2008 Saturn Aura electrical NHTSA complaints: Electrical System

NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

2008 Saturn Aura (Page 3 of 3)

CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2008 Aura’s issues with brakes, such as worn out rotors, isn’t as severe as the prior model year, but let’s just not start awarding them any brake awards just yet. Does that even exist? “The Brakies”?

One thing the 2008 does share with the 2007 is a recall of a busted gear shifter cable which can make it look like your car is in park, when the transmission is still engaged. You can only imagine what kind of fun that causes.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
74,199 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.

2008 Saturn Aura electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 Saturn Aura Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

Sep 222013


  • 47,500 miles


The ESC traction light flashed on and off randomly, then the check airbag light flashed on and off randomly and fuel tank and the engine gauges going up then back down to zero. And now the security system has "locked up" and will not disengage. I found a website ( townhall-talk.edmunds.com/webx?14@898.4tajacwhjbj@.F174B05/120#msg120 ) lots of people having the same exact issue, many start with changing out to a new battery, then the stater and then the alternator only to have this issue continue and costing them a small fortune. It seems there is a problem with the computer control panel having a malfunction or short. But since Saturn no longer exists, GM is not doing a recall even though they are very much aware of the problem. I had my car towed into the local GM dealership to diagnosis / repair this morning. They just called me back saying that the "under bus electric center" has shorted out / malfunctioned? because it's not getting any power to it when they tested it. After reading all the posts on the above website, it appears to be the same issue. The point in filing a complaint is that #1) GM is well aware of the computer panel shorting out / being defective as there are more than a 100 reports. And #2) as someone else had posted, does it take this issue happening while a person is driving the car, be involved in an accident and dying before any type of investigation or recall is enforced" and if an accident happens, would the computer control panel even be tested? or would the accident be attributed to some other cause like driver error or weather conditions or worn out tires? how does anyone know that this issue hasn't caused accidents"

- The Colony, TX, USA

problem #17

Jul 312012


  • 75,000 miles
At first, my 08 Saturn Aura's drivers seat stopped working, and I could no longer move it. I assumed the fuse was out, so I replaced it. Within one day, my seat stopped working again. I went to someone and they suggested I try a fuse with a higher voltage. They placed the fuse for me and my seat worked for a moment and then blew the fuse. I couldn't afford to take my car to the dealer and have them run a diagnostic, so I decided to deal with my seat not being able to move. A couple months after the first incident, the backseat door behind the drivers side would not unlock or lock every time by pressing the unlock button. Then, the driver's door stopped locking and unlocking. So every time I get out of my car and hit the button to lock my doors, I have to push the actual lock down on the driver's door, and then I have to open the back door and push that lock down. The most recent incident is the driver's side headlight and blinker. When my blinker and headlight first went out I did not think much of it, so I replaced the bulbs. A day or two later, the blinker and headlight were out again. I replaced the bulbs a second time, because I thought it may have just been a bad product I bought. The blinker and headlight worked again and then stopped a day later. Some mornings I get lucky and my doors will unlock or lock and sometimes my blinker and headlight will work, but by the time I get to where I am going they will stop working again. This is all very frustrating because something is always going wrong on this car. I am terrified one day something else on the driver's side like the steering wheel or the brakes will go out and could cost me my life.

- Clinton, MS, USA

problem #16

Sep 122013

Aura 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Passenger side door locks. First the front door lock actuator open circuit. At 50,079 miles Nov 2012. Now at 60,000 miles the rear passenger door lock actuator has failed. If manually unlocked it will not lock with the fob or power door switch. If locked it will not unlock.

- Pequannock, NJ, USA

problem #15

Jul 242013


  • 32,426 miles


I had the recall fixed last year. I have already replaced rotors and control arm on this vehicle. I traded in a Saturn that I loved on this Saturn. I bought it new from the dealer but now my interior lights dim my front speakers in the doors come on and off on there own and the back door locks will not unlock right now I can pull the lock up to unlock it but I am worried that there is a short in the wires that may cause a fire I have small children in the backseat if there were a fire I am worried the time it would take to get them out. It is going to cost alot to take to the shop to have the panels taken apart to look for a loose wire. And still my not find the wire. Moved since I bought it so I am now trying to find someone to fix the problem hoping someone who has had this problem can tell me what it is so I can tell a shop. I love my car but not at my children's expense. I have seen the other complaints shown on this site. Need help!!!!

