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 23 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #54

Jan 272010


  • 40,000 miles


My power steering has gone out about 5 times while driving. It does not start working until the car is turned off and started again. It's extremely scary dangerous. The first time I thought it was a fluke, the second time I decided I needed to take it to get fixed and the power steering went out 3 more times before I could get it in.

- Clarkston, MI, USA

problem #53

Oct 272008


  • 100,900 miles
I have a 2006 Saturn ion2 who's power steering goes out while driving. I reported this issue to GM/Saturn a year ago and was told by the Saturn shop in mansfield, oh. That this seems to be an issue with this particular car due to seeing so many with the same problem. If you turn the car off and back on it seems be a temporary fix for about a minute and will click off shortly after accelerating in speed.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #52

Jul 152009


  • 37,200 miles
The electric power steering on my 2006 Saturn Ion 2, failed at around 37,000 miles. The power steering will work for a few seconds every time I start the car, but then shuts off. Steering is difficult with no power steering. So far now repairs have been made, Saturn said they will charge me at least $1,000 for the repair. This the same steering system as used the Chevy cobalt, "federal regulators investigate Chevy cobalt steering complaints."

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #51

Nov 132009

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving various speeds including approximately 35 mph, the power steering failed. The contact was forced to drive onto the emergency lane and turn the vehicle on and off so that it would reset itself. The failure occurred four to five times while driving a longer distance. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they replaced the electronic steering motor and column $1000 at the owners expense. The Saturn manufacturer was not notified. There were no related recalls or warranties. The failure mileage was 45,000. Updated 03/04/10 updated 06/11/10.

- Gainesboro, TN, USA

problem #50

Jan 062010


  • 51,000 miles
While driving on normal road conditions, I received a power steering indication and the steering wheel became tight. It is hard to turn the car. Once I stop the car and restarted the problem goes away, but comes back periodically while driving. This is beginning to happen more frequently, more like two or three times a day.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #49

Dec 022009


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated stated while driving at 55 mph the power steering light flashed and the power steering went out. The contact called the manufacturer regarding this issue and manufacturer informed the contact to take the vehicle to a local dealer. The contact is currently having a diagnostic test for repairs. The contacts feels this vehicle could have cause a crash while on the highway. Failure mileage was 40,000.

- Arroyo Grande, CA, USA

problem #48

Dec 212009


  • 44,000 miles


I have not been able to turn off my ignition or remove my key two separate times. Not only that my power steering went out and was only able to be fixed by the dealership. Most recently along with the key ignition problem, there is a transmission problem. The first time the ignition was fixed it was under warranty but this time it is not. I have read several blogs of similar complaints from suffering consumers.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #47

Nov 102009


  • 43,233 miles
Power steering went out on Saturn Ion 2006 without any warning. The fuse is fine. It goes out about 5 minutes after the drive begins. Upon turning off the ignition and restarting it, it works for another 5 minutes.

- Newnan, GA, USA

problem #46

Dec 012009

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 55 mph the "power steering" warning light illuminated on the instrument panel, and then there was loss of power steering. She was able to resume operation, but with great difficulty. The vehicle has not been repaired for the failures. The failure and current mileages were 55,000. Updated 01/20/10. The consumer stated the vehicle was parked in front of his house in idle when suddenly the speedometer read 120 mph. Updated 01/22/10

- Chillicote, OH, USA

problem #45

Nov 232009


  • 55,000 miles
A few weeks ago, my 2006 Saturn Ion lost power steering capability while I was on a major highway (doing 65mph)! needless to say, I narrowly avoided a major accident and was dismayed to subsequently find out that I have a defective steering column motor (according to the local Saturn dealership) which will need to be replaced and is not currently under warranty. I bought this car in 2007 somewhat reluctantly since it already had 40,000 miles on it but it was the only one available after a major accident with my first Saturn for immediate delivery. I was at a new job and needed a car desperately. I chose Saturn again because of the brand's reliability, excellent customer service and my own personal satisfaction as a previous Saturn owner. When I called customer service last week to check whether this power steering failure was a recall item, I was told that it wasn't and that I would have to register a complaint to see what options were available for reimbursement for repair. Today I was informed by GM/Saturn customer service that they will not cover the $525 repair of this major defect since the warranty expired and the car had according to them, "excess mileage" (at 50,000 miles, a 3-yr. Old car should not lose a major component such as the power steering to my thinking). I was seriously concerned enough about this defect to contact you to see if you can bring some resolution to this issue. I've done extensive research online and found that thousands of Saturn Ion owners have experienced the same loss of power steering while in precarious driving situations. Is GM waiting for a fatality before they issue a recall, or is it because the company is bankrupt that they decided to play russian roulette with our safety? needless to say, my trust and faith in GM is compromised and I am not willing to pay for a repair that should be covered.

