NHTSA — Electrical System: Ignition Problems

2005 Saturn Ion (Page 1 of 2)

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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,771 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 (Page 1 of 2)

problem #35

Oct 302014


  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact mentioned that the key became stuck in the ignition. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred several times. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system). The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000.

- Chino Hills, CA, USA

problem #34

Feb 052013


  • 180,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 50 mph, there was a clicking noise coming from the front of the vehicle as the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was able to be restarted. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was diagnosed that the ignition needed to be replaced. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system) however, the part to do the repair was unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 180,000.

- Stuart, FL, USA

problem #33

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 #32

Nov 232013

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles


I've made reports of faulty switch ignition problems in 2010 to GM the replaced it with another and I still had issues with it. I also had issues with my windshield wipers which I ended up replacing after I was told they were not at fault. I've been having problems starting the car or either it would cut off while driving and cause problems for me to restart it. I recently took it to a dealership to have the recall issue fixed but I was informed that other issues also occurred and GM refused to fix.

- Meadville, MS, USA

problem #31

Jun 022011


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that after turning the vehicle off, the key could not be removed from the ignition switch. The contact indicated that after several hours the key was able to be removed from the ignition switch. The contact stated that the failure had occurred on multiple occasions. The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA recall campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system) but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Westchester, IL, USA

problem #30

Jul 102013


  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the key failed to release from the ignition switch after numerous attempts. In addition, the ABS warning light illuminated continuously. The failures occurred after the vehicle was repaired under the NHTSA campaign id number: 14V047000 (air bag, electrical system). The vehicle was repaired but the failure was not rectified. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 103,000.

- Binghamton, NY, USA

problem #29

Jul 022012


  • 45,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while attempting to remove the key from the ignition, the key became stuck. The contact turned the vehicle on and off several times in an attempt to free the key. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where it was stated that the ignition needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the problem persisted. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 45,000.

- Friendswood , TX, USA

problem #28

Mar 192012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn ion2. The contact stated that after inserting the key in the ignition, it became lodged in the on position and could not be removed. The contact was unable to shut the vehicle off as a result of the failure. The vehicle was taken to the dealer two days prior to the failure where the ignition cylinder was replaced yet, the failure recurred. The vehicle was not further inspected by a dealer nor repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure and current mileages were approximately 70,000. Updated 04/19/12 the consumer stated the only way to shut the vehicle was off, was by disconnecting the battery. Updated 04/27/12

- Lewisville, NC, USA

problem #27

Apr 162010


  • miles
On multiple occasions, I could not release the car key from the ignition. I could turn off the engine, but the key would not disengage from the acc mode. Releasing the key would take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. These were incidents that could not be tied to any specific action from the driver and that would occur randomly. Every time I drove, I was afraid the key would get stuck and that this would finally be the time that I could not get it out. This is a safety concern when there are severe weather conditions and the battery is in danger of dying. The GM dealership found what they thought was the problem and the solution was to completely replace a range of parts. Another mechanic found a different problem (a malfunctioning cylinder of sorts) and replaced it and for the first time in years, I can drive safely and with the peace of mind knowing that the key will no longer get stuck.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #26

Apr 172010


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that when she shut the vehicle off, she was unable to remove the key from the ignition. The failure occurred every time she drove the vehicle. She had to wait fifteen minutes before she was able to remove the key from the ignition. The vehicle was not inspected or repaired. The contact called the manufacturer who stated that she had to have the vehicle repaired by the dealer at her expense. The current mileage was approximately 97,000. The failure mileage was approximately 90,000.

- Pleasantville, IA, USA

problem #25

May 102010


  • miles


2005 Saturn Ion. When I turn the car off the key is stuck in the ignition and won't release. After some time the key eventually releases itself. I recently brought the car into a GM dealer and they stated there was nothing wrong, they lubed up the parts and said I would be fine. The key continues to get stuck.

- Bordentown, NJ, USA

problem #24

Oct 192009


  • 41,200 miles
I have a 2005 Saturn Ion and key want release from ignition and sometimes will not start. Car was taken to Saturn and ignition solenoid, gear shift housing unit, another key was made, security system was reset and car was recalibrated. Saturn told me this was what was needed to fix problem and problem still not fixed. I have been reading up on complaints about Ion owners and a lot of people have the same problem. I am upset and frustrated I have two kids and have already spent $1000 to repair and replace parts that obviously didn't need to be replaced because problem still exists. I need help this is out of control. As far as problem with car not starting, the problem happens intermittently. Saturn tested alternator and battery and checked starter everything checked out. Hopefully car not starting is fixed but it happens intermittently and I know I have been stranded in the cold a few times with my children till the car decided too start.

