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Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • Sd46916,

    I see you already have a plan for repairing your Saturn. If we can be of any service to you, even by looking into safety recall information on your vehicle, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us via email with your name/user name and the last 8 digits of your VIN.

    GM Customer Service
  • Be careful when the GM people weigh in. The ones on this blog are very nice, but they have no power when it comes to the important decisions. They will open a file for you, make the appointment for you at the dealer, I even had someone named Raymond call and tried to be helpful. when push came to shove his supervisor took over and I got nothing.. they said i was over warranty, even though i started complaining about this prior to the warranty being expired. and as I said to the saturntech (who is no longer with GM, just someone VERY helpful on this blog) You know I have weighed in a lot on this..... And I, being from southern california can confirm what you have said. Does not depend on the cold weather to start or not.. An old friend of my daughter's who is an ace mechanic put the starter in which both the dealership and the mechanic said I needed. GM dealership wanted $600 to replace the starter, the mechanic wanted $300, Jason bought the starter for $180 and it was in. Car started fine each and every time he started it up. At first he watched the utube video about cutting the wire, than adding the switch so I could pass smog, etc. Everything was great, but when he tried to put the switch in, it froze. turned out to be a loose fuse, but we let them be b/c it was starting fine. He had it for about 10 days and each time started right up. I got it back and it started each time i tried. then on the 3rd try (which was a week after i got it back) it would not start and now the key is stuck in the ignition. it won't turn to off, it's stuck somewhere between "on" (the furthest to the right it can go as when you are starting the car) and the middle (between on and off). Won't budge, won't come out of the ignition. Next up for us, the ignition relay switch, which seems to be the most talked about part on this blog for fixing this problem. He is going to switch out the ignition relay switch with a new one and I pray to God this works. If it does I will be selling my 2005 over 100,000 miles Saturn Ion and be happy with whatever I can get for it. I am so over this and I can't wait to get rid of this car... not sure what i'm going to get, but I am 100% sure it will not be a GM
  • Wow! A Saturn Tech that admits something is wrong! And in this posting sharing with us that 'most of the time' the problem is traced to the ignition switch (a GM dealer sourced part at about $50 - available from for less than $20 ...same identical part) and its failing pass lock sensor.
    Note - we now learn there is a bulletin from saturn about this!! How come that saturn did not take care of this during the warranty period? How come those gm dealers that service and repair saturn's know about this? The one we have dealt with is 100% clueless about any bulletin - but will happily sell us the $50 part and point out, no return, it's an electrical part. Do I have one, yes, did it work? No ...
    Like so many other owners posting ...go elsewhere but a new gm product!
  • Saturntech - As I told the last one who posted on this. You are the only one who actually helped me on this site. The 2 GM people that have their eye on this blog. nice, but useless (sorry ladies, but setting up a "file" that you basically know is not going anywhere - not really helping).... As I said, when GM called me after one of the ladies on here set a file up for me.. He wanted to hep. Raymond knew i was over warranty, knew I'd had this problem b/f i was over warrenty and was pushing to get GM to pay. Last thing he said to me was "Don't worry, I am here to help." The next thing I knew his supervisor called and was extremely rude and told me there is no way GM will be paying. When I asked for her supervisor she told me she is the general manager (or some such title) of southern california and there was no one higher than her to talk to. Basically dismissed me like yesterday's trash. Don't know if you read my other postings, but had it started for a whole week after the starter was put in. now it is frozen and the key won't come out of the ignition, there is no power, no clicks, no nothing. oh yeah, and the mechanic put a new battery in over the summer for $180. next up... that ignition relay switch for $25. we are hoping this does the trick and then good bye Saturn Ion! Hopefully, someone will buy it
  • Hi everyone. I bought my '03 ION brand new from the dealer and didn't have any problems until 2 years ago. Then I started getting this no start/no crank problem. At first I thought, OK probably the battery (it was in the winter and well, the battery was 6 years old, why not?). I bought a new one and that of course didn't fix the problem. So I asked the guys who service our cars about it. They started by replacing the ignition switch (better grease they promised too) but that didn't totally take care of it. So last year they replaced the ignition cylinder. Better, but still not 100%. Then on Tuesday, the key wouldn't turn back to the 'off' position. So back to the shop. They fixed the key issue by taking apart the cylinder again, but since then the car won't stay on at all. It cranks, but then stalls. They think the computer is toast, but they don't know. I've tried calling the closest GM dealer to see if they can even diagnose the issue (BCM or just a complete failure of the computer) and I'm still waiting to hear from them. What did I see about disconnecting the anti-theft? Did that actually work for anyone?
  • My key is also now stuck in the ignition. i was told a simple ignition relay switch will do the job. this is after installing a new battery, new starter.... it actually worked for a whole week after the starter was put in!!

