NHTSA — Steering Problems

2006 Saturn Ion (Page 11 of 25)

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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:
17 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
67,369 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2006 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 11 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #299

Nov 062011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 113,215 miles


At start of ignition, the letters: Pwr str, immediately flashes in oil life display. The steering wheel becomes stiff, thus resulting in really slow turns. It is not safe when turning onto streets where vehicles are traveling in the 45mph range due to increased neighborhood speeds set by city.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #298

Nov 052011


  • 83,000 miles
As I was driving the vehicle approaching a red light the power steering message appeared on the dash and the power steering went out. After turning the car off at the stop light and restarting it the message went away and the steering was fine for few minutes before the process was repeated and now the power steering does not work.

- University Park, IL, USA

problem #297

Oct 242011


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving mph and above, the power steering became very difficult. The failure recurred on an intermittent basis. The vehicle was not inspected by a dealer nor repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 85,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- New Albany , IN, USA

problem #296

Oct 202011


  • 60,000 miles


The power steering on my 2006 Saturn Ion recently went out. I was driving at a low speed and suddenly the power steering light turned on and my steering locked up. I quickly drove it to a mechanic who said the power steering fuel was okay and that the problem was in the power steering system. I did research and found this is a common problem with this make of car and that no recall has been issued yet. I do not have the money to keep fixing all of these issues that are the manufacturer's fault. The problem has happened to thousands of cars and a recall must be issued. I am severely unsatisfied with Saturn and the thousands of dollars I have put into this car to fix problems that never seem to be solved. This is a dangerous failure that could have cost me my life.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #295

Oct 272011


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 35 mph, the contact noticed that the steering had become stiff and difficult. The contact stopped the vehicle and after restarting, the power steering functioned resumed normally. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic where the mechanic advised that the steering column would have to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 105,000.

- Sabina, OH, USA

problem #294

Oct 262010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 67,613 miles
Driving down the freeway the chime sounded and the "pwr str" message displays in the message center. The power steering no longer works. After muscling the vehicle home I parked it and started it the next morning and the vehicle was back to normal. Had an identical experience on the freeway a week later. The dealership doesn't believe me because it's back to normal when I take it to them.

- Harbor City, CA, USA

problem #293

Sep 232011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 143,000 miles


After being on the road in moderate city traffic on a clear day for approximately 5 minutes, I heard an audible alert then the visual alert "pwr str" appeared on the dashboard display, and I no longer had power steering. I continued my 35+ mile drive home, making one stop on the way. When I restarted the car after that stop, the power steering was once again working. The problem did not recur for several days, then happened again. For the past 25 days or so, the problem happens every time the car is running, sometimes happening after having traveled only 100 feet and sometimes not happening until well after that. This is a definite safety concern. In the event the steering failed while a corner was being negotiated, the outcome could be tragic.

- Grayling, MI, USA

problem #292

Oct 152011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 37,860 miles
Car was parked on a slight incline. Hand brake was on. Turned on ignition and engine started. Put right foot on brake and released hand brake. Placed car in reverse and began to lift foot off brake. Car began to roll backward, but when I applied pressure to the foot brake to slow the car I found that I had no power brakes and no power steering. It took a great deal of effort to stop the car from continuing to roll backwards. By now the engine had stopped running and several alert lamps were lit on the control panel. Over several days before this incident, I had noticed intermittent and momentary power steering failures when I was driving at slow speeds.

- Pawtucket, RI, USA

problem #291

Oct 042011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 50,300 miles
I was driving and going around a circle and all of sudden it was hard to steer, a chime and power steering light was on the dash, I pulled over into a parking lot. I turned engine off.opened the hood to check on serpentine belt if broken, but the belt was good. I started the engine and the power steering was working again, as if nothing happened.a week later it happened again, as I was driving straight, I pulled over turned engine off, restart again and the power steering working ok, I called the GM dealer service dept.and they said there is no recall or T.S.B. from GM.

- Bloomington, MN, USA

problem #290

Oct 142011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
While driving southbound on highway 99, the power steering light came on and steering became tight and hard. After further research Saturn does know about this problem and has only issued a special policy and not a recall.

- Kingsburg, CA, USA

problem #289

May 022011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles


For the past 5 months, the Saturn Ion 3 power steering will intermitently go out. When I first start the car the power steering works fine, and then at any random time the car makes a ding, ding noise and then there is no power steering. If the car is shut off and turned back on the power steering is fine. Then a few miles down the road it turns off again, almost every day. This makes it very difficult to turn corners. The next problem is if it is damp or cold (below 60) in the morning at 8am the car will not turn over or start, until the sun comes out and warms up the car, by noon the car starts just fine. I can get it started if I place two warm blankets on the battery and motor and wait a few minutes, then the car will start. The drivers side windows have also stopped working.

- Lauderdale Lakes, FL, USA

problem #288

Oct 042011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 24,456 miles
This happened on my daughters 2006 Saturn Ion with less than 25,000 miles. She had been making a right hand turn in a double turn lane off an angulared intersection (about 60 degrees). She was in the outside lane with a semi-truck making the turn along side, left of her. She was going approx. 25 mph. When she lost the power steering and almost veered under the trailer. Thank god she didn't go under under it or she probably would have been killed. The eps has failed 4 times since. I see that GM has acknowledged this problem with their other models and posted recalls for them, but not for Saturn. 846 Saturn complaints to ODI and 3,489 reports to GM and no recalls!!! how many people have to report a crash or sadly enough, have to die, before something is done. I've been out of work for sometime and can not afford the reported $1,000 repair at a dealer that admits there is a problem. NHTSA and or GM, stand up for what is right and do something. Since when is the loss of steering not a major issue!!!

