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.

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NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2003 Saturn Vue (Page 9 of 10)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,313 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.

2003 Saturn Vue transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Saturn Vue Owner Comments (Page 9 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #40

Aug 052004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,580 miles


Second complaint: Attempting to leave work, at busy intersection attempted to pull into intersection. Vue hesitated, dropped all power, RPM's stuck at about 4000 again, had accelerator pushed to the floor and it acted like it was stalling and would barely move. Did this for approximately 20 seconds before it finally started accelerating again. Luckily other drivers came to a stop and avoided hitting me. The Saturn Vue with vti is a danger ! the only fix Saturn has for it is to flush the transmission, recalibrate and add transmission additive. This only helps for about a week or so and it starts again. I can not park in gravel, dirt or grass because the transmission will shut down and it will not go in drive. I can not park on anything more than a 4% incline or the transmission will shut down and it will not move in drive. These vehicles need recalled as they pose a serious safety hazard on the highway. My daughter and I have narrowly escaped accidents 3 times in this vehicle !

- Fairmont, WV, USA

problem #39

Jul 182004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
'03 Saturn Vue 4 vti purchased 6/03. Soon after, failed to go in drive at work. Would go in reverse but not move in drive. Saturn garage (less than a mile from my employer) & service manager & a tech. Came & drove in reverse until finally went in drive. Took to garage. They flushed the transmission & top off fluids. Took vehicle home & later leaving work, car was stuck & would not go in drive. It did not move & front wheels did not turn. Coworkers pushed me until it started to move sluggish in drive. It sputtered down the road to the garage. Each time I tried to accelerate from a stop the car would hesitate, almost stall for several seconds & rmp's stuck at 4000. They flushed the transmission, recalibrated & added transmission additive. I took the car home & while I was pulling into the busiest intersection in North central wv it failed to accelerate, RPM's stuck at 4000 & sputtered thru the intersection at 10 mph, other vehicles had to brake hard to avoid a rear end collision. I was scared & daughter was crying in the back as other drivers blew horns & gave obscene gestures. Back to garage the next morning. Transmission flushed, recalibrated, additive added. 7/18/04 on a busy highway in pa (interstate 279) during heavy traffic, tried to accelerate, RPM's stuck at 4000, slowed to 50mph & other vehicles slammed on brakes behind me. Had accelerater to floor & it sputtered for 1mile at 50mph. Pumped accelerator several times, finally came out of 4000rpm & started to regain speed. I had to pull off the road to regain composure before continuing on. 8/10/04, I have another appt. To have transmission looked at. I am afraid to drive this car. Contacted Saturn & Georgia mcconville of customer assistance center contacted the local service dept. She advised in her reply "we need to give ron (service manager) the opportunity to address any issues you are currently having. Certainly if this visit does not address the concern please do not hesitate to contact us."

- Fairmont, WV, USA

problem #38

May 032004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,900 miles
First my engine blew because Saturn did not put oil back into my Vue during a routine oil change next my control computer in the Vue had to be replaced because it did not work. Now my transmission cover needs replaced. I also hear about potential problems with the rear end suspension now. I bought a new Vue for its reliability and it is not reliable all on Saturn fault.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #37

Jul 272004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


I have had several problems with my 2003 Vue. First, the vti transmission seems to hesitate and or slip when accelerating. This has happened on several occasions at different speeds, it comes and goes. It also seems louder that it should be with clicking noises, especially when cold. I took the car to the dealer to make sure everything was ok, I was told there was nothing wrong. Second, the horn is very hard to use, my wife does not like to drive it because she does mostly city driving and needs a horn. It's not broken, just very difficult to use and I think a potential hazard. Finally there are many other sqeaks and rattles that drive me crazy. The headliner around the sunroof on the drivers side rattles a lot. Also the rear trunk/liftgate squeeks and after closer examination I saw that the inside plastic was coming apart from the rear trunk/liftgate. I pushed it back together, but I think it loosens everytime I close the trunk/liftgate. Nothing has been done to the vehicle concerning these problems.

