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:
17 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,546 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2006 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 10 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #314

Dec 262011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 18,747 miles


Luckily my brother in law was driving his mothers car at the time. They were coming back from the grocery store when the steering turned into a 1955 mack truck as he described it. When they returned we looked it up in the manual as being electric. When I restarted the car it was working ok, then I took it around the block and it went out again. I restarted the car again and it was ok again for about a half block when it went out again. This would have been a very dangerous situation if my 81 year old mother in law had been driving.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #313

Nov 012011


  • miles
The power steering on the Saturn Ion continually goes out. It typically will come back on when the car restarts only to go out again while driving. Sometimes it goes out 2 minutes into a drive, other times it doesn't go out at all and other times it's after 30 minutes. It's quite annoying and dangerous.

- Estero, FL, USA

problem #312

Sep 012011


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering failed while driving 60 mph. The power steering light illuminated while the failure occurred. The contact shifted to neutral and back into drive in order to get the steering wheel to return to normal function. The failure was experienced several times. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer or repaired. The failure mileage was 80,000 and the current mileage was 83,080.

- West Palm Beach , FL, USA

problem #311

Dec 032011


  • 63,000 miles


While driving my 2006 Saturn Ion I hear a click and a warning light comes on the console pwr str. Power steering is lost and very hard to steer. Almost had an accident while turning at that time. When you turn car off the steering is okay, but after a while the warning light comes back on and power steering is lost again. Very hard to turn and park the car. I have done research and this is a similar system used on the Chevrolet cobalt and Pontiac G5 that had recalls on them.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #310

Dec 032011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 92,800 miles
I was driving on the highway when my car lost power steering. A message on the center console said pwr str. I pulled over at the next rest area and turned off the car and restarted it, and the power steering was functioning correctly. About another 30 miles later the same thing has happened, and it has been intermittent since. Restarting the car seems to temporarily resolve the issue.

- Nashua, NH, USA

problem #309

Nov 252011


  • 66,258 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion 3. the contact stated that the power steering would fail intermittently. The contact would reset the vehicle by turning the vehicle off and back on. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 66,258 and the current mileage was 66,358.

- Clinton, UT, USA

problem #308

Nov 292011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 61,140 miles


Driving through wal mart parking lot I suddenly lost steering control. Pwr str was flashing a warning. Very scary managed to drive it the one mile home like that, parked it and immediately told my husband he went out checked out the car and it was fine. Have since done research and have found several such incidents have happened to people. The same problem in the Chevy cobalt which was recalled, why is this vehicle not been recalled with such a dangerous problem?

- Cameron, MO, USA

problem #307

Nov 262011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 20 miles
I was at a stop light making a left turn, I thought my car cut off because it was very hard for me to turn. Information was flashing pwr str I drove home very carefully. Cut the car off and my boyfriend was gonna take it to O'reilys auto store. He called me to let me know that it was driving fine. Today 11-29-2011 2 days later it happened again, I was driving and all of the sudden I could barely steer the car. I brought my car home let it set for a little bit, got in the car and it drove with no problem.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #306

Nov 182011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
My son was driving on the highway when the steering went out. He was able to get to the side safely, but very scary.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #305

Oct 102010


  • 68,878 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 45 mph, the contact attempted to make a right turn and suddenly the power steering failed to operate with the illumination of the warning indicator. A chime sounded inside the vehicle and the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. The contact pulled over to the side of the road and the engine was turned off. After waiting five minutes, the power steering began to function normally. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 68,878.

- Hollywood, FL, USA

problem #304

Aug 012011


  • 80,000 miles


The power steering to my 2006 Saturn Ion went out while I was merging from an on-ramp to a major highway during rush hour going approximately 50mph. It turns off and alerts me each time I turn the car on.

