really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,072 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.

2005 Saturn Relay brakes problems

brakes problem

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2005 Saturn Relay Owner Comments

problem #14

Apr 222012

Relay 6-cyl

  • 42,109 miles


ABS system warning light comes on intermittently. ABS system shuts down while light is on. Ebcm was replaced by GM dealer, but problem persists.

- Belle Chasse, LA, USA

problem #13

Dec 192011

Relay 6-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
12/19/2011 wife was driving car on 4 lane highway when brakes engaged for no reason. Foot was not even on the pedal. Van lurched, tires squealed, drastically reduced speed down to 20 mph, and car pulled to the right. She pulled off onto shoulder of road. T/C light came on. Van drove normally after that until 1/5/12 when it happened again. This time it happened at a lower speed, while slowing to turn left through an intersection. Made car skid and she almost missed the turn. It happened again on 1/6/11 while turning into a parking lot. Same symptoms, this time car pulled to left. I inspected vehicle to find that right rear brake caliper was leaking brake fluid. Thought that would solve problem, however, it was an unrelated issue. Happened 5 times on 1/10/11, once again on 1/11/11 at 60 mph, and on 1/12/11 at a lower speed. Diagnosis by a GM certified mechanic determined the problem to be the ebcm. Currently the fuse has been removed from the ABS and ABS pump to prevent this very dangerous condition from happening again. Switch in car to deactivate traction control was not stopping it from malfunctioning. My wife and kids use this car, and I was very worried about their safety, and I had to consult 3-4 different mechanics to brainstorm and figure out what was causing this problem.

- Mohnton, PA, USA

problem #12

Aug 222011


  • 104,398 miles
When the ABS and traction control sensor lights came on, it felt like the car wasn't slowing down much, at 35 mph. It was scary. I know of other people that had this same problem, there should be a recall on this. I was told is the ebcm module.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #11

Aug 012007


  • 18,000 miles


I bought my 2005 Relay brand new from the Saturn dealer. About 1 year later the ABS light went on and I had it serviced under warranty. 1 month later ABS light again. The hub was replaced and this fixed the problem for several months. ABS light again. This time the dealer replaced the sensor. One month later replaced the sensor again. I started having some shaking when braking then the ABS light appeared again. I took the car to a private mechanic instead of the dealer thinking that maybe the dealer mechanics were short-cutting on repairs. The private mechanic was not able to remedy the problem. The ABS light still comes on all the time. The 2005 Saturn Relay needs a recall!

- Sylmar , CA, USA

problem #10

Oct 012009


  • 65,000 miles
The ABS light came on while backing out of the driveway. It has been in to the shop 3 times. Both hubs have been replaced. ABS warning continues to come on daily at random times. Now the brake light is coming on with the ABS sometimes while driving or braking. There are new brake pads and the rotors are good. But the brakes make a grinding sound once in awhile. The repairman wonders why there wasn't a recall by Saturn.

- Lexington, SC, USA

problem #9

Nov 182010

Relay 6-cyl

  • 148,000 miles
I bought a used 2005 Saturn Relay 3 in January 2010. I have 2 major issues going on: Power sliding doors will not recognize that they are closed and will continue to ding as if I was driving with them open...on a few occasions I have heard the power door motor start on its own as if it was trying to open the doors while I am driving! second issue is ABS/traction control lights have been coming on sporadically since I purchased it. Of course, no one can find the problem because they can't replicate it. It doesn't matter the driving conditions, driving time, weather or anything else. Both have happened at various speeds. Currently the lights are staying on more than off and yesterday while driving, the warning lights were off until I stepped on the brakes, felt and heard a clunking sound, the brake petal gave way some, and the service ABS/no traction control lights came back on again. The car did stop. Talked to the used car dealership that sold it to me and I am currently making arrangements to have vehicle looked at. In researching I have found numerous complaints about these same issues on a number of forums.

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #8

Feb 232009


  • miles


ABS light appears sporadically.

