NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2003 Saturn Vue (Page 3 of 10)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,313 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Saturn Vue Owner Comments (Page 3 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #160

Aug 152008


  • 88,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated the vehicle began to drag and lose power, making an unusual noise. The check engine warning light was also illuminated. The dealer replaced the transmission and the failure seemed to cease however, the unusual noise returned. The dealer replaced the throttle for the second repair and most currently, the vehicle became inoperable. The dealer would not provide any further assistance. The vehicle was not further repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 88,000 and the current mileage was approximately 108,000.

- East Chicago , IN, USA

problem #159

Mar 102010


  • 60,000 miles
Must change tires every 10K, around 30K car started making grinding noise toward rear. Recall for suspension locks stopped working at 50K. Transmission started acting up at 60K. Changed thermostat at 65K. Now we drove it and one day the check engine light and reduced power light came on and the car stalled. Now it starts but won't go very fast, around 10-15 mph.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #158

May 162010


  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated after receiving notification of an unknown recall regarding the transmission, the vehicle was taken to the dealer and the dealer advised there were no failures found within the transmission. Six months later, while driving at speeds of 50 mph, the vehicle began to jerk violently and stalled without warning. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was determined that the transmission had failed. The contact believed the initial dealer should have been able to determine the failure because the component was under recall. The failure mileage was 97,000.

- Forreestville, MD, USA

problem #157

Jun 012010

Vue 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles


Since we purchased the vehicle (2003 Saturn Vue) it has had one problem after another. I called GM and asked for their assistance in the matter and was told that because I bought the car used and it was not a GM certified auto center they were unable to extend any type of service. The SUV loses power, begins to "putt" when it reaches a half of a tank gasoline. When in idle the engine shakes. Going on a camping trip in the mountains this became a real problem. The car did not want to climb the hills, some times mountains. The terrain was scary enough on its own (cliffs off to the side) and needed no help from the SUV not wanting to drive like it was supposed too. We have had the vehicle looked at several times and have also attempted to contact GM. GM told us that because the car is outside of the 8 year or 100,000 mile range there is nothing they can do to assist us. That being said. I have taken it to two GM certified mechanics whom tell me that it is two separate things that need to be fixed. As seen online we are not the only ones this has happened too. I really hope that someone does something about this. Many americans are feeling the financial pull with out GM screwing us, I really don't need to be treated like this.

- Roseville, CA, USA

problem #156

May 202010

Vue 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
-total failure of the vti transmission (Saturn Vue 2003, 4 cyl)..... the cost of the repair is $5900 and... my 2003 Saturn Vue vti transmission failed at 100,000K miles....

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #155

May 272010


  • 108,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While accelerating from a stop, the vehicle experienced trouble moving forward. The contact stated that the vehicle felt like it was losing power and the transmission was slipping. The vehicle had not been inspected at the time of the complaint. The failure and current mileages were approximately 108,000.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #154

May 172010

Vue 4-cyl

  • 117,000 miles


2003 Saturn Vue 117,000 miles transmission went out while driving on busy street no warning. Called GM found out about a "bulletin" they had in place on my Saturn Vue 100,000 miles or 8yrs old and they would replace transmission for half the cost which is 7,000 dollars!!!!! I tried to get a few estimates but nobody but the dealer wanted to even mess with this type of transmission" don't know what to do " this needs to be a recall very dangerous to people like me who just bought the car not knowing about the faulty transmissions in these cars. Please make GM accountable.

- Ofallon, MO, USA

problem #153

Apr 292010


  • 114,000 miles
2003 Saturn Vue. Transmission went out with no warning. Coming off of a bridge to a busy intersection and the transmission went out. I was able to get the vehicle to the side of the road without an accident. A lot of semi's travel this road and an accident could have easily happened.

- Point Pleasant, WV, USA

problem #152

Apr 032010

Vue 4-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
I had a 2003 Saturn Vue with a vti transmission. In April 2007 the transmission failed while driving on the freeway, and I paid $4773 to repair it. On April 3, 2010, the Vue suddenly made a loud noise and stopped working on the railroad tracks. Luckily, I was able to get help pushing the vehicle off the tracks. The Saturn assistance center indicated that assistance might be available to repair the transmission because it had failed once before. I followed their direction towing the vehicle to Saturn of roseville to have them diagnose the problem. Saturn of roseville diagnosed an internal transmission failure. After talking to the service manager at Saturn of roseville, the assistance center said they could offer me no assistance because the service manager said it was a different part of the transmission that failed than the failure in 2007. I was verbally informed that the bill to repair the transmission would be well over $5000. Because the transmission failed twice, I did not want to spend a total of over $10,000 in total transmission repair costs because the transmission is known to be defective. Since GM did not repair the problem the first time and offered no assistance for a repeat repair, I donated the car to a charity.