- Manchester, NJ, USA

problem #44

Nov 182009


  • 50,000 miles


The power steering fails while driving several times during a single trip. I need to turn off the car and turn back on in order to reset the power steering error msg that appears on dash... not long after that it fails again. There have been thousands of similar complaints on the web. The vehicle is a 2006 Saturn Ion 2. dealer says its a computer chip in steering column. I have yet to get repaired due to outrageous repair costs. Saturn needs to issue a recall, and need to stop stealing peoples money while putting they're lives in jeopardy with a faulty steering system that fails at high or low speeds.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #43

Nov 192009


  • 49,865 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. She smelled a strong odor of gasoline inside of her vehicle. A mechanic concluded that a fuel leak was present. The vehicle was taken to the dealer in which she was advised that she would have to pay for a diagnostic fee prior to inspection. Also the vehicle would intermittently loose power steering. The technician advised her that the steering component would be repaired as a free remedy. The current and failure mileages were 49,865.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #42

Nov 172009


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving 60 mph the power steering light illuminated which caused her to lose steering control. The contact shut the vehicle off which allowed the power steering to reset. Although she was able to drive the vehicle to her residence, the following day the failure recurred twice. The closest dealer to her residence is currently out of business. A local mechanic was unable to diagnose the failure. The current and the failure mileages were 75,000.

- Tennille , GA, USA

problem #41

Nov 162009


  • 59,700 miles
While driving through shasta on very windy and dangerous roads surrounded by big rig trucks and other vehicles when my power steer on my 2006 Saturn Ion completely stops working. I started to loose control of my vehicle when I went to turn on a turn and was almost hit by two big rig trucks. After lots of screeching and honking I was able to make it to the side of the road. After I turned the vehicle off then back on, the steering continued to work again for a short period of time. The power steering since then has continued to shut off and I am now forced to drive another vehicle until this is fixed in fear of causing a huge accident. Cost of this repair on average is over $1100. I am not the only one who has had this exact problem, many have and have written about it. I was almost in a huge accident because of this, I could only imagine how many could have been hurt had I not acted quickly the way I did.

- Colfax , CA, USA

problem #40

Oct 242009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. Intermittently the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel, and then there was a lost of power steering. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, and a technician stated that he would have to pay $900 to repair the steering column and gear box. No repairs were made. The manufacturer was notified, and he was referred to the dealer. The failure and current mileages were 32,000. Updated 12/07/09. Updated 12/08/09.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #39

Oct 092009


  • 37,500 miles
I was driving down route 1 in key West, Florida when a bell beeped and my power steering light came on and I almost got in an accident when I tried to get off the road to check & see if the fluid had leaked out. No one could find the fluid container. When we restarted the car, the light went out for awhile and it was ok but it continued to come on till I got it home & parked it.

- Summerland Key, FL, USA

problem #38

Oct 032009


  • 30,000 miles
Electric assist power steering stops working while driving. Stop the car and shut it off. The steering works when the car is restarted.

- Trenton, OH, USA

problem #37

Sep 122009


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. He stated that intermittently the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel, and then he lost power steering. As a consequence he experienced difficulty while steering. Occasionally he can restart the vehicle and resume normal operation. The dealer was notified; however, no repairs have been made. The vehicle identification number was unavailable. The failure mileage was 61,000. The current mileage was 62,453.

- Erlanger, KY, USA

problem #36

Aug 182009


  • 71,909 miles
Power steering on 2006 Saturn Ion 3 randomly shuts off while driving. It happens at unsuspected times, and drivers are not prepared for how hard it is to turn the steering wheel. I have not had an accident as of yet because of this problem, but it needs to be corrected. During internet research, I found that this is a very common occurrence with the Saturn Ion models. A 16 year old is not going to be able to control the car if this happens to them.

- Savannah, GA, USA

problem #35

Aug 012009


  • 54,065 miles
Electric power steering unit will intermittently go out, causing immediate loss of power steering. Sometimes the problem will occur just after starting the car, sometimes it will wait until after 30 minutes of continuous driving. It usually happens after a turn, but has happened in the middle of a turn, almost putting me into a wall on the freeway on-ramp. Dealer says steering column needs replaced, with expensive parts, and more expensive labor charges.

- Washington Court House, OH, USA

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