Key Stuck In Ignition

2006 Saturn Ion (Page 1 of 2)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Saturn dealer. Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague 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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
56,700 miles
Total Complaints:
31 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace ignition cylinder (19 reports)
  2. not sure (12 reports)
  3. removed computer chip (1 reports)
2006 Saturn Ion accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2006 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

Jul 222011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles


Went on vacation to Colorado Springs. Went to my cousin's house and the key wouldn't turn into off position to release the key and car was still running. A man down the street who was a mechanic assisted on unhooking the battery in the trunk. Had to hook up the battery to drive it to a dealership in Colorado Springs and since we didn't have an appointment spent the whole day waiting to have it fixed. The parts inside the steering column were broken. Since I didn't have cash or money in the bank to cover the expenses I had to use my Discover card which cost me interest. $600 didn't fix the problem.

The key still, after all this time, will not go into off position. I have to (car is still running) turn the key back in on position apply brake put car back in gear and in park while I am turning the steering wheel. I turn the key and it locks and after a few times repeating and I hear a click and then turn the key and it releases. Something is terribly wrong and I only have 26,300 miles on it now. The reason my mileage is low is because I have a 2000 Ford Explorer. If I am afraid to take the Saturn I take the Explorer.

- Roy W., Newcastle, OK, US

problem #30

Jul 102014

Ion V.6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

After driving my 2006 Saturn Ion throughout the day on Monday the key locked in the ignition when I went to turn the engine off. After contacting the GM dealer, who had just charged us $1400 to replace the frozen air compressor and ripped serpentine belt 3 days before, we were told to disconnect the battery in order to turn the car off or leave it with them. Fearing another absorbent charge, we tried doing that, but it didn't work. The car kept running. Another mechanic told us to disconnect the distributor cap. Funny we couldn't find one. The car would not turn off. Finally a neighbor who is a fire fighter came over and got it turned off. It is 4 days later and the key is still stuck in the ignition, even though the gear shift is in lock mode.

Does anyone have any idea what is wrong or how to fix it, without paying a fortune for a vehicle that was initially recalled in Arizona and "hot states" in 2006-2007?

I have had several major problems with the vehicle.

- rclemons, Manassas, VA, US

problem #29

Dec 022011

Ion Ion 3 Sedan

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

Key stuck in ignition, car running. Sometimes the key won't come out of the ignition. Why isn't this a recall? I see that many other owners are having the same problem.

- Peggy M., Lemon Grove, CA, US

problem #28

Feb 012012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles


Key has been getting stuck in ignition for quite some time. It has been getting worse over the past few months. Car only has 41,000 miles but the power steering has gone out recently and the fuel pump was leaking. Both of those issues were covered under special warrantee but the ignition issue hasn't been addressed by GM. Don't want to spend the money now since I am planning on getting rid of this car asap after reading all of the complaints here.

Update from Apr 15, 2014: Key continued getting stuck in ignition. Contacted General Motors to ask about safety recall and was told there was no recall. Finally sold the car due to this issue.

- Jennifer H., Fishkill, NY, US

problem #27

Oct 152011


  • Manual transmission
  • 86,000 miles

Thankfully, my brother is a mechanic and walked me through shutting the car off without issue. This is a temporary quick fix!!!!! Remove the column cover on the steering wheel, then unplug the green plug. There should be 2 pieces that cover the steering column(top/bottom). You only need to remove the bottom. This way it won't look obvious that you are having issues with the car cosmetically!!! This will turn the engine off and you wont have to unplug the fuse under the hood or tamper with the battery. I was able to remove the key while still in the on position.. I did this for about six months before replacing the ignition lock cylinder and key that I purchased from a pick-a-parts for $100. For now just; remove the grey plastic cover that surrounds your key switch and unplug the green wired harness that plugs into your steering column. Hope this helps!!!!

- rwatson33, Houston, TX, US

problem #26

Jul 222012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

The key seemed to stick a little bit before, but a few days ago, it legit completely got stuck and my car wouldn't turn off. The key is still hanging out in the ignition because it won't budge to take it out. Luckily, I can still turn the car on, but in order for it to turn off, I have to take the fuse out for the battery. It's a huge pain and I am afraid I am going to spend a few hundred of dollars only to have something else happen to this POS. I cannot wait to get a different car!

