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NHTSA — Power Train Problems

2004 Saturn Ion (Page 1 of 2)

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

CarComplaints.com Notes: Ahh, the 2004 Saturn Ion: defective transmission, deadly ignition switch, temperamental power steering and a cheap plastic exterior that won’t protect you in a crash. What more could you want?

The 2004 Ion was part of GM’s massive ignition switch recall where it was revealed they waited 10 years – and let 13 people die – before doing anything about it. It also features GM’s now infamous VTi continuously variable transmission. Let me tell you, the only thing the VTi did continuously was fail on its owners. GM scrapped it after only two model years.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
102,038 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.

2004 Saturn Ion drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Apr 092015

Ion

  • 141,000 miles

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

After the car is stopped and placed in park, the engine can be shut off but the key stays in a accesory mode and can not be turned to off or removed from the ignition.

- Hooper, UT, USA

problem #21

Feb 202015

Ion

  • 142,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While driving at 30 mph, the steering wheel was difficult to turn and the power train warning light illuminated. The failure recurred once. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 142,000.

- Harrisburg, IL, USA

problem #20

Mar 152011

Ion

  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While parking, the shift lever failed to go into park and the key became stuck in the ignition switch. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the vehicle was working up to standards. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000. The VIN was not available.

- Pittsburg, PA, USA

problem #19

May 072013

Ion

  • 126,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the gear lever was shifted into reverse, but the transmission failed to respond. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The transmission was replaced on three different occasions. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 126,000.

- Springville, PA, USA

problem #18

Dec 272013

Ion

  • 165,648 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the key became stuck in the ignition switch and prevented the vehicle from turning off. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician stated that the interlock parking mechanism failed. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 165,648.

- Pinellas Park, FL, USA

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problem #17

Aug 202014

Ion

  • 154,006 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated she was unable to remove the vehicle key from the ignition switch it became seized. The problem occurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who stated that the gear shift needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified about the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 154,006.

- Florence, SC, USA

problem #16

May 212013

Ion

  • 64,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that it was difficult to remove the key from the ignition after the gear was put into park. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician diagnosed that the shift module was defective. The vehicle was repaired. The failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 64,000.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #15

Nov 222013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 103,924 miles
Transmission failure - shortly after the 2004 Saturn Ion hit 100K miles, the transmission failed. I had to replace the transmission at the dealer for a cost of $4,620.93. In doing research it appears that failing 2004 Saturn Ion transmissions are widespread around the 100K mile mark.

- Grand Blanc, MI, USA

problem #14

Jun 302014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 134,000 miles
Was travelling on my way home from work and a fox darted out in front of me in the center of the road. I swerved slightly to miss the fox and the power steering in the car went out. I was unable to straighten the wheel and the car went into a 180 degree spin and ended up facing the other direction flipped up on the passenger side. I crawled out of the drivers window. Air bags did not deploy either. Had I not been wearing my seatbelt, I probably would have ended up underneath the car and if traffic had been coming, I could have killed someone else in oncoming traffic.

- Thomson, GA, USA

problem #13

Jun 122013

Ion

  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while driving out of a paring lot the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The failure occurred twice. The contact received a recall notification under NHTSA campaign id number 14V153000 (steering); however, the part was unavailable. The contact also stated that when changing gears the vehicle shook and rattled. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 93,000.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #12

Jan 062014

Ion

  • 77,362 miles

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

The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, she attempted to depress the clutch pedal but noticed that the pedal had raised eight inches from where it normally was, preventing her from shifting gears. The contact mentioned that the vehicle eventually stalled and was towed to an independent mechanic where the technician diagnosed that the clutch pedal was fractured. As a result, the master cylinder, slave cylinder and the clutch pedal needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 77,362 and the current mileage was 79,810.

- San Pedro , CA, USA

problem #11

Sep 172008

Ion

  • 46,780 miles
While driving my car on multiple occasions I have lost the ability to control the steering wheel. Also, I have experienced my car turning off while driving which thankfully has a recall on it but I want the power steering to be recalled as well because it has caused an accident and multiple near misses.

