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Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • i just dont understand if so many ppl r having the same problem that there is a bulletin... y wldnt there b a recall???? i understand the the igntion switch is probably the problem but it would cost almost the same to replace the the ignition switch as it would to just do a good upgrade on the car and fix the problem... im not sure what im gona do yet but somethings got to give the last 3 mornings ive gone to start the car it wouldnt start and i dont have the time to fiddle with it.... just a good thing that i have a back up vehicle for the moment that is actually reliable! lol
  • You have to get the ignition switch NOT the ignition relay switch. I was confused at first too, but it is the ignition switch. They are two different things. If you got the thing that looks like a little black cube, you got the wrong part. I changed my ignition switch 2 weeks ago and have had absolutely no problems since!
  • So, I promised you all an update. I had my ignition switch replaced two weeks ago, and I have not had one single starting problem since!! I used to have starting problems at least 1-2 times a week so this is a direct result of replacing this switch. The part cost $25.99 at Advanced Auto Parts and $90 for the installation. Totally worth the $$$. Please try this first before some of the other suggestions!
  • I don't know how long it will last, but my car has started great for the past 2 weeks since I replaced the ignition switch. I figure, if replacing it will buy me at least a few more months, it's still cheaper than a new car payment!
  • Try the ignition switch NOT the ignition relay switch.
  • Because a recall is usually done because the problem has been determined as a safety hazzard and the problem is wide spread.If it was dieing while driving that could be determined as a safety hazzard.But since its a starting issue then it gets a bulletin not a recall.Its a easy install the switch can be bought for only need basic tools if you want to put it in let me know and i will give you directions on how to replace it.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    Are the problematic ignition switches in the Saturn related to the ignition switches in the Cobalts? Is a Cobalt prone to having a finicky ignition switch?

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • That's just it... how long will it last. It seems there are several messages from people who have replaced this several times.

    It will be great if it lasts a really long time. But I would always wonder every time I got inot my car... this could be the time it doesn't start.

    I had my first one change 6 months after I bought my car, new. Then 4 yrs later I have the starting problem. Haven't changed it again yet.
  • well spoke to my local mechanic and hes been looking for an ignition switch for me but cant find one..... only choice now is the remote start... hope and pray it works! otherwise i have no clue where to go next w it
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    Those ignitions switches were used in Cobalts, G5s, HHRs, and Colorado/Canyon trucks. You can walk into a local NAPA and get one.
    Something is wrong with your mechanic if he can't find an ignition switch for a generic GM compact. It's not an S Series that shared no parts with other GM cars. He's telling you BS.
  • This can't be a difficult part to get. That makes absolutely no sense.
  • traciejotraciejo Posts: 6
    edited February 2012
    To those who are trying to replace the ignition without any results or if that option has failed, if you find the discussion about cutting the white wire you will have your fix. I cut that wire over a month ago and my car starts every time now and if you are worried about the security light being on when it comes time to DQ it the wire can be spliced back together for that. at the top of the page there is a search box if you type in "CUT THE WHITE WIRE" that discussion willcome up it was easy and cost nothing.
    Cut the white wire.
  • Everyone has those switches auto zone ebay amazon there not hard to find.Do you need a part number?Sounds like you need to find another person to fix your car if he cant find a simple part.
  • Yeah, it sounds like your mechanic may be confused. I just went to Advanced Auto Parts and got the part myself. They can look it up in the computer. They did have to order it for me because it wasn't in stock, and it is not a manufacturer part, it was a generic part from NAPA or something, but it has worked perfect for a few weeks now!
  • Ditto, I got mine at AutoZone.
  • Hello my new found buddy. I am taking your advice, I don't know you but I trust you and thanks in advance no matter my outcome. I have purchased the part but I am asking for you to send me the instructions please. My brother will be assisting me with this. I am so tired of taking the battery post off for 5 minutes and waiting an additional 15 minutes to go. I have children with asthma and this is unacceptable and need to be fixed asap.Thanks again.
  • Hello all. I have replaced the ignition switch and attempted resetting the pass-lock but to no avail. I placed my old ignition switch back in and attempted to start the vehicle but this also did not work. I attempted to reset the passlock on the old one as well, and then the new one as well. I followed the procedures listed on MoonTaj (which are right according to many sites). I wish I had cut the wire, but can't now because I cannot start the car.

    Any recommendations? Buy another ignition switch and try to reset the pass-lock with that one?

    I have the correct part (as listed in multiple previous posts).

