Howdy, Stranger!

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

Howdy, Stranger!

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

Do you currently own a 2019 or newer RAM pickup? A reporter would like to speak with you. Please reach out to [email protected] by 1/27 for more info.

Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • Go to u tube and type in "cut the white wire, saturn ion" and only one reply pops up. Its Jerry who shows in detail how to fix your problem. I just did it to my sisters 2005 Ion-2 and it took me 20 nminutes to complete. The video is outstanding. Good Luck.
  • If it wont start it only takes a few minutes to re-connect the wire, change the battery and then seperate the wire again.
  • Go to u tube and type in "cut the white wire, saturn ion" and only one reply pops up. Its Jerry who shows in detail how to fix your problem. I just did it to my sisters 2005 Ion-2 and it took me 20 nminutes to complete. The video is outstanding. Good Luck.
  • Hello rockfish1, I have the same problem my car does not starts when the temp is belo-8 C. So I lift my hood and put hot water all over the engine about 10 lts of water then it starts immediately But you know I cannot carry Hot water every where. Other thing I do is go outside in cold to start my car for every 4 hrs, so I put the alarm at 12:00 clock mid nigh and then 4 o clock in the morning. Because I have not enough money to change the computer of the car as told by the mechanic. I want to get rid of this problem. The installation of remote starter will solve this problem?
    Please give me reply regarding the remote starter. Thanks
  • biggins12biggins12 Posts: 1
    Has anyone had their ion not turn off? My wife went to work the other day and when she got there she turned the key off, pulled it out of the ignition the car was still on. She finally had to call AAA to come and disconnect the battery. After reading most of the post it sounds like this is related to the wonderful ignition problems that saturn is know for. Anyone have any other ideas before I take it in to get fixed? Thanks
  • You could try using your spare key. If you don't have one, get one made by saturn. If that doesn't help, then I think you need a new ignition. My wife's 2002 sl-1 had that same type of problem. We used her spare key and it seems to work for now, But the key is still hard to turn sometimes, so eventually we will get a new ignition. Every saturn I've had has trouble with the ignition.
  • ilubay07ilubay07 Posts: 5
    so i have read posts on here how changing the ignition switch will fix my problem with passlock bull. i got my car like 8 months ago and it worked fine. as soon as it got super cold it would not start. lights come on radio comes on but nothing. no crank and no sound at all. once it started to get warm i thought i was okay.. WRONG! it started to get worse and worse. now my car is stranded outside my house and it has not started in two days. well today i changed the ignition switch and did the passlock bull of restarting it. well it still will not start. my battery is brand new i even jumped it thinking it might have gone dead. that still did not help. so whats next? is there anyone who can help? im am going to lose my mind here..

    thanks... :confuse: :sick:
  • oblio9oblio9 Posts: 19
    Did you cut the passlock wire or change the passlock?
  • ilubay07ilubay07 Posts: 5
    changed the passlock.. i don't trust cutting the wire.. i did the hole 30 min resetting thing... :mad:
  • what do you mean you "changed the passlock" My car did everthing that you described, and the only way I fixed the starting problem was to cut the wire. I've only had problems with starting in cold weather, so I don't want to tell you to cut the wire if you are having problems in warm weather. all I know is my car starts in the winter now that i've cut the wire
  • ilubay07ilubay07 Posts: 5
    i mean when it resets it.. i just don't know what to do now.. i mean it has just got worse..
  • wa1968wa1968 Posts: 2
    I cut the white wire as shown on the utube video six months ago. It defeats the secure key function but the car starts every time.
  • bugaloo78bugaloo78 Posts: 6
    I have been reading all the starting problems on here and about cutting the white wire, but I'm not sure I am having that problem. I have not noticed this problem when it is cold. This happens when the engine is warm and only sometimes. I have replaced the battery and the starter.

    When it doesn't start, "service vehicle" is on the display. I turn the key off and wait a while. If I keep trying the key, once it doesn't say "service vehicle" it will start. When it says "service vehicle" the starter will turn for a few seconds or not at all. I have not noticed anything different about the security lights, but will keep an eye on it in the future.

    I do have a scan tool and there are no codes stored in it, but of course I have not had my computer with when it doesn't want to start. I'm going to start carrying it with me all the time now to see if I can get a code.

