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Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • You are correct, this has been going on years, in fact ever since the ION:s entered the market with the 2003 model, and we have had 03's 04's and 05's ...
    Sold off the 03's, still have one 04 with starting problems on the average 5 times a week - year around, in the 'cold' 50-60 degrees and in the warm 80-95 ... no difference, problem is the same.
    This '04 is next to go in exchange for a non GM product.
    Also have several '05 ... One of the 05's has this problem but only once in a while.
    I agree, Saturn is very aware of this problem, but they (read GM) do not recognize it - that is the problem ... not recognizing it - in the hopes all dissatisfied Saturn owners is going to remain GM customers, well we are not as 4 ION's is gone so far - with the rest to go as well ...
  • Yes, after hitting the bump and the car turning off, all I have to do is restart it and its fine. It has done this about 3 times within the past 4 months, its very random. Luckily I wasnt on the freeway any of those times.
    Ive read from several different people that they replaced their fuse box and their ignition switch and a few months later the car would turn off on its own again. Also, that they have had their car scanned for codes and no code comes up. I cant afford to do all of this when I have a feeling these people are correct and my money would just go to waste.
    I also came across a thread on a different message board form a guy who spoke to saturn and hired a lawyer and everything after having spent $1,000's on parts for his car and still having the same problem. He said after months of going back and forth with GM they finally took responsibility and admitted that this is a problem with Saturn Ions and they don't know how to fix it, so they gave him a settlement. I think Im gonna get rid of my car, I really dont wanna die on the freeway (or at all)!
  • It was replaced the winter of 2005 as per the recall and again by my mechanic in 2009. But seriously, why should I have to replace it more than once? This is ridiculous.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,057

    I apologize for the problems you are experiencing with your vehicle. Could you please email me your VIN? I would like to look further into your situation.

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service
  • We've been having the same problem people are describing here with our 2005 Saturn Ion. Frequently we put the key in the ignition, turn it, and the passlock system comes on. Then we have to wait 10 minutes to retry. Sometimes this happens more than once.

    It used to be that this only happened when it was cold. Since we live in Northern California, we weren't too concerned about it, as it only happened a couple of times a year. Now, however, it is happening much more frequently, regardless of weather or temperature.

    The main problem we are having is that waiting 10 or 20 minutes (with the kids in the car) often means coming in to work 10 or 20 minutes late. My tardiness has been commented on by my supervisor, and I can only use the "car trouble" excuse a few times, ya know?

    My spouse is also looking for a job and, although this has not happened yet, this problem could make him late for an interview.

    I know - the solution is to allow enough time in case it happens, but with two kids, our lives are planned down to the last second, and we don't have a lot of wiggle room in our schedule.

    I am thinking of calling our Attorney General's office and filing a formal complaint. If enough of us living in California do that, perhaps something might start to change!

  • perkiekatperkiekat Posts: 3
    edited August 2011
    I have already called GM-Saturn this morning and was bluntly told by a Saturn Customer Rep that Saturn will not fix my issue because it is not a "recall" issue.
    And why is this NOT on a recall? Way too many people have had the same problem with their ignition. So are you going to tell me the same thing? This is going to cost me well over $500.00 to fix and I should NOT have to pay for this since GM/Saturn has been and still is aware of the key ignition issue for years.
    You can believe this...I will NEVER buy another GM product and will encourage others in person and on the internet to stay as far away from GM as they can. I am also calling my states attorney's office and see what they have to say about this. Just Google Saturn Ion Key Ignition Issues and you will find TONS of complaints, something like 94,900 results.

    Tell me that Saturn will pay for this...I have an appointment with the car service manager on Wednesday at 4:00 pm central time. Please don't try to make yourself look good by posting "Send me your VIN number"...if you are NOT going to correct this issue and pay for the work on the car. :mad:
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,057

    I apologize for your frustrations I asked for the VIN to further look into your vehicles history, recalls and etc. Each case is handled on a case by case basis and without asking for your VIN and looking into it I personally cannot evaluate your situation or guarantee GM will pay for any of the repairs.

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,057

    I apologize for the problems you are experiencing with your vehicle. Have you had the vehicle into your local GM dealership?

