NHTSA — Electrical System Problems

2003 Saturn Vue (Page 3 of 4)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
73,931 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Saturn Vue Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #30

Mar 192012

Vue 6-cyl

  • 166,000 miles


I was rear ended on March 19th in springdale Arkansas. I was parked at a stop light when a car rear ended me. The driver did not have insurance and his name was [xxx] address on the accident report was[xxx]. the vehicle was a Mitsubishi mirage license plate 551 rkz and drivers license number [xxx]. the officers name was [xxx]. I received the letter from the insurance company progressive stating that he did not have insurance. The following day after the accident on the way home my service engine light, oil light and several other lights flashed. There was a loud popping noise and black smoke came pouring out and everything shut down. I have since noticed there is a recall for this same thing but was told it is not for my specific VIN number. I am arguing with the insurance company because they refuse to repair the engine part which they said was not due to the accident. I think the impact from the wreck knocked the oil filler cap off because when the geico adjusters had the car they could not find it. I found the oil filler cap down in the front between the front of the engine and front of the car. Oil was all over the engine and seized from what the geico adjusters said. I am placing a complaint with the insurance commissioner on geico for not picking me up for road side assistance, taking to long to repair the bumper, not knowing what they are doing taking so long to be able to repair the car. They tried charging me a $500 deductible when I had uninsured and underinsured motorists and several other issues with them. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Fort Smith , AR, USA

problem #29

Apr 232012

Vue 4-cyl

  • 160,002 miles
Timing chain broke on the vehicle while driving it.

- Morrisville, NC, USA

problem #28

Aug 262011

Vue 4-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
Purchased this vehicle in August 2010 with 85000 miles on it, one week after buying the vehicle the body control module went out. Around six months later the coil pack went out, two months after that the front bearings went out. At about eight months the tumbler in the ignition went out. At about nine months the thermostat went out. We now are being told that the rack and pinion and transmission are bad at 116000 miles and less than 18 months since our purchase date. After extensive research I have found that we are not the only ones having these sort of issues. I also have been told that there was a class action lawsuit against the maker of the vehicle in which we were not notified of. I feel that this vehicle is unsafe and it seems quite rare that one would have so many issues with a vehicle in a short amount of time.

- Portland , OR, USA

problem #27

Dec 172011

Vue 6-cyl

  • 185,000 miles


My horn started blowing early 1 morning and I had to disconnect my horn the switch went out the horn switch is in the air bag assembly. This was a common problem with the 2003 Saturn Vue.

- Bloomfield, CT, USA

problem #26

Jul 122010


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated that there were multiple failures within the vehicle. The vehicle was hesitant to accelerate accompanied with a loud, humming noise. The horn sensor was melted, causing the horn to malfunction and sound continuously. The fuel tank was also fractured, causing a fuel leak and fumes to fill the vehicle cabin. The muffler was abnormally loud and the steering wheel would seize without warning and most frequently when attempting a left turn. In addition, the timing chain failed. The hazard light activation button also fractured therefore; the contact was unable to utilize the hazard lights. The dealer and manufacturer were contacted in regards to all of the failures experienced in the vehicle but neither provided any assistance to the contact. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 40,000 and the current mileage was 64,000.

- Oceanside, NY, USA

problem #25

Sep 142009

Vue 4-cyl

  • miles
I have an 03 Saturn Vue with multiple issues. I should have complained years ago but I am only now seeing the blogs regarding this dangerous hideous vehicle. The back window wiper blades work whenever, sporadically; the emergency flashers are inoperable most of the time, the button that turns them on is defective, ;the electrical system- caution lights come on and off;reduced power light comes on and the car will not accelerate in heavy traffic. I have had some close calls in this vehicle and I realized it should of not been allowed to be on the road. It is a disaster. Why are our tax dollars bailing out companies like GM when they make such defective, death traps as this? something is truly wrong here. Run from the Saturn Vue -hopefully it will not be on the road much longer but I just don't want to be one of its casualties.

- Clayton, NC, USA

problem #24

Sep 222011


  • 99,072 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While driving approximate 25 mph, the contact heard a loud popping sound under the hood immediately followed by the eruption of flames. The contact stopped the vehicle and had complications opening the door because the vehicle had lost all electrical power. The contact was eventually able to open the door and exit the vehicle. The police and fire department reported to the scene and a report was filed. The vehicle was towed to tow station and was declared as destroyed. The cause of the fire was undetermined. The approximate failure mileage was 99,072.

- Charleston, WV, USA

problem #23

Jun 202011


  • 153,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While the contact started the ignition, the entire instrument panel illuminated with the flickering of four automatic door locks. In addition, the front and rear windshield wipers began to operate. The failures recurred intermittently whether the vehicle was in motion or not. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failures. The approximate failure mileage was 153,000.

- Oakland , CA, USA

problem #22

Mar 102011

Vue 4-cyl

  • 28,000 miles
Body control module (BCM) failure with loss of power steering and gauges.

- Iredell, TX, USA

problem #21

May 102010


  • 22,000 miles
Alarm lights such as brakes, ABS, service, & service engine soon continues to be lit once the car is started. The green light indicator that is supposedly constant is now intermittently flashing. The odometer went back to practically zero. The gas tank indicator is erratic, now it's almost full while a few weeks back, it's on empty.

