NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

2006 Saturn Ion (Page 12 of 15)

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CarComplaints.com 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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
10 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 1
Average Mileage:
53,808 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2006 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 12 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #76

Aug 092010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 49,112 miles


I have a 2006 Saturn Ion, that I just recently purchased. I was driving to work and my car would not turn off. The key was stuck in the ignition and could not be pulled out. I took it to midas and carx and they said they had never seen this where the car wouldn't turn off. I had to drive from dekalb to glenview because it was the only place with the part. They replaced the cylinder and key asm-D. I noticed the other day on Consumer Affairs.com that 50 pages worth of people had the exact same problem with the 2006 and 2004 Saturn Ion. This needs to be recalled.

- North Aurora, IL, USA

problem #75

Aug 112010


  • miles
Auto accident on 8/11/10. Accident totaled front end of car. Air bags did not deploy, on star did not work could not call for help, electric system failed and could not open doors, windows. Emt had to break rear window glass to get to me to help. Seat belt had made severe pain in chest. Was taken to hospital for help with the pain.am still suffering severe pain. Auto is a 2006 Saturn Ion. Insurance co is evaluating the damage to auto. As a senior elderly woman and cannot depend on auto to get help when needed, that is very scary. That is what I pay monthly fees to on star for. I want to feel safe in my auto.

- Sun City, AZ, USA

problem #74

Jun 022010


  • miles
Power window on driver side and now on right back passenger side won't work. Have had to take to dealer 2 times and will have to take it in again for the right back passenger window. I have not had this car more than 2 years.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #73

Jun 042010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles


I have a 2006 Saturn Ion. Engine won't turn off. Problem with ignition switch. Have to undo fuse and unhook battery in the trunk. Can't turn the key to start the car but can't turn it off with the key. Can't afford to get it fixed. It's been alot of complaints online with the same problem with the same car.

- Magnolia, AR, USA

problem #72

Jul 272010


  • 50,000 miles
The key cannot be removed from the car and the car remains running -- requiring the driver to get out of the car, remove a fuse or letting the car run out. The driver is stranded and vulnerable.

- Santa Ana, CA, USA

problem #71

Jul 242010


  • 128,500 miles
I was on the highway driving my 2006 Saturn Ion II, not even five minutes, heading straight. The car dinged three times and I glanced at the information cluster (where the speedometer is, etc) and the words "pwr str" where on. I did not understand what it meant until I had to exit the highway, and the power steering was gone making the vehicle very difficult to steer. Upon making it home, I turned the car off, and then back on to realize the problem had seemed to fix it self. The "pwr str" message was gone, and the car turned like it normally did. I then went back out, and on my way home again, heading straight under 30 mph, the car made a dinging sounds three times and the message reappeared. I have visited a local mechanic chain store, and was told that it could have been a slew of things. I searched the incident on the internet to find this is a very common problem, and that General Motors has recalled other vehicles with the same system and the same problem, but neglected to include Saturn in the recall. For this, I am reluctant to shell out large sums of money on a part that was proven faulty and recalled.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #70

Jul 162010


  • 68,000 miles


Power steering went out in my 2006 Saturn Ion today while driving on the interstate. No recall has been made on this as of now, but after researching this is a major problem happening to many people besides myself. I hope this gets taken care of before someone gets hurt if that has not already happened. The power steering resets when the car gets turned off.

