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 6 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #60

Jun 092011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 36,000 miles


Almost 100% of the time I stop my car and try to remove the key, it stays locked in the acc position. Sometimes I can not even turn off the engine. I have to make several attempts to turn ff the engine and remove the key from the switch.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #59

May 222011


  • 59,147 miles
Approximately 1 year ago I started having problems getting the key in the ignition to go back to the 'lock' position when I turned the car off. After jiggling the key it would eventually come out - until this past Sunday when the key refused to turn at all and I was unable to shut my car off. I took it to the dealership where I had to remove the ignition fuse to shut off the car. I received a phone call from the dealership Monday morning and was quoted a price of $390 plus tax to replace the ignition cylinder. I was told at that time how it would be fixed because they have replaced many ignitions due to the same problem. Based on that information, I did some research on the internet and found a web-site ( with 88 pages of complaints from other Saturn owners experiencing the same issue. General Motors has known about this for over 5 years (at least) and has not issued a re-call notice. How many consumers does it take to get them to be a responsible company? I contacted GM and voiced my concern. The two individuals I spoke to were rather snippy. They were also less than cordial when they spoke to the dealership - wanting to know why I was given their phone number. I told GM that I have documentation showing this has been an existing problem with the Saturn line and they have known about it so my question to them was why haven't you issued a re-call. Their response was 'we can't accept third party documentation as proof of any problem'. it ended up that I only had to pay $100, which I am very grateful about but I would still like the corporation of General Motors to be held accountable for an obvious design flaw that could result in a very deadly outcome if someone was not able to turn their car off in an emergency.

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #58

Feb 102009


  • 36,140 miles
It was about 25 F at about 8 am vehicle would not start or crank. The pass lock light came on, which when I researched said that I was starting with the wrong key. Upon much more research I found this to be a common problem with these 2003-2006 Ion. After many ignition switches were replaced and even the onboard computer, the same problem would recur. The best solution I found came from an airplane mechanic. Be sure the ignition is off. He said to spray lps electro contact cleaner (any pure alcohol contact cleaner will work) into the ignition. Saturate it. Wait 10 minutes for it to dry then spray sea foam deep creep penetrant and lubricant into ignition switch. This worked for 2 years for me. It happened again this past March of 2011. I repeated this process and have had no problem since. This works by cleaning out the old stiff lubricant GM used during manufacture and putting in a lighter lubricant. Total cost for both sprays was under $20.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #57

Mar 012010

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles


2005 Saturn Ion, multiple problems, such as the key getting stuck in the ignition switch, in order to release the key I need to push a button underneath and inside the steering column. Also, the passlock system is defective, it prevents the car from starting and drains the battery, I have replaced the battery twice in one year.

- Brookeville, MD, USA

problem #56

Mar 042011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
I own a 2005 Saturn Ion and when its cold, car won't start. The passlock illuminates and sometimes takes 30 minutes to restart. I have spent over $700 trying to fix it like changing ignition and starter and the problem still persists. I have been late numerous times for work and was stranded the other night for 30 minutes in the middle of nowhere in minus 20 degree weather. ( that is a safety issue.) I am fed up and can't believe there is no recall.

- Cumberland Ontario, 00, USA

problem #55

Feb 112011


  • 89,506 miles
Passlock light blinking vehicle will not start in ambient temperature below 30 F represents a safety hazard because egress is needed from area.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #54

Jan 182010


  • 120,000 miles


Car wont always start, have to wait 10-20 minutes for it to start and not all of us have time to wait for this to happen, people have places to be, this happened 3 times in two months and has now happened 5 times in one week and the car shut off twice while driving the other day as well as getting stuck for 20 minutes in the cold at the gas station waiting for it to start. Something needs to be done about this as it is obviously not safe and the fact that there hasn't been a recall is ridiculous! have read so many different stories on what to replace and I don't want to be spending money on pointless parts!!

- Bolton, 00, USA

problem #53

Jan 242010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 88,900 miles
In ambient temperature of 29 degrees, my vehicle would not start. Passlock light was blinking for 10 minutes and then stopped. After that, I was able to start the car. This has happened before.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #52

Jan 012011


  • 29,600 miles
Vehicle will start intermittently on cold and/or damp mornings. Online research has shown the cause to be a defective body control module (BCM; a component of the factory-installed anti-theft system), confirmed by an experienced automotive technician. Said technician has stated to complainant that vehicle may be subject to recall due to defective BCM; however, according to NHTSA, this vehicle is under recall only for exterior lighting issues (NHTSA campaign id #09E012000). Complainant requests detailed recall information for this specific part (BCM), for this specific make and model of vehicle (listed above). If no such recall exists, complainant requests a recall be initiated.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #51

Dec 012009


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that when trying to start the vehicle, the lock out warning light would illuminate and the vehicle failed to start. The contact stated that the failure would only occur on an intermittent basis when the temperature was 35 degrees and below. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who informed the contact that they would need to replace the starter. The starter for the vehicle was replaced yet the failure persisted. The VIN was unavailable. The failure and current mileage was approximately 20,000.

