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:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,345 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2005 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 9 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #81

May 282010


  • 88,900 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving at speeds of 15 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the dashboard and the wheels locked. The contact was able to move the vehicle off the roadway shut off the vehicle. When restarting, the vehicle appeared to have resumed normal operation however; the failure recurred within one mile of travel. The dealer advised the power steering motor may have needed to be replaced but he would have to perform a diagnostic test to confirm the failure. There vehicle was not repaired.the failure mileage was 88,900 and the current mileage was 89,093.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #80

Mar 102010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 66,240 miles
I was turning into sam's club and the power steering quit working. The car was very hard to steer and, because I was turning a corner and this happened unexpectedly, I almost hit the car that was waiting to exit the sam's club lot. I then parked the car after struggling with the steering wheel to turn into a parking spot. I went shopping, came back and, when the car was restarted, I had my power steering. I had another failure within two days, and now the power steering fails even just going to the grocery store (about 2 miles). I called the local GM dealer who said to bring it in for diagnosis. What I read online is this is a $1000+ repair usually replacement of the steering column. I even went to an auto salvage and was quoted $450 for the power steering column and installation. My car only has 66,000 miles on it. This appears to be the same problem for which GM currently has a recall for cobalt and Pontiac G6 cars.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #79

May 012010


  • 64,000 miles
2005 Saturn Ion 64,000 miles. Power steering fails without notice. Power steering is not hydraulic. It is via an electric motor. No fuses blown. Steering will go back to normal and then fail again. Many have looked for a solution on-line but little help. Attempted repair everything from cleaning electric motor brushes and interior of motor housing to replacing the entire steering column at a cost of over $900. Nothing definitive. Same system and same failure on GM Chevy cobalt. This is a very dangerous problem. I will not allow my wife to drive the car. Car is useless and can not even be sold due to this safety issue. We need urgently to have this repaired.

- Orcutt, CA, USA

problem #78

May 012010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles


I own a 2005 Saturn Ion 2 with approximately 37,000 miles, 2 weeks ago the power steering went out, almost resulting in a head on collision as the warning didn't come on until after the fact and I was in the process of turning a corner. Initially the power steering is intact when you first start the vehicle, however it fails after being driven for a short distance, perhaps less than a mile. There have been several GM models recalled for this very same problem, cobalts and Pontiac, perhaps the same problem exist for some of the Saturn models, like mine and they should be added to the list? this is a newer model with low mileage that has been well maintained, I have been quoted $800 to $1000 for the repair of the problem, I have also been informed that if I pay for the repair now and this vehicle is added to the list of recalls for the power steering that GM is not obligated to reimbursement for the expense, therefore hesitant to proceed as GM states its safe to drive there vehicle with power steering failure.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #77

Jun 012009


  • 19,000 miles
Power steering continually goes out on my 2005 Saturn Ion 4 cylinder. It becomes very hard to turn once power steering goes out and has almost caused accidents on the road.

- Felton, DE, USA

problem #76

May 072010


  • 52,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering warning light would intermittently illuminate on the dashboard followed by a loss of power steering. The contact would have to shut the vehicle off and restart in order to get the steering to function correctly. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 52,000 and the current mileage was 54,000.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #75

Apr 222010


  • 53,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while traveling at speeds of 65 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the dashboard immediately followed by a loss of power steering assist. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 53,000 and the current mileage was 54,000.

- Galloway, OH, USA

problem #74

May 032010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving at 65 mph, the power steering light illuminated and the power steering malfunctioned. The contact shut off the vehicle and upon restart, the vehicle functioned properly. However, the failure occurred moments later. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who stated that the power steering motor failed. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The current and failure mileages were approximately 92,000. Updated 11/05/10 updated 11/05/10

- Nacogboches, TX, USA

problem #73

May 122010


  • 57,500 miles
2005 Saturn Ion. Driving down the road, not extreme circumstances, just normal driving. Without warning the power steering failed. It has happened twice in the past week. The car is still drivable, albeit with a significantly greater amount of effort. Turning off the car and then turning it back on corrects the problem.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #72

Apr 152010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
Power steering failure on Saturn Ion 2 sedan (4 door). Car purchased 12/06/04. Current mileage is 116,000. Two failures have occurred during the last month when car was idling at an intersection after being driven a short time. Power steering warning light illuminates and power steering fails. Car must be stopped and ignition switched off and restarted after which power steering works. Occurrence is unpredictable and we are really worried! our mechanic replaced the power steering motor fuse the first time but the problem has recurred again.

