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Saturn Ion Starting Problems

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  • Turn your key to the "on" position, you're security light (the lock symbol) is probably blinking. If it is, leave on until the symbol stops blinking. It usually takes about 5-10 minutes. Once the symbol stops blinking, turn car off, wait about 30 seconds and try to start car. It should start. If it doesn't, turn off and wait a few more seconds, start and you should be good to go. From what my mechanic said, the security system needs to "re-learn" the pass code. Why this is happening and how to fix it for good he hasn't been able to figure out. When the car doesn't recognize the pass code the anti-theft kicks in which stops your car from being able to start.
    My mechanic (who is not affiliated w/Saturn or GM) put in a new pass code, made a new key and changed the tumbler assembly and I still have the "no start problem" occasionally. Saturn replaced the ignition switch in 2005 when the car wasn't even a year old. Worked for a year before the problem started again. It is the security system, nothing else. It seems that GM does not want to acknowledge the true nature of the problem which leads to unnecessary repairs and costs. I recently read in a newspaper repair column that an Alero (which is a GM car) owner is having the same problem.
    Wouldn't life be so much sweeter if GM would just suck it up, admit to what the real problem is and take care of it like good, decent people should do?
    Hope this helped, good luck, and let me know.
  • bangelbangel Posts: 8
    Amanda, I have had this issue with my "04 for two yrs. Every since I bought it used. I am nooo mechanic. However, If you watch the video it will take you through it step by step. I just "cut the white wire" 20 minutes ago. It took me longer to put the cover back on the steering column than it did to do the job. Make sure the vehicle is running and DO for sure take the fuse out of the airbag..VERY simple. I am sooo tired of being late for work, and other appointments. If this is the fix I am looking for than I will find out very soon. This car started giving me fits even in humid conditions and I can't take it anymore. I think I cut the wire for spite as much as anything else. Take care all of the other saturn Ion lemon owners....GOOD LUCK...Bryce L. Angel...libertine67@yahoo.com...Feel free to check in.
  • zenwisheszenwishes Posts: 2
    Hey Mariah, I know you weren't talking to me but it's been such a long frustrating journey with Saturn. I bought an Ion 3 in 2003. It's a gorgeous car - one problem has been there since the beginning however. It's the same problem these people have all talked about. There were the non-start issues, the couldn't turn the car off issue (and no it isn't because I'm a girl because my husband and 3 garage guys couldn't turn it off either.) Luckily, it was at the Saturn dealer at the time waiting for it's 3rd ignition. The "couldn't get the key out" issue was quickly resolved once we found out you couldn't have a single thing in your cup holder when you were trying to get the key out since you couldn't jam it into Park hard enough. On and on ---- over the years Saturn has replaced my ignition 3 times. I still have less than 50,000 miles on this car and it is treated with kid gloves. But, no more warranty. Forget the fact that the ignition was replaced 3 times under warranty. That doesn't seem to form a pattern that seems to Saturn to mean they need to fix this problem without charge. Now, to make matters worse - no more Saturn. We got a letter from our dealer that says we have to take the car to the Subaru dealer for dealer repairs. Really? How does that do anything for my Buy American self-mandate. I'm sitting here super frustrated for at least the 7th time since my warranty ran out. Please, if there is such a thing as GM Customer Service for Saturns anymore and if they really are interested in doing something about it, I'll even pay for the tow -- since my Saturn is blocking the car that runs from getting out of the driveway this time! Urrrrrgh!
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,004
    Hello Zenwishes,
    Is your ignition currently giving you problems? I am not sure why your dealer would give you a Subaru dealer for your Saturn vehicle. GM picked certain dealers to service Saturn vehicles. If you would like to email me your zip code I can find a dealership in your area that will service your Saturn vehicle. You can get my email address by clicking on gmcustsvc. Thank you
    Mariah GM Customer Service
  • rb28rb28 Posts: 1
    Hi I am a long time mechanic and I have a 2003 Saturn Ion and also had the no starting problems for about a month. I checked the battery, the starter, and the alternator and everything checked out good. I even tried giving the battery a boost. I also noticed the security light would come on so I figured it was a passlock or switch problem. One day when my car wouldn't start, I had the idea to just take the OnStar FUSE out and to my surprise it started instantly. I did not have to wait any time at all. Its been a two years since the incident and have never had a problem again even in 15 degree weather. Of course the Onstar system will be disabled, but as long as the car works I don't care about OnStar. Maybe they are ones to blame.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,004
    Hello Rb28,
    I apologize that you had a concern with your vehicle. Unfortunately, I cannot diagnose your vehicle over the internet to understand why pulling the fuse worked. I am glad that you are not experiencing your concern anymore. Thank you,
    Mariah GM Customer Service
  • zenwisheszenwishes Posts: 2
    Finally -- after having this starting problem over and over again and trying all of the tricks mentioned (except for cutting the white wire), I believe our car is fixed.

    We simply went to the dealer, paid $33 for a new switch and installed it. We then had to put the key in at the on position, wait for the security lights to go out and attempt to start it, bring the key back to the on position without removing it (very important), wait 10 minutes and repeat 3 times so that the car can "learn" the security code.

