Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • Hello all,

    I had a few questions:

    1. Is the white wire part of the ignition switch?

    2. I read in earlier posts that a possible problem might be with the type of "lube" in the ignition switch. The coined "northern climate" vs "southern climate" lube. Does that idea relate at all to the cutting of the white wire.

    3. Does anybody know of any remote car starters for manual transmissions that are easy to install? I know from the sounds of it that the remote starter spoken of on this blog seems to be easy to install for automatic transmissions. My wife has a standard, and we were quoted about $250 to have a remote starter for a manual transmission installed.

    4. How long will a new ignition switch last before the starting problems begin again.


    Cold and Frustrated Husband
  • 1. the white wire is connected to the ignition switch. its wrapped in electrical tape. There is a good picture of it a few post earlier. it show right where it is.

    2. As far as the lube thing, I don't really know. One guy tried it, and it worked, but some people have had no luck with it. I would't recomend doing anything with it.

    3.I'm not sure how to install a manual starter. I do have a bypass switch that I tried to figure out, but I needed a remote starter in order for it to work. I thought I could hook up the bypass without a remote starter, but that turned out to not work.

    4. Don't change the ignition switch. everyone on this board that did that ended up buying another one like a year later. Some people have bought several of them. It's just throwing money down the drain.

    Cut the wire while the car is running and be done with it. That seems to work the best for everyone
  • The only thing I can think is that you hooked up the switch improperly. You could check your fuses. it could't hurt to replace them, but I don't know which one to start with.
  • Thanks for the reply. I also had a couple of other questions/ideas about fixing the white wire:

    1. Would it be possible to some how insulate the wire so it doesn't get cold?

    2. As far as I read earlier, it seemed that the wire is a thin wire and as a result doens't transmit a proper signal when cold. Would it be possible to replace that wire with a thicker guaged wire?


    Cold and Frustrated Husband
  • I thought about trying to replace that wire as well, however after looking at it, I had no idea where the wire ran to. It looked much more involved than I wanted to get.
  • I was looking up wiring diagrams and found this: n%20Starter-Crank%20circuit.bmp

    This link shows a wiring diagram for installing a remote starter. It looks like the white wire connects the ignition switch to the BCM. I wonder why it takes a couple of years for this wire to go bad. Why would a new ignition switch initially work and then go out when the wires are the same size to begin with?

    Cold and Frustrated Husband
  • melsarmelsar Posts: 1
    I'm having trouble with my 04 ion starting in the cold.Wait 10-15 min it starts. Please tell me what this wire cutting is all about. I'm going to take it to my mechanic but I want to sound like I know what I'm talking about. i also read about a worn key causing the problem which I also have.
  • read previous posts. start at #82 or so. read what meron says. it works. I did it and now the headache of my car not starting is gone.
  • oblio9oblio9 Posts: 19
    I just cut my white wire two days ago and taped the whole thing. As long as my car starts fine for the next week or so I plan to post it on youtube. I'll post back with a link once it is done.
  • :mad: Hello,

    I bought a Used Saturn ION 2004 with 40,000 miles. It has not started 8 times in the past month of December. Bought a new battery. Not it. Bought a new Alternator. Not it. Paid "so called" mechanic $100 dollars to fix a faulty wire in egintion switch. Called Saturn Recall Department and they said it was a faulty wire that was causing issue but NO recall on it. Got in car again at night and in cold and would not start. Like always All Lights inside car come on but engine does not. Jump started it, it started, turned off then restarted it would not start. Waited a few minutes then is started up again. It happens at night, in the cold weather. Not during day. It is so exhausting to go to your farely new car and it not start.
  • meronmeron Posts: 21
    Good idea. bertbaggins posted some pics on flickr. Putting it on youtube would get to a lot of people.
    It has been over a year now, it's about twenty degrees here and the car is still starting, first time, every time.
    Good luck and post the youtube link here when you're done; I'd like to see it!
  • meronmeron Posts: 21
    Sorry about your luck. Check the posts here at about #82-84. You can do this yourself, if you are patient. It's really pretty easy.
    Good luck,
  • oblio9oblio9 Posts: 19
    I taped the whole thing soup-nuts on my 2004 Ion. It has started fine the last two days but I'd like to give it a few more before I post it. Plus I need to edit it a little. One thing I have noticed but never see mentioned is that humidity is a factor. I live in the Denver area and it is pretty arid here year round (high desert). I can walk out in the morning and just tell if I am going to have a problem. A month or so ago it was -9 degrees out and my car started like a dream. But the first damp morning in the late fall where it dropped into the 30's and I was out of luck. This morning was borderline, a little damp but not one that I know would have been a problem for sure. Hopefully the next couple mornings will be cold and damp so I can be more confident.

