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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,646 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 wheels / hubs problems

wheels / hubs problem

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2004 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #5

Mar 132015


  • 130,000 miles


Was traveling at approx 35mph power steering assist was lost, turned into manual steering. I am a fairly new driver, 21, so I didn't really know how to react. It happened very quickly. Hit a center island, for a lack of a better term. Called GM, they had someone inspect the car. Said there was no dtc codes detected. So there for they are calling me a liar. My parents also had this experience with this same vehicle shortly before I purchased the car. GM refuse to make damage repairs. Only do recall repairs. I only bought the car one week before all this happened.

- Hatboro, PA, USA

problem #4

Jan 232015

Ion 4-cyl

  • 135,070 miles
At approximately 3:50 P.M. Friday January 23 2015 I was slowing down from 35 mph to turn into a parking lot. Before I turned the passenger side of the car dropped and at first I thought I blew a tire. After limping the car into the parking lot I got out and the tire was still fully inflated. I noticed the lower control arm was broken into two pieces. The car was towed home and the tow truck driver even mentioned he had never seen that happen on such a new vehicle.

- Freedom, NY, USA

problem #3

Aug 082012


  • 148,158 miles
Today 8/8/12, I jumped into my 2004 Saturn Ion at 5pm after work & immediately noticed that I could not turn my wheel as I exited the parking lot, I had to swerve hard to my right to by avoid a collision with two cars from the opposite direction. I was terrified! my display showed "pwr str" I had never seen that before, I left my car diagonally parked, since it would not move went for assistance, a passerby looked under my hood for a while then turned my car on and the display was back to mileage and my wheel was working fine!! I drove my car home and immediately started to do some research to find out what it could be and how I could fix it, I find out that their is a known problem with the power steering! I have not received any letters at all. My car has been reliable up until now. It has close to 150K mil (mileage is an estimate on this form) since this appears to be a GM problem, what are my options? thank you

- Altadena, CA, USA

problem #2

Dec 012005


  • miles
Consumer complaint concerning Saturn Ion aluminum wheels. Consumer has replaced several wheels do to them bending. ** answer required*** the consumer had a problem with the air condition leaking water on the floor of the vehicle.

- Palm Bay, FL, USA

problem #1

Sep 202004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
We are concerned about the safety of our Saturn Ion. We purchased it in 2004, and we have had three bent aluminum wheels and now we have a broken wheel. We have brought it back numerous times to be fixed to space coast Saturn, where we purchased our Saturn only to here each time that they are not going to repair our Saturn because it is not their fault, it is ours. We are very concerned about our safety while riding in the car with our three children. I am afraid that we could have a blow out and someone could be hurt.

- Palm Bay , FL, USA

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