Notes: The 2005 Ion still had power steering issues and a defective ignition switch leftover from previous model years, but hey – at least Saturn improved some of its safety rating to marginal, right? Baby steps.

If you had to buy a Saturn Ion – and I would question why anyone would even consider it – I suppose the 2005 could be considered the best of a bad bunch? I mean, GM did finally get rid of that awful VTi transmission, and both the power steering problems and ignition switch defect that plagued owners were recalled. The problem is they waited 10 years to recall the ignition and let over 30,000 warranty claims get filed before they bothered to fix the power steering. So you kind of have to wonder, is GM making these fixes to keep owners safe or just to keep government lawyers from taking all their money? You be the judge.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,879 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.

2005 Saturn Ion drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2005 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #13

Sep 282015


  • 92,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 30 mph, the gear shift failed to switch into the reverse position without warning.the vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. On another occasion, the contact mentioned that there was a fuel odor emitting from the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the fuel line was rusted and the fuel pump needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 92,000.

- Newport, RI, USA

problem #12

Aug 042014


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to accelerate. In addition, the contact stated that on several occasions the key failed to release from the ignition. The contact stated that the failures occurred after the vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign id number: 14E021000 (electrical). In addition, the contact stated that prior to the recall repair, the starter and the ignition switch were replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Chino Hills, CA, USA

problem #11

Aug 262014


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact had to wait in order to release the key from the ignition after the vehicle had been shut off. The vehicle was repaired according to NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system), but the failure recurred. The dealer stated that the shifter assembly also needed to be repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 110,000.

- New Lennox , IL, USA

problem #10

Oct 052009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles


Now I have another transmission leak that I have to get fixed again. Which I find ironic due to the fact that the transmission is sealed. Also my family and I are moving cross county the end of August 2014. Now speaking to my car dealer shop they were honest with me and said that the ignition switch would probably be fixed but not my power steering motor. Now with that being said in the past eight months my car has stalled three times stopping, or coming off an off ramp from an interstate. It has even not wanted to start in my driveway and its not because of the battery or anything like that. I just had to change my battery in January 2014 because the car was dead somehow it had power but it wouldn't start. Also my car has been trying to keep my key for a couple years and I have to fight with it to get it back. Now as of the last five months I have been able to take my key out with the car running. Which should not be happening.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #9

Mar 012006

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
* other affected part was speed control.... aside of the current recall issue having been a problem since I purchased the vehicle in 2005 (which has "been repaired"-I guess so if you call repaired the car trying to start itself, not starting at all, current PCM overload thanks to soo many negative codes being thrown for this worthless piece of junk.) I have filed numerous complaints with the dealership about the throttle body and am constantly and consistently provided the same answer and it is becoming a big problem. You see this car has left me stranded numerous times (to the point where I cannot keep count any longer) because the throttle body is trash. Not one but two check engines lights appear on the dash, the car shakes (literally to the point where it feels like every plastic panel is going to fall off), I cannot travel any higher than approx. 10mph and have to pull over, turn the car off (keys of course become stuck in the ignition due to the faulty switch) and wait until my car is then ready to start and the throttle body wants to operate as it should. I am now filing this complaint as the most recent codes pulling are once again the throttle body and the now the PCM. This part needs to be added to recent recalls. It is not safe to be traveling at 45mph or higher, then the vehicle shuts down and lowers speed to 10mph or less-esp. If you have no where to pull over safely (yes, this has happened to me on more than once.) I have my car back from the recall the car to still wont start, tries to turn itself over & keeps my keys stuck in the ignition. My steering column has been busted open on the bottom in order to release the keys which is ridiculous yet my car is still not functional due to other faulty, crap, junk, trash (whatever you would prefer to list them as in this documentation) parts that I will most likely be expected to pay for yet again.

- Frdericksburg, VA, USA

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problem #8

Apr 252012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the gear shifter screws would become lose. As a result, the gear shifter would not function properly. The contact mentioned that the vehicle would fail to shift into any gear. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where unknown repairs were performed on the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The approximate failure mileage was 45,000 and the current mileage was 63,000. Updated 05/21/14 updated 06/3/2014

- Waynesboro, VT, USA

problem #7

May 062010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 50,263 miles


Re: brake transmission shift interlock (BTSI) solenoid. The key would get stuck in ignition and not release, or I would be unable to turn the car on after inserting the key. Note: A couple of times I could not turn off the car, which is a safety hazard. I had to force the key to turn the ignition cylinder to the off position over several minutes. I have replaced ignition switch 3 times and ignition housing twice since buying my Saturn Ion new in 2005. Therefore, I am now on my fourth ignition switch since the car was manufactured. I acknowledge that ignition switches have been found defective in certain GM car models and years and a recall is in place. However, I believe that ignition problems in GM Saturn Ions are additionally complicated by BTSI solenoid and switch failure. In addition to replacing the ignition switch and housing, I have also had to replace the BTSI solenoid and switch twice (May 2010, 50,263 mi; Feb 2013, 84,715 mi) due to the part's failure in order to fully address the ignition switch problems of my Saturn Ion. Please investigate the additional issue of BTSI solenoid and switch failure as being a contributing factor in the overall ignition safety problems of GM Saturn Ions.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #6

Dec 072009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 22,366 miles
Ignition would sometimes not turn off or release key when car was running, or turn on when car was not running. Passlock indicator was coming on at strange times. Battery constantly being drained. Ses light was on when the key was out of ignition. $960 in parts and labor.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #5

Feb 112011


  • 89,506 miles
Passlock light blinking vehicle will not start in ambient temperature below 30 F represents a safety hazard because egress is needed from area.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #4

Jan 242010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 88,900 miles
In ambient temperature of 29 degrees, my vehicle would not start. Passlock light was blinking for 10 minutes and then stopped. After that, I was able to start the car. This has happened before.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #3

Apr 172010


  • 41,082 miles


When I would try to turn my car off I could only turn the key half and would take a while before I could get the car turned completely off and the key out. On April 17th I went to my night job it took 3 to 4 hrs for the key to finally come loose after trying to shut the car off. When I got home that evening around 10:30 pm it took till 4:30am to finally get my key out. On there is 47 pages of complaints just like mine starting back from 4-8-2006 and the last one was reported on 8-11-2010. Why hasn't GM stepped up to the plate and recalled and replaced this issue. I had to spend $442.65 for a new shifter and cable.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #2

Oct 212009


  • 60,000 miles
After starting the car and putting it in drive, the car will not accelerate. The engine idles no matter how hard you press the pedal. This vehicle has a electronic throttle body (no mechanical linkage) so the problem is electrical.. today was the third time in that past month this has happened. For the record, this car has been into the dealer no less than 9 times for electrical issues (a few body control modules, a couple ignition switches, ABS modules, trans control modules, radios, instrument panels, etc, etc.) but this is the first one I think may cause injury. Getting rear-ended at a green light or having a car run into the driver side is a distinct possibility when the car 'all of a sudden' won┐T accelerate. GM has repaired every problem this car has had to date, but will not admit there is a problem with the car. I am now out of warranty.

- Earlysville, VA, USA

problem #1

Aug 102009


  • 33,316 miles
2-02-07 key stuck in would not turn off.... ignition replaced 33,316 miles 01-14-08 transmission replaced 50,728 miles 12-20-08 car wouldn't start...clutch switch replaced 50,728 miles 8-26-08 sun roof drain clogged $199.88 59,893 miles 8-10-09 car would not start..replaced ignition switch 2nd time 72,615 miles car was bought new off lot in 2005... towed 4 times in 4years!

- Ocala, FL, USA

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