- Wapwallopen, PA, USA

problem #71

May 042010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 54,698 miles


2005 Saturn Ion 3 quad. VIN# [xxx], mileage 54,698 very unexpected power steering failure. This was the first time it has happened and I bought the car 1 month before Saturn shutdown. Thus I haven't owned the car even a year. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #70

Apr 072010


  • 467,000 miles
1st time my power steering went out I was backing out of a parking space at maybe 5mph and when I put the car in drive the car started dinging, the pwr steering light came on and the wheel locked up. Turned the car off, let it sit for a bit, turned it back on and it was back to normal. Has done it 3 other times while on the road at no more than 45 mph. I have been told that the entire steering column may have to be replaced but the dealership is telling me that there is no recall at this time. Haven't had it repaired yet. This is extremely dangerous and was very scary as I had 2 small children in the car each time it's happened. Current mileage is 46,700.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #69

Apr 162010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
While driving the car, the power steering light came on and immediately there was no power steering. Luckily we were driving straight. Had we been turning a corner it could've caused an accident. I took it to the garage and was told it was the motor in the power steering column. The search was on for a motor. If none could be found, the entire steering column would have had to be replaced. The motor was found and ordered. I hope to have the car back in a week or so.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #68

Apr 222010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 45,935 miles
My Saturn Ion is having the same issue as Chevy cobalt where I loose power steering for no apparent reason. Once it cuts out I have to pull to the side of road turn off car, then restart it and all is fine until it does it again. This has been happening for a couple months. I had the car checked today and it is the power steering motor, which will be replaced as soon as part comes in. I feel GM should recall these cars too. This could be a real danger if on a curving mountain road when power steering goes.

- Redding, CA, USA

problem #67

Apr 242010


  • 69,514 miles
The electric power steering went out on 4/24/10. After turning the car off, it reset and the power steering worked again. On 4/25/10, the power steering went out again, after cutting off it works again. Again on 4/24/10, it went out again. The car is very hard to turn with the electric power steering not working. The Chevy cobalt was recalled for the same problem, and the power steering unit is the same in a 2005 Saturn Ion. Cannot afford to have it fixed at this time, worry about my daughter driving it.

- Westminster, SC, USA

problem #66

Apr 192010


  • 72,300 miles
Power steering on my 2005 Saturn Ion unexpectedly fails numerous times a day; serious safety concerns and numerous other complaints but no recalls ??

- Wake Forest, NC, USA

problem #65

Apr 122010


  • 57,999 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While pulling out of a parking spot at 3 mph, the power steering suddenly stopped functioning which made it difficult to turn the steering wheel. The power steering warning light illuminated and the contact heard a chime sound when the failure occurred. The vehicle was turned off and then restarted; the problem seemed to correct itself after the restart. The failure occurred twice. The vehicle had not been inspected at the time of the complaint. The current mileage was 58,197. The failure mileage was 57,999.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #64

Feb 122010


  • 76,500 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving at speeds of 60 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the dashboard followed by a loss of power steering assist. The contact was able to move the vehicle from the roadway and shut off the engine. When restarting, the vehicle resumed normal operation. The dealer advised the power steering motor had failed and would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure persisted. The failure mileage was 76,500 and the current mileage was 77,000.

- Urbana, IL, USA

problem #63

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 #62

Apr 042010


  • 41,256 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact was driving approximately 20 mph, the power steering failed without warning. The contact stated the failure occurred after the engine was warm. The vehicle was taken to an independent dealer for diagnostic testing. The mechanic stated the steering column would need to be replaced at the owner expense. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The failure mileage was 41,256. The current mileage was 41,400.

- Port Washington, NY, USA

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