Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The Saturn Ion was a compact bundle of hurt wrapped up in a cheap, plastic shell. With so many defective components and a safety rating that a bicycle would be ashamed of, it’s a blessing this car only lasted five model years.

The 2003 (and 2004) Ion was cursed with GM’s flawed attempt at a continuously variable transmission, known as the VTi. It had such a high failure rate that a class-action lawsuit was filed against GM, eventually prompting a settlement and a warranty extension. GM discontinued the VTi for the 2005 model year – surprise, surprise.

The 2003 Ion was also part of one of the largest and most controversial recalls of all-time. A defective ignition switch in millions of GM vehicles could accidentally turn the car off and disable important safety components like the power steering and airbags. The problem resulted in at least 13 deaths, but what made it worse was that GM knew about the issue for 10 years before doing anything about it.

So was the transmission warranty extended? Yeah. Was the ignition switch recalled? Eventually. Is this car safe to drive? Not really. Honestly, you’re better off looking elsewhere.


definitely annoying
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
65,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2003 Saturn Ion AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #1

Jan 162008


  • Manual transmission
  • 65,000 miles


While this may only be a creature comfort issue, it gets cold in Colorado and I want my heater back. When ever I switch on the heater, even to level one, a loud vibrating noise comes from what seems to be behind the glove box. As the level increases on the fan controls, 1-5, the noise gets louder. Seems like it may be a bearing or something. Any ideas?

- , Denver, CO, USA

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