NHTSA — Power Train Problems

2003 Saturn Vue (Page 4 of 4)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
66,397 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 Vue drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Saturn Vue Owner Comments (Page 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #19

Mar 272009


  • miles


The vehicle in question is a 2003 Saturn Vue. I purchased the vehicle with 53,048 miles on it, so I agreed to buy it in "as is" condition. I got the vehicle on Dec. 31st 2007, and I drove it off the lot. I felt a weird shake that reminded me of when a battery was dying. On hills the truck would roll backwards, and kick hard when I pushed the gas. It would just randomly jerk, and it did this all throughout my ownership. The truck was serviced regularly, and mechanics never saw a problem. Finally, about 2 weeks ago, the truck encountered major problems. The truck decided that it was no longer going to accelerate, it was a fight to move forward. The rpms stayed between 1-3 even when the vehicle was not in motion. The transmission is unique, and is said to have less parts. It is said to be bad because the truck is too heavy for the transmission. It is a minimum of 3 thousand dollars to repair. They say that the problem will reoccur. The repairs are frequent and costly and something should be done.

- Gaston, SC, USA

problem #18

Mar 212003


  • 10,000 miles
I purchased my new 2003 Saturn Vue from york pa Saturn (sutliff group) and they have patched up my 2003 Vue by replacing valves, sensors etc. On the vti transmission/transaxles 5 or 6 different times, which they well know will not fix the problem. I still experience transmission failure during extended periods of driving or times of traffic stop situations. I have experienced transmission problems from the 10,000 mile point on until this time. Does not shift properly into higher gear, still makes grinding noises while turning and accelerating and otherwise fails to operate properly. Transmission was looked at by dealer 5 times avoiding the issue of transmission replacement. Several close calls have invoked me to start a major campaign against the Saturn Corp. Saturn is now being decided in the court system (cas) the final decision should be in the next few weeks so keep checking back on this and other sites that attract lemon vehicles! all I ask is for GM/Saturn to replace my faulty drive train (engine and transmission) free of all labor and parts with the new type drive train that is in the new 2007-08 Vue or replace with a new vehicle!!! its that simple Saturn! and until this happens this transmittal will continue on to websites, public posts, flyers, in front of Saturn dealers etc. Etc... ps. I have copied just about every person and business that has exposure to intersections shopping malls etc. So tell all your friends, working colleagues, etc. Get the word out about GM/Saturn.

- Littlestown, PA, USA

problem #17

Feb 052009


  • 98,000 miles
2003 Saturn Vue. At 80,000 miles transmission went out and had to get it replaced. At 98000 miles 8 months later noticed sputtering and took it to dealership. Was told at first it was the ignition coil and the spark plugs and modules needed replaced for 682 dollars. 4 hours later they called and said they fixed it and it is not fixed I now have a bad #1 cylinder and have to get the whole engine replaced for 5400 dollars. Awaiting call back from Saturn corporate to see if they are going to help. It is pretty sad that a 5 year old can needs both the tranny built and a new engine before 100,000 miles. Should of kept my Honda civic with 230,000 miles. It runs better.

- Thornton, CO, USA

problem #16

Jul 172003


  • 250 miles


Clutch chatters when in reverse. It did this from day one. We have not had it fixed due to no dealer close to monterey ca.

- Pacific Grove, CA, USA

problem #15

Jan 202008

Vue 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,500 miles
I own a 2003 Saturn Vue AWD car that has 79,500 miles. There have been numerous problems with the car since purchasing it brand new in 2003. The biggest issue involved the power train. A secondary belt in the engine broke while the car was being driven on the highway. When the secondary belt broke is tangled with the timing belt causing the timing belt to skip a tooth. 12 valves were bent. I contacted a Saturn dealership regarding the issue with the power train and was told it would cost $7000 to repair. I have had the engine repaired by an independent mechanic. No warning lights ever appeared to denote any issue with the power train.

- Saint Charles, IL, USA

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problem #14

Mar 182004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
York pa> Saturn has patched up my 2003 Vue by replacing valves sensors etc. Which they well know will not fix the problem. After regular preventable maintenance, 2003 Saturn Vue has continuously experienced transmission problems from 10,000 point on. Vehicle while just traveling down a road at 30-40 mph), does not shift properly into higher gear, makes loud grinding noises while turning and accelerating and otherwise fails to operate properly transmission was looked at by dealer several times avoiding the issue of transmission replacement. Problems continue after servicing. Have read extensive reports and complaints involving Saturn Vue VT1 transmission. Saturn needs to have a recall - it's consumers can't afford all of these repairs for what is clearly a faulty transmission that has been discontinued! next step is class action suit by owners!!!!!!!!!! think about all of these unhappy people when sales get tough Saturn"?" I will not consider another Saturn under these irresponsible conditions Saturn has brought on itself!!!

