Has it ever been figured out what is wrong with Chevy Cobalts hard shifting after a ding sound and Power Steering display on dash?


Asked by lauramwalker22 Jan 29, 2015 at 04:54 PM about the Chevrolet Cobalt

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

For about 4 years, I've had problems with my '06 Cobalt.  I've taken it in to several
dealers and shops and they've never been able to figure it out.  I'll be driving and I'll
hear a ding ding sound, my dash will display power steering, although rarely will I lose
my power steering.  I think it's displaying that but is unrelated, but I don't know.  The
main stuff it does, though, is it will make my transmission shift very hard and jerky
whether accelerating or decelerating.  Often times if will stall out on me when
decelerating or coming to a stop.  Occasionally, when this happens, it will entirely lose
power and the speedometer will jump around. Sometimes it will come on and last for
several days, then go away on its own.  Normally it won't cause the check engine light
to come on, but about twice a year it does.  I've had all of the recalls done.  I've had
the power steering motor done twice since it kept saying power steering on the dash.  
I've had 2 or 3 new transmission control modules installed and reprogrammed at the
dealership.  I've taken it into the shop and they've never been able to fix it.  The
problem goes away for a little while, they think they fixed it and then it continues to
come back.  I've done a slew of research online and have never been able to find out
what it could be; as everything suggested, I've already done.  Very frustrating and
expensive.  Please help. Thanks.

33 Answers

http://www.chevroletproblems.com/tsbs/Cobalt/2006/ ..TSB technical Service Bulletin Description: GM: THERE ARE MULTIPLE WARNING LIGHTS ON. THERE IS HARSH SHIFTING, HARD STEERING, AND NO START. THERE MAY BE MULTIPLE TROUBLE CODES STORED. *RM TSB Reference #PIC-5441

7 people found this helpful.

Go to that, http://www.chevroletproblems.com/tsbs/Cobalt/2006/ for much more

1 people found this helpful.


4 people found this helpful.

Thanks for your prompt response, however I went to the website and clicked on the link that said: Repair Information for NHTSA #10038727 and it takes me to carcomplaints.com to buy a repair manual.

2 people found this helpful.

Oh, Okay, sorry I didn't know it would do that. Just pointing out the TSB's in case you didn't know about them

3 people found this helpful.

This is a bit of a long shot, but have the battery tested, or just replace it if it is about 5 years old or older. My '06 Cobalt started doing weird electrical things. I knew the battery was getting weak, but didn't replace it for a while because it still started fine, even in the cold weather. Finally I put a new one in and lo and behold the weirdness stopped. Your problems sound more serious than mine ever were, but its worth checking. Modern electrical systems are extremely sensitive and need to be kept in top condition if everything is to function properly. Good luck.

6 people found this helpful.

Thank you for your help FordNut. If I try to take my car into the shop yet again, I'll see if they have access to those TSB's to see what's going on. I'm wondering if a TSB wasn't created for it yet, a couple of years ago when I was trying to figure things out. And thank you Munron, too. I read about the battery needing to be at an optimal charge, too. I wrote it down as one of the 1st things to try when I decide to invest more time/money into figuring out how to fix this craziness. That sure would be a great thing if it did the trick. Thanks again you guys. :) Take care. Thanks for taking the time to try to help, too.

1 people found this helpful.

check fuse 25 and replace it with a 30amp make sure the pocket is very vlean before putting in the new one also touch all wires connected with the bcm for frayed or loose connections

4 people found this helpful.

There's a recall for the Power Steering problem. I had the same problem and the module that runs the power steering had to be replaced.

8 people found this helpful.

I had the power steering recall done ASAP years ago when I heard about it. I still had the problem so I took it back to the dealership and they did it yet again. Still had the problem. After that, they said, it must be something different going on with it then. I'm glad it fixed your problem though. :)

2 people found this helpful.

time to sell, don't keep dumping money in to a car that old.

1 people found this helpful.

We had exact same problem with our '06 cobalt. We replaced the battery and it seemed to fix it for a few days. Then my husband added a ground wire out of sheer curiosity and BOOM problem solved. Apparently it wasn't grounded correctly.

10 people found this helpful.
Best Answer Mark helpful

I replaced the battery about a month ago. Several days later, the problem showed up again. :( I'm not certain how to add a ground wire, but I'm definitely going to look into that. That would be quite thrilling if it fixed it FINALLY! Thank you for the hope!


I found a YouTube video of someone else who did this. Here's the link. Hopefully this works for you, too! https://youtu.be/EzQZbGp14ro

13 people found this helpful.

HI everyone. Just wondering if you ever got this problem figured out? My daughter's 2006 Cobalt (automatic) is doing the same, but slowly seems to be adding to the mess. First it was TC light on, hard shifting, floating speedometer and RPM gauge, clicking sound under the gear shift when you put it into anything except neutral. Then it added "power steering" displayed - sometimes power steering does drop out - and the ABS and security light flashing occasionally. Plenty of posts/blogs about this issue that seems to run across several years of Cobalts. I am seeing everything from speed sensors, mass flow sensor, camshaft solenoids, loose TCM, and I was recently told it was pulling a code for the evap. I have seen the mass flow sensor the most.


I posted a youtube video that shows how to add a ground wire. Worked for us. You could do it yourself with very little out of pocket so no harm in seeing if it works for you!

10 people found this helpful.

Thank you. We will give it a shot.

2 people found this helpful.

