NHTSA — Electrical System: Ignition: Switch Problems

CarComplaints.com 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:
48,975 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #13

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 #12

Apr 152007


  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated the key became lodged in the ignition switch after the vehicle was turned off. The failure recurred multiple times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician stated that the ignition switch needed to be replaced. The vehicle has not been repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 48,000.

- New Milford, NJ, USA

problem #11

Apr 282014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
On April 28, I called a dealer in syracuse, NY about getting the recalled ignition switch replaced. Called last week about it. They still haven't ordered it. Three weeks ago I called another dealership, davidsons in watertown, NY. Still haven't been contacted by either of these. How long should we have to wait to get this dangerous situation resolved..

- Liverpool, NY, USA

problem #10

Sep 012013

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles


My 2005 Saturn Ion is not running and I feel it is due to the items that are on the recall. Ignition switch and power steering. I called the local GM dealer and he entered my VIN# and said that all he could take care of is the ignition switch that there is no recall for the power steering. I looked on the GM website and there is clearly a recall for the power steering as well for the Ion. They are not wanting to honor it because they say it isn't listed with the VIN#. this is not right. I want something done because this is very unsafe for my daughter to drive when it does run. I feel that due to the ignition problem, it caused something else to go wrong and now it does not run at all and I want it all to be taken care of. Especially now that I am getting the run around from the service department at the GM dealership. I have always preferred Chevy products and expect Chevy to take care of its customers.

- Brazil, IN, USA

problem #9

Sep 162013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 123,903 miles
I checked electrical above, for affected parts, but I am not sure if that is correct. It was the ignition. I was driving on whitney ave. (towards new haven) in hamden, ct. Traffic was moderate due to the time of day (3:00 P.M.) suddenly, and with no warning other than the dash lighting up with engine lights, my car stopped. There was enough momentum to turn it into the post office driveway. Brakes and steering did not work. Fortunately, the cars coming up behind me were able to swerve to avoid hitting me. The incident caused a traffic jam and a mess in the post office. A very kind man offered to help push the car out of the incoming driveway. He put it in neutral and pushed it out of the way. I have aaa service. The call was made and the car was towed to Firestone on dixwell ave., since I live in the vicinity and could walk home. I have the receipt for work done by Firestone. The job cost me $262.82. I was on my way to I-91. I dread to think of what could have happened, if the car suddenly stopped in 65 mile an hour traffic. (I jest, since trucks regularly pass going well over 70!) I wish to send my bill to GM, but no address is provided on the recall letter. Please advise. If I do not hear from you, I will go to valenti motors in wallingford to ask for assistance in obtaining an address to send my bill. I expect full compensation for the costs associated with this incident, and will provide the Firestone invoice. In a separate recent incident, again, on my way to an interstate, the car went dead again. This time, I came to rest up against a barrier between the road and a salt marsh! in this case it was the alternator. The car was towed again to Firestone, where they replaced the alternator and the battery. I write this, just in case GM has ignored another problem. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Hamden, CT, USA

problem #8

Apr 132007


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact was driving 65 mph when the steering wheel became extremely tight. The power steering warning light was illuminated followed by the sounding of the power steering warning alarm. The contact was able to drive to his residence using extreme bodily force to maneuver the wheel. The vehicle was not repaired and the failure became progressively worse. In addition, the contact's keys would continuously become lodged within the ignition switch. The contact stated the vehicle was previously repaired for the exact same failure. The vehicle was not further repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was approximately 50,000 and the current mileage was 92,000.

- Orlando , FL, USA

problem #7

Dec 072008


  • 30,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the key became stuck in the ignition whenever the vehicle was turned off. It took two to three minutes before it would be released from the ignition. Previously, the vehicle was taken to a mechanic who replaced the ignition switch but the failure occurred again. The VIN was unavailable at the time of the complaint. The failure mileage was approximately 30,000. The current mileage was approximately 50,000.

- Kinston, NC, USA

problem #6

Dec 042009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact was unable to start the vehicle; however, all of the electrical components were operating normally. The dealer informed the contact that the ignition switch needed to be replaced. The contact stated that occasionally the key would not release from the ignition. The vehicle was serviced but the failure has continued to occur. The current and failure mileages were 59000. Updated 01/12/10. The consumer stated every winter the doesn't start. Updated 01/13/10.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #5

Dec 042008


  • 79,000 miles
Went to start my car at 7:30 am the 1st week or so in December, wouldn't start. Went out about 10 mins later, started. It has kept happening until I went to Saturn in regina saskatchewan, Canada, and they went and replaced my ignition switch, that was last Wednesday so that would have been Jan. 7th 2009. So far no more problems.

- Indian Head, 00, USA

problem #4

Jun 182007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 48,825 miles
I could not shut off the car which was a 2005 Saturn Ion 3. the key locked in the ignition switch and would not shut off the Y engine. The only way I was able to shut it off was by dumping the clutch, but the ignition was still on. I took the car to Saturn of indianapolis. They told me that the ignition key lock cylinder was binding and they needed to install a new ignition lock cylinder and housing. They installed a new lock cylinder, lock cylinder housing and cut two new keys.

- Pittsboro, IN, USA

problem #3

Jan 302007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,550 miles


2005 Saturn Ion 1 failure to start. Faulty design related to the ignition switch.

- Sumerduck, VA, USA

problem #2

Dec 122006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
I own a 2005 Saturn Ion 1. I bought it brand new in late 2004, and have not had any problems with it at all until this winter (2006). My problem has been that when it is cold outside, the car refuses to crank at all. I took it to a Saturn dealer and they said it was the battery. I paid over $100 to have a new battery put in, and was reassured that it fixed the starting problem. I thought it had until about a week later. The car has started to have problems starting again, so I paid for a brand new car battery that I didn't need in the first place. I originally was going to take it back to Saturn to get them to look at the car again, but I started doing research online. I found that Saturn not starting in cold weather is a widespread problem, and Saturn refuses to do anything about it. I am not going to go pay to have a new ignition switch put it, when that doesn't solve the problem at all. It's ridiculous that Saturn isn't owning up to the problems so many people are having with the vehicles they own. So much money is being wasted by the consumer, trying to get a problem fixed, that isn't fixable unless GM recalls this faulty ignition switch.

- Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #1

Sep 152006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,400 miles
: the contact stated while driving various speeds, the vehicle would not shift out of first gear. The service engine light illuminated and the vehicle stalled. It was started after one half hour and moved off the road. The vehicle was towed to the dealer twice where an undetermined part was replaced in the transmission and the ignition switch was also replaced. The problem reoccurred and the vehicle was driven to the dealer and the wring harness was replaced. The problem has not reoccurred.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

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