NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague

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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
36,348 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2006 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #7

Aug 182010


  • miles


Yes a few months afo I financed a 2006 Saturn Ion level 3 since the first week having it have had nothing but problems including a major gas leak and severe gas fumes inside and outside the cab when running and not. The dealer had givin me nothing but lies and the fun around and attitude. Had been documented by an outside mechanic the car in unsafe to be on the roads and should never have passed inspection which the dealer did. I really need help. I know it's a good chance it's a flood car they sold me. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Huntsville , TX, USA

problem #6

Jun 122009


  • 45,000 miles
Ding on dashboard and power steering goes out. When first occurred, I could drive about 20-30 minutes before it happened again. Now it happens as soon as I get into car.

- Willingboro, NJ, USA

problem #5

Dec 212008


  • 35,000 miles
I have a 2006 Saturn Ion with 35,000 miles, bought new in October 2005 and only serviced at Saturn. It slips when put into reverse. The dealer could replicate the problem manually but could not get a trouble code. Although a service bulletin was issued, the dealer will do nothing until and unless it will generate a code, and says they will not repair it under warranty. I called Saturn customer service and they told me the same thing. They also will not sell me a GM extended warranty because it is out of warranty on length of time. I am told to continue to drive it until it gets bad enough that it will produce a trouble code. By that time it will undoubtedly no longer be close to the warranty mileage and it will probably cost as much as the car is worth to repair it. Since it has less than 36,000 miles, I want it repaired now at no cost.

- Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #4

Mar 172008

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,891 miles


A week ago, I submitted a complaint about losing reverse in my transmission. I would like to add that the dealer replaced my transmission free of charge or labor costs. I applaud jay wolfe Saturn of tiffany springs, Missouri. For taking this corrective action.

- Farley, MO, USA

problem #3

Mar 162008

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,545 miles
I got in my car to go to work on Monday March 16, 2008. The car started. When I put the car in reverse to back out of my garage, the doors locked but the car would not go backward. The car is now at the dealers for trouble shooting.

- Farley, MO, USA

problem #2

Dec 092007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles
My automatic Saturn Ion with 61K miles and no signs of a problem, on its own downshifted from about 65miles to 30 miles. Once I moved it over one lane to the emergency lane the car would not move forward in any gear. The analysis was that the transmission was completely gone. I believe it is a bad design for a car to give no warnings and then downshift on it own. With the car stopping so abruptly, if my family and I had been on the interstate we probably would have been killed or severely injured in an accident. I contacted Saturn directly concerning this matter.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #1

Mar 172007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The contact owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. At 30 mph the vehicle began to drag and was unable to accelerate. The contact attempted to shift gears, but the vehicle began to decelerate more. The vehicle coasted to the side of the road. The contact attempted to restart the vehicle for more than 10 minutes before the engine ignited. During this time, the vehicle began to make a grinding noise. The contact's vehicle was towed to and remained at the dealer. The failure occurred two days after the purchase of the vehicle.

- Chicago, IL, USA

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