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: 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
Crashes / Fires:
10 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 1
Average Mileage:
53,709 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.

2006 Saturn Ion electrical problems

electrical problem

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2006 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 13 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #55

Feb 042010


  • 24,000 miles


My 2006 Ion has only 24,000 miles and has always been garaged and properly maintained. Suddenly, it would not start.....all dash lights on, headlights worked, etc. But engine would not crank. I tried later and it started right up. Next day, same routine. When I got it running, I went straight to the Saturn dealer and they replaced the ignition switch. My car is out of warranty, so I had to pay. At the time, I did not realize that so many other Saturn Ion owners were having the same experience. I called Saturn customer service and was told there were never any bulletins issued on this problem and there was no way of determining if there were any other complaints about this issue. I've read that replacing the ignition switch doesn't always take care of the problem. I am very concerned about getting stuck somewhere and don't think I should be expected to sit in a cold car, hoping the 10-minute waiting period will allow my car to start.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #54

Nov 152009


  • 26,000 miles
Occasionally, in the morning, our 2006 Saturn Ion 2 will not start. The battery checks out, everything lights up on the dash display, but turning the key gets no result. If we remove the key and wait 10 minutes, the car will then start. I recently visited a Buick service dept. Where the service person told me that this is a common problem, sometimes corrected by ignition switch replacement (which we had done in 2007, under warranty) and if that does not work, there is an electrical control unit which will be replaced. The total for these 2 repairs" in excess of $1,100 !! here's the real kicker, he said that this will not necessarily remedy the problem! and G.M. wants another $3 billion in bailout funds?" the funny thing is that the 1994 Saturn which my son now has, with over 100,000 miles on it has been one of the most reliable cars we ever owned. The 2006 Ion has only 27,000 miles on it and has been back to the dealer again and again over it's life so far. This ignition problem has happened about half a dozen times, so far. Only in the morning.

- Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #53

Dec 182009


  • 96,000 miles
My car would not turn off and my key would not come out. I had the same problem with my vehicle last July, the exact same issue!!!! I immediately called the dealership that I purchased the vehicle from and that "corrected" this problem last year and was told to bring it in because they would have to make sure that it was in fact the same issue, in which it was. I was told that I would have to pay $40 for the diagnostic test that was ran on the vehicle and that it was going to cost 451.51+tax to have it repaired and that the warranty on the part expired 12 months after the repair for the first incident. The failure has not been corrected. After leaving the dealership, I called the customer service center of the car maker and the only thing that has been done about the failure is that they are going to call me back and that they will do their best to give me a discount on repairs. I just want to know why my vehicle continues to have repeated issues with the ignition system locking up" is the part defective? and if so why hasn't the manufacturer done anything about it"

- Jackson, TN, USA

problem #52

Jul 042008


  • 60,000 miles


The vehicle was in great condition, the incident was all a sudden. I could not turn off my car and the key wouldn't come out. Because it was a holiday, I had to sit in my vehicle all night until it ran out of gas. I had it towed to the dealership and they replaced my ignition system for $451.51+tax. I had a conversation with a mechanic at a different dealership and was told that the failure was common with my make and model of vehicle.

- Jackson, TN, USA

problem #51

Dec 212009


  • 44,000 miles
I have not been able to turn off my ignition or remove my key two separate times. Not only that my power steering went out and was only able to be fixed by the dealership. Most recently along with the key ignition problem, there is a transmission problem. The first time the ignition was fixed it was under warranty but this time it is not. I have read several blogs of similar complaints from suffering consumers.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #50

Dec 162009


  • 42,000 miles
1. no abnormal circumstances, simply turned off at night, and returned in the morning to a car with perfectly working electrical but will not react when turning the car further. 2. it occurs randomly, the consequences are that my car is useless at the time that I need it most, the morning before work. 3. absolutely nothing... it is a Saturn Ion. The issue is all over the internet, and the fix is complicated, leaving your car on for 10 minutes to get around the pass lock. If your battery survives your car will work afterward.

- Canton, NY, USA

problem #49

Dec 032009


  • miles


My car will not always start, it gets a picture of the car with a padlock on the dash but will not even attempt to turn over. It does at least three times a week and today it did it four times alone. It will start in exactly 10 minutes from the first time I tried to start it. So in the mean time my children and I sit there in the cold and wait. Or my asthmatic children hopefully do not stop breathing. I have called Saturn numerous times and all they tell me is its the ignition housing we can fix it for over 300 dollars but it will go out again in three months, which they say will be the pattern for the life of the car.

- Spanaway, WA, USA

problem #48

Nov 212009


  • 28,000 miles
2006 Saturn Ion does not start although all lights come up on dashboard. Battery is fine(had it checked) but the starter does not roll over. After 45 minutes (and battery reattached) car started. This occurred twice, once on April 1st 2009 and again Nov 21st 2009. Probably weather related as both days were fairly cool and preceded by rain.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #47

Nov 172009


  • miles
My 2006 Saturn Ion is not starting occasionally in cold and wet weather. I called the Saturn customer service and they didn't seem to know what the problem is. The rep thought it was a security system issue and wanted me to drive it 2.5 hours away to a Saturn dealership, and they might help me out. Hmmm, I look online and hundreds, maybe thousands, of people have the same problem. Can't they issue a recall" if it is so common and the symptoms are identical why can't they simply tell me what to do" cold and frustrated.

