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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
78,318 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #19

Aug 022013


  • 125,000 miles


Engine failed at 125,000 miles. Engine specialist determined cylinder #4 oil starvation as the cause. Oil change intervals have always been approximately 7500 miles. Engine stalled out and would not crank to restart. Engine will need to be replaced. Cost: Approximately $4,000.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #18

Apr 102016


  • 97,200 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving at various speeds, the steering wheel became hard to maneuver. The power steering and check engine warning lights illuminated. The contact pulled over to the side of the road and restarted the vehicle, but the failure occurred once more. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 97,200.

- Bolingbrook, IL, USA

problem #17

Sep 022015


  • 170,000 miles
Case # 8-1587665159 - 2005 Saturn Ion... I cannot get any help with this vehicle and I have gone through all the channels. The car dealership stated the ignition and power steering motor was replaced, yet, I have received no paperwork stating this was done. Ignition was replaced. If the power steering motor was replaced, it went out again while I was out of town, had a garage replace it along with the module but it also went out. Took it back to the dealership as paperwork from GM stated I should do but they wouldn't honor it because it was a used part. Previously, the gas lines had to be replaced as one could smell gas everywhere around the vehicle. I have been told by a GM rep that the car is older with a lot of mileage and problems will happen but GM officials knew about some of these issues when the car first came out... they did nothing for 10 years. The power steering constantly goes out, sometimes without a warning or sometimes with chimes. I am a 68-year-old heart patient that has to drive a vehicle knowing at any moment the power steering will go out and I could crash, yet, GM states pull the car off the road, turn it off and back on and it should be okay. This is not true. I am not able to steer this vehicle with manual transmission even though GM states, steering control can be maintained, as the vehicle will revert to a manual steering mode, but would require greater driver effort at low vehicle speeds, which could result in an increased risk of a crash. " I purchased this vehicle last year and had no clue about the recalls. Or perhaps GM had not admitted to them yet. I have no choice but to drive this vehicle as is as it is the only mode of transportation that I have.

- Coats, NC, USA

problem #16

Feb 042015

Ion 4-cyl

  • 95,867 miles


Engine would not de-accelerate and hitting the brakes did not stop the vehicle. I was passing cars on a highway, and I could not get the engine to down shift. It felt like it was in cruise control, and it was not. I hit the cruise control button to make sure I had not hit it by mistake. I had not. I down shifted into low gear that did not stop the engine from racing. I put it in neutral that didn't help. I managed not to hit any cars. I put the car in a snow bank near a guard rail. There was no crash because I miraculously kept the car under my control and the snow/ice kept me from hitting the guard rail. (I felt like I was gliding.) at some point when I was in the snow bank, I heard the engine finally kick itself down. I called the local police for a tow to my dealership. The dealership tried to blame me, but I told them it was mechanical failure. I was informed that there should have been overrides. There were not. The car was repaired. I was told that there was a high and low voltage reading to the accelerator pedal, and possible throttle issue. Battery replaced, pedal replaced, and throttle body service performed. I was told that this was "a perfect storm." Later I was told by an independent mechanic that the fly by wire system was the issue. This is unacceptable. I was at risk and so was everyone else. I do not feel comfortable driving knowing that at any time this could occur again to me or to any other car on the road that has a fly by wire system. I maintain my vehicle by regular visits to dealership mechanics, and there were less than 100,000 miles on my car.

- Plainfield, NJ, USA

problem #15

Dec 082014


  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The vehicle was repaired under special policy 10187 at the dealer. While driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle completely shut off and the power steering warning indicator illuminated. The failure recurred on multiple occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who diagnosed that the electronic power steering control module failed, the vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 118,000. Updated 4/13/15

- Morton, IL, USA

problem #14

Jan 272015


  • 124,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 25 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was able to restart. The failure occurred on three occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 124,000. The VIN was not available.

- Broken Arrow, OK, USA

problem #13

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

problem #12

Jun 022014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to several recall defects and requests reimbursement for vehicle repairs. The consumer stated the vehicle broke down and had to be towed to the nearest repair factuality, where there kept the vehicle for over two months. After the vehicle was returned, the problems continued. The engine light was on and there was a problem with the ignition switch. Also, the engine vales, timing chain and sway bar links were replaced.