    Can anyone confirm that this is a passlock problem or is it something else? :cry:
  • I'm in the same boat. I have had intermittent problems for the last 2 years on my 05 Ion SC2...always in warm 70+ temperatures. I've had my vehicle towed 4 times in the last year, and it always eventually starts up again. It's been since last summer since I experienced any issues, until this morning that is. Typically, my car will die on me when I'm driving it. So, I pull over and try starting will sound but never actually turn over. The engine lights are on, etc etc. Eventually, the car will start and be fine for weeks or even months at a time. Taken it to the shop 5+ times for this issue. They've replaced the ignition switch once, and the rest of the times they couldn't figure out what was wrong with it, as it will always eventually start. I end up paying diagnosis fees for them to tell me they don't know what's wrong. Today, however, was different. I went out to the car to go to work, and it wouldn't start. Difference this time is there was no sound like it was attempting to turn over...nothing. The lights came on on the dash, but the engine wouldn't start. This morning it was approx 68 degrees out. Any guidance with warm weather start issues would be much appreciated.
  • bugaloo78bugaloo78 Posts: 6
    I wish I could help you, but I'm looking for guidance myself. I've been a mechanic for about 10 years and can't figure this out. I have never had mine quit running once it was started. Mine is now sounds different when I start it and this is everytime. The starter literally sounds like it rapidly engages and disingages when I am starting it. I will usually start. It has no codes and so check engine or "service vechicle" light either. I have an igintion switch on its way. It was only $21 so at this point I figured what the heck that's cheap. I keep my code reader in the car with me in hopes that I will be able to get something next time it won't turn over at all.
  • my car is 04 and the same problem is that i'll be driving and all of sudden the car makes this noise and i find i'm doing 60 miles/hr and the car stops at 40 almost like it can't get out of its own way. I drive the jersey parkway to & from work everyday and when this happens which is not all the time i have to pull off the road turn the engine off and then the problem stops. Yes i have had the car to saturn several times and the same thing it doesn't happen when they drive the car. try explaining to them that this does not happen all the time. i've wondered if it happens every so many miles or maybe there's a chip somewhere and when it reaches that point it happens or could it be the computer. Saturn told me they can't help me if they can't find the problem. i love my car just can't stand dealing with the saturn dealers. theyve made me feel stupid I had a problem with getting the car out of park and they asked if i had my foot on the brake after driving the car for one year you would think i know how to move stick from park to drive. I can't believe with all the problems people have there are no recalls. good luck
  • bugaloo78bugaloo78 Posts: 6
    There wouldn't be anything in the computer to make that happen regardless of miles or anything else. This might sound strange, but I wonder if your exhaust is starting to rot out. Meaning part of your catalytic converter, silencer, or muffler is rotted out inside and blocking the exhaust sometimes. Maybe shutting it off allows the piece to settle and clear the path again. I know this sounds weird, but a blocked converter causes the same symptoms. If this happens after dark, look at your exhaust when it is acting up and see if it is glowing. I really don't think you are having a passlock issue.
  • bugaloo78bugaloo78 Posts: 6
    I may have a little more info on your problem. I have never had mine die once it was started. If the Passlock has been "activated" the motor will make about one turn when you try to start it and then there will be nothing. The lock light comes on and the "service vehicle" in on the display and there is no starting it for 10 min. When you say "it will sound but never actually turn over" what do you mean? The starter works, but the engine won't start or no starter turn at all?
  • Yes, most of the time the starter works but the engine won't start (this is usually when I break down while driving...which is 95% of the incidents). The other morning, however, the starter didn't work at all. I turned the key and "nothing." Sure enough, I came home from work and it started up on the first try with no problems.
  • bugaloo78bugaloo78 Posts: 6
    Well from all of my research, it's probably not the passlock when you are driving and it quits or the starter will turn, but it won't start. Now when you tried and the starter wouldn't turn, that might be it. If it is the passlock, this will happen, the starter might turn 1 revolution then quit, the "security" light will be on, and it will say "service vehicle" accros the odometer. Watch for these things. As far as it dying while running, I would suspect fuel system. Fuel pump, relays, etc. I know there have been some people that have to replace a fuel relay. Hope that helps.
  • ilubay07ilubay07 Posts: 5
    have you tried replacing the starter? that is exactly how my car was. and then i finally replaced my starter and now its fine. my car would not start for 5 days with 80+ degree weather. so you might want to try that.. just a thought..
  • mojo22mojo22 Posts: 5
    I have an '03 Ion and have recently had the Passlock light come on. No real guidance in the owner's manual; called Customer "Disservice" to try and get some tech support. No go. Only wanted to know if they could make an appointment for me. "Thank You for choosing Saturn," she says at the end of the conversation. "Yeah, right," were my parting words.

