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 14 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #35

May 052009


  • 63,000 miles


I have a 2006 Ion Saturn and I was driving on a highway (NY) 684 when a beeping sound came on and the "power steering" light came on and my car locked up. I was doing 65 in the left hand lane and no shoulder to go onto. Thank goodness I was able to somehow get to a safe spot on the highway and call for help. This is a very serious problem and needs to be addressed by Saturn. I am not the only one.

- Hopewell Jct, NY, USA

problem #34

Nov 012008


  • 40,000 miles
Vehicle initially had trouble starting, made strange sounds, check engine light on, would not go over 25-30mph., followed towtruck to Saturn dealer, was told this was a common problem with this make & model, there were thousands of complaints known and that GM was aware of it but had not recalled. Turned out that it was the ignition module, switch, coil, harness etc., just under $800 to repair. It's still sitting in the garage. Thing is...I purchased this car almost new B/C I had an older car & wanted a new car in case the other quit! wow. Who new? power steering also groans and its full of fluid. Because of this, (ignition), the key had to be manually pulled out, to get the engine to stop running, all the electrical system remained on, had to disconnect the battery, was told do not know what else may have been damaged as a result, the dealer said the transmission may have been damaged as a result. Yet they don't want to recall because of the re-organization" what about my safety" god knows what could have happened if I was on the highway when this happened!

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #33

Apr 062009


  • 60,012 miles
On four occasions, the car failed to start. The lights, horn work, but there is no ignition noise. After waiting at least 15-25 minutes each time, the car eventually started. On April 6th, 2009 as I was coming home on the freeway, the car suddenly lost power, without any type of warning. I was able to cross a lane to get into the slow lane and pull off the road. This happened on a busy stretch of highway at approximately 12 :48pm. The consequences could've been very tragic. I later took the car to a repair shop for a diagnostic test, and the engine failure wasn't recorded in my vehicle's computer system. Outrageous. I don't feel safe!

- Gilroy, CA, USA

problem #32

Jan 012008


  • miles


Ignition problem. Car will not start. Passlock engaged. Turn key until passlock light stops flashing. Wait 10mins and car will start. Service bulletin is out for problem. The bulletin number is 04-08-45-005D and it's titled ignition system - no crank / no start / dtc's B2960/B3033. It's dated March 15, 2006. Covering models: 2003-2006 Saturn Ion. This issue is wide spread and is know by GM. This is a known defect. NHTSA should do the correct thing and make GM issue a recall.

- Allen, TX, USA

problem #31

Oct 152008


  • 38,261 miles
Vehicle intermittently fails to start. Passlock anti-theft system prevents starter from cranking. This is a known problem with Saturn, yet they refuse to remedy the defect without charging for parts and labor.

- Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #30

Feb 192009


  • 68,700 miles
Failure of 2006 Saturn Ion to start in cold weather, usually +10 Fahrenheit or below. This problem occurs without exception when temperature is in that range unless warm are is sufficiently blown into ignition lock to warm it up to the point were it will recognize the key. Otherwise the pass lock system engages and must wait about 10 min. To attempt to start the car again. Took to dealership and an unrelated problem was fixed(computer reprogramming). Both before and after repair I was treated like an idiot by service woman and told in a very discourteous manner that the repair would certainly correct the cold start problem. And if not then it was because mice (or other such creatures) were "nesting" in my engine compartment and eating the wiring. My wife drive this car to her job in joliet, il which is by no means a 24/7 bastion of safety. I am very concerned for her safety, especially when she must work later into the evenings. I have seen hundreds of complaints regarding this very issue and wonder why there still is no recall of this defective ignition system.

- Lockport, IL, USA

problem #29

Feb 212009


  • 38,686 miles


Three times when the temperature has been below 30F I have not been able to start my Saturn Ion. Each time I have had to call on star to get a jump start. All three times the jump start has gotten my card running. I have taken the car to have the battery and starter checked both checked out fine. I see there is a GM service bulletin number : 040845005 and a NHTSA item number : 10007431 established for this complaint. I feel as though GM should recall these vehicles and be responsible for the repairs.

- Panama City, FL, USA

problem #28

Jan 292009


  • 40,000 miles
Saturn Ion has trouble starting when the weather is cold. It is the pass lock anti-theft system that so many other people are having troubles with. Saturn dealer will not admit to any problem.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #27

Jan 292009


  • 25,000 miles
Car will not start on cold mornings, getting worse - had battery tested and nothing wrong.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #26

Jan 162009


  • 27,000 miles
2006 Saturn will not start due to faulty ignition. 4 months out of warranty. Called every Saturn dealer within 200 miles. All know of the problem and know immediately what is needed to fix it. They tell me that this has been an ongoing problem for a few years. Yet no recall.

