Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    The white wire fix as mentioned also sets off a light on the dash that can get you failed on smog and other inspections. That's mentioned in one of the "how to" videos on You Tube as well.

    There is a Passlock "bypass" kit available that I read about in this very Edmund's thread that is sold by car stereo outfits that's been used with some success .
  • Yes there are many opinions about the 'starting issue' ... Yet, GM has not come thru with a corrective repair procedure, nor even issued any recommendations other than tow the vehicle to a GM dealer for diagnostic tests ...
    The fact is - not all ION's that we have or have had experience this problem. Of our's, one is notorius - several times a week, sometimes multiple times the same day. Another one a handful times per year. Then other's that has never had that problem. We are 'facing out' the ION's for non GM vehicles.
    It really disturbs to read how many - even at dealerships get taken and have the battery replaced. The battery is NOT the cause of the problem.

    Would it not be great if GM would announce a solution to this problem, and then stand behind that to be correct - and this problem would go into the history books!
  • My advice comes from being a saturn factory trained tech i worked for saturn dealers fixing them over 16yrs.My niece bought the first year saturn ion a 2003 and she still has it and it had that starting issue everyone is talking about.I replaced the ignition switch with a new factory one from the dealer i worked at.It was well over three years ago has to be closer to four and she hasnt complained of it not starting again.But we live in sunny southern california and she works in palm springs california where it gets really hot during the summer so that would kill the hot weather fail idea.Last summer my friend who owns a 2006 ion who lives in indio california a little past palm springs and it gets a little out there then palm springs.Every winter only when it cold out his car wouldnt start i replaced his ignition switch with one from auto zone over a year ago and they told me it was made by wells.Most of the ignition switchs i repalced on the ions when i worked at the saturn dealer before they all closed i replaced in the colder part of the year.Thats when they mostly came there were some during summer but not like in colder part of the year.They have redesigned the switch like 3 or 4 times because thenpart number kept changing.There was also bulletines if it was this part number change the switch.If you were to have no start and brought it right in iam sure they would find the B2960 and or B3033 codes in the body control module like some people are talking about do the diagnostics.But from my expernice if it was my car or a family members or friends car i would just change the ignition switch.But its your car and up to you what you want to do.Sounds like the one person works for gm customer service that is telling you to wait till it happens and have it diagnosed.Havent seen a post from them since i said maybe if they can for sure tell you it will be a free repair to possible think about waiting.But now you have the facts to base your decision on.Just hope a emergency doesnt happen and it doesnt start when you could have just replaced the switch.
  • Caron,

    GM Customer service has done nothing but give me the run around. If you want my case #, I can give it to you... but basically they tell me I need to go to a GM dealer... which I did before... but now they are no longer a GM dealer, so I need to go to a new place and pay them out of pocket to diagnose the issue. This is a GM ponzi scheme- the dealers make money and GM moves on to other things, not caring about its customers. Customers want #1 -issue reolution and for GM to take accountability for their faulty ION models with ignition start problems. GM customer service is not doing that. What I would really love is for Saturn/GM to pay for me to get the problem diagnosed and fixed- maybe a total of $500 at the most. Will GM do that? NO!!! I have requested, and still get the run around. Now Caron- you tell me what I can do!
  • Has anyone had a problem with their saturn turning off on its own while driving down the street? Ive never had a problem starting it but occasionally (3 times in the past 4-5 months) the car has turned off after I went over a bump while driving down the road. I got a new battery and that didnt fix the problem. Ive read all over the internet that this is a problem with Saturn Ions and not even Saturn can figure out how to fix it. Any help/comments would be extremely awesome. Thank you! Oh, Ive got a 2005 with a lil over 100,000 miles.
  • So when it dies when you hit a bump will it restart right away?Also have you had it scanned for codes yet?The engine and body computer?Those ions have had a lot of issues with terminal tightness issue i have found a lot of open terminals causing all kinds of problems.One thing you can try and has helped me find loose terminals on those cars is let the car idle and smack the under hood fuse box with your hand on top side etc also do the same with inside fuse box/bcm see if the car dies.
  • Its a easy cheap fix if your handy with tools or know someone that is all you have to do is replace the switch and relearn the pass lock sensor.The switch at auto zone are 50 and the ones on amazon are 22.If you have been having issues lately with it like the last couple of days you can have body control module scanned for codes and have a B2960 and or B3033 then you have a bad switch.If it was my car and it was intermintantly not starting i would just replace the switch.
  • So when did you replace the switch?They have redesigned that switch 3 or 4 times.You can replace it with one from auto zone there switch is made by wells its a easy replacement.
  • kikibkikib Posts: 14
    yes, my son had exactly the same problem of his saturn ion 2005 turning off on its own....he also had problems starting it....finally, after it wouldn't start when he went to pick it up from the dealership when they said sorry but we couldn't duplicate the problem, a service guy finally figured out it was a burned out fuse box and it needed a new body control module. the bcm had to be ordered from west virginia and the fuse box from michigan (he goes to school in louisiana) but it's been fine ever since....$1300 later!
  • I just ran into this same problem last night. I tried to turn my car off and the key would not go the the lock position and my car kept running! After 1 1/2 hours I finally found out what fuse to pull and I disconnected the battery to turn the car completely off! What a deal! Of course I can't call Saturn until tomorrow morning but I will be making that call. Just last month my Power Steering had to be replaced. Saturn covered that. Since this issue has been an on-going issue for YEARS and Saturn is very aware of it...Saturn should fix it.
    Like you, if they don't cover the cost, I am calling my attorney general office and get their opinion on what my next step will be. I can't afford to have this repaired. I am by myself and barely making ends meet now without having to repair Saturn's faulty car when they should step up to the plate and fix this issue. It's nothing I done that caused this. I keep my car maintained regularly so the blame is not with me, it's Saturn. I will post what they tell me tomorrow.
  • 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: 4,251

    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: 4,251

    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: 4,251

    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: 4,251

    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: 4,251

    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: 11,041
    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. :)


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

    Share your vehicle reviews

Sign In or Register to comment.