NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2003 Saturn Vue (Page 4 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 4 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #140

Aug 112009


  • 42,000 miles


2003 Saturn Vue transmission failure. Defective transmissions become increasingly inoperable. On 75,000 mile vehicle on fourth transmission. Vehicle makes loud noises and then cannot put in gear at all. Transmissions are replaced by rebuilt defective transmission. Cycle repeats itself!

- Falling Waters, WV, USA

problem #139

Dec 102009


  • 99,000 miles
I purchased a 2003 Saturn Vue from a private seller on Feb. 24, 2009. The car had 94,900 miles. It ran great for about 3 months. Then I noticed the Vue would randomly slip into a "weird gear" and the engine would run harder than normal. I took the car in for the 99,000 mile service and told the Saturn service advisor the car sounded like a "washing machine" please bear in mind I an not a car person, I just drive them. When I picked the car up, I noticed the mileage was the same as when I dropped it off to be serviced. As I was driving home car started doing the same thing. I thought maybe I was just over-reacting to something that was not a real problem. About 3 or 4 weeks later I received a letter from GM stating that their could be a potential problem with the vti transmission installed at the factory. It all made sense to me at that moment. I got in touch with GM and they assigned a rep. To investigate my case and determined that my transmission was bad, however, I was 700 miles over the 100,000 mile limit by this time. I tried with no sucess to explain to the GM rep. How I had attempted to communicate the problem to the Saturn service folks to resolve the problem at my 99,000 mile service. But he really didn't care really!!! I never ask for them to replace the faulty transmission for free, I was perfectly willing to go 50/50 with them on the repair due to the higher mileage of the car. So now my car is sitting on a dealers lot and I am without a car. My takeaway is buyer beware!! GM throws out junk and could care less about their customers. Vs what I am seeing Toyota do. Toyota has shut down their plants and are not going to build anymore cars until they correct a problem. While GM keeps on throwing out the @#$% and to add further insult to injury our tax dollars went to rescue this bunch of crooks.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #138

Jan 142010


  • 72,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While driving 45 mph the vehicle begin to hesitate and decrease in speed when the contact engaged the accelerator pedal. She was able to safely drive onto the emergency lane; however, the rpms increased rapidly. The vehicle was towed to auto repair shop where the mechanic stated that the transmission failed. The vehicle was towed to another mechanic for a second opinion, who also confirmed that the transmission caused the failure to occur. The vehicle remained at the repair shop until a decision is made to repair the vehicle. The failure and current mileages were 72000.

- Washington, PA, USA

problem #137

Jan 012008


  • 52,606 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue which was purchased in January 2006. While driving approximately 5 mph in reverse out of her driveway and then attempting to shift gear into the drive position, the vehicle would not move forward. The vehicle was towed to the nearest Saturn dealer where the transmission was replaced due to the failure. The replacement was covered under her factory warranty. Two years later, the same failure occurred. The dealer advised her that she would need another transmission due to failures. She has had the transmission replaced a total of three times within 4 years. No recent repairs were made to the vehicle. There were no recalls describing that particular type of failure. The failure mileages was 52,606 and the current was 135,698.

- Highland, NY, USA

problem #136

Jul 272009


  • 57,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated that when she drove the vehicle, she could hear a loud winding noise; she also noticed that it shifted very hard in second gear, as if a "horse were kicking the back of the vehicle". she noticed the issue every time she drove the vehicle. The vehicle also slipped in gear on the highway and she pulled over to the side of the road and turned it off. She took the vehicle to a dealership and was told that the vehicle was fine and a year from now, the transmission would become a problem. She called the manufacturer and was told that if it was a vti failure and under 5 years, they would pay 100% of the repair costs and if over 5 years, they would pay 50% of the repair costs. The vehicle had not been repaired to-date. The current mileage was 60,662. The failure mileage was approximately 57,000.

