8th Dec 2008, 09:38

I too have a Saturn Ion and am experiencing the same problems. I had no trouble in the warmer weather now winter is here and my car won't start. I will never buy a Saturn again that is for sure. But I too shall try a battery warmer.

8th Dec 2008, 11:18

I now have a 2003 Saturn Ion, 4 door, manual shift, purchased new. This is my 3rd Saturn, my last 2 cars worked well with no real problems, except one, they both began to burn oil over 100,000 miles and were smokers by 150,000 miles. I always changed the oil religiously. I gave Saturn another chance with the ION, now at 154,000 miles, no exhaust smoke and it does not appear to burn oil. Great right, NO!!

It all started 1 year ago. Car will not turn over in cold weather, wait 10 minutes and it starts. I went to STS tire and battery, battery was checked and it was fully charged and they did not want me to replace a good battery. The car didn't do it for some time after the 1st time, so I didn't persue "shot in the dark repairs" but the problem made me nervous.

Now that it is winter again it does it more frequently. Last night it was 25 degrees and I went out without my coat, expecting to run from parking lot to restaurant, only a few yards. I left the car in the lot for 1.5 hours, When I tried to start it and nothing happened. I waited 7 minutes and I turned the key again and it sounded like it jammed, the service lite came on. I went back into the restaurant for 10 minutes. I tried to start it again, it started. Now I fear there is no cure as seen in these comments and I may have no choice but to get a new car, soon.

I don't expect to get a Saturn next time. I support American business and American jobs and I will try a Ford next time. I have always traded my car in so FORD will have to deal with the resale, and I hope they are able to get those filthy looking stained seats cleaned. WISH me luck!!

10th Dec 2008, 09:39

Same issue - 2004 Ion 2. In my case, this started when the car was four years old but only had 28,000 miles on it. No problem in warm weather. In cooler weather, I don't have a problem with a cold start (so the battery is fine). But this starting problem occurs in my car after it is slightly warmed -- for example, if I drive a few miles and then stop at a store or gas station. Then it requires the magic 10 minutes before it starts. Before that 10 minutes is up, sometimes the engine turns over but won't continue, as though the fuel flow stops. Sometimes there is no response at all. I think this is an electrical problem but the randomness makes it almost impossible to diagnose.

10th Dec 2008, 12:19

I made a post earlier in the day about my Saturn Ion 2 problems. Since then, I found another site:


Where some of the posts seem to have more insight into the problem. The pass lock sensor may be part of the problem, and the 10 minute wait for many people is the result. Some suggest the key isn't making proper contact with all of the pins. If this is the case, it makes sense that colder weather would affect the contacts (not just the key temperature, but the temperature of the steering column and components within). Check out the site for some suggestions (including using a key copy). I'm going to try some of these to see if it resolves the problem.

11th Dec 2008, 07:52

I have a 2003 Saturn Ion 4D with 54000 miles on it. I took her to the dealer, and had the black box flashed, and she worked well. But, now she is not starting again. She is even backfiring now when I try to turn her over a few times. This is getting ridiculous! Some have said it might be the catalytic converter, and others the fuel pump is too cold and needs to warm some...

I owe over 8000 on the car, so a trade in is not an option. I am having to leave the house over an hour early just so I can be sure she starts. I shall never buy another Saturn again!

11th Dec 2008, 14:26

Other sites indicate that the problem is in the ignition switch beneath the steering column (not the key cylinder, but a separate switch). The grease seems to freeze up at very low temperatures, causing the problem. Replacing the switch with the redesigned replacement part appears to solve the problem. Waiting until the "Passlock" light stops flashing was also suggested. The forums at www.saturnfans.com are filled with discussion on this topic.

12th Dec 2008, 23:54

Wanted to add one more thing to the 2004 Saturn Ion list of 'broken' : If your key won't turn, take a look at it. The ignition shaves the key down and you have to get a new one made from the VIN number about once a year or so.

17th Dec 2008, 22:28

I have a 2004 ION 2. It's a piece of poo. The first year I had the car I had no problems at all starting in sub zero temps. But the last 2 years have been ridiculous. It WILL NOT start if the temp is below 25. Once in a blue moon I get lucky and the car starts, but then after spending 8 hours at work we start all over again. I can be left with no car for weeks at a time. I live in Minnesota and half the year I can't drive the car I owe 8 grand on. I've replaced the battery, gotten a new radiator, and taken it to every garage near my house. "Nothing is wrong with it." I'll never buy another Saturn. I tell other people not to as well.

18th Dec 2008, 12:10

I wish I had thought to look online to find information about this problem a long time ago! Sorry that so many of us are having trouble with starting our Saturns in cold weather... but you know what they say about misery loving company. At least now I know I'm not alone and have a much better idea of what I'm dealing with (I have a 2004 ION). Thanks for all your comments.

24th Dec 2008, 11:33

2004 Ion Coupe, 98,810 miles on it on Pennsylvania's unmaintained roads. As with the previous posts, cold or wet weather and my car doesn't start. Takes about 20 minutes to get it running. When it does I pump the accelerator and it blows out a grayish smoke. Also, electric wiring in this car isn't good. But, does run well and haven't had any "real" problems other than my boss being angry with me for showing up late every other day in the winter.

25th Dec 2008, 10:23

Ditto to all of you out there who are in the same frustrating predicament. I have a Saturn Ion 3 and my dealership tried to tell me I was no longer under warranty. I found out through another dealer for GM that they were not telling me the truth. They looked it up on the vin#. Now, I suppose I could turn it in for a new Saturn and have the same problem over again after reading these comments.

I am so glad that I good advice. Though I think this company is on its last legs... I don't know if we could win a lawsuit anyway. I will try a new key. My car is really a lemon. It only has 15,000 miles on it~~