- Sterling, VA, USA

problem #36

Jul 072004

Vue 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
While driving on the highway vehicle commenced to lose power from 50 mph to less then 5 mph. Vehicle was tow to the dealer, who informed consumer that the problem was due to transmission sensor sticking, which overheated the transmission fluid. Dealer replaced the valve body and the transmission fluid.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #35

Aug 072002

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,600 miles
2003 Vue AWD vti 4-cyl  transmission failed at 10,229 miles, dealership repaired. Transmission makes metallic rubbing noise whenever car is driven for more than 10 minuets. Only happens once car is warm. Dealership looked at it and said they added special fluids which took care of problem for 8,000 miles. Noise is back.

- Delray Beach, FL, USA

problem #34

Jan 012004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles


My 2003 Saturn Vue loses power suddenly with no warning. A "reduced power" warning light goes on and "service engine soon" warning goes on at the same time. Suddenly you have no power. It has happened to me on the freeway and it is really frightening and dangerous. I'm afraid it's going to cause an accident. The car has been in the shop 4 times for this same problem and it's still doing the same thing. Also, the "trachion control" will go on when it shouldn't and you lose control of the car.

- Escondido, CA, USA

problem #33

Oct 132003

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,500 miles
When accelerating from a stopped position, the vehicle loses power and stalls for a few seconds before power is restored and the vehicle accelerates. This failure has almost caused several rear end collisions. The dealership test drove the vehicle but was unable to identify the problem but performed the repairs in the tsb 03-07-300-051 twice. The problem still exist. Now, the dealership is indicating that the entire transmission may have to be replaced.

- Moran, KS, USA

problem #32

May 082004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,297 miles
Normal drive about 45 mph on 4 lane highway. With no notice the transmission seemed to disengage. We had power and stepping on the gas made plenty of reve but we were not going anywhere. Luckily the car had enough momentum to get to the side of the road. No accidents today, but if I had been on my way to work using the Washington DC capital beltway we may not have been so lucky.

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #31

Apr 232004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
I recently purchased a 2003 Saturn Vue. Unfortunately shortly there after I heard about problems with their ctv or vti automatic transmissions. This transmission developed by Honda uses a drive belt through pulleys for its operation. If this belt fails the transmission will not function at all, because the drive system stops.obviously this is a very serious safety issue if the belt snaps your car comes to a complete stop.whether city or higheway driving its a dangerous thing. Its unsettling and at this point I feel unsafe driving the car. Saturn was concerned enough to halt production of this transmission until it was remedied.Saturn has extended the warranty on this transmission which is a nice gesture but the fact is I know longer feel safe driving this vehicle with my children in it and I think if they have found away to fix this problem and it was serious enough for them to stop production till they found it, well then this situation demands a recalll so everyone can benefit all 82,000 of us and not have to worry about there vehicles coming to a dead stop while on the highway.this problem which has been reported in the NY times and NY newsday as I will show you the newsday story. NY newsday April 30, 2004 Saturn transmission fix General Motors says it has fixed problems with the continuously variable transmission it uses in the Saturn ion and Vue and is offering an extended warranty to ease buyers' fears -- from three years/36,000 miles to five years/75,000 miles. GM yanked the fuel-saving gearbox from production in January because of durability problems with the steel belt inside the gearbox that connects to pulleys. Installation of the cvt resumed in March on the ion coupe and should resume in may with the Vue SUV. The new warranty covers all cvt-equipped Saturn produced since the summer of 2002, a total of about 82,000.

