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2004 Saturn Ion transmission problems: transmission failure

Transmission Failure

2004 Saturn Ion

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Saturn dealer.

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
105,228 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. replace transmission (2 reports)
2004 Saturn Ion transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #5

Feb 042014


  • CVT transmission
  • 113,000 miles


Who can take their Saturn Ion to the dealer for recalls? I have three pending but it will not move to go anywhere. You can't repair it because no parts are available. Help!!!

- , Spotsylvania, VA, USA

problem #4

Feb 242011

Ion 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,140 miles

this is exactly what happened to us. our transmission has failed each time with no power at all. we are on our 3rd tranny. i bought it used with 66 000km, the first original tranny went at 75 000 km (under manufacture's warranty, thank god)), and we just replaced it just on feb 24th 2011 at 112 879km and we had to pay half price due to the lawsuit (over $2,500).

once i can afford it in the next year i am sooo geting rid of this car. if i see someone with one i tell them to beware. no wounder GM got rid of this brand of their line of vehicles. i will never buy or recommend this vehicle to anyone.

- , Abbotsford, B.C, canada

problem #3

May 122011

Ion Ion 3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

I bought 2004 saturn Ion feb 2011 114,000 miles, drove car very little, while making a left turn into my subdivision, transmission slipped out of gear as I was making left turn I applied the gas and transmission changed gears reved up several rpms car became difficult to steer and I lost control of my car and hit the concrete wall l!!!! I totaled my car not to mention damaged someones concrete wall and could have died or hit someone!! I did not understand what had happened with the transmission and the steering until I went online and found all the complaints regarding the transmission and steering! This is unconscionable to know that a car has this problem and put people in unnecessary danger!

Now I am faced with having a failure to control my vehicle on my driving record, and increase in insurance premium, property damage to someones home and no car!

- , Sun City, CA, USA

problem #2

Nov 012010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

This is the 3rd time the transmission has gone out in this car. There is a class action lawsuit that exists about transmission in Saturns. They are known to go out on the 2004-2005 models. Even the lawsuit doesn't help some of us because when GM fix the car under the lawsuit, you can expect it to go out again in 2 years. Then you are not covered because the mileage will probably be too high to be covered under the warranty. I've found the average transmission replacement is $4000.00. The cost of replacing it and the expectation that it will go out again is the reason these cars should be taken off the road. All of these models should be taken off the road and demolished. They are unsafe because there is not any indication as to when the transmission will go out. You could be driving on the highway and then all of a sudden your can slows down because the transmission went out. No lights come on - nothing. Please help me spread the word that these cars ar no good. Search all of the complaint boards and you will see the thousands of people that have had the same problem. GM is doing nothing to help people for the long term. You ultimately will either have to fix the car over and over or junk it yourself. Dealerships won't tell you about this (of course) because the want to make your money. Please beware and spread the word.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #1

May 202007

(reported on)

Ion Quadcoupe

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Took FOREVER for Saturn to take care of this. Literally left me stranded 500 miles from home, without a ride back. Had to rent a car, and then drive back to get my car 3 weeks later. Saturn wouldn't even deliver it to me.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

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