    Anyway, I got the idea in my head to interrupt power to the vehicle in hopes of extinguishing the PassLock light. Went into the trunk, and disconnected the positive side of the battery cable, checked to see if the light was out, it was, then reconnected it. Light was still out. Car started OK. Was okay for a week or so, and it did it again. Did the same thing. Works again. My kids drive this car, so I told them to be gentle with the cylinder lock when starting the car. Would hate to pay lots of $$$ to them for what may not be the real fix.

    This might be a way to help you get the vehicle running again at least temporarily--or at least we all can figure out what is going on with this thing. I still curse the day I bought it...............

    Good luck!
  • bugaloo78bugaloo78 Posts: 6
    Just cut the white wire and be done with it.
  • I have been a mechanic for over 10 years and have heard that problem from many many people. One of the reasons I have found for this is the fuse box in the engine compartment being loose. it looses ground and dies or will not start. have someone tighten everythin up and see if that fixes the problem. Hope that helps...
  • before my starter went out my door locks stopped working.. when you hit the button it makes a clicking sound.. how do you fix it or change the fuse? :confuse:
  • i have stick 01 ion,checked the battery, cleaned the positive and negative wires that go to it.starter works but what i still struggle to find what
  • Looked for the white wire, but I think my 05 Vue must use a different wiring. Any ideas?
  • jen617jen617 Posts: 1
    Did you install the remote starter in your ion. The fall /winter season will be here before I know it and I would like to instal the keyless remote. Just wondering if you recommend the remote starter???? Thanks
  • alelo5alelo5 Posts: 1
    I have had issues with my 04 Ion in the winter (I live in Central NY and the weather gets cold!) It would not start then I would wait a while (like 10 minutes as other people have) and then it would work.
    Now it is hot out and my car will not start at all! It just clicks and when I go to lock the car most of the time it won't lock and I have to manually lock every door.
    I'm just wondering if this sounds like a white wire issue. I am not about to bring it in to get a new ignition switch. When cutting the white wire, does it matter that my car won't start at all. Also the passlock light will come on at first then won't come back until I take the key out of the ignition.

    Help please! :cry:
  • reba05...

    would you mind telling me what Saturn dealership was able to tell you how to start your car so that you could take it in.....I called several Saturn dealerships and no one knew how to do this.

    Having the same problem as everyone else...

    Thank you!
  • Thank you all for all of your postings....I own a 2003 Saturn Ion and am having the same kind of problems as everyone else. The car intermitenly won't start for about two years. At first it was very it happens several times a week. I've had the Ignition Switch replaced by the local Saturn Dealership who of course told us they knew just what it was and acted very confident they could fix it...and I'm sure you're not suprised that $200 later, it didn't fix it...but now they want us to replace the Body Control Module for $600. Hmmm.... We are ready to try the "White Wire Trick" however....the car hasn't started at all for 4 days. So I have read in earlier posts that there might be a way to get it started as a temporary fix, (we had the battery tested and it is fine) so does anyone know a way to get the car running so we can get the White Wire cut?

    Thank you sincerely for any advice you may have!
  • Okay, so I've seen a few variations of the problem and think it would be helpful to first state what my issues were. I have an '03 Ion and like most people, my problem was with the passlock. The car wouldn't turn over every once in a while but after ten minutes it would always start. It went from happening every 6 months or so, to every few months, to every few weeks, to every week. At first I thought it was a winter thing but summer came around and it would happen when it was 75 degree. I should note though that every time the car started after ten minutes. I've seen some messages on here from people that seem to have much more serious problems.

