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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:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
78,626 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 1 of 12)

problem #225

Jul 112013

Ion

  • 68,000 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 while driving approximately 30 mph, the power steering warning light illuminated as the steering wheel seized. The vehicle was maneuvered to the side of the road where the engine was turned off. After restarting, the vehicle was able to operate normally. The contact mentioned that the failure would recur sporadically. The vehicle was not taken to dealer for a diagnostic test or repairs. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 68,000 and the current mileage was 70,000.

- Canal Winchester, OH, USA

problem #224

Oct 092013

Ion

  • 92,463 miles
When slowing to park my car the power steering went out. I could not operate the steering wheel at all. Driving it would be unsafe. I shut off the car and turned it back on. I did this twice before the steering would work again. This has happened twice now, the date listed above and again Saturday 10-26-2013. I looked up on the internet for any reported problems on Saturn Ion steering. I found that there is a reported problem and NHTSA has moved their investigation to an engineering analysis as of October 2011. Please advise if there is going to be a recall on this part, or if a recall has already been issued. It is obviously not an isolated problem. I appreciate any help and information you can provide me on this.

- Ballwin, MO, USA

problem #223

Oct 102013

Ion

  • 205,126 miles
I was driving approximately 10mph on a residential street when suddenly my power steering light came on just as I was attempting a turn. At that very moment the steering wheel locked up and made it impossible to turn. I then pulled over and turned the car off. I waited for about 5 minutes and then restarted the car, it was working again but then 10 minutes later the light came on again. This is becoming a hassle. I have two small children and I am not going to risk their lives for some faulty car motor. So this is to the car manufactures, could you please fix this problem before it really hurts someone.

- Adelanto, CA, USA

problem #222

Mar 252013

Ion

  • 154,000 miles

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

First incident of loss of power steering occurred in snowy conditions at about 45mph on the highway. Heard chime to alert me to loss of power steering. Steering column completely locked up, safely made it to the side of the highway and when I restarted the vehicle power steering had returned and dashboard alert has gone away. No further issues with power steering until 9/15 going about 15 mph on an incline; again chime and alert for no power steering, steering column locked up. Power steering regained upon restart. Since 9/15 power steering loss occurring at variable speeds and conditions and on a more frequent basis. Took vehicle to technician who checked fluid, float, all connections and hoses and relayed that a likely cause might be a electric pump or electric pump module to check with the dealer about possible recalls. Full vehicle inspection and tune up with no solution. Power steering problem persists. All communication with Saturn has been unhelpful, they fully deny any defects. Saturn keeps telling me that no recall for my VIN has been issued and no assistance is available from Saturn for the issues I am experiencing.

- Marlborough, CT, USA

problem #221

Oct 082013

Ion

  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the power steering failed to operate intermittently and the warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the mechanic stated that the steering column had to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 120,000.

- New Bern, NC, USA

problem #220

Aug 192013

Ion

  • 122,000 miles
Driving on the freeway, at approximately 65 mph, when a chime went off. Steering immediately became difficult and I noticed that the power steering indicator light was on. I exited the freeway carefully and pulled over, turned off the car, then restarted it and the power steering came back on. Since this initial incident the problem has become more frequent. I am unable to safely drive the car and have been told it will cost over $1,000 to replace a power steering motor in the steering column. Also I have discovered this to be a frequent issue for this model vehicle. With the danger involved shouldn't a recall be in order?

- Visalia, CA, USA

problem #219

Jun 202013

Ion

  • 150,000 miles

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

My power steering has shut down.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #218

Aug 272013

Ion

  • 100,000 miles
Odometer dings and displays power steering warning; power steering fails. Turning the car off and back on corrects this, until it happens again (typically after the car has been running about 10 seconds). This is a known issue, and Saturn extended warranty coverage to under 100,000 miles. My car did not start doing this until after 100,000 miles. Steering is a safety issue. This should be a recall.

- Marion, IA, USA

problem #217

Sep 222013

Ion

  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion II. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the power steering warning lamp illuminated and the steering wheel could not be turned in either direction. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 107,000.

