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 6 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #394

Jul 242013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 156,000 miles


The pwr str message appears and then the steering goes out. Turn the car off and wait 10 minutes, and the power steering works again.

- Sugar Grove, IL, USA

problem #393

Jul 242013


  • 136,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving approximately 10 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated as the steering wheel became stiff and difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for a diagnostic. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 136,000.

- Woonsocket, RI, USA

problem #392

Jul 212013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 107,708 miles
I have had repeated instances of having my steering column locking while parked with the engine off. Upon inserting the ignition key, the key would not turn without repeated attempts to rock the steering wheel back and forth. Beginning on the incident date, I parked my car and the ignition key would not turn from the on position. I verified the car was in park and attempted to turn the key again. At one point, I was actually able to pull the key out of the ignition lock assembly while the car was still running. After reinserting the key into the lock assembly and pushing in on it, I was finally able to turn the key to the off position. All subsequent incidents within the last 24 hours (approximately 4 different times) have required me to jiggle the key until it would finally turn to the off position. I drove it to a GM repair facility and at that point, was unable to remove the key or turn off the engine. It now appears that I will have to have the entire ignition lock and housing assembly replaced at a cost of $600. Further online investigation into this problem has turned up hundreds of Saturn owners experiencing this same problem, and many of them have repeat issues with their new lock/housing assemblies. To date, it does not appear that GM has issued any recall/repair notices for this issue.

- Chino, CA, USA

problem #391

Jun 202013


  • 120,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering assist failed. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic, who stated that the power steering unit needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 120,000.

- Tamarac, FL, USA

problem #390

May 012013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 71,500 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated as the steering wheel became stiff and difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where the failure was unable to be replicated. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 71,500 and the current mileage was 72,000.

- North Versailles, PA, USA

problem #389

Feb 162013

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
My husband and I were driving through Indiana on an interstate when a notification sounded that the power steering had gone out. The steering wheel seemed to lock up and made it very difficult to turn and maneuver. We changed the fuse in the car's electrical box, but this did not correct the problem. Since then, the problem has persisted and the power steering disables while driving.

- Galesburg, IL, USA

problem #388

Jun 222013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 95,766 miles


Without warning my power steering went out on the thruway. I stopped at the next rest area and turned the car off. The power steering came back on when I restarted the car. This happened twice more on my trip down and three times on my way back home, for a total of six times. Steering was very hard at low speeds and I almost hit the wall to a parking garage when I stopped at a rest area.

- Ballston Lake, NY, USA

problem #387

Jun 032013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 54,120 miles
Power steering light flashed and steering became heavy. I had to use lot of force to pull over. I called for help they restarted the car and problem disappeared. It came back again the next day and the day after. Its consistently comes and goes.

- Westbororugh, MA, USA

problem #386

Oct 222007

Ion 4-cyl

  • 29,000 miles
My Saturn Ion has had to have the ignition and or the steering column replaced on four separate occasions since 29,000 currently has 143,000 miles and has issues once again. Each time either the key would click back only one notch and could not be removed, the car could not be turned off at all due to the key being "frozen" in the cylinder or the key would not spring back from the starting position to the run position thus making a grinding noise after car started. The last dealership said they were going to report the incident to GM as they have done for other car owners before, but with no result. Each time it has cost me anywhere from $350. To $700 not including towing and renting of an alternate vehicle. I understand that it technically not a safety issue but I feel this should be looked at and recalled so it does not become one when a little kid climbs into a car that can not be turned off or the key removed from the ignition and gets seriously hurt or worse.

- Saint Cloud, FL, USA

problem #385

May 162013


  • 88,000 miles
As I was driving the power steering light came on and I lost power steering. If the car is turned off it will return. It has become more frequent and intermittent.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #384

May 132013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 124,000 miles


While driving my car the power steering light came on and the power steering went out. After I turned the car off and back on it worked fine. Since then it has been getting progressively worse/more frequent. I can hear a click when the power steering goes out.

- Terre Haute, IN, USA

problem #383

May 102013


  • 144,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated as the steering wheel became stiff and difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer or repaired. The failure and current mileage was 144,000.

- Houston, TN, USA

problem #382

Apr 052013


  • 103,408 miles
My daughter had just gotten off the freeway, she called me hysterical. She couldn't steer the car. Someone helped her push it to the side. I called aaa to have the car towed and was told what happened was ver rare and dangerous. My maintenace personel who has worked for BMW for 17 years says he's only seen this once in his life. A couple of days later I had my car towed to fh dailey in san leandro, and the total cost was $965 a few days later my air bag light came on and my horn wouldn't blow nor would my cruise control work. Again I had to have the car towed I wasn't going to take the chance and drive it with the airbag light on. The cost for that repair was $172.57 I was told that it was going to be $240 but it was actually lower. I've googled this problem and there are a lot of complaints regarding this matter it should have been a re-call. I am asking for a full refund.

