• Feb 3, 2010
2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Turbo - Click above for high-res image gallery

Proof that there are other automakers also under the scrutiny of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration: The Chevrolet Cobalt is under federal investigation for steering-related safety issues. To date, the NHTSA has reported 1,132 consumer complaints about a sudden loss of power steering in 2005-09 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2008-09 Chevrolet Cobalt SS models. While a loss of steering assist should not immediately lead to a crash, consumers have reported "difficulty controlling the vehicle, such as departing from the desired travel lane."

The NHTSA has recorded 11 crashes and one injury attributed to the power steering failure, with potentially 905,000 vehicles affected by the investigation. There have been no deaths reported. "We are cooperating with the agency in the investigation," said GM. The automaker will replace the Cobalt with the Chevrolet Cruze for the 2011 model year.



[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      A few years ago when visiting Canada, I rented Cobalts from Avis in Toronto and found that they were difficult to keep on track at highway speeds. I put it down to rental cars (they can do anything and people drive them that way), being shod with less than useful all season tyres (Continental) and the fact that I come form a country that drives on the other (correct :-) side of the road. Two years ago, I relocated to Canada and the company I work for provided a lease Cobalt LS 2007. Having driven it now for approximately 35,000 Km over the last two years, I find that it requires a much higher level of concentration to keep the car tracking straight at highway speeds than any other vehicle I have driven and it has this "notchy" feel at low speeds - very disconcerting. My partner has also complained that it is hard to keep straight on the highway, which makes me feel better (she now doesn't complain about my driving so much). I recently heard of the investigation on the news (completed overshadowed by Toyota's difficulties) and have found that many people have been suffering from worse problems. I now understand that GM's steering mechanism in this vehicle is not quite up to scratch and I will warn people not to purchase a Cobalt of any age. I very much doubt that it can or will be fixed by GM. Why should they? It will be replaced by the Cruz out of Korea.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @ toni. Exactly correct. The eps issue is on both platforms. I do know that they have a new system coming in cars for 2011 and 2012.

      @Cyx: the japanese car is worse. They have problems for a long time before they notice it or admit to it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @thedude3389:

        yes i remember the 80's and the early 90's when the american cars were crap and then also from what i remember and what family and friends experienced the japanese cars weren't that good either. my sister's 87 sentra, the engine seized up and died. my cousin's 93 Mazda 626 had mechanical failures out the wazoo 5 years after purchase, i.e. transmission failure malfunction, and electrical issues. another cousin had a 93 Honda civic and after 6 years, it had electrical problems. fast forward, 1997, sister buys the Camry at the time brand new. she puts it in park, it rolls down the street and runs into a lamp post. months later it was recalled for tranny failiure. 3 years later she had electrical problems and knocking engine. and to show you that i don't live in a cave: my uncle had a 1984 Buick sommerset and it niggled like crazy and had recalls on the lighting system and he had engine trouble, and my mom drove a Ford Tempo. worst car in the world.

        now fastforwarding to current times, i have had my share of driving vehicles, import and domestic, and from my experiences, i prefer domestic vehicles over most japanese and Korean vehicles. i don't sit around and judge a vehicle because of 20 years or 10 years ago, i go out and test them out and owned a couple of them because times change and so do the vehicles (look at toyota. their crappy manufacturing caught up with them!) i recently drove a 2008 Camry as a designated driver, which allowed me to compare it with the 2008 Chevy Malibu that i drove, and i can tell you the Malibu runs laps around the Camry for the camry was floaty, had a cheap looking interior, and the stearing was bad and the car didn't feel well built, meanwhile the Malibu was solid, agile, good quality interior and so far the owner hasn't had any trouble whatsoever to amuse you. so there. laugh all you want. but in the end the tide is changing and you are watching it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dude, go back to the early 90's. You have to live in a rock to say Japanese have been having problems. The Americans have been making CRAP for longer than you can remember. Only recently have they been trying, but even at that. I actually drive one of these Cobalts, and i swear on my own head i will NEVER buy American again. Its just a terrible car. The Americans just don't offer the driving experience, reliability or precision i'm looking for. Dont take me for a Toyota fan, i said i like driving. Honda, Hyundai/Kia and Mazda seems to be the way to go these days. Americans put me through so much crap with their cars that its not worth to go buy them any more. Like it or not, thats how the general population thinks, and good for them. Im just curious though, why do you hate the Japanese anyways? Seriously, amuse me...
      6speedRay
      • 4 Years Ago
      I work at a gm dealer and this is common they have a fix already for it the wiring in the steering column shorts out and either kills the eps motorso you replace the eps motor or you replace the column the resaon they replace the column is cause its cheaper than going in the column and repairing it they are not that bad i've done many of them but i imagine that would alarm some one when it happens cause they are hard to turn when the eps motor goes out
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Toyota, we don't like taddle-tales".
      • 4 Years Ago
      I had a 2005 Cobalt. I was driving on a two lane highway and had to hit the brakes to slow down. I was fgoing about 58 mph. It was a clear, dry, sunny day. The temp was in the high 40's. When I went to use the brakes, the brake pedal pulsed, but the car barely slowed down. It was not sliding or skidding. I re-applied the brakes and the car quickly pulled extremely hard to the left, putting me in a head on collision with another vehicle. I had a clean driving record with no accidents in 32 years of driving. I have owned over 30 cars and have never had one do this before. I was not seriously injured, but the other driver had some injuries. I have absolutely no doubt that this accident would never have happened if the car had functioned properly. Now I am stuck with higher insurance costs, 2 tickets and the other driver had injuries. I cannot prove what happened because I cannot afford to have the car examined and my insurance company really doesn't care. These cars have a malfunction that makes them a death trap. I wonder how many others were killed, yet the police wrote it off as some other reason. Dead drivers cannot tell what really happened. I feel lucky to be alive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have a 2006 SS that I bought new. 90% of its 80,000 miles are from highway driving. 4 sets of front rotors already (2 OEM/replacements, 1 Brembo set, 1 Stoptech set), rear discs are OEM and have 95% of their surface left according to the dealer. Whole steering column shudders when braking. Design flaw perhaps?

