NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission Problems

2003 Saturn Vue (Page 6 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 6 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #100

Sep 162008


  • 64,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. While driving between 30-35 mph, all four wheels on the vehicle locked in place without warning. The vehicle spun out and landed sideways in the center of the road. The vehicle was towed and a mechanic stated that the failure could be due to the transmission. The dealer advised her to bring them the vehicle and pay for a diagnostic. The contact has not yet taken the vehicle to the dealer because she is uncomfortable driving it again with her children on board. The current and failure mileages were 64,000.

- Spring Hill, TN, USA

problem #99

Sep 122008


  • 65,000 miles
Letter emailed to Saturn corporation, 09/13/2008 dear Saturn customer service, re: 2003 Saturn Vue Friday, September 13, 2008, I was on my way to work and the service engine soon light and decreased power light came on. After contacting the local Saturn, it was suggested to have my Vue towed. So, I had my car towed to the nearest Saturn dealership, cavendar, in san antonio, Texas. Today, Saturday, September 13, 2008, a dealership representative called me that they have to wait until Monday, September 15, 2008 to contact someone at Saturn in regard to a possible transmission failure. After reading so many complaints about the transmission used in the 2003 Saturn Vue, does the Saturn corporation / General Motors have a recall to repair these transmissions. My car is at about 65,000 miles. I bought an extended warranty at the time of this new car purchase in 2003. The warranty only lasted for a total of 5 years or 75,000 miles. The five years ended in approximately March of 2008. After reading so many complaints about the transmission used in the 2003 Saturn Vue, does the Saturn corporation / General Motors have a recall to repair these transmissions? I hope that Saturn really does care about their customers. Sincerely, steven weidner, Saturn Vue owner, san antonio, Texas September 13, 2008.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #98

Aug 282008


  • 84,000 miles
Purchased 2003 Saturn Vue 12 months ago. 4 months after owning it, the mileage exceeded the 83,000 mile warranty and the vehicles transmission went out leaving me stranded on a back road in Florida, by myself. Im a travel nurse, I was out of state at the time. It cost me $150 to tow it and $250 for Saturn to look at it, they wanted $6000 to fix it. A small dealership fixed the vti transmission in it and it lasted another 12000 miles. It is again broke down. I owe 10000 on the car and Saturn wont recall the vehicle even though they know they have left 1000S of customers out. I have worked all my life to maintain my credit now thanks to Saturn it will be ruined. Yet they have millions of dollars and they cant help us out. Thanks Saturn.

- Mt Pleasant, PA, USA

problem #97

Aug 232008


  • 86,263 miles


3 months after purchasing the vehicle used, the transmission went out as I went up a hill. After a few hours of sitting it worked again so I took it to a dealer. I had purchased a powertrain warranty so repairs were covered, but the mechanic told me that there had been problems with this make/model/year. This occurred at about 55,000 miles. Now about a year later at 86,000 miles and just over the warranty limits, the transmission has trouble engaging when I put it into drive. I have since done some searching on the internet and found that this is very common yet there has been no recall.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #96

Aug 182008


  • 47,000 miles
2003 Saturn Vue, purchased 11/2002. Now starting to stall periodically when shifting into reverse, only 48,000 miles and terribly noisy, grinding sound when slowing and starting. Had kept letter from Saturn dated 3/2004 extending warranty for faulty vti transmission, only good for 5years after purchase or 75,000 miles. After viewing all of the customer complaints on the internet where transmissions have failed between 50-60,000 miles. This should have been a recall. I'm unfortunately outside of my 5 year period for assistance in repairs.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #95

Jun 282008


  • miles
My complaint is against Saturn...my family has owned 4 Saturn in the past 8 years...3 of these have had faulty transmissions after owning them for a little over 5 years... the other one is an 07 so it has 4 years left I guess... regular mechanics will not even take a job working on them... Saturn wants over $4500 for a new transmission not counting labor... a friend of ours also had the same problem with her 2003 Vue.

