Cold Weather starting issues with 2004 Saturn Ion


Asked by Jan 03, 2014 at 12:00 PM about the 2004 Saturn ION

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Call will not start if temps drop below 40 or so.  When I am able to get it started, it runs like a champ...  Doesn't like cold weather at all even though it is garage kept at night?? Park in parking garage during daylight work hours, however the garage is not enclosed and is very drafty.  Someone told me it was because of the lubricant that is used in the steering column and that it has a tendency to freeze..  It that correct. ??

4 Answers


Yes. I heard the same. Had the same issue yesterday and this morning in NJ. Once it got going it was great. What I found is if you try it and nothing works let it sit for 5 min and then try again. If not, wait another 5 minutes. I did that this morning and my third try it worked.


I had this problem with my Ion. The freezing lubricant is located in the ignition switch. It seemed like a lot of arm chair mechanics had a lot of different theories about what was wrong but after thorough research I decided to go with the ignition switch. I went to an auto-parts store and bought one myself and took it to a mechanic with specific instructions just to replace the switch...which, of course, the happily did. It's been smooth sailing from there on out (with the not starting problem). Save yourself a lot of frustration and just change the ignition switch.


I have the same problem in my 2004 Ion. The car cranks twice, then stops. I've been using a heat gun to warm up the column for a few minutes, which seems to work better at times and at others, not so much. It always starts in about 10 to 15 minutes, though. I do agree that it is the switch/passlock. When this happens, the service engine message appears and the padlock light stays lit.


you have to wait 10 minutes if it does not start. Just watch your display clock and when it dims, that is 10 minutes. I usually wait 11 minutes to play it safe. In Chicago it only seems to occur on winter days with big temperature swings. Can't wait to get a new ignition with the recall. Only happened twice this year so thankful for that as it used to be about ten times a year.

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