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 21 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #94

Mar 092010


  • 28,814 miles


I was driving in rush hour traffic in los angeles and the power went out on the steering. I thought the engine died, but realized it had not. I struggled to keep in on the road until I could get off the freeway and stop. After I turned off engine and then turned it back on. I drove a few hundred yards and the bell chimed and the message on dash said, steering power or something like that. I decided to tow the vehicle with an rv to the nearest to my campsite santa maria. They told me it was a regular problem with Saturn and the steering motor was defective. I saw online several complaints about this on dot and the Saturn dealer confirmed, it was a regular problem. It was very expensive to replace, but worse, I could have been killed or hurt or killed others on the freeway.

- Indio, CA, USA

problem #93

Mar 112010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 45,008 miles
2006 Saturn Ion power steering went out in the middle of a turn. After the car has been shut off for some time, the power steering will work for a very short time (30 seconds or so) before it stops working again all together. It appears after some research that the steering column power steering unit is out. There is also a recall on a GM product that uses the exact same unit for my vehicle, although my Saturn was not in the recall.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #92

Mar 082010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
On March 8, 2010, the power steering light came on in my car. This happened after I gave my nephew a jump start to his car. I say this because I read in the NHTSA complaint forum where a similar situation happened to an individual. My car is very difficult to drive; however, I need it for work purposes and everyday use. It has no warranty and from what I'm reading of complaints in the NHTSA forum, it is very costly to repair. After reading other complaints regarding this problem with documented dates earlier than 2010, I strongly recommend that GM recalls this steering problem (as they have done to similar other GM model cars) before someone is seriously injured!!!

- Cedar Hill, TX, USA

problem #91

Mar 012010


  • 34,000 miles


While driving my 2006 Saturn Ion, my power steering light came on and I lost my power steering. This happened four times on 3/1/2010. I took my car to the Saturn dealer in turnersville, NJ on 3/2/2010 and they had to replace my power steering motor for a cost of $520. This sounds like the exact thing that warranted a recall of GM vehicles last week.

- Marlton, NJ, USA

problem #90

Jan 032010


  • 42,669 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. When the vehicle is turned on and running for a period of 30-60 seconds the power steering will suddenly stop functioning. If the vehicle is turned off and restarted the power steering will function normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealership where the contact had the power steering motor replaced. The current and failure mileages were 42669.

- Santee, CA, USA

problem #89

Mar 102010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 74,118 miles
Driving down the road at about 35 mph I hit a bump (frost heave) and the entire vehicle shut down. No engine, no electrical systems. The vehicle became difficult to steer and the brakes did not operate as well as when the vehicle was running. I forced the car to the side of the road, turned the key off and back on again and restarted the car.

- Agawam, MA, USA

problem #88

Mar 082010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 38,020 miles


While driving power steering light and warning sound alerts me to problem as I turn steering becomes very difficult. Power steering failed manual steering very difficult and dangerous as I returned home.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #87

Jun 232009


  • 38,000 miles
I have a 2006 Saturn Ion redline. My complaint goes hand in hand with the recall on the Chevy cobalts. My power steering is going out every single time I drive my car. The warning light comes on along with a series of beeps. This makes my car very hard to turn and navigate under 15mph. This has become quite annoying and I cannot let anyone drive my car because I don't want them to hurt themselves or the car. I would greatly appreciate you looking into adding the GM Saturn Ion to the recall list. The part number is the same for both cars; P/N 19209137. Thank you for your time.

- Leeds, AL, USA

problem #86

Nov 202009


  • 60,000 miles
My son's 2006 Saturn Ion has electric power steering problems. It intermittently stops working while he is driving, it will only start working again if you pull over, turn the ignition off and restart the car. If you look at on-line forums our vehicle is not the only Saturn with electric power steering problems. Since the Ion is the same platform as the cobalt, why would the Ion not have been included in General Motors recent recall of small cars with electric power steering problems" would you ask General Motors to re-evaluate the scope of their recall" surely losing power steering is more dangerous than having heavy steering at slow speeds.