- Glencoe, AL, USA

problem #94

Aug 222006

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. After pulling away from a stop sign approximately 40 feet away, the vehicle's transmission failed. The contact coasted to a stop and had to push the vehicle to the side of the road. The vehicle was towed to the local dealer and they stated that the transmission was defective; therefore, the transmission was rebuilt. Approximately seven months later, the transmission failed again without warning. The vehicle was towed back to the dealer and they installed a new transmission. After 30,000 miles, the transmission failed again and the vehicle was towed to the dealer. The dealer stated that the vehicle was out of warranty and the repairs would cost $6,000. Currently, the vehicle is at the dealer and has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 46,000 and current mileage was 75,000. Updated 09/17/08. The consumer stated the first time she he had problems with the tramission, a part was replaced, the second and third time the entire transmission was replaced. Update 09/24/08.

- Napavine, WA, USA

problem #93

May 032008


  • 118,000 miles
Hey - I purchased a 2003 Saturn Vue in Feb, 2008, around May 1st the transmission died on it. Since then I have researched and found that so many people have had this problem. Which GM will not call a recall on these transmission. They are so bad that you can not find a wrecked Saturn so you can get the transmission out to replace mine. You can get a refurbished one from Saturn for $4,500. To me with the problems that I have read about GM should have a recall on the transmission. GM knows that these transmission are defected because they are not using them anymore. I would appreciate it if you could at least tell me the steps I will need to take to try and get a recall on this type transmission. Thanks.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #92

Jul 062003


  • 20,000 miles
I have been put-off many times by sutliff/york Saturn for the same problems you describe in your complaint. Had a very close call with a tractor&trailer in front of my house. Many visits to the dealer have yielded nothing but a waste of gas. Problem still persists I am making up signs to display at all public events in the gettysburg, hanover, york, shippensburg, mechanicsburg, biglerville areas telling of my problems with the Saturn Vue!! also displaying one in my Vue window for all work traffic 5 days a week to see!

- Littlestown, PA, USA

problem #91

Jun 062008


  • 7,600 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated that her transmission repeatedly failed. She has had to take her vehicle to the dealer for this failure over the course of three years. The dealer replaced the transmission twice. When the failure occurs, the vehicle begins to grind, lose power, and fails to properly accelerate. The vehicle was towed to the dealer after the failures. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 45,000 and current mileage was 7,600.

- Morgan Hill, CA, USA

problem #90

Jun 022008


  • 10,000 miles


Let all consumers of the Saturn know 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/transaxle 4 or 5 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 jam situations. I have experienced transmission problems from the 10,000 mile point on til 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 needs to have a replacement transmission - 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!!!! 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 !!! 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 the consumer product safety, the government recall bureau, astm, and other sites to let them know of this hazard/safety problem. I suggest all other consumers of the faulty 02-03 Vue and have these same problems to tell all your friends, working colleagues, etc. Get the word out about Saturn.

- Littlestown, PA, USA

problem #89

May 292008


  • 66,000 miles
The transmission on my 2003 Saturn Vue failed at only 66000 miles. This is one of those vti variable transmissions with all of the problems where GM had to extend the warranty. Mine is partially covered, but I'm still out a couple thousand out-of-pocket. GM should have recalled all of these transmissions and replaced them with a standard automatic. They are no longer produced due to quality problems. Why hasn't NHTSA acted on this? a simple internet search shows hundreds of problems with this transmission.

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #88

Jun 022007


  • 47,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. Whenever the contact drives longer than two hours at 60 mph, the vehicle will suddenly stop accelerating. Once the vehicle is turned off for at least 20 minutes, the failure no longer exists. The contact did not notice any differences in the vehicle prior to the failure. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer, but it still persists. The current mileage was 50,400 and failure mileage was 47,000.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #87

Feb 222008


  • 76,000 miles
My 2003 Saturn Vue with vti transmission is basically a piece of junk!!! I have had 3 transmissions in 13 months and Saturn still charges me for labor! they only give me a 12,000 mile warranty even though they know their transmission design is at fault. They refuse to accept responsibility for their colossal mistake and their solution was to offer me a whopping 4 free oil changes! like that makes up for a $7000 transmission! they knew it was a bad design and still shafted people, they should go to jail for their actions and now should be held 100% liable for the hassles all of us who purchased this vehicle have had!

