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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
53,750 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. change inition key switch with new one (1 reports)
  3. cut wire in steering column (1 reports)
2004 Saturn Ion electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #4

Sep 012006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


I have a 2004 Saturn Ion that would not start when it was cold outside. Took to several mechanics, none which could give me a right answer to the solution. It was not the battery, starter, alternator, etc. After several winters of this problem I couldn't take it anymore. After searching the internet without success I told my dad about the problem and he found a youtube video where another Saturn Ion owner was having the same problem. In his video he shows how he cut a single wire in the steering column and problemo solved! My dad and I did this same thing to my car and I have not had a problem with starting in 3 years! Hallejulah! I wish Saturn would have sent out something to address this issue or even acknowledge that it exists but what can you do! I hope this helps all who are still experiencing this issue with no reprieve. Here is the link to the video:;_ylt=Ag2e1LsVVLbp4z1j1AxKmj2bvZx4?p=youtube+saturn+ion+&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-621

- , Austin, TX, USA

problem #3

Jan 142009

Ion 2 2.2L

  • Manual transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Saturn ION will not start. Issue is known to Saturn and is related to the PASSLOCK system. Please go to and file a complaint. This is the only way we are going to get Saturn to replace and pay for the faulty part.

- , Rochester, NH, USA

problem #2

Nov 142007

Ion 2 2.2L

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Saturn Ion is a great car. Sorry to see Saturn elected not to continue the plastic over steel body car. Problem with car not starting in cold weather is not due to old battery but due to ignition key switch not making internal contact when cold.

Great car!!

- , Crestview, FL, USA

problem #1

May 202007

(reported on)

Ion Quadcoupe

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

Never know if my car is going to start or not. Has been happening since the day I drove it off the lot. Only when humid, or temp drops around 40 degrees. Really odd, and of course.... Saturn says I just don't know how to start my car. Um, I am 45 years old, I have been driving for near 30 years. No other car had this problem.... idiots.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

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