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 — Steering Problems

2003 Saturn Ion (Page 1 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Saturn Ion:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 1 of 6)

problem #110

Jun 202016

Ion

  • 134,000 miles

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

In June of 2016 at a speed of approx. 70 mph my 2003 Saturn Ion lost power steering on the E-way. I had to pull off E-way. Park and restart. After restart power steering was back but only for short periods of time. Has been an off and on reoccuring problem since.

- Clio, MI, USA

problem #109

Jun 012016

Ion

  • 141,000 miles
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 #108

Jul 112016

Ion

  • 107,939 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 20 mph, there was a compete loss of power steering without warning. The steering wheel became extremely difficult to maneuver and required excessive force. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 107,939.

- Glencoe, MN, USA

problem #107

Apr 152016

Ion

  • miles

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

Power steering stopped working want to see if it is covered by a recall before I pay out-of-pocket.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #106

May 242013

Ion

  • 49,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While the vehicle was driven at a low speed, the power steering failed and the power steering warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the power steering motor malfunctioned and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 14V153000 (steering); however, the VIN was not included. The failure mileage was approximately 49,500. The VIN was not provided. Updated 08/03/16

- South Ozone Park, NY, USA

problem #105

Mar 102016

Ion

  • 175,000 miles
I had to replace steering shaft twice so far in 9 years. I think GM should replace this free of charge. You make a turn & the wheel does not want to come back to go straight until I turn the wheel my self. This happens when in motion.

- Oswego, NY, USA

problem #104

Jan 052016

Ion

  • 129,000 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 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 #103

Nov 162015

Ion

  • 182,655 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving at approximately at 50 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver as the power steering warning light illuminated. The contact mentioned that the failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 182,655.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #102

Sep 212015

Ion

  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. After turning on the vehicle and attempting to drive, the steering wheel became very difficult to maneuver. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic to be diagnosed where it was confirmed that the steering shaft needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 130,000. Updated 11/20/15

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #101

Feb 122015

Ion

  • miles
On 2/12/2015, I received a letter from GM: "this letter is intended to make you aware that some 2003 model year Saturn Ion vehicles equipped with power steering assist may experience a sudden loss of power steering assist that could occur at any time while driving.... if this condition occurs on your 2003 Saturn Ion, the condition will be repaired for you at no charge." However for Saturn Ions model years 2004-2007, GM issued a recall for this power steering defect. Why is this defect worthy of a recall for all model years except 2003? the sudden loss of power steering is no less alarming and no less hazardous for Saturn Ion 2003 cars. Similarly in May 2015, Ford announced a recali of nearly 423,000 cars and SUVS in North America for the same defect: The power-assisted steering can fail while they're being driven. The NHTSA has acknowledged the safety hazard that a sudden loss of power steering could present. I am disabled. If I was to experience a sudden loss of power steering, I am sure that I would not have the physical ability to steer my car. I urge you to call for a recall of the 2003 Saturn Ions for the same power steering defect that has precipitated GM to recall Saturn Ion 2004-2007 models and Ford cars and SUVS.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #100

May 112015

Ion

  • 145,000 miles

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

Loss of power steering while driving, very difficult to turn. Can turn engine off and restart. Power steering is then operational for a few miles, however power steering will fail again.

- Cocoa, FL, USA

problem #99

Feb 252015

Ion

  • miles
I had the car in on 2/18/15 for the power steering recall but a week later it did the same thing. I brought it in again on 3/2/15 thinking that maybe the part they replaced was defected. Told it was fine.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #98

Feb 022015

Ion

  • 178,870 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While driving at a low speed, the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The contact had to apply excessive force to the steering wheel in order to turn the vehicle. The check engine warning light illuminated. The contact also stated that the power steering warning was displayed on the message board. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 178,870.

- Atlantic City, NJ, USA

problem #97

Jan 282015

Ion 4-cyl

  • 102,100 miles
Power steering failure. My daughter was pulling into pizza putt and the power steering failed.this is a 2004 Saturn Ion, same parts as the 2004 that has been recalled. GM should fix this problem.

- Colchester, VT, USA

problem #96

Jan 102015

Ion

  • 136,000 miles
Coming to a stop in heavy traffic alarms and lights went off, the car lost powering and wouldn't go into gear finally when the gear engaged it would only stay in first gear. Luckily we were able to pull off the busy highway and get safely to the side of the road with no accidents or injuries.

- Ortonville, MI, USA

problem #95

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 #94

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 #93

May 042013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Slight shudder at a stoplight.. lost acceleration and power steering. Made it to shop. Code P0420 catcon was all that came up, battery and alternator(new) tested fine and vehicle started like nothing happened. I had exhaust tested and 4 hours of general diagnostics= "the car seems fine, yes that is weird, just keep an eye on it" it twice more, and consistently felt "rough" before February 2014, (two years) got new suspension, spark plugs, fuel and coolant systems cleaned, etc... my car felt almost new, a little rough so I babied it. After all, it is obsessively well maintained...immediately after recall ignition switch replaced by dealer, one month ago, the "really rough" feeling returned. Shifting hard, vibrating, it almost stalled at intersections intermittently. Dealer checked transmission (along with two other shops that love money)... all say transmission is fine, but to me it felt like it was falling apart. When I had a day off two days ago, I brought it to three transmission shops, two exhaust shops, and two tire shops (who also inspected my suspension, wheel balance and brakes) all said it was fine and that is "normal" to feel that way as I approached 183000 miles. The next day ( last night) when after ten minutes of driving, in the space of thirty seconds, I lost acceleration, power steering, radio was flashing lights, battery light and service engine warning came on along with the airbag light.. my car couldn't make it over the little hump across the intersection and I (5'3 120 lbs) was forced to push my running car across the highway that runs through town. I made it to the frontage road, barely able to turn which put me head on with another car that had to swerve around me. The car wouldn't start. Battery tested fine. Towed home.

- Grand Forks, ND, USA

problem #92

Jul 012014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Hi: my Saturn loses its power steering on start up, but was told it can do it while driving. My wife and I should not drive the car because of the safety issue. The recall starts with the 2004, my Saturn was built approx 8 months before the recall. I cant sell the car because of I wont give that safety problem.the car is kept like new and has the service done on it. I had the ignition switch recall done but it made my remote start not work. Had to pay for it myself, GM or the dealership would not pay. It is still messing up.the cost of the fix for the power steering, dealership, about $400.

- North Dighton, MA, USA

problem #91

Oct 052014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
I was driving down the highway and I lost power steering. The bell started sounding and the dash said pwr steering. I have to man handle my car to get pulled over, kill the motor for a couple of minutes and start it back up. Sometimes it does it again right away, other times it will go for a while before recurring.

- Cleburne, TX, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?