NHTSA — Steering: Electric Power Assist System 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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
52,788 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

problem #11

Aug 022011


  • miles


I have a Saturn Ion 05 and have had to replace the power steering once already and now having the same issue again. Also the turn signal on the front drivers side only works when my hazards or head lamps are on have tested all fuses and replaced bulb twice this is a commom complaint why isnt it being fixed?

- Bend, OR, USA

problem #10

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 #9

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 #8

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 #7

Feb 172010


  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering light illuminated, followed by a chime and a loss of power steering. The contact stated that in warm weather, the power steering failed more frequently. The dealer inspected the vehicle and stated that the electric power steering module was defective. The VIN was unavailable at the time of the complaint. The failure mileage was approximately 96,000. The current mileage was approximately 98,000.

- Maplewood, NJ, USA

problem #6

May 032010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving at 65 mph, the power steering light illuminated and the power steering malfunctioned. The contact shut off the vehicle and upon restart, the vehicle functioned properly. However, the failure occurred moments later. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who stated that the power steering motor failed. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The current and failure mileages were approximately 92,000. Updated 11/05/10 updated 11/05/10

- Nacogboches, TX, USA

problem #5

Apr 032010


  • 67,607 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact was driving approximately 55 mph when the power steering failed and the steering wheel became difficult to control. A chiming noise was inside of the vehicle prior to the power steering warning light illuminating. The dealer was notified and stated that the failure was identical to the recall on the 2006 Chevrolet cobalt for the electric power steering assist system. The contact was concerned about the safety risk involved. The failure mileage and current mileages were 37,607.

- Concord, NC, USA

problem #4

Jan 012010

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Saturn. Consumer states while traveling down the road unexpectedly the power steering would shut off. The consumer stated the problem was with the power steering assist motor and there was a recall for other models. The consumer stated his vehicle and the other models share the same part number, which would explain why experienced the same problem. The consumer stated the problem is extremely serious, because it is difficult to steer in manual mode with no power steering.

- East Lansing, MI, USA

problem #3

Aug 152009

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 35,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving at 55 mph when changing lanes, the power steering light illuminated and the power steering locked up. He pulled over to the side of the road and turned the vehicle off and then on. The vehicle then drove normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where he purchased it, and they stated that it was the steering mechanism that over heats and shuts off. There were no repairs done to the vehicle. The contact stated that this occurs every time he drives the vehicle. The failure mileage was 35000 and current mileage was 36000. Updated 04/01/10. The consumer stated the power steering failed when the vehicle was driven for a long period of time. Updated 06/10/10

- Warwick, NY, USA

problem #2

May 012007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles
The power steering on my 2005 Saturn Ion completely stopped working right at about 37000, right after the warranty expired. I tried to have it fixed, but it's a new technology Saturn implemented, (state of the art electronic power steering system), and it will cost $1100 to fix it. My car is fairly new still, and Saturn Corp. Refuses to meet with me in the middle on the cost. Without power steering, my car is unsafe to drive, and driving to work and back is a real challenge, and a dangerous challenge, but I cannot afford the cost of fixing it. ***Saturn service advisor admitted to me that lots of the Ions are having this problem.***

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #1

Apr 072007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 63,000 miles
Power steering failed.

- Centerville, OH, USA

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