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NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

3.6

definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
35,189 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 L300 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Saturn L300 Owner Comments

problem #8

Oct 082014

L300 6-cyl

  • 66,010 miles

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

The car just shuts down while in motion. Most of the time it shuts off when trying to stop the vehicle. It will eventually crank up in about an hour only to shut down again. The car shut down as I was with my wife and daughter on I-95 going 65 mph. We were stranded for about 3 hrs. On the interstate before the car cranked back up. The vehicle was purchased through drive time and has a warranty on it. After complaining to the company about the vehicle they instructed me to have a diagnosis done on it to find out what the problem was. I was also informed that a recall was out for Saturn cars from the news. I contacted GM and explained what was happening and they gave me a case number but also stated that the model car I have was not on the recall list and for me to take it to a GM dealership near me to have another diagnosis done on the car which was an extra $125. U.S.a auto service performed a diagnosis on the car the to see if it was the ignition switch that was causing the car to shut completely off while the car was moving. They could not get a diagnosis from the ignition. I contacted the warranty company for drive time and they informed me that nothing was covered because it was electrical. Then I called GM back and told them the car was not safe to drive and what the diagnosis report said and they told me that there was nothing they could do unless I paid the $125 with them to have another one done. Then they would determine if it was the ignition. I am at my wits end because nobody wants to take responsibility for the electrical system that will cost close to $1,000 to have fix. I am currently making payments on this car and can't afford all this money. I had the car serviced with U.S.a auto service because drive time requires you to keep up with the maintenance of the car which I faithfully did. Now the whole electrical system has failed.

- Lauderhill, FL, USA

problem #7

Apr 252013

L300 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
I own a 2004 Saturn L300; on several occasions over the past several weeks I have seen wisps of smoke coming from the steering column, followed by a strong smell of burning plastic. The area behind the steering wheel is extremely hot to the touch, and I am told it is a fire hazard and that the headlamp stalks need to be replaced for overheating, which may run up to $600 with labor. I have been forced to pull my car over on busy roads, in heavy traffic to let it cool before restarting, and am worried that the faulty wires will cause a fire.

- Daly City, CA, USA

problem #6

Dec 162009

L300 6-cyl

  • miles
My wife and I own a 2004 Saturn L300. My wife is the primary driver and she reported seeing a wisp of smoke coming from the steering column. We took it to the Saturn dealership and they said it was an electrical short. A couple of weeks later my wife reported the same wisp of smoke. We took it back to the dealership to have them repair it again. The second time they repaired it, the turn signal would not turn off when the wheel was turned. Also, the wisp of smoke is back again. This will be the third time into the dealership for the same problem. I am concerned because I don't want it to start a fire while it is being driven. This does not include the other issues including the power steering rack failing, the water pump failing, and the plenum failing. The car only has 46,000 miles on it and my wife has put about 13,000 in 27 months.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #5

Jan 032009

L300

  • 97,000 miles

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

I have a Saturn L300 and was driving on the highway in the left lane one day and the car just shut down and stopped running. When my mechanic read the electrical code on the car it was the BCM that had failed. I had read that this is a known common issue with these vehicles and wanted to know why this is not a recall on the vehicle since it could be a safety issue as in my case. I did avoid and accident and got to the side of the road without getting hit or hitting someone else but it was definitely could have been worse and I had my 4 year old in the vehicle with me at the time. Since that happened I have notices other things going wrong on the vehicle that are attached the BCM, radio stopped working, keyless remote stopped working, defrost on side mirrors don't work...which are not safety issues but what cause it to shut my car down on the highway when I was driving was scary and unsafe!!!

- Enfield, CT, USA

problem #4

May 222008

L300

  • 40,000 miles
The battery warning and emergency service lights (I.e., "the car with the wrench" signal) flashed on my 2004 Saturn L300 in mid-May 2008. I was on the highway at the time. As I slowed down to exit the speedometer stopped. I made it home and parked it in the car port. I had it towed to Saturn of birmingham (sob) the next morning. Sob has had it for 4 days now. The service tech's (at least three have looked at it) have had a difficult time determining what the problem is. For now, the power train (PCM) has been replaced. But the service rep informed me that the alternator is overcharging so they will have to replace it as well. The battery has been drained, which will make this the second time I have had to replace the battery on this car (the first time was after only 2.5 years). The service rep indicated that the tech will have to do a thorough check on the vehicle to make sure there are no other problems that could have been triggered by the PCM/alternator/battery failure.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #3

Dec 202004

L300

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving on the freeway 70 mph acceleration will drop down to 5 mph. Dealership stated that there was something wrong with computer that threw the vehicle into idle mode. This problem also occurred in the owner's previous Saturn model L200 2002. The cause was still undetermined.

- Plymouth, MI, USA

problem #2

Sep 292004

L300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 500 miles
Purchased on 9/17/04. After 1 1/2 weeks, noticed that headlights and dashboard lights intermittently dim on & off every 1/2 to 1 mile. Took to Saturn, was told that this was a normal characteristic, they changed sun sensor thought to be the problem. This did not fix my problem and it appears that the problem has worsened. The Saturn corporation has maintained that this is a normal characteristic in this car and refused to do any further repairs. I was also told that the problem with the headlights would not be noticeable to any traffic on the road. However due to my experiences and others I have read on the internet, that this is not true and could potentially become an extremely dangerous and lethal situation. I feel this is a serious safety defect, any Saturn with this problem should be immediately taken off the highways until this situation is repaired. It has come to my attention now that Saturn of hartford had in its possession notification since January 2004 from Saturn corporation that the L300 series vehicle could have this flaw and that Saturn refuses to repair it. I am extremely upset that I was not notified of this situation prior to buying the car because it would have changed my mind as to which vehicle I would have purchased. I am now scared to drive this vehicle at night.

- Lebanon, CT, USA

problem #1

Nov 012004

L300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
The headlights and dash lights dim almost all the way out unpredictably. The dash light dimming draws the driver's attention away from the road, while the headlights dimming draws the attention of other drivers and the police. Many drivers think that you are signaling them and this can lead to road rage incidents. Also, in many states signaling other drivers of a police presence is against the law. This is a safety issue as on many occasions I have lost sight of the road while driving. It is only blind luck that prevented me from being involved in a major accident.

- Blacklick, OH, USA

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