Hope this helps. The heat gun and the lock de-icer are good ideas too!!!
So here is the real deal with the starting problem. I own a Saturn Ion2 2004. I researched it and asked Saturn and they confirmed it. This is only for Saturn Ion 1 and 2 for the years 2003 to 2006.
The ignition switch has a fluid in it to ease startup. Unfortunately that fluid starts to freeze around 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and takes about 12 hours to become viscous (slushy) enough to cause problems. So if you start the car again within about 8 hours of the last start it will start up again easily and warm up the ignition switch enough. But that is very inconvenient thing to do overnight, which is why most problems arise on the first startup of the day. Once the startup fails you have to wait at least 10 minutes to try again. Saturn Ions have a failsafe that prevents theft. The car basically intreprets the failed start as a hotwire job and locks out another startup for 10 minutes (PassLock and may show a “service vehicle light”). After 10 minutes the thief should be annoyed and leave or get caught, at least that’s the idea.
Removing the fluid causes even worse startup problems and replacing the ignition switch means replacing with a part that has the exact same fluid in it. Saturn will not recall this part and change it because they say that a recall is not warranted due to that fact that this part does not cause a hazardous situation (like Ford Explorer exploding tires in the late 90’s for example). I disagree on that point. Not being able to start in cold weather could put someone in a position to be stranded in the middle of nowhere and possibly die if it is cold enough or they are not found for long enough.
The only solutions I have found are these (solution 2, 3, and 5 work best together):
1)get ready early on cold days and expect a problem.
2)keeping the car in a garage helps alot because it is not exposed to any wind that might lower the temperature around the car. also some garages are slightly heated.
3)wrap a heavy scarf around the steering column to insulate the ignition switch. i found this one works pretty good.
4)if you have a heating pad and can run a cord to the car,when you first get up place the heating pad on the steering column and set it on the lowest heat setting. leave it there until you are ready to leave and the ignition switch (and the steering wheel) should be warm
5)if you can’t do 2,3,and 4, then try to start the car once, will probably fail. remove the key for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes put the key in the ignition switch and turn it only enough to get the electricity going (!!! don’t start it yet or you will have to start all over again!!!) leave the key in the switch with the car off and let the heat run at its highest setting. it won?t seems hot because the air is not running through the engine to heat it but it will be enough to normalize the temperature in the car. after 5 or so minutes of running the heat, try to start the car again. keep doing this until the car starts.
Have not try these two yet:
6)i have heard of cordless hair dryers, can’t find one to buy yet though. but i read about someone in canada using it to heat up the ignition switch before the first start and it working
7)try heating the key. i heard this may work also.