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 8 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #102

Apr 102010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles


Pulling out of parking lot and the power steering went out. Now, everytime I start my car the power steering last for about 10 seconds and then it goes out.

- Ruston, LA, USA

problem #101

Jul 112010


  • 139,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while driving at various speeds, the power steering assist would fail. The power steering warning alarm would sound, the warning light would illuminate and the steering wheel would become extremely tight. The dealer advised that the electronic power assist module was failing and would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 139,000 and the current mileage was 141,000.

- Ridge, NY, USA

problem #100

Jul 112010


  • 140,148 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving at approximately 35 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the dashboard and the steering wheel immediately locked. The vehicle was shut off and when restarting, the vehicle resumed normal operation. The dealer advised there was a failure within the power steering motor. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 140,148. Updated 09/29/10.

- Ridge, NY, USA

problem #99

Jul 132010

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles


While driving I heard a bell go off in the dash and then lost control of my steering wheel and almost crashed because I could not turn the wheel. I coasted over to the side of the road, where I noticed a light which was on "power steering". so I attempted to get back on the road to drive the rest of the way home. Car is not drivable in this condition.

- Howell, NJ, USA

problem #98

Apr 112008


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated when traveling at any speed, the power steering would fail causing the steering wheel to become extremely difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the contact was informed that the power steering motor would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not serviced and there were no prior warnings of the failure. The failure mileage was 60,000 and the current mileage was 72,000.

- Tucson , AZ, USA

problem #97

Mar 102010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 34,000 miles
Dear sir/madam, this complaint is actually not about a repair per SE, but about the way Saturn handled my case. - the fault: Power steering assist motor broke in mid-drive, leaving the car almost maneuverable - I called Saturn's customer service to enquire what to do - Saturn told me that they are aware of this issue and actually have a recall for the same power steering assist motor for several other GM models. - Saturn explicitly said over the phone 'we will take care of it', and that they would pick up most or all of the charge - Saturn told me to get the issue repaired at stewart automotive group in colma, ca, which I did - the repair was $750 for a car that is worth less than $5000! - a week later Saturn called again and said that they would not cover the repair cost anymore. - they refused to comment on the promise made by Saturn the week before - I called several times and tried to get them to pick up some of the charge because this is likely to be a manufacturing defect, but was unsuccessful. - I am now stuck with the charge. The car works now, but I am still hoping for a recall. - I specifically want to point out that stewart automotive seemed very annoyed about the change of mind by Saturn, but said that they cannot do anything about this, they are only an authorized service/dealer. So this complaint is about Saturn, not stewart automotive. Please get Saturn to do a recall on the Saturn Ion-1 (mine is a 2005 model). [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #96

Jul 042010


  • miles


Electrical power assist systems fails while driving both at highway and rural road speeds. Driver has to pull of to the side of the road and restart the vehicle. Same eps on the NHTSA campaign number 10V073000 currently under recall.

- Miamisburg, OH, USA

problem #95

Jun 182010


  • 80,000 miles
Power steering fails after a few minutes of driving.

- Prior Lake, MN, USA

problem #94

Jun 282010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
I was driving home and all of a sudden my steering wheel locked up. My car kept blinking "pwr str" on the dash board. It has happened 3 time in the past 2 days. Luckily, when this has happened so far I was close to the side of the road so I didn't cause an accident or anything. There is nothing I can do to repair this, except to spend thousands of dollars to replace the entire engine and parts.

- Miamisburg, OH, USA

problem #93

May 122010


  • 70,000 miles
2005 Ion coupe - power steering light comes on and steering becomes hard to turn. Comes on after a few seconds in driving. Steering is hard to turn similar to manual steering.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #92

Apr 012010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 47,801 miles


Power steering outage 2005 Saturn Ion.

- Kingsland, GA, USA

problem #91

Jun 262010


  • 32,500 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving at approximately 70 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the dashboard and the steering wheel became extremely stiff. The vehicle was pulled over and upon restarting, the vehicle operated as normal. The failure continued to recur intermittently as the contact took the vehicle directly to a local repair facility. The mechanic advised he would not be able to make repairs to the vehicle because it potentially was under recall. The manufacturer advised there was not a recall for his vehicle or the failure. The vehicle was not serviced. The failure and current mileages were 32,500.

