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NHTSA — Electrical System: Ignition: Switch Problems

2004 Saturn Ion (Page 2 of 3)

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

CarComplaints.com Notes: Ahh, the 2004 Saturn Ion: defective transmission, deadly ignition switch, temperamental power steering and a cheap plastic exterior that won’t protect you in a crash. What more could you want?

The 2004 Ion was part of GM’s massive ignition switch recall where it was revealed they waited 10 years – and let 13 people die – before doing anything about it. It also features GM’s now infamous VTi continuously variable transmission. Let me tell you, the only thing the VTi did continuously was fail on its owners. GM scrapped it after only two model years.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,911 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Saturn Ion electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #23

Jan 212007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,550 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My car will not crank when the key is turned to start. It has complete power. The battery is well within the normal limits. The instances when this occur all seem to be when the car has been outside and not running for at least 2 hours in temperatures in the 20 degrees Fahrenheit range or colder. All the dash lights are on, and all the accessories work when the key is turned to start, but the starter does not even attempt to turn. The "service engine" message flashes. I pulled all the electrical relays in the fuse box and the engine will now start with no problem. It is a recurring problem when the weather is cold. The same fix works each time. There is most likely a fault in the ignition switch or the passlock system. Should be recalled.

- Auburn, AL, USA

problem #22

Dec 172006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,341 miles
He Saturn Ion will not start in cold weather. After 10 minutes the car will start again when the security system has reset. Problem is in the grease in the ignition system of 2004 Saturn Ion. Car runs fine until it gets cold out and then the problem returns. Very dangerous -- can strand driver in frigid temperatures. Saturn has been aware of the issue for 4+ years but continues to risk the lives of drivers.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #21

Dec 152007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
No warning about issue to come before it happened. The first cold morning this winter my wife's 2004 Saturn Ion-2 failed to start. After about 30 minutes or intermittently trying to start it, the car finally started. This has happened every morning where it fell below 40deg the previous night. Have taken the car numerous time to mechanics to diagnose. Original answer was I needed a new battery. Battery was replaced with stronger battery (higher cca rating) and the problem persists. Car has new battery, full tank of gas, and sits outside in the driveway. Car has had regular maintenance and oil changes done and has had absolutely no problems until this winter. My research of this issue had produced numerous other Saturn owners with this problem. And no available solutions (I.e. replacing ignition switch) guarantee the problem with be fixed.

- Bonaire, GA, USA

problem #20

Jan 172008

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,500 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My 04 Saturn Ion will not start in colder weather. After investigating many web sites, many people have the same problem. The problem seems to be the ignition switch. I read that sometime in 04 they started using a different switch and that solved the problem. I think there should be a recall on the cars having this problem.

- Mercerville, NJ, USA

problem #19

Jan 042008

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 20,000 miles
During cold weather (around 32 degrees F and below), car will not start for 8-10 minutes. On initial attempt to start car, engine begins to turn over for less than 1 second, then stops. A lock symbol flashes on the dash and the message readout states "service engine". any addition attemps to start the car will result in absolutely no turnover of the engine. After 8-10 minutes, the car will start right up with no problem. Attemps to jump start the car will are not sucessful until after the 8-10 minute period. The battery has been checked out and found to be fine. I have not attempted a repair yet. This first happened in November of 2005 and has occurred off and on for the past 2 years.

- Great Mills, MD, USA

problem #18

Dec 072007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,700 miles
My 2004 Saturn Ion 3 will not start at times on cold mornings, the battery was replaced and still no start..it is in the shop right now after reading other complaints on an online forum I see this is a wide spread and yet Saturn does nothing to help, it seems to be in the ignition switch, BCM, and or the passlock system.

- Pontiac, MI, USA

problem #17

Nov 242007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Car will not start below 35 degrees and will also stall at any moment due to imobilizer activating. After 10 minutes the car will start again when the security system has reset. Problem is in the grease in the ignition system of my car. It is a 2004 Saturn Ion. Car runs fine until it gets cold out and then the problem returns. Very dangerous during driving if it occurs.

- Westminster, CO, USA

problem #16

Oct 302007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My car will not start when it drops below 32 degrees. I've done the research, and it appears that this is a nationwide problem with my car. Apparently, there is a problem with the ignition switch. I am hoping that a recall is made since this is a recurring problem with potential to do harm (think: Being stranded in sub-freezing temperatures.).

- Newport, KY, USA

problem #15

Dec 042006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 61,530 miles
'04 Saturn Ion fails to start in cold weather. Security system prevents starting. Must warm key/ignition, and after 15 minutes car may start.

