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 — Engine And Engine Cooling: Exhaust System: Emission Control Problems Seal Of This Might Hurt 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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 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 exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #1

Sep 012011


  • miles


2003 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle recall issues the consumer stated the vehicle was purchased new and she was never informed of a recall regarding the body control module which she was having problems with. The consumer stated the problem first started when the driver side window dropped when she closed the door. Then it would not stay up. Then half of the dash went black. The next window would go up and down on its own with no contact of any type. Then the controls to the electric windows stopped working completely and the electronic lock/opening device would not open the doors any longer or lock the trunk. The consumer was informed she would have to pay for a diagnostic test. The consumer also stated there was also a problem with the transmission. The vehicle did not react to being in park, so therefore, she had difficulty removing the keys from the ignition. The O2 sensor and the ignition switch had to be replaced. The consumer stated the transmission was never properly replaced. On one occasion, the vehicle stalled and the steering locked up.

- Janesville, WI, USA

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