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 22 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #74

Jan 062010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 46,360 miles


I was driving and the power steering unit failed making the car next to impossible to drive.

- Largo, FL, USA

problem #73

Apr 272009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Less than a year ago, the power steering on my 2006 Saturn Ion quit on me abruptly and it almost led to a crash. I was about to turn when all of a sudden I heard a bell chime, and one of the check engine lights came on and just as that happened, the steering got really hard and I almost got hit by another motorist. After I got home, I restarted the car and it was fine until about 15 minutes later when it would shut off all of a sudden. I ran it for a couple of days and after about 2 minutes of driving, the power steering would just shut off. This all happened when my car had around 45K miles on it. This sounds just like what the cobalts and Pontiac that were just recalled went through. I believe the Saturn Ions should be looked at as well. I had the replace the entire electric power steering system on my car at a price of around $900.

- Tempe, AZ, USA

problem #72

Nov 152009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 55,321 miles
Power steering light goes on and power steering fails without warning. Turning off engine and restarting remedies the problem for a very short period of time. This problem makes it very difficult to steer especially at low speeds. I'm just waiting for the day when this problem causes an accident.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #71

Feb 252010


  • 65,000 miles


Power steering failing & pwr steering error message displayed. Not consistent, started about 2 months ago but becoming more frequent this past month. Happens even while driving on highways (not consistent or due to turns). Must pull over & turn car off & restart. This has so far "reset" the power steering mode. Never know when it is going to happen. Speed/steering not a factor. Dangerous when passing & this happens!!!!

- North Bay, 00, USA

problem #70

Mar 022010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
My 2006 Saturn Ion has the same power steering motor defect that the recalled Chevy cobalts have, my power steering keeps cutting off, and I have nearly been in a few accidents. Yet GM/Saturn failed to include my car in the recall they started today.

- Oakland Park, FL, USA

problem #69

Feb 142010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 18,200 miles
The powering steering motor on my 2006 Saturn Ion failed on me in the middle of a major street in my city. I had to take it into the GMC dealership to have it replaced.

- Lafayette, LA, USA

problem #68

Dec 302009


  • 91,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving at various speeds, the power steering warning alarm would chime and illuminate on the warning panel. At low speeds, immediately after the alarm chimed, the power steering would fail and the steering wheel would become extremely difficult to maneuver. The contact would have to use extreme force to turn the steering wheel and maintain control of the vehicle. The dealer advised the contact that the electric assist motor failed and would need to be replaced. The dealer performed the necessary repairs at the owner's expense. There were no additional failures following the repairs. The failure mileage was approximately 91,000. The current mileage was 93,000.

- Culleoke, TN, USA

problem #67

Jan 152010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Over the course of the last two months with increasing frequency my power steering light will come on with a warning chime and my power steering will fail. Once I turn the car off and then turn the car back on the light goes out and the power steering will return until the cycle repeats itself. My car is now out of warranty. I have called Saturn and issued a complaint. They stated they would need to have the dealer run a diagnostic ($100 at my expense) before they could proceed with the complaint process and offer any assistance. There is no recall at this time although online it does show they have had bulletins concerning this issue. Also online today is a recall notice from GM concerning this very issue with their cars. They have multiple GM brands included in the recall but not the Saturn brand which is one of the brands they are discontinuing. Url for the online report is :

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #66

Jul 012008

Ion 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
In July 2008, the power steering on our 2006 Saturn Ion (approximately 55,000 miles) turned off while exiting an interstate. The failure nearly caused a serious collision, but I was able to regain control. Power steering continued to turn off at random after that. The car dealer had to replace the power steering column (an $1,100 expense) to fix the issue, while denying there was a recurring problem with the power steering. I was unaware of this site and so did not report it at the time.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #65

Sep 102009


  • 64,000 miles
Electric power steering went out in the car. At first it would go out sporadically, but now it goes out within one minute of driving the car. It always goes out while driving, sometimes while in turns. It causes the vehicle to be difficult to maneuver. I took the car to the dealership, and since the power steering went out at around 64,000 miles, the car was out of warranty and they would not fix it. They stated that to fix the problem, the entire steering column would need replaced, and estimated cost around $900.

