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 1 of 13)

problem #242

Oct 232016


  • 75,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the steering wheel failed became hard to turn while driving in reverse. The power steering indicator illuminated. The contact was able to restart the engine and resume normal steering function. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the power steering pump needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000.

- Palos, IL, USA

problem #241

Apr 202016


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 30 mph, the power steering seized and the power steering warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the electric power steering motor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V153000 (steering). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The approximate failure mileage was 115,000.

- Takoma, WA, USA

problem #240

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 #239

Jan 142016


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. When the vehicle was started, the power steering light illuminated. The contact turned off and restarted the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Rockford, IL, USA

problem #238

Dec 172015


  • 135,000 miles
Absolutely abysmal customer service experience with orange Buick GMC orlando. I had them do two recalls on my '05 Saturn: The ignition switch (which was giving me problems due to the passlock system), and the electric steering assist (which I'd had _zero_ problems with prior, it was done as a precaution). After the steering motor was replaced, I started having intermittent power steering codes on startup with no assist (turning the car off then on clears it). They replaced the motor again. Problem still occurs. Now they're saying the steering column is suspect, it's not covered under the recall, and they won't do anything about it. How funny that the column would have been touched by their techs for both the motor and ignition replacements.

- Gotha, FL, USA

problem #237

Nov 052015


  • 177,482 miles
The car was driven to Chevrolet and repairs were done but car would not start, we were told it had a bad computor and was given the option to purchase a 1600 dollar unit from Chevrolet, we did not have the funds. We got a computor after the told us this was not a related issue. Then towed it back for a third to to be to its not under warranty. We dont have money for an attorney and Chevrolet and Saturn refuses to correct there srew up. We drove the vehical in and they want us to to pull it out we dont know what to do.

- Homestead, FL, USA

problem #236

Oct 252015


  • 116,000 miles


The car was fueled up, when it was being started it had great difficulty. Once it was running, it was driven and a right turn was made, then all gauges died. The check engine light, the airbag light and the "pwr str" massage remained on. The car was pulled over to the side of the road and turned the ignition switch to the off position the three indicators remained on and the car refused for about two minutes before turning off.

- Cleveland, WI, USA

problem #235

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 #234

Sep 282015


  • 78,000 miles
Power steering completely failed while car was moving. No warning lights came on.

- Pittsford, NY, USA

problem #233

May 152014


  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle hesitated upon turning the key in the ignition and an abnormal noise was present. The contact had to turn the vehicle off and reset the computer by restarting the vehicle each time the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a manufacturer recall and they repaired the vehicle for the ignition switch failure. The contact also noticed strong fumes emitting from outside and inside the vehicle and it idled roughly. The dealer did not diagnose the fuel system failure. The vehicle was also included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V153000 (steering) months ago and was unable to determine when the recall repair would be performed. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The approximate failure mileage was 200,000.

- Carson City, NV, USA

problem #232

Feb 172015


  • miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. While driving various speeds, the vehicle stalled without warning. In addition, the power steering failed to operate once the vehicle was restarted. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V171000 (electrical system) and 14V153000 (steering); however, the parts to do the repair were unavailable. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Bennettsville , SC, USA

problem #231

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 #230

May 012014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
Took my Saturn 2005 to integrity Chevrolet in chattanooga, tn 4235359455 according to instructions on recall letter (13454) and received a rental (was told it could take weeks ) 2 days later got a message that my car was miraculously fixed. Josh baugh stated my car was ready and repaired.confused, went to get my car and upon arriving at my home, the key wouldn't come out of the ignition again.contacted josh baugh again and he said to bring the car by when I got a chance.received a call from GM stating the part for my car was in and to bring the car to be repaired.was just told by the wonderful dealership car was repaired. Took my car back and no repairs had been done.they lied. Left my car again and about a week later they call and I go to pick it up.told me the battery was dead I needed to buy another one I dont think so because they were the ones that ran the battery down by leaving the key in the ignition (I just happened to stop by got something out of my car a day after I left it opened the door there was the key still stuck in the ignition.I also submitted receipts in June of 2014 for ignition replacement for the same car. No response resubmitted receipts Dec 2014 josh baugh email needed the original receipts.February 5th 2015 took the receipts and said the receipts needed to have the VIN # but they could see it had my name and 2005 Saturn and the ignition had to replaced by lock and key comp because key was stuck and run battery down (at 10:30 at night)they could write the VIN # in for me. To my surprise (not really) a message the reimbursement couldn't be done because wasn't a VIN # on receipt its not like we are all trying to get reimbursed for something we didn't pay for or some government bailout!I am contacting you to let you know this dealership lied and continues to try to prevent customers from receiving the promises of the recall.