- Cheney, WA, USA

problem #86

May 112007


  • 82,442 miles
03 Saturn Vue at anderson hummer04/14/06.03/16/07service @red lion Chevy hesitation almost stalling. Grinding noise couldn't dup prob after 33M test-drive, replaced front pads&rotors.miles in 81258 out 81293, 04/03/07 no power. Stopped in the middle of road. Anderson said tow car to Saturn of york rd. Dealer said we need a new trans, $5,000.82,442 milesvti tran.total was $1,077.35 refunded $578 out of the extended 5yr/75K mile warranty. Dealer informed us trans repair was under a 1yr/12,000 mile warranty. Picked up car 04/19/07. On 11/02/07 took the car in to be serviced again, Saturn of york, pa. Ses light and hes when cold. Ses code P0841, trans code tech noticed trans whine (low fluid)leak at right shaft seal, repaired seal filled trans, road tested for vti operation. Noise in the rear tire when braking. They cleaned and deglazed the rear brakes adjusted and test drove. This cost an additional $454.51.inspected at Saturn of york on 03/05/08, passed. 05/20/08 dropped the car off again at Saturn of Y. car had begun to have a vibrating sound in the rear pass side and no power when taking off from a stop/turning, it felt like the car was going to stall out. Per Saturn the rear diff needs to be replaced, my husband spoke with the tech that had looked over my car. Vti transmission was defective. This car is unsafe, I am afraid to drive it. Saturn has offered to pay 50% of the $5000 transmission repair but I am too scared to drive the car. I still owe $9402.63. We went to Saturn of york to find out what our trade in options were - we were offered $1000 for the car! willing to buy Saturn again as long as no vti trans.Saturn is not willing to help us they are asking that we put $4100 in to a car that they would possibly give us $4500 in perfect car. Vti of the car is so low due to the defective transmission used. Lakin law firm class action suit against Saturn for vti trans.pa/md were not in 12 states included.2 trans in two yrs.extended warranty not acceptable, vti trans is a joke!

- York, PA, USA

problem #85

Mar 152008


  • 146,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. The contact stated that the vehicle would sporadically slip out of gear. Several weeks later, while driving approximately 65 mph, the transmission failed without warning and the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was towed to a dealer and they stated that the manufacturer silently recalled this year, make, and model in 2003 for transmission failure. The dealer further stated that the transmission needed to be repaired. The contact called the manufacturer and they referred him to the dealer. The vehicle has not been repaired. The VIN was unknown. The failure and current mileages were 146,000.

- Bellflower, CA, USA

problem #84

May 042008


  • 71,000 miles
2003 Saturn Vue, bought used from Saturn of appleton. They know this vehicle has a defective transmission but they continue to sell this vehicle to the unsuspecting public, knowing the repair costs are out of site. Neither the dealer nor the company cares. It is outrageous to me that they have this attitude and are allowed to get away with it. Saturn is getting alot of free advertising from me! screw us? screw them!

- Appleton , WI, USA

problem #83

Sep 132003


  • 4 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Saturn Vue. Whenever the vehicle is driven at any speed, the contact makes a loud whining noise and hesitates when shifting from first to second gear. The vehicle has been taken to a dealer approximately three times for the same failure. The dealer stated that the transmission was defective and needed to be replaced. The VIN was unknown. The current mileage was 60,000 and failure mileage was 4.

- Mesquite, TX, USA

problem #82

May 042008


  • miles
2003 Saturn Vue has major transmission problems! ours has already been replaced once only 60,000 miles ago and now needs to be replaced again. I have read a number of complaints with the same problem. The Saturn Corp is no help! they should be held accountable for these problems. I know as a large family we cannot afford a car payment and to pay $5000+ to fix it!

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #81

Feb 282007

Vue 6-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
About to replace transmission in 2003 Saturn Vue for the fourth time in one calendar year.

- Hoover, AL, USA

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