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NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

2003 Saturn Ion (Page 1 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 1 of 11)

problem #217

Jun 012016

Ion

  • 141,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While driving at various speeds, the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The contact had to apply force to the steering wheel in order to steer the vehicle. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer and repaired per a recall. After the repairs, while driving at various speeds, the accelerator pedal was depressed, but the vehicle failed to accelerate. The air bag and check engine warning lights illuminated. The manufacturer was not notified of the failures. The recall specifics were unknown. The failure mileage was 141,000. Updated 10/19/16

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #216

Apr 272016

Ion

  • 114,575 miles
Takata recalls..I have a 2003 Saturn Ion I was driving fine hit cruise control button once I was at 55 an my car made a clicking sound started jerking like the cruise control keeps coming on...I've turned car off hit brakes which should reset it but it still happens..the car feels like its down shifting an trying to accelerate on its on the rpms hump real high wen this happens..you be driving doing 50 mph an all the sudden car jerks like its trying to stop U feel I T in gas pedal also...

- Amelia, OH, USA

problem #215

Apr 082015

Ion

  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. When the vehicle was parked, the key failed to remove from the ignition. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the ignition switched needed to be replaced. The contact stated that the vehicle experienced the same failures explained in NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system), but the VIN was not included in the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and refused to repair the vehicle. The failure mileage was 90,000.

- Madison, CT, USA

problem #214

Mar 152014

Ion

  • 60,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While the vehicle was parked and cold, it failed to start. The contact had to wait approximately 15 minutes for the vehicle to start. The failure only occurred when the vehicle was cold. The failure recurred constantly. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 60,000.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #213

Feb 012016

Ion

  • miles
2003 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to replacement parts not available to complete starter switch recall.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #212

Jan 052016

Ion

  • 129,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the gear was stuck in the park position and she was unable to move the vehicle. The power steering light illuminated on the instrument panel. An independent mechanic checked the vehicle and suggested that the failure could be electrical. The technician advised the contact to take the vehicle to a local dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not diagnosed and the manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 129,000.

- Hamtramck, MI, USA

problem #211

Nov 122013

Ion

  • 90,000 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 the ignition key failed to turn into the off position after numerous attempts. The cover underneath the lower steering column was removed to access a spring which was turned in a backward and forward motion in order to turn the engine off. The vehicle was taken to the dealer on three separate occasions. The ignition tumblers and gear shift sensor were replaced. In addition, a new ignition key was provided. The failure persisted after the repairs. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Bellefonte, PA, USA

problem #210

Nov 102015

Ion

  • 125,000 miles
Ignition faulty, car will not start or release key from ignition. Has shut off while driving in the past 6 months

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #209

Oct 262015

Ion

  • miles
My car feels like a death trap. To start off with only one of my windshield wiper motors work. When I first bought the car from a single individual the passenger side wiper appeared to shake a little more than the driver side. As if it was working a little harder to keep up with the other wiper.. and then less than a month after purchasing vehicle it stopped working all together. Now I only have the driver side wiper that I use. Also when I go to turn on the blinker, go over a railroad track, make a turn iorn vehicle, or sometimes just sitting still. The wiper will start working without me having turnned it on. At first it would just come on for 3 or 4 swipes and then automatically stop again. But now its doing it more frequently and sometimes it will not stop swipping whichis very aggravating causing scratches on my windshield and wearing my one wiper down faster than it should be. Along with these problems my car has also been idleing extremly high upon cranking and while changing gears it acts as if it gets stuck between 1rst 2cd and 3rd. Also when I try to increase speed for passing or to make turns it sometimes just causes it to bog down more instead of increasing my speed it sounds as if its gonna blow up the engine.

- Rome, GA, USA

problem #208

Nov 012011

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2003 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to steering column and ignition switch issues. The consumer stated in the fall of 2011, she experienced a clicking sound in steering column. The consumer stated she would have to wait a few minutes, before she was able to remove the key from the ignition. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, where replaced the shift control assembly. The consumer continued to experience problems, so the vehicle was returned to the dealer. They determined the ignition switch was faulty and replaced it, the consumer received a recall notice in March 2014. The consumer only received reimbursement for the ignition switch and not the shift control assembly. On July 23, 2015, the clicking noise started again. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a diagnosis. It was determined, the ignition switch needed to be replaced again. The dealer stated they were not going to replace the ignition again, but were willing to replaced the shifter interlock, instead.

