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Old 12-20-2015, 05:21 PM   #1
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Key stuck and shifter stuck

2004 ION Automatic, 168,000 miles.
This has me going nuts.
The key will not come out. It will only go to the accessory position but will not go all the way to the off position. I took off the plastic under the steering wheel and pushed the white plunger to remove the key but still cannot shift from park.
The shifter will not shift into any gear from park unless i press the override.
With the key out, the "Service Vehicle" and "Power Steering" scrolls across the screen on the cluster.
With the key out the needles and brake light on the cluster stay lit.
The brake warning light is on.
None of the accessories will work. No power windows, doors, turn signals, heater.
the headlights and brake lights DO work.
I changed the shifter solenoid and that did not solve the issue.
Any help????
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Old 12-20-2015, 07:10 PM   #2
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Re: Key stuck and shifter stuck

There may be an interlock system between the shifter and the ignition switch that has gone haywire. A lot of cars have something like that as an anti theft measure. Basically it's a series of relays, solenoids and/or switches that make it so you can't shift out of park unless the key is in the ignition on position and the engine is running. The other thing it does is it prevents you from removing the key from the ignition unless you're in park.

When something goes wrong with a system like this, your ignition switch doesn't know the car is in park and doesn't release the key, and/or the shifter doesn't know the key is in and the engine is running, so it won't let you shift out of park. When this is going on, your only option is to override the system. I've seen it before, although it was on a 3rd generation ('87-89) Honda Accord (~20 years old with like 300,000 miles on it at the time). I guess this provides yet more reason why Saturn went bust. There's more than just one component to check, it's usually a whole clusterf*ck of electrical compnents.

However, before you tear into all that check with your local GM dealer to see if your car is on the recall list for a bad ignition switch. Just because Saturn doesn't exist, doesn't mean you wouldn't be covered. If you do manage to fix this, find somebody dumb enough to buy your car (no offense) and don't ever buy another Saturn... seriously, they're garbage.
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Old 12-20-2015, 10:27 PM   #3
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Re: Key stuck and shifter stuck

This is a common problem with the Ion.

If you haven't had the ignition switch recall work done, call your local dealership to get that completed first (all Saturn Ions are covered). You must call ahead to get the parts ordered for the recall because the lock cylinder is preset at the factory to match your car (according to VIN) before being shipped to the dealership. You most likely have a bad switch since you've already replaced the solenoid. The ignition switch is also replaced as part of the recall which should fix your problem. You'll also get two brand new keys for free as part of the recall because they are also redesigned to prevent the switch from being accidentally turned off.
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