Chevrolet Cobalt Tops the List as Unsafe, Year after YearEvery year, the Safety Institute releases quarterly lists of vehicles with known safety issues. The most recent Top 15 list came out in the middle of March, and it looks like Chevrolet is in trouble. The automaker took eight of the 15 spots, and its Cobalt led the pack. The 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and the 2010 Chevy Cobalt all had issues with their electrical system, as did the 2007 and 2011 HHR. The final Chevy named, the 2006 Malibu, made the list because of a steering problem.

Chevrolet is owned by General Motors, whose faulty ignition switches have been in the news for the last two years. The most recent trial started on March 14, 2016: “The flood of litigation commenced when GM revealed that it had continued to sell flawed cars after discovering an ignition switch defect in Chevy Cobalts and other small cars,” according to the Detroit Free Press. The trial is just the latest step in the downfall of GM, which paid out more than half a billion dollars to a settlement fund in September of 2015.

The Safety Institute’s Vehicle Safety Watch List Analytics come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The program is sponsored by Ken and Beth Melton, “in memory of Brooke Melton, who died in a 2010 crash caused by the sudden failure of the ignition in her 2005 Chevy Cobalt.”

Choosing the safest car you can

We have spent a lot of time on auto recalls over the last couple of years, including coverage of the Takata airbag recall and GM’s criminal charges. As a consumer, it can be difficult to know which safety information to trust when it comes to purchasing a new or used car. The NHTSA has recently come under fire for failing to implement recommendations to improve its own recording keeping system, which implies that dangerous defects could be slipping through the cracks.

There are sources you can use to help you choose a safer car for yourself and your family:

  • gov. The site allows you to search by your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and connects directly to the NHTSA’s databases.
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC is another government-run site, dedicated to safety issues affecting all manner of products. You can find recalls, regulations and laws, and statistics on the site to better inform you.
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS offers its own database of ratings for almost every make and model they sell in the U.S. Ratings are based on their reviews of five different safety features, such as roof strength and restraint systems.
  • Kelley Blue Book. The KBB also offers its own list of top safety picks, as well as multiple categories of reviews from their experts and other drivers.
  • Consumer Reports. Still the leader in product safety, Consumer Reports has a database of recalls as well as product reviews.

Whether you drive a Chevy Cobalt or not, being informed about potential safety issues and recalls can help save your life. Consider using these sources to see if your car is safe. If a part has been subject to a recall, contact your local mechanic right away. Most recalls are covered, so you do not have to pay to correct a mistake that never should have been there in the first place.