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: 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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
29,067 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

Dec 172004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles


The turn signals worked intermittently. Also, thee car would not start. The vehicle started after multiple attempts of turning the key in the ignition. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, who repaired the problem. They were aware of an ongoing issue with the ignition. The turn signals were repaired under a recall. Since then there was one incident where they did not work properly. The consumer felt they did not complete the repair. There was a tsb on the issue that the dealer used to correct it. These problems began in December 2004, and were thought to be corrected by the dealer. Last week after filling the gas tank up the vehicle would not start. The contact made several attempts to start the vehicle and was unsuccessful. The contact's husband came and turned the key in the ignition and the vehicle started. The vehicle was not returned to the dealer at that time. No further repairs on this matter.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #6

Aug 052005

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,500 miles
2004 Saturn Ion suddenly stalled while driving with my family. This happened on 8/5/05 and 8/20/05. Everything died for no apparent reason, which made it difficult to maneuver the vehicle without power steering in traffic. When I came to a safe stop with the stalled vehicle I pulled out the ignition key and re-entered it. The car then started just fine and there were no stalling issues since then. The problem I foresee is the fact that someone could get hurt and get in a serious accident while trying to control a vehicle without power in traffic. Also, as a reaction to the engine stall, someone might try to remove the ignition key while in motion and accidentally lock the steering wheel, which could be lethal. I also find it irritating that you would not expect a 10 month old car with approx. 8000 miles on the odometer to stall without warning (I.e. no engine noise, no check engine light, full tank of gas..etc.) while cruising along. I also believe the dealership/manufacturer will have a hard time to duplicate the problem, because the engine stall happened for no apparent reason and the car runs fine otherwise. This is why I have not yet reported the incidents to the dealership, because it would be a waste of time until more Ion owners report this issue to you folks. However, I just wanted to get the word out. I looks like my Ion is not the only Saturn Ion with this kind of problem according to the already existing car stalling complaints.

- Peoria, IL, USA

problem #5

Sep 062005

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving my 2004 Saturn Ion, it dies for no reason. There are no consistencies to the problem. It has happen approximately 25 times over the last 6 months. I will be taking it back to the dealership for the 4th time this evening. The dealership claims that they cannot duplicate the problem and cannot find the source of the problem to fix it. The problem has occurred on the highway in traffic. I could be in a serious accident and have indicated to the dealership and Saturn corporation that I feel I am driving an unsafe car. They have no solution for the problem.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #4

Jun 142004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,563 miles


Car stalls without warning while driving and when turn the car off, it will not turn back on. Dealer said they could not find the cause of the problem. Manufacturer said they cant help caller.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #3

Jan 222004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles
3 days in a row 2004 Saturn Ion 2 won't start. After waiting 10 min I tried again and it started. This only happens when it is cold our temp.have been averaging -4 to 13 degress.will be going into the dealers tues.there should be a recall on the pass lock sensor since I have read on another site about all the problems this is causing with Saturn not starting.

- Peabody, MA, USA

problem #2

Dec 212004


  • 18,000 miles
I live in the pittsburgh area and have had my Ion for almost a year and have never had a problem with. That is until this winter. 4 times I have came out of work at night on cold nights to start my car only to have it not start. After about 15 - 25 minutes of trying my car finally starts up. After I have sat in the cold. I can't wait for the day it decides not to start. Anyway I never left anything on, no doors were left open, nothing. I don't know if this has something to do with the battery being located in the trunk of the car or not. Everything else is fine and it runs fine after I do get it to start. We are expecting some cold days ahead were in live in the next few weeks, so I can't wait to see if it happens again. We I leave work everyone around me has no problem starting up there car different makes and years no problem. I will be giving my dealership a call tomorrow to see if they can help but I am sure as most dealerships are they won't. anyone else have this problem?

- Pitcarin, PA, USA

problem #1

Dec 232004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,300 miles
This has happened twice. My parents bought a Saturn Ion 2, it is only about 6 months old. After driving the car to their location and turning it off, they came back to the car (maybe 2 hours later), to start the car and nothing would happen. The first time this happened, they called the dealership and was told to push the unlock button several times on the remote. After about 20 pushes the car was finially able to be started. They brought the car to the place where it was purchased only to have someone tell them they don't see anything wrong and don't know why it did not start. About 1 month later the same thing happened again, they called the dealership, spoke with someone in the shop area and was told they couldn't help them out but if they brought the car into the shop, it would have to left over night to see if they can find any problems. We tried to push the unlock button on the remote as we were told last time to do this - it didn't work this time. After sitting in the car for about an hour, the car finially did start. Also on two other separate occassions, on the dash panel, the mileage would dissappear and words would appear. I dont know what this was about, but when this was mentioned to the shop they said not to turn off the car and that it should be brought directly to them. On both of these occassions it was impossible to do that. When the car is turned off and started again, the words disappear. Are there any other complaints or problems like this?

- Massapequa, NY, USA

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