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 24 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #34

Jul 152009

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 48,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. He states while driving at any speed the power steering goes out and a warning light illuminates on the instrument panel and it reactivates when you turn the vehicle back on. The failure has occurred approximately 20 to 25 times within the last month. The dealer was contacted and they informed him to contact NHTSA to file a complaint so that a recall can be issued. He has researched that many consumers are having this same problem. The vehicle will be taken in to the dealer to have the repairs done under owners expense. The failure mileage was 48000 and current mileage was 51000. Bl updated 10/5/09 there was a short in the steering motor. Updated 10/07/09

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #33

Jul 282009


  • 43,000 miles
While entering the highway on a curved ramp the power steering suddenly and completely went out. It was very very hard to steer. After turning the car off and restarting it the power steering starting working again. After driving the car a short distance, again suddenly no power steering. Every time the car is turned off it resets the power steering. It will go out anytime, anywhere and in any circumstance. This should be completely unacceptable by the Saturn manufacturer. Will people have to die before a recall is issued to solve this problem? I bet if the CEO of Saturn/GM owned a car with this problem and his wife, daughter, son or mother was driving it, a recall would be done immediately. The car has not been repaired yet. The cost of repair is over $1000 for parts and labor. How convenient for the dealer to make money from a possible deadly situation.

- Vicksburg, MS, USA

problem #32

Jul 272009


  • 56,000 miles
Electric power steering has been intermittent finally went out completely. I took it the Saturn dealer a while back and was told the steering column assembly had a pinched wire and bad fuse $200 and the next day same thing happened took back to dealer that's when they told me $1500 plus to change column I am an electronics tech at locked there was no bad fuse before or after they said they fixed it and no pinched wire with tape that they said they repaired I have searched the internet for information on this problem and found many people have the same problem this is also the same system used on the cobolt, Malibu and Pontiac all having the same problem I called G.M. and was told they aren't having any problems with their steering so no recalls were made, I told them about the internet postings but they hung up on me I just got a phone call from a nephew with a 2006 Saturn Ion 2 has exact same problem he's asking for my help told him I'm in same problem could not help if G.M is having this much electric power steering with their cars they should make a recall and take care of it I own several other G.M products but I'm ready to change to Japanese made products more reliable this is a safety problem when you lose steering unexpectedly check the internet as I did hundreds of people with small G.M made cars are having this problem and some pay to have it repaired only to have it happen again. Thanks

- Slidell, LA, USA

problem #31

Jul 182009


  • 50,000 miles


2006 Saturn Ion power steering went out while driving 70mph on the highway. Caused driver to veer across 4 lanes of traffic and almost into the cement median wall. Has not recurred since that day but there were 4 incidents in one day. Seems to be fine at slower speeds. Took vehicle to Saturn dealership and told that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle. Took vehicle to another repair shop and was told not to plug external electric devices into the power source in the car, such as gps, ipod, etc. As this can interfere with the electrical system. I have been to many sites on the internet and seen numerous cases of this happening in Saturn Ions model years between 2003-2007.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #30

Jun 262009


  • 44,500 miles
Saturn Ion 2006 power steering keeps going out this could get me killed living in the mountains.

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #29

Jul 072009


  • 70,000 miles
The power steering light will come on while driving, and the steering becomes extremely difficult. When the car is turned off and turned back on, it works fine for a few miles then the power steering cuts off again.

- Ellenwood, GA, USA

problem #28

Jun 122009


  • 41,508 miles


As I was driving, there was a dinging sound and the power steering message was displayed and there was no power steering. Once the car is shut off and turned back on, power steering resumes for an unknown amount of time. This is very dangerous especially if it were to go off mid-turn.