- Anytown, IA, USA

problem #7

Aug 182009


  • 74,000 miles
Service ABS system lights coming on randomly.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #6

May 152008


  • 30,000 miles
I had a 2005 Saturn. I loved everything about it. I would have rated it as the most liked car of my life. However, the steering or brakes failed and actually caused my car to accelerate. I was in a church parking lot, getting ready to park my vehicle and when I applied the brakes, the car accelerated and I was headed for a tree, when I ran over a piece of playground equipment that stopped my wild ride. When I took it to Saturn of lakeland, they said nothing had shown up on a computer but they did test drive it and could find nothing. They told me that I must have had my foot on the gas instead of the brake. I had a similar incident, must less dramatic before that when I was pulling in to park. Both times I was making a left turn. That time I was almost stopped but did run into the curb. I have driven 49 years and these are the only two incidents when I supposedly had my foot on the gas and not the brake. It doesn't seem likely at all to me. Well the frosting on the cake was that about two months later, I went out and was going to start my car and when I tried to put the car in gear the shifting level fell out of position and was only held in place by the covering over it. Saturn of lakeland did say they didn't think I had driven the car roughly but I did repair it at NY own cost. However, the lack of concern by Saturn of lakeland, where I had purchased this car was less than pathetic. So, even though I liked the car a lot, I felt it was a safety hazard to be driving it. I gave up the fight in honor of my own safety and bought another car at a monetary loss to me. Safety first Saturn.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #5

Nov 092008


  • 42,000 miles
On Sunday, November 9, 2008 I was backing up in my driveway when the traction control engaged briefly, stopped and the service light for both the tc and the ABS remained on. I have not been able to get rid of the service lights. On Monday I brought the van into the local garage. In June 2008, I had the same problem but the service lights turned off. The same garage put in new ball bearings including the one that has the sensor in it for the tc and ABS. I have read the ebcm module or the sensor on the ball bearing could be the problem.

- Lisbon, ME, USA

problem #4

Aug 132005


  • 23,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Saturn Relay. The contact stated that the passenger side electric door does not latch properly. As a result, the door opens while the vehicle is moving. He took the vehicle to the dealer and they re-adjusted the door striker. Immediately after the repair, the failure recurred. Secondly, he noticed excessive vibration when depressing the brake pedal. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and they machined his braking system. After the repair, the failure recurred. The contact took the vehicle to another dealer and they replaced the brake rotors and pads. The contact called the manufacturer and they referred him back to the dealer. As of August 7, 2008, the dealer has not successfully remedied the failure. The failure mileage was 23,000 and current mileage was 48,900.

- North Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #3

Nov 012007

Relay 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Failure of sliding side door to lock failure of windshield wipers failure of rear brakes.

- S. Jordan, UT, USA

problem #2

Sep 142007

Relay 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,500 miles
The traction control system engaged while driving at freeway speed on state highway 153 in chattanooga, tn, causing the vehicle to veer right out of the lane. The system immediately shut off and a "service traction control system/ABS system/stability system" warning appeared in the dash readout. After turning off the vehicle, the warning went away. Then a week later the same thing happened on a city street at low speed, and again the warning appeared, and again, it disappeared. I've contacted Saturn who stated the fault was in the electronic brake control module (ebcm) and it would have to be replaced at a cost of over $1,000. I have been in contact with other Relay owners who have experienced the same occurrence. This is obviously a safety related issue that can cause loss of control of the vehicle and result in death or serious injury. Given that the fault is seen in other cars of the same make and model, I feel a mandatory recall should be issued to fix the problem before someone is injured or killed in a crash.

- Hixson, TN, USA

problem #1

Dec 012004

Relay 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
2005 Saturn Relay has numerous design flaws, and Saturn is unable to fix. Onstar disables speedometer when used, radio mutes and car must be turned off and back on to reset, ABS system malfunctions repeatedly even after replacing ebcm, ABS pump, BCM, lights flicker both interior and exterior, alternator found to have erratic output, new alternator did not solve problem. Brake rotors warped within 25K miles. Saturn will only keeping trying to repair, but is unable to solve problems.

- Grand Junction, CO, USA

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