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.

NHTSA — Communications: Horn Assembly Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

CarComplaints.com 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.

3.8

definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,510 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Saturn Ion accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #11

Jan 092014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that when the horn was activated it would continue to sound until the vehicle was shut off. The failure recurred numerous times. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 125,000 and the current mileage was 130,000. Updated 8/27/14 updated 09/15/2014

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #10

Nov 202013

Ion

  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the power steering warning lamp illuminated and the vehicle became very hard to maneuver. Also, the contact mentioned that the horn failed to turn off after being pressed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 125,000 and the current mileage was 129,000.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #9

Dec 132007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Horn is very difficult to actuate, requiring hard pressing one of two specific small horn logos on the steering wheel air bag cover. These are hard to find in an emergency, and impossible to quickly find when driving at night. This has resulted in a few near misses, because the horn could not be activated quickly enough to alert another driver that they were leaving their lane. I had to swerve evasively to prevent the accident. Saturn dealer in past has said that horn works normally. This is the only vehicle that my wife or I have driven in thirty years that has this problem. It appears to be a poor design, and something should be done to rectify it. The horn is useless in a suddenly developing emergency situation. Date is not specific; as form would not allow submission without a date. I have not had an accident yet, but this should be rectified before someone has a serious accident.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #8

Jun 042004

(reported on)

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The horn assembly required excessive effort to activate. The consumer drove the vehicle to the dealer for inspection, and mechanic determined that horn was designed that way.

- West Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #7

Nov 132002

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7 miles
Saturn horn is hard to activate (almost impossible in winter climates) due to a poor horn button design. In a panic situation you have to look down and hunt for the "G" spot on the horn button in order to sound the horn within sufficient time to be useful in warning other motorists. I have experinced this many times in a parking lot situation, and also during interstate driving. Sometimes the horn fails to sound at all. Saturn Corp. Referred me to the dealer for repairs. Dealer claims there is nothing they can do because of the inherent design with the air bag. Other Ions that I test drove also displayed this behavior and Saturn Corp. Should be working on a solution to this potential safety issue.

- Wappingers Falls, NY, USA

problem #6

Jan 282004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,900 miles
The horn malfunctioned without warning. The consumer had to use excessive force in order to hear the horn.

- Elizabethton, TN, USA

problem #5

Oct 302002

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,090 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Horn failed without warning.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #4

Nov 012003

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles
Operation of the vehicle horn is very difficult as the activation locations are not prominent enough to find when involved in an emergency situation. In fact I believe that the horn did not operate on one occasion when positive activation was achieved. This is a dangerous design. One that more than likely has or will result in an accident.

- Lake In The Hills, IL, USA

problem #3

Jan 062003

Ion 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,002 miles
The horn did not work all the time. The design for the horn, only allowed it to be used when the consumer's fingers were directly on the horn indicator symbol. The dealer suggested that the horn worked as designed.

- West Bloomfield, MI, USA

problem #2

Oct 052003

Ion

  • 10 miles
Consumer found it difficult to depress the horns button when needed due to its location. This made it impossible to warn other motorist in a emergency situation. Also, when accelerating on wet surface tires will spin but vehicle will not accelerate.

- Long Beach, NY, USA

problem #1

Nov 192003

(reported on)

Ion

  • 500 miles
In a panic situation, the owner was unable to locate the horn button due to the size and location. This caused a distraction, due to the consumer having to take her eyes off the road and look on the steering wheel to locate the horn button. The consumer noted the driver's head rest was tilted too far forward, the problem was eventually corrected.

- San Diego, CA, USA

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