16th Feb 2010, 17:30

I own 2005 Ion 3 since new with 166,000 miles, I love this car it's been great except the intermittent no start. I had it happen only a couple times earlier, but lately it's happens quite frequent. This is what I've found to always work.

If the car doesn't start, turn the key back to the off position and let the radio play continue till the timer shuts it down automatically. Do not open the doors during this time or that will shut radio prematurely. After the radio times out, turn the key and it always starts without fail.

It does take quite a few minutes for radio to shut down.

I usually leave the window open and turn the key so I don't have to wait inside the car.

Does any one know if there is a way to decrease the timer setting for the the power to shut down?

7th Mar 2010, 21:17

Been having problems with my 2003 Saturn Ion starting. Had a new starter installed, new ignition switch installed and still having the problem. I read that installing a remote starter would bypass the passlock system. So I went out and had one installed. Was working fine yesterday, but when I went to start it today with the remote starter, the same thing, NOTHING. I don't know what to do anymore. I can't believe there hasn't been a recall on this. I will never buy a GM product again.

22nd Mar 2010, 14:02

Just got my car this week and I am having the exact same problems. It's pretty bad when you have not even owned your car for a week and it already will not start.

20th May 2010, 10:07

I have had the same problem with the starter. I bought my 2004 Saturn Ion off the show room floor. I have replace the starter twice. This last time I replaced it, the mechanic told me that the Saturn and the Chevy Cobalt have the same parts, and the Saturn knew about the ongoing problem. Is there a way we can start a class action suit because they knew about this issue and did not do a recall? Otherwise, I love my Saturn and have not had any other problems.

26th May 2010, 20:13

I have a 2004 Saturn Ion, and I am so thankful to find out that I wasn't going crazy with the not starting when cold problem. I have had the problem for almost 3 years. Thanks for sharing all of the ways to address it.

It is unfair that Saturn will not cover the expense to fix this, when it is clearly an established issue with the ignition switch. I have taken my car to mechanics, replaced the battery and even bought a power charger to jump start my car. It is a problem, inconvenience, and puts people in a dangerous situation if they are in an area where it is risky to sit in a parking lot alone, trying to start a car. Easy prey for an opportunistic criminal.

As a single working woman, I value a reliable car. Saturn Ion has not been reliable at all, and I would gladly join any legal action to address this issue. I am not buying Saturn again, and questioning GM cars as well.

6th Oct 2010, 19:57

I have owned a 2003 Saturn Ion 2 for over a year now, and I used to love my car. I have constant problems with struts and sway bar needing to be replaced. Now the heater and air work, but no blower and the key gets stuck. I'm about ready to get rid of this thing.

20th Oct 2010, 17:37


I have a 2004 ION 3, and once again, the car did not start. I live in Michigan, and the weather was a bit chilly this morning. The various lights went on, and then nothing after I turned the key. This has happened many many times since I bought this car new in 2004. I finally found this site, and I see it's not just an isolated incident. I couldn't take my granddaughter to school at her scheduled start time this morning. The car started about an hour later.

I've read through these posts, & have an appointment with the dealer tomorrow morning. The complaint line said the diagnostic fee would be $90. I'm anxious to see what they say. When this happened last winter, a garage said unless the problem was happening right, then they would not be able to diagnose it if I brought it in later. I very glad I found this site. Has there been a class action suit filed?

30th Oct 2010, 13:37

After enduring the non-start problem with my 2004 Ion, there seem to be several solutions including:

1. A 60 watt light turned on under the hood to keep the Saturn warm also keeps it starting. Alternatively, heat the switch or the computer with a hair dryer.

2. It appears there is a white wire (I found this as a published video) from I think the ignition switch, that when cut, permits the car to start, but makes it run poorly thereafter. I am testing a new super secret Saturn switch (my own creation) that cuts this wire so the car starts, then reconnects the wire so the car runs OK on the second restart.

3. Replace the Saturn ignition switch; a $20 to $50 item purchased online, and retrain the Saturn to the new switch (ignition switch and locking cylinder are separate items). No need to replace the lock, just the electrical switch behind the lock. There are just a couple of bolts to remove and an electrical connection. Replacement and key retraining procedures can be found on-line as well.

17th Nov 2010, 07:32

Not sure if someone has posted the technical service bulletin number on the intermittent no start issue in cold weather, but I found it along with all the other TSBs at http://www.edmunds.com/

The bulletin # is 040845005 and was issued in November 2005.

30th Dec 2010, 15:17

Own a 2004 Ion. I took the steering wheel housing off, but do not see the white wires, all I see is red and green wire. Also the dealer replaced the ignition module just a year ago, and now it is cold in Virginia, and the problem is back, as well as the key being stuck in the ignition. Looking into the remote start solution because it makes sense. GM should pay for it... jerks, you should have gone out of business.

1st Nov 2011, 09:14

I am having the same problem with my Saturn Ion. Did the remote starter help fix your issue?


11th Nov 2011, 11:53

I own a 2004 Saturn ION with 41,000 miles, I've had just about everything done to it. New battery, heating up the key, changing out the ignition switch. I'm tired of being late to work & being stuck at work late at night, when I'm trying to go pick up my son from his babysitter.

I'm about to get rid of this Junker & get me a new vehicle. Not looking forward to having a monthly payment, but at least I know, that if I'm being chased to my car or something, that it will start, and less chances of someone shooting me in the head while I'm fighting to get the car to start up.

So, good luck to all you ION owners; hope you're never in a bad situation, and need your car to turn on ASAP.