    My procedure is: install new switch, turn key off, plug in, attempt to start, wait 10 minutes on run then light goes off, turn off for 5 seconds, attempt to start - do this 3 times and on the third turn car off for 30 seconds, attempt to start, turn key to on position, does not start, when key goes back to run position engine turns once but does not start and no pass-lock light. Attempt to start again and again and nothing but when key goes back to run engine turns once. Strange huh?

    Any help greatly appreciated.
  • All those replacing the ignition switch and thinking its a fix only to find out later that its not: save yourself the trouble, go to best buy and spend the extra money to get a remote start installed that bypasses it. From someone who tried the ignition switch thing and replaced so many things trying to fix the problem this 100% will fix your problem for good. Message me if you want more details on this but since I installed the remote start a year and a half ago my saturn ion starts every single time with no problem even in crazy cold temps. Sooooo worth the money I spent.
  • Hello fellow ION owners! It has been a few months since I posted here, but that is just because I have had no new issues! I was dubious, but the "GM Authorized Saturn Service Center" at the Chevy dealer installed the new ignition switch (NOT the relay, the switch itself) back in what, November? We've even had some winterish type weather with some snow and below freezing temps, but no problems at all. My local mechanic still does my oil changes and inspections and he was incredulous when I came back for inspection of my 2003 ION this month. The last time he saw me was when my key wouldn't come out of the new ignition cylinder they had installed - and that was when they FINALLY had the issue of the no crank/no start that I'd been having on and off for the past 3 years. I know this is a VERY frustrating problem - it happened to me more than once just after I picked up my two kids from daycare and we all just wanted to go home and have dinner. BUT it is the only thing I have had trouble with other than the normal wear-and-tear stuff like shocks, tires, the recall for the heater/fan, and oil changes. I'll have this car 9 years in a couple of weeks and I have less than 70k miles on it, so it's been a reliable commuter car for me. OK, enough rambling from me. Have the ignition swich checked (the dealer told me that mine was sending the wrong voltage to the passkey so that caused the anti-theft 'stall' to go into effect) and replaced if necessary. Cut the wire if you have to. GOOD LUCK!
  • I'm very glad to hear that you were able to work with your dealership and find a fix for this! Many more happy miles with your Ion!
    GM Customer Service
  • Hi,
    Read your message about remote starter. Can you tell me what you do after you start the car and then get in? How does it work? As far as the key in the ignition? Sorry, I have not idea about this stuff.

  • Did your dealer tell you why the voltage was wrong or how to correct the voltage? I am guessing the voltage was wrong because poor connection in the ignition switch...
  • I will put in a remote starter, but first I must solve the immediate problem I am having which is difficulty reprogramming the pass-lock. Do you know if the procedure as I listed before is extremely time sensitive (exactly 5 seconds off, etc.) or just ballpark (5-10 seconds)? Also, do you think I must first be able to reset the pass-lock before installing a remote starter?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    Did you follow saturntech9's procedure? As I read it, it's going to take about 30 minutes because of the 3 ten-minute waits for the system to cycle the program.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • Give me your email address and i will email you all the info you need.
  • Could you please send me this info also? thanks
  • Please send it to me as well. I know at some point someone did, but I know longer have it. My key is now stuck in the ignition and I can't get it out. it is stuck between on and off. I'm sure my battery (the new battery they told me I needed 6 months ago) is long gone. Hopefully, the starter, which they also told me I needed is still okay. My car worked for less than a week before the key got stuck. thanks. My email address is
  • Please help. I would like to know on what to ask when I go to Best Buy to purchase the remote starter. How much is the cost of labor and parts?

    I reside in LA, have a 2005 Saturn Ion, the starting problem is about 3x a week, used to wait for 10 minutes and car would start but on Friday, 2/17, it did not start for 1 hour. Same thing happened this morning, 2/20.

    I changed battery last October, and brought it to mechanic but they can't find anything wrong with it. Please advise on what to do. Thanks for your help.
  • Please help. I would like to know on what to ask when I go to Best Buy to purchase the remote starter. How much is the cost of labor and parts?

    I reside in LA, have a 2005 Saturn Ion, the starting problem is about 3x a week, used to be for 10 minutes wait time and car would start but it on Friday, 2/17, it did not start for 1 hour. Same thing happened this morning.

    I changed battery last October, and brought it to mechanic but they can't find anything wrong with it. Please advise on what to do. Thanks for your help.
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