- Redding, CA, USA

problem #135

Nov 112009


  • 96,664 miles
Transmission failure in my 2003 Saturn Vue, mileage is under 100,000 miles.

- Florence, SC, USA

problem #134

Oct 312009


  • 122,000 miles


A few years ago I purchased a used 2003 Vue. Currently there is approximately 120,000 miles on it. On 10/31/09 I drove my 40 miles to work and all was fine. At lunch break the check engine light came on and when I put the gas on the vehicle would hardly move. After discussing the problem with my husband, we decided to have it towed to a transmission place, not a Saturn dealer, because of cost. The vehicle was only running in 3rd gear, all other gears were not working. When that problem was fixed, it was found that the computer was needing to be replaced. The transmission place has been very nice and even paid for a rental car for me, but when all is said and done, I will owe them about $3000. Why am I reading all these complaints about the transmission and no recalls have been done?

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #133

Oct 052009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. She noticed the engine warning light illuminated on the instrument control panel. A technician reset the error code. Weeks later while entering a parking space, the vehicle stalled without any prior warnings. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, and a technician stated that the transmission needed to be replaced at an expense of $5300. The manufacturer was notified and a representative stated that there was voluntary campaign on the TI1 transmission for "original: Owners. Since she was the second owner she was ineligible for a free remedy. No repairs were made. The failure and current mileages were 70,000. Updated 12/10/09. Updated 12/10/09.

- Brighton, MA, USA

problem #132

Oct 102009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
2003 Saturn Vue - automatic transmission failure. Was told by Saturn dealership that these were recalled and will only replace the transmission if first owner. I purchased the car from this dealership in 2005 with 30,000 miles and was never informed of the recall. Now the transmission has failed and they want me to pay $5,350 to have it replaced. What is my recourse?

- Brighton, MA, USA

problem #131

Apr 012008


  • 98,000 miles
I purchased a brand new 2003 Saturn Vue. The transmission began having problems. The car jumps into first gear. Greenbrook Saturn told me a few things that could be wrong. I paid to fix the car nothing they did worked. Now I am being told it is the transmission. Now that the car is out of warranty I am being told nothing can be done. It was in warranty when I began having the problem.

- Piscataway, NJ, USA

problem #130

Sep 252009


  • 122,000 miles


I have a 2003 Saturn Vue with a vti transmission. It is starting to rev high RPM when it shouldn't be. I have already taken it in for 3 transmission fluid changes and several computer upgrades. It has approximately 122000 miles on it currently. Did Saturn ever recall this after your investigation of the faulty transmission" I have received no letter on this from Saturn for a recall. How can they not back up their crappy product and not make it right" please advise.

- Belding, MI, USA

problem #129

Aug 312009


  • 178,000 miles
I purchased my 2003 Saturn Vue in Aug of 2006, it had highmiles when I bought it started making noises and the car would not move in 2008 I had it towed to the transmission shop they told me it had a vti trans and they would have to replace it because the trans only last for 2yrs. Well now my trans was replace the car made the same sound this month and needs another transmission I cant afford to keep paying for Saturn mistake if you could please do a recall or to help with this financial hardship.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #128

Aug 272009


  • miles
While driving my 2003 Saturn Vue, my car has been making strange noises, like my brakes were going, making a scraping noise. I was planning to take my car to have it looked at tomorrow, have the brakes looked over. Tonight I was visiting my daughter and when I attempted to put my car in reverse, it would not move. So I tried to put it in drive and it moved a little and stopped. Now I cannot get the car to move forward or backwards. I am filing a complaint because I had received a letter concerning a class action settlement and I was reading one of the complaints by another person with similar problems and through the info provided by this individual to contact this site. I bought my car used in 2007. Is there any recall"?" I know there is a class action settlement by going to saturnvti.classaction@lakinlaw.com but has there been any recalls regarding this lawsuit. It is the right thing to do since this was Saturn's mistake. I am very disappointed with the way they are handling this. I really do like my Saturn Vue & you would think Saturn would do right for the consumer of their damaged vehicles. If not I will never purchase another one & let everyone know not to bother to do so too.

