NHTSA — Electrical System: Ignition Problems

2004 Saturn Ion (Page 1 of 3)

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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
29,067 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 (Page 1 of 3)

problem #47

Oct 122005


  • 3,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the key failed to release from the ignition. The failure occurred on several occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the key and the ignition needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure persisted. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 3,000. Updated 01/23/15

- Hernando, MS, USA

problem #46

Sep 172014


  • 40,000 miles
The contact the owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to shut off and the key became lodged in the ignition. The contact had to make several attempts before the vehicle shut off and the key released. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The vehicle was included in recall NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (electrical system). However, the part to do the repair was unavailable. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 40,000.

- Victorville , CA, USA

problem #45

Sep 122012


  • miles
I have had the ignition changed due to a recall. Prior to that the ignition key would stick and would not come out. I had to move it back and forth and after several tries it would come out. I thought that the recall would correct but it did not. I still have the same intermittent problem. Are there more complaints regarding this problem? thank you very much for any advice you can give me regarding this problem.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #44

Jul 152014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 73,590 miles


Ignition recall. Took car to keyes GMC woodland hills ca 2 times and they changed ignition but did not fix problem. Now they want $500 to fix "shifter". I think it is still key ignition. Made complaint to GM #[xxx]. called GM twice 866 790-5700 for decision and no response. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bell Canyon, CA, USA

problem #43

Apr 082014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 14V153000 (steering) however, the part to perform the repairs was unavailable. The manufacturer was made aware of the delay. The contact had not experienced a failure. Updated 09/02/14 updated 09/17/2014

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #42

Jul 182007

Ion 4-cyl

  • 14,500 miles
Key at times does not come out of ignition switch. Even though the switch was replaced twice.this has been a on going issue and still has problems today.

- Darien, CT, USA

problem #41

May 012008


  • miles


The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that she received a recall notification letter for NHTSA campaign id number 14E021000 ( ignition switch). The dealer informed her that the part was unavailable. The contact requested a rental vehicle however, the dealer informed the contact not to drive the vehicle after she drove it to her residence. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was unknown.

- Independence , KY, USA

problem #40

May 082014


  • 126,184 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the key became lodged in the igtion switch and was unable to release. The contact mentioned that the vehicle was repaired under recall NHTSA campaign number 14V171000 (electrical system); however, the remedy failed to repaired the problem. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 126,184.

- Gap, PA, USA

problem #39

Nov 012013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 38,996 miles
Car will not start because the ignition will not read the key. It takes 15 minutes just waiting, with the key out, then when trying again it does read the key and the car starts. This is not the first time as it has been going on for the last eight (8) years for me with hundreds of others with the same problem! I have taken the car to dealerships and garage workers. Each place says the car is fine, nothing wrong. It seems that GM knew something was wrong since 2003 and GM later told dealerships so dealerships knew and no one did anything. Well, GM has finally made the statement that something is wrong with the ignition system and keys - finally. One big question is why did it take so long from NHTSA too! NHTSA is to make sure people are safe but you have been very "late" too. I blame both GM and NHTSA that it has taken too long. GM can be fined because of being late correcting the errors. Can NHTSA be fined for the same reason - late making a company correcting errors! it seems that no one would lesson to the drivers and/or owners with the same problems - not GM and not NHTSA. You are asking GM why it has taken so long. Can you let us know why NHTSA was late too?

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #38

Sep 062005

Ion 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that after powering off the vehicle, the key was unable to be removed from the ignition. The contact mentioned that the failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was unable to be replicate and two new keys were provided to the contact. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 1,000 and the current mileage was 28,000. Updated 9/24/13

- Saint Petersburg , FL, USA

problem #37

Apr 012011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 38,500 miles


2004 Saturn Ion. Consumer states problem with faulty ignition. The consumer stated the dashboard lights would illuminate, when the key was turned, but the vehicle would not start. The consumer stated she would have to wait ten minutes or longer, before the vehicle would start. The consumer was informed an ignition housing problem was common with her vehicle. Updated 06/23/11

- Baldwinsville, NY, USA

problem #36

Aug 102010


  • 46,000 miles
The key in the ignition of the Saturn Ion 2004 will not come out and the car can not be shut off. Just last month the key would not fo into the ignition or start the car. Brought it to the GM dealership had to have a new ignition cylinder put in a month ago. Today I had to have the ignition housing. This is not just my car. 90 % of the 2004 and 2006 have this same problem. This should be a safety issue since if no one knows how to disconnect the battery the car could overheat.and even catch on fire.