- Meadow Vista, CA, USA

problem #151

Apr 052010


  • 62,645 miles
Vti transmission in 2003 Saturn Vue went out, stranding me on the side of the road in an unsafe area. This is a known problem with Saturn Vues and ions, but no recall has been issued. GM needs to be held accountable for this and recall all of the effected vehicles. I was told that because my vehicle is past the date, even though my mileage is only 62,000 (well below the 75,000 that GM is supposed to cover under the extended warranty), I would have to pay half, which is $2,500. I should not have to pay a single penny for this new transmission.

- Flushing, MI, USA

problem #150

May 012009

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2003 Saturn Vue. Consumer states defective transmission. After three months of purchasing the vehicle from a private seller, the consumer notice the vehicle would slip into a weird gear and the engine would sound as if it were running harder. The issue occurred at random intervals with no noticeable pattern. The consumer took the vehicle to the dealer, and was informed that was the way it was supposed to sound, but they would inspected it. When the consumer returned to pick up the vehicle, he noticed the mileage was virtually the same and wondered if they test drove the vehicle. 4-5 weeks later, the consumer received a letter from GM stating the vehicle had a potentially defective vti transmission installed at the factory. The consumer was informed nothing could be done for him based on the mileage. The consumer stated there was a problem before the mileage on the vehicle excluded him. Also, the coolant light illuminated. The dealer found the water pump leaking.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #149

Mar 192010


  • 69,000 miles
Transmission failed on the pa turnpike and lost power in an unsafe pull off of highway.

- Ardmore, PA, USA

problem #148

Mar 122010

Vue 4-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
My 2003 Saturn Vue with vti transmission broke down on 3/12/10. Car was towed and is at dealership awaiting a new transmission. This should be a recall and paid for by GM, instead, I have to pay $2,500 (half the cost) which I cannot afford!! the transmission is a factory defect and isn't at the recall stage yet as I was told GM has to have a certain number of complaints before it turns into a recall. Please add my complaint to the list and hopefully the faulty transmissions will be recalled and we will be reimbursed. Thank you.

- Kennebunk, ME, USA

problem #147

Feb 262010


  • 87,900 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn view. While driving approximately 29 to 30 mph the vehicle lost all power without warning and she noticed that the rpms increased to 4000. She experienced the failure three times and the third time, the transmission failed. She contacted the manufacturer. The manufacturer stated that they were aware that the transmission was defective, and they will give her 50% toward the replacement or they could give her $ 5,000 towards the purchase of a new vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The transmission will be replaced. The failure and the current mileages were 87,900.

- Corning, NY, USA

problem #146

Jun 272006


  • 104,000 miles
In 2007 I was driving my Saturn Vue AWD 4cl equipped with a vti transmission down the hwy 401 in Ontario. I was going a speed of 100km/hr. Without warning my service engine soon light and reduced power light went on and cause my power to drop from a speed on 100km/hr to 0 in about 3 seconds. I was able to pull of the highway as my speed was decreasing but had to swerve to avoid traffic and get myself to safety. I took the vehicle back to the dealer who had it taken to a transmission shop who informed me due to this specific transmission (vti) this was a common problem. I had it fixed at cost of $4500. I receive a letter in the mail in November of 2009, from GM Canada admitting there was a problem with this vehicle and they were offering various incentives. (ex a $5000 voucher towards a brand new vehicle or 50% reimbursement towards a previous repair or 50% towards a repair at present. When I called they told me because my vehicle was over 160, 000 km I would not qualify for any of these incentives even though at the time the transmission went the car was at 104,000. They offered me a $700 reimbursement. As this was going through the transmission went again, fortunately not of the highway. It again needs to be repaired for $5000, but I am concerned about the safety of the vehicle and I am unsure if I want to have it repaired. I was even told when by an agent at GM named alexis when I said the vehicle was unsafe and it should be recalled or the transmission fixed properly she stated"regardless of if the vehicle is safe or not this is our policy". this is a know problem with the vti transmission and it has to do with the belt. The only rectifying GM does is to put in another transmission exactly the same. This car is a huge safety liability espc when driving at high speeds on a highway, not to mention the financial liability. GM's solution for the $5000 voucher for a new vehicle was a cobalt (how ironic as they are now being recalled). This car is very unsafe!!!