- Battle Creek, MI, USA

problem #20

Jun 222010

Vue 4-cyl

  • 145,000 miles


We were driving to work in our 2003 Saturn Vue 5 speed, going 60 mph on the freeway when all of a sudden the RPM's started to go up and down when we let off the gas and would stall when we would shift. We figured it out pretty fast and looked for an on ramp while we tried to "pigeon" foot the gas and brake to prevent a stall in the middle of the freeway, then power steering went out and the dashboard lost power, we knew that something was very very wrong and that if we didn't' get off the freeway, we could be in serious trouble if the engine lost power. We spotted an off ramp ahead and with no power steering and no dashboard lights we crossed 3 lanes of traffic, just as we hit the off ramp the car started to sputter (RPM's going up and down) even with our foot on the gas, we lost all power and the engine quit in the middle of an intersection and almost got hit by a truck coming down the hill. Luckily he swerved and missed another car coming the opposite direction. We pushed the car to an incline and rolled the car into a park and ride where my husband tried to figure out what was wrong. He figured it was the alternator so we had a friend pick one up for us and meet as the park and ride. He replaced the alternator and as usual for jump starting a car, we turned off all electrical draws (radio, A/C, fan ect.) the car started up, the RPM's fluctuated briefly, then it was ok. 2 weeks later the exact same thing happened on a highway going 50 mph, luckily we were able to pull over and try to fix it again. Same thing, turned off all electrical, jumped the car and started right up. 3 weeks later the RPM's started fluctuating and we figured out we needed to pigeon the gas and brake so it wouldn't stall and limped it home. Saturn says it's the BCM computer and it's a "common" problem. We now have to pay $700 hundred dollars and find a way to get the Saturn to the dealership without wrecking.

- Buckley, WA, USA

problem #19

Jan 022010


  • 130,000 miles
2003 Saturn Vue. Computer failure. Internet research done by me show multitudes of complaints about computers failing resulting in loss of power steering and dash components. Door lock failure and shift lever locking up.

- West Plains, MO, USA

problem #18

Jun 252009


  • 104,000 miles
Major transmission problems as well as ignition problems. Recently have smoke coming out of my steering wheel when car is started.

- New Berlin , WI, USA

problem #17

Jun 172009

Vue 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 80,100 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While driving various speeds, all of the instrument panel gauges and daytime running lamps fail; however, the engine continues to operate. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop and the technician stated that the master control panel was failing. The vehicle is in the process of being repaired; however, the part is currently on backorder with the manufacturer. The manufacturer will be notified. The vehicle is currently not being driven. The failure and current mileages were 80,100. Updated 08/27/09 updated 08/31/09.

- South Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #16

Jun 152009

Vue 6-cyl

  • 170,050 miles
My service engine light was flashing today and about an hour later I started to loose power and when I pressed the gas I heard a loud noise. After doing research only I discovered there is a recall for the electrical system ignition: Module on the 2003 Saturn Vue AWD 6cycl.

- Columbia, TN, USA

problem #15

Jun 162008


  • 109,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While driving approximately 25 mph, the contact heard a loud beeping noise and the security warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle lost total electrical power. She contacted a professional mechanic and was informed that the BCM was the cause of the failure. Currently, all the instrument panel gauges are inoperative. She is in the process of having the vehicle inspected. The contact filed a complaint with the manufacturer. The failure and current mileages were 109,000.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #14

May 272008


  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact attempted to start the vehicle and the windshield wipers activated automatically. The interior dome light flashed intermittently, and the vehicle shut completely off and would not restart. The dealer and manufacturer stated that the parts were unavailable for the repair. They placed her name on a waiting list and informed her that she will be notified when the parts arrived. The VIN was unknown. The failure and current mileages were 84,000.

- Ruidoso, NM, USA

problem #13

May 142008

Vue 4-cyl

  • 51,364 miles
On our 2003 Saturn Vue the locks kept unlocking and locking at random (whether the car was running or not), then it did not respond to the keyless entry. The horn kept going off randomly and could not be stopped. On 05/14/08 we took the vehicle in for diagnostics. We were told the BCM (body control module) needed to be replaced. We were told that a bad BCM could affect other components of the car. I feel that this could be dangerous especially while driving on the highway and the car suddenly stops. I looked the BCM for Saturn cars on the internet and there seemed to be several complaints about this being a recurring problem for Saturn. I don't understand why this part has not been recalled.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #12

May 282007

Vue 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While driving 35 mph, the power steering failed and the check engine light illuminated. The vehicle can be driven, but has not been diagnosed by the dealer. The contact stated the gauges did not function properly. The purchase date and correct VIN were unknown. The current and failure mileages were 27,000. Updated 02/01/08. The consumer stated A/C, horn, windshield wipers, internal lights, and odometer all were inoperable. The consumer stated austin Saturn tried to tighten the fuse block bolts, but it was actually worse afterwards. They replaced the BCM for half price. Updated 02/01/08

- Denton, TX, USA

problem #11

Apr 152006

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,600 miles
Computer failed on 2003 Saturn Vue (4-cyl vti version) causing gauges and system lights to blink and fluctuate uncontrollably. Additionally, door locks were turned on and off repeatedly. I had difficulty exiting the vehicle once at the dealership because of the locks. Incident occurred while driving in on highway at 58 mph. Mileage of vehicle is 52,600. Dealership replaced computer -- problem was not under warranty.

- Plymouth, MN, USA

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