Notes: When it comes to the 2006 Ion, the biggest questions are: what big problem is going to pop up next? And how long until GM chooses to address it?

The 2006 Ion has a defective ignition switch that gave owners fits. Their keys would get stuck in the ignition, the engine wouldn’t shut off or in some cases it would shut off at the most dangerous time. The ignition was eventually recalled as part of one of the largest recalls of all-time , but it took GM 10 years to do it. Then there’s this car’s temperamental power steering which is prone to stop working randomly while driving. It too was eventually recalled, even if GM took their sweet time about it.

Lastly, it turns out a car built with plastic doors, fenders and bumpers – while fun for a game of “shopping cart bocce” – is horrible for safety.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
51,904 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.

2006 Saturn Ion accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2006 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #10

Oct 192013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 72,500 miles


I recently experienced a malfunctioning door latch actuator. On two separate occasions, driver was trapped in the car because neither the interior or exterior door handle would actuate the door latch, opening the door. Exterior, interior manual, interior power and remote power locks were repeatedly actuated to no avail. Eventually, the door finally opened after using a hangar through the window cavity to bump one of the linkage arms. If there were an accident, this could pose a serious threat to a successful evacuation.

- Richmond Hill, GA, USA

problem #9

Aug 142011


  • 71,935 miles
Ignition stuck in "on" position, can't remove key.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #8

Jul 292011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 86,755 miles
2006 Saturn Ion 2, the key stuck in the ignition switch, in the run position. I could not shut the car off. I had to disengage the fuse from the ignition assembly to shut the car off. This problem, after much on-line research, is an issue with Saturn from 2005-2007. Most individuals who posted thier issues online noted that the repair, through the dealer, was in excess of $500. In addition, most individuals noted that they experienced the same problem, six months or more after replacing the the ignition lock cylinder, through thier dealership. Mechanics are noting that the assembly is faulty, in that each time the key is turned small bits of metal from the key are flaking off into the assembly, causing it to lock up, typically in the on position. Thankfully, for me, this incident occurred close to home. This vehicle is not under warranty and the repair will take replacement of the ignition lock assembly. This is something I will be doing myself, as I do not have the funds to take the vehicle to a dealership for repair. Given the number of complaints listed on-line through edmonds and other consumer complaint sites, I feel that Saturn/GM should be taking responsibility for the faulty parts and a recall should be issued. This poor engineering should not be an out of pocket expense for any consumer.

- Kettering, OH, USA

problem #7

Mar 142011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles


I have a 2006 Saturn Ion 3 that I purchased from a Saturn dealership in 2009. Today the car would not turn off. There was not a warning or any signs. The car was working 100% as normal, until it was not. For the third time today I turned the car on and drove to a destination. When I arrived at my destination I turned my car off. I went in to the store I was at to get an oil change. They pulled my car into the garage and the ignition would not turn off. The key was not able to be removed from the ignition switch (tumbler). The car would not turn off. I can not get the car to turn off without opening the engine compartment and then removing the #19 fuse from the engine fuse box. Then in order to kill the electrical system I have to disconnect the battery terminals. This is a problem that occurs every time I plug the fuse/battey back up. I did some research and found that while there are 100's of online complaints (that I read) and while some service departments acknowledge it as a known issue, GM has not issued a recall. I am about to dish out $500 for repairs that I believe should be covered under a recall. Do you have any suggestions for me?

- Lake Junaluska, NC, USA

problem #6

Aug 182010


  • miles
Yes a few months afo I financed a 2006 Saturn Ion level 3 since the first week having it have had nothing but problems including a major gas leak and severe gas fumes inside and outside the cab when running and not. The dealer had givin me nothing but lies and the fun around and attitude. Had been documented by an outside mechanic the car in unsafe to be on the roads and should never have passed inspection which the dealer did. I really need help. I know it's a good chance it's a flood car they sold me. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Huntsville , TX, USA

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problem #5

Oct 022010


  • 59,838 miles
We have a Saturn Ion 2006 which is now experiencing ignition issues. First the car would not stop running (hazard!) in my driveway. This was due to the key being stuck in the on position in the ignition! we had to allow it to run out of gas prior to finding the emergency key release that Saturn has noted. Now the car will not even start and when I called the customer service line, the response was hardly comforting. Looking online it appears that there are numerous complaints logging this issue. It appears that there are quite a few people that would like to pursue a class action lawsuit against Saturn/GM as there have been absolutely no investigations, recalls, or even an acknowledgement of said issue. This is the first time the ignition has caused us issues, but looking at the online complaints, it won't be the last. When will it be investigated" will it be investigated after an accident happens perhaps with my 2 children in the car? will it be classified as an urgent issue then" see how many people have had the issue below via the link embedded.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #4

Sep 142010


  • 50,000 miles


Vehicle was unable to be shut off, key was stuck in the ignition, I unhooked the battery and the vehicle was still running. This same vehicle had a recall on the fuel pump module and was leaking gas, had this occurred at the same time it would have been very unsafe for the car to have been running the entire time with a gas leak. Fortunately I had just repaired the fuel pump module 1 week prior to this issue with the ignition.

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #3

Apr 102010


  • 46,243 miles
Could not turn the car off, the key was stuck in the on position with the car still running, had to pull the spark plugs out to turn off the car and disconnect the battery to keep from draining due to being in the on position. The ignition lock cylinder was bound in the housing. Dealer replaced the ignition cylinder and housing, I don't know if they still have the old part.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #2

Aug 202005


  • 450 miles
Saturn Ion 2006 brand new had three days when cruise control would not engage.phoned dealer was told to stop and restart to fix problem.did not change.steering wheel began to lob side to side.took to dealership was told after diagnosis it was body mount.power steering prompt appeared after repair wwhile driving expressway power steering ceased working causing me to almost wreck.will not start until 10 minute delay.cannot drive anyway with manual steering.this problem is electrical.door locks will not open or lock is very dangerous and will not allow anyone to drive it.

- Rogers City, MI, USA

problem #1

Nov 242008


  • 56,322 miles
2nd occurrence - unable to move key of running vehicle from "run" to off. Had to remove fuse and disconnect battery to stop car. Still unable to remove key - dealer has to replace lock cylinder parts. Would not have been able to stop engine in the event of an emergency situation.

- Westminster, MD, USA

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