- Ringgold, GA, USA

problem #229

Dec 062011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
I was driving my car and a deer ran out in front of me, I was able to miss that one but another one came out and I hit it. It hit so hard and my steering was hard like a car without power steering and the brakes were like that too. The airbags did not deploy nor did the safety belts catch me and my granddaughter. It did $3500 worth of damage to my car and my head slammed up against the driver window, my granddaughter was in her carseat but I had it in the front seat so it released the carseat. She had bruises and a black eye, and now 3 years later, that same eye is causing her problems seeing. Everyday I feel so bad because she was in my Saturn that night. People asked me over and over what about your airbags, etc. I never knew what to say until I started getting the recalls and realized what GM had known all along about my ignition. This year my car got stuck in the run position and I called the dealership and was told they were gone for the day. I unhooked the battery cables and the car still would not turn off. Finally after total disgust, all of a sudden the antifreeze overflow tank lid popped off and shot antifreeze everywhere, it just barely missed my granddaughter and myself. The dealership coyle Chevrolet of clarskville in came and picked up the car, and in the process ripped the wind shield for the sunroof off, and called me to tell me my car now had a noise in the lower end of the engine and it would be $600 and up. They test drove it, and told me there was no antifreeze in it. I had already told them what happened. GM and coyle both say sorry the ignition is the original reason for the engine that is now locked up after I was told I had to come get it or I would be charged a storage fee locked up on me on the expressway home. That was in September and I still have nothing and they won't help.

- Corydon, IN, USA

problem #228

Dec 222014


  • 99,700 miles
GM sent a recall notice for the power steering motor failing so I took the car in for service. ( 2005 Saturn Ion 2 ) up until replacing the motor we hadn't had any problems. Within three days of replacing the motor the power steering went out while driving through a parking lot. Now the GM dealer wants $900 to replace the module in the steering column. This is a dangerous problem. If the power steering goes out while changing lanes or turning around a corner and you unexpectedly lose the power steering you could very easily wreck. I've looked through the NHTSA complaints and this isn't an isolated issue. Other power steering motor replacements have power steering module failures soon after the motor replacement. It's time for NHTSA to demand GM issue a recall for this obvious dangerous condition.

- Ogden, UT, USA

problem #227

Nov 192014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
I took my car in for a recall on the steering and the said they replaced the electric steering motor. It still had no steering. The GM dealer said it was $58 to tell me what was wrong, the dealer came back and said that it was the steering module was bad. GM customer service says the module is covered but the GM dealer wont replace it because they say that the module is part of the steering column and its on covered for the steering column. I have been going round and round for 30 days and no avail. I need some help. I am sending this for my step-daughter [xxx] who is the owner. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Lutz, FL, USA

problem #226

Dec 082014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Ion. The contact received a notification for NHTSA campaign number: 14V153000 (steering) and stated that the parts needed for the repair were not available. The dealer provided an unreasonable timeframe to schedule the recall repair. The manufacturer was contacted and could not provide a reasonable timeframe for when the vehicle would receive the recall repairs. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Blasdell, NY, USA

problem #225

Sep 012010


  • 40,000 miles
Key becomes stuck in the accessory position after turning vehicle off, approximately 90% of the time I drive it. When this occurs, I have two options: Allow the battery to be drained and jumpstart the next time I use my car, or attempt to locate the manual release inside the steering column. I've had the recall maintenance done on my car, and it did not fix the problem. GM told me that I would need to have the gear shifter assembly replaced (cost to be paid by me). In the meantime, they suggested that I continue to release the key manually. Every time I use my car, I feel unsafe - I am putting myself at risk of electrocution constantly, whether by jumpstarting the dead battery or manipulating the wires under the steering column. GM is aware of this issue and taking no steps to fix it, much like the other ignition/power steering problems they willingly ignored.

- Valley Village, CA, USA

problem #224

Jun 012012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Started with the ignition switch, in the winter time the car wouldn't start when it was too cold. The security system icon would come on an I would have to wait for about 10 to 15 minutes so the car could start again. This went on for few years during winter time. No recalls back then. Then the power steering light started coming on, the steering wheel would lock making it very hard to turn or maneuver. Happened on highway or regular streets. Brought the car in to dealer on July 2013 and they replaced the power steering motor per their "special policy". the car got worst instead of better since then. The power steering light would come on an now the whole electrical system keep going crazy. The monitor would blink and show power steering words, the side lights would come on an blinked by itself. The dealer said we would have to replace the steering column which would cost me around $1000 to replace. I couldn't afford that and there were no recalls back then. Also the car would start to shake when I would press on the gas pedal an go from 10 to 20 to 30 miles. The monitor gauges would move by itself while driving. There was also a sound coming from the gear box as if the car was changing gears by itself. Brought to a private mechanic which didn't charge me to diagnose and he said beside power steering the cars computer may need to be replaced. That would cost me another $1000. I decided to stop driving the car altogether afraid I would get into an accident and could afford to pay for more repairs. A year later brought in the car to dealer to have the ignition switch be replaced with the recall and told them about the power steering problems had continued. They said there was no recall on my car for that. They said if I wanted they would charge me $119 or so to diagnose the car and any repairs I would have to pay out of pocket. Still safety issues they choose to ignore!!

- Mamaroneck, NY, USA

problem #223

Aug 222014


  • 88,000 miles
My car wouldn't start due to a related ignition switch issue that is also part of a general GM recall. The next day we went to give the car a jump start. It started up, but immediately I noticed the power steering was out making it very difficult to drive, especially at slower speeds!!!

- Maitland, FL, USA

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