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 7 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #40

Mar 032010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 0 miles


I put the key in the ignition, turn the key to start, and the on board security system (passlock) disables the car. I have to wait 15 minutes to try to start the car again. This is an intermittent problem that has been happening the entire life of the car. The dealership says to replace the ignition switch, but after a few months it starts happening again. The ignition turns, it's that the passlock security system sees random key turns as attempts to steal the car and disables the starter. Very dangerous since it strands you wherever you are.

- Tucker, GA, USA

problem #39

Sep 122009


  • 44,000 miles
I currently own a 2005 Saturn Ion-2. I have owned this car since it had 12 miles on it. In 2007 my car did not start one morning and since it was still under warranty the local Saturn dealership replaced the starter. Starting last year this problem returned. When I turn the starter all the lights come on but the starter won┐T even try to start. This happens mostly when it's cold, but not necessarily. It happens at all different times of the day, and is very random. I missed work on more than one occasion and even missed a job interview because of it. Everything I have read online says you have not done a recall because it is not a 'safety issue┐ but last weekend at 1am, when is was 10 degrees outside, I was stranded in the middle of nowhere because my car wouldn't start. Not only is it unsafe for a single female but that temperature is below freezing and it is completely unsafe, because I could freeze to death while waiting in my car for it to start. I purchased a new ignition switch and installed it in the way the dealership instructed me to, but the car wouldn't start at all after I did that and I had to re-install the old one. This was $30 I can┐T get back and my car still won┐T start.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #38

Jan 312010


  • 42,000 miles
2005 Saturn Ion - car experiences daily intermittent failures to start at any given time. In most instances you exit the car, insert key 5-10 minutes later and the car will generally. Eventually it does. Problems points to systemic issue with the ignition. Research on the internet shows an inordinate amount of Saturn with this ignition issue.

- Ahoskie, NC, USA

problem #37

Feb 162009


  • 20,000 miles


We have a 2005 Saturn Ion that more often than not refuses to start. We have had this problem for the duration of our ownership. The theft deterrent system is a possible culprit. It could be any number of other things. Turns out this is a big problem. Please help the many of us to get GM to fix this. It makes our lives harder by the day.

- Bristol, TN, USA

problem #36

Dec 242009


  • miles
Car will not start when it is very cold out! key will turn, radio etc. Will work, but anti-theft system cuts off fuel. Many, many people have same problem, on Saturn Ion 2, numerous years! the oil/grease used in ignition freezes! Saturn knows of this problem, but is turning a blind eye!

- Red Bank, NJ, USA

problem #35

Feb 052009


  • 48,500 miles
1. events leading up to failure I was getting ready to leave for work. The time of day was 9am. The temperature had been hovering around freezing all night. The vehicle had not been driven since the previous day at around 9pm. I unlocked my vehicle using keyless entry - driver door only. I inserted my key in the ignition, closed the door, pushed the clutch to the floor while fastening my seatbelt. I then turned the key to the start position. The engine did not start - the starter did not engage at all. When I released the key, the security light (an amber "padlock" icon) started flashing slowly - once per second. I then followed the restart procedure for this situation according to the owner manual - simply wait until the light stops flashing, turn the key to lock, then restart. Ten minutes later, the security light stopped flashing and remained illuminated. I then turned the key to lock, and then restarted engine. 2. the failure, how often, its consequences: The vehicle did not start due to a failure of, or a malfunction of, some component of the factory vehicle security system. It has happened a total of three times between the incident date and March 30, 2009. It only seems to occur when the temperature overnight hovers around freezing, or drops below freezing. The consequences of this failure for me have been minimal, but I was very fortunate in each instance to be parked in a safe place, where my prompt egress was not necessary. I am reporting this situation to the ODI because of the potential consequences of this failure occurring during normal driving - if I stall the engine in heavy traffic and am not able to restart for ten minutes until the security light stops flashing, I would be in a very dangerous situation, and my vehicle would present a significant hazard to other drivers. 3. what was done to correct: Nothing has been done to correct this failure, as my dealership has no current solution.

