NHTSA — Steering: Hydraulic Power Assist System Problems

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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,975 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

problem #4

May 012010


  • 90,000 miles


2004 Saturn Ion with 118K miles. The power steering will go out at least a couple of times a week at random times. This began to occur when the vehicle had about 90K miles but GM refused to repair. When it originally happen it would occur about once a month but now has progressed to a constant occurrence. The on board screen next to gauges will show "pwr steer" and beep loudly. This means the power steering has gone out. Can occur at any speed or road type. Car will become difficult to maneuver. The only way to get the power steering back is to restart the car by turning it off and back on. It is unsafe to drive the vehicle without the power steering.

- Norwalk, CA, USA

problem #3

Jun 082010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 88,300 miles
The driver owns a 2004 Saturn Ion. While driving at approximately 55 mph, the power steering light came on and the vehicle lost power steering. The contact coasted the vehicle to the side of the road and turned it off. Upon restart, the vehicle functioned properly. The contact called the dealership and was informed that the electronic power steering needed to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The failure and current mileages were 88,300. Updated 10/13/10 the consumer received a recall notice and the power steering module was replaced. Updated 10/14/10

- Buringham, AL, USA

problem #2

Jan 222005


  • Manual transmission
  • 5,000 miles
Friday there was a snowfall. Saturday morning, I drove my car on the highway and encountered severe difficulty handling the steering of the car. As I approached 40 miles per hour on the highway, the steering wheel began to shake violently. I could not get off the highway, so I tried to cope by speeding up and slowing down. Three times, I almost crashed - twice into other cars, once into the highway barrier. The faster I went, the more violent the shaking. I was travelling from the university avenue entrance to 280 to 94 West to the 35W South. I got off at the first exit I could on 35W. The problem continued as I drove on the city streets. On Tuesday I called Saturn to have them fix my car. They informed me there were approximately 100 calls of this kind this weekend and that this was a result of snow getting into where the tire-wheel is. It was suggested I go to a car wash and thaw out the snow and was told they'd be happy to do that for me. Part of why I chose this car is because they informed me that it has computerized handling that would facilitate my driving. Obviously, I am dissatisfied. When the snow melted off, the car drove well. However, I live in mn, where there is snow half of the year. I was not informed that my car would have this happen. I cannot handle the car when the steering wheel shakes violently. I feel unsafe driving this car. I don't want it anymore.

- Minneaplis, MN, USA

problem #1

Aug 102004


  • 600 miles
While driving motor failed. This made it hard for the consumer to steer the vehicle. Dealership was aware of the problem, but did not resolve the problem.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

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