NHTSA — Visibility: Windshield Wiper/Washer: Linkages 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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
43,434 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 #4

Jun 272007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. While driving 55 mph during rainy conditions, the windshield wipers traveled beyond the normal radius. The contact noticed that the plastic linkage on the wiper motor had failed. The dealer has not inspected the vehicle. There is a defect investigation open (NHTSA action # PE07011) for the windshield wiper linkages. The current and failure mileages were 43,000.

- Miamisburg, OH, USA

problem #3

Mar 122007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,990 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The windshield wiper linkage failed while driving 50 mph in the rain. The windshield wiper came off the driver's side window shield and would not return to its normal position. The failure mileage was 42,990. The dealer informed the contact that they were repairing the linkage. The contact was aware that of investigation# PE 07011 on the same year, make and model vehicle for the duplicate failure. Also, the dealer informed the contact that the timing chain should be repaired, it was related to investigation #dp 05008. The current mileage was 43,000.

- New Lenox, IL, USA

problem #2

Oct 202006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,747 miles
I don't know what caused the failure, but it has never been abused, and the car has only 45747 miles as of the service date. We live in Michigan, and although the manufacturer may want to claim that snow caused this failure, we have not had any snowfall prior to this date (10-25-06). I noticed that the windshield wiper arm was folded outward from the windshield. I took it to the dealer, and their diagnosis was that the support bracket was broken. However, there is no way to obtain the simple bracket. The entire assembly including the wiper motor which still functioned correctly had to be replaced. The parts of the assembly are a unitized module where no single part can be purchased individually. The total cost of this assembly (GM part number 15221904 according to the invoice) was $149.12 while labor and fees made up an additional $100. Overall cost to fix was $250.91 with state taxes. I asked for the broken part, which is available for you to look at (I will take digital pictures if you so wish). Additionally, while most of the mechanism is constructed of metal, the high stress points (the brackets) are made of brittle plastic. While no harm came to me because of this failure, the potential for catastrophe does exist. If this mechanism were to fail while one was driving, their vision would be obstructed and an accident could easily occur. This is particularly true in my case, where the driver's side wiper was rendered virtually useless. This defect could easily be corrected. The brackets which are both made of brittle plastic could be replaced with a more reliable metal part. To save precious pennies, Saturn chose to construct this critical part of the car with an inferior material. The result is a design flaw potentially affecting the safety of thousands of unsuspecting Saturn owners. I ask that consideration be made for them while this complaint is reviewed.

- Owosso, MI, USA

problem #1

Mar 152006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
Premature failure of the driver side windshield wiper linkage causing wiper to be inoperable.

- Freeland, MI, USA

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