- Van Lear, KY, USA

problem #14

Aug 052013

Aura 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
There is some sort of short in the electrical system. The cruise control is randomly disabled, any the brake lights are functioning backwards. They are on when not pressing the brakes, then go off when pressing the brakes. A few miles down the road, and the my cruise works again and the brake lights go back to normal. A few more miles, and the issues return. This is definitely some sort of electrical short. I just hope it doesn't wind up in an electrical fire. There are several reports of the same issue. Other complaints with the same/similar issues: NHTSA id number: 10535189 NHTSA id number: 10533881 NHTSA id number: 10525153 NHTSA id number: 10515803 NHTSA id number: 10508189

- Owosso, MI, USA

problem #13

Jun 202012


  • 80,000 miles
I was driving on the highway with my cruise engaged. When all of a sudden, my cruise turned off. I look in my rear view mirror and I saw my third brake lights on. That's when I found out that my back brake lights come on randomly when I drive. When I use my brake pedals than my brake lights turn off. And when I accelerate, my brake lights turn on. I need some help. I have a 6months old in the car and I feel this could get us into an accident.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #12

Mar 052013

Aura 6-cyl

  • 73,200 miles


I purchased and 08 Aura about 1.5 years ago for my teenage daughter. Other than a few minor problems the car was fine. A couple of months ago she experienced a dead battery and was able to have a friend "jump start" the car and as for the battery, it has been fine since. The problem was that the tire pressure monitor system (TPMS) was inoperative and would not reset manually. These TPMS, I believe, came about due to the inability to be able to visually see that a tire is "low" with todays "run flat', low profile, and stiffer sidewall, tires and that the majority of drivers do not know how to check tire pressure anyway. I was therefore concerned about my daughters safety as well as other that could be involved in a crash that resulted from poor handling or worse, an overheated tire and blowout. I did some searching and discovered that GM had issued a technical service bulletin (tsb) explaining that the TPMS failure was due to a "low voltage" incident that causes the control module to lose memory. The fix, according to the tsb, was to reprogram the module with updated software. This being a known condition and safety concern, I did not expect to have to pay for the repair. I contacted GM who refused to cover the repair and I ultimately paid about $60. My concern is that this is a safety concern on multiple vehicles from GM including most of the 08 Saturn line as well as the Pontiac G5 and G6, and Chevy cobalt. I also found that NHTSA found reason for recall on some GM SUV's a couple of years ago due to a programming error on the TPMS which is what this is. As these 08 cars age they are now reaching the expected life of their battery and replacing them which is causing the TPMS system to be inoperative. I believe that GM should for sake of the safety of their customers recall these affected cars and prevent future accidents. Some may have already happened.

- Trinity, NC, USA

problem #11

Jun 032013

Aura 4-cyl

  • 44,562 miles
Noticed that the brake lights stay illuminated all the time regardless of brake pedal position.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #10

May 242013


  • 68,000 miles
I pulled over on the expressway to investigate my tmps coming on for no reason, once checked and found no issues, I attempted to merge back on the expressway, but the speedometer shot to 70 mph and was stuck as well as the rest of my gauges, they all showed faulty readings, and the issue was not self correcting after starting and shutting off the vehicle repeatedly. The only way to fix the issue was to pull the fuse controlling the instrument cluster, this has been a recurring issue happening when it is raining or the humidity is high.

- Romulus, MI, USA

problem #9

Apr 192013

Aura 6-cyl

  • 77,600 miles
First, let me start by saying that I traded-in for my 2008 Saturn Aura in April 2011. Since that time, I have had continuous problems with the car. Today, my car is in the shop to fix the brake lights, cruise control, and traction/ESC. Brake lights: On my way home Friday, a concerned citizen had me role down my window en route to tell me that my brake lights stay on the entire time I am driving. After this warning, I did some investigation - sure enough, the lights engage when the brake is not being pushed. Worse yet, the brake lights go off when the brake is pushed. Thank goodness for the person who alerted me to this. Truthfully, I am lucky that I did not get rear-ended or get a ticket. I truly hope the brake light issue is recalled because it is very dangerous. Cruise control: My cruise control does not work all the time. Sometimes it works; sometimes it engages then randomly disengages; sometimes it just plain does engage at all. I can live without cruise control; however, I really don't think this should be happening, as the vehicle is not that old and is very well maintained. Traction/ESC: Occasionally, my dash will display a warning that says "service traction, service ESC, ESC off." It doesn't do this everyday. It just displays the warning at random times - I cannot distinguish a pattern. Overall, I am very displeased with how this vehicle functions. Not only does it cost me money to fix, it takes time out of my day - I get paid hourly at my job. My main concern is the brakes lights, as someone could get seriously hurt, and the problem is very difficult to detect unless another motorist warns you or you do night driving (which I do not). Thank you for hearing me out - I really appreciate it!