- Palm City, FL, USA

problem #30

Apr 162004

Vue 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,800 miles


I have had my 2003 Vue for about 1 1/2 years. In that time I have had an unexplainable rattle in the head liner, design flaw in the sunroof/moonroof, gas guage sensor replaced, thermostat replaced, slipping transmission, "flame outs" when trying to start the engine resulting in flooding, "jumping" to the right at acceleration from a stop, heat blowing out of the vents during the summer when the fan is shut off and temp is on cold, and this week a dazzling display of indicator lights and guages and dash lights randomly turning on and off with the eventual loss of power steering. And I thought my transmission issues with my Tahoe were bad? we purchased the Vue for our daughter to drive when she turns 16. I feel that this car will not be safe for her to drive. I am very concerned with stories I am hearing about the airbags failing, ABS failing, steering failing. This could be fatal for an inexperienced driver.

- Lincoln, NE, USA

problem #29

Apr 082004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,400 miles
Twice (July/2003 and April/2004) my Saturn Vue vti transmission has failed. In April, the transmission failed in highway driving. Was moving along about 55 mph in moderate state highway traffic and the transmission started grinding and vehicle lost all power. Was not able to recover any power. In 2003, I was able to drop the shifter into a lower gear (I) which increased power to the point where I could control vehicle. Saturn's solution is to extend warranty but I have real concerns.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #28

Apr 022004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,200 miles
Continuous problems with vti transmission. Experience a number of different problems, the most noteworthy is an intermittent hesitation, usually when pulling out into traffic. Has nearly caused several accidents. Saturn dealership doesn't know what to do with it, Saturn corporate line is no help.

- Sicklerville, NJ, USA

problem #27

Aug 312003

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,537 miles
The vehicle stalls in traffic, rendering it a safety hazzard.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #26

Mar 192004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,590 miles
The continuously variable transmission of a 2003 Saturn Vue vti started to make screaming noises, when accelerating up a ramp onto a highway. The vehicle could only enter the highway at a reduced speed.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #25

Mar 092004


  • 23,003 miles
While driving 25 mph consumer heard a loud grinding noise coming from the transmission. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.

- Pleasant Prairie, WI, USA

problem #24

Mar 122003


  • 28,000 miles
Transmission disengages and looses power. This causes the vehicle to decelerate to a complete stop. This occurs when vehicle goes over a bump or an imperfection in the road while accelerating. Although the dealership is aware of the failure a remedy has not been found.

- Holly, MI, USA

problem #23

Mar 022004

Vue 4-cyl

  • miles
My Saturn Vue has a vibration/shudder at various speeds which is caused by a problem with the vti transmission and which started at about 6,600 miles. This is a well-known problem with the vehicle and transmission. Called my dealer and he offered to replace the transmission since so many vti transmissions have failed. The dealer said that they have replaced about 6 vti transmissions already (and that's only one dealer) so probably hundreds ot vti transmissions have had to be replaced nationwide. My Vue has had two recalls for the vti--including replacement of bolts and a software upgrade. The constantly variable transmission (vti) has been a problem transmission ever since it was introduced in the new 2002 Vue and hundreds of owners have had problems. The vti tranmission was delayed several times because of pre-production problems. Now thousands of Saturn Vue owners have many transmission problems, including on-the-road transmission failures which is dangerous. This is a proven defective transmission which has an impact on safety as well as resale value and/or saleability of the vehicle. Saturn needs to either buy back those Vue's with vti' transmissions or offer to replace the vehicle with a non-vti transmission model.

- New Bern, NC, USA

problem #22

Feb 282004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,400 miles
During acceleration and while the gas pedal is depressed, the car rapidly decelerates for approximately one or two seconds and maintains a slow speed before again responding to the driver's input. There is no stalling. Time of day and temperature appear to have no affect. Engine temperature also appears to have no affect. This has happened to me 5 times in 10 days. Twice the situation created a near-tragic result. This is a Vue with a vti transmission.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #21

Feb 202004

Vue 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,100 miles
While driving 35 mph vehicle stalled. Vehicle was towed to the dealer, and technician determined that automatic transmission was built with the vit which control the wheel traction. Consumer indicated there is no information in the manuals book what to do in this situation.

- Corydon, IA, USA

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