Chevrolet Cobalt Steering Problems

gonzam02gonzam02 Member Posts: 3
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.


  • tfarmertfarmer Member Posts: 3
    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 Member 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.
  • frustrated8frustrated8 Member Posts: 20
    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!
  • tfarmertfarmer Member Posts: 3
    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.
  • tfarmertfarmer Member Posts: 3
    Was it a Cobalt? If not, what type of car?
  • frustrated8frustrated8 Member Posts: 20
    It was my 18 year old Toyota Corolla FX. After they replaced the front axle it ran great again.
  • wallstfunwallstfun Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 1,178
    I have not heard of that one before, consult with your dealer.
  • grosloupgrosloup Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 159
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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.
  • gonzam02gonzam02 Member Posts: 3
    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.

  • thebigfinthebigfin Member Posts: 1
    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 Member Posts: 770
    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 Member 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?
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    2000 Cavalier she bought with 24,000 miles on it as a "program car". It's clunked since day one under her ownership. Still does. I can't say that her car's clunk has the same source as your cars' clunks, but at 104,000 miles nothing's fallen off so I'm inclined to accept GM's premise that it's not a safety issue unless events prove otherwise. She's in the market for a new 2007 Cobalt LTZ with all the goodies. (NO more "program cars" - they've had the livin' snot run outa them!) For those Cobalt owners with the clunking, email a complaint to the NHTSA. While they won't launch a full-blown investigation on isolated complaints, if a sufficient number are posted, they will contact GM. Even GM won't unnecessarily take on the government these days - particularly with what may be a more consumer pro-active congress due for installation in January. ;)
  • sleepysam22sleepysam22 Member Posts: 2
    Reference your "klunking" noise on right turns. I had the same exact problems you are describing along with the same responses from gm and the dealership. Luckily I had a very experienced tech that I personally knew who would not give up on the problem. Believe it or not mine was caused from a faiulty control arm that looked and tested fine (so gm said). After replacing the control arms guess what???? no more noise. Demand they replace the control arms and I bet you have no further problems. Let me know what [email protected]
  • sleepysam22sleepysam22 Member Posts: 2
    I feel so bad for you. I am in the exact situation as you are. Same exact noise. Gm now has that part your talking about. It is called an intermediate shaft that is part of the steering columb. I just got my cobalt into the dealer and they replaced it. Guess what???? it did not fix the noise. In fact it is worse. gm is a joke and I will never buy another gm product period. Good luck in getting you car fixed. Maybe we can go trade our cars in and get a good deal with a double sale!!!! (dont we wish)
  • gwonggwong Member Posts: 2
    Thank you for your information. I am going to the dealers tomorrow and speak to them about it. If by replacing the intermediate shaft it still does not do anything about the noise, GM is not doing a good job. It is a pity they don't take the concerns of customers seriously. The cobalt is not the first lemon I bought. I had a Citation before and it gave me a lot of frustration too. Now my grown-up children are not buying GM, my many friends are staying away from GM after talking to me about my "NEW" car - the Cobalt. No wonder GM is losing money and customers. I guarantee that my next three generations will not buy GM. I want to trade my Cobalt for another car, but not another GM. Actually, I just bought a Nissan as my second car. Thank you for your e-mail and nice to talk to someone who shares my same woe. I wish you the best in the future.
  • ams823ams823 Member Posts: 1
    I went to but a car on a Sunday and the only dealership that was open was a Chevy Dealership. We (my wife and I) looked around for a little with a sales rep and we drove around in a couple of Cobalts. We baught one of them.
    My first car was an '01 Corolla. I replaced the motor after 120 k miles and that has been the ONLY problem that I have ever had with that car. I baught the cobalt in December of '05 and have had 3 major issues with it. It just now passed 75 k miles.

    Issue 1: I was driving my son around just to waste time and to settle him down because he had bad collic. All of a sudden my whole car starts jumping around like I had air shocks or something. The doors locked/unlocked, my rpm was jumping, all of my alerts were going off. I braught it in and they told me they had to replace the mainframe of the car computer. :confuse:
    Issue 2: I hit a pot hole when going around construction (my bad) and I thought I had a bad oil leak. That was not the case, afterall. The person that looked at the car said that my oil was not low and there was not a leak. The leak was coming from the middle of my engine somewhere.
    They tore the engine apart and noticed that the part that was leaking wasn't known to go bad until after 100 k miles. :mad:
    Issue 3: Now my car has power steering issues. Everytime I start it and drive a couple of miles the power steering alert shows up and I can barely turn the steering wheel. In Walker, Louisiana, where there is no where to turn unles you want to go into a ditch, at every stop sign/light I have to restart my car so I can turn into my driveway.
    All I know is I will never own a chevy again.
  • mmh2mmh2 Member Posts: 1
    I got into an accident in my 2006 Cobalt this week and was wondering if anyone has heard of a problem like the one I had.

    I was driving along a mostly straight road when the car veered slightly to the right. I steered to the left to correct it and completely lost control of the steering. I did not yank the wheel or anything, I was just driving normally.

