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Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • esprixesprix Posts: 11
    Hate to say it, but I'm in the "you should have cut the white wire" camp. We snipped ours a few months ago and got through many snowstorms and freezing cold nights and haven't had a single starting problem since.
  • Mine actually did get stuck while the car was running and disconnecting the battery did NOT shut it off. So the car ran for approximately an hour and a half until my husband and daughter's boyfriend were able to pull a fuse to finally shut it off. The car is in the shop and they are replacing the lock & key assembly to the tune of $546 and GM will not offset the cost or even acknowledge that this has been an ongoing problem. The dealer suggested that my key ring was probably too heavy and I caused the damage to it. I have a house key on my keyring and the remote for the car.
  • kruise1kruise1 Posts: 1
    I have an 05 ion,and also my keys refuses to come out, I was wondering if replacing the BCM worked for your car?
  • I just recently purchased an '05 Saturn Ion. And I never read these reviews on my car until it was too late. My car has the same starting problems as everyone elses. Sometimes it takes me up to 45 minutes to start my car. The other day I was 15 minutes late to work, because the car decided to take its sweet time trying to start.. I've never heard of "cutting the white wire" till I read the blogs on here.. And I think that's exactly what I'm going to do tomorrow. I'm sick of sitting outside in my car when it's 15 degrees out freezing my [non-permissible content removed] off; because this so called "reliable" car won't start. It's a good thing Saturn's going out of business, because they just lost themselves a customer. I will never by a Saturn vechile again!
  • do it
    you wont regret it
    just make sure to follow the directions
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    I am from GM Customer Service. Have you taken the vehicle to the dealership to have it diagnosed? How long has the concern been present? Please email me with me information. Thank you,
    Mariah GM Customer Service.
  • The white wire has been cut(: Now fingers crossed it won't have the same problems as before.. & to the Mariah:
    This problem happened the second day after I purchased the car. Saturn says that this has not been a recall and gives me some [non-permissible content removed] answers, it's the starter, etc. If we're all having the same exact problems, complaining about them, and still no action has taken place.. Then it's time we take matters into our own hands and fix it ourselves.. Just lilke the rest of the people on here did.. Oh and on the plus side.. I tried the whole warming my key up with a lighter this morning & it worked like a charm. I really do think this car was made by complete retards. The car's so "ghetto".
  • lnquachlnquach Posts: 3
    Hi Everyone,
    I have a 2003 Saturn Ion, I bought it used 2 years ago. I had the cold weather start problem too. My husband followed the instructions on cutting the white wire and I thought that the problem was solved. Over this past winter season, the problem has cropped up again! Sometimes getting the car jumped helps, sometimes, by the time someone else comes along to boost it, the car can start on its own!

    Also, once, I got a power steering failure and the car was nearly impossible to steer. A couple of days later, I decided to try my luck and lo and behold, the power steering works again. What is with this car?!

    It's getting really frustrating. Any body else have this problem? Any suggestions on how to fix it? I just don't want to have to go to the dealership and get ten million fixes before they figure out what the problem is.

  • arniemacarniemac Posts: 1
    I've had the same problem for about 2 years. I have a 2004 saturn lon and I bought it new. When it first started to happened to me and I got it started. I took my car down to Firestone. They charged me for an electronics test and said "they could not find anything wrong with it". So every couple of months, I send ten minutes trying to start my car. It really sucks and I have no idea what to do. I thought about the next time it happens don't try anything and just have the car towed to the shop. But when it did happen I went to call a tow truck and that took me about fifteen minutes. I came back to the car and tried to start it and it started right-up. I don't know if that's good luck or bad... I just want the problem fixed and nobody has a clue what to do.
  • cut the white wire
  • What? Is that a joke?
  • hey get a womens blow dry and an extention cord and aim it under the steering column or take off the threee pieces that cover the steering column and aim it at the little black piece at the end of the key cylinder for a couple minutes and she'll start right up. its a passlock issue. if you buy a remote start and bypass it will take care of the prob so long as you warm up your car in the morning with the remote start.
  • myionneedshelpmyionneedshelp Posts: 1
    edited April 2010
    Hello: I have the key stuck in the ignition problem with my 2007 Ion. I went to the dealer and got a replacement switch and installed it without having checked into this problem on the internet (big mistake). I guess I should have cut that white wire before I replaced the ignition switch. I have seen several posts on several sites about re-programing the pass-lock by moving the key to the start position then waiting ten minutes and moving the key to run and repeating the process three more times. I have seen three different variations explained through out the internet and have tried all three but I still can not get the car started. Is there any other way to bypass the pass-lock after the ignition switch has been replaced?

    Thanks James
  • amity1amity1 Posts: 1
    luckily I have never had a starting problem with my ION, mine is mainly the stuck key,I also had my ignition switch fixed and Saturn had to reprogram my key for the passlock.

    If your key gets stuck,there is a little cover on the bottom of the steering wheel,remove it and stick ur finger straight up till u feel a little button and then push it and ur key will release, All I know is next time I decide to buy a used car I will do my research first and I will never buy a Saturn again, thank god they stopped making them.
  • richardbrodyrichardbrody Posts: 2
    edited June 2010
    i have a 2005 saturn ion, 2.2L, manual trans, that will not start. dash lights up with passlock symbol (car with lock on it) and battery is fine. i live in sunny southern california so i'm not sure if this is the "cold weather" starting problem. it sounds like it is but i am not sure. i have been to lots of forums and followed the "start 3 times every ten minutes" suggestion but it doesn't work. it sounds like i have the cold weather passlock problem but i cant even get my car to turn over at all. what is going on here? any help please. thanks
  • i would say its worth it to cut the white wire and see if that solves the problem... you dont have much to lose.
    i live in southern cali and never had that problem
    but as soon as i moved to northern cali (where it really doesnt get all that cold) i had the problem
  • i thought i read that your car needs to be running when you cut the white wire. i cant get my car to start at all. what about replacing the ignition switch? and can i do that myself? thanks for the help.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Hello Richardbrody,
    Your passlock has been engaged that will cut the fuel off to your vehicle. Because it has been engaged I would suggest taking it to the dealership and have them unlock your vehicle. Thank you,
    Mariah GM Customer Service
  • mojo22mojo22 Posts: 5
    Fools! How do they expect you to get the vehicle to the dealership if it won't start?

    You need to go into the trunk, disconnect the positive side of the battery cable to interrupt power to the passlock system. Reattach the battery cable--notice that the passlock light is out now, and the car will start. Mine does this on every occasion. Saturn was no help to me. (Do you want to make an appointment???? No, moron, I can't start the car to get it there. Jerks.)
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Hello Mojo22,
    Thank you for your informative information. However, not everyone is mechanically inclinded and has to have their vehicles towed to the dealership to get them fixed. If you would like to email me and let me know about your situation please do so. You can get my email by clicking on my name. Thank you,
    Mariah GM Customer Service
  • 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. 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: 4,251
    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: 4,251
    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?
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