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CarComplaints.com Notes: When it comes to the 2006 Ion, the biggest questions are: what big problem is going to pop up next? And how long until GM chooses to address it?

The 2006 Ion has a defective ignition switch that gave owners fits. Their keys would get stuck in the ignition, the engine wouldn’t shut off or in some cases it would shut off at the most dangerous time. The ignition was eventually recalled as part of one of the largest recalls of all-time , but it took GM 10 years to do it. Then there’s this car’s temperamental power steering which is prone to stop working randomly while driving. It too was eventually recalled, even if GM took their sweet time about it.

Lastly, it turns out a car built with plastic doors, fenders and bumpers – while fun for a game of “shopping cart bocce” – is horrible for safety.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
52,116 miles
Total Complaints:
24 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace ignition cylinder (17 reports)
  2. not sure (7 reports)
  3. removed computer chip (1 reports)
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2006 Saturn Ion accessories - interior problems

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2006 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Feb 012012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles


Key has been getting stuck in ignition for quite some time. It has been getting worse over the past few months. Car only has 41,000 miles but the power steering has gone out recently and the fuel pump was leaking. Both of those issues were covered under special warrantee but the ignition issue hasn't been addressed by GM. Don't want to spend the money now since I am planning on getting rid of this car asap after reading all of the complaints here.

Update from Apr 15, 2014: Key continued getting stuck in ignition. Contacted General Motors to ask about safety recall and was told there was no recall. Finally sold the car due to this issue.

- , Fishkill, NY, USA

problem #23

Oct 152011


  • Manual transmission
  • 86,000 miles

Thankfully, my brother is a mechanic and walked me through shutting the car off without issue. This is a temporary quick fix!!!!! Remove the column cover on the steering wheel, then unplug the green plug. There should be 2 pieces that cover the steering column(top/bottom). You only need to remove the bottom. This way it won't look obvious that you are having issues with the car cosmetically!!! This will turn the engine off and you wont have to unplug the fuse under the hood or tamper with the battery. I was able to remove the key while still in the on position.. I did this for about six months before replacing the ignition lock cylinder and key that I purchased from a pick-a-parts for $100. For now just; remove the grey plastic cover that surrounds your key switch and unplug the green wired harness that plugs into your steering column. Hope this helps!!!!

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #22

Jul 222012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

The key seemed to stick a little bit before, but a few days ago, it legit completely got stuck and my car wouldn't turn off. The key is still hanging out in the ignition because it won't budge to take it out. Luckily, I can still turn the car on, but in order for it to turn off, I have to take the fuse out for the battery. It's a huge pain and I am afraid I am going to spend a few hundred of dollars only to have something else happen to this POS. I cannot wait to get a different car!

- , Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #21

Jun 132006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 26 miles


Had the new 2006 Saturn Ion for one day. Returned from lunch & key was stuck in ignition. Engine shut off, but key stuck. Dealer sent out woman w/loaner car & they towed mine back to dealership. Dealer said it was fixed & returned it to me that day. A few weeks later, at night in a mall parking lot, when I tried to start the car the key froze, then turned, I was able to drive home. Next day the key got stuck in the ignition, could't pull it out. It did start & I drove it to the dealer. Missed a day of work while the dealer had to get a new ignition to install. A few months later I was in a parking lot, inserted the key but it was difficult to turn to start. Did drive home, parked in driveway but could not turn off the engine! Dealership was closed. I used OnStar to call for help. OnStar called a California dealer to ask what to do. CA dealer said they never heard of such a thing (I found out later GM knew exactly what was happening). OnStar called a local tow place. When they arrived they disconnected a fuse to stop the engine, then towed it to the Dealership. I got a ride to the Dealer the next day & would not allow them to lie again.

No one wanted to talk to me but I wouldn't leave. Finally a mechanic took me aside to say the ignitions installed in the new Saturns were "re-manufactured" aka "used" and

they internal parts were breaking when the key was turned and it was happening a lot.

I insisted the dealership install, at their cost, a new ignition and I wanted to see the box it came in. It finally was repaired correctly. The problem qualified for the state's Lemon Law, but the dealership somehow "lost" the file on my car. I WILL NEVER, EVER BUY ANOTHER GM VEHICLE. GM DEALERS ARE LIARS.

- , Huntsville, Alabama, USA

problem #20

Sep 092011

Ion 3

  • Manual transmission
  • 60,000 miles

This was a pain. Had to get the cylinder from the dealer, get it keyed by my local locksmith and install. Was not too expensive, but was just a pain to drive all over town.

- , Cibolo, TX, USA

problem #19

Jul 222011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,244 miles

Went to the grocery store on Sunday,put car in park and went to turn key-NO drove back home and neighbor pulled fuse to stop car. Monday morning put fuse in car starts fine. Bring it to a dealer can't fix it cause the Cylinder needs to be rebuilt by a GM dealer. I called GM very nice and gives me a case number and On Wednesday bringing Car to new place. I told GM this should not happen to a car that has only 36,000 miles. I will let you know what happens and I hope GM helps me out so I don't have to pay for this. Their are no recalls on Saturn ION so that is good. I just had a Oil change and I stay on top of that. This is my second Saturn and I am sad that they are out of business for my local one was great!

