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2005 Saturn Ion electrical NHTSA complaints: Electrical System

NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

2005 Saturn Ion (Page 1 of 6)

CarComplaints.com 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:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,283 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 1 of 6)

problem #112

Jan 252007


  • miles


I purchased this car new in Dec.2004. I had the car @ 2 years when I noticed that the ignition would not release the key when I tried to turn off the car. The ignition switch would not go to the off position nor would it release the key. I had to turn it on and off many times or put the car into gear and back into park to get the car to off and the key released. I took the car to the dealership and they told me it was because I had the key and the car lock/alarm fob on the same ring. This explanation seemed silly and even when I removed the key from the ring that the lock/alarm, the problem continued. They did replace something but the problem continued. It is so frustrating and stressful to deal with because you can't get the key out w/O the system going off and releasing the key. Now the car has been identified as recall car due to the ignition defect. I have gone to a GM dealership and they have ordered the ignition switch that the recall was for but no word on the fact that the key will not release. I have ongoing fears and concerns that unless this key release problem is addressed, the safety issue will still be there. Maybe covered up or masked by the switch replacement but not completely fixed. A side note to this is that I had to have a new starter put in because the starter had developed a 'dead spot' in it, preventing it from starting. I believe there might be a corelation between the ignition not working properly and the 'dead spot' in the starter. This would be from me having to start and restart many many times to get the ignition to 'off' and the key realeased. I need this to be fixed completely and correctly for my safety and the safety of others. I should not be fearful when I am driving and I should not be fearful when I am shutting the car off. I need to what the plan is to repair this car completely. Thank you.

- Pittsbugh , PA, USA

problem #111

Nov 182009


  • 70,000 miles
Okay when I first bought this car back in 2005 they had a recall for the ignition switch and replaced it. Since then back in 2009 when I lived in Colorado when it would get really cold the car would not start. I tried and tried to complain to GM about this problem and they wouldn't help me at all like I was crap out of luck. I cant remember if I complained to you guys or not. To deal with this situation my husband and I ended up disconnecting the alarm and haven't had that problem since. Now for about 4 years my car has decided it wanted to keep the key when I try to turn off the engine. And I have to fight with it just to get the key out. My car stalled at two stop lights before, I was thinking it was the battery but now with the recalls I am thinking its more than just the battery.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #110

Jan 142013


  • 92,400 miles
We bought this used Saturn on 12/ 28/13 after driving about 10 days, the engine light came out. The warranty auto mechanic said the electrical issue. The auto sale dealer checked it was oxygen sensor issue. Referred us to get free fix at the el monte smog auto mechanic but failed to fix it despite many times. We went to the mechanic near our house. We paid several hundreds to fix the problem. Few weeks later, another problem that the key could not take out from the switch and it always stuck inside the switch soon after we turned off the key. We need to wait a long time to pull the key from the switch. We ignored the issue but went to make a copy from a locksmith in alhambra. We used the duplicated key to drive it but it was stuck and couldn't take out. We went back the locksmith who helped us to remove the key from the switch. Since then, the issue was solved.on 4/5/2014 we got oil change and was told there're many issues that need to be fixed. It costed us about $1200-. few days later, the engine light came out again, we scared that it was unsafe as everyday we need to drive carpool from home (chino hills) to our workplace. We were told it was oxygen sensor again. On 4/14/14, the window screen wiper suddenly moved while we were driving. It could not stop at all even after we turned off and turned out the key. The next day, it had run out the battery and triple a said it was the electrical issue. We went to another auto mechanic who told us that it was the computer issue as the ge had installed their computer to attached most of the parts including the wiper. 2 days ago, we heard a strange sound on the driver side while driving to work on the freeway. I slowed down the speed. We were so worried to drive the car. We regret to buy american car as we used to buy Japanese cars. Please advise. Victim of Saturn car william tong & ada tong

- Chino Hills, CA, USA

problem #109

Sep 232008

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles


2005 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle ignition switch recall notice and repairs. In September 2008, the ses light illuminated. The dealer replaced the ignition coil. In June 2011, the ignition switch was replaced. In May 2012, the ignition switch was sticking, and the consumer was unable to remove the key, the ignition switch and tumbler were replaced.

