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NHTSA — Steering Problems

2003 Saturn Ion (Page 4 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 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #50

Jun 192013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 106,000 miles

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

Steering locks or becomes extremely hard to turn steering wheel when car is in reverse for parking and thereafter in drive for minutes at a time. Becoming progressively more and more worse. Have had the steering column sensor replaced, the electric motor replaced and problem becomes more noticeable. Beginning to effect driving and the ability to maneuver the car while it is in motion. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Lathrup Village, MI, USA

problem #49

Oct 222011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
The electric power steering went out luckily in a parking lot at a shopping center in October 2012 the motors were replaced previously before Saturn went defunct back in approximately 2006 and at approximately 40,000 miles. These are exactly the same motors that a recall was proposed on the Chevy cruz and GM says they are not covered or no covered under the Saturn program. Now over the past 6 months the ignition switch which GM knows has problems has shut the engine off while driving and now it's to the point where it locks intermittently not allowing the disengaging of the engine transmission when attempting to turn off and park. Again GM says there is no recall but they have recalls on other GM vehicles. I have spent upwards of $700 dollars for repairs and batteries and enough is enough. I've read of the many nightmare on the internet and wonder if your bureau can do anything to remedy the situations. Thanks.

- Streetsboro, OH, USA

problem #48

Jul 112012

Ion

  • 102,987 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while driving, the power steering failed causing the vehicle to be more difficult to drive. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and they stated the power steering needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified and stated there were no recalls. The failure mileage was 102,987.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #47

Aug 222012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 47,500 miles

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

Attempting to turn left at traffic signal when "power steering" came up on dashboard instrument system and car became extremely difficult to turn. Stopped vehicle and checked owner's manual for meaning of message. When vehicle was restarted, steering resumed working. This happened 3-4 more times over next week or so until I was able to get vehicle into dealership. Diagnosed as electrical steering motor circuit failure. Motor replaced at cost of approximately $300 Saturn help line advised no assistance with this repair.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #46

Aug 302012

Ion

  • 69,922 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while driving 45 mph, the power steering failed warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The steering wheel became more difficult to control. The vehicle was driven to her residence and was not taken to a dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer stated that the vehicle was not included in a recall. The failure mileage was 69,922.

- Brookville, OH, USA

problem #45

Aug 072012

Ion

  • 72,567 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While parking the vehicle, the contact noticed a creaking sound coming from the steering wheel as the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnostics. The contact was not aware of the diagnostic test results. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 72,567.

- Newfield, NY, USA

problem #44

Jun 012011

Ion

  • 45,000 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 steering failed without warning. The failure was experienced numerous times and the steering wheel became hard to turn. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the dealer advised that the power steering electronic motor failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 45,000 and the current mileage was 60,000.

- Joliet , IL, USA

problem #43

May 232010

Ion

  • 160,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact was driving 25 mph when the power steering seized. In addition, the windshield wiper failed and the front windows driver and passenger side windows could not be opened or closed. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection or repairs. The manufacturer was notified who advised the contact that the vehicle should be taken to the dealer and they would decide if they should offer any assistance. The failure mileage was 160,000.

- Matawan, NJ, USA

problem #42

Jan 042012

Ion

  • 108,352 miles
Own a 2003 Saturn Ion. Approx 2 weeks ago the steering column insode the car started making a clicking noise when turning left or right. It sounds like something came loose and catching on something inside the column. It seems to be worse in colder weather but does not go away in warmer weather either. Since there is no more "Saturn" who fixes recalls or factory issues?

- Colorado Springs , CO, USA

problem #41

Jan 052012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 200,846 miles
- the electronic power steering stopped working while backing the car up - the malfunction indicator showed a "pwr str" message - after several re-starts the power steering continued to be inoperable (pwr str message) - the car was driven approximately 15 miles with no power assisted steering - after another start up 45 minutes later the vehicle electronic power steering resumed normal operation.

- Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #40

Dec 032011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 127,889 miles

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

The steering wheel will stick, while turning into curvy roads and on off ramp requiring high input to correct and resulting in over correcting and swinging out of my lane. This started happening when the car was moving slow (<5 mph), but I have had it happen several times driving between 35 and 50 mph in the case of the off ramp and driving on rochester road between tinken and 32 mile. You will go into a curve and the steering will lock resulting in a loss of steering and you have to force the wheel to get any reaction. Last night was the clincher and I decided enough was enough. I was backing out of a parking spot and the steering locked hard and while trying to gain control, I heard a loud pop and then once I got the car straight, the steering wheel was cocked 90 degrees off normal. This is definatly a problem, as now the car cannot be driven, until I can see if it can be fixed and if it is worth the cost to fix.

- Leonard, MI, USA

problem #39

Sep 012011

Ion

  • 63,693 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the steering wheel would intermittently seize while driving 30 mph and above. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 63,693.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #38

Apr 172008

Ion

  • 47,961 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering warning light would illuminate followed by the steering wheel seizing. The contact would shut off the vehicle to allow the power steering assist to reset. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who diagnosed that the power steering motor would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted, but denied any assistance with repairs to the vehicle. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 47,961 and the current mileage was 89,000.

- Chevy Township, MI, USA

problem #37

Sep 192011

Ion

  • 61,600 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that when making a right turn, the vehicle would not steer back into a straight position. The contact had difficulty maneuvering the vehicle when the failure occurred. The vehicle was not inspected by a dealer nor repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 61,600. The VIN was unavailable.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #36

Jul 012011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
Sometimes the steering wheel becomes tough to turn. During the middle of a turn the power steering seems to completely cut out. It has also cut out and needed to have the car restart for it to come back on. There was a recall on 2004-2007 Ions, but not for 2003. I find this ridiculous as it is the same issue described in that recall.

- Webster Groves, MO, USA

problem #35

Aug 072011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
The power steering on my 2003 Saturn Ion-2 goes out just about everyday, at random, while I am driving my car. There were no events leading up to this as the issue happens at random. The problem with my vehicle has been going on for over one year and I cannot find any information on recalls for the faulty power steering. I have researched this issue on various websites/forums and have observed that I am not the only owner who has this same problem. This is a major safety issue and there should be a recall due to how unsafe it is to drive around and lose control over your steering at random.

- Vista, CA, USA

problem #34

Jul 302011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 93,095 miles
Steering locks up in low speed turns.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #33

Jul 012011

Ion

  • 98,800 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that when driving at low speeds and attempting turns, the power steering would lock without warning. The vehicle was not inspected by a dealer nor repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 98,800.

- Vackerville, CA, USA

problem #32

Jul 012011

Ion

  • 123,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While driving 30 mph, the contact stated that the power steering warning light illuminated, then the vehicle suddenly stalled. The dealer nor manufacturer were notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The current and failure mileage was 123,000.

- New Richmond, WI, USA

problem #31

Jun 122011

Ion

  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 30 mph the vehicle suddenly stalled. The contact attempted to jump start the vehicle but to no avail. The contact replaced the battery and the vehicle was able to start but the power steering would not function. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostics where the technicians stated that two power fuses needed to be replaced to correct the power steering failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact stated that she believed when the battery was replaced it caused an overall computer failure. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000.

- Utica, NY, USA

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