NHTSA — Visibility: Power Window Devices And Controls 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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
3,400 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 windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #5

Mar 132013

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles


When driving my car. My power steering power light comes on and beeps. It is difficult to steer, I have to pull over and restart my car. Also my power windows will work after the car is off and doors are opened. These items are on the recall list, I was told because it was not my year it was just a coincidence. Really?? thanks for any help.

- Haverhill, MA, USA

problem #4

Sep 012011


  • miles
2003 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle recall issues the consumer stated the vehicle was purchased new and she was never informed of a recall regarding the body control module which she was having problems with. The consumer stated the problem first started when the driver side window dropped when she closed the door. Then it would not stay up. Then half of the dash went black. The next window would go up and down on its own with no contact of any type. Then the controls to the electric windows stopped working completely and the electronic lock/opening device would not open the doors any longer or lock the trunk. The consumer was informed she would have to pay for a diagnostic test. The consumer also stated there was also a problem with the transmission. The vehicle did not react to being in park, so therefore, she had difficulty removing the keys from the ignition. The O2 sensor and the ignition switch had to be replaced. The consumer stated the transmission was never properly replaced. On one occasion, the vehicle stalled and the steering locked up.

- Janesville, WI, USA

problem #3

Oct 082003

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
The driver's side door leaks at the top. Condensation gathers on the upper inside of the door and drips on the drivers leg, as well as on the power window/locks switches, which could cause corrosion or a short in the electrical system.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #2

Jan 242004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 14,000 miles
2003 Saturn Ion 1. during cold weather the passenger side window frosts. The controls are set for defrost, air on and blower medium high. Even with the blower on high there is very little air coming from the passenger side defrost outlet. A co-worker has a similar problem with his Ion. The dealer said the system is operating as designed. 2. the hood latch freezes and the hood canT be opened to add window washer fluid. Sometimes you can get the hood open but you canT relatch the hood completely without pushing the hood release handle down. A co-worker has a similar problem with his Ion. 3. some the edges on interior plastic parts on the are very sharp. The worst is the compartment door to the left driverS leg. This popped open and had a sharp rough edge. As I exited the car I cut my leg. I fixed this myself by filling the edge.

- Fairport, NY, USA

problem #1

Jan 152004

(reported on)


  • miles
Consumer having problems getting two recalls performed on the vehicle. When the consumer tried to make an appointment, the dealership told the consumer he had heard of the recall but was not familiar with what it said, the consumer wanted to make an appointment for the weekend, but was told the most skilled mechanics worked weekdays. The consumer felt the dealership had only been minimally informed of the recall.

- Wilmette, IL, USA

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