I have a Saturn Ion 2, 05. I will intermittently not start. I put the key in the ignition, power comes on, turn the key, it clicks a couple of times and then everything turns off. The key is then locked in the ignition. It is a new key. My old key looked chewed up. The only way to get the care to release my key is to open the hood and wait a few minutes and then shut the hood. Power will come back on and it will release my key. I used to be able to start it after that but now it seems like it is becoming more and more difficult to start it. I have read about a loose fuse box under the hood, replacing battery, replacing ignition switch and resetting passcode. Im not sure where to start first. I do not have the extended warranty and am on a tight budget.
I’d start by cleaning the battery terminals.
Go to pepboys, advance, harbor freight or any of those types of parts/tool stores and get a battery terminal brush. The are cheap.
First take both battery terminals off. It is usually a 10 mm wrench or maybe a 1/2 " wrench on American cars.
Take the negative one off first, then the positive. You will not need to to take the battery out. Just leave it in place.
Then use the brush to clean both parts, the terminal on the battery and the clamp that holds the wire. Put the battery terminals back on: first the positive, then the negative.
If the problem went away, your terminals were likely corroded.
Oh, if you have an alarm, it may whale when you put the terminals back on.
Just keep your alarm’s remote nearby so you can shut if off immediately.
I asked my husband about this and he said that the terminals looked fine. He also took the battery to autozone to have them check it. It is also fine. I guess tomorrow we will replace the ignition switch.
Thanks for the imput.
Side terminal battery terminals can look “fine” til they’re removed. You can have corrosion between the battery and the terminal and they will still look fine.
Saturn Ions are notorious for failures of the ignition switch and lock. Since your key is “chewed up” it is quite likely that this is the issue. And, yes, as you have heard getting a new lock entails re-coding the new keys to the receiver in the steering column which a GM dealer will likely hit you with a bill from $250 to $500.
I learned all this when my daughter was about to buy a used Ion and I researched the car on the various Saturn forums. The ignition switch on that Ion was a bit “wonky” on that car, so she passed and got an older SL1, which is still going strong.
My husband removed the battery and took it to our local autozone and had it checked. The battery was fine. He put the battery back in and now the car is starting just fine. I had been begging my husband to do this for a while thinking that it might reset the cars computer.
Just a little back story- a few years ago before a long car trip I put in a fuel injector cleaner. It ran fine for a few days and then started idoling rough and then the engine light came on and then it started randomly not starting. I took it to a mechanic and he told me the rough idoling was due to a clogged throttle body and signaling a sensor. He did not have an issue with the car not starting. I thought that they must have reset the computer to turn off the sensor signal. Well I foolishly did the same thing this summer before going on a long trip. I think these are the same problems that occurred a few years ago. I dont know, just a thought. My husband did clean the throttle body a few months ago but did not take out the battery.
I also did not recode the car after I got a new key. I did not know that I would need to do that. I had a spare key that I had copied for the car.
OK – related question: my key has actually broken off inside the ignition. I have a spare, and use it to lock and unlock the doors, but is there a way to get the broken piece out of the ignition lock without rekeying or replacing the ignition? I CAN start the car by putting the ‘broken stub’ of the key into the slot, (or using a screwdriver or another key etc) and turning the switch, but I’d like to be able to use a real key! Suggestions or ideas? I suppose I could take the plastic shrouds off and see what the ignition looks like but ideas from someone who has already done this would be great!
Purchase a coping saw blade with the finest teeth you can find. Insert the blade with the teeth pointing out along side the broken key. Pull out the coping saw blade and the teeth on the blade should grab onto the broken key and pull it out.