- Wake Forest, NC, USA

problem #34

Jul 052009


  • 45,888 miles


I bought a 2005 Saturn Ion in March 2008. Since then, I have had the key get stuck on a constant basis. I had that fixed, but the key still sticks, but I push it in to release it. At least it's better than it was. The car does not like to start in cold weather. I replaced the battery. Cost $421. Now, at only 45,888 miles, my steering display light keeps coming on and I lose power steering. Got is checked told cost $700 total, but the only problem is: No part is available. It is on back log. So, I can't afford the part and labor anyway, but no part available" what do I do now with a car I am still paying on" I feel I a M stuck with a lemon.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #33

Jun 012009


  • 49,000 miles
Having repeat problems with 2005 Saturn Ion blinker. We saw there was a recall on 03 and 04 Saturn for the same problem. Please look into a recall for the 05 Saturn Ions.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #32

May 252009


  • 125,000 miles
I bought a 2005 Saturn Ion last August 2008. On November 2008, I experienced a difficulty on starting the car. So I brought it to Saturn dublin for a check up and repair, and they did all the test for the car and informed that they have to replace the ignition of the car as this is the findings of their mechanic.. I agreed as I thought this was the authorized dealer mechanic, I paid for $700+, for repair, labor and parts.. but recently last week, May 2009, my car would not start again..I brought it back to the dealer and had it checked.. they said there was nothing wrong with the car, it started when they checked and they asked me to pay $130 for the check up..which I paid. A few days after I was at work, which is in union city, 22 miles away from my house and when I was about to go home, my car would not start gain.. same problem as before... had to call a tow truck to have my car towed.. as I relayed this to my brother in law... we searched in the net on the issue and concerns and found out I was not the only one who had these problems.. hundreds of us were victims of this problem. Now, I did had a bad judgment on buying a Saturn car.

- San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #31

Feb 122009


  • 36,000 miles
Won't start in cold weather security system keeps it from starting. And power steering goes out continuously. On a 90 mile trip it goes out 6 to 10 times. It happens so inconsistently with different speeds and conditions

- Reading, PA, USA

problem #30

Mar 252009


  • 63,000 miles


Since I purchased my car, it will not start in cold weather. I have to wait about 10 mins, try again and it will start right up. Well, about a week ago it "shut down" while I was driving down a busy street in my city. After about 4 hours of it sitting, I went back and drove it home with no problems. Then, a few days later it did the same thing while returning to work from a lunch break. I had to leave it on the side of the road and got a ride. After work, I picked it up and was attempting to drive it straight to the dealership. While driving on I-10 East, it shut down again. On the interstate!!!!! it was raining outside and the person behind me almost hit me. I don't even know how I coasted to the median, except god! my car would not drive anymore. I left it there and got a ride home with someone because I didn't want to sit in the rain alone on the interstate. When I went back at about 11:00 pm to pick my car up, it wouldn't start. I waited 10 or so mins and it started up. I drove it straight to a friends house that was nearby and left it there. I contacted GM and they advised me to bring it to Saturn, which I have done many times before, so I did. They tell me there is nothing wrong with my car. So, I told them to keep it until they figure it out because I will not put my life in danger again. I have been going back and forth with GM and Saturn and no one will take responsibility for this. Its ridiculous that this car is putting my life in danger. I refuse to drive it again. And now I am paying a note on something that I cant drive because it may stop working in the middle of traffic.

- Lake Charles, LA, USA

problem #29

Feb 202009


  • 15,556 miles
Electric power steering failure in 2005 Saturn Ion in less than 16000 miles but 8 months out of warranty. Power steering became operational after each restart, but failed again within 3-5 minutes of driving. Very difficult to steer posing a safety hazard for my wife. Dealer repair required replacement of complete steering column approaching $1000 in repair cost. Ignition switch has also failed to permit car from starting on two occasions. Dealer also replaced at the same time. Dealer returned both parts to me. I have learned that both are common failures with this car and other GM compacts. Several incidents of repeated failures of the electric power steering. There should have been recalls or reimbursement for these premature failures. No wonder GM is going bust with a product of such low reliability and poor design.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #28

Jan 212009


  • 45,000 miles
The ignition key gets stuck and will not come out of the car. This is the second time after having the ignition switch replaced last year. I took it back to Saturn after the warranty expired on the new part (of course) and they kept it overnight trying to get it to fail. They greased the key and told me it was fixed, did not replace anything but blamed it on the key wearing down...

