2009 cobalt "power" steering issues

So I bought my son’s 2009 cobalt for my youngest daughter to practice driving in. She is getting ready to take her test for her license, and when parallel parking, we have discovered the steering gets like there is no power steering. When you take off, the steering returns to normal. No whining or anything like a pump burning up or going out. And then I learn why, it’s an electric assist motor. So I got under the dash and felt the motor as she turned the wheel. It began to get stiff, but not like when we parallel park/practice. The motor never got warm. I am new to the electric assist, but thought the motor would be warm or make some sort of noise as it was getting stiffer to turn. Is the motor going out or do I have another problem? I know hydraulic, but not these newer electric assists and would hate to spend the money on a new electric motor and the problem be somewhere else. Thank you in advance for any input.

Has the vehicle been to a dealer in the last 11 years? There is a power steering recall that was issued in 2010.

RCRIT-10V073-2761.pdf (nhtsa.gov)

You can check for incomplete recalls for your specific VIN below;

GM Recall Information | Chevy Recall Center | Chevrolet Recalls


I ran my VIN at the recall page you provided and it did not find any recalls.

I suggest you take an appointment with an independant mechanic. There are many mechanical parts that should be checked out

Electric power steering has a motor, an electronic controller and sensors to provide assist. If the controller senses an error, it will throw a check engine light or send and error message to the dash display. A GOOD scanner can read the codes and watch the system as it works.

Something you can do is put a voltmeter on the car and watch it while your daughter tries to park. I would bet the voltage drops below 14 volts and maybe below 12 volts. The system draws a lot of current from the battery while parking because the alternator can’t keep up. You may simply need a new battery to fix this.

We had this problem with our 2009 Cobalt LT. if you turn the car off, then restart it, the electric steering is reset. Parallel parking uses the steering a lot, and that typically cause the steering to bind up. We had ours replaced when the recall was issued, and didn’t have problems later. Call your Chevy dealer and ask them to run your VIN to see if there are any outstanding recalls.

Thanks, @jtsanders and @Mustangman . I’ll check both of those options out. I have noticed a drag from time to time when we start the car, but it isn’t constant.

Ours wasn’t all the time either. Basically, just when parallel parking.

So there was a recall, but it was serviced at 108,000 miles in 2014. The service writer looked up common problems/complaints, and hard to steer was one of them when the motor was going out. They are more than happy to run diagnosis on the car for $169. Motor costs $61 at the parts store and is 2 bolts. Thinking I might just go with that first