    I did some online searching and did not really find any reports of something like this. I did see that others had problems with the key getting stuck in the ignition, which happened to me a few times, but I am not sure if it could be related.

    Another thing to note is that my engine and traction lights were on, and the car was brought in to the dealer several times but they could not find anything wrong.
  • cadelesscadeless Member Posts: 4
    (read title) For all of you! I have not had one damn problem with my little red coupe LS, If you went to the auto shows in 05 and saw the hot little custom red one, belongs to me and I LOVE IT!!! Its only an LS, but they had to make it look good for the car shows, Its got every option cobalts can have, and one or two that chevy doesnt even offer on the cobalt, to recap, im to busy lovin my victory red hotness to listin to your nit picky.... (so much, in fact, that im not even going to finish that last line)
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    I have read of a few people having issue's with electric steering on earlier models of various cars including some nightmares over on the Toyota Corolla forum. Everyone is going to this electric steering now to save money, provide fewer moving parts, and improve mileage because their is nolonger a belt running it.
  • jtk152jtk152 Member Posts: 139
    Poncho, I don't think the Corolla has electric power steering yet. In regards to the Cobalt, the majority of the "Electric Assist" power steering issues on the delta chassis stems from the electrical connector above your left foot. Size 13's could definitely wreak havoc up in there. You can reach right up there and feel the motor, electrical connector and 'computer' box.

  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    Sorry if I miss quoted, but I did read about Corolla steering lock up issues last year and I thought it was related to electric power steering if not I don't remember what caused it. A lot of cars have the electric power steering now.
  • tnaktnak Member Posts: 1
    My mother was in an accident in Dec in an 07 cobalt that happened exactly as you describe.
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    The 2008 Corolla also has the electric steering I confirmed. All cars are going this way.
  • prosserprosser Member Posts: 1
    I noticed your posting with the power steering issues, well my car has been doing this, i was just wondering if you have found out why your car was doing it? i bought my colbalt in may of '05. just wondering
  • tiffannietiffannie Member Posts: 2
    :shades: OK this past weekend I almost totaled my 06 Chevy Cobalt LS Coupe, I came around a turn doing about 30 (the posted speed limit) and lost complete control of my vehicle. I veered my steering wheel to the right to avoid the oncoming vehicles, it did not turn, when it did, it sent my car to the side of the road into a terrifying 360 degree spin. Luckily I did not hit anything or anyone and my passengers where seatbelted into the vehicle. I took my car into the shop and it was identified that the electronic steering was going bad, what a way to find out right? It never registered to my cars computer because its such a slight imperfection that it never read it. I recommend going to a dealer that knows what they are talking about or calling GM yourself. As far as the t/c light coming on and off, it has to do with your electric system that diagnoses your vehicle, I had the same problem, mine was replaced and I never had the problem again. I think our vehicles may have been made the same day, it's weird that I have now experienced both of these problems. I'm glad that I have a small town dealership on my side, where they listen to me and dont just blow me off.

    ---BE CAREFUL IF YOU STILL HAVE NOT HAD THAT LOOKED INTO, the dealer can read the log from the day you lost control to verify it. Mine was able to read that there was a miscommunication and loss of control to the tires. Your vehicle is very smart, but has errors like every computer out there. Make sure you have your computer read!!!! And as far as the t/c call GM if the dealer refuses to order it, they get payed well from our warranties!!!! please email me if your dealer refuses the problem I will talk to my dealer about it and Email you back!! [email protected]
  • halloweenqueenhalloweenqueen Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2005 Cobalt LS. In August 2007 we lost control of the steering, fortunately while we were trying to park. The dealership replaced the steering column @17K kms. Since that time the steering column has been repeated replaced. The steering column and lifter arms were replaced in June 2008 due to the noise and difficult steering. The car is going into the shop again on Friday with the SAME problem and I suspect the steering column will be replaced yet once again. I am afraid to drive this vehicle @ high speed on the highway and have great difficulty trying to park as the steering is so stiff. In June the dealership advised me that GM has now admitted there is an issue with the steering column but they have not resolved it. In the meantime the same bad part gets replaced with a new bad part. The rental car agency staff all know me by my first name and probably have my Visa number memorized. I have been a car owner for 33 years and have never experienced such aggravation trying to get a problem resolved. I also have the key issue and the shifter assembly has been replaced a number of times. The front passenger seat belt has been replaced a number of times and will be fixed again this week - if you hit the breaks and the belt tightens it does not loosen when the car resumes and you have to unclip the belt and let it retract in order to loosen it up. I am also having the right turn signal fixed for the third time - it goes on but does not go off after you complete your turn. I loved this car initially and now it is my worse nightmare.
  • allenlynnallenlynn Member Posts: 6
    I am glad to have found your post. We bought a 2005 Cobalt in July, which I had posted the issues a few days ago. It is under electric and under Cobalt being a death trap. The car has been at the dealer I purchased it from, since last Wednesday, and they still don"t have a clue what wrong with it. They just thought it was "weird" It was a good thing my daughter was not passing anyone and got the car pulled over. I will send you copy of email I sent Chevolet today. No response yet.
  • sharkman1sharkman1 Member Posts: 19
    I'm concerned about loss of control, when the electric steering goes out is it like steering with out pwr steering or does it not respond no matter which way you turn the wheel? :confuse: I really enjoy the car and a little spirited driving every once in a while, but this almost takes the fun out of driving it.
  • tiffannietiffannie Member Posts: 2
    Its like driving without a steering wheel, when one of the degree sensors go out the steering wheel and tires have no message relay and there for it doesnt work.
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    I can't say what would happen but I would think it would be something like not having power steering. Most cars including the Corolla have electric steering now so it looks like everyone is in the same boat.
  • sseiboisseiboi Member Posts: 7
    If any of the steering sensors go out, its like not having powersteering. The steering wheel will still work but it would be very hard to manuver. Easy fix by dealer and should be warantee item. I have occasional short out of sensor only when i purposely burn rubber in the rain on a turn. No problem to me because it takes a fraction of a second to come back on and im used to driving a vehicle without power steering. Drive one for my company....

