NHTSA — Engine And Engine Cooling 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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,459 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 #9

Jun 112014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 59,600 miles


The gas pedal gets stuck while driving and the check engine light comes on. Car will not exceed 5 mph even if the pedal is pushed to the floor. Car must be turned on and off 3 times for the pedal to go back to normal. Another incident is the car will stall when stopping at a light or stop sign. Turns back on with no problem. I have had all recalls performed.

- Waterbury , CT, USA

problem #8

Feb 032013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 123,645 miles
When I was pulling out of the parking lot of my job there is a slight dip in the road when exiting the parking lot on to the street and as I was pulling out making a right turn and I went over the bump and my car shut off and I was not aware it had shut off until I was almost at a complete stop. That was the very first time it happen, it shuts off almost every time I hit a bump.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #7

Jun 122011

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
June 12-my car received complimentary maintenance. At which point, the car would not start. The body control was replaced. After moving over 1800 miles, the car would not start. June 16-had it serviced again and to my knowledge, the car had been damaged during servicing at dealership ( dropped off foot jack and damaged radiator and ac condenser). June 17-after commuting 80 miles and the passing of 9 hours, the car would not start again. Then after 3 hours, it started ( as I was in an unfamiliar location). June 21-its 8 am and I am about to leave for work, the car would not start. Took the car to the dealership after it started 3 hours later, riding in anti-theft mode. Left the car overnight and had to get a rental. June 24- picked up the car and the dealer could not determine the issue and assumed that it had been absolved. June 30- 7 am. The car would not start again for 4 hours. Took the car to the dealership, could not determine the issue. My car has yet to be fixed and I have been stranded in a number of unfamiliar places. Something is very wrong with the ignition because the power of the car comes on, but the engine will not communicate to come on.

- Hialeah, FL, USA

problem #6

Mar 042010


  • 30,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact was driving approximately 30 mph, the power steering warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. A chime sounded inside of the vehicle. There was difficulty steering. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for inspection. Also, two weeks prior to the failures the engine stalled without warning. The technician was unable to locate the problem. The vehicle was in the process of being taken to an authorized dealer for inspection. The failure and current mileages were 30,000.

- Honollu, HI, USA

problem #5

Feb 052009


  • 48,500 miles
1. events leading up to failure I was getting ready to leave for work. The time of day was 9am. The temperature had been hovering around freezing all night. The vehicle had not been driven since the previous day at around 9pm. I unlocked my vehicle using keyless entry - driver door only. I inserted my key in the ignition, closed the door, pushed the clutch to the floor while fastening my seatbelt. I then turned the key to the start position. The engine did not start - the starter did not engage at all. When I released the key, the security light (an amber "padlock" icon) started flashing slowly - once per second. I then followed the restart procedure for this situation according to the owner manual - simply wait until the light stops flashing, turn the key to lock, then restart. Ten minutes later, the security light stopped flashing and remained illuminated. I then turned the key to lock, and then restarted engine. 2. the failure, how often, its consequences: The vehicle did not start due to a failure of, or a malfunction of, some component of the factory vehicle security system. It has happened a total of three times between the incident date and March 30, 2009. It only seems to occur when the temperature overnight hovers around freezing, or drops below freezing. The consequences of this failure for me have been minimal, but I was very fortunate in each instance to be parked in a safe place, where my prompt egress was not necessary. I am reporting this situation to the ODI because of the potential consequences of this failure occurring during normal driving - if I stall the engine in heavy traffic and am not able to restart for ten minutes until the security light stops flashing, I would be in a very dangerous situation, and my vehicle would present a significant hazard to other drivers. 3. what was done to correct: Nothing has been done to correct this failure, as my dealership has no current solution.

- Wake Forest, NC, USA

problem #4

Mar 152009


  • 44,325 miles
Unable to turn key in the off position of my 2005 Saturn Ion while the engine was running. Had to eventually unhook the battery to turn off the engine and have the car towed to a service station where they ended up breaking the key to remove it from the ignition and then replacing the entire ignition lock mechanism.

- Lima, NY, USA

problem #3

May 032008

Ion 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles


We have had this problem now going on the 3rd time with our Saturn Ion. No crank no start, like you cut the power off to the car. No gauges, no lights no emergency signals. There is a problem with the circuit board in the fuse box, it seems to break contact with in the area that controls this. The first time the dealer changed the part, 2nd time we had no warranty and had to pay $550. Now it has done it again. The first time my wife was driving home at night when it just shut off and there was no lights or emergency signals and she was on a dark highway.

- Newark, OH, USA

problem #2

Sep 052006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving 50 mph on an incline the vehicle lost power, the steering locked, and all of the lights on the instrument panel illuminated. The contact placed the vehicle in park, and was able to restart the vehicle. On four occasions the dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The failure mileage was 54, and the current mileage was 10,087. Updated 06/08/07

- New York, NY, USA

problem #1

Jul 302005

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5 miles
The contact stated vehicle stalled several times at highway speeds. There has been no warning prior to each incident. This was the fourth time she took vehicle to a dealer. Each time the dealership told her the problems was fixed. She did not know what repairs the dealership had done previously. She did not have any other problem with the vehicle. The vehicle is at the dealership now and has not been repaired. Updated 01/25/06.

- Maiami, FL, USA

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