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service
  • mkreishermkreisher Posts: 5
    edited August 2011
    No, because I have heard several horror stories about GM replacing this and repairing that and thousands of dollars later the problem still isnt fixed. I was gonna take it to a GM until they convienently left out the part about me paying $125 just to have someone hook it up to their computer. $125 are you serious? Im done with it! Im getting rid of my car and never buying GM again! Its bad enough that you guys wont recall the ignition switch (or whatever the cause is) since the key wont come out, but at least that isnt gonna kill me like this will...eventually!

    *And I can not recreate the problem. I know their gonna say if they cant see the problem then they cant fix it. No codes will show up, and its not the ignition or the fuse box...its a problem with the way GM makes cars.

    Thank you for replying though :)
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,057

    I understand your frustrations with your situations. As all major companies or corporations, we have standard operating procedures. GM does handle their customers individually, not all situations are the same, so they must be handled on a case by case basis. I am here to help make GM aware of your situations. The only way I can do this is with your assistance. First, I need your contact information (including a good number to reach you), VIN, current mileage, involved dealer, and a break down of what you are experiencing. The best way to get me this information is a direct email. The vehicle must be taken to a GM Dealer. They have a contract with GM and must look at the vehicle. For GM to know you are experiencing issues, you must contact GM; whether it is me via email or Customer Assistance via the telephone. This will help identify the problem and how large it is. I understand when you are experiencing these concerns these processes can be frustrating. All concerns, whether it be with a dealer or your vehicle, are documented in the cases set up if you directly contact GM. If you would like to call Customer Assistance and speak with someone the number is in your owners manual, or email me and I can provide it to you. If you would like me to assist you, please feel free to email me the information requested above.

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service
  • Dear Caron,

    I have created a case with Saturn already. I will email this to you as soon as I can find your email address. My frustration is with the fact that the GM Dealers change, and so one dealer said, they can waive the diagnosis fee if I been to them before. I did not go to them before since my GM dealer closer to my home is no longer a GM dealer. Due to the changes of relationships, I need to suffer the expense... it's not fair. Perhaps they can transfer my file from the previous GM dealer to the new one. I spent hundreds at the previous dealer to fix brakes, regular maintenance and service, and now you mean to tell me this information is lost between dealers?
  • rvsamrvsam Posts: 4
    Dear hatesaturnion: I have a 2005 Saturn Ion 3, automatic, 2.2 Liter. I had your passlock problem. I was an electronic technician for years and challenged myself to fix this. I found the answer for my problem on the many websites along with trial and error and persistence. My problem and probably yours was I replaced the "ignition switch solonoid" ( I am not sure of the correct nomenclature), not the ignition key cylinder. I was able to put it in myself. You have to remove the 3 piece steering column housing. It is located just below the key cylinder and is easy to unplug, remove and replace. The part was about $30. I had to "retrain the passlock system". That procedure is easy to find on this website. Next I had the stuck key problem. When you turn off the key it will not come out of the ignition. After much inconvenience and time it turns out you can remove a small plastic access cover just below the ignition switch. This allows you to put your finger into the hole and push a little button and your key is released. I found the cause of this on my own. It turns out that there is a microswitch as part of the electro-mechanical Park Position assembly that closes when in Park position. When it fails it stops you from taking your key. I tried to fix this but got the wrong part. I decided to just push the button.
    If anyone is interested, I had a third problem with "no click, no crank, and no start when key is turned to start. This was not a passlock problem. It turns out that there is an inline fuse taped to the wire bundle in the trunk. The fuse looked good. Thankfully I i tested it electrically and replaced it. My car was out of commission for 2.5 months while I tried "just answer" and all the usual internet sites including this one. No one had a clue except that they said check the fuses. No one alerted me about the inline fuse and its location. I found it on my own after finally getting a detailed wiring schematic. I hope that those who have fixed their Saturns will post the cures because it would have caused thousands to fix these three problems if I had went to a GM dealer. As the posts on this site will confirm, trouble shooting is the very last thing attempted by the dealer. I was advised that the BCM needed to replaced or reflashed, the ECM had a failure, the park neutral switch had failed and on and on. No one said check the inline fuse in the trunk. Finally, I love my Saturn Ion. I am sorry it has had these problems but I believe that the cures for these predictable, common and even inherent problems should be made common knowledge so that we can continue to drive and enjoy our Saturns.
  • About 2 summers ago I had my first instance where my 2005 saturn ion 1 did not turn on. as someone else said it did not click, nothing. the radio still worked, the lights. then exactly 12 minutes later it started. over the next 2 years it would still randomly happen and then it was 20 minutes and in the past year it was happening more and lasted up to 60 minutes. finally, about 2 months ago i had my dog up at the fields and it would not start. when this first happened my daughter;s boyfriend googled and was blown away by how many people have this problem, yet saturn refuses to acknowledge it and refuses to do a recall. i was quoted too much for me to afford and was told it was the starter. i read somewhere that for $22.95 i could buy an ignition relay and that should solve it. i am at my wits end. I can't afford another car right now and have been using my daughter's as she is out of town.

