Top 5 Chevy Cobalt Problems: 1st Generation (2005 to 2010)

The Chevy Cobalt is a compact car that many use as a daily driver. It has existed for two generations and is currently in its second. This post reviews the top 5 Chevy Cobalt problems owners tend to run into with the 1st generation, years 2005 to 2010.

Fix 1st gen Chevy Cobalt problems yourself with quality auto parts at

Most Common Issues with the 1st Gen Chevrolet Cobalt (2005 to 2010)

1. Ignition Coil Failure

Ignition coils on the 2005 to 2010 Chevy Cobalt
Ignition coils on the 2005 to 2010 Chevy Cobalt

Symptoms of Ignition Coil Failure

  • Rough running engine
  • Flashing check engine light

Causes of Ignition Coil Failure

The ignition coils tend to fail on the 2005 to 2010 Cobalt.

How to Fix Ignition Coil Failure

The ignition coils are located on top of the engine. The steps to replace them include disconnecting the electrical connector, removing the bolt from the ignition coil, and removing the ignition coil. We recommend replacing the spark plugs at the same time.

2. Combination/Turn Signal Switch Failure

1st gen Chevy Cobalt turn signal switch

Symptoms of Combination/Turn Signal Switch Failure

  • Some headlight functions on the turn signal switch may not work
  • Turn signal does not turn off after turning the wheel

How to Fix Combination/Turn Signal Switch Failure

Replace the combination switch, also known as the turn signal switch.

3. Gas Cap Failure

Symptoms of a Bad Gas Cap

  • Check engine light—possibly for an EVAP code
  • Fuel smell near the car

How to Fix a Faulty Gas Cap

Remove the gas cap. Check the seal for cracking or other damage, like stretching or broken pieces. Test the gas cap’s ability to tighten and ratchet. Inspect the fuel filler neck for corrosion. Replace the gas cap or the fuel filler neck if needed.

Read more about how to inspect the gas cap

4. Shifting Problems

Symptoms of Shifting Problems on the 2005 to 2010 Chevy Cobalt

  • Ignition key does not remove from the ignition key cylinder when the car is in park
  • Car does not shift into selected gear

Causes of Shifting Problems

Sometimes the shifter cable fails on the 1st gen Cobalt and causes problems with the ignition key and shifting gears.

How to Fix Shifting Problems

Some Cobalts had a recall for this problem where a clamp is put on the cable to prevent this from happening. This may solve the problem, but the cable may also need to be replaced.

5. Timing Chain Tensioner Failure

Symptoms of Timing Chain Tensioner Problems on the 1st Gen Chevy Cobalt

  • Rattling from the timing chain area when cold starting

Causes of Timing Chain Tensioner Failure

The timing chain is located underneath the covers at the front of the engine and can fail on the 2005 to 2010 Cobalt. It’s important to address this problem as soon as possible to prevent the timing chain from skipping a tooth on a gear or breaking, which can cause more engine damage.

How to Fix of Timing Chain Tensioner Failure

It’s a detailed job to replace the timing chain since a lot of components need to be removed, so you may need to have a professional replace the timing chain.

Learn How to Do Common Repairs on the 1st Gen Chevy Cobalt

Learn how to replace parts like the headlights and brakes yourself with instructional videos in 1A Auto’s video library on the 1st gen Cobalt and many more makes and models.

1st Generation Chevrolet Cobalt Model Years

Related Content

1st Gen Chevy Cobalt Parts

Top 5 Chevy Cobalt Problems - 1st Generation (2005 to 2010) - 1A Auto
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Top 5 Chevy Cobalt Problems - 1st Generation (2005 to 2010) - 1A Auto
Learn how to find the symptoms and fixes of a 1st gen Chevy Cobalt with problems like shifting issues and a faulty gas cap as this article and video reviews the top 5 problems owners run into
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1A Auto
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