- Clare, MI, USA

problem #14

Mar 282007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles
My 2004 Saturn Ion occasionally will not start (will not crank). The battery is in good condition and a good state of charge. In general the problem is "cured" by waiting 10 minutes or so, and trying to start it again. Then it might be several weeks of months before the problem occurs again.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #13

Feb 142007

Ion

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My 2004 Saturn Ion II would not start in cold weather. It happened after the vehicle sat overnight and the dealership told me to replace the battery, which did not solve the problem. After several months of this occurring the dealership told me that the ignition switch was bad and they had been seeing this on many vehicles of the same model. I had to pay for the part to be replaced, even though according to the dealership, this is an ongoing problem with this type of vehicle.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #12

Feb 222007

Ion

  • miles
Recently I experienced a problem with my car failing to start. I was advised by the mechanic that Saturn issued a technical service bulletin addressing this issue. The reference numbers is 04-08-45-005C, date of issue December 4, 2006 affecting 2003-2006 Saturn Ions built up to and including VIN breakpoint 6Z147837. I was told by the mechanic that my car had both diagnostic trouble codes listed in this bulletin.

- Cinnaminson, NJ, USA

problem #11

Feb 192007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,500 miles
In cold weather (usually below freezing), the 2004 Saturn Ion 2 will not start. The car will go into a passive lock situation upon initial attempts to start it, then will not allow another attempt to start for around 10 minutes. Occasionally will not start even after waiting 10 minutes. The dealer will charge around $300 to replace the ignition switch, which is the cause of the lock out.

- Bethel, CT, USA

problem #10

Feb 032007

Ion

  • miles
The ignition switch freezes up when it is cold outside. Had to get the car jump started when it was -10 degrees outside. Saturn says the only way to fix the problem is to replace the switch. According to the dealing near me, there was about 70 cars that had the exact same problem last week when it was really cold.

- Edgar, WI, USA

problem #9

Feb 162007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 35,000 miles
When very cold, car will not crank or start- passlock security becomes enabled.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #8

Feb 132007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
I bought a 2004 Saturn Ion from the dealer in 2004. In the cold weather, 30 degrees and lower, if the car sits it will not start. This has happened to me 4 times, last week I got stranded at work at 2:00 am with a car that would not start. The engine turns over one time but does not start. I did a lot of research on this and it looks like ignition switch grease hardens and Saturn knows about it and even changed the ignition switch assembly but for the thousands of us that own cars before this change are left out in the cold!

- Hempstead, NY, USA

problem #7

Feb 132007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Numerous no-start conditions associated with faulty ignition switch 2004 Saturn Ion with 49,000 miles. If current ignition switch replaced it will be the third since car was new. Anytime vehicle is exposed to 32 deg. Or less temperature for more than a few hours ignition switch faults and engages anti-theft system. Usually takes anywhere from 30 minutes to ?? to get vehicle started. Being in upstate NY where temps and weather push the extremes possibility of vehicle leaving someone stranded is imminent. I cannot rely on this vehicle during cold weather months. I have researched issue on internet and found numerous complaints for Saturn Ion with same exact problem. Saturn needs to re-design and repair all associated vehicles ignition switches.

- Adams Center, NY, USA

problem #6

Feb 082007

Ion

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,700 miles
I own a 2004 Saturn Ion 3. I purchased this Feb, 2006. December of 2006 my car failed to start. I called for help and by the time it arrived, the car started on its own. On Feb 7th, 2007, the car failed to start again. It did not seem like a battery failure. I found the tsb 040845005 online. I called corporate Saturn customer service and they "logged my complaint". they were not very helpful and simply directed me to call the local dealer. I called the local dealership service manager and explained the situation. I took the car in and they ran diagnostics. The issue was indeed the same issue in the tsb, which is ignition switch failure. Because they need to replace the ignition switch, they also need to reset the passlock. I was told that this would cost me $291. I was also told that they could not give me any kind of a break on the cost of replacement as those type of decisions were made on a case by case basis and per the service manager "you have over 40,000 miles on the car" (I have 30,700 and have owned the car just short of 12 months), so they cannot provide me with any assistance. I am very disappointed in this as Saturn are supposed to be reliable and this is a known part failure.

- Eagan, MN, USA

problem #5

Nov 232006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Tried to start car nothing, service vehicle light comes on. Replaced battery and next day same thing no start. After waiting 10-15 minutes car starts like nothing ever wrong. Called dealer told its going to cost $175 for new switch.

- Amarillo, TX, USA

problem #4

Dec 042006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,200 miles
I went to start my car 12-4-06 at 6 am car would not turn over. Later that day at 9:45 am car did turn over. Called car dealer and spoke to head of service department he said that since car was started problem might not show up on diagnostic. On 12-5-2006 same thing happens again in the morning car will not turn over. Had the car towed in and sat the for a few hours to find out that it was an ignition switch.(in there words the grease that is inside gels up in very cold weather and does not male contact to turn the car on. I feel that a dissevice is being done to anyone that owns a Saturn Ion. That this is a problem that they are running into a lot, but we the consumers are having to deal with it. If your car does not start and you get stranded that is a safety issue to me.

- Wildwood, IL, USA

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