Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The 2005 Ion still had power steering issues and a defective ignition switch leftover from previous model years, but hey – at least Saturn improved some of its safety rating to marginal, right? Baby steps.

If you had to buy a Saturn Ion – and I would question why anyone would even consider it – I suppose the 2005 could be considered the best of a bad bunch? I mean, GM did finally get rid of that awful VTi transmission, and both the power steering problems and ignition switch defect that plagued owners were recalled. The problem is they waited 10 years to recall the ignition and let over 30,000 warranty claims get filed before they bothered to fix the power steering. So you kind of have to wonder, is GM making these fixes to keep owners safe or just to keep government lawyers from taking all their money? You be the judge.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,434 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.

2005 Saturn Ion electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 5 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #80

May 022011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles


2005 Saturn Ion the key won't turn on the car easily and the key gets stuck in the ignition when turning off the car. It can take me up to 10-15 minutes to turn the car on/off. I had this problem when I first bought the car, maybe 2007 and I paid approx, $800 dollars at the Saturn dealership to get it fixed (ignition/steering column)only to get paid back the money through a recall. Now, the ignition and the key are acting in the same matter. Problem has been going on for months, with no end in sight. As a matter of fact, it keeps getting worse.

- Tempe, AZ, USA

problem #79

Jul 292012


  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that when the vehicle was parked, he could not power down the vehicle. The contact attempted to remove the key from the ignition but the key remained stuck and none of the electrical components would shut off. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired or diagnosed. The approximate failure mileage was 79,000.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #78

May 062013


  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the ignition failed. When the key was inserted into the ignition, the steering wheel seized and the engine failed to start. The failure was experienced numerous times. The dealer replaced the key code however, the failure was not corrected. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 97,000. Kmj

- Fort Wayne , IN, USA

problem #77

Jan 142013


  • miles


When the car sits for a day or more it won't crank and needs to be jumped off. The battery and altenator are good and so are the fuses. I have changed ignition relay and no difference. Had car running and would not this morning after sitting for 18 hrs. Batt is totally dead.

- Bethune, SC, USA

problem #76

Nov 262009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
After 50K miles key gets stuck in the ignition and takes 5-10 minutes to come out, replaced ignition cylinder still same issue, unable to turn engine off, hazard.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #75

Oct 052009


  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated the key became lodged in the ignition switch. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the ignition switch needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included on any recalls. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 52,000.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #74

Aug 292012


  • 72,797 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that after shifting the vehicle in park, the vehicle stalled and she was unable to remove the key from the ignition. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop. The manufacturer was contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage and current mileage was 72,797.

- Oxnard, CA, USA

problem #73

Jul 152012


  • 65,000 miles
The key gets stuck in the ignition, this has been a problem for 2 years, often have to leave the car with the key in (this is very unsafe). Today the key was stuck and would not turn, I could not turn the car off --- this is an extremely unsafe situation.

- Eastlake, OH, USA

problem #72

Oct 052005


  • miles
The car has issues with lighting malfunction. My passenger side running light/turn signal required many bulb changes, every few weeks or so, since the socket overheated and accordingly received a signal from the body module to shut off. This seems like the same problem that led to a recall with the 2003 and 2004 Ions. I recently was finally able to get this safety-related aspect of the vehicle remedied, for a few hundred dollars.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #71

Feb 012010

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
I have had to replace the ignition switch 3 times because I am unable to turn the car completely off. I am starting to have problems again where I sometimes can not shut it off and I know that these will lead to me having to replace the switch again. The first time it was replaced at no charge and I have had to pay for the other 2 times.

- Zebulon, NC, USA

problem #70

Oct 212011


  • 83,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that vehicle could not be started during colder weather due to the anti-theft sensor. The contact stated that the vehicle would have to sit at least twenty minutes after starting in order for the vehicle to reset. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable to diagnose the failure. The dealer advised the contact to have the vehicle towed when the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified who stated that the dealer could not repair the vehicle until properly diagnosed. The failure mileage was 83,000.

- Hampshire, IL, USA

problem #69

Dec 032011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 37,300 miles
The first time it went off was when we were entering a highway. The electric alarm went off and then I found the steering was not working. It was dangerous and very hard to pull over when cars behind are accelerating to get into the highway traffic. After a restart, everything seemed okay. Then on our way back home the same thing happened for 4 or 5 times. We had to drive in the right lane at a low speed to give ourselves enough space for safty.

