up on the indicator and remove it from the assembly.

    7. Remove the two front rails by unsnapping the front and lifting up, and then back, to remove the rails from the shifter assembly.

    8. Install the new guides. Place the hook end into the assembly and push down. It will snap into place.

    9. Install the new slide indicator. With the transmission in neutral, place the slide over the shifter and into the guides. Move the slide indicator down the guides in the front and rear.

    Important: Replace the shifter indicator lens if damage is present due to the slider binding or if it becomes damaged during disassembly.

    10. Install the shift indicator lens.

    11. Install the shift indicator plate.

    12. Install the shifter knob. Refer to Floor Shifter Control Knob Replacement in SI.

    13. Install the upper console trim. Refer to Trim Plate Replacement-Console Front in SI.



    Bulletin No.: 05-08-44-010B

    Date: November 09, 2005

    Radio Displays Locked Message Intermittently (Reprogram Radio)

    2005 Chevrolet Cobalt
    2005 Pontiac Pursuit (Canada Only)

    with Radio (RPO U1C)


    This bulletin is being revised to provide additional corrective action information. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 05-08-44-010A (Section 08 - Body and Accessories).


    Some customers may comment of the following radio concerns:
    - Inoperative or "dead" CD mechanism

    - CD loads but won't play

    - CD spins but no audio is heard

    - Radio clock displays 12:00 while CD plays

    - Radio VF display does not dim when the vehicle dimmer control is decremented

    - Radio VF display momentarily flickers

    - Radio VF becomes inoperative

    - Radio displays ERR

    - Radio displays LOC, disabling the radio

    If the customer turns the vehicle "off" and then back to "on" the radio message may clear itself and the radio functions normally. This condition may be intermittent.


    Due to a software issue, the radio may not be able to verify the vehicle VIN number and then goes into LOC mode.


    Important: Programming will cause the radio to lose station pre-sets. Note the station presets to they can be reset after programming.

    A radio software update (calibration P/N 1327) has been released to address the conditions listed above. The software is available on TIS software update version 11.0 dated 10/30/05, or later.
    Note: Using the software update on a radio other than the part numbers listed below may cause the radio to go "dead" and require replacement.

    The software update ONLY applies to the following U1C radio part numbers: 15278465, 15235437, and 22712714. Radios which have been programmed with the new software will have a PROM ID of 052F.
    Important: Verify the PROM ID prior to programming. Use the following steps to verify the PROM ID using the Tech 2(R).

    1. Enter "Diagnostics".

    2. Select Model Year = "2005".

    3. Select Vehicle Type = "Passenger Car".

    4. Select Make = "Chevrolet".

    5. Select Product Line = "A".

    6. Select F6: Body and Accessories.

    7. Select "Entertainment".

    8. Select F4: Module ID Information.

    9. Select F1: Radio.

    10. If the PROM ID = 052F, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PROGRAM THE RADIO. THIS MAY CAUSE THE RADIO TO GO "DEAD". If the PROM ID is anything other than 052F, proceed with programming using the steps listed below.

    Reprogram the radio using the Tech 2(R). If using Tech 2(R) software version 25.010 or later, programming can be done using the "remote" method. If using an earlier version of Tech 2(R) software, programming must be done following these steps for "pass-thru" programming:
    1. Enter SPS Programming.

    2. Select Pass-Thru Programming.

    3. Build the vehicle (i.e. year, make and model).

    4. Verify the VIN.

    5. Select the RAD (Radio) module for programming.

    6. Select "Base Radio" (RPO U1C).

    7. After programming is complete, the screen will instruct you to turn the ignition off for 30 seconds.

    8. Reset the clock and station presets.

    Warranty Information

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

    Share Your Vehicle Reviews Here

  • Thank you so much ~ I'm trying to hard to research enough so that I can walk in there and sound like I know what I"m talking about. any more info is always appreciated, but I will see how I do with this...
  • sarah_duhsarah_duh Posts: 1
    My Cobalt was having issues with the motor in the steering wheel turning on and jerking the wheel back and forth. I had taken it to several different car shops, avoiding the dealer like the plague, but nobody could figure out what was causing the steering wheel to shake and the helicopter-like sound coming from under the hood.
    I finally took it to the local dealer and they were so helpful, it was refreshing. I bough my cobalt used and was told there was no warranty left on it, but the gentleman who helped me found out that there was one, it just hadn't been transferred to me. Despite that, he considered it still warranteed and investigated the problem.
    It turned out that GM had issued a bulletin stating if you can't get the vehicle to replicate the noise or the shaking, don't do anything about it. Under the off-chance that you can replicate the issues, the motor in the steering wheel needs replacing. The man who helped me couldn't replicate the problem as it only happens at freeway speeds, but he ordered the new part and will be installing it in 3 business days. He said he likes to treat his customer's and their vehicles as he would want himself and his vehicles treated. Now that is what customer service is about.
    Other than that, my Lazer Blue Cobalt LS Coupe has been nothing but a dream. I'm the 4th owner of that baby, I've put nearly 8,000 miles on it since late December when I bought it, and it still runs like a champ. Sound system still works great, she still looooves to go fast, and the seats are still comfy for my frequent 2-hour drives on the weekends. And who the hell thinks those things have small back seats? You can't fit 3 full grown adults because Americans are FAT, but trust me, they definitely leave enough room to party. Or move.
    The lazer blue cobalt coupe was my dream car from the moment I saw it, and honestly, it still is. :shades:
  • poncho167poncho167 Posts: 1,178
    The rear seat is a little tight but that wouldn't deter me from buying the car. Three average sized adults can fit back there but I wouldn't want to be back there for any long drive. The tight seat situation is pretty common in the compact car class so this isn't just a Cobalt thing. Yes, I agree most Americans need to stop eating.

    The Cobalt was one of the first cars to have the electric steering instead of the typical power steering drive belt that robs gas mileage. The had issues with the power steering motor for the first couple years of production including its tendency to over-react to steering input. From what I hear everything has been corrected and electric power steering is now found in many brands of cars now.
  • jane28jane28 Posts: 3
    Hey what was the solution on any one who had the power door lock issue? My car is unlocking/locking itself when it is off or on.. randomly throughout the day. Can anyone help me with this.
  • I haven't had that issue with my Cobalt, though I did have it with my first car - a Corsica. Ended up being the beginning of the death of that car.
    Is it sporadically or only when you reach high speeds?
  • jane28jane28 Posts: 3
    very sporadic.. even when the car is off and sitting in the driveway.. just started doing this too.. also.. my door chime started acting up about a month ago for no reason. I would open the door but hadn't left anything on and it would ding.. and then sometimes it doesn't do it. And once.. don't know if this is related.. but I was turning left and my brights were on.. and when I hit my blinker my headlights went out for about a half a second ( as I was turning..) On a VERY dark road. It was scary.. the dealer said I probably clicked the lights off while I was turning on the blinker.. it hasn't happened again but I don't really think that was it. I hope this car doesn't die. I am SO upside down.
  • jane28jane28 Posts: 3
    I forgot this, but another thing that started a few days before the crazy locking/unlocking started.. is that my passenger window won't roll down from the passenger control. It would roll up.. but not down.. and sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. But from my driver control, it all worked.. so weird.
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