    I know absolutely nothing about cars so I was hoping the video might help people who are as clueless yet cheap as me. :)
  • Just wanted everyone to know I contacted the BBB, GM, DOT, Saturn (of course) to let them know I'm not the only one with this crazy problem with my car. Why isn't it recalled? We all have wasted alot of time, money and stress over something they should've fixed from the start. I'm taking my car to Saturn Dealership to fix the White wire problem. They were going to do a Diagnosis on my car but now they will know exactly what to fix. I'm bringing the picture from here and everything but I'm pretty sure they already know the situation. I better not be charged a crazy fee either. I trust taking it to Saturn instead of a mechanic (i dont know any honest ones). Wish me Lucky.
  • joflozjofloz Posts: 1
    Please go to and file a complaint. This is the only way we are going to get a recall issued on the Saturn strating problem
  • I too have a 2006 Saturn Ion (11,000 mi and out of warranty) and since we went into the deep freeze this last week even keeping the car in the garage was not successful at keeping the shrunken contacts or quantum dot gremlins at bay. I have the "cold start problem" also. tried the different key routine but it might just be the 10 minute time-out that kicked in which fixed the problem. I also tried the "heat the ignition lock up with the hair drier" which also seemed to work, in the garage, but that would be difficult to do in the Sears parking lot at 8:00 at night. I have seen the "Cut the white wire and bypass the passlock system" but why do I have to do that? It's my wife's car and we'll make a trip to the Saturn dealer today and see what they say. My wife is one of those who believes that if the battery dies it's time to get a new car. If GMC can't satisfy us, it looks like we'll be stopping at the 100,000 mile warranty folks.
    I'm also emailing NHTSA.
  • I agree it shouldn't be our problem, but saturn is no help at all. they just rip you off more. cut the wire if you want the problem out of your life. if your warrenty is gone, then whats the difference. Good luck
  • I wish sick before my appointment with Saturn. I was sick because I had to stand out in the cold last week bacause car wouldn't start. I called Saturn and asked then to cut the wire, they said "they would have to do a diagnostic on it or they would be liable for any damages." Our problem will not show up on a Diagnostic. I am not paying $50 bucks so they can say I have a BCM problem and sell me a starter switch. No no no. I have seen it on here to my times. Saturn "Fix" the wire not the Starter (scammers). I email the news websites. My car didn't start again Saturday but this time i sat around 15 minutes and it started right up. Before I'd freak and get it jump started. I really really appreciate all the info I got from this website. I was not going crazy. Thank you everyone.
  • Dear Ms. Buckner,

    Thank you for contacting the Saturn Customer Assistance Center. We appreciate you taking the time to write us in regards to the concerns you are experiencing with your 2004 ION 3.

    I recognize that this situation has caused you a great level of frustration, and I hope that you can accept my sincerest apology on behalf of Saturn.

    Please consider this communication as acknowledgement that we have received your email. In addition, I have added the information you provided to Service Request number , and sent a notification to Rachel Perry on your behalf.

    Recalls are released when the vehicle or an item in the vehicle's equipment does not comply with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard or when there is a safety-related defect present in the vehicle or equipment. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards set minimum performance levels for those parts of the vehicle which may effect its safe operation (brakes, tires, lighting, etc) or those which protect drivers and passengers from death or serious injury in the event of a crash.

    This is applicable to all vehicles and equipment manufactured for sale in the United States that are certified for use on public roads and highways. Through tests, inspection procedures and information gathering systems, General Motors, as a manufacturer, may discover that a safety defect exists or that the requirements of a safety standard have not been met. At that time, a voluntary recall will be released.

    We do have to advise you to work closely with a Saturn Retailer to resolve your issues with your vehicle. If your vehicle has not been to the retailer within the last 30 days, we do advise you to have your vehicle looked at and diagnosed by the Saturn Certified Technicians, so that all your issues can be resolved.

    If you should need to contact us in the future, simply reply to this message or call our Saturn Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-553-6000, prompt 3. Customer Relationship Specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All times are Eastern.

    For more information regarding the maintenance and care of your vehicle, please visit This free online service offers vehicle and ownership-related information and tools tailored to your specific Saturn.

    Again, thank you for contacting Saturn.


    The Saturn Consumer Support Team
  • Good job Amber because we all on this web site are upset with this situation,and when you or all of us buy a new car or used one is because we need a reliable transportation not a hand full of problems with Saturn products,honestly as soon I fix mine, will be trade and for precautions wont be a Saturn or any GM automobile.Once again for those who gave a temporary solutions to the problem.(Thanks a lot and good luck)...... :mad:
Sign In or Register to comment.