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.

NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2004 Saturn Ion (Page 2 of 2) 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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,803 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #3

Jun 202004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,960 miles


While accelerating, the vehicle down shifted. The consumer was able to maintain control of the vehicle and drove it to the dealer for inspection. The mechanic informed the consumer that the transmission chip needed to be replaced. The problem recurred and was taken back to the dealer four times. The mechanic was unable to duplicate the problem. On numerous occasions the vehicle did not shift properly. The vehicle would feel as if the transmission was slipping. The RPM would go up but the vehicle did not accelerate and no problem would be found by the service dealer. The consumer had almost experienced 2 rear end collisions and 1 broadside collision.

- Marine City, MI, USA

problem #2

Jul 042004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,100 miles
We own a 2004 Saturn ion3 quad coupe, it has a different transmission then the others. We bought the vehicle on December 31, 2003. It had 91 miles on it. We noticed the transmission seemed to hesitate a little going from first into second. When we took it in for it's first oil change in March, we asked them to look at the transmission. They reported back that it was normal for a 4 cylinder to act the way it was. Assuming they knew what they were talking about we left it at that. We took it in again for paint damage they had caused when they had the vehicle for the oil change, and again asked them to look at the transmission (only about a week later). They again reported they test drove and it was fine. Now this past week for it's second oil change on Tuesday, June 29th, we again asked them because it seemed to have gotten worse. They again reported it was normal operation. Not a week after that report on Sunday, July 4th amidst out 4th of July celebration we drove a block and a half from home and turned a corner onto the main road. When I went to accelerate the car revved and didn't switch into second gear. It fought to go faster in first gear, but never switched. We noticed immediately and tried parking and again moving into drive, thinking maybe it had dropped itself into neutral. Again the same thing, we slowly turned the corner and putted our way back down the block to the driveway at 5 miles an hour so as not to further damage the engine due to transmission failure. The car currently has 7000 miles on it and a transmission that doesn't work. We meet with the dealership today to discuss retribution.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #1

Feb 032004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
Vti transmission causes sudden vehicle deceleration.

- Chaska, MN, USA

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