- Klamath Falls, OR, USA

problem #108

May 212012

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch recall notice and seeks reimbursement for repairs. According to the invoice, the vehicle would not start. The technician found a blown amp ignition fuse, bare wires at the ignition switch and the ignition was internally shorted out.

- Pontiac, MI, USA

problem #107

Apr 012014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to air bag malfunction and faulty ignition problems. The consumer stated he was involved in an accident, a couple of years ago, and the air bags did not deploy. He also has paperwork for the ignition problems he experienced.

- Oak Lawn, IL, USA

problem #106

Jun 062012


  • miles


TL-the contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the engine stalled without warning. The engine restarted and resumed normally after thirty minutes to an hour. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis where a trouble code detected a failure within the computer system. The contact stated that the failure was related to the recall under NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). However, the dealer informed the contact that the defect was not associated with the recall and the vehicle could not be repaired free of charge. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The failure mileage was unavailable. Kmj

- Belleville, IL, USA

problem #105

May 012013

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to ignition recall. The consumer stated on several occasions, the vehicle would not start. On 3 occasions, the vehicle shut down while driving in May 2013, the consumer was locked inside the vehicle due to know electrical power. The ignition was replaced and the black box was re-booted. The consumer has since traded the vehicle.

- Bardstown, KY, USA

problem #104

Jun 012013

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to ignition problems. The consumer stated he lost power to the vehicle while driving. The consumer was given an estimate of $ $2,250, which he felt was too high, so he traded the vehicle.

- Milledgeville, GA, USA

problem #103

Apr 012014


  • 91,000 miles
I have a 05 a Saturn 05 Ion a recall. And twice in the past week died while I was driving it to work, no no accident or injury, but I am very concered, and don't know what I should do. I already took the keys an clicker off the key ring, I am very concerned. Richard, blais heyuas2@live.com

- Linxroft, NJ, USA

problem #102

May 062010


  • 50,263 miles


Re: brake transmission shift interlock (BTSI) solenoid. The key would get stuck in ignition and not release, or I would be unable to turn the car on after inserting the key. Note: A couple of times I could not turn off the car, which is a safety hazard. I had to force the key to turn the ignition cylinder to the off postition over several minutes. I have replaced ignition switch 3 times and ignition housing twice since buying my Saturn Ion new in 2005. Therefore, I am now on my fourth ignition switch since the car was manufactured. I acknowledge that ignition switches have been found defective in certain GM car models and years and a recall is in place. However, I believe that ignition problems in GM Saturn Ions are additionally complicated by BTSI solenoid and switch failure. In addition to replacing the ignition switch and housing, I have also had to replace the BTSI solenoid and switch twice (May 2010, 50,263 mi; Feb 2013, 84,715 mi) due to the part's failure in order to fully address the ignition switch problems of my Saturn Ion. Please investigate the additional issue of BTSI solenoid and switch failure as being a contributing factor in the overall ignition saftey problems of GM Saturn Ions.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #101

Dec 072009


  • 22,366 miles
Ignition would sometimes not turn off or release key when car was running, or turn on when car was not running. Passlock indicator was coming on at strange times. Battery constantly being drained. Ses light was on when the key was out of ignition. $960 in parts and labor.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #100

Nov 012006


  • 8,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled without warning and the key had been difficult to remove from the ignition on multiple occasions. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who was unable to diagnose the problem more than once. The failure still recurred. The vehicle was taken back to an authorized dealer who diagnosed that the steering ignition lock housing cylinder needed to be replaced and recoded. The vehicle was repaired and the failure recurred. The key was locked in the ignition and the contact had to wait until she heard a clicking noise in order to release the key on more than one occasion. The contact was included in NHTSA campaign id number:14V047000 (air bags and electrical system) and received a recall notice years after the failure occurred multiple times. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 8000.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #99