    my AAA expired, I have to reup and get it towed AGAIN and try the ignition relay switch this time. btw, I live in southern california. cold weather has nothing to do with it!!

    there is a utube video about all this, but be careful. good luck. this is so insane. every week more and more people on here, yet GM won't do a thing if we are over warranty. So over 40 pages on this blog going back years and no recall. they simply have their people monitoring this site. I was very sweet when i started on here. Now I am jaded and just want the car working so I can get rid of it and NEVER buy a GM car again
  • I'm right there with you. IF I can get this thing working, I'm unloading it ASAP. But this is the only issue I've had since 2003, so I'm not throwing GM out the door just yet. Then again, if I can't find someone who THINKS they MIGHT be able to fix it, then I'm out of luck and I have to figure out some way to buy another car - and all of the joy that THAT will bring me.
    And the cold weather just seems to bring this issue out in my ION. It may be anecdotal, but that's when it happens. Not necesarily below freezing, but I had no issues when it was over 70 degrees outside.
  • notcrankyion - It does seem as if many people do have issues in the cold weather. I don't know how much of this blog you have read, but I started here months ago. At that time I was still on the fence about GM and thought, despite everything I read, that maybe they really did want to help. Some do, some don't, but the people that don't are the supervisors of GM and they are the ones with the power. I bought my 2005 Ion brand new in 2005 and not until the summer of 2009 did I start having this problem.. Even though I contacted Saturn several times I was told on here that GM could not do anything for me b/c I was over warranty and there was no documentation. I never brought it in b/c all the wanted to do was charge me $129 to run a diagnostic and I knew the problem, didn't need that I needed it fixed. GM contacted me on this blog, set up a file, made an appointment at the local GM dealer all the while completely aware that I was over warranty. yet, someone from GM called and told me he wanted to help and not to worry. After that call I never heard from him again, but I did hear from his supervisor telling me too bad for me they wouldn't cover it b/c I was over warranty and did not seem to care at all that I had tried b/f the warranty was over..... I need to buy the ignition relay switch and have my friend/mechanic put it in. Not sure how much of this blog you've read, but it's quite interesting and very repetitive in the problems. Plus you should watch the u tube video
  • I have a 2003 Saturn, I use a blow dryer to heat the ignition switch before putting key in. Usually works. Try disconnecting battery to reset security. Buy a FORD buy a Honda, anything else. I have gone up the GM ladder too and they will not help. Its all a ploy, which is why Saturn is out of business. A large class action lawsuit and general boycott are the only solutions. God luck everyone, I've taken mine everywhere. No luck.
  • I bought my 2004 Saturn Ion 2 brand new with 10 miles on it in July 2004. I have loved this car even thought I had to replace the ignition switch 3 times. Thursday Nov. 17 my car would not start. I got it to the mechanic on Saturday they tell me it's the ignition switch. A few hours later they tell me they can't reset the security code (passlock system) On Monday they brought the car to a local GM dealership an electrician looked at it and couldn't figure out the problem. Now we are at Wednesday Nov. 23 and it is going to yet another GM dealership to have the car "flashed" (I have no idea what it means) My car has 135,000 miles on it, but this is ridiculous I am going on almost a week without a car and no one seems to be able to fix it. I am starting to get very frustrated and have no idea what to do!!!!!
  • kikibkikib Posts: 14
    Tell them to check the body control module, the fuse box, and the gear shift box. My son's 2005 Saturn Ion had to have all three replaced in the past several months. He has less than 60,000 miles on his car. Not one mechanic or service advisor seemed to know what to do until my son went to pick up his car at the dealership yet again after being towed there and they were unable to "duplicate the problem." Thankfully, while he attempted to start his car and leave the dealership lot, his key got stuck in the ignition and the car wouldn't start. Only then was a mechanic able to figure out that it was the body control module. Why? It doesn't make sense. GM should never have been bailed out by the government. This ongoing blog proves that.
  • I'm beyond fed up with this issue. So I need help with knowing what I need to do for my car. This is my third winter with it and I refuse to put up with this bs again. Seems to only happen when its cold it won't start and the security light flashes at me...but I'm concerned that something may be wrong with my computer someone help me please! I'm sick of trying to talk to gm they haven't helped me a bit but try to rape my billfold any help would be appreciated..I have an 03 Saturn ion level 3
  • oblio9oblio9 Posts: 19
    Cut the white wire.
  • The advise is pretty straight forward, and simple .... Get rid of the Saturn ION, trade it for a non-gm product, go for a Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Hyundai, KIA etc but stay away from GM. They have not earned your business, especially after how they have mishandled the ignition issue for thousand's and thousand's of GM-Saturn owners, and this from the very first day the problem was reported.
    After having purchased total of 17 Saturn's --- we, like so many other Saturn owners, have given up on GM products. Have replaced most of the fleet at this time with but still a few to go, maybe one or two in December this as I just had report of one more of the remaining 2005 ION's are 'acting' up to frequently.
  • I was reading this thread and looked like others were having problems similar to mine so I figured id see if anyone might be able to give me anymore information. I have a 2005 saturn Ion with about 70,000 miles. A couple days ago my inside lights started acting up, and would stay on til i drove a yard or two. Also my factory alarm would not sound when I locked my car via the keyless entry keypad. Went to start it the next morning and nothing. I assumed my battery was dead because I got nothing when I put the key in the ignition but clicking. So i jumped it. All my lights would come on, my aircondition turned on. everything as far as power was working, but not my car just wont start. wont turn over, or click, or anything. My security light flashes when trying to start it. I called it quits and locked my car with the key fob. The next days my battery had died again, and my alarm would randomly go off faintly and quietly when I wasnt around. Any suggestions from anyone on what It may be or what I should do?
  • I'm sorry that your Ion is having trouble starting. Have you already been working with a dealership to get a diagnosis on this concern?

