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Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • Thanks for everyone's suggestions..... the mechanic said I could try and get a new key made...........and VOILA! no more problems except I am $700 poorer. So folks, a suggestion if you are having starter problems.,,,,, try a new key first!
  • What year and model do you have?Because the ions have the pass lock sensor in the ignition switch.So unless the cylinder isn't turning which then I would first have a new key made from. The vin number not copying the old key.Also having the bcm scanned for codes which a diyer scan tool can't do.If you have codes B2960 and if B3033 then you have a bad ignition switch.
  • It's a 2003 ION 2 door.......sporty model
  • what do you do if my 2004 saturn ion will constantly turn over, but not start? like its getting no fuel. ran absolutley fine when parked, got back in an hour later and will turn over and turn over but no fire
  • got 2007 ion wont start then might start after 4or 5 tries, got new battery new starter new gm ignition switch did reset. went out today no start 3 or 4 trys it started checked fuses checking connections now.i read its a common problem usually ignition switch.
  • tested the clutch start switch.was good.
  • Getting a new key worked for me, after spending $750 on everything else.
    Wouldn't hurt to give that a shot.
  • Have you checked for spark yet?
  • thnks i may run by gm tomorrow check on that i have two keys from factory.not thinking thats what it is im thinking bcm i want to see what the sevice dept has to say. i went to the one close to where i work they didnt give me much help i got the gm ignition switch from them.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Keep us posted, saturnpain! Hope things go well for you today.

    Sarah, GM customer Service
  • thnks sarah i went to my gm dealer here in springfield,il they did recall work on my car.they said probly the there any kind of recall on that for the no start problem im past frustrated if it wasnt so cold today i would have traded it off for something different.i can send you my information for me and my car.i dont mind paying to have it checked and maby an hour of labor they said bcm may be up to $300 still with no guarantees it will fix it.ive see so many people frustrated with this and i know i have im been loyal gm fan my whole life and i am almost ready to go in a whole new direction.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Good morning saturnpain,

    We would be happy to check into your vehicle's information further to see if there are any recalls. If you haven't already, send us your name and contact information, the last 8 digits of your VIN and mileage, and the name of your involved dealership to

    All the best,
    GM Customer Service
  • i took my 2007 saturn ion to chevy dealer they gave me estimate of $500 dollars.they they tested it and found it was a bad bcm.they had one in stock and price went up to $768.00 they put new new bcm in today and are having problems programming it. so still dont know if its going to solve this response.Jason,

    I have just spoke with the dealership and unfortunately the BCM is something that is normally covered under the bumper to bumper warranty which is 3yrs/36,000 miles. I am sorry but we will not be offering cost assistance for the repair. However, I would be happy to follow up with you after repairs are completed.


    GM Customer Assistance
    So will be out of the money to replace a faulty bcm part. all i wanted was for them to supply part. so because of a $400 they will lose one of their most loyal customers they have ever had have owned a gm car or truck for the last 12 to 14 years going to post my experience to every site i can and make my complaints to all the regular sites safer (NHTSA) and filed a complaint. i know it wont do any good. Following declaration of Chapter 11/363 Bankruptcy, General Motors needed to completely redefine its established brand image, which appeared to consumers as faceless, nameless, outdated and impenetrable. The new GM brand structure would require a more accessible and transparent feeling in order to help humanize the brand.

    Social Media Solution: Build a diverse social media team, with CEO engagement and support, to handle all logistical/management social media operations, which allow the newly defined GM brand mentality of openness and engagement to be clearly communicated and fully accessible to the media, to the general public, and most importantly, to customers.
  • You got it right!

    Move on, that is move away from GM ...
    They are of no help or assistance to Saturn owners. Have bought a total of 17 Saturns between 2000 and 2008 - weeding them out, replacing with non-gm products like Ford, Nissan and Subaru ...
    Done with buying GM - as simple as that.
    Too bad they got you on the BCM. It will be interesting to see if it actually will make your vehicle perform as it should - I have my doubts.
    Good Luck to you.
  • mke414mke414 Posts: 1
    I too have been struggling with my 2005 Saturn Ion for the last 3 years. It simply would not start when the weather got below 30 degrees and it sat for more than 10 hours. The key ignition was replaced and I was constantly told that my battery was fine. I was recommended to take my car to an auto shop that specializes in electric car systems. They had to keep my car for 2 days to test the electrical system but found that after the car was shut off the radio fuse continued to pull from the battery. Between the fuse pulling from the battery and the cold weather, the battery would go dead. Took the fuse out and it has worked fine. It is 0 out and it sat for a day and it started just fine. Thought I'd pass on my experience, perhaps others are having similar issues. It cost less than $200 to get it tested. Only problem is I don't have a radio but I'd rather keep my car for 3-4 more years without having a car payment and have it start than have a radio.
  • got car back last night they had to get another bcm after several programming errors they had to contact tac. tac mannually created new program for vehical. friday they called friday eve car still would not start.they gave me car to drive till monday where they replaced a switch 22620888 and it finally at least have a running car so far.
  • i bought my car brand new. had nothing but problems with everything electrical. when i was driving everything would just shut down. well, that problem was fixed in 2008 by the dealer. since then, the interior lights would go on by themselves and stay on. solution, take the bulbs out. when i set the alarm, it goes off by itself with nothing around! now, on a daily basis my car will not start. not a battery problem, not a being cold thing because it happens in the summer, in the garage too. i think it may be the passlock system. have had it put on a computer at least 3 times since the beginning of 2012 and no codes show thank you! :mad:
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    Glad to hear about your progress, saturnpain! Keep those updates coming!
    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • hello to anyone looking for the answer to this mystery to get your car you paid for to actually start up when you need it to. (what a concept eh?)