- Inver Grove Heights, MN, USA

problem #207

Dec 182014

Ion

  • 100,000 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 the front driver side turning indicator failed to illuminate. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician was unable to find a failure. No repairs were made to the vehicle. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000. Updated 7/16/15

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #206

Jan 142015

Ion

  • 214,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle was serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system); however, the key was still getting lodged inside the ignition switch. The dealer and manufacturer were made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 214,000.

- Oakland , CA, USA

problem #205

Mar 042015

Ion

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the key was stuck in the ignition and was difficult to remove on more than one occasion. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system). The vehicle was taken back and forth to the dealer more than twice and they were unable to remedy the failure. The contact reported the failure to the manufacturer and indicated that the remedy did not repair the vehicle. The vehicle was still at the dealer and was unable to be driven. The dealer stated that the manufacturer would not approve replacing the components. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was unavailable. Updated 8/21/15

- Gridley, CA, USA

problem #204

Feb 232015

Ion

  • 204,000 miles
The contact owned a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact received a notification for NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system). The contact stated that while driving at an unknown speed, a fire started under the dashboard. The contact was able to merge to the side of the road and extinguish the fire. A police report was filed, but there were no injuries. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was contacted and, after evaluating pictures sent by the owner, stated that the failure was not related to the recall. The failure mileage was 204,000.

- Canton, OH, USA

problem #203

Dec 292014

Ion

  • 157,280 miles
I received a letter from Saturn today 12/29/2014 with the letter stating December 2014. In the letter it states the following " this letter is intended to make you aware that your vehicle's transmission shifter may not properly transmit an electrical signal that allows the ignition key to be turned counter clockwise past the accessory mode to the "lock" position after the vehicle has been shifted into park. If this occurs, the ignition key cannot be removed from the ignition cylinder without depressing the manual release plunger located on the underside of the steering column as described in the owners manual. A key left in the accessory position for an extended period of time may result in severe battery drain and a possible no start condition.

- Lyons Falls, NY, USA

problem #202

Jun 102014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2003 Saturn Ion safety recall for the ignition switch may move out of the "run" position, resulting in a partial loss of electrical power and turning off the engine. The ignition switch was replaced, as directed by recall.

- Scranton, PA, USA

problem #201

Nov 182014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 119,180 miles
I just bought a 2003 Saturn Ion 2 and the door locks "all of them" lock and unlock on their own. When I get out of the car and time passes by, "I don't know how much time has to pass between that triggers the doors to unlock but each time I go back to the car all doors have unlocked themselves..... " ". I believe this problem can possibly turn into a deadly issue regarding the life of a consumer and or others " " in the event of an accident who knows if the doors will unlock or open ? I believe that the doors may do just the opposite that the doors may remain locked preventing anyone from being able to get out of the vehicle in the event of fire< accident< or an other emergency.

- Antioch, CA, USA

problem #200

Nov 172014

Ion

  • 162,603 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 45 mph, the vehicle stalled. As a result, the vehicle lost power steering. After turning the vehicle off, it failed to start. The contact received notifications for NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system). The contact stated that the vehicle was remedied by the dealer. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 162,603.

- Wartburg, TN, USA

problem #199

Nov 012004

Ion

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while exiting a parking space, the power steering warning light illuminated as the steering wheel seized. The contact had to use extreme force to turn the wheel. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. Also, the contact stated that the vehicle failed to start on the first attempt and had to wait several minutes before it started. In addition, the key failed to release from the ignition switch. The independent mechanic replaced the ignition switch twice but the failure persisted. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Philadelphia , PA, USA

problem #198

Sep 012014

Ion

  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While driving 55 mph, the vehicle stalled and failed to restart. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. The vehicle was inspected by an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the failure was due to an electrical shortage. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Aluncreek, WV, USA

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