NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

2003 Saturn L200 (Page 1 of 2)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,114 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.

2003 Saturn L200 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Saturn L200 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #34

May 142014


  • 179 miles


Light flashing on dash board, climate control goes on and off, oil light keep coming on and of. Everything that's electric like the sun roof. Am afraid of getting stuck in the middle of a high way. Please help me. Emilia cruz email cruzjudy604@aol.com.I like to know if this car is on recall. Thank you. We are second owner

- Kissimmee Fl, FL, USA

problem #33

Jun 112013


  • 85,000 miles
Three times in the past few years, while driving the vehicle's electrical system would shut off, leaving the passengers stranded. After awhile, the vehicle electrical system would because functional. Twice, the vehicle elcectrical system was checked, and no problems were found. Note: The last date and mileage noted below of the vehicle is approx.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #32

May 222015


  • 133,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn L200. The contact stated that the anti theft security system pass lock failed and caused the engine not to start and the odometer reading to increase. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 133,500.

- Greer , SC, USA

problem #31

Mar 012013


  • miles


Passlock security light stays on constantly, no problem with car start. Also passlock security light and interior dome light flicker simultaneously (in sync) when interior light in on position. Also odometer light bulb went out about two years ago as well.

- Florissant, MO, USA

problem #30

Jan 212015


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn L200. While parked, the key failed to release from the ignition switch and an unknown warning indicator illuminated. After removing the key, the contact discovered that it was bent and the vehicle would not restart the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 60,000.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #29

Aug 282014

L200 4-cyl

  • miles
I purchased a 2003 Saturn L200 in January 2014. About 4 months later I noticed that the lights were flashing on and off in the car. The lights would dim and come back on. The wipers would stop working or sometimes they would just slow down. One evening I went to the store and when I returned to the car the headlights were still on I continued on home and as I started the vehicle the steering column started smoking. When I arrived back into the parking lot the headlights would not go off. I called the Saturn dealership and also the Saturn headquarters who both stated there are no opened recalls on the car. So I asked them if I could get a copy of the service repairs for the recalls done on the car. They said there are no such records but I have a printout of recalls for the vehicle. NHTSA reference #05V245000 for the break lights #03V231000 for the ignition module and #02V283000 for the windshield wipers. The problems I have experienced are the same problems as the recalls. They informed me that I should file a complaint with your organization and maybe you would initiate a recall on the vehicle. The lady at the dealership wanted me to bring it to her so they could take a look at it. But according to the articles I read on the ignition module if you continue to drive it in that condition it may cause a fire, so I did not want to do that.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #28

Aug 012014

L200 4-cyl

  • 75,670 miles


My ignition switch froze while we were in line waiting for the ferry. We could not start our car, or get it out of park, or turn the wheel, or close the windows. We had to get it towed off the island to the nearest dealer ($423.76). We talked with Saturn's ignition hotline and were told our car is not covered by the recall although the switch and its failure appear to be the same as recalled vehicles. We paid $735.80 to get a new switch installed (losing use of the vehicle for two weeks while the work was done). During the time the Saturn was waiting for repairs on the dealer's lot, it rained hard and the interior of the car was soaked. I had requested that the windows (frozen open) be secured and had been assured they would be dealt with. The seat and floor mats were soaked. The seat control electronics shorted out and may have to be replaced. We'll also have to have the door panels pulled to see if there is hidden damage inside the doors. We would like our costs reimbursed. Even more important, we would like the recall extended to our model and any other GM cars with this defect. We are very fortunate our switch failed when the car was stopped in a safe place! others have not been as fortunate.

- Bellingham, WA, USA

problem #27

Mar 102014


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn L200. The contact stated that it took many attempts to start the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 140,000.

- Walnutport, PA, USA

problem #26

Mar 012014


  • 86,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn L200. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning and then restarted independently. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 86,000.

- Longwood, FL, USA

problem #25

Aug 012013


  • 17,476 miles
Parked car and locked with remote. Upon return to vehicle smelled gas and was locked out of 2003 Saturn LS200 after only 17,500 miles driven. Purchased new in 2003. Stranded until aaa tow to las vegas findlay GM dealership. Opened manually with key instead of remote. Attempted to start car engine. Turned over for a few seconds and died. All dashboard gauges not working. Problem per GM dealer was twofold: (1) faulty body control module (BCM) that controls vehicle's entire electrical system failed and required costly replacement part at $614 plus labor; also (2) fuel pump failed and required costly part replacement at $498 plus labor and cleaning of fuel system. After brief internet search I found these two parts are notorious for failures in Saturn vehicles. Have been failing since 2003 and continue to fail. Complaints have been made by Saturn owners to GM and the ntsb. Gauges and lights have reportedly failed even when driving because of faulty BCM. An initial body control module (BCM) recall (Saturn recall #03C06) is noted by other owners, but I never received a notification. The BCM and fuel pump should not fail at 17,500 miles!! this is a manufacturer defect. The BCM and fuel pump are very expensive to repair!

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #24

Jan 022012


  • 137,000 miles


Car ignition does not want to turn to "off" when car is turned off and in park, refuses to release key until we pry it out or move steering wheel into locked position. Has eaten a key almost completely through in the past year. Many Saturn are having this problem with the ignition.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #23

Jun 282011


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn L-series. The contact stated while attempting to start the vehicle, it would not start and smoke began to rise from underneath the hood. An independent mechanic arrived and disconnected the battery. The vehicle was in the process of being towed to an authorized dealer. The authorized dealer was notified and the contact was informed the vehicle was not included in the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 03V231000 (electrical system:ignition:module). The failure and current mileages were 75,000.