- Rochester, PA, USA

problem #11

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 #10

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 #9

May 092014


  • 165,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the driver made a sudden turn when the engine stalled and caused a loss of steering control. The driver then traveled down and crashed into an embankment. There were no injuries and a police report was filed at the scene. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 165,000.

- Jackson, MS, USA

problem #8

Jan 212008


  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while turning at approximately 20 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact stated that the failure was experienced multiple times. The vehicle has not been repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 200,000.

- Lithonia, GA, USA

problem #7

May 012012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
My car constantly does not start. Also, when I go over speed bumps or hit pot holes my car will turn off.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 122014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
My daughter was driving to work through a wintry mix precipitation when she lost control, was turned to the right into a guardrail, which heavily damaged the front end and caused her to spin coming to a stop on the road. The damage seems like it should have caused airbag deployment, but the airbag did not, and she struck her head on the steering wheel. She felt as though she hit a patch of slush that pushed her to the right. The vehicle is a total loss and in custody of my insurer. The following day I received in the mail the GM recall 14063 (14V-047). My concern is that is failure of the ignition switch, causing the engine to stop turning and the airbag to disable could have caused the loss of control, and the subsequent minor neck injury, and the total loss of an otherwise sound vehicle. My insurer was given the recall information and after review decided I should move forward with a claim against the manufacturer, and this avenue is detailed on page two of my recall mailing. Thank you.

- Corning, NY, USA

problem #5

Mar 312014

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle suddenly stalled while traveling various speeds. The contact also stated that upon inspection, it was found that the control arms and bushings needed to be replaced. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure was confirmed. The stalling issue was not diagnosed. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was not available. Updated 06/10/14 the consumer stated the vehicle shut off multiple times in 2006. In 2007, the ignition cylinder binded up, engine light illuminated, headlights dimmed, and front end issues. In 2008, all 4 fuel injectors were replaced, noise came from the front end, and front passenger window would not roll up. Replaced both front end sway bushings, insulator and/or front stabilizer shaft a. in 2010, again there was noise coming from the front end. Both left and right hub assemblies, lower control arms and bushings were replaced. In 2013, there was a gas leak. Updated 06/17/2014

- Howell, MI, USA

problem #4

Oct 312013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 144,000 miles
On October 31, and November 1 of 2013 I was traveling approximately 40 mph and in nearly the same spot the Saturn lost complete power and died. Both times I was able to get off the road. After the second incident we had it towed to a garage where they replaced the battery. I did not drive it again and currently it is in storage as I purchased a new car. I drive 350 miles a week to work and need dependable transportation. When the recall came out we realized we may have had trouble with the ignition switch for up to 2 years. There would be times we would shut the car off but would be unable to take the key out. It would take up to a minute before clicking and we could remove the key. That was when it was in the off position.

- Angola, IN, USA

problem #3

Mar 032014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 100,984 miles
We bought our 2005 Saturn Ion used Sept. 4, 2012, (87,812) before even could take off lot they had to install an ignition cylinder and cut new key, and the throttle was stuck could press all the way to floor, and would only get up to about 20mph. This was also fixed. (or so we thought). Since our purchase, we still have trouble with the key getting stuck, it not turning off with car still running, or the car won't start, it happens so much that our daughter who drives it just figures that's they way it's suppose to be, because when take back to dealer either it won't do it for them or doesn't do it for a month or so. Now the warranty has ran out so if it happens again they told us we had to take care of, well it happened again today, she parked would not shut off, called dealership, they can't do anything because GM hasn't given them recall yet! was in accident on Jan. 2, 2014 front end air bags did not deploy! not sure why not!!! this July was coming home and driving down road car just shut off while driving about 30mph and had to manually try to get car off road without hurting car or anyone else's car, after sometime got car to start again and got it home, called dealership their response if happens again bring it in. And still to this date sometimes her throttle will stick, as a parent I'm holding my breath every time she leaves our drive in this vehicle. Please help soon.

- Robinson, IL, USA

problem #2

Oct 012012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle would not start intermittently and without any warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they advised that they were unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 78,000. The current mileage was approximately 103,000.

- Minersville, UT, USA

problem #1

Jan 142013


  • miles
When the car sits for a day or more it won't crank and needs to be jumped off. The battery and altenator are good and so are the fuses. I have changed ignition relay and no difference. Had car running and would not this morning after sitting for 18 hrs. Batt is totally dead.

- Bethune, SC, USA

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