    After reading through this thread I considered cutting the white wire but thought that would hurt the resale value, plus I didn't feel incredibly comfortable cutting wires in my car. I went to my dealer who I have a good relationship with and he claimed he knew what the problem was and could fix it for $170. Despite my concern after reading everything on here I decided to take the chance. Nearly three months later, it's started every time since. Just so there's no confusion, this is exactly what it says on my service invoice:

    Line 1: C/R ignition switch replacement $170
    Tech Comm: Technician replaced ignition switch and reprogrammed

    Repair 1: Ignition and start switch replacement
    OPCODE: N2320

    Labor: $135
    Parts: $31.84
    Tax: $1.59
    Total: $168.43

    Hope this helps.
  • I searched high and low to solve this ongoing problem when our mechanic told us it needed to go to the dealership. I know that always means $$$, and since we're out of warranty (it's a 2003), I wanted to see if I could solve this on my own.

    So, a couple of things that seem worth trying:

    1. Cut the white wire that disables the security system. I'm not crazy about the light being on all the time, but it does seem the most successful solution.

    2. Install a remote starter. Seems to work for some, and it does sound like fun in the wintertime! :)

    3. Replace the ignition switch. Also seems to work for some, at least for a time, and is a cheap fix.

    For now, since the weather's turning cold, I'm going to think on this and decide what to do. In the meantime I'm taking someone's advice and heating up my key with a lighter before starting it, and I'll see how that goes.

    Once I decide I hope to come back and report my success! Thank you to EVERYONE for a long but very informative thread!
  • I live in warm southern new mexico and have same intermittent starting problems. I have an 04 Saturn ION. I guess it is the ION 3 as it has full power and sun roof, etc. I have not been able to ever get the the 10 minute suggestion to work. I jump the car and it eventually starts. Last night I cut the white wire with car running (but I had to get it running by jumping) ; I turned car off and restarted and it started just fine. I waited another hour or so and I went outside to start the car and It would not start. Got up this morning and car would not start. I then jumped again and it started. Am I missing something? Do I need to check something else? What is the battery in the trunk actually attached to in the engine compartment?

    Thanks for all your help,

  • I cut the white wire last night. Car would not start this morning; jumped car; it started. 6:30: Drove 30 miles to work; waited two hours; went outside to restart; it started but was a bit hesitant. 9:10: Drove 30 miles; turned car off; immediately turned car back on; it started. 9:45: Got out of car; used key fob to lock car; immediately unlocked car with key fob; started car; turned car off; tried to start car and it would not start. That was 7 minutes ago. I will go out in another 5 minutes and attempt to restart. It is now 9:57 and I went to restart and car would not restart; I turn on ignition and it clicks. Any suggestions?

    Thanks for your help,

  • I did the 3 ten minute leave on accessory wait 10 second and at the end turn off and wait 30 seconds and finally start. It didn't start. I jumped the car and it started. So would this indicate that possibly the battery is dying?

    Thanks for your help,

  • It is now 6:30 AM and I go to start the car, which I drove last night after it was jumped, and it won't start. It just clicks when I turn it over. Again, I have clipped the white wire, done the 3 ten minute thing and it wouldn't start. I jumped the car and then it starts. Any suggestions? Any advice would be very, very, welcomed.

    Thank you,

  • Jerry,

    This sounds a little more serious than the anti-theft device issue, especially considering you've already cut the white wire. Have you taken it to a mechanic to see if it's something else, like your starter or electrical system?
  • Thanks for your reply. No I haven't taken it in to a mechanic yet as I really wanted to exhaust any other issues which seem to have plagued other owners. I did not want to act prematurely in taking to mechanic. It does appear as if something could be draining the battery. I am going to take the battery in and have it checked? It doesn't appear to be the ignition switch since the car will start after being jumped. It doesn't appear to be the starter since the care will start after being jumped. Weird.

    Any further advice?

    Thank you,

  • I know how you feel about wanting to do everything you can before taking it in. Good luck!
  • Definitely sounds like a dead battery -- the 'clicking' is the giveaway. either you didn't charge it enough after you jumped it or it is incapable of taking a charge. If you have a trickle charger, give it a full charge. If it takes the charge and starts the car your battery may be good. If it won't take enough of a chage to start the car, probably dead. If it takes a charge but discharges overnight, then you probably have a short or something draining it. Alternatively, you can just take it to Autozone or Advance auto (either jump the car or take in just the battery) They can test it in five minutes (for free) and see if all cells are good. DOA is forever -- if the battery is bad, you need to replace it. How old is the battery?? If battery is good, jump the car, recharge it fully, then find out what is causing it to discharge. Good luck.
  • I took the battery in to Sears this morning before I got this reply. The battery registered that it could not hold a charge. Is it imperative to get a vented battery?

