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 9 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #339

Feb 102012


  • 52,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering failed while driving approximately 70 mph. The power steering warning chime beeped as the power steering warning light illuminated. The contact had to use extreme force in order to steer the vehicle. The failure was recurring. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer to have a diagnostic performed or for repairs. The failure mileage was 52,000 and the current mileage was 53,000.

- Jackson , MI, USA

problem #338

Apr 012012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
Driving on the freeway when power steering completely failed. Driving between 55 and 60mph. Finally able to pull over. Turned off engine and upon restart, power steering was restored. This failure has continued to occur on a daily basis. Very dangerous.

- Alpine, CA, USA

problem #337

Mar 272011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 49,500 miles
As I was driving down the interstate my power steering message light came on and my steering became hard to steer. After I shut it off and let it rest for awhile it works again for awhile then gets tight.

- Columbia, TN, USA

problem #336

Apr 032012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 77,500 miles


While the vehicle was in operations the power steering on the vehicle went out. We were able to continue driving despite it being very difficult to turn the cars steering wheel. However after turning the car off and restarting it the power steering unit worked again. Figured this out after reading other peoples complaints about the same issue online.

- St. Louis , MO, USA

problem #335

Mar 252012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
Received a "pwr str" (power steering) warning while backing up a driveway. Power steering did not return to normal operation. Power steering is electric in this vehicle - so no belts or fluids are used. Also received a "trac off" (traction system - off) warning at the same time. No blown fuses were found. Car is at GM service for repair.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #334

Mar 152012


  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 staurn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrumental panel and the steering wheel became very difficult to maneuver. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired by a dealer. The manufacturer had not been notified. The failure and current mileages were approximately 92,000.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #333

Mar 152012


  • 130,000 miles


I own a 2006 Saturn Ion 2 4D sedan. I am the sole owner of my vehicle. Vehicle was purchased new and currently has approximately 130,000 miles. Traveling home on a busy highway, I heard my notification sound go off and my message indicator read "pwr str" and my steering wheel immediately began to stall. Trying not to panic, I assumed that the steering wheel would still be operational but I noticed it was becoming increasingly difficult to maneuver. I managed to exit the busy interstate and once I got to the stop light I noticed I could no longer move the wheel. I turned my car off and turned it back on and it seemed to work so I was able to get home. Unacceptable!! this was extremely dangerous to happen on a busy interstate or anywhere for that matter. I am scared to death to drive this car in fear that this will happen again. What if I was not able to get off the highway? this was a terrible experience and something should be done about this!!!!!

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #332

Mar 012012


  • 126,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion II. The contact stated that the power steering would fail intermittently while driving. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection of the failure or repairs. The failure and the current mileage was approximately 126,000.

- Florissant, MO, USA

problem #331

Feb 142012

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
We were driving to pick up a friend of mine, and while parked outside the establishment where I was picking this friend up from I noticed that the steering wheel was becoming increasingly harder to turn, to the point where I was almost unable to turn it, so I shut the car off and turned it back on and everything seemed fine after. I drove to another place in town and was parked there for about an hour and half, maybe two hours, when I turned on the car all seemed well until I rolled the front passenger window down and it would not roll back up so I drove to a gas station a few blocks away to see if I could correct the problem and as soon as I pulled into the parking slot and put the car in park, it just shut itself off and would not turn back on and the display on the dash had a read out that said "pwr str". after an hour wait at 3am at a gas station across town from where I live I was lucky that I had a kind enough friend to come jump start my car. When we did finally get the car to start the power steering did not work at all and I had to use the manual steering on the drive home. Once I got the car safely home and parked it would not start again and it has the same readout that says "pwr str" on the dash. I have not drove the car since for safety reasons as well as not wanting to get stuck somewhere else in town other than home. Please issue a recall for this part as it seems to already be an overwhelming problem with a lot of other owners and has already been recalled on two other models of vehicles.

- Las Cruces, NM, USA

problem #330

Dec 152011


  • 84,540 miles
My power steering goes out in my Saturn Ion 2006 while on an overpass on the freeway doing about 60 mph. I have to exit the freeway and I turned the car off. I waited a few minutes and tried to drive in the parking lot I was in and it seemed ok. I pulled out to get back on the side street, and my dash screen blinks telling me "power steering" again. I was a mile from home and had to pull over 3 times before I made it home. Now it happens almost daily. Not safe at all! please fix this problem at no cost to me or replace my car.

- Ontario, CA, USA

problem #329

Mar 022012


  • 120,500 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the steering wheel seized while driving 30 mph. The contact stopped and shut the vehicle off when the failure occurred. Upon restart, the vehicle would operate as normal momentarily before the failure recurred. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 120,500.

- Holladay, TN, USA

problem #328

Dec 292011


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 65 mph the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. The power steering light illuminated on the instrument panel. After restarting the vehicle, the power steering regained functionality. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for diagnostics. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 77,000.

- Fishers , IN, USA

problem #327

Sep 152011


  • 80,000 miles
The power steering would go out intermittently at various speeds. It would stay off till the vehicle was restarted. The frequency progressed and I contacted a GM dealer who fixed the car under an extended warranty. Doing some online research, I discovered this is a frequent problem with this model and was encourage to report it to this site since a recall investigation was underway.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #326

Oct 132011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 82,600 miles
Driving down the road and power steering will go out. I pull the car over and shut it off and wait a few minutes and restart it and the steering works again for a little while. Usually about 10 to 15 minutes. I went from my home in lake orion, mi to milford mi the other day which is under 30 miles and it went out on me 6 times. Please help with this. I see that several other people have had these same issues. I am also afraid that if the roads are slick here and it goes out like that while I'm driving I could get into a crash.

