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 13 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #62

Mar 312010


  • 93,000 miles


While driving on the freeway at 60 mph, my 2004 Saturn Ion III lost its power steering. The car chimed at me and displayed a "pwr str" message. The car instantly became much more difficult to control, especially in turns and at lower speeds. I was able to make it to work. When I restarted my car later in the day, the power steering was working again. Based on a brief online search, this problem appears to be common with the Saturn Ions. It is my understanding that the Ion has the same power steering motor/module as the Chevy cobalt. A recall has recently been announced for the cobalt's power steering issue.

- Yuba City, CA, USA

problem #61

Nov 152009


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving at speeds of 30 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated on the instrument panel, immediately followed by a loss of power steering control. The contact was able to maneuver the vehicle off of the road. The engine was shut off and restated. The power steering resumed normal operation. The driver stated that the failure would occur intermittently. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was 58,000 and the current mileage was 68,000.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #60

Mar 232010


  • 107,000 miles
Power steering becomes intermittent with no warning stops working at anytime. I got to doing some reading and found out that it is very common with this car and upon further research found that the power steering motor is the same onsaturn Ion as on the colbolt and G5 that GM has already recalled

- Summer Shade, KY, USA

problem #59

Mar 252010


  • 33,152 miles


Power steering on 2004 Saturn Ion goes out 2-3 times per week while driving since Dec 09. I must pull the car off to the side of the road, stop, and restart the engine in order for the power steering to reset. I have verified that the fuzes controlling the electric power steering motor are serviceable - they have never blown or needed to be replaced. I am concerned an accident will occur while driving due to loss of power steering.

- Lawton, OK, USA

problem #58

Jan 212010


  • 19,250 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion 3. the contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the power steering light illuminated and then the vehicle lost power steering. She was able to drive the vehicle home and notified a local repair facility. The next morning, when she tried to drive the vehicle to the repair shop, the power steering functioned normally and the mechanic could not find anything wrong with the vehicle after inspecting it. A few months later, the same failure occurred and the power steering light illuminated and she lost power steering and control of the steering wheel. When she turned the vehicle off and restarted it the problem seemed to correct itself. She took the vehicle to a dealer who stated that she needed a power steering motor. The vehicle was not repaired when the complaint was filed. She had not called the manufacturer to-date. The current mileage was 19,318. The failure mileage was approximately 19,250.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #57

Apr 182009


  • 150,500 miles
At any speed the power steering goes out making it hard to steer at low speeds. My car is a 2004 Saturn Ion 2. this is a GM car and has the same problem as the recently recalled Chevy's and Pontiac. The problem started a year ago. The car has not been driven since August 2009. I have found numerous complaints online about this same problem an would like to have my car included in the recall. GM does know about this problem and in an email to its service agents said Saturn Ions were not included. Why? this could have and may have already caused accidents. I would like some answers.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #56

Mar 112010


  • 43,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While driving 5 mph out of a parking space, he noticed that the power steering warning light was illuminated on the instrument panel. Moments later, the contact noticed that the vehicle no longer had operable power steering. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer. There were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 43,000.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #55

Mar 092010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 86,359 miles
My 2004 Saturn Ion has been loosing its power steering for the past 2 years. Recently it has been happening more often during the times of extreme heat or when I try to do a 3 point turn. I have brought it 2 to different mechanics and they are not able to explain to me what and why its happening. I have been online and noticed a large amount of people with a similar issues. It happens at random times and at random speeds not usually the same time at any time.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #54

Dec 012009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Power steering intermittently fails and steering becomes very difficult or impossible at low speeds.

- Angier, NC, USA

problem #53

Jan 012008


  • 50,000 miles
Car does not start when below 35 degrees. I have to wait exactly 10 minutes then it will usually start. Power steering would occasionally turn off while driving around 50,000 to 60,000 miles and gradually worsens over time. My power steering is now completely not working and has almost caused me several minor to major accidents when it shuts off while driving either by myself or with my children. I replaced the electric power steering fuses first to see if that solved the problem only to realize its the power steering column will have to be replaced costing me $1100. I can no longer drive my car because I am not strong enough to turn the wheel with the constant failing of the power steering.