- San Leandro, CA, USA

problem #381

Mar 242013


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated as the power steering system malfunctioned. The contact received a warranty extension regarding the power steering system and took the vehicle to the dealer. The dealer stated that due to the vehicle being involved in a previous crash, they would not repair the vehicle. The failure mileage was 62,000.

- Hutchson, KS, USA

problem #380

Dec 282012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 68,300 miles
The power steering started going out end of Dec 2012, the outage over the following month increased until it happens every time the car is driven. Usually within 10 minutes.

- Whitehouse, OH, USA

problem #379

Dec 142012


  • 72,500 miles
I have a 2006 Saturn Ion 2.2. the first time the power steering went out on December 14th I was going about 45mph. The third time it went out I was going about 70mph on the interstate. The first time I called the dealership they stated that it would be $61 to run a diagnostic on the car. I didn't have the extra cash at that time so I decided to wait. On December 31st, 2012, the power steering went out again. I called the dealership and spoke with the service manager, he told me to bring the car in that day. They replaced the power steering motor. On my way to work on Wednesday January 2, 2013 the power steering went out again. I called the dealership and they told me that it would cost $61 to have the diagnostic ran. I feel at this point I have no other action because I can not keep driving this car in this condition. I, however, do not feel that I should have to pay for a diagnostic when GM knows that there are issues with the power steering. I feel that the consumer is being taken by GM. I have always owned GM vehicles but this will probably be my last one. I realize that my car has over 70,000 mile on it but if GM knows there are issues then why should I have to pay for their problem. I have also read other posts that states this could also be electrical. If GM knows that it maybe electrical then why are they not trying to fix the problem. Within the first two years that I owned this car I had to have the ignition replaced 5 times. Any assistance you can give me in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

- Nitro, WV, USA

problem #378

Dec 152012


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering warning light began flashing as the power steering assist failed. The contact shut off and restarted the vehicle in order for the power steering assist to initiate. The contact stated that the steering wheel then began exhibiting an abnormal grinding sound after the failure. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection or repairs. The failure and the current mileages were 61,000.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #377

Dec 112012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
While driving the pwr srg light came on and the steering seized. Pulled into a parking lot and had towed to garage where I found that it was the power assist motor.

- Summerville, SC, USA

problem #376

Jul 132012


  • 16,607 miles
This vehicle was purchased brand new and driven very little. Protected in closed in garage. Drove to Colorado springs for vacation and went to visit relatives. Parked vehicle in front of relative home and the key couldn't be turned to shut off the car. Fortunately there was a neighbor of my relatives that new how to shut it off by disconnecting the battery cables. To start the car the cables had to be hooked back up. Drove to ferguson Buick GMC in Colorado springs and they checked it. The tumbler came apart, won't turn off, replaced ignition lock. Was charged for housing kit (15857948), code cyl, cylinder kit (20869121), labor and cost of parts totalled $614.22. With only 16, 607 miles from 2006 to 2012 this should not have happened. Today, November 30, 2012, I went to drive my vehicle and when I started the engine all the lights on the dash and message about steering off trac keeps flashing and it said something about steering fluid, brakes and the lights were going crazy. I am afraid to drive it so I drove it back into my garage. Couldn't drive it like that. Now what is wrong. This vehilce has been paid for since 2008 and only has 19, 000 miles on it. My husband bought me this vehicle as a surprise and little did he know he would get pancreatic cancer the following year. He wanted me to have a dependable extra vehicle. I cannot keep paying money to fix a vehicle that I am afraid to drive. May get stranded somewhere. I wouldn't feel in good conscious to even sell it to anyone. Not worth what he paid for it.

- Newcastle, OK, USA

problem #375

Nov 102012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 159,400 miles
Synopsis: My Saturn Ion experienced a power steering failure four times in one day. GM declined to replace the steering motor because the vehicle mileage exceeded its "special coverage" limit by 9,000 miles. Event: I was driving down a mountain roadway, elevation 9,000 feet, at about 35 M.P.H. when an alarm sounded in my 2006 Saturn Ion. The dashboard noted a "power steering failure, " which I had never seen before. The steering wheel froze, and I was only able to turn it less than a centimeter in either direction. There was no shoulder so I parked the car in the lane, turned off the engine, waited and restarted. The failure warning went away. I had no choice but to continue driving because of where I was. The same failure happened four times within 25 minutes during my drive before I was off the mountain. I believe it should be noted I was in constant fear of another failure as I drove the winding downhill road where quick steering was required. In June 2012, GM mailed me notification that this problem could occur. The problem happened exactly as described in "special coverage" bulletin 10187-2, but that bulletin states: "do not take your vehicle to your GM dealer as a result of this letter unless you believe that your vehicle has the condition as described." I immediately contacted my local dealership, O'rielly Chevrolet, and took the car in the moment the dealer opened. GM assigned me case number [xxx], and ultimately declined to replace the motor or offer cost assistance because I exceed the "special coverage" limit by 9,000 miles. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Tucson, AZ, USA

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