- Auburn, AL, USA

problem #27

Jan 262009


  • 73,000 miles
Vehicle did not start for 4 non-sequential mornings. Battery was replaced but continued happening. Saturn Ion started and ran well for remainder of days it required a jump start. Upon 4th day of not starting, mechanic suggested to change ignition switch. Since done, car has no problem starting.

- Islip, NY, USA

problem #26

Dec 202008


  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. In December of 2008, the contact noticed that the ignition failed. The failure only occurs in cold weather. The vehicle will be taken to the dealer for a diagnosis. The failure mileage was 22,000 and current mileage was 22,100.

- St Louis , MO, USA

problem #25

Nov 012008

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion 3. the contact stated that she has been experiencing failures with the ignition in her vehicle. During cold temperatures in the winter seasons, the key would fail to start the engine. All of the interior lighting in the vehicle would illuminate; however, the vehicle would not start at all. Through online research, the contact discovered that numerous consumers were experiencing the same failure. She read information concerning warming up the steering column in order to restart the vehicle. The information stated that she must somehow heat up the steering column. The contact stated that shortly after she followed this advice, the engine started in her vehicle. She has not taken the vehicle to the dealer because the vehicle is out of warranty. She does not believe that she should pay for something that she feels is a manufacturer defect. The failure did not occur in previous winters because the vehicle was parked in an indoor garage. The vehicle is currently being parked in an outside parking lot. The failure and current mileages were 18,000. Updated 2/23/09 the consumer also stated the key would get stuck in the ignition when trying to turn the vehicle off. Also the anit-theft light illuminated as well. Updated 02/26/09.

- Milwuakee, WI, USA

problem #24

Jan 052009


  • 60,000 miles
Car will not start in cold weather at night will start in daytime in cold not a power issue, not starter or alternator some kind of odd wiring issue cause it does not happen in daytime.

- Lisbon, OH, USA

problem #23

Jan 032009


  • miles
I have a Saturn ion1. I have 73,000 miles on it. I have a difficult time starting it on days where the temperature is below 35 degrees. I have to turn the key and keep it turned until it can run without me holding the key and rev the engine to atleast 3-4 rpms. I have to do this for 15-20 min. Until it can idol on its own, before I decide to drive or the car will not remain on. While driving it will shut off. Now if I make a sharp turn it turns off. This problem is getting progressively worse. While under warranty I had the ignition replace once. I also had been told by Saturn that my keys were too heavy, so I began driving with only the key and the key ring. The problem is a huge safety concern to me. Luckily have been able to steer the car out of the way and have not had any accidents yet. It is my only car and I have a lot more to pay on it and subsequently can not afford a new car. I am stuck.

- Springfield, MA, USA

problem #22

Dec 172008


  • 37,308 miles
Two days after moving to NJ from fl as I was pulling into my driveway the power steering light came on and the steering locked up. I found that if I turn the car off and on again the steering is good for maybe 20 minutes. I have checked the fuse and took it to a shop. The mechanic suggested I do some research because a car this young should not have these kinds of problems. I have seen similar complaints on the internet about the same model. My car is a Saturn, Ion 2005.

- Newark, NJ, USA

problem #21

May 152007


  • miles
I have a 2005 Saturn Ion and it has a habit of not starting at times. This has happened several times since my husband and I have owned it. We turn the key in the ignition and the car will not start. We have to wait anywhere from 10-45 minutes for the car to start and it sometimes cause my husband to be late to work. This is an even bigger concern since we have a four month old son. We have not had the money or time during the week to go the Saturn dealership but I have called the company who handles my extended warranty and he said that this is a common issue. From the discussion boards I gather that this is a very common issue and there should be a recall.

- Houston, TX, USA

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