Why is my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt stalling so much when I drive it?


Asked by LouiseCobalt Oct 26, 2011 at 11:19 AM about the 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt LS

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Here's the problem I am having: When I stop for a red light, when I stop at a stop sign, when I pull out into the highway or road, when I pull into a parking space it stalls.The RPM goes way,way down to almost nothing and it idles very,very rough.It is not skipping but it idles real rough. When it is idling rough all my lights dim.It will crank right back up easily but then it just stalls again so I have to crank it 2 or 3 times before it will stay cranked.My "check engine"light is staying on all the time and when i had it tested it showed up that the "throttle position"sensor and also the MAP(manifold automated pressure) sensor are causing the problem.I just had the "throttle position"sensor replaced about a year and a half ago and it stopped stalling after that but it has started stalling again.I am currently using "Gummout" fuel injector cleaner when I fill up with gas but it does not seem to be helping the problem and I also used some "Gummout" gas treatment and that seemed to make it worse.Why would the "throttle position" sensor already be going bad? I sure hope that someone has some answers for me as I am just about fed up with all of the stalling that it is doing. One day I got out of the car when I was stopped for a stop sign and gave my car a few good kicks because I was so aggervated at it.

23 Answers

Tom Torres

use lucas injector cleaner or better yet seafoam its 100 times better than gumout crap and what r the exact codes what engine size? might be an intake leak or vaccum leak spray around the intake with a mist of water or trottle boby cleaner if the engine idle changes with spraying either or u have a vaccum leak in that area

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

LouiseCobalt, Did you have this replaced at a GM Dealer? I apologize for your frustrations. Feel free to send me your VIN and current mileage. I look forward to your response. Christina GM Customer Service

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

I did have the throttle position sensor replaced at a GM Dealership becuase the throttleposition sensor is a dealer only item. I had it replaced about a year and a half ago. After I had the throttle position sensor replaced the car stopped all that stalling that it was doing until just recently when it started stalling again.I don't know whether it is going to end up being the same thing or not as the mechanic is sorda playing around with it to see what works and what doesn't until we know what the problem is - he is going to put me in a new set of spark plugs to begin with and see what that will do for it - the mechanic does not seem to think that spark plugs will help it - he seems to think that it will end up being the throttle position sensor or that the throttle body needs cleaning.I am a little bit leery of putting out my car's VIN number online and I don't knoe how to get the VIN number to you if you need it.It has over 186,000 miles on it.I hope to get some answers because it is frustrating me to no end with all the stalling it is doing - I have a feeling that I am going to have to replace the throttle position sensor again before all my car problems end.I am unsure if there might be a warranty on the throttle position sensor or not.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I feel your frustration. I am having the exact same problem with my 2006 Chevy Cobalt LS. Mine begin happening immediately after having a routine oil change done by my Chevy Dealership. I took it right back in within an hour of the oil change because of how badly it was suddenly running and was told that it was just a coincidence and I should do my 100,000 mile tune up. My car is not even at 75,000 miles yet. I have been dealing with GM's complaint center for over two weeks now because this was not the only problem I have had with this dealership. GM has been no help at all with this process and meanwhile my car is pretty much undriveable now. At this point I am ready to trade the car for something else just to be done with Chevy. I will never buy another Chevy again simply because of their lack of Customer Service from their dealerships and GM itself. I hope your dealings with them go better!

