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.

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NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

2003 Saturn Ion (Page 2 of 11)

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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
8 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,368 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 2 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #197

Aug 302013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 8,200 miles

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

Ignition switch replaced on 7/17/14. On 8/30/14 key would not turn ignition to shut car off. Put in reverse then drive then park and key then turned to shut engine. This happened again on 9/18/14 & 10/20/14. Used spare key on 10/21/14, and now on 11/03/14 above happened again. Informed GM of these events, today 11/3/14, they are looking into it, and will have atlantic Chevy in bay shore contact me within 24 hrs. To discuss solution.

- Massapequa, NY, USA

problem #196

Sep 092014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Ask a mechanic spring 2014, we had the recall on the ignition fixed on my 2003 Saturn. On September 9th my son drove the Saturn to detroit mi. About half way there on I-94, at rush hour, the Saturn lost power and began stopping. He was going about 70 miles/hour and didn┐┐T have extra keys on the key ring. Luckily, he is strong, smart and quick thinking. He was able to wrestle the steering column toward an exit, while depressing the clutch and restarting the car. Thankfully it started! if I had been driving the car, I don┐┐T think I could have done those things. We called the dealership that fixed the car and after numerous calls, they said they were not authorized to tow the car and fix it. Now several weeks later and in response to letters sent to GM executives, they tell us the same thing. I am telling them their fix is not a fix! I don┐┐T want others injured or dead. Why is this entitled ┐┐ask a mechanic┐Ł? we were told many years ago by a mechanic at the Saturn dealer not to hang extra keys on our ring. This dealer has been gone for many years. Maybe someone needs to ask a current mechanic if this is the right fix for GM vehicles.

- Portage, MI, USA

problem #195

Mar 012012

Ion

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled intermittently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who failed to inform the contact that the VIN was included in NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and 14V171000 (electrical system). The vehicle was not repaired and the failure persisted. The vehicle was towed to a dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #194

Sep 172014

Ion

  • 95,000 miles

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

The vehicle was repaired under NHTSA recall (ignition switch). After recall replacement, when parking and turning the vehicle off, the key would not release from the ignition. The approximate failure mileage was 95,000. Dealer said it has nothing to do with recall repair, to fix about $500.

- Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #193

Dec 272013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 114,341 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to shift into park. The contact mentioned that due to the failure the key became lodged in the ignition switch causing the battery to drain. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a diagnostic testing. The technician diagnosed that the bitsi cable failed and as a result, the shifter needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. However, the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 114,341. Updated 12/9/14 the consumer was informed the part was not available. Updated 03/03/15

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #192

Jul 012014

Ion

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact received a notification for recall NHTSA campaign number: 14E021000 (electrical system). However, the part that was needed to remedy the recall was unavailable. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The VIN was not available. The contact had not experience a failure.

- Saint Petersburg , FL, USA

problem #191

Jun 032014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles

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

2003 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to ignition lock cylinder and ignition switch recall and requests reimbursement for repairs. The consumer stated the ignition lock cylinder and ignition was replaced on June 3, 2014 in accordance with the safety recall. However, the first ignition switch was replacement on 3/17.05, was at no cost, as the vehicle was still under warranty. However, on 2/17/09 the ignition lock cylinder housing was replaced at a cost of $323.22 and on 6/11/12, the ignition and start switch were deemed faulty and replaced at a cost of $ 250.50.

- Scarsdale, NY, USA

problem #190

Jul 012014

Ion

  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. After the vehicle was repaired according to NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system), the key failed to turn off the ignition. As a result, the steering wheel locked. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 150,000. Updated 10/23/14

- Alpine , AL, USA

problem #189

Jun 062014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 118,121 miles
2003 Saturn Ion. Consumer requests reimbursement for ignition switch repairs.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #188

Aug 182014

Ion

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system ) however, the parts to do the repairs was unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Misson Hills, CA, USA

problem #187

Jul 062014

Ion

  • 19,000 miles

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

I don't feel safe in this vehicle, I have experience how dangerous it could be if the ignition switch does malfunction. I fear for my safety and my families safety the air bags does not work and there is electrical issues with the windows. I don't know why geico insurance didn't find this car not to be an safety issue?

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #186

Jul 162014

Ion

  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. When the contact removed the key from the ignition, the vehicle failed to shut off. The contact also noticed smoke in the cabin of the vehicle from the steering column and underneath the hood. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and the ignition switch, fuse box, and wiring harness were replaced. The manufacturer was notified. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 95,000.