I meant I posted the link for the YouTube video on here. Just clarifying that I did not actually create the video, lol.

2 people found this helpful.

It's the output sensor on your transaxle. I have had the problem and this fixed it and costed around 40 dollars.

5 people found this helpful.

I purchased an 05 cobalt last year and started having issues with just the occasional hard shifting. Dropped money into the transaction and then found out about the tcm problems. However the tom had already been grounded. Yesterday my dash started throwing anti theft and to lights andy gauges are going crazy and it is clicking in my dash and shifter area. When the car shifts it seems to be doing so early and extremely hard. If I turn the car off and back on sometimes the lights will dissappear and the car will run fine. With it already having a ground wire added what cold be the issue?

4 people found this helpful.

My daughter's 2007 Cobalt had all of these symptoms. Added the ground wire from the TCM case to the chassis. this helped for a while. Shop wanted to replace the TCM, etc... etc... Brought it home instead. Checked all of the ground points, specifically G105, which is the ground for the TCM. It was tight and did not show any corrosion around the connection. Upon a closer look, the wires going into the ground terminal ring were heavily corroded. It wasn't easy to get down there to see, but using my phone I got a decent pic (attached). The wires were corroded and most strands broken - hanging by a thread. Chevy also did a substandard job of strain-relieving. I lightly tugged on the wires and they pulled right out. Note that G105 grounds the ECM and TCM (plus a few other things). I had to clean up the terminal ring and remove the old wiring. I soldered all of the grounds back into the connector and re-attached. No issues since. I am posting because this was a very frustrating problem and shops just want to throw parts at it. Apologies for the subpar photo, but it was difficult to get my phone down there and focus.

10 people found this helpful.

06 colbot when you replace the Transmission do you reaprogam your car

2 people found this helpful.

no because it was used one actauly I tried two different ones t c m that is not the transmmisson

1 people found this helpful.

Just wanted to add that I had this same problem for abotu (5) months. Sometimes the dash would chime, all my instruments would go haywire. After a few miles of driving I might get the power steering back. The hard shifting was sporading too. CEL woudl come on sometimes. Basically I experienced all of these symptoms in varying combinations and sometimes nothign it at all for a few days. About (3) weeks ago, I started experiencing symptoms daily - still in varying combinations. Around the same time I did an oil change and noticed oil on my starter. Traced it back to my oil sending unit. It was leaking and the connector was visibly caked with gunk. I changed my oil sending unit, connector, and wire - I haven't a single problem since. Drove the car (5) hours to Maryland and back last week with no issues. Still going strong

1 people found this helpful.

Y'all might wanna try this. Pull the panel on passenger side console and pull both plugs from socket. CAREFULLY put them back in and see if this helps.They have a grey swivel lock that you unlock them with. It cleared up issues with my car immediately. We'll see how long it lasts.

Y'all might wanna try this. Pull the panel on passenger side console. Unlock both plugs from socket. CAREFULLY put them back in and see if this helps.They have a grey swivel lock that you unlock them with. It cleared up issues with my car immediately. We'll see how long it lasts.

@GuruZBQ2W Thanks, I also grounded the TCM module to the chassis and re-terminated the G105 grounds all my issues were fixed except the transmission still feels like its lurching a little bit.


If anyone still reads this, I had the problem with the speedometer, power steering, etc. the ground wires, 5 in all, attached to the block to the left of the transmission harness connector with a thicker ground wire, and the 5 wires were corroded and not connected. I stripped the five wires, soldered them to the spade lug connector and put it all back together. Now bigger problems have started. A padlock light is on. Engine runs in reverse, but immediately dies when shifting into drive. Images are very difficult to find online to help with this issue. I have a Solus EESC310 and it is now unable to connect to the vehicle. Connected before my repair. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanx

1 people found this helpful.

I'd say you need professional help at this point. Find a shop that specialized in auto and truck electrical. They probably have the best chance of pinpointing the problem.


Fixed, to a manageable point. Shift solenoid 1-2 believes it is on always, making shifting pattern off a bit. Have researched and discovered that the most likely cause is a ground fault somewhere along the wiring harness. Diagrams are impossible to find, so I’m chasing one wire at a time until I blurt out an “aha!” Any diagrams for wiring, with colors for wires, would be appreciated. I soldered the grounds onto the spade lug that has been posted above (though one photo has only 4 wires and my 2005 has 5 black grounds, one a bigger gauge than the other 4). Thanx for the posts, folks!

1 people found this helpful.

Update: Once the above wiring problem was fixed, shift solenoid 1-2 is permanently “on” from the moment the ignition is turned to the on position. Anyone who knows which wires go to that solenoid, please post the color of the specific wires here. Any actual photos would help greatly, as I cannot decipher the schematics due to brain injuries. Talking to a gm engineer confirmed my suspicion that it is a chafed wire somewhere, rather than a defective solenoid, because of the “on” status. A broken wire would not allow it to be switched on. A Snap-On scanner can turn the solenoid signal off, but because no signal is getting to the solenoid, it has no effect. Also, the scanner can change gears from 2 to 3 and from 3 to 4, and back, but not to first gear. Any information relative to the complete circuitry for the 1-2 solenoid will be greatly appreciated. Thanx in advance.

1 people found this helpful.

Here is how I fixed mine. https://youtu.be/pWZ-KpWbRH0

2 people found this helpful.

This video shows the problem and the fix. Solved my transmission issue. https://youtu.be/LbKxWrj4SSI

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