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:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
80,376 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2006 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

May 012013


  • 88,000 miles


The car will occasionally start right up or it sometimes take anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes to get started. Have had the alternator looked at and that is fine. Cars lights and everything turns on and tested the battery that is fine. Car simply won't go into the run position. Maybe the new fix will change this with the recall but just another problem that I have seen documented online and have experienced constantly.

- Plattsburgh, NY, USA

problem #15

Aug 162006

Ion 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
My daughter was going to work - she backed out of our driveway - put the car in drive - started forward and the car engine cut off - she could not steer the car and ran into two other cars on our street - hit one in the side and the other vehicle in the front on its driver side - we called Saturn and notified them of the issue - they sent a tow truck and took it 70 miles to the nearest dealership - they said that they had to call in a special representative to check it out - he called us back and said that he could not find anything in the computer that would have caused the issue and told us to come back and get the car (about a 140 mile trip to pick up a car we were afraid of which we paid over $15000 for) this caused over $2000 of damage to her car it caused our insurance company to pay out a unknown amount for the damage to the other 2 vehicles the issue also went on her driving record as her fault (which it was not) and caused my insurance to go up - we are afraid to drive this car - always wait until there is no one coming before we use it to go anywhere because it hesitates - later the car started smelling like gas - and a message (pwr str) would come up on the dash - the key would not come out of the ignition and you could not get it to turn off - also on cold mornings it would not even start - any help or information on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

- Sylacauga, AL, USA

problem #14

Sep 022013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 84,709 miles
A new ign lock cylinder was replaced at Firestone in dubuque, Iowa, because the car would not turn off even with the key extracted from the ignitgion. The car had been shutting down while our daughter was driving the car for about a week. Repair cost $374.26 our daughter being at college did not drive the car much the rest of the month and came home to decorah, Iowa, and on the way home and while home the car continued to shut itself off, with the last time being on a hill she was able to coast into a parking space, but the car had to be towed to the dealership in decorah, where report shows: Checked for codes B1443 devise ignition off, run and crank, B2957; security system sensor circuit low voltage, B2958 security system; data high, B1441, checked fuses and wiring( all worked at this time);removed and replaced body control module, programmed module, and relearned theft deterent, cleared coades and test drove, $852.50 cost of repair.

- Decorah, IA, USA

problem #13

Feb 152014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 192,000 miles


While traveling between 70-75mph on I-35 southbound between 2nd St. Merge and 15th street exit in edmond ok, we went to change lanes (middle lane to right lane) and there was a sudden boom, the car lost control, began to spin out of control (numerous slides and 2-360 deg turns and being flung in a backwards motion). As we attempted to get to the side of the road, our car began to spin out of control - we spun into a 360 degree turn, car caught fire as the oil was dumped from my car and sprayed all along the underneath of my car and tires, we slid sideways towards concrete barrier separating N-S bound traffic, went into a second 360 degree turn, slid sideways - as we started heading once again forward towards oncoming traffic the vehicle suddenly started going backwards (even though car was in drive)... we finally stopped facing oncoming traffic in sideways motion. Tow/mechanic inspected the car and found 3-4inch hole in the engine block - diagnosis - that push pin broke without warning and blew the hole. No warning was given of any kind of engine malfunction issue - no warning lights, nothing. We could of / should of been killed (per the eye witnesses who stopped to help us), our only saving grace was the oil which sprayed the road and our tires keeping us upright and not rolling. This needs to be investigated, recalled and fixed before someone is not as lucky as us.

- Guthrie, OK, USA

problem #12

Aug 152012


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact was driving 65 mph when the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact merged off road and restarted the vehicle. The vehicle was not taken for inspection or repairs. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 115,000.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #11

Jan 042014


  • 124,900 miles
The contact submitted an email complaint and requested to have the complaint submitted verbatim to the email 2006 Saturn Ion General Motors case number: 71-1262884818 dear Ms. Davis: I am writing this letter to express my extreme dissatisfaction with a recent repair that was done on my 2006 Saturn Ion. On Saturday, January 4, 2014, my son arrived home with my car and said he could not turn the car off. Finding this strange, I went outside to try, and could not remove the key from the ignition or turn off the car. I called emergency road assistance to see if they could assist me. Upon their arrival, they could not get the key out, so I had the technician to follow me to the nearest auto repair shop. Once there, the emergency road technician received instructions over the phone on how to at least turn the car off by removing a fuse. I locked my car, with the key still in the ignition. Between the time I dropped my car off, until the shop was scheduled to open on Monday, the temperatures plummeted to a record low of at least 45 degrees below zero. I was informed that my locks were frozen and my car was not accessible. The extremely cold temperatures did not allow merlin access to the inside of my car. Merlin?S was able to determine what the problem was, and that they had already verified it could only be fixed by the manufacturer of the car. The vehicle was towed to a dealer. The dealer told me the iginition switch needed to be replace. Next, I contacted the General Motors customer service center to report what had happened.GM informed me that the ignition switch has been redesigned to avoid the nature of repairs such as mine, from happening in the future.the ignition switch should definitely be classified as a recall.

