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 3 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #262

Apr 252014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 9,000 miles


My Saturn has had problems with the A/C unit the dial has gotten to were it won't work and the defrost doesn't work. It has been like that for about 7 yrs. My has car has cut off on me twice. Once this year and last year. Now the most recent one was on April 25 2014. It was around 3:30 pm. Here in richmond va it was a really bad thunder and lighting storm. I started to smell a burning smell, the brakes were acting strange I was able to stop at stop light and while I was a red light I heard a high pitched beeping sound and the warning lights came on. My car was towed. And the henrico county beat aaa to pull it to royal Chevy. The cops had my placed at impound lot. And I finally did it towed to royal Chevy on April 26 2014. Royal Chevy has agreed to pay for my rental. I saw on this website there are 10 recalls on here and GM has only told me about 2 of the recalls not of the other 8.

- Richmond , VA, USA

problem #261

May 232014


  • miles
My car war just repaired for the recall ignition, however, it is still not working right. Not only that, but the power steering is going off and on. The power steering went off twice on my way home after I picked it up from the dealer, almost causing an accident. I had to pull to the side of the road twice. I contacted the dealer, but they show nothing on the power steering. This is the only vehicle my family has, and I'm afraid to drive the car. It is not safe! I have had files open since 2008 about the power steering, and other issues. Saturn is aware of the issues. I have had to have the power steering replaced twice.

- Prescott Valley, AZ, USA

problem #260

Apr 152014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 165,000 miles
When I start my car I get a message that days power steering service vehicle. That I loose all dash lights occasionally radio and air I do not regain power steering or lights for about 5-10 minutes. I can hear a change in the engine when it is regained. Once it's done I can drive perfectly normal. My check engine light is on and off. When I turn my car off the lights are there during the fit and off when the car is on. All the codes thrown are electrical. Help!

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #259

Apr 182014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


I received recalls beginning in April 2014 regarding the ignition switch, then one regarding the ignition cylinder. Both recalls have caused injury or death. I now understand that there is also a recall on the power steering. (3 open recalls in all) I contacted my local Chevrolet dealer as instructed on April 18th and have been back and forth with both the dealership and Saturn customer assistance @ 800-553-6000. I was issued a case# 71-1300074576 but my family is still driving the car. We don't feel safe driving the car but was told that there was no room to leave it at the dealership so I have to wait until June. This is unacceptable! I understand that a loaner can be provided. I want to drop the car off somewhere and pick up a safe vehicle for my family to drive until the repairs can be made.

- Jefferson Hills, PA, USA

problem #258

May 082014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
This has happened intermittently before, but this time I lost the power steering rounding a bend. Took it to my mechanic and I needed the entire thing replaced for $800, quoted $1200 at a dealer. I called GM and despite the GM website stating recall of "Saturn Ion all model years 2004-2007" for loss of power steering posted on 3/31/14, I was told mine wasn't included because I have a 2004 Saturn Ion 2. what does that mean" doesn't "all model years" pertain to the Ion 1, 2, and 3????"

- Liverpool, NY, USA

problem #257

Aug 242012


  • 1,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while traveling 40 mph the power steering light illuminated. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The failure mileage was 1,000. The current mileage was unknown.

- Toledo, ID, USA

problem #256

Apr 262012

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles


While parking power steering locked up.

- Powdersprings, GA, USA

problem #255

Jan 012013


  • 128,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that the steering wheel became hard to turn. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer confirmed that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number 14V153000 (steering). The approximate failure mileage was 128,000 and the current mileage was 133,720.

- Lincolnton, NC, USA

problem #254

Mar 172014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while traveling various speeds, the power steering assist failed and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Hyanns, MA, USA

problem #253

Jan 012013

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
Having trouble with steering, sometimes want steer. It is parked fear of driving it!!

- Lincolnton, NC, USA

problem #252

Apr 222014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 223,100 miles


I was driving along and suddenly, the power steering stopped working. Was in the passing lane moving back into the travel lane when without warning there was no power steering. No alarms went of warning me something was not working properly. I was able to get off the highway but had a harder time making turns on the side streets. I have never before heard of the problems that are suddenly affecting my car.