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

I am 52 years old and I have always purchased chevrolet cars and have been very pleased with them all until the newer model cars came along - let me tell you they do not make cars like they use to - My first car I ever owned was a 1981 Chevrolet Chevette - I purchased it brand new right off the dealership lot - in 2004 that car was still going strong with it's original motor and transmission - I had to replace alternators,starters,batteries, belts and hoses along the way BUT and I say BUT that car never had a stalling issue as long as I owned it - it was the best car I have ever owned and I have wished many times over that I had my old rusty 1981 chevy chevette back - I drove that car so long that the top and the hood became ugly and rusty BUT you know what? That car got me around without any stalling at all - one day I asked my mechanic why that car was still going so good in 2004 and he told me that you don't wear out a cast iron motor - that right there is what is wrong with cars today - now cars have aluminum motors in them instead of the cast iron motors - also since cars are now equipped with computers in them they have all kinds of sensors - that cobalt of mine and yours to has so many sensors that get all clogged up so very easily - my little chevette did not have all those sensors on it or if it did no mechanic ever mentioned any sensors - I think all of the sensors that cars come equipped with are really causing alot of problems for these newer model cars - I purchased my sister's car several years ago because I knew that she had taken good care of it - the car was a little subaru justy and it did not have a stalling issue when my sister owned it BUT after I started driving it it started stalling and was extremely hard to crank back up - you know we never did figure out what the problem was so I just traded it in and purchased my 2006 cobalt thinking it would be a good car BUT I started driving it and the stalling began - I did have the throttle position sensor replaced and it did stop stalling for awhile but has started again - I think those old sensors that come with these new cars are easily to get all clogged up - I am just sorda playing around with it hoping to find the solution but I am about to believe that I am going to have to replace that throttle position sensor again - i had that done at a GM Dealership - also have you noticed that with these new cars alot of parts always seem to be dealer items - you can't get the parts at auto parts places - I am running into that problem more and more - I could always walk into a car parts place and find parts that I needed for my chevy chevette without any problem - my chevette was not a good snow car at all - it was not front wheel drive but one year I put studs on it and I got around in the snow without a problem - it never did sputter and vibrate like my cobalt is doing - my cobalt is just sputtering when I get it down to idling speed - very rough idling - does your lights dim when it almost stalls with your car? - I probably will never purchase another cobalt - I think Chevrolet has put out some real good cars in the past but I think with all of the sensors and computers coming with cars now it makes the car not be a good quality car - I plan to maybe and it's only a maybe purchase my next car from a Drive Time Dealership and go back a few years in make and model and I am hoping to run upon a good Honda Civic or Honda Accord and I am seeing a few of them online at Drive Time Dealerships. In the meantime what am I supposed to do about this stalling? I don't have a lot of cash to spare to keep trying to figure out the problem - also with these new cars the first thing that a mechanic wants to do is do a diagnostic check which is not cheap to find the prob,lem - with my chevette they never did do a diagnostic check on it - the mechanic always knew what to fix on it - What all have you tried as far as fuel or gas treatment additives and did you find anything that helped?Now I do notice one thing - aftwer my car has been out on the highway running for a long time I do notice that it will go thru a spell where it does not stall but if I stop somewhere then it starts that stalling again - it's like starting all over again with it - you would think that some mechanic would know exactly what to do for it to make it all better but no they all want to do a diagnostic check on it - they depend upon a computer to tell them the problem - there are no "shade tree" mechanics left anymore.I stay very frustrated most of the time and it is absolutely no fun driving the car if it stalls all the time.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

I had kind of the same problem. the car would stall or lose power whenever i got to a stop and it was so frustrating. a mechanic friend of mine finally told me that it could just be that the air in take valve was dirty. so i cleaned it up and it automatically stopped stalling and i never had the problem again. it's pretty simple to clean.

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

Will check into this - thanks - it is very frustrating to me.


where is the air intake valve at on these cars

21 out of 21 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2006 Cobalt with 120,000 miles. Looking forward to 120k more. About 6 months ago it started stumbling on idle, dropping out the air conditioner (presumably to keep the engine from stalling) and otherwise being obnoxious when braking to a stop. I read on-line about removing the throttle body and wiping out oil gunk from all the internal surfaces. With much skepticism I scrubbed out every trace of filth with carb cleaner. It worked! The idle rpm picked up, no more stumbling, no more aircon dropouts. Like new. Being an engineer I conjectured about a mechanism for this miracle. Once cleaned out I noticed that the big circular throttle plate doesn't quite seal completely against the side of the throat opening. There are two very thin sectors of daylight. I'm guessing that the oil vapor gunk was just thick enough to seal off those open sectors and it prevented the proper airflow for idle. Oh, one more thing. The engine had been using about a quart of oil between changes. After cleaning out the throttle body, and doing nothing else, the oil consumption stopped. Of course, there is a connection between the crankcase and the air intake. That's how the oil gunk got there in the first place. But why cleaning things out stopped the oil usage I don't know for sure. As they say, it's "concurrent" but not necessarily "causal". Cheers!