- Fort Wayne, IN, USA

problem #64

Mar 012010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 50,374 miles


My power steering goes out on my 2006 Saturn Ion which makes it hard to steer. When I turn it off it resets it self, but then goes back. It happens when I drive under 15 mph.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #63

Nov 012009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 24,000 miles
I have a 2006 Saturn Ion, which I bought for my wife. I used the car to jump start another vehicle and the next day, my power steering went out. As I was making a turn into an intersection my wheel ceased to turn and I drove into some cones, which were in place to protect pedestrians. Had my wife been driving (who is very petite), I don't think she could have forced the car over and someone could have gotten hurt. From what I have heard this will cost about $600 (until recently they would force you to replace the entire steering column which would cost well over $1000). This is a ridiculous amount to spend on something that is clearly not up to a quality standard. I also cannot justify taking this to a shop. If they replace this poorly engineered part with an identical one, it is quite likely that it will just break again, to more costs. Beyond this, I cannot trust that my wife can drive this vehicle safely. If this is not addressed by the manufacturer, I have no choice other than to sell this vehicle and buy another that is safe for my family.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #62

Feb 042010

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. As she was driving 35 mph the power steering light illuminated and then the power steering shut off. The vehicle was very difficult to control and maneuver to the side of the road. When the vehicle was turned on and off it reset and performed normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the diagnostic test showed that there was no failure on the vehicle. The contact will take the vehicle to the dealer again on tomorrow so that they can perform another diagnostic test. The manufacturer was contacted stating that there was nothing that could be done unless the diagnostic test indicated that there was a failure. The warranty expired and there are no recalls. The failure mileage was 55,000. Updated 03/30/10. The consumer stated the dealer replaced the power steering unit at not cost. The consumer stated there have been no more problems since. Updated 06/14/10.

- Pamplico, SC, USA

problem #61

Feb 282010


  • 56,000 miles
While driving, pwr str lights up on my dash. This has happened 3 times in the past month. I have to struggle to get the vehicle turned off of the highway, so I can cut the ignition off, and restart the car. This seems to reset the system for a short time. I have done research online, and have found many complaints. I have called Saturn, and advised them of the problem, and they tell me that they have had no complaints. I find this very hard to believe. Of course, it will cost me over $1000 to repair it and it is no longer under warranty. It just seems like after everything that I have researched on the internet, something should be done, before someone is seriously injured by this steering problem.

- Pamplico, SC, USA

problem #60

Jan 012010


  • 30,000 miles
Power steering shuts off during car operation.

- Santa Fe, NM, USA

problem #59

Oct 252009


  • 36,100 miles
On Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009 the power steering went out on my 2006 Saturn Ion SL3. Restarted the car and it came back on but when out again about 5 minutes later. Took the car to van Chevrolet in Kansas City, Missouri. The said I needed a new steering column because the power steering is run off electric motors in the column. They reset the fault and ordered a new column. When they installed the new column, the power steering motors were bad, so the put the original steering column back on. The dealer did something with the computer module and the fault hasn't come back, but they did tell me that it definitely will and the power steering will definitely really go out.

- Liberty, MO, USA

problem #58

Jan 202010


  • 34,224 miles
Power steering fails while driving. Driver info area gives pwr str message. After you shut the car down it will work properly and pwr str message goes away.

- Welch, MN, USA

problem #57

Feb 012010


  • 78,000 miles
Power steering randomly quits. Occurs frequently. Low speed control requires physical strength beyond that of the average person. Resets when motor turned off and restarted.

- Enola, PA, USA

problem #56

Feb 062010


  • 54,000 miles
We recently purchased a used 2006 Saturn Ion. Runs great other than about a week ago while driving, the (pwr str) light went on and about 2 seconds later it was very difficult to move the steering wheel. My fiance was driving and while making the turn at the same time the lack of steering happened she couldn't stop in the middle of traffic and couldn't steer out and she hit the curb, damaging the front wheel. This could have been deadly if she would've panicked or just stopped in traffic, or someone could have been on that sidewalk. Currently online I've read and have heard that there are thousands with this issue. Maybe more that we don't know because people just got it fixed.

- Glendale , AZ, USA

problem #55

Feb 032010


  • miles
Normal driving under normal conditions. Sudden steering failure caused by failure of left tie rod. Car has 65,000 miles and is well maintained. Entire rack and pinion system must be replaced due to collateral damage.

- Sterling, VA, USA

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