NHTSA — Steering Problems

2004 Saturn Ion (Page 11 of 16)

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CarComplaints.com 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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
13 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
79,882 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments (Page 11 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #102

Jun 252010


  • 83,000 miles


I drive a 2004 Saturn Ion-2 and my power steering goes out at random times. This is the first time I have had an issue with my power steering. I feel it is a major safety concern because this issue happens at random and the car becomes incredibly hard to steer. I have done some research on this matter and many other Saturn drivers have the exact same problem as myself and I have also found that the Chevy cobalt has the exact same steering column as the Saturn Ion and there has been a recall on the cobalt but not on the Ion. This baffles me because if the same mechanism is on both cars the both cars should be recalled not just one. I feel extremely unsafe on the road driving my car now because I have no indication if and when my power steering will fail. The are no events leading up to this happening and I replaced the electrical power steering fuses in hopes that the fuses were blown but this did not solve the problem. From some internet research the next step would be having the entire steering column replaced but I do not feel Saturn Ion drivers should be responsible for replacing a defect on a car that should have been recalled years ago.

- Vista, CA, USA

problem #101

Jun 282010


  • 69,090 miles
2004 Saturn Ion coupe steering just went out with no warning car would not steer. The dash light just goes on and steering is gone hard to control car.

- Macungie, PA, USA

problem #100

Jan 012010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 4,600 miles
I have a 2004 Saturn Ion that has power steering issues. What happens is a tone will sound and a power steering warning will appear on the message window and then I lose the power steering. It then becomes very hard to control the car. This has happened on the freeway, in town and at stop lights. It is building in frequency going from once every few months to every few days. I have had to put my four ways on and block traffic because the only way to get the power steering back is to turn the car off and then wait at least 30 seconds and turn the car back on.

- Warren, OH, USA

problem #99

Jun 202010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 129,000 miles


2004 Saturn Ion with intermittent power steering failure. Happens randomly several times a week. Car becomes very difficult to maneuver.

- Greenville, SC, USA

problem #98

Jun 252009


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated when driving at 10 mph exiting a ramp or attempting a turn, the steering would become extremely stiff and difficult to steer. The contact stated the failure became progressively worse and would occur on a daily basis. The vehicle was previously taken to an independent mechanic where the failure could not be duplicated. On a later date, the vehicle was taken to the dealer where he was advised that there was an electric base and in order to make repairs, the entire steering column would need to be replaced. The vehicle was serviced yet the failure recurred. The vehicle was not taken back to the dealer nor were there any further repairs. The failure mileage was 30, 000 and the current mileage was 40,500.

- Portage, MI, USA

problem #97

Jun 082010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 67,346 miles
Power steering fails when driving my Saturn Ion 2.

- Oshkosh, WI, USA

problem #96

May 262010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 39,000 miles


2004 Ion bought 2 months ago, power steering goes out almost every day. I have to stop on the side of the road and turn the car off and re-start it. To correct the failure would be a 1000 dollar cost. Which I shouldn't have to replace when it's a new car to me..

- Athens, WI, USA

problem #95

Jun 122010


  • 82,000 miles
Power steering has went on my 2004 Saturn Ion. Upon looking on the internet, I was flooded with similar problems. This is a major problem where people's lives are at risk. The Chevy cobalt has been recalled for this same problem, and contains the same electric steering column. I don't understand how this has not yet been recalled and peoples live are at risk every day. I cannot afford to fix something like this that should never be a problem because of its health risks.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #94

Jun 182010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 65,500 miles
Have a 2004 Saturn Ion electric power steering go out as you are driving hard to control car.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #93

Jun 122010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
Wife was driving home from work, and the power steering in her Saturn Ion just quit working making the car very difficult to steer. No one was hurt, but nearly caused an accident. My understanding from the dealer is that the electric motor on the steering column over heats and just stops working. Very expensive to fix, and I also understand this is a common problem. Shutting car off and re-starting makes it work again, but it has happened four other times since then.