- Wichita , KS, USA

problem #52

Dec 012008

Ion 4-cyl

  • 61,000 miles


Electric power steering failure on my 2004 Saturn Ion redline off & on for the last year & 6 months. It happens w/O warning on the freeway, around corners, & sometimes it goes out back to back many, many times in a row. This is the same recall as GM is having on their electric power steering motors, in fact the same part #. the Chevy cobalt is the exact same power steering motor, in fact the same drivetrain. But for some reason the Saturn is not mentioned in the recall. This needs to change. We have the same electric power steering motor with the same part # & the same danger as the other vehicles in this recall.

- Antioch, CA, USA

problem #51

Oct 302009


  • 90,000 miles
The power steering fails in my 2004 Saturn Ion. The problem is random but happens frequently, without warning. Oddly, it happens more often during warmer weather. The car becomes difficult to steer. I was told that the steering column needed replaced at a cost of $450 and that it would be a used column.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #50

Mar 022010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
1. power-steering goes out without any warning. 2. it happens sometimes 2-3 times a day and other days, only once. 3. if you turn ignition off an restart power-steering works until the power-steering fails again. The car is in the shop being fixed at this moment. It is not safe to drive.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #49

Aug 102009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
I have a 2004 Saturn Ion that the electric power steering pump gave out. It started in about 6 months ago and was working on and off and about a month ago it finally gave out completely.

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #48

Oct 232009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
I drive a 2004 Saturn Ion. My car began losing power steering randomly. I would be driving and the power steering would stop. If I turned the car off and then cranked it again the power steering would work. This happened 2 or 3 times and then didn't happen again for 2 months. Then, on a long car trip, the power steering began going out every mile or so. I had to have it towed to a Saturn dealership to get the problem solved.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #47

Jan 052009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
While driving at multiple different speeds and different types of roads (anywhere from 15-65 mph, neighborhood streets to freeways) the power steering light would come on and then immediately after that the power steering would go out. We would have to restart the car to regain power steering. At first it happened about once a week, then multiple times a day (and then progressed to every time the steering wheel was moved at all). Car was taken to Saturn dealer for steering column replacement of the steering column that the dealer says was a "known problem", but was not a recall issue.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #46

Mar 012010


  • 141,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion level 2. while driving 70 mph the power steering light flashed on the dashboard and the power steering malfunctioned. The contact pulled over and shut the vehicle off and then restarted it to reset the power steering. Ten minutes after restarting the vehicle the power steering malfunctioned again. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and the dealer informed him that the electric assist motor needed to be replaced. The contact has not had the electric power assist replaced. The failure mileage was 141,000.

- Irving, TX, USA

problem #45

Nov 272009


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. Intermittently the power steering failed when driving at various speeds. The vehicle was driven onto the emergency lane, turned off and on and it reset itself. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and was told to repair the failure he had to pay $2000. The manufacturer was called and told and advised the contact that the repair and cost were the same that the dealer stated. He then filed claim# 71-808240519 with the manufacturer. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 30,000.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #44

Oct 012008


  • miles
I have a 2004 Saturn Ion with a bad power steering module. I read today that GM is recalling 1.3 million Pontiac G5 and Chevrolet cobalt vehicles for the same reason. The Saturn Ion has the same power steering module as those vehicles so I hope it is also recalled. Events leading up to the failure is as follows: Start the car, drive around for approximately 30 seconds, and the dash displays power steering and there is a "chime" sound indicating the power steering has failed. The power steering is not functional until the car is turned off, then started again, at which time there is another approximately 30 seconds before failure. This happens everytime the vehicle is started. We've brought it to the dealer and they want $800 to replace the module. So far we've just lived with it and stopped driving the car and decided to never buy GM again. If you search google for "Saturn Ion power steering problems" or "Saturn Ion power steering recall" there are thousands of complaints.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #43

Oct 172009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Power steering disables randomly while driving in 2004 Saturn Ion. Cycling ignition enables power steering again, but then it happens again.

- Linden, MI, USA

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