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:
79,958 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #12

Nov 072015

Ion 4-cyl

  • 104,000 miles


Fuel leak. Changing fuel line and hopefully that fix works. Same thing currently happening on our 2006 Saturn VIN [xxx]. frustrating reading all the years of complaints with limited recalls. Dangerous problem. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Esko, MN, USA

problem #11

Oct 062015


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that there were strong fuel fumes emitting inside and around the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 150,000. Updated 12/03/15 updated 12/15/15.

- Peoria, AZ, USA

problem #10

Jul 132015

Ion 4-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. After the vehicle was parked, a fuel odor emitted from the vehicle without warning. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 79,000. MA 10/2

- Maperville, IL, USA

problem #9

Aug 152014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 134,000 miles


I had just filled my take and drove about 25 miles when I keep smelling gas. When I pulled over I say that my gas line was leaking.

- Canadian Lakes, MI, USA

problem #8

Apr 012014


  • 94,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact smelled gasoline fuel coming from the vehicle and noticed a fuel leak. The dealer stated that the fuel lines needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 94,000.

- Garfield Heights , OH, USA

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problem #7

Jan 012014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Smelled gas leaking for a few weeks every time we would fill up. Just assumed it was spillage. Finally noticed drips of gas under car then a whole tank of gas ended up on my driveway. Car would also intermittently not start, presumably due to fuel leakage. Had repair done by private mechanic who determined fuel lines had completely rusted through. Saturn says not responsible due to the original recall only involving a rusted fuel filter, however this was an immediate fire/safety threat.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #6

Dec 172012

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles


The fuel line started dripping. The entire line is rusted and the car cannot be turned on, it will cause a fire.

- Brigantine, NJ, USA

problem #5

Feb 292012


  • 146,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion 2. the contact stated that an odor of gasoline fuel was emitted inside of the vehicle. The contact noticed that the rear seat was soaked with fuel. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they advised the contact that the fuel lines and fuel filter were rusted, causing the fuel to leak into the rear seats of the vehicle. The vehicle was repaired with a new fuel system. The failure mileage was 146,000 and the current mileage was 146,100.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #4

Jan 222009


  • 500 miles
Hi, I have a 2004 Saturn Ion, with only 22,000 miles on it. It seems to have a problem starting in cold weather. I had to take my moms 1988 Buick to work yesterday because my car wouldn't start in the cold! it happened about two weeks ago, and I waited about 10 minutes and it started right up. About a month ago it happened when I was going out to lunch, same thing after ten minutes it started right up. I can't keep being late for work and missing appointments and when I take my wife's car she has to walk 15 blocks with the kids to school and if it's too cold for this car to start I don't really want my kids to walk. I called Saturn today and was told they're not aware of any problems, yet when you search the internet there's thousands of people complaining about this. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help in this matter.

- Bayonne, NJ, USA

problem #3

Jan 222009


  • 65,000 miles
Just about every day I have problems starting my car in the cooler temperatures. The ignition tries to start up, but then does nothing. I can understand when this is a problem in -20 weather, but this happens when the temperatures aren't even below freezing. I have tried adding ignition cleaner, and I add heat to my tank every time I fill up (and never let my tank get below half-full) - nothing seems to work. Online forums I have looked at for this problem say that my make and year (as well as years surrounding mine) have problems with the ignition system and this "should" be a recall but isn't. I've been late to work, or my car hasn't started at all on numerous occasions.

- La Crosse, WI, USA

problem #2

Oct 202008


  • 32,000 miles
After a few stops, no matter what the temp is outside/nice or cold... my car will not start. It simply clicks and will not turn over... feels/sounds like it is not getting any fuel. If I wait 10 minutes or so and then try again, the car will start. I have had it stall while I'm driving when it's cold out. I have had it to the shop numerous times and they can not find anything wrong with it!!! my engine light is on due to gross leak emission control, and they can not correct the issue!!!! there have been numerous complaints about this and the manufacturer will not take responsibility, however they do not mind charging me each and every time I take it in, and each and every time they have neglected to fix the problem!!! frustrated

- St. David Ridge, 00, USA

problem #1

Oct 122008


  • 35,000 miles
When the temperature is cold (usually below 40), my car will not start. It simply clicks and security sensors start coming on. If I wait 10 minutes or so and then try again, the car will start and promptly stall out. I have had it stall while I'm driving when it's cold out. There are numerous complaints about this and the manufacturer will not take responsibility.

- Memphis, MI, USA

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