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Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • I live in California and although it did get below 40 degrees, my car would start in the cold. weather did not seem to be a factor, especially as the problem started in the summer of 2009 and the last time it started was this past May. So am I to get a switch? And where to get that tool? Also, my daughter's boyfriend who was the one who fixed everything from my staturn to her 1995 bemmer is no longer around. the mechanic came highly recommended, but admitted he has never seen this problem before. my warranty is long gone isn't it? I am over 100,000 and the car is a 2005. I truly need to get it running as my daughter will be back soon and her car will no longer be an option for me
  • When the car doesnt start and you had it jumped later was the security light on solid or flashing?If so i would replace the ignition switch.When i bought a duralast lifetime warranty ignition switch from auto zone they told me wells made it not ac delco i guess it depends on who you ask who made on what they tell you.There 50plus tax from there last i saw.I would also say this could be the last time you may have to replace it but that would be going out on a limb as many as i habe changed.I have only changed my nieces 03 ion ignition switch once and that was years ago with a factory one.Now with your car not allowing the key to turn off.Does it only go to start run and acc when his happens?If so its not the cylinder when the tumblar doors come off the cylinders the cylinder sticks in the run position.Really common for what you decribe to happen on the ion and chevy cobolt.There is a micro switch at the base of your gear shift handle rod that fails to let the ket turn off in the park position.That micro switch moves the solenoid in ignition housing allowing the key to turn off when the shifter is in park.When the other person replying to you said to unplug the ignition switch and see if the key tuns off that is removing the power from the solenoid to allow you to remove turn the key off.All that proves is its the solenoid keeping the key from turning off.Its going to be ethier a bad micro switch or a sticking shifter release or the button itself you push to shift sticking.You will have remove the center console to see which it is.If its the micro switch that includes the micro switch the gear indicator light and the solenoid that keeps the gear shift from being moved without your foot on the brake there all wired in the same harness.I have the part number for that and where to buy it online.I just got one for my nieces ion.
  • It doesnt have to be below 40 degrees for it not to start but most of the time being that cold will make it happen a lot more often.When it doesnt start is the security light on solid or flashing?If so i would repalce the switch there is to change anyone handy with tools can do it.What tool are you asking about?I would say your warranty is over unless you want to pay the gm dealer the diagnoses fee and take a chance if there going to repair it for free.But i think you have a better chance of just doing what i was suggesting.Amazon the switch is 23 and auto zone its about 50 plus tax.
  • First I want to say thank you very much eskimomann. I am going to purchase the ignition switch from Auto Zone and go from there to see if it works. At this time my car won't start AT ALL hopefully the next couple of days I get that changed out.

    saturntech9- I would definitely appreciate the part number and where to buy it for the micro switch. This will be the next thing I fix when I get my car running again. Thank you for all the information. When the key gets stuck the engine is actually OFF but I can restart it (however when I turn it off again it just gets stuck). It is in the park position at the time as you described. I will take a look under the console to see if I can determine what is causing the problem.