- Central Islip, NY, USA

problem #185

Nov 272013

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2003 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to a repair bill for the ignition defect and seeks reimbursement. Updated 08/27/14 the consumer request for reimbursement, was approved. Updated 11/20/14 updated 01/22/15. Updated 01/27/15 status update 02/12/15. The consumer stated GM now refuses to comply with the agreement. Updated 03/04/15. Updated 04/13/15. Updated 04/09/15 updated 12/28/15.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #184

May 232014

Ion

  • 152,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system) was performed however the remedy failed to repair the failure. The contact stated that the key was unable to be removed from the ignition. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 152,000. Updated 9/12/14 the contact was advised the failure was due to a malfunctioning shift solenoid. Updated 1/26/15

- Bay City , MI, USA

problem #183

May 232014

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that when attempting to remove the key from the ignition switch, the key would remain stuck intermittently. The contact stated that the vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system) however, the failures persisted. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 68,000. Updated 09/16/14 the consumer stated the key can be removed by inserting a finger into an opening an touch a particular spot. Updated 1/20/2015

- Bay City , MI, USA

problem #182

Oct 072013

Ion

  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the vehicle loss power and stalled. Additionally, the contact stated that the power steering warning light illuminated and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The contact mentioned that the vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 14E021000 (electrical system). The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was diagnosed that the ignition needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 95,000 and the current mileage was 110,000.

- Bell Gardens, CA, USA

problem #181

Mar 102014

Ion

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact received a notification for recall NHTSA campaign id number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). The dealer and the manufacturer were contacted numerous times and they had no idea when the parts would be available for the repairs. The repair was not taken care of in a reasonable amount of time. Contact had not experienced a failure.

- Douglaston, NY, USA

problem #180

Jul 142014

Ion

  • miles
Couple months ago I brought my can to GM because of the ignition switch recall. Last week I got a call from GM that my car was done and ready to be pick up. I noticed that the power of my car wasn't there, the passenger window was going down (when I dropped it off at GM it wouldn't go down), and my car charger wasn't working (when I dropped it off it the car was charging my phone same charger same phone). 2:00am today I hit a deer on my way to my parents house (im okay but don't know about the deer) but the air bags didn't deploy.

- Pequot Lakes, MN, USA

problem #179

Jun 242014

Ion

  • 123,480 miles
GMC recall for faulty ignition switch for 2003 Saturn Ion. Dealership _________, il had received the part in stock on 06-02-14. When I left the car my battery was in great working order with no previous issues. Radio cd cassette unit was in great working order with no previous issues. Service consultant advised me the ignition lock switch housing also had to be replaced and on back order with GM. Service consultant said I must buy new battery for them to continue replacement of new ignition switch and to fix for the housing (which was still on back order by GM) as my battery was dead and car would not start for the completion of repair. My battery was in excellent working order when I left the car on 06-02-14 I have copy of invoice dated 06-02-14 notating batter failed text no crank to start repl. Battery. Under duress and desparation and in order to return to work same day, I charged battery to my credit card in the amount of $173.42. When car was brought to me it smelled like burned wiring. The radio unit would not come on. Mike manning said the electrical needed diagnosis and could be extensive electrical repairs and to bring back another time. I refused to take my car and was provided another rent car. My bank tried to dispute the $173.42 charge for battery. That amount is still outstanding on my account. Service manager demanded I pay $173.42 cash before in order for me to get my car out of the shop. They did not install a new ignition lock housing and used the original one on my car. Copy of shop work order dated 06-02-14 is notated "battery failed test, no crank to start. Repl. Battery. I was not informed the battery was dead until approximately 3 weeks later when I went to pick up my car.

- Downers Grove, Il, IL, USA

problem #178

Dec 122013

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2003 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to reimbursement for faulty ignition recall repairs. The consumer stated upon returning to her vehicle, she discovered she was unable to use the remote, so she used the key, instead. She attempted to place the key inside the ignition and discovered the slot was not in the off position. The vehicle would not start due to the ignition not being in the off position and enabling her to pull the key out, as the battery was dead. It wasn't until January 7, 2014, she began experiencing problems again with the ignition, and the battery died again. After the vehicle was jump started, the consumer smelled gas. It was determined the rear fuel line had corroded, which formed holes and gas was pouring out the holes on both sides.

- Taylor, MI, USA

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