    Of course we will have to wait for either cold weather or damp weather to see if it really works, but my goodness I hope so!
  • bangelbangel Posts: 8
    I cut the white wire last month and my car starts every single time now..Best decision I could have made and it was absolutely FREE...Took me about 15 minutes. To heck with the dealership. They won't even admit that there was ever an issue with this. Follow the steps provided on youtube and it will go without a hitch.....Good luck people..b.angel
  • Sorry to say, but the problem will probably come back. I did the same thing when it was still cold out and it started w/no problems for about 3 wks then the starting problems started up again.

    Good luck though, hope I'm wrong.
  • Ummm what if I don't have OnStar? What fuse do I pull?
  • New on forum but lurking in the shadows for couple years. 05 saturn ion no start, stalls at any speed, stalls won't restart,I get a p0601[pcm check sum error]. New battery year ago,cut white wire 3months ago,new ignition swich last week and would not let me reprogram[started right up]. Stalled in driveway day after switch install, decided to hook white wire back up,still would not stop the stalling no start problem.Talked to Saturn dealer who blew the usual dealer smoke up my@$$ an was not helpful at all.This vehicle has 48k an this is the only problem I have had with this car.I have NEVER had a vehicle electrical problem fixed at any dealer shop EVER that solved the issue and am reluctant to start throwing money at a dealership just to change parts to find out they guessed wrong! My question for you saturn ion guru's is the following: can I put a used pcm in this car without a dealer reprogram and is their a way to disconnect the passlock crap? No fun owning a vehicle you can't depend on to start and not stall. thank you Steve
  • asolisiiiasolisiii Posts: 1
    I was recently having the same problem. This is how I was able to start my car: turn the key, but not all the way to where the car will start only to where the anti thieft light comes on, wait till it goes off then turn the key all the way to start the car. I have not had anymore problems with this anymore.
  • bangelbangel Posts: 8
    Pull the air bag fuse....Remember to start your car before cutting the white wire. It has to be running or it won't work. The steps are.
    1) disassemble steering column 7 mm socket I think
    2) find the wire in question...Solid white not the one with a stripe on it.
    3) remove the fuse cover to the right of the gas pedal.
    4) find the air bag fuse and pull it
    5) Start your car
    6) cut the white wire
    7) turn it off
    8) put the fuse back in and cover
    9) reassembl the column cover
    10) start your car. The pass lock light will stay on all the time and your display will tell you to service your car every time you start it. Just push the trip milage button and it goes away. It will do it every time you start your car...Small price to pay for a car that will start every time...
  • esprixesprix Posts: 11
    We tried that for a while, but it's not the solution - it won't always work, trust me. We finally cut the white wire, and haven't had a single problem in almost 2 years.
  • stocky09stocky09 Posts: 2
    Last week my son started the car as usual to move it down the driveway for me. When he put the car into park and tried to turn the car off, the key would not turn to the off position. Furthermore, if you turned the key to the start position, there was not a grinding sound as you would usually hear because the car was already running. This is a 2006 Saturn ION and I am very confused about this problem. Up until now the car has been very reliable. I had to finally have a mechanic come to the house and he removed the main fuse to turn the car off. He also disconnected the negative terminal of the battery as to not drain it. The car has set in the driveway since then. Now I can connect the battery and turn the car on and drive it, BUT I will not be able to turn it off once I get to where I am going.

    Does anyone have a clue as to what has happened?
  • mrmoe13mrmoe13 Posts: 4
    Same thing happenend to me. Saturn dinged me for $530.00. This was the last straw, dropped that car like 3rd period french. Check out some other sites on all the problems the 06 Ion has. You'll be on a first name basis at the dealer real soon. They always seem to have the parts in stock for all the strange problems the car has. They won't recall anything, just want your $$$. Dump while you can !
  • So I got my 2007 Ion in May 2007. From day one, it had starter issues ... thing would occasionally NOT TURN OFF. Finally, one night it so refused that we had to call the dealership to come bring us a loaner that would.

    Ignition switch replaced, problem fixed.

    However, now it's developed a disturbing new habit ... it's growing increasingly reluctant to start when "cold" (in quotation marks because I'm in Houston, and the mornings here are about 85). It starts just fine after it's been warmed up - if I run into the pharmacy for a few minutes, it starts great when I come out.

    Appointment made with dealership next week, since it's still under warranty, but any interim tips would be most appreciated.
  • I also cut the white wire about two years ago and have not had one problem staring since. I think it is remarkable that one smart Saturn owner in Kentucky came up with this solution and yet, judging by all the frustrating stories, all of the Saturn/GM engineers could not figure out the correct fix. My thanks again to the individual in Kentucky who figured this out and posted the solution.
  • standfirmstandfirm Posts: 1
    edited August 2010
    Just bought a 2004 saturn ion, may have been wrong decision but it is what it is. Car has new battery, turns over great but wont start. Is this the same nonstart issue that so many have talked about. If it is, any suggestions on how to start the car so I can cut the "white wire"?
  • lnquachlnquach Posts: 3
    With the "white wire" problem, typically the car won't turn over (i.e. doesn't even click) because the system has disabled the ignition.
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