Intermittent electrical problem, sometimes prevents Chevy Cobalt from starting

venezianoveneziano Member Posts: 1
edited October 2014 in Chevrolet
I have had an occasional electrical problem with my Chevy Cobalt for a year or two. It seems to come and go (no issue for weeks, then it will occur most days over the course of a couple of weeks).
While driving, the dash will go dead (the gauges go to zeroes, the LED display with the miles and temperature goes blank or dashes), and the radio will go dead. I can still drive the car, and I have HVAC. The turn signals work (i.e., the lights blink), but I don’t hear the distinctive ‘turn signal clicking’ sound. Worrisome and annoying, but the car still runs.

Where it is a real problem is, if it happens when the car is off the car won’t start. I turn the key, and there is nothing. No ‘clicking’ of the starter, nothing. Typically I wait, try starting the car again 10-15 seconds later, and eventually I can start it within 5 minutes.

Anytime this happens while driving, it won’t last long. The dash / radio will go out, and then come back in a minute or two. It might happen a second or third or fourth time, but never for long.
I asked a dealer about it last year, when I was visiting for something else. They told me they could look, but since it was intermittent they probably wouldn’t be able to reproduce it, and may not find anything, and I would just be paying $90 / hour for labor to not find anything. They took a quick look under the hood and did find and clean out what appeared to be the remnants of a rodent’s nest. (the car never goes more than 3-4 days not driven, so the nest couldn’t have been active long, I don’t think.)

Anyway, my best guess is a bad connection or control module somewhere, possibly caused by a rodent gnawing on something. There is no pattern to when it happens (dampness, temperature, time of day, etc.) I don't know the electrical system of a Cobalt to try and trace down the potential problem location.

Has anyone seen something similar before in a Cobalt?
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