    And for all the people with the shaking problem when on the freeway, here is a word of advice. The dealer is the last place you want to get your vehicle serviced on unless it is covered by the warantee. They will never fix your problem, only make it worse. Shaking on the freeway after driving is due to balance, if it happens at a certain speed, make sure to eliminate all possibilities. If you are slowing down and the shaking worsens, that is due to warped rotors: which means that the brake rotors are mishapen due to braking- very common especially in non abs vehicles. If both those are taken care of and the car continues to vibrate violently, take it to a tire shop and have them remove the whole wheel and tire assembly one-by-one and spin on their balancer to check if any wheels bent. If there is still no problem and continues to do vibration, request to look for any bends in axle shafts. Depending on how many miles you have and how new the vehicle is, it should be waranteed by dealer.

    Now all the balancing and diagnostic check at a professional tire shop, (not Big O guys, because they dont know what they are doing half the time....) like a Lech Swabb should take care of you with little charge. Balancing ~$10 a wheel.... rotating should be free if wheels are off.... and inspection of axle shaft (note just a visual, not removal because a real mechanic can just look at it and determine its bad) could range from $30 to $60. Not bad compared to what i have read from those on the forum spending money like crazy because dealer didnt know what the problem was either. If the problems still occur, even after that much work and time spent dealing with investigating, there still is hope with this last option. You probably got a defective vehicle and need to show all records, or receipts of diagnostics done to it and declare it a lemon. There are those out there in any make and model.

    I just cant understand those that blame the manufacture for the problems that happen naturally. No tire ever stays balanced forever. No tire ever holds air forever so check it once a month to save gas.... Yes GAS, proper inflation extends wear and saves gas due to more friction caused by an underinflated tire on the road. And no 2 vehicles are the same so the supplier of the manufacture can give defective parts and can be replaced to prevent a greater problem. And last, being easy on brakes prevents warping of rotors because you have to realize that brakes consist of 2 metallic surfaces rubbing together to slow down, so they will eventually wear and need replacement. OE parts of dealer will wear faster than aftermarket, usually....

    Hope that helps anyone. And help save money in these hard times.
  • toofast1toofast1 Member Posts: 4
    my 07 cobolt clunked on right turn. dealer replaced intermediate shaft in steering, noise gone. No other problems yet.
  • toofast1toofast1 Member Posts: 4
    my 07 cobolt clunked on right turn. Dlr. in bak. ca. replaced intermediate shaft in steering. Noise gone. no other problem with car. good luck.
  • George666George666 Member Posts: 2
    I baught my brand new 2009 Cobalt 5 days ago. But I found the power steering gone when I tried to park. It happened several times. My God, only 5 days brand new car. Can I ask refund?

    I will never buy GM car.
  • okko1okko1 Member Posts: 327
    maybe the devil did it. i wonder what will happen on day 6? is tihs your first post on your first day at carspace? :shades:
  • halloweenqueenhalloweenqueen Member Posts: 2
    Good Luck,

    I've lost track of the # of steering columns my car has had and various other steering or front end components. I have an 05 with 35K on it - I have had 56 warranty items fixed to date and there are still a number of items to be fixed. The steering has not been resolved yet & it is sitting at the dealership while I work with GM on what we do next.
  • laserbluelaserblue Member Posts: 313
    If you find a cracked egg in a dozen or a rotten apple in a basket are you going to throw everyone of them in the garbage?

    You had 1 bad experience with a GM car and you're ready to send every GM cars at the scap yard?

    I've been driving and buying GM products since 1974, changing my car every 5 years and only had minor problems (that's normal). I just bought my 9th GM truck and my next will probably be a GM (chevrolet) again.

    Hey! by the way.... why make a big fuss out of it ? After 5 days, it must still be on warranty?
  • George666George666 Member Posts: 2
    yes, I don't what I should do now
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    Have fun over at the Toyota forum if that's where you go. Toyota's are some of the biggest pieces of junk out there right now according to recall stats.
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    The dealer may exchange it for another being that its within a week.
  • poncho167poncho167 Member Posts: 1,178
    Most dealers probably would on a week old car.
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