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:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,377 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2005 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 5 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #162

Dec 162011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles


Power steering keeps failing on and off during turns at all speeds.

- Olympia, WA, USA

problem #161

Nov 152011


  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The steering wheel seized and became difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer for a diagnostic test and the technician stated that the power steering motor would have to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. There was an open investigation under NHTSA action number: EA11014 (steering:electric power assist system), that may be related to the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 48,000.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #160

Dec 032011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 37,300 miles
The first time it went off was when we were entering a highway. The electric alarm went off and then I found the steering was not working. It was dangerous and very hard to pull over when cars behind are accelerating to get into the highway traffic. After a restart, everything seemed okay. Then on our way back home the same thing happened for 4 or 5 times. We had to drive in the right lane at a low speed to give ourselves enough space for safty.

- Belmont, CA, USA

problem #159

Feb 012011

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles


The power steering on this car repeatedly fails. As soon as you start the car the power steering light comes on making it extremely difficult to maneuver the car.

- Clayton, NC, USA

problem #158

Nov 242011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 53,008 miles
I had been driving approx. 2 hours of a 11 hour trip when I saw a message replace the odometer about the power steering. I left I95 using exit 98 and pulled over in a gas station. The manual stated that the power steering was electric, so no steering fluid to check. I restarted the car and magically the problem was fixed and my trip odometer was magically set to zero. I drove around the frontage road and everything seemed fine so I continued on my way. 22 miles later the same thing happened. I took the next exit, shut the car off, restarted it and magically again it was fixed with no reset of the trip odometer. Again I continued on my trip only to have it happen again 23 miles later, at which point I repeated the stopping/restarting procedure and turned around headed for home. While driving home it happened two more times, then once more in the driveway when I was backing up. So a total of 6 times within a 5 hour period and no prior history (since I've owned it) of this problem. I purchased this car used from a dealer May 28 2011 with approx. 46500 miles. The only other problem I've had is the key not wanting to come out of the ignition after I've turned the car off; after I put the gear shift into reverse then back into park, the key will come out; sometimes I can hear a clicking sound when the ignition switch fixes itself and then the key will come out, also.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #157

Nov 162011


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact was driving 35 mph when the power steering failed while the contact was making a left turn. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer and the manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileages were 130,000.

- Encino, CA, USA

problem #156

Jun 132011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 83,712 miles


On 6/13/11, when I was leaving for work I started my car and immediately my pwrstr message came up on the dashboard and could not hardly turn the wheel. Called the dealership cause I received a bulletin letter. I brought the car in on 6/14/11, they said they put in a new ps motor. On 11/6/11 the pwr str came up again. I brought the car back to them on 11/7/11, they said I needed a new steering column and cost was $897.which they said they replaced. On 11/15/11, the same message appeared and could not steer the wheel. This is after supposedly they replaced the ps motor and steering column. Going back today 11/16/11, to see what crap they are going to tell me.why does this keep on happening?? GM needs to fix the problem not put a band aid on it, before something serious happens, and evidently they are not. By the way how do I know they are actually doing the repairs, if the problem keeps coming back and the service advisor is so mean. Please help!! there is a very big problem with these cars and we & are families are being put at risk every time we drive them.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #155

Nov 072011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
I was driving my 2005 Saturn Ion at 50 mph on a highway when the power steering warning alarm sounded and the instrument panel displayed power steering failure. I was able to pull over to the side of the road. I turned of the engine and raised the hood to check the fuses. The fuses were good, so I restarted the car and the power steering display was clear. I drove a few more miles and the same thing happened again. After some research I have discovered this is a common failure on Saturn Ion and other GM vehicles with electric power steering. This could be very dangerous for many drivers when this happens without warning! it is harder to steer the slower you drive.

- Honey Grove, TX, USA

problem #154

Nov 032011

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
Electric power steering problems. Pwr str message.

- Jackson, OH, USA

problem #153

Oct 172011


  • 27,484 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while driving 5 mph and at a stand still, the power steering failed. The contact called a mechanic who referred her to NHTSA because they were not sure of what the failure was. The dealer nor manufacturer were notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 27,484.

- Reading, PA, USA

problem #152

Oct 052011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 103,000 miles


Power steering failed while driving. Created dangerous situation because of difficulty in maneuvering.

- Bowling Green, KY, USA

problem #151

Jun 102011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 32,223 miles
Lost of power steering started some time in 2009, I have no record of the date, but in one of the incidents 06/10/2011 I took a picture of the dashboard showing the date and message on the speedometer. I restarted the engine every time this happen to get it back to power steering.then I had a situation when I lost speed as I was traveling on a city avenue. The car lost speed when I was traveling around 35 mph, it made a alarm or warning sound and drop down to 10mph and I could not get back to 35mph, I stop the car and I restarted the engine, that was the only way it would recover the power on the engine. It happens two or three times in one month.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #150

Aug 012011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 64,300 miles
My power steering keeps going out, the light comes on and I loose powersteering. If I shut it off and turn it back on the light goes off and I have steering again. It used to only happen like once a week, now it happens multiple times in one day.

- Yankton, SD, USA

problem #149

Aug 282011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 103,300 miles
My 2005 Ion lost power steering at 45mph. Pulled over and shut it off then it came back. Been hearing reports that his happens to a lot of these cars. Really don't have the money to fix it as it seem to be expensive. If I had known, I wouldn't have bought the car. Hope a recall is on it, cause this could be dangerous.

- Barneveld, NY, USA

problem #148

Aug 182011


  • 57,000 miles
When attempting to turn a corner the electronic power assist steering did not respond and the vehicle continued to travel straight instead of turning the corner. This resulted in striking the median and a tree leaving me facing on coming traffic. Fortunately there was no on coming traffic.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #147

Aug 022005

Ion 4-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
Saturn 2005 Ion 3 with intermittent low power light and function and loss of power steering goes out while driving.after turning car off turn back on and light for low power off and power steering light off resumes normally...happening more frequent have seen numerous complaints online, contacted Saturn and to go to dealer for diagnostic test which have had in past with no codes??/shouldn't be my expense and recall for my model should be issued.

- Hiollywood, FL, USA

problem #146

May 272011


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering assist would independently deactivate at any time. The dealer diagnosed that the steering column would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 90,000 and the current mileage was 94,000.

- Laurel, DE, USA

problem #145

Jul 162011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
Alert sounds along with "pwr str" message. Power steering fails. This occurred during both city and interstate driving. Seems more frequent in warmer weather. Power steering resets and works fine when car is switched off and back on again. Mechanic checked on the issue and found the module that controls the electric steering system to be faulty, requiring replacement of steering column.

- Harrison, OH, USA

problem #144

Jun 212011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 119,060 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering light would illuminate on the instrument panel while driving at various speeds. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the power steering module was defective and needed to be repaired. The manufacturer was also notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 119,060 and the current mileage was 102,000..updated 09/15/11 the consumer stated the power steering was replaced at no charged.updated 09/26/11

- Rockford, IL, USA

problem #143

Jun 262011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
I own a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving 60 mph the powersteering light comes on and the power steering malfunctions. The vehicle is becomes very difficult to drive when the power steering goes out. Have to shut the vehicle off and restart it for the power steering system to work properly. Called the dealer regarding the power steering and the dealer stated there are no open recalls on the vehicle at this time. Have appt with dealer on Thursday for repair. This has happened on the interstate twice an on regular roadways twice in last month. Have approx. 70,000 on car.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

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