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

my cobalt did the same as above. stalling when comming to a stop. What i did to solve this problem was,i took off the throttle body(4 bolts) and cleaned it good with throttle body cleaner and an old tooth brush. carbon builds up on the butterfly restricting air flow thus causing the car to stallout. $10 fix and it works

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

please don't repeat comments. everybody knows cleaning the throttle body willhelp IF its dirty. that's not always the problems with the stumble. I wonder if its the crappy plastic intake manifold. worth a shot i'm going to take it off tomorrow and see what it will be like...god willing..i will fix this car.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

FIXED...semi-fixed anyway. Ok so here's a complete step by step process on how to fix your idle stumble issues. Step one: clean throttle body with brush and carb cleaner. NO HARD OR METALIC BRISTLES only plastic or else just wet a clean rag and wipe. step too remove all hoses connections and everything from plastic intake manifold. step 3: please clean every single grove of the mating surfaces that are supposed to have a green "viton" gasket on it. they should be reusable especially if the car is under 100K. if its more than 100K change them anyway regardless of how they look. please be careful to minimize and reduce any sand or dirt getting into the manifold during and after removal. to help facilitate this safety try to blow how the dust with compressed air or with a "duster" can you can get that at an office dept or just about anywhere really. Step 4: use a plastic bristle brush and clean all gasket grooves with carb cleaner and a PLASTIC bristle brush. use a toothbrush. you're supposed to get a new one everymonth anyway. Install reverse of removal and please please make sure you torque the bolts on the engine head to the RIGHT specifications. Do not over torque. Remove the fuel rail and injectors if you already haven't done so. please used compressed air to clean area before doing this. replace ALL GASKETS AS A SET the gaskets are O-RINGS. you can replace all the lower ones if that's easier and please replace the one on the plastic grey cup at the end of the injectors. If injectors are dirty pleaes clean with carb cleaner and a plastic toothbrush. the spray alone will not clean it all. install is reverse of removal. please torque the retaining bolts (2 holding bolts) to the CORRECT TORQUE. overtightening and undertightening have concequences. so be reasonable if you don't ahve a torque wrench. Step five: use seafoam upper engine treatment OR b-12 chemtool. They are both very good. You can google how to do this on the car as it may take too many words. Place 1/2 or follow instructions on how much should go in gasoline. if you have any problems figuring steps out then by the haynes repair manual. it helps. After this you have to "relearn" the idle speed and throttle position. they are findable in google and they are in the repair manual.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

relearning idle position and idle speed step by step process: Step 1: turn ign: to ON position and do not start. IMMIEDIATELy pump the accelerator ALL THE WAY DOWN and ALL THE WAY UP quickly and smoothly SEVEN times in under Five Seconds. repeat this like 3 or more times to make sur eyou do it right. AFTER you do the last set do not turn the IGN key off but wait 2 seconds after the initial five seconds and then crank. any check engine light should go away and PCM should be reset. Step 2: Let the car warm up to normal operating temperature. Setp 3: drive the car around moderately and idle with only slight acceleration to moderate acceleration if needed. OR you can drive around moderately until normal performance returns. Step 4: place the PARKING BRAKE ON and LEAVE the SHIFTER in DRIVE for automatics and "NEUTRAL for all MANUALS. Step 5: let the car idle in DRIVE for autos and NEUTRAL for manuals/stick shift for a total of 2 minutes. turn off the car.. idle should be relearned now. everything should be working normal now unless there is some vacuum leaks, OR spark plugs faulty or incorrectly gapped, or APP(acell pedel position sensor) or something else is not working like it should.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Im having the same problem with me 2006 cobalt lt coup 2.2 itt randomly just stalls at low rpms and then starts right back up again, recently it started sounding like a space ship when i start it , I have replaced the spark plugs, as well as the ignition coils, code reads multiple cylinder misfire, and my mechanic is at a loss, and says that gm has been having a huge problem with their fuel injectors and that could possibly be the problem. anyone have some words of wisdom here? I'm about ready to loose my mind and I really don't want to buy a new car right now! but if i cant figure this out soon that is what is going to happen. This car is on my last nerve!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