- Shamong, NJ, USA

problem #216

Jun 162013

Ion

  • 126,924 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to move. The failure recurred numerous times. The contact had her brother diagnose the failure, who informed her that the power steering module would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 126,924.

- Chippewa Lake, OH, USA

problem #215

Jul 152013

Ion

  • 4,700 miles

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

The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While driving approximately 10 mph, there was a complete loss of power steering with the illumination of the power steering warning indicator. The engine was turned off and restarted, and the vehicle was able to operate normally for a brief period but has recurred since. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 4,700.

- Augusta , GA, USA

problem #214

Jul 012013

Ion

  • 100,000 miles
TL-the contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated the steering wheel failed without warning, while she drove at 40mph. The power steering light illuminated after the failure occurred. The steering wheel had to be turned. The vehicle was taken to the mechanic for inspection; the power steering pump was replaced; however the failure was not corrected. The mechanic advised the steering column needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 205,485.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #213

Jul 152013

Ion

  • 91,568 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the power steering warning light illuminated as the steering seized. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the electric steering motor would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The failure recurred two days later. The vehicle was returned to the dealer, who diagnosed that the steering column was defective. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred within a week and the dealer then replaced the electric steering motor but to no avail. The vehicle had not been further repaired. The failure and current mileage was 91,568.

- Dowton, PA, USA

problem #212

Aug 072013

Ion

  • 88,700 miles
TL-the contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while driving approximately 30 mph, there was a complete loss of power steering with the illumination of the warning indicator. The vehicle was maneuvered to the side of the road where the engine was turned off. After restarting, the vehicle was able to operate normally for a brief period and then the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 88,700.

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #211

Mar 132013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 79,852 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, an unknown warning chime would sound as the power steering system would malfunction. The contact was able to pull to the side of the road and shut the vehicle off. Once the contact restarted the vehicle the power steering system worked properly. The contact took the vehicle to a local mechanic however, the mechanic could not diagnose the issue. The contact did not take the vehicle to a dealer. The failure mileage was 79,852. Problem fixed. Updated 08/22/13 the consumer stated the problem was verified and fixed. Updated 09/24/13

- Elizabethtown, PA, USA

problem #210

Jul 262013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 89,787 miles
While driving on the interstate to my job, the power steering became stiff and difficult to turn. The power steering light came on the dash. There were no previous indications of a problem until the problem happened. After making it to work where the car sat for several hours, upon cranking the car up the power steering seemed to be working fine. After driving approximately 5 miles, the steering went out again and the steering indicator light was back on the dash. The car was driven to a mechanic shop on the way home to have the problem checked and after the car was turned off and cranked again the power steering seemed to be working once again. The mechanic could not investigate or work on that make & model car with an electronic steering system and referred me to the dealership. Attempts to contact the dealership have not been made yet.

- Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #209

Jul 242013

Ion

  • 70,000 miles
This is what happened to me, without warning or prior incident; while on my way to work, driving on a freeway about 55-60mph, I notice a "pwr str" warning light come on my dash. Since I am driving straight ahead, I notice no change. As soon as I attempt to change lanes to get off the freeway, I realize that I can barely steer the car and that my power steering has completely failed. There is no shoulder on this freeway, so it is safest to get off the freeway. Making the right turn off the freeway is nearly impossible and takes all of my strength just to turn the wheel. This was extremely scary and put me in a very unsafe situation. Luckily, this did not cause an accident and nobody was hurt. There was not a lot of traffic at the time, and once off the freeway, I could quickly and safely come to a place where I could pull over and park. After reading the number of complaints for this exact similar problem, I am amazed that no recall has been issued to date. This is something that could potentially injure or kill someone by way of an accident... this is just an accident waiting to happen.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #208

Jul 192013

Ion

  • 124,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that after turning the engine on, the power steering failed and the steering wheel tightened. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 124,000.

- Decatur, GA, USA

problem #207

May 162013

Ion

  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the power steering failed. The contact stated that she had to add additional effort in order to steer the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection but the contact was not provided with a cause for the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 95,000.

- Cleveland, NC, USA

problem #206

May 302013

Ion 4-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the power steering assist failed without warning. The failure recurred on three separate occasions. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 124,000.

- Bristol, RI, USA

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