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. 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #1

Apr 102006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


I have been having some issues with clunking and grinding noises when going over bumps or potholes or while making turns. I took my 2003 Ion 2 to have this checked and I found out that the problems was both of my control arm bushings. My car is 2 months out of warranty and has only 38,000 miles on it, so at first I thought that this could be untrue. But, after internet research it seems that many 2003 Ion drivers have had this problem. I called my Saturn dealer and they acted like they had never heard of this problem and could do nothing to help me or fix it. My other problem with the car, which also seems to be a common problem, is that the service engine soon light comes on intermittently. One day it will be on, and the next it will be fine.

- Olathe, KS, USA

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