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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,750 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

problem #15

Sep 222016


  • 200,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 45 mph, a clicking noise was heard and the steering wheel seized, the speedometer gauges fluctuated, and the vehicle accelerated independently. As a result, the contact lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle was restarted and driven to the contact's residence. The vehicle was later driven to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 200,000.

- Sevierville, TN, USA

problem #14

Jun 162016


  • 170,000 miles
The accelerator got stuck while my daughter was driving on the highway and almost got into an accident!!! it will cost over $700 to get this problem fixed and we do not have that kind of money!!!

- Grifton, NC, USA

problem #13

Aug 172015


  • 94,000 miles
I was leaving a local grocery store, started my car and proceeded to drive out of the parking lot to the main road, route 611, a fairly busy thoroughfare. As I turned right and attempted to accelerate, the check engine light came on as well as the 'reduced engine power light'. despite pressing on the the gas pedal to accelerate safely into the flow of traffic (around 40 mph), my car would not accelerate past 10 miles per hour. I am so very lucky that I was not in an accident. I followed the instruction in the Saturn Ion manual which says to turn off the car and the error should clear itself after 10 minutes. I did this and the 'reduced engine power light' went out but not the check engine light. I took the car immediately to my local mechanic who ran a inconclusive diagnostic test. They cleared the check engine light and the car ran fine until yesterday, 4 weeks after the first instance. While I was driving my children home from the dentist, in the flow of traffic, at close to 40 mph, the dash board chimed, check engine light and 'reduced engine power light' lit up and immediately my car would not accelerate over 10 miles per hour. Luckily, we were very close to home, and were not in an accident. Again, I let the car rest, and 12 hours later started the car, both lights cleared themselves. Within in 5 miles of driving to the gym from my home, while driving in the flow of traffic, this issue happened again. This reduced power issue should be a recall. One simple online search shows there are thousands of GM/Saturn cars with this very dangerous issue. Among so many other manufacturer safety issues! this car has had 3 other recalls, one of which my local GM dealer has failed over 3 times to fix. I have to manually put my finger into the steering column to release the ignition key. Hold GM accountable and please make this issue a recall

- Abington, PA, USA

problem #12

Sep 272014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 88,687 miles


Just entered onto a highway and suddenly could not accelerate. When hitting the gas pedal, car would not accelerate. The car was in drive and had been moving for 10 minutes prior with no issues. No prior issues before this. Pulled off the side of the highway and turned off car. When turned on again, would not crank. Lights worked fine but car just wouldn't turn on. Mechanic is not sure why car won't start still.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #11

Sep 252014


  • 108,000 miles
Manual transmission vehicle. Was accelerating onto the highway and merging into fast moving traffic (approximately 60-70 mph traffic). I shifted into 5th gear and then depressed the accelerator pedal all the way to gain enough speed to safely merge leftward. When I lifted my foot away from the pedal it stayed fully depressed (fully accelerating). I hit the brakes moderately, and it was still accelerating, then I hit the brakes harder to decrease my speed (from 70+ down to 60) as I shifted into neutral. I kicked down hard on the accelerator and it released back to the default position.

- University Place, WA, USA

problem #10

Dec 052013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 3,200 miles
Lost power/control while driving, felt like the bottom of the car was falling out, upon repair was informed a bad ignition coil.

- Oakland Park, FL, USA

problem #9

Mar 252013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


I first bought my 2006 Saturn Ion in March of 2013. Three days later I notice that when I would get on the highway my car would sway extremely bad. Our hwy speed is 75. Going 70mph was too much and it would sway a lot. Mind you I was pregnant at the time. The car spun out as I was exiting the highway. I was terrified because cars were right behind me. Thank god I got out of the way before I got hit. You can understand how upset I was due to the fact that I was 4months pregnant at the time. Since then my husband has spun out 5 times driving our car. We've taking it to the mechanics multiple times and they don't even know what to do with it. Our wheel alignments are fine. Also, our key gets stuck in the ignition a lot upon turning it off. So we have to use the button which is in the steering wheel just to get them out. Also, lately the car picks and chooses when it wants to accelerate. Lately I can floor it and the car will still be going 30mph. Also, lately when we go to turn on the car, it takes awhile and makes a sound as if the battery is dead, but then it soon comes on. I have had nothing but problems with this car from the start. I thought this was a good buy, but everyday I regret it and I fear for me, my husband, and my child's safety. Please do something about this issue. Matter of fact just take our cars. We don't need them fixed. Just take them please!

