Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2004 Saturn Ion starting issue

Ive had my saturn for over a year now. It just hit 100,000 miles. Seems to be the perfect car, except for one major flaw. Once a week to multiple times a day, my car fails to start. For twenty mins to an hour. Ive done some research, looked in my manual, and have been to multiple shops. From what I know the problem is the “passlock” I turn my key and it barely turns over. I wait and wait, keep turning my key every so often, for a long period of time… until my car finally!!! starts. Im late to work some days even when leaving half an hour before I truely need to leave. The shops have done many things to my car, each time saying it is fixed. Im starting to think it can never be fixed and I need to give up on my car before i lose my two jobs. Please help!


Kristin, Does The “Security” Light Flash Immediately After Trying To Start The Car ?
At That Time, Does The Driver Information Center Display “Service Vehicle” ?

“From what I know the problem is the “passlock” I turn my key and it barely turns over.”

All of this points to a low voltage problem.

Are your “shops” equipped to read the car’s Body Control Module DTCs (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) ? Most shops can read Engine/Transmission Control Module codes, but I think it would behoove you to know what DTCs have been found or not found and whether or not the shops are checking for Body Codes, too.

Has anybody replaced the ignition switch ?

Before doing any of the above, has anybody correctly cleaned battey connections ?

Another intermittent low voltage possibility:
Before trying any of the above, the easiest, cheapest thing to try is to disconnect the battery cables from the battery and thoroughly cleesn the cable ends, the battery terminals, and properly reinstall them. Eye protection is required and working on a car battery can be dangerous to the worker and the car. Make sure the worker knows proper procedures.


How Old Is The Ion’s Battery ? Is It The Original Battery Or Have You Replaced It ?


Ive already had a new ignition switch. It does usually say service vehicle soon, but that all depends on how much the car turns over and how often i turn the key waiting for it to start. Ive gotten a new battery as well… its now probably less than a year old. I have had this car for a year and a half now? Each time, getting things done to my car, this issue continues to annoy me. I am unsure of what dtcs are.

Sounds like a failing starter motor to me. It is hard to check a when hot it fails but that is the first part I would throw money at.

DTC = Diagnostic Trouble Code