- Columbia, TN, USA

problem #69

Jul 032010


  • 24,000 miles
I will give you what I sent to a consumer repairs office and the ftc: Date = company name = Saturn/GMC company contact = customer service/roadside service incident = I got home from shopping with my Saturn 2006 Ion II, and tried to turn the ignition off and it would not turn off. I tried to get the panel under the steering wheel off and had trouble getting it off, so I could get to the shift lock release, and couldn't find the plunger at first, and then it wouldn't move either like it said it would to get the key out. The key came out, but it still would not turn off the ignition and the engine kept running. I tried three times to talk with customer service and roadside service through on star and Saturn and got very little information of how to stop the engine from running. Finally, the last person at roadside service for Saturn helped me to remove the fuse 16 for the fuel injectors which cut the engine, but then didn't tell me how to remove the battery cable and it was still powered on. Thank god for a friend who came over to help me get the maintenance-free battery cable unscrewed, not un-bolted, like in older cars, to remove the battery cable, so that the power would not be drained by all the remaining power that was on. What is bad is that the so-called authorized service dealer for Saturn in my town is not open on saturdays. Saturn, at least use to have Saturday hours for service. Why isn't the government forcing GMC and Saturn to recall this defect. They get Toyota to do things, but for americans they do little!!! help government regulators! I have to take it in for repair on Tuesday and take off work. There is a tech bulletin referring to this which is 04-08-45-005D, I believe.

- Bloomington, IL, USA

problem #68

Jun 202010


  • 80,790 miles
Drove the car in the morning and everything seemed normal. Stopped and the ignition would not turn off. The key would come out without turning backwards, but the car would continue to run. In order to turn off the engine the steering column was removed and a "plug" was disconnected. In order to start the car, this process was done in reverse and the key replaced and turned the little bit of space it had left. The ignition cylinder lock is being replaced and I will request the old part.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #67

Jun 162010


  • 67,492 miles
Ignition key broke off in the ignition. Had a locksmith remove the broken key. Car would not start. Locksmith replaced the ignition switch mechanical portion. Car will not start. I went through the resetting procedure to reset the security passlock system. It would not reset and had the car towed to the Saturn dealership. I have seen a large number of complaints from Saturn owners about this same complaint. The only way to be able to get the car running again is to take it to the Saturn dealership to be repaired, and they charge a lot of money to do this procedure. They also are very familiar with this problem and the repair of it, because they have many Saturn being towed in and doing the repairs on them. Due to the large number of problems in this system of the Saturn there should be a recall issued for this industry wide known problem.

- Windsor, CA, USA

problem #66

May 242010


  • 54,700 miles


1. my vehicle began having problems starting in hot weather last summer. 2. last Monday, May 24, 2010, my car would not start at the end of the day. Usually if I waited ten minutes or so and tried again, the vehicle started. This time I attempt three times in a thirty minute period and the car did not start. I had the vehicle towed to the dealership where I purchased it. Fortunately the next day, there were similar conditions and my vehicle would not start in the afternoon. 3. there were no codes there showed up on the car's computer. Due to the voltages not matching between my vehicle and the manufacturer's specification, the dealership replaced the ignition switch. I have not had any problems since even though there are been four or five days of hot weather.

- O'fallon, IL, USA

problem #65

Dec 152009


  • 50,000 miles
I currently own a 2006 Saturn Ion, which I bought brand new in 2005 and has 52000 miles on it. All winter long, during days with temperatures below 40 degrees, my vehicle would not start. Upon placing the key into the ignition and turning, the "passlock" theft deterrent system is activated and locks my car's starter from firing for 10 minutes. The rest of the electrical devices in my car work, but the starter becomes locked out for 10 minutes before I can try again. I have read online that this is a common problem with Saturn Ions. Apparently the grease which is located within the ignition system freezes at colder temperatures and thus the ignition switch does not recognize my key. Since it does not recognize my key, the anti-theft system locks my car out for the 10 minute lock out period. Sometimes I can try 6 times over the course of 1 hour and the car still will not start. This is a dangerous situation on very cold days. I live in the northeast and this past winter we had record snowfall with many days dipping into the 0's, 10's, 20's and 30's. it would be very unfortunate if someone were to die of exposure to the elements since a car has no heat without the engine running. Someone could die from being stranded in the cold due to an ignition switch which GM/ Saturn could replace for $50. I know I spent many cold days (~5-6 per week) sitting in my freezing cold car for sometimes over an hour just praying that my car would start so I could get some heat. Please make GM/ Saturn fix this problem so we are no longer left out in the cold!!!!

