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NHTSA — Steering Problems

2004 Saturn Ion (Page 2 of 16) Seal Of This Might Hurt 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 2 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #282

Aug 012014


  • 127,371 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While attempting to park, the power steering failed without warning and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. After the engine cooled down, the power steering operated normally. The vehicle regained power steering when the engine was turned off and restarted. The failure occurred continuously. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and repaired according to NHTSA campaign number: 14V153000 (steering); however, the failure persisted after the remedy was performed. The repair did not remedy the failure. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 127,371.

- Frostburg, MD, USA

problem #281

Jul 152014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 73,590 miles
Ignition recall. Took car to keyes GMC woodland hills ca 2 times and they changed ignition but did not fix problem. Now they want $500 to fix "shifter". I think it is still key ignition. Made complaint to GM #[xxx]. called GM twice 866 790-5700 for decision and no response. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bell Canyon, CA, USA

problem #280

Aug 012014

Ion 4-cyl Diesel

  • miles
2004 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch and power steering recalls. The consumer is seeking reimbursement in the amount of $ $730.22 for the replacement of the ignition switch and power steering.

- Haymarket, VA, USA

problem #279

Aug 232014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 95,000 miles


While traveling approximately 15 mph to make a turn, the steering suddenly stopped and was unable to complete the turn. The vehicle's driver side front tire struck the curb and went up on the curb. This resulting in serious damage to undercarriage. (axle broke). Had knowledge of the recall and the local dealership has not had the parts to fix the steering/ignition.

- Florence, SC, USA

problem #278

Aug 052009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
The power steering warning light may or may not have come on the first time. Being a cautious driver, I pulled over on a fairly busy roadway, and began calling my aaa number to getmy car towed. I decided to start the car to see if warning lights went on and slowly proceeded forward to see if the steering resumed operating, which it did. I drove it to my repair shop and they investigated the problem and said I should try and encourage a recall. So you can realize that this problem has been time consuming and has happenned to me about 5 more times. My friends will not ride in my car and I get paranoid to drive in the city and it is very nervewracking to think you may need to stop in heavy traffic and hopefully not get rearended! I feel people that have dealt with this issue deserve some sort of compensation. It is also embarassing to have to be seen in this vehicle because I cannnot afford another presently and refuse to burden someone else with this very unsafe issue because I have a conscience. I feel I should be on a priority list"?"

- Mchenry, IL, USA

problem #277

Aug 112014


  • 80,940 miles
I have a 2004 Ion while driving my car I lost power steering. Thankfully I was able to pull over and restart and only a few miles from home. I always have my daughter with me and suppose I am not as fortunate next time. Something needs to be done to compensate for this and lessen the deaths GM has caused by allowing problems they knew of to remain unfixed. My Ion has a recall for power steering loss which says it can happen at any time or speed. This is very scatter. So here I am with a car I am afraid to put let alone my child. I had an ignition switch recall which was fixed. I am requesting a loaner car until the part is ready to fix mine.

- South Boston, VA, USA

problem #276

Jul 062014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


07/06/2014 - as I was driving in a parking lot, I, all of a sudden, heard the warning sound and noticed that my steering wheel got stiff making it much more difficult to steer. I looked at my dashboard to see "pwr str" flashing on my dashboard. I pulled up on the side of the lot, parking perpendicular to the lines in the parking lot as it was impossible to turn into a parking space with my steering wheel problem. This power steer issue came up again today (07/26/2014) as I was driving home in a fairly busy street. I was able to pull over onto the shoulder this time. But this problem has happened to me 4-5 times in a span of 20 days.

- Shelby Township, MI, USA

problem #275

Apr 082014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 14V153000 (steering) however, the part to perform the repairs was unavailable. The manufacturer was made aware of the delay. The contact had not experienced a failure. Updated 09/02/14 updated 09/17/2014

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #274

Jul 092014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 99,980 miles
Complete power steering failure at low speed. Power steering did not return, and car was manually steered directly to the dealership whereupon the diagnosis was the power steering module.