vacume leaks. bad/dirty throttle body. Remember EVERYTHING is ELECTRONICALLY controlled now. threw one TB so if there is a running problem and your not getting TB code in the computer its a vacuum leak on the manifold (at TB or the HEAD itself) or there is a vacuum leak at the fuel injectors. There can also be a vacuum leak somewhere else. But that's the only problem. let a qualified technician attempt to find it. its not a big deal but diagnostics by a non so skilled tech can become a nightmare. good luck.

Sandy Phillips

Imagine that. My 2006 Chevy Cobalt is also stalling out, has been every yr since I got it . Every time I've taken it to the Chevy dealer (at least the past 3 or 4 yrs) I'm told the same thing : we won't know whats wrong with it unless we check it. Well guess what, each time its been 'something else' im so fed up with the that dealership its pitiful!! It stalled on me again this morning, hasn't done it since like Jan. when I barely got it to the dealership and left it. You can't tell me these guys don't know what they are doing that my car has to be in the shop every yr bc its still not fixed!!!!! I've never had this many problems out of one car, and I've owned several, this is the 1st new car I've owned , and its causd me more headaches than what its worth!! I'm so mad I'm ready to call the better business bureau on that dealership!!!!! =(

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Im having the SAME problem. whenever I go to the mechanics or GM dealerships they tell me its a multiple cylinder misfire. It rides smooth but God forbid I get to a red light. It shakes badly and sometimes shuts off. Had this problem EVERY year for four years. Had coils, plugs, cylinders, and more replaced. Nothing seems to work, and Im having the same issue again now. I was told to replace the whole 2.2l 4cylinder engine. My 2007 cobalt is currently at 93000 miles.


People that have posted recently; quit being stupid. If you are having the same issue, there is no reason to say so. And no one cares to hear you bitch about dealerships. Just do the fixes that were already suggested and if you must post, say whether those fixes worked for you or not. That's all you need to do.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

I HAVE THE ANSWER! Ecu, its covered up to 150K miles or 15 years. They will try to say it isn't but do back down because it's covered. Mine had 104K miles and it cost nothing cause dealership covered it under "hidden warrrany"! Call a dealership and make them fix the ecu. I almost poured gas on my cobalt 06, drove me nuts fixing intake valve, hose, sensor, thiss that all bull! Dealership will try to not fix it but dont back down

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

My mechanic as well as my father have both just called me to ask if I received a recall notification from Chevy ( I have not) that there is a problem where the ignition cuts out and you loose everything Chevy has known about this for a long time coming and has done nothing but have issued a recall notice after 6 deaths occurred due to this problem they say it is more likely to occurs if you are short or have a heavy key chain or both so contact your dealer ship

Laura Shimek

What does being short have to do with it


No idea but here is an article about it http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/02/ 21/automobiles/gm-recalls-some- cars-but-not-all-with-ignition- switch-problem.html?referrer


I am also having problems with my 2006 cobalt. The dealership had it for the recall for the ignition and when I picked it up I went about 15 miles and it stalled. It started right back up and drove a little further and it stalled again this time the engine light came on. We tried to pop the hood and it would not open. I called the dealership a week ago and still have not heard from them. I am hoping it is not something I have to take back to them to fix..

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