- Boone, IA, USA

problem #92

Sep 162008


  • 120,000 miles


2004 Saturn Ion - power steering goes out while driving! has been happening for over a year. If the car is restarted it comes back on for a short time then goes out again. Unable to identify anything specifically causing the issue, happens at random.

- Belton, MO, USA

problem #91

Jun 072010


  • 65,232 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while driving at unknown speeds, the power steering warning light illuminated and the steering wheel became very hard to turn. She was able to move the vehicle off the roadway and turned off and restarted the engine. The steering resumed normal operation. The contact stated the failure would occur intermittently and the failure became progressively worse. The dealer advised having diagnostic testing before the vehicle could be repaired. There were no recalls for the vehicle. The failure and current mileages were approximately 65,232.

- Elmwood Park , NJ, USA

problem #90

May 042010


  • 128,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While driving at 25 mph, the contact stated that the vehicle suddenly lost all power steering. The vehicle had not been inspected or repaired at the time of the complaint. The failure mileage was approximately 128,000. The current mileage was approximately 130,000.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #89

Jun 122010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 39,382 miles
Electric power steering in 2004 Saturn Ion 2 stops working intermittently. This situation has happened to my daughter several times for no apparent/specific reason.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #88

Apr 252010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 175,525 miles
While driving on the highway at 70 mph the power steering warning light came on and the electrical power steering quit working and the steering became extremely stiff. Fortunately the vehicle was going straight and not on a turn since we were driving through the mountains. When the vehicle was shut off the power steering apparently reset itself and the vehicle worked fine for the next 20 miles where it happened again. It's becomes manual steering. It is the only vehicle we have and it is used to drive 17 miles one way to work six times a week. It happens at least twice a day. The dealer wants a fortune to fix something that should be on a recall.

- Milford, DE, USA

problem #87

Jun 082010


  • 83,433 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While driving various speeds, the power steering failed and the vehicle became difficult to control. The contact stated the failure occurred multiple times in one week. The contact spoke with the dealer and scheduled an appointment to have the vehicle repaired. The current and failure mileages were 83,433.

- Medina, OH, USA

problem #86

Mar 152010


  • 70,000 miles
Power steering will suddenly lock up and light will flash power string on dash. This occurs at 5 miles per hour up to 70 plus miles per hour on the interstate. Extremely extremely hard to get off to side of road. Then if you put in park and turn the car off and back on, the power steering will work for another 5 to 10 miles or so.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #85

Jun 032010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 80,700 miles
Power steering fails while driving down the highway/road in my 2004 Saturn Ion 3. power steering indicator goes off when I loose the power steering. Pull over and shut of car and restart everything seems fine for a few miles then the problem starts over again. Severe safety issue- especially when my wife is driving with the kids. After researching, finding out this is becoming a common problem- why no recall?

- The Colony , TX, USA

problem #84

Nov 122009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 13,360 miles
2004 Saturn Ion 4 cylinder straight drive transmission-mileage 20,800. Power steering message keeps coming on. In daily 62 mile drive, comes on a min of 6 times. Have to pull off road, turn car off, wait for electronic steering to reset and turn car back on. When message flashes, steering is extremely hard to turn. If you are in a curve or turn can lead to an accident. Has been happening since Nov 2009. Call Saturn of concord, talked to service manager. Said there was recall but my VIN # was not included in recall. Cost to repair - $50 diagnostic test - $800 for part. Called GM cust service was basically told there was a recall but it was for chev. Cobalt, not Saturn Ion. Googled and found hundreds of customers who have had the same problem with Saturn Ion 2003, 2004, etc. GM cust service would not acknowledge that any complaints had been filed with GM using hippa law to justify not telling me if complaints have been filed. Want GM to repair my car problem at no charge. Obviously manuf defect in this model of Saturn.

- Albemarle, NC, USA

problem #83

Jan 012010


  • 76,000 miles
Quite often, without warning, the power steering fails on my wife's 2004 Saturn Ion. Surprised at first by this failure, she has learned not to panic and to keep control of the car. Internet research has told us that GM is aware of the problem and issued recalls on other models with the same system. It is apparently an expensive fix.

- Kinston, NC, USA

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