NHTSA — Engine And Engine Cooling: Engine Problems


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,738 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 engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Saturn Vue:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Saturn Vue Owner Comments

problem #13

Jan 072011

Vue 4-cyl

  • 83,720 miles


Timing chain slipped while driving on interstate and caused the engine to be replaced.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #12

Jun 172010

Vue 4-cyl

  • 68,500 miles
Timing chain broke on 2003 Saturn Vue on attempting to start vehicle in the middle of a 3 hour highway trip. No prior warning of failure. Engine valves bent and recommendation of new engine from GM dealer service department.

- Upper Arlington, OH, USA

problem #11

Feb 062009


  • 57,000 miles
Vehicle lost timing chain tensioners at 57K miles, due to poor oil flow at low rpms despite regular oil changes and maintenance. Cost to repair is $1400, Saturn will not recall or cover costs to repair engine. And says there are no 'known issues with this model' yet the L-series which has the same 2.2L engine has recalls out for timing chain issues. And in the new parts purchased for repair Saturn has included upgraded oilers to increase oil flow to failed components.

- Watauga, TX, USA

problem #10

Jul 292008


  • 106,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While driving at any speed, the reduced power light illuminated and the vehicle performed at half power. The dealer stated that the vehicle needed a new engine. The contact did not notice any differences in the vehicle beforehand. The current and failure mileages were 106,000. Updated 10/07/08. The consumer stated he experienced T he same problem that other Saturn models had and they were recalled for an ignition module problem. Updated 10/08/08.

- Hoover, AL, 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 112005

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,445 miles
My 2003 Saturn Vue w/vti trans has had 4 episodes of near-stalling, hesitation upon acceleration in 3-week period in October. 1st episode vehicle did not respond when gas pedal pushed. Finally responded with a lurching forward. Temp in 90's outside. Second episode sitting for 8 hours at work. Heater turned on. Went to leave parking lot & stopped at sign. When accelerator depressed, there was brief response and then a "near-stall"/hesitation. Happened 3 times in succession before leaving parking lot. Third episode 3 days later. Vehicle was in condo parking lot for 2 hrs. I went out to go to the grocery store. Didn't put on A/C or heat. Backed up vehicle. When started to drive forward, it near-stalled/hesitated before getting out onto road. Fourth episode 7 days later. Left work after 8 hours into busy traffic. Had 2 more incidents in traffic. Left this street and went to post office. Parked outside and went in for 5 minutes. Backed vehicle up and near-stall happened again. Went to dealership 3 times after these episodes. Hooked up to computer and nothing was found, nothing done to fix it. GM told me, "if you're ever in the area when it happens, stop by right away." I don't live close to them. Told me to run out the gas tank completely until the low fuel light goes on and fill w/93 octane at bp amoco. Still no resolution for problem. Severe safety concern for me and those around me.

- Northbrook, IL, USA

problem #7

Jan 242005

Vue 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles


The morning after the blizzard I started my 2003 Saturn Vue with 20,000 miles on it, I noticed a ticking sound from engine, I continued to shovel my Vue out thinking the car is cold and it will be ok. Well the sound did not go away. Concerned I shut off car and called Saturn. Today I am told it might be a timing belt tension thing. They are making the warranty repair and will call me tomorrow with test drive info. ? is this damaged my engine or not.

- Hull, MA, USA

problem #6

May 032004

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,900 miles
First my engine blew because Saturn did not put oil back into my Vue during a routine oil change next my control computer in the Vue had to be replaced because it did not work. Now my transmission cover needs replaced. I also hear about potential problems with the rear end suspension now. I bought a new Vue for its reliability and it is not reliable all on Saturn fault.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #5

May 032004

(reported on)


  • 3,200 miles
When driving engine made a ringing noise. It elevated and decreased. Consumer took vehicle to the dealer, who claimed it was just a minor defect. The service manager stated it was okay.

- Tyler, TX, USA

problem #4

Aug 292003

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,634 miles
I went to drive to work and all of a sudden the reduced power light came on and the service engine soon light came on. I had the accelerator floored, RPM shot up to 6000 and I was doing only 35 miles an hour down the road. Dealership replaced the valve body.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #3

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 #2

Feb 282003

Vue 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 3,200 miles
Misc electrical problems, car won't start, service engine soon light on, service soon light on, speedometer to zero, tachometer to zero, cruise control wouldn't work. This happened on 4 different occasions.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #1

Mar 282003


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I purchased a 2003 Vue on 12/02 there was a recall in 03/03 the problem was fixed, but lead to other problems. (1) the check engine light would not go out took it in 2 times. (2) the car was lurching when coming to a stop. (3) the car did not get enough gas when taking off. (4) there is a knocking sound when I turn a corner. (5) the car had to be towed in just 1 day after picking it up for other problems because it would not start.

- Richmond, VA, USA

Not what you are looking for?