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.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,275 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #4

Sep 052010


  • 46,000 miles


Car parked beside busy thoroughare overnight.

- Maineville, OH, USA

problem #3

Dec 172006

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles
2004 Saturn Ion with 19,200 miles original Firestone 690 ( P185/70 R 14 ) front tires worn down to tread life indicators. Front driver side tire worn to steel belt. Most wear on both from innermost tread. Vehicle tracks true, no misalignment. Any recalls or info on these tires or vehicle ?

- Succasunna, NJ, USA

problem #2

Nov 122003

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
In October of 1993, I bought a 2004 Ion 2 quad coupe from Saturn of larchmont. I traded in my 1997 SC1 for this car. In the beginning of November, I needed to have the right side front bulb replaced because it burned out. In January, I brought the car in for its first oil change and two recalls. It also to made a rattling sound underneath. This first time, the link and torsion bar supports were replaced. I returned about two weeks later with the rattle and an additional complaint. The car had stalled while driving it. I was told that a book underneath the seat was making the rattling noise. They also said that the stalling couldnT be duplicated, so they didnT know what needed to be fixed. I returned one week later with the same rattling problem. They kept the car for three days and drove it over sixty miles. This time they replaced the sway bar links and bushings. Finally, the noise stopped! in July I brought the car to Saturn of white plains. The car had stalled again and started stuttering when stepping on or releasing the gas petal. Again no codes were found to indicate why it stalled. I was also told that the stuttering was normal for the vti engine because of its new technology. about a week and a half later, the rattling started underneath the car again. I brought the car into Saturn of white plains again. Two days before my appointment, the radio had reset itself. On the day of my appointment, the technician took the car out and said he heard no noise and felt no rattling. He took me out with him and said what I heard was normal. Again a test was run and no codes were found. I brought the car to Saturn of larchmont on July 30, 2004 because the rattling continued and the radio reset itself again. Bob linder, the service manager, took his time and logged my issues for the technicians to address them. The stabilizer links were replaced again. A new radio was ordered to replace the one in the car. The banging underneath the car has returned.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #1

May 112004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles
There is a thumping sound in the front end which send a vibration through the body of the car while going over dips and steering at low speeds. It has been in the shop 5 times and the current diagnoses is that it's a normal noise. Confirmed with other dealers that the noise is not normal. Visit 1: replaced sway bar bushings. Visit 2: replaced right lower control arm visit 3: replaced right front strut visit 4: replaced power steering gear assembly and both torsion bar supports visit 5: "it's a normal noise" I've test driven other new cars and the noise is not present. I will be persuing the lemon law at this time.

- New Castle, DE, USA

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