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 — Air Bags Problems

2003 Saturn Ion (Page 1 of 2)

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:
15 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,925 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #36

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 #35

Jun 042015

Ion

  • 35,209 miles
My horn stopped working. It never worked well, except from the button on the key holder. I complained to the dealer more than once when Saturn was still in business. I was always told that my hands were not strong enough to make the horn work. One service person even told me to try it by wrapping both hands around where the horn is located and pressing as hard as I could. I went to a GM dealer yesterday to find out why the horn quit working altogether and also because there are times when the key will not come out of the ignition. I have replaced the ignition twice - once at my expense and once after the recall. GM will provide the cost of replacing the gear shift. According to the dealer that is why the key won't release from the ignition. However, they want $1,000 to fix the horn because they said it is part of the airbag so the airbag has to be replaced too. I have done some internet research and find that there are other Saturn owners who have the horn problem and some have had accidents and the airbag did not deploy. This does not sound right to me. It sounds like there is more going on with the defects than just a faulty ignition. I am afraid to drive my car. I can't afford another car. I can't really afford the $1,000 but am really concerned about not having a working horn and am more concerned that the airbag might not deploy.

- Shelby Township, MI, USA

problem #34

Feb 282014

Ion

  • 130,000 miles
The contact owned a 2003 Saturn Ion. While driving 40 mph, the brake pedal was depressed, but the vehicle failed to respond. The brake failure caused the contact's vehicle to crash into the rear of another vehicle. The air bags failed to deploy. The driver sustained injuries to the knees, which did not require medical attention. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact felt that the crash was related to NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). The approximate failure mileage was 130,000.

- North Syracuse , NY, USA

problem #33

Aug 182014

Ion

  • miles

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

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 #32

Jul 062014

Ion

  • 19,000 miles
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

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problem #31

May 202014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 138,000 miles
On May 21st 2014 fidelity fleet and finance in portland or knowing sold me a 2003 Saturn Ion which is involved in the GM ignition recall. When asked if the vehicle was part of the recall the response was clearly represented as the car is not part of the recall and it was safe and mechanically sound. The dealership uses deceptive practices and sells unsafe vehicles including those linked to deaths and thousands of injuries. The dealership has also failed to register the vehicle in over 70 days since the purchase.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #30

Oct 092013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 120,000 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 while driving approximately 30 mph, the engine stalled and the vehicle crashed into a curb. The airbags did not deploy however, the contact was not injured. The vehicle was not able to restart. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000. Updated 10/2/14 the consumer stated the driver received an injury to the head. The vehicle has not been fully repaired. Updated 3/6/2015

- Gainesville, TX, USA

problem #29

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 #28

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 #27

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

problem #26

Jun 262014

Ion

  • 66,000 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 while driving at various speeds, the power steering would suddenly malfunction making the steering wheel very difficult to turn. Also, the contact indicated that after the ignition switch was replaced due to the NHTSA recall campaign number 14E021000 (electrical) the air bag sensor light had illuminated and the horn would not operate. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 66,000.

- Flint, MI, USA

problem #25

Dec 062010

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2003 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch recall notice and states no longer owns vehicle. The consumer no longer owns the vehicle. It was declared a loss, by his insurance company.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #24

Jul 252013

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2003 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch recall notice and seeks reimbursement for previous repairs.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #23

Mar 202014

Ion

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that NHTSA campaign numbers: 14V171000 (electrical system) and 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) had exceeded a reasonable amount of time for repair. The dealer stated that part was not available. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact had not experienced a failure. The VIN was not available. Updated 8/11/14 the consumer stated the vehicle was repaired. Updated 08/20/2014

- Irondale, MO, USA

problem #22

Sep 152010

Ion

  • miles
Went through a light, that must of changed colors, as I was underneath it and the other car got a good head start and hit me. Spinning me out and ended up on the sidewalk, with the utility pole underneath me. The other driver got cited, I w as taken to the hospital and had numerous tests taking.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #21

Mar 072014

Ion

  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated received notification of NHTSA campaign id 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system), however the part needed was unavailable to perform the repair. The dealer informed that the part would not be available until two months. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Nassatequa, NY, USA

problem #20

Jan 262004

Ion

  • 183,000 miles
The contact owns 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact also stated that the key seized in the ignition and the battery had to be disconnected to shut the vehicle down. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who replaced the ignition switch and issued new keys but the failure recurred. There was recall under NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 183,000.

- San Bernardino, CA, USA

problem #19

Apr 012014

Ion

  • miles
2003 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch recall. The consumer found it unacceptable that GM allowed the cover-up for so many years.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #18

Mar 032014

Ion

  • miles
TL-the contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact received the recall notification related to NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system). The contact stated that repairs was not taken care of in a reasonable amount of time. The dealer indicated parts are not available. Contact had not experience a failure. The manufacturer has been contacted.

- Appleton, WI, USA

problem #17

Nov 112013

Ion

  • 123,000 miles
The contact owns 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle stalled as the key was slightly touched by the contact. The vehicle was able to be restarted and the contact later discovered that the key could not be removed from the ignition.the contact referenced NHTSA campaign id number 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and stated that the ignition switch and lock cylinder was replaced under the recall however, the failure was recurring even after the recall repairs. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 123,000. Updated 6/17/14

- Eldridge, IA, USA

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