- , Eatontown, NJ, USA

problem #18

Jul 152011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,500 miles


Dealer wants $600 to fix this sounds like alot where else can I get it fixed and has it happened to others?

- , Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #17

Dec 222010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,432 miles

This was crazy ,I never heard of anyone's key being stuck in the ignition and unable to shut your car off ,I actually showed my boss (cause I didn't think anyone would believe me) before I took it to the local dealer where they acted like they never saw this happen,sure, after 4 hours and $374.79 I got my car back ,Merry Christmas to me and my family,I even ask the dealer if I got a X-mas discount, no way ,the entire thing sucked,

- , Philipsburg, PA, USA

problem #16

Nov 062010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

This is the second time this has happened, the last time being six months ago. The key is stuck in the on position. Last time, this problem cost me $535. We'll see what happens this time...

- , Oviedo, FL, USA

problem #15

May 182010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,804 miles

When I went to park, the key was just stuck in the on position. I drove across the street to a tire shop and they told me that I needed to go to a dealership because of the ignition computer programming.

I went to a Chevy dealership, since Saturn is out of business. It's a shame, the Saturn people always treated me well and were way more honest then these Chevy hustlers. He said this was rare but gave me a verbal price without even checking a computer. But this isn't about that.

In the end I needed a new ignition switch and new keys made at the tune of $535.69. I wish this were the end of the story but six months later, it happened again...

- , Oviedo, FL, USA

problem #14

Aug 022010


  • Manual transmission
  • 53,000 miles


So i'm picking my son up from school. I try to turn my car off, but the key was stuck, i thought maybe I didn't put in neutral, so I checked it a half a dozen times. I ask one parent if they could see if maybe they could try and remove the key. Thinking maybe i was doing something wrong, no victory. I had to call my family to come help me. They watch the running car, unable to turn off , while i went inside to pick up my son. Drove home hoping maybe the drive would loosen the key, no luck. I had to stall the car to turn if off. put in the shop the next day and it's been there for two months. The machanic is having problems many problems with the repairs, in the meantime me and my children have been on the bus borrowing my family members cars. I'm fed up. They can have the car , i will turn it back in. This should have been recalled. I see so many camplaints about the same problem, thought i was the only one.

- , Gardena, CA, USA

problem #13

Sep 142010


  • Manual transmission
  • 54,000 miles

The car won't shut off even after disconnecting the battery. I had to call a locksmith to repair it. This is absolutely ridicoulous! Especially now that I know it is a problem for many Ion owners. I essentially was searching to see if there was a recall and then found this site and realized quickly that we are screwed. This of course right after we just had a recall on a fuel module, that was fixed late last year, now I am waiting on the reimbursment for that.

GM was the bread and butter of our household as a child, and I have always tried to remain loyal, but after this fiasco that may be difficult.

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #12

Jun 222010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I bought this car brand new in 06 and have had nothing but problems. This year alone I've had to take it in 3 times to a local shop since the Saturn dealer I used is now closed.

I started my car yesterday, drove for about 15 minutes, got to my destination and couldn't shut the car off. I had to take it to the mechanic shop and they pulled the fuse. They will be working on it sometime today. Saturn seriously thumbs down to you.

Needless to say I need a new car and will be using Auto Beef to make my new car decision.

- , Crystal Lake, IL, USA

problem #11

Jun 012010

Ion LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Bought the car new in 2006, here now in 2010 warranty just days out of coverage, key stuck in ignition and car will not shut off....

Saturn takes bailout money but leaves it's faithful customers hanging in limbo to first find a service repair center for there cars. This problem will cost $400 dollars plus to fix, car service center is keeping my car for three days to fix this problem.

After new ignition is installed of course new keys need to be made. When I pick up my car in two more days I will ask since I have paid for a new ignition installed and you have made me new cheap keys, how long will u warranty your work for the ignition and new keys installed to my car?

There must be a way to file a case against a responsible party for this should of been a recall item. In the meantime, we are left to drive unsafe cars and pay for high dollar fixes when they occur.

maybe it is good that Saturn has vanished and went out of business because if they still physically tangible we could go to their place of business blow off steam and sock them up.

Hopefully, Saturn will recall this problem in the near future and if so, should pay back all the people for there fixes to this same problem recall rebates should be retroactive to all Saturn owners with similar recall problems.

Saturn Sucks.