- Bowmanville, 00, USA

problem #145

Mar 262007


  • 62,522 miles
O3 Saturn Vue purchased with 48,555 miles. 3/20/07 took to independent transmission mechanic due to transmission going out. I was told he could not do a thing to it because of a recall. Took to Saturn of mesquite tx, 3/21 assuming that they were going to take care of problem. Customer states veh will not shift gears properly found code PO606 in tcm followed doc# 1200876 to check fluid after fluid check found trans a little low on fluid flushed trans and put in additive. 3/26 took back to dealership. Cust states hearing a noise coming from under the hood. Found vehicle to be extremely noisy with intermittent no gear operation. Followed bulletin # 04-07-30-24E to replace case cover, filter and torque converter. After completing bulletin, test drove vehicle. Pulled hard to the left, aligned vehicle, all is fine. The cover assembly, variable drive and driven pulley a repaired. At this time I assumed the transmission had been replaced. 6.4.08 car back to Saturn customer states vehicle slipping, light is on. Tech says no light is on and found veh driving and shifting per design. Went back in summer 09, slipping once again, after 5 days they could not find a problem but car was fine. 2.19.10 car towed to Saturn, told transmission has to be replaced this time I thought that was what they did in 07. Contacted support to be turned over to GM employee. He contacted me on 2.22.10 to advise he was working on prob.. Saturn informed me 2.25.10 afterward that 2500.is what I could pay for new transmission. I already had a letter dated $11.09 stating the same thing after class action lawsuit. Tanner called 2.25 to update I could pay $2500. If I had used my ext warranty contract in 07 I would not be out money and had a new transmission. Said he GM could not help me and if I was not satisfied I could take it up with dealership. They put a bandaid on a recall and now I am to pa.

- Mesquite, TX, USA

problem #144

Oct 242009


  • 109,000 miles
Vehicle has not been driven since October of 2009 due to transmission failure. Saturn knew of this problem, but because of mileage are not willing to assist me in repairs. I did not get notification of this problem until after I took the vehicle in for diagnosis. The problem with this is I cannot find a transmission to replace it with! I am making payments on something just sitting at the garage and feel helpless at to what to do at this point! it has been very frustrating and agitating. I am not in a position where I have 2 or 3 vehicles just sitting around waiting for me to drive. I have been driving my sisters truck for 4 months. Thank god for her.

- Morristown, TN, USA

problem #143

Feb 162010


  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue purchased used in December 2009. She found that while driving on the highway the vti transmission could fail. The contact felt unsafe in driving her vehicle due to the fact that upon contacting General Motors, they confirmed with her that there was a defect in the vti transmissions but there were no recalls for the failures to date, she had not experienced any failures with the vehicle. The current mileage was 53,000.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #142

Feb 052010


  • 113,000 miles
My car 2003 Saturn Vue (vti transmission) just stalled on the highway without warning has 113,000 miles on it, 2 months before that I received a letter from Saturn stating they were having problems, or something like that. I still have that letter. I paid $10,000 for the car, and still owe $7,000 and the car is useless to me now, I still owe on the loan, cannot get another one, live pay check to paycheck..need the car for my job, on and on......... it is sitting at a GM bergstrom lot right now, and they are giving me the run around. 1st he said he'd do everything he could to help me, and the next day he said I have very bad news, I can't do anything!! the director called with the same answer.. my car has been sitting at nordstroms in oshkosh, wi. For a couple of days now, I found this E-mail address of yours, on an E-mail of another unhappy customer of 2003 Saturn Vue transmission. It broke down I said I guess it is quite useless talking any more to Saturn or GM.

- Oshkosh, WI, USA

problem #141

Feb 042010


  • 132,331 miles
2003 Saturn Vue vti transmission failures. First failure in 12/2006 w/84K miles, Saturn paid for half and it still cost me $1700 to fix. Now we have 132331 miles and the transmission has failed again. Saturn wants $6000 to replace transmission. The car is worth $0 with or without replacement. Saturn has known about past failures and does nothing to help

- Oakwood, IL, USA

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