- Uxbridge, MA, USA

problem #251

Jan 062014


  • 110,000 miles
Shortly after starting on a very cold winter day, at low speed and with the battery likely low from starting the car the power steering warning chimed and the car became very difficult to control. The problem has not recurred since then (even a few hours later with the car warmed up and battery fully charged), but the temperature has been significantly higher and I replaced the battery with a better one. The battery had tested good at the last oil change/service/inspection, but was near the end of its life expectancy.

- Verona, WI, USA

problem #250

Jan 122009


  • 65,000 miles
I was driving on dry roads during the daytime below the speed limit, when the power steering light came on. The wheel locked, and I was unable to steer the car. I pulled to the side of the road and turned the car off and back on. It restarted without incident. 3 years later, the same event occurred without causing an accident.

- St. Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #249

Jan 012014


  • 135,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. The contact stated that while turning at approximately 15 mph, the vehicle became difficult to steer. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and informed the contact that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number 14V153000 (steering). The failure mileage was approximately 135,000.

- Xenia, OH, USA

problem #248

Mar 012011

Ion 4-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
About three years ago is when I had my first problem with speed acceleration with my Saturn. I left work and turned on my car and started to drive an hour to go home all the sudden my car began to accelerate and I wasn't pressing the gas. My vehicle continued to accelerate and I had to keep my foot on the brake to slow the vehicle down and it was still accelerating. I had to pull over on the side of the road and pop my car into neutral going approximately 70mph. I somehow managed to get home but my car continued to accelerate without me pressing on the gas. When I would turn the vehicle on while it was still in park the RPM's would go crazy as if I had my foot on the gas pedal. I immediately contacted my auto shop who indicated that they could not find anything wrong with my vehicle. I have had several incidents since then and ended up crashing earlier this year. My vehicle sped up on a snowy road and I lost complete steering for my vehicle, I nearly rolled my car and crashed head on into a snow bank. My air bags never deployed, after I contacted my insurance company they were surprised with the amount of front end damage I had on my vehicle that my airbags should have deployed but they did not. I know others are having the same issues with the vehicle accelerating with no application of the gas petal and the brake pedal does little or nothing to stop or slow the vehicle down.

- Elkhorn, WI, USA

problem #247

Apr 012014

Ion 4-cyl

  • miles
2004 Saturn Ion. Consumer writes in regards to ignition switch recall notice issues, air bag malfunction and several other vehicle problems. The consumer stated her daughter was involved in 3 accidents. Her daughter lost power and the vehicle stalled. When her daughter hit the other vehicle, the air bags did not deploy. Her daughter was injured. Also, the consumer had difficulty steering the vehicle.

- Rochester, MN, USA

problem #246

Sep 172008


  • 46,780 miles
While driving my car on multiple occasions I have lost the ability to control the steering wheel. Also, I have experienced my car turning off while driving which thankfully has a recall on it but I want the power steering to be recalled as well because it has caused an accident and multiple near misses.

- Grove City, OH, USA

problem #245

Feb 122008


  • miles
My husband was driving our 2004 Saturn Ion down a hill and the power steering went out on the car. He could not stop and had extreme difficult steering the vehicle. We crashed into a telephone pole. I fractured my C-2 and my shoulder and also dislocated my shoulder.

- Miamisburg, OH, USA

problem #244

Apr 112011


  • 150,000 miles
While driving my Saturn Ion 2004 my power steering kept turning off periodically, my car is standard so I actually turned off the car while driving pressing my clutch in and restarted my car. I drove like this for about 5 miles. I took my car to the dealership where I was told that due to the fact I was over 150000 miles it voided my warranty for the defect to my steering motor. I spent over 500 dollars to repair my vehicle, now knowing that it was an existing defect known by the manufacturer.

- South Gate, CA, USA

problem #243

Mar 252014

Ion 4-cyl

  • 117,065 miles
Power steering temporarily locked in right turn position, during right hand turn, but was able to force back in time before hitting other car. Steering is still acting up during normal driving conditions (especially cold), when trying to return wheel back to straight position, wheel tightens up and needs to be forced back.

- Metuchen, NJ, USA

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