- Painesville, OH, USA

problem #127

Aug 082009


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While driving approximately 40 mph on normal road conditions. The vehicle stalled without warning. Roadside assistance was called to the scene. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer for inspection. The technician stated the failure was contributed to the transmission which required replacement. The manufacturer was willing to assist 30% towards the estimated repair cost of $5,000. The vehicle has not been repaired at this time. The failure and current mileages were 110,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #126

Jan 142009


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated that after he proceeded through a stop sign, the vehicle shifted gears without warning. First gear began to malfunction and the rpms were approximately 6000; however, the vehicle drove as if it were in neutral. The failure recurred intermittently for a month. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. While driving 65 mph June 2009, the vehicle accelerated and drove as if it were in neutral gear. An authorized dealer stated that the transmission belt slipped and that the failure was common for this year, make and model vehicle. The dealer replaced various parts within the transmission; however, after a couple of days while driving uphill, the rpms range from high to low. The manufacturer was not notified. The current mileage was approximately 92,000.

- Germantown, OH, USA

problem #125

May 122003


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While driving 40 mph there was a noise present in the engine. The contact was able to drive into the emergency lane and towed the vehicle to the dealer. The contact didn't notice any warning lights prior to the failure. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and inspected where it was determined that the transmission failed. The transmission was replaced at no cost to the owner. The transmission was replaced on four occasions. The contact is in the process of notifying the manufacturer. The contact is aware of the risk since the transmission failure could cause a crash. The failure mileage was 10,000 and the current mileage was 90,085.

- Orland Park , IL, USA

problem #124

Jul 302009


  • 91,206 miles
My mane is nakisha paul and I own a 2003 Saturn Vue.06/22/2007 my transmission malfunctioned at 91206 miles and need to be replaced 6/29/2007transmission was replaced @ a cost of $4159 7/29/2009the new transmission malfunctioned @137,000 in the middle of traffic w/O warning.

- Loganville, GA, USA

problem #123

Jul 012009


  • 119,000 miles
I purchased a Saturn Vue in 2003 with 7 miles on it. 2 years later as I was driving it on the highway, my RPM's gave way. Cause: Transmission... was completely replaced by Saturn, thankfully was under warranty. Now 3 years later, I am having transmission problems again. I contacted Saturn and they advised me that I would have to pay for 25% of the cost. This is unacceptable. They sold a car with defective parts. As I have researched I have noticed that many consumers are being hit with the same exact problem. GM/Saturn should replace all transmission at no cost, being that they were not able to make a transmission that would last. This is unacceptable.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #122

May 202005


  • 16,000 miles
I purchased this 2003 Vue used from my Saturn dealer with 15,000 miles on it. Shortly after purchase, I noticed a growling sort of noise when I slowed down and when turning. I brought this into the dealer on a few occasions and was told "they couldn't hear the noise". since then (in the past year) on occasion the car won't go into gear; I step on the gas pedal and it doesn't move. I stop the car, put the car in park; then put the car back in drive and it works. The same initial noise is still present and recently I was told by this same Saturn dealer that it is a transmission noise that "may have been helped with lower mileage" by installation of an upgraded software but most likely will not help much now (I have 113,000 miles on my car at this time). I feel if this transmission was deemed defective that it should be replaced by GM at their expense. I still have two more years to pay for this car and with reduced value I am upside down on this car. Please help and advise ~ thank you!

- Albertville, MN, USA

problem #121

Jul 152009


  • 62,000 miles
My 2003 Saturn Vue had the transmission die completely at 62,000 miles and 6 years old. We were in the middle of a vacation and it dies 2 minutes before we entered the interstate in seattle, wa. There was no warning, other than Saturn telling us 5 years ago that the transmission may lose power on occasion but it is not a safety concern.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

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