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:
13 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
79,882 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 12 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #82

May 262007


  • 88,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving at 65 mph, the power steering malfunctioned. The power steering light illuminated before the failure occurred. The contact turned the vehicle off and restarted it; after restart, the power steering reset to normal. The contact planned to take the vehicle to an authorized dealership for diagnosis. The current and failure mileages were approximately 88,000.

- Solon, OH, USA

problem #81

May 032010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact was driving approximately 10 mph into a parking lot. A chime sounded inside of the vehicle and the power steering warning light indicator illuminated on the instrument panel. The engine was turned off. The vehicle restarted and resumed normally for a period of ten minutes. The vehicle failure occurred repeatedly; and whenever in operation during warm weather temperatures. The authorized dealer was notified of the malfunction and stated there was not a recall for the defect. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The failure mileage was 72,000. Updated 07/19/10. The consumer stated the steering goes out 4-5 times a day in a 45 minute to hour time frame. It was almost impossible to steer the vehicle. Updated 09/22/10

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #80

May 152010


  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the power steering light illuminated and the power steering failed suddenly. The contact turned off the vehicle and restarted it; after restart, the power steering functioned properly. The failure occurred twice. The vehicle had not been inspected or repaired at the time of the complaint. The current and failure mileages were approximately 55,000.

- Marshalltown, IA, USA

problem #79

May 022010


  • 68,000 miles


2004 Saturn Ion. Power steering goes out intermittently I have had near misses twice with it going out at low speeds extremely hard to turn. When car stops & is restarted power steering works again. I drive 10 mi to and from work usually happens in afternoon 4 out of 5 times.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #78

Mar 102010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
Driving on freeway through a bending tunnel and suddenly the power steering failed. Very near collision with the tunnel wall. Drove rest of the journey with no power steering. Power steering returned on start-up. But then failed again the next day and is now, except for the first 10 seconds after turning on the ignition, does not work at all. $1200 repair estimate to replace power module. 2004 Saturn Ion with only 35,000 miles.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #77

May 102010


  • 92,890 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while driving at speeds of 65 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument panel immediately followed by a loss of power steering assist. The steering wheel became extremely hard and the contact had extreme difficulty in maintaining control of the vehicle. She was able to maneuver the vehicle off the roadway without incident and shut off the engine. When restarting, the vehicle was still without power steering assist. Neither the dealer nor manufacturer had yet been contacted. This was the first incident of the failure in the vehicle. The failure and current mileages were 92,890.

- Oxnard, CA, USA

problem #76

Apr 192010


  • 68,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The power steering light illuminated and the power steering malfunctioned. When the contact turned off the vehicle and restarted it, the power steering functioned normally; however, the failure reoccurred constantly. The current and failure mileages were approximately 68,000.

- Florissant, MO, USA

problem #75

Oct 222008


  • miles
My car ran fine until about 60,000 miles. Then the power steering going. At first it was sporadic. It would go out and then come back on. Pretty soon it got to be all the time. I have yet to get fixed. My mechanic told me it would cost $1,200.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #74

Dec 222009


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While driving at any speed, the power steering malfunctioned. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealership where the contact was informed that the vehicle was no longer under warranty. He then called the manufacturer who referred him to the dealership. The current mileage was 19,201. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Plaquemine, LA, USA

problem #73

Apr 242010


  • 66,114 miles
The power steering signal show on dash display and power steering goes out. When the car is turn off and after few minutes is turn back on, power steering work fine again for some time. Fuses are ok. This happen while you are driving and is very hard to get keep of the car. This had happened several times during the last year.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #72

Apr 252010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 101,000 miles


The power steering on my 2005 Saturn Ion just went out while I was driving, with out any warning. And after talking with other people and a mechanic it sounds like it is a pretty big problem.