    I had this same problem all winter long, and luckily I found this link when researching before taking it to a mechanic.

    it is a problem with the PASSLOCK system. They used TINY wires, which get faulty after the cold messes with them enough times.

    anyway, all you have to do is CUT this passlock wire WHILE the car is running. This will trick the car into starting up EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    i have had NO problems for 3 years now. my car fires up everytime, and I have not had to replace one battery, fuel ignition, starter ect with 154000 miles.

    there is the youtube link that saved my cars life.

    this has a very good car except for this flaw and the 5-speed manuals have a horrible shifting linkage and pin. I've had the shifting/cotter pin fall out/crack/break on me 10 different times to where I had to get towed.

    either way...this WILL be your PERMANENT HASSLE FREE fix. I don't care what mechanics tell you ,they just want your money. Do this FREE, SIMPLE fix, NOW!!hope this helps someone, as I struggled for a whole winter very pissed off.
  • My 2003 Saturn Ion was not starting intermittently. My husband had it towed to the dealership yesterday and they tell us we need a Body Control Module for $931. I can find a BCM online for $45. What's up with that?
  • I have an '03 Ion also. Getting ready to do the "cut the white wire trick." Watch it on YouTube first.

    The car will give us starting problems intermittently. Don't give Saturn/GM one penny. This is an inherent design flaw that should have generated a recall.

    There is plenty of information on this forum to deal with the problem.

    I called Saturn when it first started happening. All they wanted to do was schedule me for an appointment. I told them "I can't get the !@#$%^&; car into the dealership if I can't get it started." I then told them I need to speak to a technician. They wouldn't or couldn't do it, and asked again if I wanted to make an appointment.

    Next time buy a Japanese car. I've owned Nissan, Toyota, and Subaru, and would take any of them over an American made car.
  • Whats up with that is your 45 bcm is used not installed also that bcm will change the miles on your car.Also its not installed and does include diagnoses.The one for 931 is new includes diagnoses installation and programing.Ask the dealer if the bcm had any codes in it?If so let me know what codes it has the exact codee numbers not code descriptions?If you have a B2960 and or B3033 you need a new ignition switch.Does it not start when it gets cold outside 40 degrees or colder?But warmer weather starts ok?
  • Toulouse,
    Read the etothev and mojo22 comments .... You have the answer without spending the $931 that the gm dealer is 'recommending' ....
    Over 1,000,000 miles on our ION's and yes, the starting problem has been on several ...'03, '04's and '05's.
    Like several others that have commented, stay away from gm, they have not earned your loyalty the way they handled this specific saturn problem - known since the vehicles were under warranty and nothing was done!
    Have a few more to 'dispose-trade' and replacing with US built 'import' brands ...
    Good Luck with your '03 ION
  • After spending $750 on a new starter box and battery, thought a new key for $2.50 solved the problem. Alas, it started again, at the Goodyear dealer in for an oil change; it wouldn't start when I went to leave. The manager used to work at Saturn and said he knew exactly what I needed........ a new Passlock/Sensor Ignition Switch, $90 and $90 for the labor. If that works, will wait a month, will have a real issue with the mechanic who replaced a starter box ($550) that wasn't necessary. This blog has been an amazing help. I told the mechanic about cutting the white wire, as suggested in an earlier blog... he agreed that would work but wasn't the right way to do it (also he wouldn't make any money on it). Hope this helps. My situation was that the car wouldn't start, but would 15 minutes later...... a very strange situation.
  • The ignition switch is the number one fix for the night starts especially if it happens when its less then 40 degrees out.
  • mhs48128mhs48128 Posts: 1
    I traded in my 2003 several years ago. GM would never acknowledge this problem existed at all. Dealer replaced 2 ignition switches under warranty. Tried new keys. The problem came back. Car won't start? Try again in 15 minutes. Then starts 90% of the time. Dump this lemon. Buy a Ford or Toyota. You will have no problems.
  • my name is Darrell i rescentley purchassed my 2006 satur ion 3 from DRIVE TIME biggest mistake . when it is really cold out .I have power but will not start by any chance did u have the same problem
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    We're sorry that you're encountering some troubles on your new Ion. Are you working with a dealership at all to get this checked into? Let us know if we can answer any questions regarding working with a dealership.

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • saturntech9saturntech9 Posts: 152
    Does the security light stay on solid or flash with the key in the run position when it doesn't start?If so most likely you have a bad ignition switch its a well known problem and there is a bulletin on the problem.
  • Darrell,

    The gm dealers are typically clueless' when it comes to this problem, you will be spending too much money on their diagnostic (to a problem they should be well aware of ...) then too much money for the repair. Instead follow the postings here and you will no doubt find the solution to this well known ION problem. Good Luck with your ION.
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