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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,600 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 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #5

Sep 092011


  • 38,000 miles


I own a 2004 Saturn Ion. The roof of the vehicle exhibited a severe leak from the date of purchase. Water would enter the vehicle rapidly during heavy rains. The vehicle was not further repaired. The failure mileage was 32,000 and the current mileage was 57,030.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #4

Aug 022008


  • 108,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact noticed that the rear passenger and driver side doors were detaching from the hinge and attachments. The doors are currently not accessible due to the malfunction and safety risk involved. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and they stated that the panel and the doors needed to be replaced at the cost of $1,844.65. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure and current mileages were 108,000.

- Bowling Green, KY, USA

problem #3

Mar 202007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 40,000 miles
My trunk has started to get water in it. This caused my battery to fail on several occasions. Now that it is winter I had to replace my battery because it froze. The entire inside of my trunk is damaged.

- Independence, WI, USA

problem #2

Jun 012007

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles
I was traveling North on I-95 going about 65 mph in the center lane. All of a sudden I heard a loud boom and I see out of my left sideview mirror, the left side of my bumper flip up into the air. I lost control of my vehicle and it started swerving left and right. My car crossed over the right lane and I was able to pull off onto the shoulder and into a grassy area just North of the glades road exit. When I got out of my vehicle to check the damage, right away I see large pieces of my tire tread laying in the road about 20 feet back. The left side of my bumper is scratched and torn from the car. The tire was completely bald and the tread was pealed off, laying in the street. The panel between my bumper and left rear door is snapped off and hanging by a small piece. I opened the left rear door and the whole inside frame is cracked and in pieces. It looks like when the tire tread peeled off, it beat into the door, side panel and bumper and busted them right off. The tire was not punctured nor did I run over any debris in the road. This is clearly a manufacturer's defect. I changed my tire and put the spare on and drove to a nearby shop to have a new tire put on. I taped up my bumper because it would flap around as I drive. The tire was a Firestone tire and it is the original tire that came on my 2004 brand new Saturn Ion. I contacted Firestone to explain the situation and make them aware that this is their responsibility. I keep my car in top condition, I get oil changes every 3,000 miles, fill my tires with air every month and I rotate them every other oil change as well. Of course, Firestone denied my claim advising the tire had over deflection and that is why the tire tread peeled off the tire. I called Firestone and spoke with the paralegal who sent the denial letter. I advised her that Firestone is responsible for fixing the damage on my vehicle or paying my $250 deductible to my insurance company in order for them to fix the damage. Firestone denied.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #1

Sep 012004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The vehicle made noise while driving between 28-32 mph. At all other speeds the vehicle is quiet. The dealer told the consumer it was possibly a design flaw. No one could give the consumer an answer as to what the problem was.

- Houston, TX, USA

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