- Hamilton, MT, USA

problem #71

Apr 162010


  • 79,500 miles
During my drive home from work, I was slowing down for a red light, and the pwr str error light came on in my car immediately followed by my power steering giving out. I could hardly turn the wheel, but struggled with two hands to pull off the road and turn my car off. When I restarted it several minutes later, the error message was gone. I started driving again and the power steering returned. I made it home. The following Monday I took the car to return to work where I planned to take it into the mechanic near there. Again, as I was coming to an intersection and preparing to turn onto a busy highway, the error message came on again and my power steering completely gave out. I was extremely shaken up and forced the wheel to turn off to the side. Again, by shutting off the engine temporarily, I was able to get it to work well enough to get to work. My mechanic observed the car and determined that this is an electronic steering problem. To fix it the entire steering column would need to be replaced. This has an estimated cost of $1,000 and needs to be done at a certified Saturn dealer because of the software associated with the fix. This problem is exactly what was reported in the GM recall of compact cars to fix the power steering. The steering column parts are the same in the 2004 Saturn Ion 3, which is what I drive. Yet, my car was not included in the recall. Why? I am not able to drive my car until it is fixed. This is a serious safety hazard, as I am barely strong enough to turn the wheel without the power steering. I was only lucky that this did not happen while I was in different places of my commute or the consequences could have been severe.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #70

Apr 132010


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While driving 65 miles per hour the power steering failed. The contact spoke with the dealer who advised they will send the part to the contact to repair the vehicle. The current miles were 84000. The failure miles were not available. The VIN was not available.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #69

Apr 162010


  • 79,000 miles
I was taking coming off a ramp at 40 mph when the electric power steering failed. This happens frequently while the car is in motion. Dealer says the module is beginning to fail.

- Island Lake, IL, USA

problem #68

Apr 132010


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While driving at speeds of 30 mph downhill, the power steering failed. The power steering warning light illuminated momentarily on the warning panel. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer was contacted. There were no repairs made to the vehicle. The approximate failure and current mileages were 150,000.

- Hemet, CA, USA

problem #67

Apr 122010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 68,255 miles
While driving the automobile the power steering light comes on and the power steering fails. The car must be pulled over and turned off for 30 seconds, then re-started. This problem happens when outside temperatures get above 55-60 degrees F, and happens at least every 3rd time auto is driven. No repairs made at this time.

- Lake Orion, MI, USA

problem #66

Apr 092010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 30,030 miles
While driving my power steering alarm on my dash came on and my power steering stopped working. I had to pull over and turn off the car. Upon restarting the car the power steering was working. This happened three times within 30 minutes. It happened again several hours later and again two days later. I have not done anything about it because I am waiting to take it to a mechanic.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #65

Apr 102010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
I was driving at a low speed, and the power steering suddenly went out on my 2004 Saturn Ion. I was able to turn the wheel into a parking lot. Suprisingly, when I turned the car back on, the power steering system came on as well. I was able to drive it home, but I almost crashed. No warning. I have been researching online, and have found that other 2004 Ion users have had similar problems, and while GM recalled this issue on cobalts, it's ignoring the Saturn 2004 same issue.

- Newport, KY, USA

problem #64

Mar 312010


  • 55,000 miles
I am sending this as a worried son of a 2004 Saturn Ion 2 owner. My mother has called me several times asking about the steering on her car. She will be just driving down the highway and she hears a chime and sees a light on her dash indicating loss of power steering. When she restarts the car the issue goes away. Also on March 31st 2010, this happened on her drive to work in city driving conditions, once again having to shut off her car to reset the steering twice in 5 miles. The part causing this is the same part that is being recalled in 1.3 million GM cars currently but the Saturn Ion is not on the list. I urgently ask you to include these cars on the recall. With very little trouble I have found many people on many message boards with the same issue my mother is having with her car. Put your self in my place, imagine your mother who loves to go visit her family over 100mi from home as often as she can, driving on I-35 in Minnesota to the minneapolis -St. Paul at 65-70mph and having to pull over on an interstate several times per trip so she can turn off her car only to reset the power steering system. Then having to safely merge back onto that interstate. I would hope you would be as worried as I am. If not your mother then what about you son/daughter, wife/husband or any one you know having to do the same thing, all because of a part that is already being recalled in other cars. God forbid she get into an accident and gets hurt or worse having to deal with this issue. I do know that my children will not be in that car until the problem is fixed. I understand an accident can happen to anyone at anytime but it should not be caused by a known faulty part. Too many people have already been effected with Toyota's issues, lets not let this issue to cause the loss of any or any more injuries or deaths.

- Pemberton, MN, USA

problem #63

Mar 312010


  • 46,000 miles
1. driving car normally - drove about 1/2 mile 2. power steering went out -- received message pwr str similar to recall Chevy cobalt recall id#10V073000 3. the failure did not correct

- Arlington, VA, USA

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