Well last week was a little frustrating when our Saturn Ion wouldn't start. It was cold and I have had this problem before and thought it was the starter. I replaced the starter in the summer with a used one and low and behold it happened again last week. Aside from being pissed that it wouldn't start, I thought about having to buy a new starter. I got to work and started looking into "Saturn not starting" on Google when it popped up on the search engine. I clicked on the first link and this is nothing new to Saturn owners. The problem is with the type of lube they used on the chip for the ignition switch. It freezes in cold weather and can collect moisture in humid weather causing issues with the chip and trying to start the car. The anti theft system thinks you are trying to steal the car so it disables the ignition for 10 minutes.
What I found out about this is that you leave the key in the ignition with the instrument panel light up and wait for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the ignition will unlock and allow you to attempt to start the car again. If the switch has an issue again with you starting the car, you have to wait another 10 minutes for it to unlock. Now that I know how to get it started once it locks I was feeling a little bit better about not having to buy a starter. This now gives me 3 options to do about this known issue that Saturn won't address.
1. I can clip a white wire attached to a clip that plugs into the ignition switch. This will disable the anti theft system and allow you to start your car without the problem of it locking for 10 minutes at a time. The problem is that the light on the dash will stay light and someone can steal the car. (Not that worried!)
2. I can buy an ignition switch at an auto parts store at replace it myself. To replace it I would have to remove the battery terminal so the air bag doesn't go off in my face and get a small ratchet into a really tight area to remove two screws and the ignition switch. Then put the new one in and put the screws back in with losing any. Then once the plastics are back on, connect the terminals again and go through starting the car which takes about 20 minutes. You will start it once which locks you out and wait 10 minutes, then do it again and it locks again. The third time should allow you to start the car with the new switch but if something is wrong you are screwed.
3. Pay my mechanic about $250 to replace it for me and if anything is screwed up, he can deal with it and get it working. This way I can pay for them to replace it and if anything is screwed up after they replace it then they can trouble shoot it and I can save the $70 to get it towed to the shop.
The bottom line is that this is something that Saturn could have easily addressed under warranty for me but they want to save a few bucks. If I had anything to get them to admit it and fix it I would go after them but since Saturn no longer exists, I'll pay to fix their lazy mistake.