- Littlestown, PA, USA

problem #13

Oct 302007

(reported on)

Vue 4-cyl

  • miles


2003 Saturn Vue with acceleration problems. Customer states the vehicle sometimes will not accelerate. Mechanic told her the transmission needed to be fixed or replaced. After the repair was made, the car is sometimes hard to accelerate or it over accelerates. The consumer also stated the vehicle began to smoke and it smelled like burnt rubber. The consumer returned the vehicle back to the dealer, however when she picked it up and began to drive, several things started to happen:the vehicle slowed down and wouldn't accelerate, as she pressed the accelerator, the vehicle would bolt and speed up, and just before arriving home, it slowed down again and the consumer was barely able to park the vehicle.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #12

May 102007

(reported on)

Vue 4-cyl

  • miles
2003 Vue customer states that the transmission had a recall and after having it fix it began to have problems a couple of months later then the whole transmission had to be replaced* the drivers door would not open from the inside, the brakes squealed whenever the consumer backed-up and the rear wiper was replaced.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #11

May 022007

(reported on)


  • miles
2003 Saturn Vue vti with a defective transmission. Customer states that it has been many reposts of bad transmissions*

- Unknown, DC, USA

problem #10

Nov 172003

Vue 4-cyl

  • miles
2003 Saturn Vue failed to start. The vehicle made squeaking noises when the consumer made a right turn, in addition to various other rumblings. The consumer experienced problems with the rotors, bearings and transmission. A special wheel bearing had to be ordered as well as a special side cover and hardware for the transmission. The coolant switch was defective. The rear wipers would stick. The gas gauge would only read 3/4 full. The air condition stopped working and the hot and cold knob did not go all the to cool. The starter was replaced which was the reason the vehicle wasn't starting. The transfer case seal was replaced.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #9

Jan 162006

Vue 4-cyl

  • miles


2003 Saturn Vue hood release cable and windshield wiper motor was replaced. The rear differential was replaced (warranty). While repairing the rear differential the technician noticed that the prompt shaft center bearing was broken (warranty). There was noise coming from the front end of the vehicle. The technician determined that the transaxle. The technician updated the tcm and added cvt additive (warranty). The check engine light illuminated on the dash. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who determined that the oxygen sensor was faulty (warranty). The air bag and horn were also replaced.

- Mineola, NY, USA

problem #8

Oct 072004


  • miles
When consumer stop for red light, then step on accelerator, car hesitates then lurches forward abruptly. While driving 65 mph the consumer heard a humming noise and the vehicle suddenly decreased in speed to around 30 mph. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who reprogrammed the software. Three weeks after the vehicle was purchased the transmission had to be replaced. Now the replacement transmission is having problems.

- Georgetown, TX, USA

problem #7

Jul 012004


  • miles
Problems with transmission on 2003 Saturn Vue. The consumer was backing out of the driveway onto he main road and the vehicle died in the street. Two days later the consumer found that the vehicle needed a transmission. Six weeks later the consumer heard a loud noise coming from the front end. There were no warning lights when the transmission died.

- Unknown, DC, USA

problem #6

Apr 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,969 miles
1. recall transaxle 2. same day ---check ingine light would not go out. They fixed it and same day it came on again, they fixed it again 3. same day car is lurching shen coming to a stop. They fixed it. 4. next week the car is not getting any gas when press the excelerator. 5. car had to be towed in becasue it would not start at all.they fixed it. 6. same day after pick up hear knocking sound when turn a corner and then rattle when increase in speed. They said they donot hear anything.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #5

Feb 212004


  • miles
Vehicle lost power when accelerating to make a left turn. Almost had collision from oncoming vehicle. Vehicle hesitated again with loss of power while attempting to accelerate vehicle to speed. Took to dealer and was advised it was the vti transmission and they were aware of the problem. They serviced the transmission as per service bulletin, however, the following day same hesitation when accelerating with loss of power. Next step was to replace transmission as per dealers comment.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #4

Oct 142003

Vue 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
The vehicle experienced a hard hesitation, lack of power in the engine and lost of acceleration when the pavement was wet or uneven. There was also a possible transmission problem.

- Phillipsburg, NJ, USA

problem #3

Aug 082003


  • miles
When the vehicle was on an incline, it rolled back. The dealer told the consumer the vehicle was designed that way.

- New Fairfield, CT, USA

problem #2

Aug 212002

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
Vibration in powertrain after firmware upgrade....

- Saint Charles, MO, USA

problem #1

Dec 232002

Vue 4-cyl

  • miles
The transmission mount didn't fit the transmission and engine completely. As a result, the transmission and engine vibrated. The transmission had made a knocking sound which had come from the catalytic converter heat shield. When the vehicle was driven down an incline, it would make a noise. (michael livingston is the second consumer in reference to this complaint) ts scc

- Centereach, NY, USA

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