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 5 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #419

Mar 142014


  • 71,000 miles


I was driving straight down the highway when my power streering notification light came on. I felt that I had no power steering as soon as I went to change lanes. I managed to manhandle the steering wheel to get to my destination since it was 9:30 at night. The next morning I called the closest GM dealership service department and they got me in. The tech said he had seen the same situation from another client a few weeks prior. They had to replace the power steering motor. My receipt from them says a short in the power steering motor..

- Southfield, MI, USA

problem #418

Mar 162014


  • 86,217 miles
Unexpected power steering failure three times in one day. Once while exiting the highway and twice while driving on highway. Was traveling in a straight line when failures occurred. Vehicle displayed "pwr str" in the dashboard. Turning the car off then on again temporarily fixed problem. Dealer stated it was the power steering column.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #417

Jul 032013


  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering sensor light illuminated as the power steering assist malfunctioned. The failure made it very difficult for the contact to maneuver the vehicle. The contact also stated that the ignition key would become stuck in the ignition switch recurringly. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, who diagnosed that both defects were caused by a faulty ignition switch. The ignition switch was replaced but the failure persisted. The manufacturer was not contacted in reference to the defects. The failure mileage was 107,000.

- Eagan, MN, USA

problem #416

Jan 052012


  • miles


I was in the center lane of I-5 northbound, in portland, Oregon. The car in front of me stopped suddenly. I was in a long line of traffic. When I hit my brakes, my car jerked to the right. While trying to correct, I hit the wheels of a semi on my right. I bounced off, the car spun 90 degrees to the left, crossed the inside lane (fortunately I didn't get hit broadside), & went straight into the concrete freeway divider. The airbags did not deploy. I went to the hospital by ambulance, & have had neck & shoulder pain ever since. My car was totaled.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #415

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 #414

Jun 082011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
Every few weeks while the vehicle is moving my power steering fails and it's very difficult to steer the car until stopped. This happens without notice and at different speeds, sometimes while the vehicle is sitting and other times when driving. When my girlfriend owned the vehicle GM did replace the steering column three times. I've owned the car for almost two years and this problem is still ongoing and it's very unsafe. Now along with the ignition recall I feel that this vehicle is not fit for use on public roads. If there is a solution to get this vehicle off the road I would like to know about it.

- Emmetsburg , IA, USA

problem #413

Mar 012014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 170,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while driving approximately 5 mph there was a loss of power steering with the warning lights illuminated. The steering wheel became very difficult to turn. The vehicle was taken to independent mechanic who indicated that the power steering fuse would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure was mileage 170,000.

- Tekonsha, MI, USA

problem #412

Mar 012014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 99,417 miles
I was driving to work on March 1st, 2014 when I noticed that the steering wheel seemed to "lock up" for a second, when it loosened it was extremely hard to turn. First thought was ps fluid, did some research to find out it is all electrical and that the same issue was happening in around the same year Chevy cobalts and Pontiac G5's (all same car pretty much). When I drove home that evening the power steering was back on, until I got 2-3 miles down the road when I heard the beeping followed by "pwr str" showing up on the odometer and the power steering going out. I had a feeling it was going to happen so my speed was no where near what it was going to work. Thank you. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Denham Springs, LA, USA

problem #411

Jan 302014


  • 137,647 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated as the steering wheel tightened. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure and current mileage was 137,647.

- La Porte, IN, USA

problem #410

Jan 182014


  • miles
I purchased a 2006 Saturn Ion in may of 2009 from rockenbach Chevrolet in grayslake Illinois. The vehicle was inspected three times for this power steering problem prior to the accident by rockenback mechanics. The mechanics said that they could not find anything wrong with the vehicle, and the sales manager said I was not to bring the vehicle in for any more checks because I had purchased the vehicle without a warranty. The vehicle was totaled after a start up from an intersection when the power steering cut out on July 14, 2009. Since that time I have spoken with three Saturn Ion owners who have experienced the same problem. This problem should be checked out before anyone else is hurt.

