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 16 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #194

Jul 052010


  • 49,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving approximately 10mph and attempting a left turn into a parking lot when the power steering warning chime sounded. The power steering warning light then illuminated followed by a loss of power steering assist capabilities. The contact shut off the vehicle and when restarting, the vehicle resumed normal operation. The vehicle was neither diagnosed for the failure or repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileage was approximately 49,000.

- Lavista , NE, USA

problem #193

Jul 212010


  • 70,000 miles
My vehicle is a 2006 Saturn Ion 3. the power steering message comes on and there is a failure for the power steering, and it becomes very hard to steer. This has happened twice in one week. I know that GM has recalled the same thing in the Chevy cobalts. And the cobalt also had the issue with the fuel pump cracking that the 2006 Saturn Ion 3 had. I think that there is a correlation between the two and that the electric power steering should all be recalled in the Saturn.

- The Woodlands, TX, USA

problem #192

Jul 242010


  • 128,500 miles
I was on the highway driving my 2006 Saturn Ion II, not even five minutes, heading straight. The car dinged three times and I glanced at the information cluster (where the speedometer is, etc) and the words "pwr str" where on. I did not understand what it meant until I had to exit the highway, and the power steering was gone making the vehicle very difficult to steer. Upon making it home, I turned the car off, and then back on to realize the problem had seemed to fix it self. The "pwr str" message was gone, and the car turned like it normally did. I then went back out, and on my way home again, heading straight under 30 mph, the car made a dinging sounds three times and the message reappeared. I have visited a local mechanic chain store, and was told that it could have been a slew of things. I searched the incident on the internet to find this is a very common problem, and that General Motors has recalled other vehicles with the same system and the same problem, but neglected to include Saturn in the recall. For this, I am reluctant to shell out large sums of money on a part that was proven faulty and recalled.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #191

Jul 242010


  • 50,000 miles


Power steering assist motor shorted out, luckily not in the act of driving but is a safety concern nonetheless.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #190

Jul 172010


  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving, the power steering alarm activated and the power steering light came on. The steering wheel immediately became inoperable. When she turned the ignition off and restarted the vehicle, the power steering began to function normally. The failure seemed to be more pronounced in the evening than any other time. Saturn was notified and the vehicle will be taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The failure and current mileages were approximately 71,000.

- Griffin , GA, USA

problem #189

Jun 222010


  • 66,900 miles
On June 22nd while pulling into a parking lot the pwr steering warning came on my dash cluster after this came on I lost power steering and it took great effort to turn the steering wheel. I ck for a broken belt or fluid leak but found neither. After returning to my car and restarting my car the warning light went off and the power steering went back to normal. The problem didn't occur for about 1 week so I thought it was a one time thing. Then my wife was driving the car and the light came on again and the power steering failed, she was barely able to get the car off the road. She called me and I had her shut off the car and restart it. Again the problem went away and she was able to drive home. Since this time the problem has occurred over and over. At high speeds low speeds, and while turning. I called Saturn complaint line 1-800-972-8876 and talked to tarcaria and was told there was no recalls on this problem and was given the address and number to a local dealer who could assist me with the problem. I went to the dealership and talked to the service manager and parts department and was told there was told that the electric steering motor would have to be replaced at an estimated cost of $400 parts and labor. I was also told that there were recalls on this problem on other GM products (Chevy cobalt) that used the same type of steering as my Saturn Ion but my 2006 Saturn Ion was not on this list, but it could be added later. If this problem occurs with someone who does not have upper body strength it could lead to accident.

- Oklahoma City , OK, USA

problem #188

Jul 152010


  • 47,000 miles


Have a 2006 Saturn Ion, it has less than 50,000 miles and I've had 2 different problems with the steering column. The first problem was 2 years ago and I could not get the ignition to turn off, took it to the Saturn dealership and was fixed under warranty. Now the problem is the power steering is going out and I have to replace the whole steering column to get this fixed. I have read that there are multiple people with the same problem. Called the Saturn dealership and there are other recalls concerning this car, but not for this problem.

- Duncan, OK, USA

problem #187

Jul 162010


  • 77,000 miles
While driving, my 2006 Saturn ion2's power steering shuts off. This car has an electric assist steering motor vs. A power steering pump. During normal driving conditions, the power steering will shut down making it very hard to steer. If you turn the car off, then back on, the motor will reset itself for a while before shutting down again. This same motor has been recalled by GM on different GM cars, but not the Saturn as of yet. I have an appointment this week to look at it. I have been dealing with this problem for three weeks now. Mostly driving straight has posed limited danger, however, the other day I was on the highway on a curve when it shut down on me which caused me to drift into oncoming traffic. It's very scary and I have little confidence in my car at the moment, but I have to get to work.

