Notes: Ahh, the 2004 Saturn Ion: defective transmission, deadly ignition switch, temperamental power steering and a cheap plastic exterior that won’t protect you in a crash. What more could you want?

The 2004 Ion was part of GM’s massive ignition switch recall where it was revealed they waited 10 years – and let 13 people die – before doing anything about it. It also features GM’s now infamous VTi continuously variable transmission. Let me tell you, the only thing the VTi did continuously was fail on its owners. GM scrapped it after only two model years.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
84,176 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.

2004 Saturn Ion accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #6

Aug 222016


  • 190,710 miles


Was guaranteed that nothing was wrong with it. I originally got a 2007 Ford escape by trading in my vehicle and 500 cash. They wanted me to put down an additional 900 down which I ended up not being able to do. So they offered to put me in another vehicle that was cheaper and I would not have to put any more money on. The 2004 Saturn Ion I received on 08/23/2016 not only had clutch issues which I said I would fix, but the battery light kept coming on and they assured me that nothing was wrong with the car mechanically. We did not even make it down the road before the vehicle broke down and had to have it towed. So now the car sits in my yard and I am out my original vehicle and the 500 cash I used originally plus towing charges and a vehicle I have to pay on that I cannot drive. I want them to come get the car and give back the 500 I wasted on two junk vehicles. I also had issues with the 2007 Ford escape. I was pretty much stuck taking this vehicle since I live two hours away and had no other way home.

- Dalton, GA, USA

problem #5

May 292015


  • 85,000 miles
The wiper arm on the driver's side starting flopping--it was no longer seated fully. I thought it was missing something simple, like a pin. Checked under the hood and discovered it wasn't that simple. I was quoted P&L from the dealer @ $364. This is outrageous. In 50 years of driving, I've never seen a wiper arm pop out. One day in a deluge, the arm hyper-extended off the windshield and I had to leave the road blind wondering if I was going to run into a ditch. Research has shown the reason this happened is due to use of plastic parts by GM and that people have had to replace their wiper assembly more than once. This is unacceptable and places a grave danger on users of these autos. This should be a recall issue!

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #4

Jun 042015


  • 81,388 miles
After having my emissions tested in wi in which it passed at the time on or about May 27, 2015. About a week latet, I began to smell a gasoline smell coming from the diiver's side of the car, after I drove it and then parked it and turned off the ignition. I didn't see anything dripping from the car to the grounc, I noticed that the smell of gasoline became more and more prevalent until about June 17, 2015 when the smell was so great and I hadnt driven the car for well over a week because I was afraid something was leaking or would happen while driving. My brother smelled it also when I backed up and pulled forward. We checked under hood, but nothing and no spots on the ground. Took it to a garage and the mechanic and owner said that the fuel lines, fuel filter, etc. Needed replacing and R which cost approximately $263.. I also looked up information by a mechanic who states that every signgle cobalt and Ion have this same problem since the cars were built. He gave a description of what it takes to remove and replace fuel lines, fuel filter, etc. Whenever I took out the car, that car could have exploded or started an engine fire. This is a dangerous situation that could have involved the loss of not only the vehicles, but peoples lives. I firmly believe that GM should have to have these vehicles on recall for this very dangerous malfunction of the fuel tank, fuel filter and fuel lines and be required to pay for these repairs on the cars affected. Thank you for your consideration in this situation.

- St. Francis, WI, USA

problem #3

Jun 022014


  • miles


I was driving and my sunroof flew off. The glass shattered completely. It was working perfectly, until one day while driving it detached.

- Fort Washington, MD, USA

problem #2

Feb 032011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
My concern is in relation to the ongoing malfunction of the windshield wiper system as a whole. I have not a had proper functioning windshield wiper system since 2011 when the problem began. First occurrence was while driving approx 40mph on the interstate during a moderate snowfall when the driver side wiper arm seemed to go off track and forcefully overextend to the left, completely off of the windshield. It stayed in that position until I could pull over and place the wiper back onto the windshield. It's not been resolved as the assessments have been conflicting, I.e. loose bolt/nut, needs new motor, or replace entire system. I had both blades tied together so they would stay on course but that had its own effect on the passenger side wiper arm. It's become so bad that I cannot drive in the rain/snow due to no visibility with ineffective wiper. I've seen other complaints of this same issue and just want to know how to fix it.

- Kenosha, WI, USA

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problem #1

Jun 042012


  • 88,960 miles
Driving down highway when drivers side wiper went past the a post then jumped back to the base of the windshield.

- Fairmont, WV, USA

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