NHTSA — Electrical System: Ignition: Module Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

CarComplaints.com Notes: Ahh, the 2004 Saturn Ion: defective transmission, deadly ignition switch, temperamental power steering and a cheap plastic exterior that won’t protect you in a crash. What more could you want?

The 2004 Ion was part of GM’s massive ignition switch recall where it was revealed they waited 10 years – and let 13 people die – before doing anything about it. It also features GM’s now infamous VTi continuously variable transmission. Let me tell you, the only thing the VTi did continuously was fail on its owners. GM scrapped it after only two model years.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
15,567 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.

2004 Saturn Ion electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #6

Mar 172008

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles


On several occassion while it has been cold out, my vehicle would not start. As a matter of fact the vehicle would not even attempt to roll over. The only way I could seem to resolve the situation was by "jump starting" my Saturn with another vehicle. This has happened so many times in the winter that I finally got sick of it and parked the Saturn and drove a different vehicle. I am so sick of my car that I am ready to sell it. I recently found out about this site. After reading the first 20 some results and seen that everyone was having the same issue I was. I can not believe that there is not a recall on this part. I read other complaints too and am glad that I have not ran into their problem yet. If Saturn does not fix this problem really soon, I will sell my car and I will never buy a Saturn again. They are really making a bad product that they will eventually never sell again. After all these complaints, why has nothing been done to recall the problem. To anyone who reads this, never buy a Saturn. It is not just the Ion. I have heard several other issues with other vehicles.

- Eau Claire, WI, USA

problem #5

Dec 072007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,700 miles
My 2004 Saturn Ion 3 will not start at times on cold mornings, the battery was replaced and still no start..it is in the shop right now after reading other complaints on an online forum I see this is a wide spread and yet Saturn does nothing to help, it seems to be in the ignition switch, BCM, and or the passlock system.

- Pontiac, MI, USA

problem #4

Nov 302007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,703 miles
I purchase a 2004 Saturn Ion (6/11/04), brand new. The first sign of cold that year, late November, the car would not start at all. After awhile(10-15 min.) it would start up like nothing was wrong. I brought it in 12/28/04, which they replaced the ignition lock module; saying "that was the problem". I still had issues with the car through the winter, and they didn't know was what wrong. Everytime I brought it in, they would find nothing wrong and send me on my way since they couldn't reproduce the issue. The next winter than same thing happened. I was stuck in the cold a few mornings before work trying to get the car started. Saturn claimed it was too cold outside for my car to start, and told me to wait a bit before bringing it in. (it maybe went below 0 degrees that week twice) fed up I brought it in again on 1/17/05, which they replaced my block assembly, wire harness, starter, battery, and wire connecters. They really weren't sure what was wrong they admitted, but it seems to work now. The car would work for a few weeks, then the same issue arises again. On 4/15/05 Saturn had to replace my radio receiver for faulty issues. That same winter, my car would not start in the cold again. It was brought in on 12/20/05, which they replaced my ignition switch saying the usual "this will fix the problem". now, just under two years later, I am back to having the same issues of my car not starting in the cold. Saturn is now throwing their hands up saying I must purchase another ignition switch, and pay them to put it in for a total of $220. Unacceptable. I may have taken actions sooner, but I wasn't aware there were many more Saturn Ion drivers with the same issues I had.

- Wausau, WI, USA

problem #3

Nov 062006


  • miles


I have a 2004 Saturn Ion. I purchased it in July of 04. It now has 73,000 miles on it & just startedto have this problem. On very cold mornings (15-25 dgrees) it will not start. After trying to start it after 15-30 minutes (or tryin to jump it off) it finally cranks. Now I have researched this problem on the web (where I got this website) & numerous Saturn owners are having this same problem. Apparently it is the BCM (body control module). It is around $600 to replace this. Why should the owners have to pay this if its a part that should be clearly recalled! its Saturn fault, make them pay the money. Not single mothers such as myself!

- Walland, TN, USA

problem #2

Nov 302006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles
We own a 2004 Saturn Ion. Every time the temperature drops into the below 30 F, the vehicle will not start, even though the battery is good. Saturn has issued a technical service bulletin on this problem because it is so widespread and pervasive of a problem. This is a recall situation due to defective engineering on the part of Saturn/GM, and the owners should not have to bear the financial burden because of defective engineering on the part of Saturn/GM. In addition, putting a small electric heater in the compartment of the car to keep the car warm, so the car will start when it is cold, presents a dangerous situation (fire, property damage, etc) owners of affected Saturn's should not have to endure.

- Chimayo, NM, USA

problem #1

Sep 282005


  • miles
As I was going to start my 2004 Saturn Ion this morning, it would not turn over. The car would not start. I waited 15 minutes and tried again and it would not turn on. The transmission light was on and the service vehicle warning was on. This is not the first time I have had this problem. I was late for work due to this. I could not get the car started. My car has been serviced recently, so I know it is not my fault. I contacted the dealership at 9 am and was told to bring the car in at 4:00 pm, if it would start. Otherwise it will be towed and I will receive a rental.

- Bethel, CT, USA

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