- Brandon, FL, USA

problem #27

Jun 042009


  • 57,000 miles
As I was driving, there was a dinging sound and the power steering message was displayed and there was no power steering. Once the car is shut off and turned back on, power steering resumes for an unknown amount of time. This is very dangerous especially if it were to go off mid-turn.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #26

May 102009


  • 43,000 miles
The power steering on my 2006 Saturn Ion has been failing every few days for the last 4-6 weeks. Usually the power steering returns when the car is re-started, but yesterday as soon as I started driving it went out and has stayed out.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #25

Mar 082009


  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering fails intermittently while driving various speeds. The failure could cause the vehicle to veer into oncoming traffic or the median. The dealer stated that it would cost $1,100 to repair. The failure mileage was 42,000.

- Marina Del Rey, CA, USA

problem #24

May 052009


  • 63,000 miles


I have a 2006 Ion Saturn and I was driving on a highway (NY) 684 when a beeping sound came on and the "power steering" light came on and my car locked up. I was doing 65 in the left hand lane and no shoulder to go onto. Thank goodness I was able to somehow get to a safe spot on the highway and call for help. This is a very serious problem and needs to be addressed by Saturn. I am not the only one.

- Hopewell Jct, NY, USA

problem #23

May 052009


  • 47,189 miles
Electronic power steering in 2006 Saturn Ion goes out at anytime, making the vehicle very hard to control--manufacturer recommends replacing electric motor and steering column--very expensive.

- Coon Rapids, MN, USA

problem #22

Apr 122009


  • 68,000 miles
Power steering keeps going out and only 68K miles.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #21

Apr 212009


  • 45,300 miles
Nothing led up to this failure-I was just driving along when the pwrstr error message came up on my screen and the power steering shut off. I was going 65 mph on a major interstate at the time. I was able to get the car back to my house. When I started it up later, the pwrstr error message was gone and the power steering was ok. I took it to the dealer who diagnosed that the entire steering column needs to be replaced since the Saturn has an electronic steering column and the cost would be $1200.

- Pataskala, OH, USA

problem #20

Apr 102009


  • 57,000 miles
Power steering going out while driving.

- Lothian, MD, USA

problem #19

Mar 212009


  • 45,400 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving 25 mph, the power steering indicator illuminated and the power steering failed. There was a recall, but the contact's VIN was not included. He would like the manufacturer to repair the vehicle because it is unsafe and cannot be driven once the power steering fails. The NHTSA campaign id number was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 45,400.

- Richmond Hill, GA, USA

problem #18

Jul 052008


  • 48,000 miles
Saturn Ion 3 (2006) intermittent power steering failure.

- Glen Allen , VA, USA

problem #17

Jan 092009


  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. Sporadically, the contact experiences difficulty turning the steering column. Typically, after he restarts the vehicle, the electric power assist system resumes as normal. The dealer stated that he would have to replace the steering unit at the cost of $1,100. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 84,000.

- Lancanster, CA, USA

problem #16

Dec 022008


  • 41,000 miles
I own a 2006 Saturn Ion with approximately 41K miles. The car is less than 5 months out of warranty and the power steering intermittently stops working. This started on December 2, 2008 and has continued. I will be driving and the dash light comes on, a chime sounds, and I lose power steering. Once I am able to get off the road and turn off the engine it will start working again once the car is restarted. There is no set pattern to follow as to when it happens. One day I was able to drive 10 miles and it never stopped working. The next day it stopped working 6 times during a 4 mile trip. When the power steering goes out the vehicle is almost impossible to turn and I'm concerned it is going to cause an accident. I contacted my Saturn dealer and talked to the service department. I was told that if the power steering column has to be replaced it is going to cost around $1,100.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #15

Dec 022008


  • 33,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While attempting to mildly turn the steering column to the right, the vehicle continued to drift forward. When she depressed the brake pedal at 25 mph, the vehicle failed to stop. The dealer could not duplicate the failure, produce error codes from the diagnostic, or provide a remedy. Later, the contact started the vehicle and noticed that the check engine warning indicator was illuminated on the instrument control panel. The failure and current mileages were 33,000.

- Olathe, KS, USA

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