    GM Customer Service
  • Dealerships are 'clueless' when it comes to this problem. For the consumer, it is total spill of time and money! If GM has a workable solution - please share it with any and all Saturn ION owners and, why not share it with the gm-dealers as well.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    From what I see in this discussion, I tend to agree. Unless you can go in to the dealership already armed with info about what's causing the problem (and what part(s) might need replacement), it appears to often turn in to a pointless waste of time and money. The key seems to be to find a really GOOD mechanic (dealership or independent) who can diagnose & fix the problem the first time.

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  • Kirstie, Sarah, nforr121287 and everyone else

    I am sure some of you are tired of hearing from me. I must say this. I did find a very good mechanic whom I told exactly what I was told time and again in this blog what the problem was. And I had/have the same problems as what was described by nforr121287, except as most of you know mine started in the summer of 2009 and finally died altogether. From this blog i learned it was the ignition relay switch. the mechanic assured me i needed a battery and by that time I probably did. He also said I needed the starter. after reading this 48+ page bog he was uncomfortable working on it further and also, b/c GM told me they would help me. I took it to the dealer and told them about the ignition relay switch a $25 part. they said they had to run the diagnostic on it and then would see. so $180 for the battery, another $129 for the diagnostic and I was told for $600 more a starter. An old friend of my daughters who is an ace mechanic did put a new starter in for $180 (for the part) and for a week it worked fine. now the key is stuck in the ignition, it won;t turn on, the lights, nothing,. I have to get it towed and try this $25 part, but this is so upsetting, frustrating and expensive. My problem started when the car was well under 100,000 and still in warranty. now that it is over warranty GM refuses to pay. And one would think after 843 posts and 43 pages that they would do a recall and make good on the part. I will NEVER by another GM car again. I only hope and pray to get this fixed and get rid of it and have my life back
  • Would an ignition relay switch cause my battery to die? That is what confuses me. My battery died before my ignition switch problems. Is it possible that my battery died due to leaving my trunk ajar and that cause my passlock system to lock up. I am considering doing a passlock reset before I replace the ignition switch because some people are saying that their car will start once in a while after 10-15 minutes. Mine does not start at all. Just flashes the security lock symbol.
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