- Lake Orion, MI, USA

problem #325

Feb 042012

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
My son was driving and he attempted to turn the wheel to the right to change lanes and the steering wheel locked. He pulled on it a bit harder and it released which made spin out and his front wheel hit the curb which pushed his wheel up against the frame of the car. We had to have it towed to the mechanics where it still sits while parts are being ordered. Car brands may disappear from time to time, but the cars themselves stick around for years or even decades. And when discontinued models have problems that may affect safety they get the same attention from federal regulators as current models. Such is the case for the Saturn Ion, a compact-car model from a discontinued General Motors division whose production ended a few years ago. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has intensified its investigation into complaints about alleged problems with the power-steering systems on Ions from the 2004 to 2007 model years. The Agency had previously opened a preliminary investigation of the complaints. NHTSA says there have been about 4,150 complaints from drivers alleging a sudden loss of power steering. The Agency says in 16 cases the loss of power assist resulted in a crash, and in two cases the crashes resulted in driver injuries. NHTSA said it began upgraded the preliminary inquiry to an engineering analysis further assess the frequency, scope and safety consequences of a sudden loss of steering assist in the subject vehicles?? investigations like these sometimes grow into safety recalls in which the cars manufacturer has to correct.

- Daly City, CA, USA

problem #324

Feb 012012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 81,170 miles
I was backing out of my driveway in the morning before heading to work and as I shifted the car into drive and started to accelerate the pwr str alert was displayed and I found it very difficult to move the steering wheel. I then shut off the car and turned it back on and the power steering was restored. I made it fine to work and had no problems after that. However, that Friday, February 4th, I was on the highway on my way for a weekend trip to mi and once again the pwr str alert came on again. I pulled over to the shoulder as soon as I could so that I could attempt to restart my car to hopefully regain power steering. I restarted my car and I was able to gain power steering again. However, after about 15 mins on the road, I lost power steering again. It was very hard to maneuver the car and I was very afraid of what would happen if I had to swerve to avoid an accident. I found it especially harder to turn at slower speeds so making a right hand turn onto a side street was very hard. Then on Sunday, February 5th, I was driving again and at first the power steering was working fine, but I found that within 20 mins of my trip the pwr str alert came on again and I had no power steering again. I find this to be a major issue and is very unsafe for any driver especially young ladies such as myself who have to use both arms pulling down on one side of the steering wheel just to make a slight turn around a bend. When I was getting off the highway and going down the off ramp I found that my front wheels were skipping on the pavement as I was making the turn and I was pulling really hard on the steering wheel just to be able to turn. I fear what would happen if it went out and there's snow. I hope that something is done about this issue to insure the safety of not only those driving the cars that are loosing their power steering, but also for the other drivers on the road.

- Lake In The Hills, IL, USA

problem #323

Jan 262012


  • 82,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering would fail sporadically with the illumination of the power steering warning light. The contact stated that he had to turn the vehicle on and off several times in order to get the power steering to resume normal function. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for diagnosis or repairs. The failure mileage was 82,000 and the current mileage was 82,200.

- Charleston, WV, USA

problem #322

Oct 132011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 154,752 miles
Driving on interstate, power steering warning light came on, there was a warning chime, and then the power steering was gone and the car became very difficult to steer. I pulled it over, turned it off. When I turned it on the steering was working again, I drove about 10 more miles and it did the same thing. I took it in to my mechanic and was told that GM had a recall on this same exact steering motor used in the cobalt but had not issued a recall on the Saturn. I paid over $1100 for this repair and I feel it should have been covered by the manufacturer. I am lucky that I did not get in a wreck as this manifested in the middle of rush hour traffic.

- New Whiteland, IN, USA

problem #321

Jan 062012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 73,500 miles
The first time it happened I was on my way to work, I heard the beep, then pwr str showed on the dash. At the same time turning the vehicle was very hard. I thought it was an isolated incident because that night on my way home it didn't happen at all. I spoke with my husband and he said the same thing happened to him. It has since then gotten to the point that after the car being driven for a few yards it happens. I live in a city and do mostly low speed driving. I also live in Michigan and it is in the middle of winter. Although it is still possible to steer it without power steering, I have a very hard time turning the wheel. I am very scared it is going to cause me to wreck the car.

- Flint, MI, USA

problem #320

Jan 282012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 57,455 miles
While driving down a residential street I hear a click and the cars warning sound, then the power steering message appears on the dashboard. I immediately notice that my power steering is no longer working. I pulled to the curb and shut the car off and upon turning it back on the light went away and the power steering was working again. Three days later, while driving to work, as I was in the middle of turning, again I heard a click the warning sound, the message, and the power steering went out again. This time I had to grip the wheel and work to get it to finish the turn safely. Pulled into a gas station, turned the car off, then back on. The power steering worked for the 10min drive to work. During the drive home the power steering shut off 4 times, each time it took less time from the restart of the car till the it failed again.

- Westerville, OH, USA

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