- Killeen, TX, USA

problem #8

May 242014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 108,244 miles
I was driving the 2006 Saturn Ion in my neighborhood. I reached the intersection at the end of my street and came to a stop/yield. As I took my foot off the brake to shift to the gas and began steering to turn left, the engine suddenly turned off. The battery light on the dash appeared. I was able to put the car in park, turn off the vehicle, and restart it. I returned home instead of continuing my trip. My vehicle is affected by the recall with campaign id number 14V-047. I had removed all additional keys from my keyring as recommended in the three recall letters I received, but I still believe that this issue was related to the issue the ignition switch. I have chosen to file this complaint because one of the letters I received from [xxx]of GM asserted that the vehicle was safe to drive as long as there were no additional keys on the keyring. A link to the letter in question is: information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Norman, OK, USA

problem #7

Apr 032014


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that after starting the engine, the vehicle accelerated independently and crashed into a curb. The contact indicated that the front driver, the front passenger, and the rear passenger sustained neck injuries that needed medical attention. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 115,000.

- Lancaster , CA, USA

problem #6

Jul 052012

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle sudden acceleration recall notice and requests reimbursement for repairs. The consumer stated when she got in the left turn lane to make a turn, all of a sudden the vehicle took off without applying the gas. Her foot was on the brake and the engine began to race at a high speed. The incident occurred a second time, while at a 4-way stop sign, the engine began racing, with her foot on the brake. The vehicle cut off and the dashboard went black. The third time, it happened, she was pulling into a parking space, and the engine began to race at a high speed, she was unable to stop the vehicle, and eventually she crashed into a wall.

- Largo, FL, USA

problem #5

Dec 242008

Ion 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles


L was driving my 2006 Saturn Ion which L bought brand new in 2006 going to pick up my granddaughter in howell mi I was on interstate with my cruise control on as L went on exit interstate, L turned off cruise control when L did that it shut my car down completely, L was merging on another interstate with no engine running no power steering and unable to restart engine. There was no where to pull over off road safely, L was almost killed car had to come to a complete stop to restart. I have had this happen to me 3 different times, L have taken car to Chevy dealership many time complaining about this matter, they said they could not find any problems, L have stopped using my cruise control. L really have a lemon sunroof does not work sun roof leaks, the car starts when it wants to, lam retired 65 years old and take very good care of the Saturn Ion, L would be afraid to sell this 2006 Saturn Ion to the public, L don't want to kill anyone, the car sits, not using it, won't sell it, what can be done? and there is no retail value for this there is a recall on ignition switch I feel so very sorry for the people that lost their lives, L was lucky that L was not one that was killed, as L said earlier, this car went to dealership 3 different times on this matter, last time L took the car in was last summer 2013, mechanic drove Saturn Ion and told me there is nothing wrong. The car sits.

- Brooklyn , MI, USA

problem #4

Apr 162008


  • 30,000 miles
Our Ion experienced a loss of power while driving full speed on the interstate multiple times between 2006 and 2008. A car had backed into the Ion while parked in a lot at one point, so we thought it might be related to that, but our experience seems to be identical to those reported under the recall. We attempted to have it fixed several times at GM dealerships. The last fix involved replacing all the main wires in the motor. After that, the ignition seemed to be tighter, and the stalling stopped, but the car would then not start, intermittently. It would randomly go into lock down mode for 10 or so minutes. Just thought we would add our experience to the statistics. It was very dangerous, and we easily could have died. We do still have the car- couldn't afford another. We currently have a rental car and are awaiting our fix.

- Beaver Falls, PA, USA

problem #3

Mar 212014


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while driving approximately 35 mph the vehicle independently accelerated. The contact had to fully apply the brakes while maneuvering to the side of the road and shut vehicle off to bring it to a full stop. There was a recall under nthsa campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 68,000.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #2

Sep 152008

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 51,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving 75 mph, the cruise control stopped working. The power steering, battery, and coolant warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact also noticed that the vehicle would no longer accelerate. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The contact did not notice any differences beforehand. The current and failure mileages were 51,000. Updated 10/16/08 the consumer also stated the key became stuck in the ignition. Updated 10/21/08.

- Hamptonville, NC, USA

problem #1

Apr 272006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113 miles
On two prior occasions, the vehicle's motor 'revved' or raced just before coming to a stop. A couple of hours later, when pulling into a parking space and applying the brake, the car rapidly accelerated, jumped a curb and ended up finally coming to a stop inside a party store. There were at least 10 feet of skid marks present and a witness from behind that saw the brake lights on. There was a lot of damage to the car and store, all repaired, however the problem that caused the accident has not been duplicated and has not been rectified.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

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