    I hate that there are so many of us with the same issues but I appreciate everyone sharing their experiences with the rest of us so we know what to do.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,005
    Having the vehicle is diagnosed is a standard operating procedure required by GM. However, I can set up a case for you with Customer Assistance. They will work with the dealer to get this resolved for you. If you would like me to set up a case for you just send me an email with your contact information, current mileage, VIN, and involved dealer. I apologize for your frustrations, but appreciate the opportunity to work with you. Have a great weekend! I look forward to your response.
    GM Customer Service
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    I've got you right there. Totally understand. I didn't want to take it to a Saturn Authorized Service Provider [GM], but it turned out they really did try to rsolve the problem. ..Yes, frustrating. Made me almost hate my car and I bought mine in SoCal too.
    Make the attempt to let them help you. I can only say the car is working as intended, but it's been "fixed" before. And the people @ GM Customer Service did do the right thing. And via this thread too.
    Much luck. Standing with you in solidarity. :)
  • rgiergie Posts: 3
    Well here's the question - will the GM dealership take care of the cost? this is all about out of pocket cost aside from the nuisance it is if you would and if you could...let us know..will all the GM dealership absorb the cost of repair?
  • I finally got my intermittent non-starting issue fixed! The dealer replaced just about everything - ignition switch, computer modules, this, that, the other and the problem persisted. When they tried the clutch switch, they found the real answer. It was ironic because I mentioned months ago that when it wouldn't start, it behaved as if I was turning the key but the clutch wasn't pushed in all the way. GM was very helpful in cooperating with the dealership - hopefully this suggestion will help someone else, too!
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    Yes: pretty much what they've done to mine. Twice. Hopefully this will solve it for good this time.
    Congratulations ! And yes: GM was amazing in this situation, no question.
  • Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. My car has been sitting at the mechanics since late June. I had to get it towed there. he said on top of everything else, my battery was dead and had to replace it for $180. it is still there and he is willing to help, but has run out of ideas and suggested I take it to the dealership. The mileage is a bit over 100,000 and the VIN # 1G8AG52FX5Z160981.

    My email is and I would prefer not to put my telephone number on this site. If needed, I can give it to you in a private email I am beyond frustrated and need this car fixed. What can you do? everyone says the dealer won't do anything and when I brought the car in to get the oil changed back in December it was the first time I went to Weseloh Chevrolet in carlsbad, CA. they are now the place that we are supposed to take the Saturns to since the Saturn dealership closed. I was told they had never heard of the problem. anything you can do would be great. and remember, the cold weather has nothing to do with this. I am in southern california and even when it was what we consider cold, the car still started. it has no preference, the not starting was always random. PLEASE HELP!!
  • there was a typo. my email address is
  • rgiergie Posts: 3
    did GM pick the tab?
  • Christina - I posted the requested information yesterday and am still waiting to hear back from you.
  • you need to send the info by email, as requested - send to

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,005
    If you have a case with GM Customer Assistance they will work with you and the dealer, and involve technical assistance as needed to resolve your situation. I cannot guarantee that the bill will be covered; however they would evaluate your situation and look into it for you. I hope this helps!
    GM Customer Service
  • now that you have all my information, can you please set me up a case?
  • pamela, did you send the info via email? If you did, they will contact you that way to set up a case. That's the way to get started - it's too difficult for the customer service reps to go through all of the posts in all of the GM-related discussions and find info about individual cases & vehicles.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • Whats the Verdict,,What the best fix,,,,The GM dealer around here they never heard of the issue,LOL. Dont fix,Dont tell is there Motto. This was the first GM product I have bought since 99 because of the Trans issue that me and 1000 more had with the POS 4L60 trans in there Vehicles. I need to fix it because the car only has 100k on it and I WILL NOT sell it to anyone. I just keep preaching not to buy anything GM.
  • Give me some more details when the car doesnt start is the security light on solid or flashing?You probably have a bad ignition switch though.
  • That is a great question, what is the best fix? If you read back (and it appears this problem has been going on for years) most say that it is the ignition relay switch. A $23 part. I brought mine to a recommended mechanic who put a battery in (which I had no clue I needed) and at first thought it needed a new starter. I told him about this blog and after I assume he read it, he decided that I should bring it to the GM dealer. I have an appointment on Saturday, the only problem is b/c it was set up through this site, I have to pay $129 for a diagnostic. which is very frustrating for me b/c I don't have much $ and have already spent $183 putting the battery in. GM did say that we use the $129 towards fixing it. If it only needs a $23 part I don't understand why they don't try putting the ignition relay starter in. This has been going on for 2.5 years and finally this past May it would not start at all. I too, have over 100,000 and I too have never had a GM car and probably never will again. Our local Chevrolet dealer took over when Saturn went out of business and told me they have never heard of this problem, which is very strange considering this particular blog has been discussing this problem for many years already. Makes me wonder why there has been no recall
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