- Belmont, CA, USA

problem #68

Sep 302011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
My 2005 Saturn Ion will not start when it's cold, I replaced the starter, I replaced the neutral safety switch, I replaced the ignition switch, I was extremely frustrated. I cut the white wire after roll starting as my car is a manual and taped off wires, car now starts anytime I need it to, GM / Saturn need to recall this issue and quit being cheap and fix there mistakes.

- North Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #67

Nov 242011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 53,008 miles
I had been driving approx. 2 hours of a 11 hour trip when I saw a message replace the odometer about the power steering. I left I95 using exit 98 and pulled over in a gas station. The manual stated that the power steering was electric, so no steering fluid to check. I restarted the car and magically the problem was fixed and my trip odometer was magically set to zero. I drove around the frontage road and everything seemed fine so I continued on my way. 22 miles later the same thing happened. I took the next exit, shut the car off, restarted it and magically again it was fixed with no reset of the trip odometer. Again I continued on my trip only to have it happen again 23 miles later, at which point I repeated the stopping/restarting procedure and turned around headed for home. While driving home it happened two more times, then once more in the driveway when I was backing up. So a total of 6 times within a 5 hour period and no prior history (since I've owned it) of this problem. I purchased this car used from a dealer May 28 2011 with approx. 46500 miles. The only other problem I've had is the key not wanting to come out of the ignition after I've turned the car off; after I put the gear shift into reverse then back into park, the key will come out; sometimes I can hear a clicking sound when the ignition switch fixes itself and then the key will come out, also.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #66

Aug 022011


  • miles
I have a Saturn Ion 05 and have had to replace the power steering once already and now having the same issue again. Also the turn signal on the front drivers side only works when my hazards or head lamps are on have tested all fuses and replaced bulb twice this is a commom complaint why isnt it being fixed?

- Bend, OR, USA

problem #65

Sep 062009


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated the vehicle would not shut off. Two years ago the ignition would not shut off and the vehicle was taken to a mechanic who replaced the ignition switch and reprogramed the computer. The contact had to pay for the repairs. The failure reccurred but the vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was contacted, stated there were no recalls and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 50,000.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #64

Jul 152011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Key can get stuck in ignition of Saturn Ion cars. Engine will shut down but key will not eject from ignition. To release key it is required to pop open ignition column and press compression switch to release key. This also causes interior lights to turn on, even if car is off. Triggering the anti-left system. The theft system using the lighting to determine if the doors have opened. Saturn has been aware of this problem on Ions from 2003-2007. But have done nothing to fix the 1000's of complaints. Problem has persisted since 2008.

- North Riverside , IL, USA

problem #63

Oct 222010


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated whenever the vehicle was turned off; the key has to be shaken several times in order to release the key. The contact also stated that it was difficult to start the vehicle more often when the weather was cold. The vehicle was not inspected. The failure mileage was 40,000 and the current mileage 46,000.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #62

Oct 012010


  • 43,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the ignition switch would not completely turn off, which prevented him from removing the key. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who stated that the ignition cylinder was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 43,000 and the current mileage was 56,159.

- Mt Morris , NY, USA

problem #61

Jun 122011

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
June 12-my car received complimentary maintenance. At which point, the car would not start. The body control was replaced. After moving over 1800 miles, the car would not start. June 16-had it serviced again and to my knowledge, the car had been damaged during servicing at dealership ( dropped off foot jack and damaged radiator and ac condenser). June 17-after commuting 80 miles and the passing of 9 hours, the car would not start again. Then after 3 hours, it started ( as I was in an unfamiliar location). June 21-its 8 am and I am about to leave for work, the car would not start. Took the car to the dealership after it started 3 hours later, riding in anti-theft mode. Left the car overnight and had to get a rental. June 24- picked up the car and the dealer could not determine the issue and assumed that it had been absolved. June 30- 7 am. The car would not start again for 4 hours. Took the car to the dealership, could not determine the issue. My car has yet to be fixed and I have been stranded in a number of unfamiliar places. Something is very wrong with the ignition because the power of the car comes on, but the engine will not communicate to come on.

- Hialeah, FL, USA

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