really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
88,551 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 L300 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Saturn L300 Owner Comments

problem #9

Aug 202014


  • 140,000 miles


Ignition switch will not start the car. It is in the off position. I am having a new switch installed. I do not understand why this car part is not on the recall list. All other 2003 Saturn are being recalled.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #8

Aug 152012

L300 6-cyl

  • 137,346 miles
Computer which records and displays speed, engine RPM, mileage, and vehicle warnings failed completely. This failure meant the dash no longer records mileage, and will not display speed or RPM. Dangerous failure for untrained driver. Unknown speed could lead to unsafe driving or crash, having potential to cause deadly accident.

- St. Louis Park, MN, USA

problem #7

Feb 182011

L300 6-cyl

  • 12,500 miles
On a rainy night, Jan 10, 2014, I came out of work and started my car. I thanked god it started because sometimes it wouldn't start at all. Even after replacing almost every engine part including the computer. I started driving out of the parking spot and I smelled something burning inside the car. The engine started revving wildly up and down. I had no control of the car. White thick smoke filled the car fast. Flames started shooting out at me from under the dashboard. I was so panicked that I could hardly get out of the car. The insurance co totaled it and I still owe 500.00! I've spent more money trying to get the car to start when I want it to and to stop shutting off while im driving on the highway with my children and or infant granddaughter. This 2003 Saturn L300 has been nothing but a financial and mental nightmare only to go up in smoke, ruin my credit, and leave me stranded with no vehicle once again.

- Tobyhanna, PA, USA

problem #6

Nov 072008


  • 86,112 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Saturn L300. The contact stated that the vehicle overheated and there was a leak which allowed water to drip into the cabin. The contact also stated that the key failed to turn while in the ignition and was difficult to remove. The contact then mentioned that smoke emitted from the ignition and engine compartment and the instrument panel erroneously dimmed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was repaired. The contact was unsure of what exact repairs were done. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximately failure mileage was 86,112.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #5

Apr 202008

L300 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
In February, 2007 and in April of 2008 I was involved separate front end crashes while driving my 2003 Saturn L300. In both instances seatbelt restraints were used (as always), but the air-bags failed to deploy. Fortunately, no one was injured. In both instances, I believed that I was fortunate the air-bags didn't open because of the expense involved repairing a deployed air-bag. In late February-2014, General Motors announced a large recall of numerous vehicles (Saturn ion, Saturn vue, Chevy cobalt and other vehicles which are similar to my 2003 Saturn L300) sitting a defective ignition switch which disables the activation of the vehicles airbags when it is involved an accident! 13 deaths have been attributed to the defective switch, thusfar. Although the 2003 Saturn L300 is not included in the recall, I believe it should be included because of the air-bag issue that I experienced twice with my L300. In addition, there is a starting problem with the ignition switch, which has arisen since I've owned this car that has happened numerous times during the last 4-5 years. Each day the L300 starts fine the first time. However, when the vehicle is shut off, (to get gasoline or to go into a store) the vehicle will fail to re-start. After waiting anywhere form 15 minutes to 1-1/2 hours, the car will start like nothing is wrong. Although this happens mostly in the cold weather it has also happened during the summer time as well. I believe this is due to the same defective ignition switch/pass-lock sensor issue as the recalled vehicles.

- Green Island, NY, USA

problem #4

Jan 302013


  • 130,000 miles
While engaging the high beams, smoke began to appear out of the turn signal stalk on the steering column. Also, the high beams could no longer be turned off. I had to engage the switch several times before it would turn off. This has happened previously, and the fix was to replace the turn stalk. This is now the second turn signal stalk this has happened to. I am questioning the design of the turn signal stalk. There appears to be some sort of short in the wiring or contacts for the high beams that causes this problem. This is a fire hazard, and therefore a major safety concern.

- O'fallon, IL, USA

problem #3

May 052012


  • 84,500 miles


Engine stalls after 10 minutes of driving. Won't start again for 2 or 3 hours only to run for 10 minutes and stall again. Sometimes engine will stall while idling. Sometimes the engine light with the wrench in it comes on and the vehicle starts to shift roughly. If I turn off the vehicle and start it again, this light goes off and the vehicle shifts normally.

- Escondido, CA, USA

problem #2

Mar 272010

L300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn L300. The contact stated that the vehicle would exhibit a sharp and abnormal increase in engine rpms when attempting to accelerate. In addition, the vehicle would also exhibit an unusually loud roaring but would not respond. As a result, the catalytic converter failed. The dealer advised the contact that they are aware of the failure but they could offer no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was approximately 133,000. The consumer stated the interior and exterior lights flicker along with the heater, which seems to come intermittently. The water pump and timing belt were replaced. Also, the catalytic converter motor and battery were replaced. Updated 04/15/11

- Tuscaloosa , AL, USA

problem #1

Jun 082006

L300 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,500 miles
: the contacts stated after driving long enough for the motor to get warm the headlights flicker from dim to bright. This is a continuous problem. If the heater or air conditioner fan is turned on, the flickering becomes more rapid. The vehicle was taken to the dealer on several occasions for this problem. Both the dealer and manufacturer determined this was normal operations for this type of vehicle.

- Chippewa Falls, WI, USA

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