Feb 072012


  • 108,000 miles
TL-the contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that they did receive a recall notice and experienced the noted ignition issues. The vehicle was taken to a local technician and no diagnosis or repairs were done to the vehicle. The failure mileage was 108,000 miles and the current mileage was 111,000 miles. The local dealership was not able to provide a loaner vehicle and they wanted to make a complaint against the manufacture. I referred them to the federal trade commission for that complaint.sr

- Union Dale, PA, USA

problem #98

Jul 162012


  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that she was able to erroneously use her key to open another vehicle of the same year, make and model. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who advised that he was unable to repair the vehicle. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) but do not confirm if the vehicle was included in the recall. The manufacturer was contacted and stated that the all of the same year Saturn Ions were manufactured with the exact same key code. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 53,000.

- Tuskegee, AL, USA

problem #97

Mar 012008


  • 49,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the ignition switch failed and caused the vehicle to stall. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where a diagnostic was performed which located a failure code at the steering column. The vehicle was repaired. The steering wheel column was replaced. The failure mileage was 49,000 and the approximate current mileage was 70,000.

- West Orange , NJ, USA

problem #96

Jan 162012


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact was driving 45 mph when the vehicle stalled. The contact received notification of a manufacturer's recall pertaining to the ignition switch but had not yet received the recall repair. The failure mileage was 40,000.

- Mount Royal, NJ, USA

problem #95

Oct 312013


  • 144,000 miles
On October 31, and November 1 of 2013 I was traveling approximately 40 mph and in nearly the same spot the Saturn lost complete power and died. Both times I was able to get off the road. After the second incident we had it towed to a garage where they replaced the battery. I did not drive it again and currently it is in storage as I purchased a new car. I drive 350 miles a week to work and need dependable transportation. When the recall came out we realized we may have had trouble with the ignition switch for up to 2 years. There would be times we would shut the car off but would be unable to take the key out. It would take up to a minute before clicking and we could remove the key. That was when it was in the off position.

- Angola, IN, USA

problem #94

Mar 072014


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while making a left turn, the vehicle suddenly stalled as the power steering seized and caused the contact to crash into a concrete street divider. The contact sustained back injuries. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who was unable to diagnose the cause of the failure. The contact indicated that during the crash, the radiator and condenser were damaged and both were replaced by the mechanic. The manufacturer was not notified in reference to the defect. The failure mileage was 58,000.

- Springfield , MA, USA

problem #93

Sep 162013


  • 123,903 miles
I checked electrical above, for affected parts, but I am not sure if that is correct. It was the ignition. I was driving on whitney ave. (towards new haven) in hamden, ct. Traffic was moderate due to the time of day (3:00 P.M.) suddenly, and with no warning other than the dash lighting up with engine lights, my car stopped. There was enough momentum to turn it into the post office driveway. Brakes and steering did not work. Fortunately, the cars coming up behind me were able to swerve to avoid hitting me. The incident caused a traffic jam and a mess in the post office. A very kind man offered to help push the car out of the incoming driveway. He put it in neutral and pushed it out of the way. I have aaa service. The call was made and the car was towed to Firestone on dixwell ave., since I live in the vicinity and could walk home. I have the receipt for work done by Firestone. The job cost me $262.82. I was on my way to I-91. I dread to think of what could have happened, if the car suddenly stopped in 65 mile an hour traffic. (I jest, since trucks regularly pass going well over 70!) I wish to send my bill to GM, but no address is provided on the recall letter. Please advise. If I do not hear from you, I will go to valenti motors in wallingford to ask for assistance in obtaining an address to send my bill. I expect full compensation for the costs associated with this incident, and will provide the Firestone invoice. In a separate recent incident, again, on my way to an interstate, the car went dead again. This time, I came to rest up against a barrier between the road and a salt marsh! in this case it was the alternator. The car was towed again to Firestone, where they replaced the alternator and the battery. I write this, just in case GM has ignored another problem. Sincerely, patricia lucan

- Hamden, CT, USA

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