NHTSA — Steering Problems

2004 Saturn Ion (Page 14 of 16)

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

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 14 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #42

Mar 012010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 141,000 miles


My GM 2004 Saturn Ion the power steering light comes on and the power steering goes out while driving ! if I turn my car off, it resets and works for a few minutes and goes back out.

- Irving , TX, USA

problem #41

Feb 102010


  • 76,000 miles
The contact has a 2004 Saturn Ion 3. the contact stated that the vehicle has intermitent power steering failure. The steering wheel will lock up and make the vehicle unable to turn. The contact took the vehicle the dealer and was told that the steering column and the steering module need to be replaced, because it is an electrical problem. The failure mileage was 76000. The current mileage was 76112.

- Chillicothe, DC, USA

problem #40

Dec 012004


  • 9,000 miles
After only 9 months of owning my Ion I have experienced problems with shifting the car in and out of gear. It is a random occurrence and can happen 8 times in a week then not at all for months. However when it does happen it is a life threatening experience as I am usually driving on a major highway. The car will be "locked" into 4th for example and when I try to shift to 5th I can not get it out of 4th. I have taken the car to the Saturn dealership a minimum of 20 times for this problem, only to be told that they could not do anything. I then took it to a different dealership where the tech took the car home for 1 week, experienced the problem for himself, and told me all he could do was replace a wire and hope it helped because Saturn would not let him investigate any more options. It did absolutely nothing to help my car. And since the last time my car has been at the Saturn dealership my power steering now goes in and out. Apparently they busted a seal and failed to mention that to me, so not only do I have to worry about not being able to shift, but also losing my power steering. They only solution I can come up with is to try my best to get the car to a safe spot and turn it off and let it sit. This car has had more problems than anyone should have to deal with: Reverse switch going out, airconditioning going out, power windows no longer work, power steering, and not being able to shift. I have to drive this everyday with my children in the car with me at most times. This should have all been taken care under the orig. Warranty, as it all happened within the first 6-12 months of owning the car. Lol that's what I get for buying a GM product.

- Barnhart, MO, USA

problem #39

Jan 042010


  • miles


The power steering in my 2004 Saturn Ion continuously fails. It used to reset after turning the car off and restarting, but now it just fails after a few seconds. I have noticed online that there a alot of people with this problem. It is extremely dangerous. I have been quoted that this type of repair would be around $500. I don't have that kind of money. I believe an investigation should be started.

- Pacoima, CA, USA

problem #38

Jan 302010


  • 74,000 miles
Saturn Ion 2004- spontaneous power steering outages. This car is a danger to the public in that without any warning the power steering fails on the vehicle. The entire steering column must be replaced although the actual motor is the reason for the failure. The cost of the repair is approximately $1100. After research this is a common problem that exists among these models and there is a potential for harm or death due to the failure of the power steering. This needs to be addressed immediately. A local news station announced this evening that the feds are investigating the Chevrolet cobalt for the same issue- power steering failure. The same thing needs to be investigated related to the Saturn Ion before people start dying.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #37

Jan 302010


  • 30,000 miles
My wife owns a 2004 Saturn Ion, only 50,000 miles. For about 3 years there has been an off and on problem with the power steering light coming on and the power steering stops working- once you turn car off and back on it starts working again momentarily- this is an electrical system. I've replaced the fuses and that did not correct the problem. Currently the power steering will cut out at least a few times a week if not a few times a driving trip and it is getting to be very unsafe. If the power steering were to cut out on the free way during a sharp turn, I'm very concerned my 105 lb. Wife could lose control and seriously hurt herself or others. I have read numerous message boards and this is a problem that Saturn is aware of and is unwilling to do a recall- they just want to make more $$ buy charging over $1,000 to replace the steering column which in a lot of cases it sounds as if it could be a cheaper fix than what Saturn wants to charge consumer for. Bottom line is that a car with only 50,000 miles should not have this problem and Saturn should be liable and correct these safety issues. What will it take for them a few deaths before they realize this needs to be corrected?

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #36

Aug 082009


  • miles


Power steering goes out frequently on 2004 Saturn Ion. Checked fuses, no problems with fuses. Saturn wants to charge $100 just to diagnose the problem. Can turn off car and restart - this resets the power steering but only for a little bit. Sometimes it goes out constantly, sometimes not for a few hours or days.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #35

Dec 032009


  • miles
I pulled into a restaurant and the car was fine, when I went to leave the car would not start. I had aaa come out, they told me that I need to have the car looked at. The steering wheel will turn, but the key will not. The battery is not dead as all the lights work for the car but the key is not working. This problem happened once before but after waiting a few minutes the car simply started. Now my car has to be towed to a garage, to be fixed. I looked online and have seen many other 2004 Saturn Ion owners have the same problem turning their car on in the cold.

- Gettysburg, PA, USA

problem #34

Aug 282008


  • 77,000 miles
Power steering keeps going out and in the winter sometimes does not want to start. The steering started about a year ago. Happen once then not for months. Now is a daily occurrence. I live 13 miles from my job. I goes out at least 4 times on the way. It would probably be more if I had more stop signs to restart the car at. I am a puny girl and is sometimes hard for me to strong arm the steering when it is not working. Of course my warranty is past. Now my problem is winter is coming, I have a 7 year old son that I have to take to the country at 5:30 in the morning to the sitters. I am worried to death about him being in the car with me if I have no power steering and this car decides to start sliding. I don't think it possible to steer out of a spin. How many complaints have to be made about this before something is done about an obvious manufacturer mistake. Will it take people dieing" I hope to god not. So your answer to were there any deaths or injuries" is....not yet. Please help!!