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #64

Mar 312010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 37,369 miles
After going out to dinner key would not come out of ignition. This is the second time this has happen since owning car. First time it happen was on 10/21/07 (mileage 22,006). I took car to Saturn dealer. Ignition was fixed on 10/22/2007 ignition replaced no charges cover by dealer warranty. Second time it happen was on 3/31/2010 took car to Saturn dealer next day 4/01/2010 9 am.(mileage 37,369) they did not have part so I was charged shipping charges ($15) to get part to Saturn dealer. Extended warranty we purchased cover parts & labor. They replaced shifter assembly. Shifter assembly was causing key to stick to ignition dealer claims. Our car was returned on 4/02/2010 at 3 pm.. my Saturn Ion 2006 has had several problems recently 1/30/2010 (mileage 35,987)the car had been smelling like gas inside & outside of car I took to dealer was told fuel was leaking from fuel pump they replace fuel pump module. Extended warranty we purchased covered cost labor & parts. A month later we received a notice from Saturn about the fuel pump problem. We are afraid that these problems will reoccur. Car is well taken care of, dealer is only one who services car.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #63

Apr 152010


  • 42,750 miles
I have a 2006 Saturn Ion on with 43,000 miles (a well-maintained vehicle at that). The problem (a common one from everything I've read/heard): Recently, I was unable to shut my vehicle off; that's correct... I could not turn my car off. The key was locked in the ignition with the vehicle running. After several hours, my husband and I were able to determine the best course of action (get it to a dealer, disconnect the fuel pump fuse and battery, and spend $451 to have the ignition cylinder completely replaced; the mechanic said it was defective). Not being able to shut off a vehicle is a major safety concern (for so many reasons); you can't simply leave a vehicle running, and you certainly can't leave a running vehicle unattended (although some people probably have...how dangerous is that?).

- Dover, DE, USA

problem #62

Apr 042010


  • 32,000 miles
While I was driving the ignition switch on my 2006 Saturn Ion suddenly turned to the off position causing the car's engine to stop running. This happened twice within a 2 day period. I took the car to the dealer and they replaced the ignition switch. Cost was $200.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #61

Mar 012010


  • 40,000 miles
Car intermittenly wont start. If you stall this car and you are sitting at a stop light, there is a good chance that you wont be able to start this car right away. This could create a dangerous situation. Dealer recommended replacing the ignition switch. Worked for about a week then the same problems started again. This problem is all over the internet. Seems to have something to do with the anti-theft device on the car.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #60

Mar 302010


  • 6,000 miles
When turning ignition off sometimes the switch sticks and does not go into the lock position. The engine does stop. Also the electronic door locks do not release and I have to manually press the unlock switch on the door to release them. Some things that I have tried are restarting the engine, changing transmission from "park" to "drive" and back to "park". this works sometimes and then if not I wait for some period of time and wait to hear the doors unlock on their on at which time I am able to place the switch in the "lock" position and remove the key. This time is from a few seconds to a few minutes and there is no consistency. The dealer has replaced the ignition switch for ~$660 and it appeared to help for a couple of days but never resolved the issue. This car has less than 9000 miles on it and this problem started around 6000 miles. I believe that this problem should be classified as a "recall" as owners are unable to safely lock their cars. Your prompt response to this problem will be most welcome. Thank you

- San Leandro, CA, USA

problem #59

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 properly.car is very dangerous and will not allow anyone to drive it.

- Rogers City, MI, USA

problem #58

Mar 102010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 74,118 miles
Driving down the road at about 35 mph I hit a bump (frost heave) and the entire vehicle shut down. No engine, no electrical systems. The vehicle became difficult to steer and the brakes did not operate as well as when the vehicle was running. I forced the car to the side of the road, turned the key off and back on again and restarted the car.

- Agawam, MA, USA

problem #57

Jan 052010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle would not start in cold weather. In addition, the ignition responded as if it did not recognize the key. No matter what key was used the vehicle would not start for 20-25 minutes. The dealer stated that it would cost $90 for a diagnostic test and this didn't include any other repairs. The manufacturer advised her to take the vehicle to the dealer for inspection. The failure mileage was 61,000. The consume wanted to know what was being done about the problem, and when would she be notified. Updated 03/29/10 the consumer has since traded the vehicle. Updated 06/04/14

- Sebring, FL, USA

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