- Saugus, MI, USA

problem #25

Apr 072008


  • miles


I have a 2006 Saturn Ion that I purchased in April of 2008. I had trouble from the first day I purchased it. The Ion randomly does not start. I've had a mechanic test the battery and said it tested out fine. I had one mechanic tell me it was the starter which would be over $400, another tell me it was the ignition, and another tell me that on only mechanics that had the parts were the dealerships. My car has not started every single day for the last three weeks and randomly since last April. I've missed work due to this issue. The frustrating thing is that my other vehicle that's over 9 years old is more reliable than this Saturn. Looking online, I've realized how many others are having the same problem. It needs to be recalled!!!!

- Buckley , MI, USA

problem #24

Jan 152009


  • 62,355 miles
Ignition switch is bad. The car will not start, the computer will not disarm.

- Paso Robles, CA, USA

problem #23

Dec 242008


  • 52,000 miles
Purchased vehicle new as a demo, told there was 'minor panel damage but fixed like new" found out car was in chain reaction crash both front and rear. Body and frame still not fixed, keeps cracking windshields now ignition system has failed. Read many other problems with same issue from year 2000 and up on the car. Needs to be a recall or someone needs to pay for this junk car besides me. Starter would stick in after starting car, took it to the dealership 3 times but they could not "reproduce" the situation, therefore would not repair. Now look where I'm at.

- Lothian, MD, USA

problem #22

Dec 102008


  • miles
I own a 2006 Saturn Ion which fails to start intermittently; research shows that the security system fails to recognize the key. It usually starts after a wait of 10 minutes or so, after the security system resets. My handicapped daughter drives this car and I see this as a danger to her security and safety. Saturn needs to resolve this widespread problem.

- Sussex, NJ, USA

problem #21

Dec 102008


  • 55,000 miles
My 2006 Saturn Ion got hard to start and then the key got stuck in the on position and cannot be moved, you cannot shut the car off, I looked online and there is hundreds of thousands of people with the same problem, these vehicles should be recalled.

- Beattyville, KY, USA

problem #20

Dec 172007


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact noticed that the vehicle would intermittently fail to start after the first attempt. The vehicle would turn over without power. After waiting approximately ten minutes for the security system to reset, the vehicle would successfully start. After attempting to restart the vehicle after it stalled or was turned off, it would occasionally not function properly until waiting ten minutes for the security to activate. The contact stated that the ignition switch was faulty. The dealer replaced the ignition switch at the contact's expense, which remedied the issue according to a tsb. He called the manufacturer to inquire about reimbursement and they referred him to NHTSA. The manufacturer stated that they could not provide reimbursement due to the extended warranty. The current mileage was approximately 65,000 and failure mileage was approximately 40,000.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #19

Dec 022008


  • 40,000 miles
I have a 2006 Saturn Ion. Approx 20% of the days when the weather is cold the car will not start. If I wait for 10 minutes, it will start. Searching on-line discussion forums indicates this is a common Ion problem related to the security system's failure to recognize the key. Today's occurrence promoted me to file this complaint.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #18

Aug 202008


  • 46,000 miles
Key was stuck in the "on" position and ignition would not turn off. Called onstar, the representative called all Saturn dealers in my area but all were closed. We figured out which fuse was replaced. Took car into Saturn dealer the next day and was told I would need a new ignition housing and key code. Total repair cost was $500. The car was out of warranty range. I agreed to the fix and called Saturn corporate to ask about this and was told I should have bought the extended warranty. Corporate representative was rude and offered no help or solution.

- Dublin, OH, USA

problem #17

Nov 232008


  • 40,000 miles
Saturn Ion will not cold start on cold mornings. The key turns to the on position but will not start the vehicle. It does absolutely nothing in the ignition mode. No crank-nothing. This is the fifth time this event has occurred. Fist occurred at 40K. Still happens at 49K. When outside temperature rises the car will start normally. The Saturn dealership where we purchased this ( our ninth Saturn ) is now closed. We were referred to a Chevy dealership. Can't help wondering how this could help. It is obvious, that despite our brand loyalty, we are now getting the cold shoulder in more ways than one.

- Freeport, NY, USA

problem #16

Nov 082008


  • 50,000 miles
I purchased a 2006 Saturn Ion which intermittently (about once a week) does not start. This is a common problem with Saturn Ions as evidenced by a basic internet search (see I'm having to have the ignition switch sensor replaced but the problem remains. This is a very dangerous defect during winter months when the car might randomly not start in an isolated area. The dealer from whom I purchased the vehicle is not willing to make the repair at his expense despite it is a well-known failing of this vehicle.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

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