NHTSA — Visibility: Windshield Wiper/Washer 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.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
11,167 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 #6

Nov 012016

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles


2003 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to defective plastic linkage on the transmission connects the wiper motor to the windshield wiper arm. The consumer stated the defective part was made out of plastic, which was not durable in such a critical place as the windshield wiper transmission.

- Lake Park, GA, USA

problem #5

Aug 062013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start. The contact also stated that the windshield wipers failed to operate. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unavailable.

- Atlantic City , NJ, USA

problem #4

Feb 242009


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact started the ignition and the windshield wiper system activated. Immediately, the driver's side windshield wiper began to move erratically. The failure occurred without warning. Currently, the driver's side windshield wiper is inoperative. The vehicle has not been repaired. The VIN was not accepted by the system. The failure and current mileages were 62,000.

- Woodbridge, IL, USA

problem #3

Feb 072009


  • miles


On my 2003 Saturn Ion 3 the left side wiper went the opposite way and locked in place while driving car on highway. Had to pull over and try to repair while on road. This happened to my wife's Saturn Ion 2 and we paid to repair it.

- Island Park, NY, USA

problem #2

Jan 012004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
- the contact called regarding a 2003 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the engine would not turn over in cold temperatures. This happened intermittently, 36 times. The contact did not lose power. The vehicle will eventually start. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer for diagnosis. The dealer diagnosed the failure, but she would have to pay for the repair. The contact stated that the windshield washers did not work. The weatherwas not a factor.

- Catonsville, MD, USA

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problem #1

Oct 012004


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
2003 Ion has had blower fan, clutch switch, cylinder cable hood latch, brake light bulb, wiper module all replaced with in months apart from each other. The rotors were warped and the tail lamp failed.

- Lake Hopatcong, NJ, USA

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