- Danvers, MA, USA

problem #35

Dec 092009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
I drive a 2004 Saturn Ion 2. when the temperature is 32 degrees or lower my car will not start if it has been sitting for more than 4 or 5 hours. I have been left stranded on multiple occasions with this problem. I believe it is something in the ignition switch. During the winter months this will happen every morning and occasionally after work if the temperature is too cold. I have not done anything to fix the problem because it will cost around $200 to fix.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #34

Oct 142009


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated when the temperature dropped below 30 degrees the vehicle would not start due to the ignition switch failure. The failure was caused by the pass lock circuit that was inside the ignition switch and the resistance value within the pass lock system. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where they replaced the ignition switch. The vehicle was under warranty and there were no recalls. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 45,000.

- Delaware, OH, USA

problem #33

Dec 082009


  • miles
I have a 2004 Saturn Ion that will not start when the weather is cold. This problem happens only in the winter. I have read many reviews about other customers having the same problem with their Ions and most of them say it has something to do with the ignition switch. I think I will probably have it replaced.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #32

Oct 172009


  • 60,000 miles
2004 Saturn Ion- ignition fails to release the key, cannot remove the key from ignition without struggling. Have researched the Consumer Affairs website and there are so many complaints about this occurring, that is unreal. Fortunately we have not had to leave the car running yet... as so many other customers and some have had to remove a fuse to get the car to turn off. Saturn needs to do a voluntary recall on this and replace all of the ignition switches before a tragedy occurs.

- Sundown, TX, USA

problem #31

Nov 202008


  • 35,000 miles
I am the owner of a 2004 Saturn ion2 sedan. As of the past winter with unseasonable cold temps I began having an issue with the ignition of my car. The car would not turn over at all sometimes for hours at a time. The ignition has been replaced and did not fix the problem. I live in western NY where we do see cold temps during the winter months. I have a child I must get to school before I go to work every day. I have been a true advocate of Saturn vehicles up until the purchase of this one. I have been researching the problem and found several others with the exact same problem and no resolution. I really hope that thee have been enough complaints about this problem for GM to actually step up and issue a recall. I really do not want to sell my car or be forever slighted by Saturn because of this problem. Please as a struggling single mom help take care of your consumers.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #30

Nov 012004


  • miles
My car has problems starting when the temp. Gets below 30 degrees. I have had this "fixed" twice, and I was told this was because I needed a new ignition switch. I have found several sites where others have had the same issue. I have concluded that there is something wrong with the sensor in the passlock part of the ignition switch that causes it to not work properly when temp. Gets below 30 degrees. Saturn is well aware of this I believe and they have yet to do anything about it. It is very dangerous because it can cause someone to be stranded somewhere in the cold weather. It has also caused me to be late for work several times and has almost cost me my job.

- Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #29

Feb 052009


  • miles
My car does not start in the cold. (at or below freezing.) I have had this problem many times so far!! after doing some online "research" I have found hundreds of other people who have the exact same problem with this car on different forums and consumer complaint websites. What is GM doing to remedy this, and why isn't there a recall on the ignition switch or whatever part is at fault? I was stuck outside in the cold today with my two small children while waiting for someone to help me...!!!

- Hendersonville, TN, USA

problem #28

Sep 102008


  • 58,000 miles
I purchased my vehicle in March of 2004 and have had numerous problems since. I have had the ignition switch replaced previously and now just paid $630 to have the body module replaced because the anti-theft system locks the whole car down making it impossible to start it. Initially it was thought to be a cold weather problem back when I first had the car ignition switch replaced. This recent incident is still not yet resolved because I have been having difficulty getting the keys out of the ignition once the car is turned off. It appears that the body module is still not registering that the key is in off position because the ignition switch is still faulty. I am at a loss for what to do next because I don't have money for these kind of repairs especially once every week.

- Parma Heights, OH, USA

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