- Garner, NC, USA

problem #303

Nov 012011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
I am experiencing a variety of problems with my 2006 Saturn Ion. The power steering stopped working, the speedometer stopped working (it remains at 0 regardless of my speed), also the odometer doesn't seem to work either - my mileage does not increment when I drive. My car registers a diagnostic code of P0502: Vehicle speed sensor a circuit low input. I saw posts online in various forums from 2007 Saturn Ion owners who say that they received letters from GM in 2009 to have this problem fixed under warranty but why didn't I get a letter in 2009? GM and the NHTSA have apparently been aware of this and "watching" the problem for a couple of years now - it's GM's responsibility to fix this since they didn't forewarn me and encourage me to get this fixed back in 2009 when they knew enough to have 2007 Saturn Ion owners take their cars in to have this problem fixed.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #302

Dec 022008

Ion 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
At approximately 35,000 miles on approximately December 2, 2008, (this date is approximate as I don't have records of the first failure, GM would have records of the repair with exact date and mileage) while driving down the freeway at 70 mph on a slushy day, power steering failed. We were able to take the next exit and happened to be near a Saturn dealership. We stopped there immediately and the car was kept there while the steering column was replaced as warranty work. The car now has 105,000 miles on it this part with approximately 60,000 miles on it failed again and power steering was lost on October 21, 2010 while driving down a highway at 70 mph with my daughter in the car. We were able to pull the car over to the side of the road, shut it off and restart it which caused the power steering to return. We completed the trip with no more occurrences, but in driving in town, the powersteering has continued to fail. I have started riding the bus and don't feel it is safe to drive more than a few blocks at a time. I had received a letter indicating that if there were power steering issues we should contact the dealer. We did so and the GM dealer told us that our car does not have warranty work available and that they are unaware of any issues with steering on the Saturn Ion. We have contacted GM as well, but they have not responded.

- Eagan, MN, USA

problem #301

Nov 252010

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
I was driving down the express way, and my power steering warning light flashed across my mileage, and I lost all power steering. Very difficult to steer car. I get to work turn my car off. And when I leave work, I start my car and I have fully functional powersteering again. But now when I drive in the course of 2miles my power steering flashes the warning light and I loose all power steering. I can turn my car off and restart it and I once again have power steering. When I drive in a course of 15 miles my power steering fails and shut completely off about 15-20 times. This is very very dangerous and very inconvenient. I have a small child and this is going to cause me to have a wreck. And seriously injure myself or her.

- New Albany, IN, USA

problem #300

Nov 032009


  • miles
My power steering began going out. At first, I would turn the car off, turn it back on and the steering would return for a day before going out again. After a couple of weeks of this, the power steering would last for half that time. After two weeks, power steering was on for a minute after I turned the car over, then out the rest of the day. It's been like that ever since.

- Rockport, TX, USA

problem #299

Nov 062011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 113,215 miles
At start of ignition, the letters: Pwr str, immediately flashes in oil life display. The steering wheel becomes stiff, thus resulting in really slow turns. It is not safe when turning onto streets where vehicles are traveling in the 45mph range due to increased neighborhood speeds set by city.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #298

Nov 052011


  • 83,000 miles
As I was driving the vehicle approaching a red light the power steering message appeared on the dash and the power steering went out. After turning the car off at the stop light and restarting it the message went away and the steering was fine for few minutes before the process was repeated and now the power steering does not work.

- University Park, IL, USA

problem #297

Oct 242011


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving mph and above, the power steering became very difficult. The failure recurred on an intermittent basis. The vehicle was not inspected by a dealer nor repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 85,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- New Albany , IN, USA

problem #296

Oct 202011


  • 60,000 miles
The power steering on my 2006 Saturn Ion recently went out. I was driving at a low speed and suddenly the power steering light turned on and my steering locked up. I quickly drove it to a mechanic who said the power steering fuel was okay and that the problem was in the power steering system. I did research and found this is a common problem with this make of car and that no recall has been issued yet. I do not have the money to keep fixing all of these issues that are the manufacturer's fault. The problem has happened to thousands of cars and a recall must be issued. I am severely unsatisfied with Saturn and the thousands of dollars I have put into this car to fix problems that never seem to be solved. This is a dangerous failure that could have cost me my life.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #295

Oct 272011


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 35 mph, the contact noticed that the steering had become stiff and difficult. The contact stopped the vehicle and after restarting, the power steering functioned resumed normally. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic where the mechanic advised that the steering column would have to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 105,000.

- Sabina, OH, USA

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