        For the record,no power steering issues to date.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I had a 2005 Saturn ION, which is mechanically the same as the Cobalt, with the same electric power steering system. I had the power steering go out on me twice, and I can attest to the fact that it is an issue. Both times I was making a 90 degree turn from one road to another, and both times this issue cause me to turn much wider than I had been intending. The power steering effort is so light around town normally, that when it does cut out and you're already committed to making a turn, the way it unexpectedly stiffened up caused me to turn wide because I was not expecting to have suddenly need to use two or three times the normal force to turn the wheel. When it cuts out, you need that extra second or two to realize what happened and then make the extra effort to steer. And in that second or two, you end up turning wider than you intend. Now, if this had happened to me when going in a straight line, then it's no biggie. It's the fact that it could happen mid-turn that's the problem. Long story short, Saturn replaced the entire steering column and power steering motor under warranty. If I had been out of warranty, I think it would have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1200.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I had something similar happen to me in a 2000 Chrysler Neon, the steering went stiff halfway through the turn, if i knew it would be so stiff, i wouldn't have took the turn at the same speed, luckily power came back a second or so later and i could salvage my self from kissing a wall.... this was just a blip, and in the hand of an inexperienced driver could have lead to an accident...in any case, wouldn't you get it changed for free if it was a defect? regardless of warranty?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Found website toyota and gm both use jtekt for eps steering systems W.t.f . Why is this not in the headlines.
      • 4 Years Ago
      First off the power steering failure is old in the sense that it happened first in the 2005-2006 Pontiac G6. It now appears on the Cobalt, a car that was crapped on and now is being replaced. Why aren't they beating up on GM over this? The main reason is that GM didn't turn a blind eye on the problem unlike what toyota did. That's what got toyota in hot water. They dismissed its petal issue. Secondly out of the over 1000 complaints on the power steering loss, there are 0 fatalities. Lastly this investigation is spanning 6 models years of the Cobalt verses up to 3 model years on toyota's 8 affected models.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually if I remember correctly GM only uses this EPS system on Delta and Epsilon cars, i.e. only the G6, Malibu, Cobalt (and its bastard twin the G5/Pursuit).

        I have it on my 2006 G6, never had problems, nor it was part of the original recall. Although I did have a steering column problem with it being sticky and vibrate at high speed, but it was replaced via warranty, and all was good afterwards.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I just realized I contradicted myself in wording. By "never had problems" I meant the aforementioned problem in the original article.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Finally ! We talk about something relevant to MEEE !
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am glad to see the NHTSA doing their job.
        • 4 Years Ago
        All of a sudden, the sleeping giant has awakened.
        Lar7789789
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yaaa!!!! Way to go Chevy!!! Doing great, GM reliability and engineering at its finest!!!


        GM makes such crappy cars, no wonder they are big pieces of trash, and they are losing market share to Ford
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is what a GOVERNMENT of any country is supposed to do. Advocate on behalf of the citizenry, not the MEGA corporations.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lar: The power steering in my AUDI A6 failed. Don't even try to compare this to what's going on at Toyota.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm betting we hear very little about this on the news. A few words and it will be gone. Unlike Toyota who is being Tarred and feathered. I guess people expect American companies to have recalls.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So their doing this so people don't think they are deliberately targeting Toyota! How nice!
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