- Boling Brook, IL, USA

problem #10

Aug 312013


  • 52,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 70 mph, the vehicle stalled with the illumination of all of the warning gauges. The vehicle was moved to the shoulder where it was restarted and functioned normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis and repair. The battery was replaced but the failure recurred. The vehicle was not further repaired. The manufacturer was notified about the incident. The approximate failure mileage was 52,000.

- Allen Park, MI, USA

problem #9

Jun 302013


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while traveling 68 mph, the vehicle suddenly stalled. The vehicle was moved to the shoulder where it was restarted. The vehicle functioned normally and was able to be driven to the contact's residence. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 50,000.

- Mansfield, OH, USA

problem #8

May 302013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
The ignition wouldnt turn off, the key came out, leaving the car running. I tried wiggling the key, checking the shifter, everything, this is the 2nd time this has happened. Ive seen an extreme amount of complaints about this, and feel something should be done, GM is loosing a lot of business due to not solving this issue.

- Chittenango, NY, USA

problem #7

May 232012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 102,673 miles
On and off for the past year my car has had moments when it would shut off while I am driving. At first it would happen when I may accelerate out of a parking space. One day I'm just driving down a parkway at about 40mph, and the car just shut off. The radio stayed on but the engine just shut off. Luckily no other cars were near me at that point. I took my car to several mechanics and they all said it may be the battery. We changed the battery and that didn't stop the problem. Most recently, I pulled out into on coming traffic. I couldn't have been, at that moment, more than 10mph and the car shut off again with cars rapidly speeding up on me and my car not moving. It was terrifying and I no longer feel safe driving this vehicle.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #6

Aug 032012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles


I started smelling gas when was stopped. I figured there may be a leak. I took it to a shop and they said I have one. I researched online and found that there was a recall on parts of the fuel system but that it doesn't apply in my state. So now im going to have to pay the $600 or so to get it fixed.

- Nanticoke, PA, USA

problem #5

Aug 042012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 113,180 miles
I am not able to turn off the car. The key will not turn to shut off the car. I had to find the fuse for the ignition in order to be able to turn off the car. I have read that there are many people having this issue and this could have been a disaster if I were out of town. I can't believe there is not a recall for this issue. This also happened to my son who has the same model and year that I have. I don't know how I am going to get gas as you have to turn the car off to do this, as it is a federal regulation.

- Lexington, SC, USA

problem #4

Jul 202012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 112,000 miles
I was going down road, steering because hard, transmission became stuck, pwr str light came up on mileage screen and the engine light came on. I was reading that others have had problem with steering column. Please let me know. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #3

Jul 172012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact managed the vehicle to the shoulder and realized that the power steering had also failed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 48,000. Updated 7/31/12 the consumer stated the vehicle suddenly lost power steering at a high speed of 65 mph. It was difficult to turn off the road, but he managed to do so. It occurred again at slower speeds, too. The consumer stated he read online that stopping the vehicle, and turning it off would re-activate the power steering for awhile. The dealer replaced the power steering motor free of charge. Updated 08/01/12

- Portland, ME, USA

problem #2

Jun 182009


  • 41,400 miles
Bought my Saturn Ion 2 2006 in 2005 obviously brand new and was talked into purchasing a $1500 bumper to bumper warranty. I immediately had problems but was told by Saturn mechanics nothing was wrong with my car. In 2009 as I was getting home the key got stuck in the ignition and wouldn't turn off, I couldn't turn off the car at all. I was lucky that the dealership was open and able to unplug the battery. They fixed it but the warranty wouldn't pay, so I paid out of pocket to fix it. Well, last Sunday it happened again, in 105 degree heat. I had no where to take it since dealerships are closed sundays. My car ran for over 5 hours because no one could figure out how to unplug the battery. Only a professional knows how to turn off the car safely, yet many people risked turning it off. I am sure some people would find it easy to turn off the car by disconnecting the battery but still it not safe. My car was so hot no one could touch it, I was afraid it was going to start on fire. This is a very common problem and needs to be investigated and recalled. We have to be able to turn off an engine. Please investigate this issue, Saturn nor GM will take responsibility for this defect, even though when you google Saturn Ion 2 2006 all the reviews say the same thing about the ignition cylinder.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #1

May 122012


  • 86,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering warning light illuminated and the steering wheel seized. The contact also stated that the vehicle would sporadically stall without warning. The vehicle returned to normal operation when it was restarted after the failures. The vehicle was not taken to have the failures diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failures. The failure mileage was 86,000.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

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