- Colleen J., Lafayette, IN, US

problem #25

Jun 132006


  • Automatic transmission
  • 26 miles


Had the new 2006 Saturn Ion for one day. Returned from lunch & key was stuck in ignition. Engine shut off, but key stuck. Dealer sent out woman w/loaner car & they towed mine back to dealership. Dealer said it was fixed & returned it to me that day. A few weeks later, at night in a mall parking lot, when I tried to start the car the key froze, then turned, I was able to drive home. Next day the key got stuck in the ignition, could't pull it out. It did start & I drove it to the dealer. Missed a day of work while the dealer had to get a new ignition to install. A few months later I was in a parking lot, inserted the key but it was difficult to turn to start. Did drive home, parked in driveway but could not turn off the engine! Dealership was closed. I used OnStar to call for help. OnStar called a California dealer to ask what to do. CA dealer said they never heard of such a thing (I found out later GM knew exactly what was happening). OnStar called a local tow place. When they arrived they disconnected a fuse to stop the engine, then towed it to the Dealership. I got a ride to the Dealer the next day & would not allow them to lie again.

No one wanted to talk to me but I wouldn't leave. Finally a mechanic took me aside to say the ignitions installed in the new Saturns were "re-manufactured" aka "used" and

they internal parts were breaking when the key was turned and it was happening a lot.

I insisted the dealership install, at their cost, a new ignition and I wanted to see the box it came in. It finally was repaired correctly. The problem qualified for the state's Lemon Law, but the dealership somehow "lost" the file on my car. I WILL NEVER, EVER BUY ANOTHER GM VEHICLE. GM DEALERS ARE LIARS.

- May M., Huntsville, AL, US

problem #24

Sep 092011

Ion 3

  • Manual transmission
  • 60,000 miles

This was a pain. Had to get the cylinder from the dealer, get it keyed by my local locksmith and install. Was not too expensive, but was just a pain to drive all over town.

- sw98, Cibolo, TX, US

problem #23

Jul 222011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,244 miles

Went to the grocery store on Sunday,put car in park and went to turn key-NO drove back home and neighbor pulled fuse to stop car. Monday morning put fuse in car starts fine. Bring it to a dealer can't fix it cause the Cylinder needs to be rebuilt by a GM dealer. I called GM very nice and gives me a case number and On Wednesday bringing Car to new place. I told GM this should not happen to a car that has only 36,000 miles. I will let you know what happens and I hope GM helps me out so I don't have to pay for this. Their are no recalls on Saturn ION so that is good. I just had a Oil change and I stay on top of that. This is my second Saturn and I am sad that they are out of business for my local one was great!

- Kathy E., Eatontown, NJ, US

problem #22

Jul 152011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,500 miles

Dealer wants $600 to fix this sounds like alot where else can I get it fixed and has it happened to others?

- ewald, Boca Raton, FL, US

problem #21

Dec 222010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,432 miles


This was crazy ,I never heard of anyone's key being stuck in the ignition and unable to shut your car off ,I actually showed my boss (cause I didn't think anyone would believe me) before I took it to the local dealer where they acted like they never saw this happen,sure, after 4 hours and $374.79 I got my car back ,Merry Christmas to me and my family,I even ask the dealer if I got a X-mas discount, no way ,the entire thing sucked,

- direland, Philipsburg, PA, US

problem #20

Nov 062010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

This is the second time this has happened, the last time being six months ago. The key is stuck in the on position. Last time, this problem cost me $535. We'll see what happens this time...

- Joe L., Oviedo, FL, US

problem #19

May 182010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,804 miles

When I went to park, the key was just stuck in the on position. I drove across the street to a tire shop and they told me that I needed to go to a dealership because of the ignition computer programming.

I went to a Chevy dealership, since Saturn is out of business. It's a shame, the Saturn people always treated me well and were way more honest then these Chevy hustlers. He said this was rare but gave me a verbal price without even checking a computer. But this isn't about that.

In the end I needed a new ignition switch and new keys made at the tune of $535.69. I wish this were the end of the story but six months later, it happened again...