- Audbouman, IA, USA

problem #50

Dec 052010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 86,319 miles


Passlock malfunction due to faulty ignition switch causes no crank and activation of 10 minute relearn sequence. Only happens when temperatures are below 40 degrees. Has always happened ever since I bought the car January 3rd, 2009. Frequency of occurrence has increased, and I'm scared that it will cause a crash if I happen to stall in traffic. The remedy to this situation has been discussed in numerous technical forums on the internet - all of which point to replacement of the ignition switch. The cause is thought to be excessive grease applied to the internals of the switch. I think GM should recall the affected units exhibiting this problem and provide no cost replacement of the ignition switch. This is not a new problem. Thousands of owners have been experiencing this aggravating and sometimes dangerous technical fault. GM is ignoring the issue and offering Saturn owners absolutely no assistance to correct this serious problem. If GM does not act, the law of averages says that eventually someone may be injured or killed as a result of this malfunction. Please help us. This isn't fair at all.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #49

Nov 132010


  • 56,527 miles
Vehicle did not crank or start when key turned. Passlock code blinked. Check engine light on. Known NHTSA item number : 10007431 no crank, no start when ambient temperatures is cold - diagnostic trouble codes (dtcs) B2960 and or B3033 are set.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #48

Jan 102009


  • 23,000 miles
Saturn Ion 2005 model does not release key from ignition after you turn off the car.

- Glen Rock, NJ, USA

problem #47

Oct 202009


  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that in cold weather the vehicle would not start. The contact had to wait 15 minutes before the vehicle would start. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer who could not find a problem with the vehicle after a diagnostic test. The dealer suggested replacing the starter and the contact agreed with the repair. After the vehicle was repaired the vehicle continued to have an issue starting in cold weather. The contact stated that the manufacturer should issue a recall. The failure mileage was 125,000.

- Conyers, GA, USA

problem #46

Aug 232010


  • 91,000 miles
The ignition on the 2005 Saturn Ion will lock with the vehicle in the "on" position. The only way to turn the vehicle off is to disconnect the battery, even though the car is still running. I have had the ignition components replaced 3 times in the past year and a half, and still have the same problem.

- Carrollton, TX, USA

problem #45

Aug 012010


  • 70,000 miles
I was driving down the highway when the power steering light turned on. Suddenly I was struggling with the steering wheel to make the car turn to get off the highway. It was really hard up until I turned it off. I turned it on again and it worked. Later this happened again while going to work, then coming back to work. It seems to happen every other day now for the past week. There is apparently no parts that I can change for it. And because Saturn Ions use electronic power steering, it's impossible to add steering fluid since there is no reservoir. It seems to be a dangerous electronic defect a lot of Saturn Ion owners are having.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #44

May 102010


  • miles
2005 Saturn Ion. When I turn the car off the key is stuck in the ignition and won't release. After some time the key eventually releases itself. I recently brought the car into a GM dealer and they stated there was nothing wrong, they lubed up the parts and said I would be fine. The key continues to get stuck.

- Bordentown, NJ, USA

problem #43

May 302010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 145,000 miles
My 2005 Saturn Ion will refuse to start. I know it is not the battery or alternator. All I have to do is let it sit for a minimum of 15 minutes and viola it will start. I believe it has to with the pass code in the key ignition.

- Parrish, FL, USA

problem #42

Jan 032010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
When driving, the power steering will occasionally go out. Also, sometimes the car wont start, it wont even turn over (but all of the lights, fan, etc work). Other times the key will not come out of the ignition when you turn the motor off.

- Peotone, IL, USA

problem #41

Mar 112010


  • miles
I just recently purchased a 2005 Saturn Ion. And when I was at the dealership it started like a dream. A few weeks later the temperature dropped to 34 degrees F or so. And it would not start. I was fifteen minutes late to work because this so called "reliable" car wouldn't start because it thought I was breaking into it. If I could do it all over again, I would've purchased the Chevy, this is not a common problem as I've been reading online. I don't understand why this hasn't been recalled yet. We're paying a lot of money for some piece of crap car that doesn't start when it's too cold/damp out. Something needs to be done soon!!!!!

- Uniontown, OH, USA

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