- Hyattsville, MD, USA

problem #22

Feb 072010


  • 150,000 miles
When driving the headlights and all gauges turn off and come back on but now the gauges don't work the head lights stay on when the car is turned off and go out while driving the doors will not unlock the security light comes on and resets the mileage everytime the lights turn off, and all power turns off. The alternator was tested and the battery was replaced as well as the electrical portion of the ignition switch.

- Atlantic Highlands, NJ, USA

problem #21

Mar 282009


  • 56,000 miles
Body-control module failure: Within 3 months of each other, the body-control module (BCM) and engine coolant thermostat had to be replaced. Saturn dealer, on 3/28/2009 told me that the BCM, if not replaced, could lead to serious failures, such as failure to start, overheating and other problems. Over prior several weeks, there were intermittent readings on dashboard, including check engine, service engine, airbag warning light and ABS warning light. Apparently nothing wrong with the engine, airbag or brakes themselves, but the BCM was going bad, causing the readings on dashboard. BCM replacement approx. $450 and engine coolant thermostat replacement cost approx $300.

- Fort Thomas, KY, USA

problem #20

May 012008


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn L200. While driving at any speed or even while the vehicle is in park, the headlights turn on and off, the gauges constantly flash on the instrument panel, the door locks will lock and unlock themselves, and the windows will roll down and back up automatically. The windows are currently inoperative due to this failure. Whenever the contact drives the vehicle, he smells burning wires, but there is no smoke. He feels that the vehicle is extremely dangerous to drive. He took the vehicle to the dealer for inspection and they stated that the body control module was the cause of the failure. The contact did not get the vehicle repaired because he believes it should be covered under a recall due to the safety risk involved. The manufacturer stated that the owner was responsible for the repairs. The failure mileage was 105,000 and current mileage was 115,000.

- Lexington, OK, USA

problem #19

Oct 212008


  • 82,000 miles
Odo ~82000. I was driving North on M-39 when I noticed several dash lights illuminate: ABS, tc and theft (there may have been more, but I am certain that it was not all of the dash indicators). The vehicle was still running at this point. Momentarily, though, the vehicle lost all power (not like a stall, but just like it went dead since all dash lights had gone out). It was extremely difficult for me to navigate the vehicle safely to the side of the road in rush hour traffic without the assistance of power brakes or power steering. After stopping the vehicle, I recycled the ignition and the vehicle operated normally the rest of the way home (~20 miles) and to work the next morning. Earlier that morning while stopped at an intersection light, the ABS, tc and theft light also activated, though the vehicle did not experience a shut down/power down, or even a stall. I contacted Saturn of Plymouth and the service department agreed to research the issue and contact me back to set up an appointment to bring the car in. Prior vehicle history which may or may not be relevant to this issue: 1) ign module replaced under recall, 2) headlamps flicker occasionally and intermittently under changes in vehicle electrical load this has occurred ever since I bought the vehicle new, but GM says this is "normal operation", 3) battery & starter replaced fall 2007. Thank you in advance for helping to address this issue. It is a very scary feeling to experience sudden vehicle shutdown and drastic change in steering and brake performance.

- Plymouth, MI, USA

problem #18

Aug 112008


  • 63,000 miles
I was driving when the vehicle stopped running. While the fuel pump needed replacement, in fact it appears that there was wide spread electrical damage. The damage is identical to the damage described in Saturn recall 03V231000. I contacted Saturn, but they say that the recall does not cover my car. Based on the symptoms, it's possible that it should cover my particular vehicle. My VIN number is. Saturn did assign a case number to this incident, case number 71-654487537, however, they claim no responsibility.

- Syria, VA, USA

problem #17

May 212008


  • 47,233 miles
Sometimes would have a hard time starting the car or the car would not start at all. After about a week, the check engine light and passenger seat airbag light would come on. When these lights were on, the speedometer and tachometer did not work. Shortly after that the engine lock light came on and then nothing worked. The defrost front and rear, A/C, heating control, interior lights, airbag failure light lit up, seat belt light lit up and the self locking for the doors did not engage when putting the car into gear. Sometimes I would turn the car off and about a half an hour later, the exterior lights would come on all by themselves, sometimes draining the battery if I did not notice this. I felt totally unsafe driving the car when this would happen - I had no safety features to rely on and I did not even know if I would have a car that would run. I took the car to a Saturn dealer and had the BCM (body control module) replaced. I also found out that Saturn is having a problem with this and I have asked others that own similar Saturn also experienced this problem. This was quite costly to replace approximately $600 (the cheapest around). Others paid more for this repair than I did.

- Hammond, IN, USA

problem #16

Jul 292007

L200 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,689 miles
03 L200 faulty body control module. Which is what make the car run. Car would turn over but would not continue to run. Towed to and serviced at a Saturn dealer. Very pricey repair of $500.

- Kansas City, KS, USA

problem #15

Sep 242007

L200 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,008 miles
On 9/24/97 I drove my car to work as usual and shut it off and locked the doors with the remote control. Upon leaving working and opening the car I had difficulty opening the locks and used the key for entry. I tried turning on the ignition and it would start and immediately shut off. I tried this twice and noticed that the anti-theft icon (car with a lock through it) was ignited. I looked in my owner's manual and determined that it was something that had to be reset by the dealer. I then noticed a buzzing from my passenger front door lock. I disconnected the fuse and the buzzing stopped. When I finally had a knowledgeable tow person get the car manually in neutral since the gears were locked, it was towed to Saturn of clarence who advised that the body control module was bad and it shorted out all of my door locks. The car has 27,000 and is 4 years old. It cost $610 for the BCM and $1,000 for the door locks which I have not yet replaced. Shameful that such a big problem should happen to a newer car!

- Buffalo, NY, USA

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