    Thanks again,

  • Ordinarily the parameters are power and fit -- the battery has to fit in the space and it has to have the CCA to start/run the vehicle. But the Saturn battery may be strange due to its location, e.g., vented/non-vented. And you may have some problems getting the right battery and it will almost certainly be more expensive than a Walmart battery (which would otherwise be fine for any other car). Do NOT let someone stuff just any battery in there. Make sure that it is specific to the car/model. I just did a quick check and Advance auto doesn't list one, but Autozone does. Maybe Sears. Get a battery and you will have treated the symptom. Ascertain the cause -- it might just be old age that caused the battery to fail. After five years it is not out the question that heat and cold and wear and tear just took their toll. But make sure you don't have a problem that killed the last one or it will kill this one as well.
  • What is the most effective way to determine whether or not something may be draining the battery? Is there a particular test which Saturn mechanics run?
  • They hook up a gizmo and see if there is a flow of current when everything is shut down. Someone else mentioned that the fuse box under the hood sometimes has a bad contact -- good example. I am by no means an electrician. If the battery simply expired of old age -- quite possible -- then you are OK by just replacing it. If you have another problem, it will show up before too long. That's what I usually do -- if the new battery goes dead in a few weeks (or days) it can be because something is draining it ( a short circuit, as above) or because the charging system is not functioning properly. checking to see if it is charging is relatively easy -- the idiot lights/guages in the car may or may not be telling you thr truth. Just pop in a new battery and see what happens. The place that sells you the battery can very easily (and for free) run a check on the charging system..
  • I don't know if this is really related, but I had the cold start problem...I did the white wire mod and that worked for me great. However a short time later I started getting my "CHECK ENGINE" light on intermittently becoming more constant. Then my car would totally loose all power and shut down. It would take about 5 to 10 min before it would restart. So I decided it was time to take the car to the dreaded dealer. I reconnected the white so they didn't try to blame the problem on my wire modification. I took it in, they very quickly found a wire harness that had been rubbing on the motor and had exposed bare wires. Got it replaced and was on my way...until the problem reoccurred the very next morning. After my second visit, and a more thorough inspection they decided that the Powertrain Module was bad and needed replaced. I have been lucky ever since then. I never disconnected the white wire after that either. The best part about that was it was under a federal emissions warranty! I will keep everyone updated but that was 6/16/2009.
  • Many thanks for taking time to provide advice. I did change out the battery 3 days ago. No problems since. It will be interesting to watch what occurs. All seems good to go for now.

    Have a great day!

  • Hello, I cut the white wire about a year ago, everthing works fine since then, but 1 note.

    Last summer after the car was parked for about a week it would not start.
    I found the problem was a poor connection to ground at the battery. I took the battery ground connection off at the frame, not far from the battery and it was corroded. Cleaned the corrosion of tightned the cable, end of trouble.

    Just for the record, I originally changed the battery, changed the starter. These were not he trouble. I then cut the white wire, this really worked.

    This is a difficult trouble to find as it really looks like a bad battery. Then it really looks like a bad starter. Then you learn to wait 10 min. This is a hard one as it takes 10 min to arrange a boost or get help. it really fools you into thinking it is a bad battery or starter.

    To make matters even more confusing it could be a bad ground or connection, as I found.

    I have been a mechanic, and aircraft mechanic all my life and I have never seen anything so difficult to troubleshoot.

    Try the bad ground first.
    Cut the white wire if your car starts after 10 min.waiting period.
    Do not change the battery.
    Do not change the starter.

    The really hard part of this is what if you really do have a bad battery or starter?

    Hope this can help. Good luck

    PS I have not read the other posts since last year.
  • I have also been having problems with starting my 04 ion 2. Seems to only happen at this point when it's cold. Leave it in the driveway in the fall and it won't start. Leave it in the garage and it starts no problem. I'd like to try the white wire modification. Where is it and is there any damage possibly to any of the components in the engine??
  • try this link...this is what I did.
Sign In or Register to comment.