NHTSA — Exterior Lighting: Turn Signal: Switch Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

CarComplaints.com Notes: The Saturn Ion was a compact bundle of hurt wrapped up in a cheap, plastic shell. With so many defective components and a safety rating that a bicycle would be ashamed of, it’s a blessing this car only lasted five model years.

The 2003 (and 2004) Ion was cursed with GM’s flawed attempt at a continuously variable transmission, known as the VTi. It had such a high failure rate that a class-action lawsuit was filed against GM, eventually prompting a settlement and a warranty extension. GM discontinued the VTi for the 2005 model year – surprise, surprise.

The 2003 Ion was also part of one of the largest and most controversial recalls of all-time. A defective ignition switch in millions of GM vehicles could accidentally turn the car off and disable important safety components like the power steering and airbags. The problem resulted in at least 13 deaths, but what made it worse was that GM knew about the issue for 10 years before doing anything about it.

So was the transmission warranty extended? Yeah. Was the ignition switch recalled? Eventually. Is this car safe to drive? Not really. Honestly, you’re better off looking elsewhere.


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
4,248 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 Ion lights problems

lights problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #1

Sep 292003

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 4,248 miles


I have had repeated problems with the exterior front lighting on my new 2003 Saturn Ion which is a safety hazard. On 5/15/03 I took the vehicle to the albuquerque Saturn dealership to fix the front driver side running light and left turn signal. They replaced the bulbs, but I had to take it to the dealership again on 7/18/03 after having driven it less than 100 miles for the same problem. This time they replaced the entire headlamp assembly. Then again on 9/29/03 I took it back to the dealership to have the passenger side front running light and turn signal replaced. I talked with the sales manager ben vigil and the service manager justin greenberg. I complained that I've spent more time at the dealership for unscheduled maintenance than routine maintenance, and I was concerned I had bought a lemon. I told them that if my turn signals aren't working properly, that is a safety issue. Mr. Greenberg told me that he probably gets two customers a day with the same problem (which shocked me). He said Saturn has sent out new bulbs to the dealerships which they claim will solve the problem. We'll see.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

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