- Joe L., Oviedo, FL, US

problem #18

Aug 022010


  • Manual transmission
  • 53,000 miles

So i'm picking my son up from school. I try to turn my car off, but the key was stuck, i thought maybe I didn't put in neutral, so I checked it a half a dozen times. I ask one parent if they could see if maybe they could try and remove the key. Thinking maybe i was doing something wrong, no victory. I had to call my family to come help me. They watch the running car, unable to turn off , while i went inside to pick up my son. Drove home hoping maybe the drive would loosen the key, no luck. I had to stall the car to turn if off. put in the shop the next day and it's been there for two months. The machanic is having problems many problems with the repairs, in the meantime me and my children have been on the bus borrowing my family members cars. I'm fed up. They can have the car , i will turn it back in. This should have been recalled. I see so many camplaints about the same problem, thought i was the only one.

- Tracey B., Gardena, CA, US

problem #17

Sep 142010


  • Manual transmission
  • 54,000 miles

The car won't shut off even after disconnecting the battery. I had to call a locksmith to repair it. This is absolutely ridicoulous! Especially now that I know it is a problem for many Ion owners. I essentially was searching to see if there was a recall and then found this site and realized quickly that we are screwed. This of course right after we just had a recall on a fuel module, that was fixed late last year, now I am waiting on the reimbursment for that.

GM was the bread and butter of our household as a child, and I have always tried to remain loyal, but after this fiasco that may be difficult.

- Nicole M., Phoenix, AZ, US

problem #16

Aug 312010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,377 miles

I have nothing but problems with this car since I bought it. I started the car this morning and it wouldnt turn off. The key was stuck in the ignition and Midas had to pull the fuse and yank the key out which broke and got stuck. Had to make new keys also with an new igition. Only took 9 hours to do because its a part that is not readily available. Fairly new car for something like this to go already. Never had this problem occur in all the cars I've had. Very bad investment in buying this Saturn. Never again. They should have a recall on this part and many others!! I have placed 2 recall parts already and much more.

- slopez, Auburn, MI, US

problem #15

Jul 272010

Ion 3 2.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I am so pissed!!!!!! I can not turn off my ignition switch on my 2006 Saturn Ion 3 of which I purchased brand new in 2006. I had to have the battery cable and the switch on the board underneath the trunk in order to shut the dang thing off. Just a few months before I had to have the Throttle Body Bore replace because the dang thing would shut off when ever I slow down, come to a stop , or moved the mother**! out of park or drive. It cost me a pretty penny just to have it replace and now I am afraid to take it to the assign dealership for Saturn in my area due to pricing. I am a single mother with one income coming in. I can't afford this!! Especially since school is around the corner.

- tangzanikao, Mobile, AL, US

problem #14

Oct 162009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

this problem happened 4 times and it needs to be recalled. the ignition has been replaced 4 times since I brought my car in 2005

- April D., Gwynn Oak, MD, US

problem #13

Jun 222010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I bought this car brand new in 06 and have had nothing but problems. This year alone I've had to take it in 3 times to a local shop since the Saturn dealer I used is now closed.

I started my car yesterday, drove for about 15 minutes, got to my destination and couldn't shut the car off. I had to take it to the mechanic shop and they pulled the fuse. They will be working on it sometime today. Saturn seriously thumbs down to you.

Needless to say I need a new car and will be using Auto Beef to make my new car decision.

- colettee1979, Crystal Lake, IL, US

problem #12

Jun 012010

Ion LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Bought the car new in 2006, here now in 2010 warranty just days out of coverage, key stuck in ignition and car will not shut off....

Saturn takes bailout money but leaves it's faithful customers hanging in limbo to first find a service repair center for there cars. This problem will cost $400 dollars plus to fix, car service center is keeping my car for three days to fix this problem.

After new ignition is installed of course new keys need to be made. When I pick up my car in two more days I will ask since I have paid for a new ignition installed and you have made me new cheap keys, how long will u warranty your work for the ignition and new keys installed to my car?

There must be a way to file a case against a responsible party for this should of been a recall item. In the meantime, we are left to drive unsafe cars and pay for high dollar fixes when they occur.

maybe it is good that Saturn has vanished and went out of business because if they still physically tangible we could go to their place of business blow off steam and sock them up.

Hopefully, Saturn will recall this problem in the near future and if so, should pay back all the people for there fixes to this same problem recall rebates should be retroactive to all Saturn owners with similar recall problems.

Saturn Sucks.

- Alice B., Grover Beach, CA, US

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