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 3 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #459

Aug 252014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 111,000 miles


Highway bouncing" unbalanced feeling under vehicle" replace struts asap!! okay for the past 30,000 miles I have been experiencing what I could describe as a constant bounce. The bounce has now become so violent that crossing a bridge on a highway the bump will increase the aggression of the bounce to the point that you bounce right off of the road. I have slowly been trying to figure out what causes this bouncing wobble. After new rims, cv-half shafts, lugnuts, tires, stabilizer end-links, tie-rod ends, inner tie-rod ends, and ball joints. The bounce got more controllable for a short period. Not long after the new parts started to break down again. Finally during the purchase of all of these things over again. I find an instance where this exact thing happened to another individual. Driving down the highway with the constant bounce as always (4 mechanics ---- I am pretty mechanically inclined, but could not diagnose the problem) this other individual goes up on a bridge (highway speeds) and bounces straight across and right off of the highway into the ditch. Luckily in both of our cases we were able to stop the vehicle before hitting anything other than some tall grass and sliding around in the dirt a bit on the side of the highway. He takes his family and car to the nearest mechanic (they were going on vacation) and this mechanic knew exactly what the problem was. Relieved this person was that he had finally found a mechanic that solved this wretched, annoying, and odd problem I have never experienced before. The struts were completely shot. The car was not sagging according to measurements. Bumps weren't violent. After replacement of the old struts I could literally push them down with one finger. Let go and watch as they just relax in place. Anyone experiencing a highway bouncing wobble like something is unbalanced then replace your struts!!

- Savoy, TX, USA

problem #458

Aug 292014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 91,710 miles
I was driving my Saturn Ion 2006 car at 25 mile/hour speed when suddenly I was unable to turn the steering wheel, it jammed totally. I was not expecting that it will get so difficult to move the steering wheel. Luckily I was able to stop my car on the side and than I turned it off and started again, on re start the steering function returned to normal.this was very scary for me as if the same incident had happened to me on a highway it can be fatal. I had heard about the failure of the power steering and recall. I thought if it fails I will be still able to move my steering like a old car without power steering, but the case is different here, the steering is unable to move even with greater force.I am going by train to my job tomorrow, not want to take the same risk. Now I have plan to get it fixed as early as possible.I will contact a dealer and want to get it repaired under the recall by GM. I have a recall letter from GM for this steering problem.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #457

Aug 202014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering failed and the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. As a result, the contact bumped into another vehicle to avoid hitting a pedestrian. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing, but was not repaired. The contact received a recall notification for NHTSA campaign number: 14V153000 (steering). The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 86,000. Updated 09/30/14 the consumer stated to have experienced carpal tunnel syndrome that may have been cause by the steering failure. Updated 02/27/2015

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #456

Sep 022013


  • miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled intermittently and it was extremely difficult to change gears on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who replaced the ignition switch and the keys but the failure recurred. The contact also mentioned that the vehicle was difficult to turn. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was not available.

- Vidalia, GA, USA

problem #455

Jun 102014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch and power steering recall notices. The consumer stated after the new ignition was installed, she proceeded to drive home. While driving, the steering mechanism lights lit up and a bing sound was heard. The consumer returned to the dealer, where they informed her, about a recall regarding the steering.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #454

Jul 082014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to power steering recall issues. The consumer stated the power steering failed, in her daughter's vehicle. Turning the wheel, required extra effort. When her daughter called GM, she was informed the parts were not available.

- Plymouth, MI, USA

problem #453

Jul 012014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles


2006 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to waiting for ignition switch and power steering parts to complete recall.

- Appomattox, VA, USA

problem #452

Jul 212014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
Our insured was on I-10 metairie and hesitated that they were traveling down I-10 and the vehicle in front of them hit the brakes and came to a complete stop. Our insured slowed and insd insured's steering wheel failed and went right and then he lost control and went to the left hand lane from the right lane across 4 lanes/ our driver did not have control of his vehicle at this time. Our insured was trying to make it to the shoulder and he was almost there and then another vehicle struck his vehicle. Our insured was cited for reckless driving. Our claim number is [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #451

Jul 132014


  • 100,666 miles
While driving with my family including my 18 month old baby in the car. The power steering went out and my husband had to use way more muscle and strength then I have to steer my car. GM had informed that I need to pull over shut my car off and restart it. My fear is what if I am going faster then 30 mph and driving on a freeway. But at the time GM does not know how to fix this problem. But they don't feel it is dangerous. Um any time a car is not operate to its full potential it endangers the all people on the road.

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #450

May 302014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
While driving I heard a series of chimes and power steering indicator came on. I then was unable to turn the steering wheel. When I tried again I had to turn wide into traffic because even though I was turning the wheel as hard as I could I couldn't control it. I contacted GM about the recall and they told me that along with that there was the ignition switch recall. I was given a loaner because I was afraid to drive the car after the above incident. I was contacted on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 and was told the ignition switch parts were in. I informed them that I couldn't drive the car to kelly Buick GMC because of the power steering issue so they made arrangements to tow the car to their location. Now they are telling me to turn in the loaner, because even though the wheel is hard to turn, that it is safe to drive. I told the service person that I am a middle aged woman and do not have the strength in my arms to turn that wheel and that I am afraid. I was told to contact GM which I will in the morning because now I have no way to get the car from kelly Buick, when they knew when they towed it in I was afraid to drive it, because of the struggle to turn the wheel. They told me they would see what they could do, however they did nothing to the power steering and I do not know what to do at this point. I will contact kelly and GM tomorrow about this situation that I have been put in.

- Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #449

Jun 032014


  • 65,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the power steering would suddenly malfunction making the steering wheel very difficult to turn. The contact indicated that during the occurrences the power steering warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and informed the contact that the vehicle was included in the NHTSA recall number campaign number 14153000 (steering) but the parts were currently not available. The failure mileage was 65,000.

- Pittsburg, PA, USA

problem #448

Jul 032014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
My car experienced power steering failure and is under a recall for power steering failure. The GM dealership said that the part to fix the steering is unavailable and may be unavailable for months but that I should drive it anyway. I have requested a rental vehicle because the recall notice says that my vehicle is at an "increased risk of crash" and that the problem could "occur at any time". the dealership agrees with me that the vehicle is unsafe but that they are under orders to not offer rental vehicles for this particular recall. Operators at the GM hotlines refuse to give their names or offer assistance other than comments of "work harder to steer your car" ([xxx]) and "at least it's still drivable" ([xxx])... GM's web site says that "rental cars are available when requested by concerned owners at GM's expense" but still no one will help me. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #447

May 152014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
The steering column assembly (including key switch, turn signal, wiper control, etc.) was loose upon getting the vehicle back from the repairs for the key switch recall. This was not like this prior to the recall repairs and represents sloppy workmanship by dealership employees repairing the vehicle or poor design that won't stay tight. By this being loose, there could be damage to the wires or the wires could come unplugged inside the steering column. This would include air bag wires, key switch wires, etc. There would also be a possibility of fire if this problem isn't corrected as the wires could short out. I believe all the vehicles that have been repaired should be recalled again to check for this problem and repair them if it is found that it is loose.

- Adams Center, NY, USA

problem #446

Jun 022014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle electrical system issues. Recently, the emergency brake the consumer stated the check engine light illuminated twice and finally, the fuel injectors were replaced. Recently, the emergency brake light illuminated and stayed on without the emergency brake being pulled. Also, when she pushed the shifter knob, there was a noise in the steering column. There was an issue with the electrical power steering. It would go out and resume normal operation, while driving. The consumer stated she heard a knocking noise, when she drove over a bump and the check engine light illuminated again. Updated 08/06/14

- Hedgesville, WV, USA

problem #445

Mar 122014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
I have noticed that the steering "U" joint has and is becoming loser every day that I am driving. Today as I was going down my gravel driveway hitting little bumps the steering was almost non existence because of the vibration.

- Williamson, NY, USA

problem #444

Apr 232014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 107,234 miles
I was driving to kids school and as I was turning onto school property my ignition binged and pwr str appeared at exact same moment I lost power steering and ran car up on curb onto lawn. I could have seriously injured if not killed an elementary school kid that day.. I've tried to call about problem since I received a notice for vehicle alert in mail just days B4. But when I called I was told that they couldn't help me after all because it already went out.. what kind of bull is that?

- Ft Worth, TX, USA

problem #443

May 172014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 145,000 miles
My wife was driving our 2006 Saturn Ion on a state highway in vt when the power steering abruptly cut out on the car. She was barely able to steer it to the side of the road where she shut the vehicle off and then restarted it. The power steering continued to work for another couple of minutes and then cut out again. We rely on this car and are still making payments on it. This incident did not cause an accident, however if she had been in a more residential area or if it had been raining me, my wife, our 4 year old daughter, a pedestrian, or another driver could easily have been hurt or killed. GM customer service has been absolutely not helpful when I have contacted them multiple times about this issue. I have confirmed with a local dealer that this is part of an active recall on the power steering motor, but GM could not even give me an estimation about when I would be able to get this fixed. I am at a loss for what to do because they are failing to address this recall. I never even received a notice about this recall or the ignition switch recall in March. I had no idea that I was driving an incredibly dangerous vehicle for two months!!! this issue has impacted our ability to perform day to day functions such as getting our daughter to daycare and getting us to work. We live in a rural area and cannot afford to just buy or rent another vehicle. I don't know what to do or how long I am going to have to make payments on a car that I cannot even drive because the manufacturer failed to build it properly and to notify me as an owner of any issues. I am angry and disheartened by this and I just want someone to do something to get this fixed. I am now going to have to use money that I don't have to pay for a replacement part for a car that is recalled because I simply cannot wait an indeterminate amount of time for GM to address this recall.

- Chester, VT, USA

problem #442

May 082008


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering suddenly malfunction causing the steering wheel very difficult to turn. Additionally the contact also indicated that while driving, the vehicle would stall. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who diagnosed that the power steering and the ignition switch needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Norlina, NC, USA

problem #441

May 152014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 91,000 miles
My power steering went out while driving down the road at a high rate of speed. This is the 3rd time this has happened within 3 weeks. It is extremely dangerous and has almost caused me a wreck. I do not have the $1000 that it is estimated to take to fix this.

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #440

May 122014


  • 145,000 miles
While at a gas station, I could not get the key out of the ignition. When I finally got the key out of the ignition, I could not get the key to turn and start the vehicle again.

- Pike Road, AL, USA

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