- Smith's Creek, MI, USA

problem #273

Jan 102014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
S10 direct reply- to the secretary from constituent re expressing concerns regarding General Motors recalls on 2004 Saturn Ion (recall nos. 14063/14113 and 14115. Date of purchase Dec. 27, 2013). The consumer stated on January 10, 2014, the vehicle would not start. Roadside service was called, and they charged the battery. As the consumer began backing out of her parking space, she noticed the vehicle seemed very stiff; she did not immediately notice the power steering signal and continued to maneuver the vehicle. She drove to the dealer, about a mile away with power steering. When she arrived, she mentioned the power steering issue and they replaced the battery. A fuse was replaced, which corrected the issue, but only temporarily. The consumer stated the power steering and ignition problem were resolved. However, within the past two weeks, she encountered another problem. They key became stuck in the ignition and would not release. When the key finally released, the vehicle would not start, even though the interior lights were on. Updated 11/19/14. Updated 11/24/14. Jb updated 12/04/14

- Willowbrook, IL, USA

problem #272

Jul 012014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 108,480 miles


Lost power steering after power steering warning light came on. This was 3rd incident in 10 days. Turned off car, restarted and power steering returned. This has happened without warning 3 times. Loss of power steering makes turning difficult. Very scary.

- Jackson, MS, USA

problem #271

Apr 012014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact received notifications for NHTSA campaign number: 14V171000 (electrical system), NHTSA campaign number: 14V153000 (steering), and NHTSA campaign number: 14V047000 (air bags, electrical system) and stated that the manufacturer had exceeded the reasonable amount of time for repair. The dealer stated the parts were not available for repair. The manufacturer was not made aware of the delay. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact had not experienced the failure.

- Minneapolis , MN, USA

problem #270

Jun 212014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
While driving the car the power steering light came on and I had difficulty turning the steering wheel. It happened again on June 24, 2014. After turning off the ignition after each incident the power steering returned. Both incidents were very scary. I bought the car and I've had the car for 10-1/2 years. This is the first time the power steering has failed.

- Jackson, MS, USA

problem #269

Apr 212014


  • 102,300 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 10mph, the power steering light illuminated on the instrument panel and the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. The approximate mileage at the time of failure was 102,300. The VIN was not available.

- Ithaca, NY, USA

problem #268

Jun 192014


  • 60,000 miles
Took my Saturn in yesterday for the recall on the ignition switch-got a phone call from the dealer saying that the housing for the switch also needs replacing, but GM will not cover it and I need to pay for that part and the labor. The switch can not be replaced unless this housing is replaced, but now they want me to pay for it even though the recall says this should be at no cost to me. I called GM and they are saying that the housing is not covered in the recall. According to the recall information, I should be able to get reimbursed for having to replace the switch, but first I had to replace it again, which is what I was trying to do. What can I do about this" it does not make since to me. Have me do the recall and then attach a charge for it because you can not do it unless you replace something else. Is the not a problem of a "causal part"" if this not a problem for your Agency, please refer me to an Agency that can handle this. I am currently awaiting more information from the GM dealer, fremont Chevrolet. As of now, they have my Saturn torn apart and are "thinking" of what they can do for me.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #267

Jun 192014

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while driving approximately 35 mph, a chime sounded and followed by a complete loss of power steering. The warning indicator also illuminated during the steering malfunction; however, the contact continued to drive the vehicle. After the vehicle was turned off and restarted the vehicle operated normally. There was a related recall under NHTSA campaign id number 14V153000 (steering) however, the part was unavailable. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000. Updated 8/19/14 the consumer was informed, the parts were not available. Updated 09/15/14

- O'fallon , MO, USA

problem #266

Jun 142014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact received a notification for recall NHTSA campaign id number 14V153000 (steering) and stated that the vehicle was not serviced under the recall because the remedy part was unavailable to perform the repair. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Canton, OH, USA

problem #265

Jun 122013


  • 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 #264

May 012014


  • 124,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While driving at various speeds, the power steering suddenly malfunctioned and became difficult to turn. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 124,000.

- Cadillac, MI, USA

problem #263

Jun 022014


  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicles power steering failed after trying to reverse from a drive way. The vehicle was difficult to steer. The power steering light illuminated on the dash board followed by a warning chime throughout the vehicle. The vehicle was not driven since the failure. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no remedy. There was no diagnosis completed on the vehicle. The failure mileage was 114,000 and the current mileage was 114.000.

- Gallatin, TN, USA

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