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Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • ckmokckmok Posts: 1

    We are looking to purchase a car for our 16-year-old daughter. We are currently looking at a 2004 Saturn Ion 3, one owner, 101,000 miles, in very nice condition. The recall has been completed on it, so it has a brand new ignition switch put in at the dealership. It appears that there is one more recall item that has not been done yet: Recall #2014115
    ELECTRIC POWER STEERING ASSIST. I'm assuming we could take that in anytime after the purchase to have it fixed. Any cautions about making this purchase? All the posts here are leaving me a little nervous about the car. But if the ignition switch replacement truly takes care of the starting problem, then I'm thinking it will be a good little car for her. Thoughts?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496

    It's been my experience that at 100,000 miles, any inherent "defect" in a car has already shown up, and that of more concern are normal wear and tear items associated with any car with over 100,000 miles on it. So a pre-purchase inspection is, in my opinion, a more productive place to put one's money and concern. These are pretty good little cars and if it's been well taken care-of, should give reliable service.

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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    A reporter is looking for owners of Cobalts, G5s and Ions who have not yet gotten their ignition-switches replaced. Please email before 11/21/14 to share your story.


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  • 2005 Saturn Ion 1: Absolutely the biggest piece of crap you could buy.

    I, too, have experienced the all too common problem of intermittent starting.The first time the car wouldn't start was a week out of the manufacturers warranty. It happened very rarely at first and never more than once in a row and it did not seem to matter if it was cold outside or not.

    Now, seven years later, the no start problem happens at least half the time I try to start the car. It does not matter at all how hot or cold the car or outside air is. And it happens many times in a row. Sometimes I've tried for HOURS and not been able to get the car started. I've been stranded in negative temps, or in bad neighborhoods, and even lost my job for being late. I tried everything to fix it, but the problem keeps reoccurring.

    I have replaced batteries, starters, ignition switches, you name it. This is an inherent design flaw. Replacing the ignition switch made absolutely no difference for me. The car still only starts about half the time I try.

    Now that the recalls are coming out, I have tried to contact the GM dealer in my area. They will not call me back. I have left FOUR messages. GM doesn't care about this issue, although they are well aware of it. I'm posting this to warn everyone to never buy a GM vehicle and, if you are unlucky enough to own one, DO NOT let the dealer sell you a new ignition switch or any kind of diagnostics. You will be throwing away hundreds of dollars or more as it will not solve the problem... Not for long, at least.

    The reason for this issue is bad design. The entire electrical system in these cars is screwed up. The circuit must complete in order to get the car started. If not, the antitheft system is triggered. You may have success replacing one piece of the puzzle (fuse, starter, battery, ignition switch, etc.) but eventually another of the defective parts will have problems. You are better off not spending any money on this car. Try all the least expensive options first and do the work yourself or have a friend help. If you can, sell this car or drive it into a lake. For all those, like me, stuck with this pile of plastic, good luck. Remember to keep survival items in the car in case you get stranded somewhere, especially if you drive in cold climates.

    Screw you, GM. You'll never see another penny from me. I can't wait until you are bankrupt.
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