- Brownsville, TX, USA

problem #90

Jun 072010


  • 45,200 miles
2005 Saturn Ion keeps losing power steering as I drive. The wheel turns very hard and requires aggressive strength to turn it. It happens every day and I get the message in the dash "pwr str" then my powersteering shuts off. Its an electric motor connected to the steering wheel. It is the same part number and assembly as the 06-07 cobalt, Pontiac G5 etc. Recall. They have the same system. GM recalled those but left out Saturn. I went in for diagnosis and it is a $1,200 repair. GM recalled the same part number motor and same system on other cars. This is unfair and very unsafe. I have heard it is a normal thing for these electric motors to be going out left and right on all cars that have them but only some get recalled not all.... I am unhappy and can't drive my car safely I have to carpool now.

- Tulare, CA, USA

problem #89

Dec 232009


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving at approximately 15 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated followed by a loss of power steering assist. The contact stated it became extremely difficult to maintain steering control. The engine was shut off and when restarting, the vehicle resumed normal steering operation. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer to be examined for the cause of failure. The failure persisted intermittently at any traveled speed and any length of time. The failure mileage was 90,000 and the current mileage was 113,000.

- Beavercreek, OH, USA

problem #88

Jun 222010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
I was driving on the interstate at approximately 70 mph, when the power steering message appeared accompanied by a warning "ding." My power steering was completely gone. When I turned the car off and on again, the problem was remedied. However, I did not feel safe driving it, so I took it to get diagnosed and serviced. The service technician was unable to identify the problem and said no codes were registering, not even in the history. I read that GM has an open recall on their cobalts, which use the same motor system as the Saturn Ions. When I called GM to make my complaint, I was told there was no open recall, even though this problem is the same as what is happening to the cobalts.

- Shelbyville, KY, USA

problem #87

Jun 062010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Power steering suddenly fails while driving. Nearly hit a car when it went out and was difficult to steer. Started happening intermittently at approximately 40,000 miles last year (2009). Pull car over to side of road and shut off then turn on and power steering is back on. This is happening while driving straight down road. Now we have 53,000 miles (June 2010) and it is happening almost every time we are driving the car. We are very concerned about our safety. Should be recalled.

- Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #86

Sep 042009

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving at approximately 65 mph, the power steering failed and the vehicle became very difficult to steer. The power steering warning light illuminated on the dashboard. The vehicle was pulled over and turned off. The vehicle resumed normal operation when restarted. The vehicle was not diagnosed. The failure recurred nine months later. The vehicle has not been repaired or diagnosed. The failure mileage was 30,000 and the current mileage was 48,217. Updated 10/28/10. The consumer stated she was reimbursed. Updated 10/28/10

- Carson City, NV, USA

problem #85

Jun 112010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
No crashes or injuries. My power steering keeps going 'out'. one time I will drive and it will be fine, I'll start it up an hour or so later and boom for whatever reason the P.S. light is on and I have no P.S.. from what I've been able to find out, the same ps 'column' that was also installed in a few other GM cars were recalled, but, for whatever reason the Saturn Ion was not? this has been going on for about a week. I am taking it to Saturn for a diagnostics test on mon. I am also hoping that Saturn can 'clear the codes' if this is just an electrical/computer problem. If not, it seems to me they should honor the recall set out to the other consumers for the same problem!. I bought the car brand new in 2005. It has been a great car otherwise.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #84

Mar 102007

Ion 4-cyl

  • 33,750 miles
2005 Saturn power steering going out shut car of start it resets steers with assist for a while it`S the same part number that is on cobalts that are recalled along with 3 other cars this is dangerous my wife is disabled and they want $900 to fix it and wont sell me the part because its a recall part being saved for recalls this is bs the car was back to selling dealership 3 times with cant duplicate said at first was every so often no its every time I drive it.

- Irving, TX, USA

problem #83

Jul 162009


  • 75,000 miles
My electronic power steering assist stops functioning at any point in time.

- Stanford, KY, USA

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