Edmunds Answers



  • neil20 12/04/09 11:59 pm PST

    This is a very common problem that has been occurring in these cars since the 2000 model. Saturn has used lots of really cheap crappy parts to assemble these cars and it shows. The problem is thought to result from one of two posibilities: 1. There are 2 types of lube used in the ignition system. One is meant for cold environments while the other is meant for warmer climates. Saturn claims that replacing the lube and using cold climate lube will fix the issue. However, I have spoken with people who did this and they still have the same problems. 2. The problem likely stems from a fault in the electrical system. There is a wire connecting the ignition system to the anti-theft security system. When they key is turned to the "on" position, this wire conducts an electrical signal that informs the security system that the key is being used to start the car. In cold weather electronics do not work as well and the signal sent through that wire is weakened, resulting in the security system "thinking" that someone is attmepting to start the car without the key. This results in us (I also have an 03 ION with the same problem) not being able to start the car for at least 10 minutes (the default time the security lock is in effect). Saturn will claim that these issues are not widespread and will reccommend that you replace the battery, ignition switch, and possibly other unnecessary items. It is not a real serious problem and only tends to occur in temperatures below 20 degrees. By waiting 10 minutes it will start again like nothing is wrong. Some of us however, don't have 10 minutes to waist on a piece of junk car not starting like it should. I have read that one owner of an 03 ION that was having this problem cut this wire, WITH THE CAR RUNNING, and capped the ends off. Another posibility would be to put a toggle switch on this wire. It is the white wire in the ignition bundle. If you don't put the toggle switch on, the yellow lock light remains on all the time. What happens is the car is tricked and put into default mode, which bypasses the security system. This remedies the problem, but that little lock light can be annoying. If you don't feel comfortable cutting wires and installing switches, I read somewhere that there is an aftermarket wiring kit somewhere for $40 that will fix this problem. Unfortunately I don't know anything about it or where to get it. If you google search "03 saturn ion ignition problems" you will find hudreds of other people with the same problem and read about their solutions and the run-around they have recieved from Saturn. Even though this isn't a huge problem, it really annoys me and the fact that Saturn denies any responsibility and offers absolutely no help with the issue really enrages me.

    Source: http://www.answerbag.com/question_satur


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