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NHTSA — Steering Problems

2003 Saturn Ion (Page 2 of 6)

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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
91,004 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 2 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #90

Oct 032014

Ion

  • 73,000 miles

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

While driving my car the power steering suddenly went out with no warning, I was lucky not to have an accident. I've been in contact with GM who advised me there is no safety recall on the 2003 Ion but there are power steering safety recalls on 2004-2010.

- Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #89

Apr 302012

Ion

  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 60 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver and the vehicle jerked. The contact mentioned that the eps warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was able to restart and function normally. The failure occurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #88

Aug 152014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
I was exiting off the freeway and while merging off my power steering gave out almost resulting in a crash with a red SUV, luckily the vehicle did not crash yet I had to pay out of pocket as 2003 Saturn Ions are not added to the power steering recall as 2004 Saturn Ions are.

- North Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #87

Sep 102014

Ion

  • 174,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 3 mph, the steering wheel seized and required excessive force to turn. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 174,000.

- Utica, MI, USA

problem #86

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 #85

Aug 072014

Ion

  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle would not start and the power steering warning light was illuminated. The contact also stated that the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 96,000.

- Hayes, VA, USA

problem #84

Feb 072011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles

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

I already have filed a complaint. I inadvertently gave the wrong VIN number. Instead of [xxx], it should be : [xxx]. my ODI # is 10616998. Hope this doesn't interfere with the investigation into the electronic power steering safety problem. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6). Updated 4/15/2015

- Coventry, RI, USA

problem #83

Feb 122014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While making a left turn at approximately 10 mph, the power steering failed without warning. The contact turned off the vehicle and, when it was restarted, the power steering operated normally. The failure occurred multiple times. The dealer stated that the eps needed to be replaced. The manufacturer stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V153000 (steering). The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 118,000.

- Conventry, RI, USA

problem #82

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 #81

Jul 202014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 176,326 miles
I was driving down the road and warning bell went off and display showed pwr strg. It became like driving a non-power age vehicle. I hear that this is the same part as the one being replaced in recalled vehicles.

- Fall Creek, WI, USA

problem #80

Jun 092012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 180,000 miles

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

Me and my daughter were going threw a drive threw teller in dansville, NY, as a turned to go around the building the car kept going straight. There was no steering function at all!! it had been clicking in the days before like something internally was binding. The part was available threw A-1 cardone and only took about 1/2 to change. *just happy we weren't traveling down the road @ 55 mph when it happened!

- Dalton, NY, USA

problem #79

Jul 022014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 50,700 miles
Power steering went out this morning after car was running for 30 mins. In city driving. Last summer the power steering started going out when making turns, sometimes while driving straight. This began in the summer, after the temp. Outside started reaching 100+. had to turn the car off and back on to get the steering working again. When the outside temp became cooler in the fall I didn't have problems with the power steering until today, now that it is getting hotter outside. I contacted GMC in April of this year, 2014; they maintain it is not their responsibility. I know my car has had power steering parts replaced previously under recalls and asked if they would check to see if their replacement parts went bad, again they declined. The steering seems to go mostly when making turns making it very difficult for me to even safely get to where I can stop, turn the car off, and then back on to get the power steering working again. I often have young grandkids in the car with me so it not just my safety I am concerned about. This is unsafe for me, my passengers and those driving around me. The car has less than 51,000 miles on it. Please can you help?

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #78

Mar 272014

Ion

  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the steering wheel would become difficult to control without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician diagnosed that the electronic steering motor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 120,000 and the current mileage was 124,000.

- West Deptford, NJ, USA

problem #77

Apr 082014

Ion

  • 300,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while attempting to park, the power steering failed causing the steering wheel to become difficult to maneuver. The contact restarted the vehicle and returned to normal functioned. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 300,000 and the current mileage was 335,000.

- Cleaveland, TX, USA

problem #76

Jan 242014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
Power steering lost power while daughter was practicing parallel parking (repeated turn of steering wheel). Power steering came back on after ignition was turned off and then turned back on. However, the same thing happened again after a while under the same circumstances (practicing parallel parking). The problem didn't occur during regular driving, but again in February and then in March while practicing parallel parking. A press release from General Motors says all Saturn Ions from 2004 onwards are recalled for this issue and some 96 thousand 2003 model year Ions have been given lifetime warranty for this issue but I am told my vehicle isn't covered, even though it exhibits the same power loss to the steering and has the same power assist motor.

- Monmouth Junction, NJ, USA

problem #75

Dec 012008

Ion

  • 40,000 miles
Starting 7 years ago, the power steering intermittently goes out, usually while parallel parking. It is not reproducible on demand, so trips to the mechanic yielded nothing. I now see there is talk of a power steering recall separate from the ignition recall -- but only starting with 2004 Ion! why not also the 2003? the same problem exists with this year.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #74

May 142014

Ion

  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the power steering suddenly malfunctioned causing the steering wheel to become very difficult maneuvered. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the defect. The failure mileage was 45,000.

- Solvay, NY, USA

problem #73

Mar 132013

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
When driving my car. My power steering power light comes on and beeps. It is difficult to steer, I have to pull over and restart my car. Also my power windows will work after the car is off and doors are opened. These items are on the recall list, I was told because it was not my year it was just a coincidence. Really?? thanks for any help.

- Haverhill, MA, USA

problem #72

May 282004

Ion

  • miles
Periodically the Saturn will lunge fwd will stopped or even driving the rpms spike while driving. Breaks will not stop this issue. I've put my car in the ditch to miss major wrecks..this has been going on for yrs. Also the losing power when turning has happened but not as much as the accelerator sticking. Bought a new car just for my kids to be in they aren't allowed in the death trap Saturn. Wish someone would investigate these problems because they keep getting worse as the yrs go by. Have had the vehicle since it was new..would even be willing to show anyone these problems if they would sit in this death warrant.

- Hamiton, MT, USA

problem #71

May 052014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 189,000 miles
Power steering problems went down.

- North Attleboro, MA, USA

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