- Paxton, IL, USA

problem #33

Oct 022009

Ion 4-cyl

  • 77,042 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While driving 65 mph he noticed that the vehicle suddenly lost all power steering. A local mechanic stated that the steering chip needed to be replaced. There were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 77042. Updated 02/1710 the steering controller was replaced, however the problem continued. The consumer stated he would have to pay an additional $1000 to replace the main computer. Updated 02/19/10

- Lacrestfta, CA, USA

problem #32

Jan 112009


  • 112,000 miles


Experiencing continuous failure of the power steering in my '04 Saturn Ion. Steering can lock up at any given time after start up and has done so on an every trip basis for the past 6 months. The dealership's diagnostic didn't find anything, but offered to replace the power steering column for almost $800; which as I have read doesn't guarantee fixing the problem. Losing your power steering while driving is a safety issue and I feel that if this issue is prevalent in the Ion series, Saturn/GM should address it accordingly.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #31

Aug 082009


  • 60,000 miles
2004 Saturn Ion quad coupe. 2.2L man. Power steering fails seems to be random as to when it fails. Repeated fails, usually multiple times in a day. Makes driving the vehicle very difficult and if not expecting it can make for a close call. Failure has not been correct as of this time. Old part can be made available once repair is completed.

- Henderson , NV, USA

problem #30

Aug 042009


  • 86,000 miles
My power-steering keeps going out on my 2004 Saturn Ion. The message center beeps and then the steering goes out. Turn the car off and then back on and steering works.

- Mukwonago, WI, USA

problem #29

Aug 252009


  • 57,807 miles
I drive a 2004 Saturn Ion. About two months ago my power steering started to go out at random times, however, when I would turn the car off and then back on it would be fine. I did bring it in to a mechanic and had it looked at. He found no error codes and no duplicate of the problem because it was at random times. A couple weeks ago it started to turn off a couple times a day. I finally brought it in again when it turned off on me on the freeway and I almost crashed when a big rig swerved. My mechanic was able to verify there was an issue with the power steering column & modular. That part was $560.53 (not including labor). Further research into this part on my car with the help of my mechanic showed that this is a very common issue with my Saturn make. However, the story does not end here. After replacement of this part my mechanic discovered the cause for the steering breaking. The motor in this column piece fries the whole modular. The replacement part for this was another $175. The Saturn factory has plenty of steering columns in stock however because of the increase in demand for the replacement of the motor, the part was on back order for a couple of weeks. Yes the whole process was frustrating and expensive but having power steering go out unexpectedly is very dangerous. Someone should not have to die or be injured in an accident before a safety recall is forced upon Saturn.

- Valencia, CA, USA

problem #28

Aug 222009


  • 59,700 miles
The power steering in my 2004 Saturn Ion keeps going out. It usually occurs after it has rained, and it has also occurred after several minutes of driving. It is becoming more frequent, even when it is not raining. It appears that the motor for the power steering needs to be replaced.

- Gordon, OH, USA

problem #27

Aug 202009


  • 62,000 miles
The power steering motor keeps going out on my 2004 Saturn Ion while I am driving it. It goes out almost every time I drive the car- sometimes while in the middle of a turn, making it very hard to steer. Saturn will replace the steering column for about $1000 but after reading many many people online complain of the same issue I feel it should be a safety recall!

- Grovetown, GA, USA

problem #26

Aug 062009


  • 35,000 miles
Power steering light comes on, steering becomes nearly impossible, . trouble began around 2 months ago, now happens 2-3 times daily, very scary, as I travel a great deal on the highway. Via internet searches, not an isolated incident, dealership quotes $800 to $1065 to replace entire steering column. Have been advised, dealership charges this amount, to replace entire steering column, removes the bad component, then resells remainder of column for profit. The consumer needs to be protected, and these vehicles need to be recalled and steering columns replaced at no charge to consumer. Brought my Ion brand new in 2005(year end sale),so unbelievable that 4 years later, ,routine maintenance maintained and 39,000 miles, this is happening. We(consumers that trusted Saturn) need help in remedying this situation and shouldn't have to come out of pocket to do so!!!

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #25

Aug 022009


  • 44,000 miles
Power steering keeps going out. After car is stopped and key turned off and then back on the problem corrects itself. This happens sometimes once a day or ten times a day. Cannot predict when it will happen. When it happens in the middle of a turn it is very hard to control car. Have seen a lot of complaints on line similar to mine and wonder why there is not recall.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #24

Jul 282009


  • 50,000 miles
I own a 2004 Saturn Ion that occasionally loses electrical power steering while driving. It started happening after they replaced my ignition a few months ago, which had known issues while starting in the cold. While driving down the highway, the pwr str light will sometimes appear and that is when the steering goes out. Consumers should not have to pay for this repair because there are several posts out there on the web about this problem. It is a safety hazard that can cause accidents.

- Jefferson Hills, PA, USA

problem #23

Jul 162009


  • 55,000 miles
My 2004 Saturn Ion 3's power steering keeps going out. Often driving it for 10-15 miles, the power steering message will display on the message center and the power steering will go out immediately. This is extremely dangerous because at any time it will go out. It happens intermittently. It will cost 1600 dollars to get a new steering column from GM. If I drive it like it is, an accident will most likely occur. My car is only 5 years old, with 55,000 miles and I take good care of it. I am extremely upset by this which seems to be an issue that many 2004 Ions have.

- Kenosha, WI, USA

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