- West Warwick , RI, USA

problem #23

Jul 152008


  • 59,000 miles
Key will not release from my ignition. It appears that the ignition does not read that the stick shift is engaged in park and does not release the key from the ignition. This began happening just as my car reached 60,000 miles (my car is currently at 84,000). There does not seem to be any pattern to the problem, just random and in any weather condition. Sometimes I just have to leave the key in the ignition and leave the vehicle. The key is still in accessory mode and does drain the battery. I brought it to the dealer at my first incidence and the ignition was replaced. It was covered under the warranty at the time, but the warranty expired just after.

- Westford, MA, USA

problem #22

Aug 152009


  • 45,360 miles
I own a 2005 Saturn Ion with about 46,000 miles on it. I love my little car and had hopes of owning it for years to come. However, my hopes of being a happy Saturn owner is quickly fading as I continually have problems with my steering column. First it was the ignition, which I have replaced twice, and now the power steering is turning off while IżM driving. Obviously this is very dangerous and it also not uncommon as I've found out by searching the internet on this very problem.

- Montoursville, PA, USA

problem #21

Sep 012009


  • 50,000 miles
Failed ignition switch on a 2005 Saturn Ion. The ignition key is stuck in the shaft and will not disengage. The only way to turn off the car is to remove the steering column cover and unplug the disconnect under the steering column.

- Scotia, NY, USA

problem #20

Sep 112009


  • 53,000 miles
I have had several issues with the ignition and not being able to immediately turn the car off. The ignition will not release the key and will be stuck in the acc position most times. The most recent time I could not get the car to turn off at all. The ignition would not release or allow the key to turn even minimally. Had to unhook the battery, pull the fuel pump fuse in order to get the car to stop running. The ignition still would not release the key. I got this information on how to do this from many complaints that I read about on the internet on Saturn Ions having the same issue. They do not address this in the manual, and when I took my car to the dealership 18 months ago to resolve the issue then, they said nothing was wrong and they replaced the ignition which did not seem to help with the problem I was having.

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #19

Aug 102009


  • 33,316 miles
2-02-07 key stuck in ignition...car 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

problem #18

Feb 012009


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that her key became stuck in the ignition and would not come out. The vehicle was not shut all the way off at the time and caused the battery to become drained. The vehicle has remained parked for three months. The dealer advised her to bring in the vehicle for diagnostic testing at her expense. The contact will call the manufacturer for assistance. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 30,000.

- Oakdale, PA, USA

problem #17

Jan 072009


  • 52,000 miles
2005 Saturn Ion recall- I have this car a year ago and the problem is the ignition. Car wont start especially on a cold weather. I need to wait for 15-20 mins before it starts. I've been late at work many time S already and I've been paying for this car but I think its not worth it. And also, I can pull out the keys while the engine is running, while the car is moving. Weird! you may want to check consmeraffairs.com--search Saturn Ion to check on the complaints. I have pasted some for you to check out. Thank you and I am hoping that you will find a way to solve this problem. Cameron of grand rapids mi (01/20/09) I also have had the same issues with the car not starting. I bought the Ion 04 brand new and everything worked fine for the first couple of years. Lately I've been late for work and missed other appointments due to the issue. This is definitely a safety issue for those of us living in the cold North. Imagine your car not starting in below zero temps. I'm not willing to freeze to death over this. In the same breath I do not have the money to spend to fix something that Saturn is well aware of and based on comments on this site has happened numerous times. If they are unwilling to recall these cars and parts then I'm sure a class action lawsuit would get their attention! laura of tampa fl (01/19/09) I am having the same problem with the ignition lock as apparently many other Saturn owners. I started by calling the local Saturn dealership to find out how much money they wanted me to pay them to fix this problem that they caused by using faulty parts. $171.83 was the amount quoted to me. Obviously I would like to do anything in my power to ensure Saturn doesn't get a single dime more from me. I called the customer service line (800-553-6000)to inquire about the reasoning behind not issuing a recall. I was given the same line about it not being a safety issue.

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #16

Apr 152008


  • 38,000 miles
At about 38,000 miles, the ignition switch locked up with the engine running. I had to disconnect the battery to shut off the engine. I purchased a replacement switch with key from the Saturn dealer for about $140 and installed it myself (thank god I'm a mechanic) or the cost would have been about triple. Saturn does not claim any design responsibility for the thousands of key switch failures, but GM is certainly willing to take our money to repair a known design flaw. Next vehicle I purchase will be made by Chrysler-2005 Caravan SXT is mechanically perfect with very good fuel economy. No more GM products for this family!

- Moore, OK, USA

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