- Bedford Park , IL, USA

problem #287

Oct 062011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 91,490 miles
I am beginning to believe that the issue with the Saturn Ion is an electrical or computer based. I put in a complaint earlier about how the car shuts off in the middle of making turns. This morning as I went to work I was met with the automatic steering not working. At first I thought that maybe the emergency break was still up. I checked my steering fluid and it is full. I turned the car off and then on again and tried to move the wheel. No dice. I drove the car to work fighting with the steering all the way there. When I got to work I called for assistance to get my car to a shop. After making the arrangements, I went to try to straighten up the vehicle somewhat so that others could park beside me and so the towing company could get it out. To my amazement the car steering worked fine. There are several complaints on the web about this issue, the key getting stuck in the ignition, the key being removed from the ignition and the car engine continuing to run anyway, and the shutting off while going over tracks and making turns with the Saturn Ion 2004-2007. Please get GMC to fix these issues. What makes me really angry is that the company knows, they simply are avoiding fixing the problems and only Focus on the fuel pump problem. Somebody is going to get killed sooner or later btw the shutting off issue or the steering wheel issues. I hope you guys look into these issues and demand that GMC fixes them before then. Thanks.

- Riverdale, GA, USA

problem #286

Aug 262011


  • 104,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the steering wheel would intermittently seize while driving 30 mph and above. Whenever the failure recurred, the contact would stop the vehicle and shut it off. Upon restart, the vehicle would operate as normal. A power steering service light would also illuminate on the instrument panel during the failure and a warning bell would sound. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, but the failure was not diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 104,000.

- Kaukauna, WI, USA

problem #285

Sep 252011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 50,067 miles
On Sunday, September 25th, 2011, I was driving on a familiar road in town when all of the warning lights on my vehicle suddenly illuminated and began blinking. The speedometer, fuel gage, temperature gage, and RPM indicator all went down to zero and the message center began saying "trac off" and "pwr str." As this happened, my power steering went out. I pulled over and turned my car off. My car would not turn back on. After about one minute, I was able to start my car again and resume driving as normal. This has happened on four other occasions since the first time, three days ago. The last time it happened I was going around a curve and I almost went into the ditch. In addition, it is also important to note that at 40,000 miles, the vehicle began having the same issue (message center occasionally flashing "trac off" and "pwr str", and the ABS and emergency break lights going on). The dealer found that the steering column was shorting out and had to replace the steering column in the vehicle. This leads me to believe that this is an electrical problem...

- Oskaloosa, IA, USA

problem #284

Sep 232011


  • 120,234 miles
While driving my 2006 Saturn Ion indicator chimed and pwr str light displayed. I lost steering control and almost wrecked. I pulled off the road killed the car upon restarting engine everything was fine. Five minutes into my trip problem happened again. Also, sometimes when I drive the car the passenger airbag is on at other times it turns off on it own. Both are these are very dangerous especially for me being a single mother.

- Sulphur Springs, TX, USA

problem #283

Jun 012008

Ion 4-cyl

  • 63,500 miles
Pwr str warning on dash. Power steering assist turns off. After restart power steering assist returns. Started off as once a month for 2 months then once a week then several times a day. Now it happens about 2 minutes after each time I start it. Total of three month to get to this stage.

- Brooklyn Park, MD, USA

problem #282

Sep 132011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving, the power steering would sporadically become inoperable. The dealer and manufacturer were notified of the failure, but denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 106,000...updated 09/29/11 the power steering motor failed on the vehicle. Updated 01/03/12

- Dexter, MO, USA

problem #281

Aug 242011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
While traveling at city speeds (approx 35mph), the vehicle's information center sounded a "ding" and displayed a message reading "pwr str". this occurred suddenly and without warning. According to the owner's manual, the message "pwr str" indicates a power steering failure, an indication confirmed by the fact that turning the steering wheel suddenly became extremely difficult, requiring a significant amount of effort to turn the steering wheel beyond 1-2 degrees from its present location. I estimate this effort would exceed the abilities of some drivers, given the sudden onset and difference in effort required to turn the wheel before and after this problem occurs. This has happened to me on multiple occasions, including while driving at highway speeds (55-65mph) and while traveling in a parking lot (5-15mph). Turning the engine off and restarting it shortly thereafter seems to correct the problem; the message is no longer displayed and the steering works as expected. However, I have noticed with the recent incidents that turning the engine off and on again only fixes the problem for approximately one mile of travel before the problem occurs again. To date, I have managed to avoid getting into a collision as a result of this sudden loss of power steering, however I feel that this is a serious safety problem that could result in injuries or deaths if the problem were to occur while the driver is actively turning the steering wheel (e.g. turning, changing lanes, navigating a parking structure) or if the driver lacks the strength necessary to turn the wheel without functional power steering. It would seem this problem is already under investigation (NHTSA action number: RQ10004), and I would urge you to have this component recalled as it is a serious safety concern.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #280

Sep 022011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 94,084 miles
We lost our power steering, going around a curve @ 45 mph, almost lost control. We shut the car off and it reset on starting. It kept going off and on for 100 miles, requiring us to pull over and stop and start the car every time, until we got home now.

- Elk River, MN, USA

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