- Grove City, OH, USA

problem #10

Jan 312014

Ion

  • 77,500 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled while driving 45 mph. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired and the manufacture was contacted. The failure mileage was 77,500 and the current mile was 77,590. Updated 6/10/14

- Torrance, CA, USA

problem #9

Jan 082004

Ion 4-cyl

  • 175 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle had multiple failures. The steering was rough and the transmission was causing the vehicle to make loud noises when the wheels were turned left or right. The contact was included in NHTSA campaign id number:14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) however the dealer stated that the parts would become available mid April. The manufacturer was also contacted and could not provide an estimated date for when the contact's vehicle would receive the recall repairs. An authorized dealer will inspect the transmission and steering failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 175. The mileage of 175 was reaffirmed by the contact. Updated 05/28/14 MA the consumer stated the vehicle began having issues 2 weeks after it was purchased. The vehicle wouldnt start, it had high idling problems, and most recently the steering column failure. The battery and throttle were both replaced. Updated 05/29/2014*

- Dearborne, MI, USA

problem #8

Apr 012013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
I purchased 2004 Saturn Ion 3 in 2013 and within 30days I started having problems with transmission. Vehicle would stall out and begin to hesitate around 35mph. I started inquiring about transmission issues on internet and observed this is a common issue with this vehicle. I'm getting no help with this issue with GM dealership. With all the other owners complaints about this transmission issue with the Saturn Ion there should be a national recall to fix transmission defect on this vehicle.(cvt or vti transmission).

- Redford, MI, USA

problem #7

Nov 112009

Ion

  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that he was unable to shift out of gear. The vehicle was inspected by the contact who diagnosed that the clutch pedal and the clutch master cylinder needed to be replaced. In addition, the plastic guide for the seat belt on both the driver and passenger side broke causing the seat belt to lie on the neck instead of across the chest. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 120,000 and the current mileage was 210,000.

- Naugatuck, CT, USA

problem #6

Jan 232013

Ion

  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, a click was heard when the clutch pedal was depressed and it became difficult to depress. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 200,000.

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #5

Nov 052012

Ion 4-cyl

  • 92,536 miles
I started my car, pulled forward through the parking lot, didn't reverse. Headed down westheimer at about approx. 35 mph. I drove about one mile when I heard the warning chime and my power steering suddenly went out. Luckily I was the only one on the road being it was about 1 am. I pulled into a gas station turned my car off and back on suddenly it was back.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #4

Oct 292011

Ion

  • 138,000 miles
Shortly after buying this vehicle, I have had numerous failures of the power assist steering system. At any speed, at any time, "pwr str" dis displayed on the obd display, simultaneously as the motor stopped functioning, forcing me to unexpectedly manually steer the car until the ignition was cycled and the system reset. Sometimes this happens 1-7 times a day. I have personally came close to having a single car accident due to power assist failure while curving. There are no other previous failures of the steering equipment leading up to this issue.

- Ringgold, GA, USA

problem #3

Jul 262010

Ion

  • 55,000 miles
Approximately one week after I purchased the vehicle I noticed a grinding noise that was not favorable and I was pretty sure it was the tranny. I purchased an extended warranty with the car so I took it to the dealer for diagnostics and repair. It was confirmed to be the tranny and they tried to put a bandaide on it by flushing it and changing the fluids. One week later same noise only louder. They replaced the tranny. 30 days after the first repair; the noise returned, they replaced some parts, in the tranny they just put in it. Just over 12,0000 miles later I was attempting to back up and the car would not go in reverse. I had it towed and the tranny was again replaced, that was just under 12,0000 miles ago and the tranny is slipping again, only now the extended warranty people say I am out of funds because they will not repair a vehicle beyond it's worth. I have had the axle replaced twice and it needs to be done again, extended warranty again say's they are done paying out on this car even though my time or mileage is not expired on the warranty. About a month ago it failed to start and because I had read this web site on consumer complaints for this car I knew to wait 5-15 min and try again. This has happened several times but so far it eventually starts. I purchased this car on credit just over a year ago to get a reliable vehicle because I work 7 days a week out of my car and it is becoming a nightmare no-one will wake me up from. And because I am upside down on the loan I cannot even trade it in for something that is reliable. For the amount of complaints I have seen there should be some recourse to the consumer. I have had the tranny replaced twice and fixed twice, the axle has been done twice and need it again. Chevy bought this company out and should have to honor the standards for a safe vehicle or stop selling them to unsuspecting buyers.

- Vancouver , WA, USA

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