- Mount Pleasant, TN, USA

problem #85

Dec 012009


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving at various speeds as low was 20 mph, the power steering warning light would illuminate on the instrument panel, followed by a dinging alarm. The steering wheel would become extremely stiff and almost impossible to turn. She would have to use both hands with extreme bodily force to turn the steering wheel in either direction. When turning the vehicle engine off and then restarting, the power steering would reset itself and return to normal. To date, the contact was awaiting a diagnosis on the failure. There were no recalls. The failure 67,000 and the current was 67,662.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #84

Jan 042010


  • 33,000 miles


Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6). My 2006 Saturn Ion's electric power steering goes out (suddenly stops) while I'm driving everyday. It goes out on the highways, off/on ramps, parking lots, school zones, etc., etc... each time I start the car and drive it goes out wheneverthis car has the "exact" same electric power steering as the cars GM recalled on March 2, 2010 but is not included in the recall. Why"?? is this because Saturn is going out of business" does this mean we are left holding the bag, so-to-speak, and responsible for the accidents that may happen when the steering suddenly stops working. Thank goodness my daughter wasn't driving it at the time. Big safety issue! I would like my car included in this recall since it's the exact same electric power steering manufactured into it. Please help before a serious accident occurs. [xxx] fyi - GM recalls compact cars to fix power steering assist safety recall covers 1.3 million Chevrolet and Pontiac models 2005 - 2010 Chevrolet cobalt 2007 - 2010 Pontiac G5 2005 - 2006 Pontiac pursuit (Canada) 2005 - 2006 Pontiac G4 (Mexico).

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #83

Mar 042010


  • 90,005 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion while driving on the highway at approximately 78mph he noticed that the power steering light illuminated and he lost power the steering. The contact stated he was able to drive the vehicle home. He will take the vehicle to the dealer to be diagnosed. The failure and the current mileage was 90,005.

- Oakville , CT, USA

problem #82

Feb 132010


  • 53,000 miles
I was driving on the 101N highway the other day and all of a sudden I heard a chime, looked at my dash and saw pwr str my steering went out!!!! in a panic I managed w/ all my strength to pull the car over. My car has approx 50,000 miles and is well maintained! I called the dealer right away. A customer service rep informed me that this same problem had been reported before and that it would probably cost over $1000 to fix. That is absolutely not acceptable!!!!!! someone could have been hurt or worse!!!!! ODI number: 10316824.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #81

Dec 132009


  • 39,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 55 mph; a chime sounded and the power steering warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. Immediately, there was a loss of power steering. The driver pulled over to the side of the road. The engine was turned off and restarted. The vehicle was able to continue and operate normally. The vehicle was repaired for the failure. The contact had concern of the safety issue. The failure mileage was 39,000.

- Adrian, MI, USA

problem #80

Feb 202010


  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving 40 mph the power steering warning light illuminated and a chime also alerted that the power steering had failed. She used excessive force to turn the steering wheel and drive onto the emergency lane. She turned the vehicle off and back on. The failure continued to occur continuously while driving various speeds. The failure was not diagnosed and no repairs were made to the vehicle. The failure mileage was 53000 and the current mileage was 54000.

- Hazel Green, AL, USA

problem #79

Feb 282010


  • 51,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving at any speed in any weather condition, the vehicle would suddenly lose power steering without any warning. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealership and there were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 51000.

- Rocky Mount, NC, USA

problem #78

Nov 152009


  • 60,000 miles
Similar problem to the Chevrolet cobalt. I have a 2006 Saturn Ion. Intermittently the power steering will go out. I will get a warning chime and a message on the dash board. When I turn the vehicle off and back on the situation goes away. I have tried to pin point when it happens but there seems to be no pattern ie speed, road condition etc.

- Bel Air, MD, USA

problem #77

Sep 092009


  • miles
Lost steering control of my 2006 Saturn Ion. The electronic power assist motor was defective. This car has the same steering ESC as the Chevy cobalt. Saturn Ion needs to be investigated as well. The motor was replaced at my cost of $532. I was without a car for 2 weeks while a new motor was found. This needs investigating and perhaps be part of a recall.

- Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

problem #76

Mar 022010


  • 40,000 miles
Electric power steering fails within one minute of starting the vehicle. This makes the vehicle very difficult to steer especially at slower speeds. Nothing has been done to correct the failure.

- Saint Peters, MO, USA

problem #75

Jan 012010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
Power steering fails without warning when you drive the car. It happens on both long trips and short. It fails at various speeds. Pull over and turn the car off and when you restart it the power steering works fine.

- Georgetown, KY, USA

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