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The Chevy Cobalt was an American compact car that was produced from 2005 to 2010. And while it was never as popular as rivals like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, the Cobalt served as a cost-effective alternative to both. You can only find the Chevy Cobalt in the used market now if you’re looking for a cheap and reliable compact car. However, it’s not without its issues. Here are the three most common problems that real Cobalt owners have found.

Many Chevrolet Cobalt owners experience the ignition key getting stuck

A broken ignition cylinder from a Chevrolet Cobalt.
A broken ignition cylinder from a Chevrolet Cobalt. | Getty Images

Nowadays, you don’t have to worry too much about your key getting stuck in the car’s ignition since most cars come with a push-button start. However, owners of 2005-2010 Chevy Cobalts experienced this issue a lot. According to Repair Pal, 302 owners reported that their keys get intermittently stuck in the car’s ignition cylinder. This issue seems to crop up when around 84,000 miles are on the odometer and costs anywhere from $88 to $111 to fix.

Fortunately, GM released a fix for this issue via a small button, or plunger, near the steering column. There was also a recall issued for the problem. If you’re shopping for a Cobalt, ensure that the key comes out of the ignition cylinder properly and make note of the button release for it. Also, make sure that the recall was addressed.

Check engine light due to a misfire

A Cobalt owner driving their car
A Cobalt owner driving their car. | Getty Images

The second most common issue that you’ll find on a Chevy Cobalt is an engine misfire. This issue can be found in 2005-2010 Cobalts and owners have reported that it crops up around 107,000 miles. Reports from owners state that the car’s engine cuts off randomly, sometimes when slowing down or at a stop light/sign. The reported fix for this issue is to replace the ignition coil, which could cost an average of $353 to $426.

A broken timing chain is not a small issue

A silver Chevrolet Cobalt
Chevrolet Cobalt | Getty Images

The third most common Chevy Cobalt issue has to do with a broken timing chain. Unlike the other two issues, which are easy fixes, this issue has required the entire cylinder head and timing chain to be replaced in some cases. The main culprit has to do with a faulty timing chain tensioner, which can fail at around 108,000 miles. Many Cobalt owners reported spending around $1,500 to $2,000 for the fix. Unfortunately, this large issue tends to show up every Cobalt model year – 2005-2011.

Is the Chevrolet Cobalt a good car?

If you’re looking for a sensible and inexpensive means of transportation, the Chevy Cobalt is a good pick. Although it has some issues, the Cobalt received an overall reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from Repair Pal. The site also reported that it could cost $453 annually to repair a Cobalt, which is lower than other vehicles in the same class.

Lastly, you can currently find a 2005-2010 Chevy Cobalt selling anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 nationwide, depending on the car’s trim level, condition, and location. The Cobalt is worth a look if you’re in the market for a cheap car. However, you may want to check these three issues before purchasing one.