- Qualicum Beach Bc, 00, USA

problem #46

Oct 062009


  • 32,000 miles
I had to have the ignition switch cylinder replaced on my 2006 Saturn Ion because the car could not be turn off. While at the dealer I found out that one of the other had the same problem with his Saturn vue. Talking to the service writer he told me that this was a common problem with these two model of cars. I new something was up when I got charge for 1.5hrs labor when it took less then 40min to take the car replace the part and return it to me. When try to talk to various people at Saturn and GM all they waited to say that it was 7 month out of warranty and I did not care about that I wanted to talk about not being able to turn the car off and that I thought it was a safety problem. Being from charleston, SC and two people that had the same problem and the service writer comment and the time it took to replace, to me this is probably a bigger problem then just two cars and that Saturn should be doing a recall on this. I have working on cars in the past and the car being a manual I was able to stall the car and then disconnect the battery. What I did not have that knowledge or it was an automatic. The GM person did not want to talk about that he just wanted to say it was 7 month out of warranty. I thin that Saturn/GM should be forced to recall these car and fix the problem. Thank you.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #45

Oct 212009


  • 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 position 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 #44

Sep 292009


  • 73,000 miles
I own a 2006 Saturn Ion 3. over the past few months I have had the car not start only an hour later to try and it did. I have done research and have found many people have and are having this same problem. When I spoke with the dealership where I bought the car they hadn't heard of this. This has been going on for years and nothing is being done. The safety issue with is my wife has been stuck at work at 3am with the car not starting by herself. We (Ion) owners need help with this since the maker of this car isn't doing anything.

- Ypsilanti, MI, USA

problem #43

Sep 222009


  • 65,000 miles
I was driving my 2006 Saturn Ion when the electric power steering went out. There was no warning - the indicator light came on and the power steering was gone. I took the car to the dealer and they said it is an electrical problem and the steering column would need to be replaced. This is a $900 repair since the car is just out of warranty. There are several other complaints related to this same problem. The woman at the dealer says she has seen this several times before and that if you turn off the car it resets the power steering.

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #42

Aug 252009


  • 50,000 miles
2006 Saturn Ion, mileage 50,000. Ignition key will not turn off. Dealers nor Saturn accepting responsibility. Pervasive problem, complaints and no action. Costly repair bills, loss of income from lost time at work. Imminent safety hazard. Recall action should never be initiated only after a disaster occurs.

- Tyler, TX, USA

problem #41

Jul 082009


  • 41,000 miles
Steering wheel will not lock. When taking key out of ignition, and opening driver door, it chimes very fast, as if key was still in ignition or lights have been left on. It's as if the key was never removed at all, which means the anti-theft device probably does not engage and the ignition could easily be manipulated and started without the key. I have not contacted my dealer because the car is no longer under warranty and I do not have the money to pay for such a repair. However, I will be turning the car over to gmac once the smartbuy period is up. I also had a problem with the window falling off the track; I had this fixed while under warranty, but at 35,500 miles and I don't drive it that much.

- Rancho Cucamong, CA, USA

problem #40

Aug 012009


  • miles
The power steering keeps going out in the car. When this happens it becomes very dangerous to drive. It first started once every couple of days. Now it happens every time I turn it on and drive more then 100 yards. L have contact the dealership and they have told me that there is no recall for it. But I have looked online and numerous people have complained about this issue. The car is a lease and they said I am over my warranty even though I only have 36,000 miles in 5 years.

- Belleville, NJ, USA

problem #39

Jul 312009


  • 38,000 miles
Vehicle stalls from unwanted key cylinder rotation. Key cylinder rotates due to tilt steering wheel adjustment. Has occurred while vehicle is in motion. Can reproduce easily while vehicle is in park. Nothing done to correct. Dealer indicated a bulletin exists telling customers to not add other items to keyring since extra mass on keyring makes the failure more likely.

- Ypsilanti, MI, USA

problem #38

Jun 272009


  • 90,000 miles
2006 Saturn Ion had less than 100K miles on it. Power steering went out while driving. Soon after, the key became stuck in the on position and I could not remove. Ignition needs to be replaced.

- Emeryville, CA, USA

problem #37

Dec 022006


  • miles
We bought our Saturn Ion 2 from my husbands sister when it had 10,000 miles on it. That winter ('06) the car began a pattern of not starting when the weather was cold, 20 degrees or less. All the lights, radio, ect. Worked fine but the theft lock system locks the ignition for 10 minutes, and this can happen several times in a row! it was fine come spring, but then came winter '07 and the problem only got worse. Saturn refuses to help. They think you don't know how to start your car and tell you that they can't "replicate" the problem or find any record of it in the cars computer. Now, after enduring a horrible winter of trying to get the car to start almost every day no matter what temperature, the car is doing it in the late spring! we have had 50's to 70's every morning, yet half the time it still will not start! how can we rely on this car when GM says nothings wrong?

- Saint Peters, MO, USA

problem #36

Apr 202009


  • miles
When the weather is really hot my car doesn't start until it cools down in the evening.

- Perryhall, MD, USA

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