    Does anyone have a true solution to fix this?
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,057

    Were you planning on having the fixed at a GM dealership? Please keep me posted.

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service
  • I already know Saturn is not covering the charge to fix this. I already spoke with Customer Care. So its $200.00 out of my pocket.
  • You dont need a starter relay you need a ignition switch there about 22 on amazon.There easy to change with basic tools you just have to relearn the pass lock sensor.I work as a saturn tech for 16yrs its going to be most likely the swich i would change the switch if it was my car.
  • I would like to, but I can't afford it. As someone else said above, the dealership will charge between $100 - $125 just to diagnose the problem. When I brought the car in to get the oil changed right after our local Saturn was now the GM/Chevy dealership I was told they have never heard of this problem. I had it towed to a mechanic that came highly recommended and told him the problem. He ended up putting in a new battery (i had no idea my battery was bad) and I now owe him $177 for the new battery and labor. he told me the car needs a starter and with the $177 plus the new starter and labor he wants over $500. I do not have that. I was told to try the ignition relay which is a very cheap part. I don't know what to do. Any advise?
  • Caron from customer service will only send you to a GM Dealer and you need to pay out of pocket. I was told that I could have the diagnosis fee waived if I was at that dealer before. Unfortunately the dealer I went to and spent hundreds in the past is no longer a GM dealer. So now, I have to pay out of pocket again. After having to freeze outside with my newborn to wait for the car to start, GM will still not take accountability. Aren't the tax payers bailing GM out, and they tell us, each case is individual. You don't have to be smart to tell these are all the same issues! See my canned response from Caron of GM:

    After reviewing the case the vehicle must be diagnosed by a GM dealership and
    unfortunately there is a diagnosis fee. As all major companies or corporations,
    we have standard operating procedures. GM does handle their customers
    individually, and not all circumstances are the same, so they must be handled on
    a case by case basis. If you decide to have the vehicle diagnosed please feel
    free to contact your agent directly.

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service

    And here was my reply to that:
    Classic case of GM not taking accountability. I appreciate your canned response
    and lack of help. Solidifies my frustrations with GM. As a tax payer, I bailed
    GM out and now, GM is saying, to me, oh well! I sure hope GM goes down to the
    ground as it deserves in terms of no longer being able to operate this way.
    Please do not take my tone personally as I'm sure you are following your
    standard code. Is there an address to send the CEO a letter? If you can email it
    to me directly I appreciate it.
    Many thanks and good luck!

    I am beginning to think that Caron is a mde up computer avatar because clearly she speaks like a GM robot.
  • Pamela- don't spend another dime!! The GM dealers are just making money off of you. A family member used to work for GM and knows these problems happen all the time, and they jerk you around to make money off of you! And the only reason why GM wants you to go to them is so they make money. Something has got to change. This is a GM ponzi scheme! This is my advice based on my insider mechanic who knows this- he diagnosed mine and said it is the GM faulty ignition siwtches connected to the Anti-theft system in these Saturn ION models. Why do you think they stopped making the Ion? Too many issues in the design, and GM doesn't take accountability.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    Let's be careful not to attack any member personally. You can bash the company all you want, but we ask that members treat other members with civility and respect. Alternatively, you can ignore them. :)

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