- Yuma, AZ, USA

problem #186

Jul 162010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 32,368 miles
Steering assist shut down while in a turn causing car to momentarily enter lane with oncoming traffic.

- Longmont, CO, USA

problem #185

Jul 122010


  • 53,445 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving at 55 mph, the power steering light illuminated and the power steering wheel became very difficult to steer. The contact was able to pull over and shut off the vehicle. When restarting, the vehicle resumed normal operation and the warning light was no longer illuminated. The dealer advised the power steering motor potentially would need to be replaced but advised having a diagnostic performed on the vehicle to determine the exact cause of the failure. The vehicle was neither diagnosed nor repaired. The contact stated the failure occurred three additional times. The failure mileage was 53,445 and the current mileage was 53,465.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #184

Jul 162010


  • 68,000 miles


Power steering went out in my 2006 Saturn Ion today while driving on the interstate. No recall has been made on this as of now, but after researching this is a major problem happening to many people besides myself. I hope this gets taken care of before someone gets hurt if that has not already happened. The power steering resets when the car gets turned off.

- Columbia, TN, USA

problem #183

Feb 072010


  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated the vehicle has no power steering assist capability. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing or repairs. The contact believed the failure to be a major safety issue and that the manufacturer should take the liability for the failure. The failure and current mileages were 45,000.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #182

Jul 072010


  • 101,103 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving at 10 mph, the power steering light illuminated as the steering wheel locked and became extremely difficult to steer. The contact shut off the vehicle and when restarting, the vehicle resumed normal operation. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 101,103 and the current mileage was 101,216.

- Fayetteville, AR, USA

problem #181

Jun 292010


  • 56,570 miles
I was driving home from school in my 2006 Saturn Ion when the power steering went out. I have a lot of curves on my way home and take a U turn to get home. It took a lot of strength to do but I managed to get home. When I was home I asked a friend to go out and take a look at the car. They figured that it just needed some power steering fluid. When we went out and looked under the hood of the car we couldn't find any place to put in some power steering fluid. Then he turned on the car and the dash board didn't say that there was any problem with the power steering. We went on line to find out that there is no place to put in power steering fluid. It is controlled by a motor in the steering column. This was upsetting to learn because I have already had problems with the steering column before when my key was stuck in the ignition and my car wouldn't turn off. IżM pretty sure that they had to replace the steering column then, but that was under a recall. Now my power steering goes out about every day to every other day. I have to stop and turn my car off and then start it up again so that I can have power steering.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #180

Jul 082010


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact was driving approximately 25 mph, attempting to make a turn into a parking lot when suddenly, there was a loss of power steering. The power steering warning light illuminated after the power steering failed. The contact immediately shut the engine off and parked the vehicle. The contact stated that there was a related recall for the 2007 model year Saturn Ion. The contact was concerned about the safety risk involved. The failure mileage was approximately 68,000.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #179

Jul 072010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 56,000 miles
Power steering failure in 2006 Saturn Ion 3 with 56000 miles.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #178

Apr 152010


  • 25,000 miles
Power steering clicks and shuts off multiple times during any given drive. Turning the car off and on only "fixes" the problem for a short time. When power steering shuts off, car very hard to steer.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #177

Jun 302010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 83,800 miles
The power steering in my Saturn 2006 Ion light comes on. After the light comes on, the power steering fails and I need to shut the car off and back on again in order to correct the problem. It happened on June 30th 3 times, July 1st 1-2 times and July 3rd 1-2 times. I had to get the power steering motor replaced in order to fix the problem. I found out that GM is recalling certain cars for the same exact problem and that the same parts in the cars they are recalling is in the Saturn. The Saturn Ion's should be included in the recall as well.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #176

Jul 012006


  • 25,400 miles
I was driving home at lunch from work which is approx. 10 mins. When turning on to a main road which is considered a state highway my powersteering light went on and I lost power steering and I almost lost control of my car. I researched this and found this is a known problem for my car. There has been reports of the electrical power steering and failing and there is no recall. However, this is the same problem with the Chevy cobalt which does have recalls on.

- Allentown, PA, USA

problem #175

Jul 012010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 103,500 miles
2006 Saturn Ion. Problem: Complete loss of power steering while car is running and traveling at various speeds (including while traveling at highway speed). Once engine is shut off and restarted power steering works. In the last three days this has happened 6 to 8 times. I checked the fuse and it was fine. I checked on-line and also saw numerous similar complaints. Most recent date of incident is listed below.

- West Grennwich, RI, USA

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