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #409

Nov 202013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 111,000 miles


I was rear ended on the freeway on 11/17/13. I went to get it fixed about a week later. They had my car for about 3 days. When I went to pick up my car, there was no power steering. When the gentleman tried to put power steering fluid in it, he noticed it was electric. He said it must have gone out. Now I have to pay to fix my power steering and I didn't have my car when it went out!

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #408

Dec 172013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 71,246 miles
Making a right hand turn onto another street and the wheel locked up. Wheel barely moved enough for me to pull into a parking lot.

- Buena Park, CA, USA

problem #407

Oct 282013


  • 105,000 miles
Loss of power steering. Almost crashed.

- Surprise , AZ, USA

problem #406

Oct 012013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
Pwr steering fail while driving. Car dings and displays the pwr steering code in dash. Known issue by GM. Took it to dealer today, they said they'll fix it free of charge based on 10187A special policy. It only covers the motor/module and not the steering column. I am afraid that they are going to rip me off by simply saying the whole column is the problem so I'm out a lot of money. Based on research and complaints GM recalled other cars with the same problem. If they used the same part and they were recalled in other models then the Saturn one should also be recalled. It was very scary losing power steering. GM needs to make Saturn owners "whole" because there have been various issues already. I replaced the ignition switch twice, the key would get stuck and sometimes would not start.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #405

Jun 172013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
I was driving my 2006 Saturn Ion on a local street, picking up my child from school, when the ignition went off. The car had no power & I had only a few seconds to steer the car off to the side before the power steering stopped working. I put the car in neutral & coasted to a stop. I turned the car off, waited a minute, & then turned the key again. At that time, the car started up again & I took it directly home. In the days following this incident, several different times the ignition would go of by itself. It felt as if the key was not staying in the on position. Not being aware of a warranty from Saturn, I took it to a local repair shop. When the mechanic tried to take the key out of the ignition, it would not turn off or come out of the steering column. He was forced to disconnect the battery in order to turn the ignition off & needed to replace the part in the steering column where the key goes in. Because the mechanic had to disconnect the battery, I was also forced to take the car to the dealership a few days later to have my remote lock reprogrammed. I had to pay out of pocket for both of these repairs, because I was unaware that GM had a special warranty covering such issues. I never received a letter about this problem, but it is a recall issue in other states.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #404

Oct 092013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
My Ion has had continuous steering and suspension problems since 2009. I have experienced the problems with the steering motor (warning light comes on - loss of power steering) and had the steering motor replaced. I have replaced the sway bar, control arms, link, and much more. And, I still have difficulties steering - have a constant cluncking noise from the front end and now have been told I need the rack & pinion replaced - estimated cost $550. The vehicle currently has 82,000 miles. The steering & suspension problems began immediately after the vehicle hit 50,000 miles.

- Orland Park, IL, USA

problem #403

Oct 042013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
2006 Saturn Ion was traveling through a flat curve at 45 mph when the steering froze and the brake pedal would not depress. Vehicle began to spin and left the road striking trees and brush causing some physical damage to the right front and right side of the vehicle. No warning signals were seen or heard at or before the event. The driver was not injured. The vehicle did not stall when it came to rest and was driven back on to the road. Vehicle was driven home without further incident.

- Eagle, WI, USA

problem #402

Sep 262013


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated as the steering wheel tightened. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where it was stated that the power steering motor control needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 85,000.

- Cincinatti, OH, USA

problem #401

Sep 142013


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, there was a loss of power steering with the illumination of the warning indicator. The vehicle was maneuvered to the side of road where the engine was turned off. After restarting, the vehicle resumed normally. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000.

- Greenville, MI, USA

problem #400

Aug 272013


  • 53,000 miles
Steering wheel became nearly impossible to turn. Then power steering light came on. Problem is consistent and dangerous. Took to a mechanic and was estimated $600-$800 to replace necessary parts. I nearly hit another car and almost hit a pedestrian from being unable to steer my own car.

- Houston, TX, USA

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