- Gibsonburg, OH, USA

problem #8

Mar 012011

Aura 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles


Rear door locks not responding to remote, intermittently at first, over a couple months not responding at all. This would be fine if there were a key hole to unlock back doors but there are not. The only way to get the doors to lock or unlock is manually and this is a problem as locks are not reachable from front seat. If you are outside the only way is to start the car, unroll the back windows and manually unlock. Now driver side door is starting to do the same, it is intermittently not responding to the remote. I am sure it is a matter of time for this to fail too. Also, electrical system is strange. Some front speakers go on and off, as do lights. Occasionally upon starting vehicle no lights go on, with in a few minutes they will pop on.

- Medina, OH, USA

problem #7

Oct 092012

Aura 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Rear door lock unlock mechanism malfunction. Locks but won't unlock and will not open from the inside. In the event of an emergency someone can get stuck inside the car because the door wont open. And no, the child safety lock is not engaged.

- Jackson, MS, USA

problem #6

Oct 092012

Aura 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Rear door lock unlock mechanism malfunction. Locks but won't unlock and will not open from the inside. In the event of an emergency someone can get stuck inside the car because the door wont open. And no, the child safety lock is not engaged.

- Jackson, MS, USA

problem #5

Jan 182013


  • 83,000 miles
Was driving on freeway with cruise control on then suddenly the cruise control disengaged. When I looked in the rear view mirror I noticed that my 3rd brake light was coming on by itself and staying on and I was not pressing brake. Brakes come on and stay on when not pressing brake pedal and turn off when brake pedal is pressed. Makes other cars behind me think I'm braking when I'm not and when I do brake it looks as if I'm not braking. Risk getting rear ended because of this. Safety issue.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #4

Feb 272012

Aura 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
First front passenger side door lock stopped working. The left rear passenger lock stopped working and now right passenger door lock does work. All locks do not respond to fob or switch activation. Locks do not respond to placing the car in drive and do not lock automatically.

- Chandler , AZ, USA

problem #3

Nov 092009


  • 32,482 miles
The first incident occurred while under warranty Nov 9th 2009 when the door lock became unresponsive. They replaced free of charge. Today the remaining 3 do not work. When I start the car and drive off, it is my belief based on normal operation of these locks, that my doors are locked and passengers are safe. The reality is just the opposite. Not only does it become a safety issue as described, but it also becomes an issue when you park your car, lock your doors with the remote, and walk away with confidence that your car is locked when in fact it is not due to the faulty cheap product used in this car, and others manufactured by GM. When I went online to research, I was surprised by the number of people on various blog sites complaining of the same issue. I contacted GM and the best they offered was to replace all 4 locks for half price. That is $500 instead of $1000. While I appreciate their offer, I know for a fact a replacement actuator costs between $5 and $10, and it's not entirely about the money. It's a matter of right and wrong, safe and not safe. This issue in my mind is more about the safety of people thinking they are safely locked in their car by a system that is designed to do exactly that. This is not optional equipment either. These locks are standard equipment that I expect to work and keep me and my family safe much in the same way I expect my brakes to stop the car. I would like to see this became a recall on this and other vehicles like it. Thank you for your time.

- North Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #2

Feb 042012

Aura 6-cyl

  • 48,500 miles
1st incident (2/4)- vehicle was placed in park. Driver's side door would not open. Door unlocked as it should but door remained shut. Had to exit vehicle out of passenger door. Tried opening door from outside, remained shut. Left vehicle for 20 minutes, returned and tried opening again would not open with remote. A few hours later, door opened like nothing happened. 2nd incident (2/17)- same as before. Turned on and off car again still could not open door. Exited out of passenger door. Came back to car after 2 hours and door would not open. Arrived home 20 mins later, it opened. Tried closing door and it would not close. After 4 tries, it finally shut and was able to lock car. Since then I hear air coming in the car while driving but have checked the windows and they were all up. Also noticed static in radio while driving. It would stop and start again really quickly. A lot of static when playing MP3. 3rd incident (2/19)- same occurrence as before. Driver side door would not open; started working again after a few hours. Door would not lock until after a few tries. Continued static in radio even after door issue. 4th & 5th incident (3/4 & 3/5) - same occurrence. Driver side door would not work all day. 6th incident (3/5) - door would not open this morning. 30 mins later it opened. 5 hours later after taking it to Firestone to check out problem, door would not open. (locked technician inside the car). Technician referred me to GM dealership for further diagnostics. He suggested it might be an electrical issue. This is really frustrating. Dropping vehicle off tonight to be seen on 3/6.

- Troy, NY, USA

problem #1

Jul 102011

Aura 6-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
Cruise control became disengaged while driving on the highway and would not re-engage for the remainder of the trip. Also, the brake lights have reversed functionality; brake lights will not illuminate when pressure is applied to the brake but will remain illuminated when no pressure is applied.

- Westland, MI, USA

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