- , Grover Beach, CA, USA

problem #10

Oct 082009

Ion 3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

My daughter-in law owns this car,She is 20 years old recently married to an army soldier.this is ridiculas for a problem like this to happen with a car and not have a recall on this.The car will not turn off.Of course the dealer she purchased the car from has closed down and the nearest saturn dealer is 50+ miles away.some-one needs to get off their fat asses and stop waisting my tax paying dollars and bail these bastards out every time it comes around for their vacations and raises.this is a serious problem not to be corrected.My son is defending our country leaving his wife at home with me and my wife so she can drive a piece of sh*t car that the saturn people says that there is no and probably won't recall because not enough complaints from other buyers.

Who in the hell are you kidding some-one needs to read all of the posted complaints on the net about this same problem.WAKE UP YOU BUNCH OF BAILLED OUT BASTARDS AND RECALL THIS PROBLEM!!!!

- , Houma, Louisiana, USA

problem #9

Oct 212009

Ion 2 Coupe

  • Manual transmission
  • 62,000 miles

I purchased my brand new Saturn ion 2 coupe in June of 2006. In the winter of 2006 I had the ignition to lock up on me and I could not get my key out and it wouldn't turn at all. Thankfully my car was under warranty and I had it towed immediately to the nearest Saturn dealer. I was told that the ignition housing and its components had to be replaced. The service guy continued to tell me that this has been a common problem. I didn't think anything else about it because mine was fixed. Now in Oct of 2009 I am faced with the SAME problem but my key was in the on postion and RUNNING. The only way to turn my car off was to stall it out because its a five speed and disconnect the battery. My car is no longer under warranty so therefore I am faced with a mechanic bill that is OUTRAGEOUS and I am a college student. I further investigated this problem on the internet to see if there were similar problems like mine and to my surprise there are numerous unsatisfied Saturn customers that have had to deal with the same problem. I feel that these ignitions should be investigated and recalled because they have caused so many problems. This is a hazard because this leaves drivers stranded on the side of the road, in an empty parking lot, or in unknown territory. As a female, I was stranded in a parking lot not knowing what to do and scared. I was very disappointed that the Saturn customer service man could not help me on the telephone and very unaware of customer safety.

- , Kenton, TN, USA

problem #8

Aug 262009

Ion 2

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,260 miles

My wife called after going to the library and she could not get the key to turn off the car ignition. She tried several things including Park, Neutral, Forward, Reverse, and could not get the key to budge. She brought the car home and I had to disassemble the steering column cover and pull the electrical connector for the ignition.

From what I have been reading on this website I believe a recall should have been initiated a long time ago before GM and their dealerships had so much time to rip us off. This is my last American car!!!!!!!!!! If the American car companies had spent more time on developing a longer lasting product we wouldn't be bailing them out of the hole they have dug for themselves. They rip us off as customers and then rip us off as taxpayers. Wow, what a life- get paid to rip people off?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

- , Spring, Texas, USA

problem #7

Aug 022009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,790 miles

I purchased my 2006 Saturn Ion from a local Saturn dealership in my area in the summer of 2007. Up to this point, I haven't had any real complaints about my car. I got to my final destination yesterday and I could not turn my car off. My car sat in my driveway running for 4 hours until I figured out what I was going to do about it. I called the Roadside Assistance number that is listed in the manual, hoping that I still had the service. Of course not. It expired in May of this year. So the lady gives me some "advice"...pull out fuse #16 and she will send a tow truck driver out to pick up the car, but first she needed a credit card number. Seriously?!?! There are no problems with me driving the car, I just can't turn it off. Why would I pay a towing fee when I could drive it to a mechanic myself?? So at this point, I am a little frustrated. I drive my car to my mechanic's shop. It's Sunday at about 6pm, of course the shop is closed. My boyfriend has to pull the ignition fuse and disconnect the battery to kill all power to the car. I go back home and google this issue.....tons of complaints about this!!! My step-father goes to the Saturn dealership where I purchased the car and they told him that this is a very common occurance, ESPECIALLY FOR FEMALES, because their keys are too heavy. WTF?!?!? That's a real nice explanation. If I had it to do all over again, I NEVER would have bought a Saturn!!

Update from Aug 5, 2009: The ignition cylinder had to be replaced in my car.

- , Hermitage, TN, USA

problem #6

Jul 152009

Ion 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles

This is the second Saturn I've owned that had the ignition problem. The firsta was a 2002 coupe with 90000 miles. The key was stuck in park. That time it cost me $400+ dollars to fix. This time it's with a new to me car and the key was stuck and the car was running. I know nothing about cars and the AAA guy pulled fuses to stop the car rather than doing the other simpler things to stop the car. This created a mess for my mechanic to fix because now they had to fix the computer as well as the ignition.

When I was waiting for my car at the shop, the guy in front of me has a Saturn and he's replaced his ignition twice on one car.

This should be a recall problem.

- , Deltona, FL, USA

problem #5

Jan 102009

Ion 3 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

several months ago this started. The only way to get the key to release is to turn the ignition on, pull the shift knob back, then slam it forward into park--sometimes several times. Finally, yesterday, the shift knob broke off.

- , Nebo, KY, USA

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