Transmission Failure

2003 Saturn Vue (Page 1 of 2)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Saturn dealer.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
107,550 miles
Total Complaints:
29 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. rebuild or replace the transmission (18 reports)
  2. not sure (10 reports)
  3. turn it into a 5sp (1 reports)
2003 Saturn Vue transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Saturn Vue Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #29

Feb 282018

Vue 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,462 miles


This is the second transmission in less then a year. You cannot find a transmission for 2003 2L unless you want to pay a lot of money.

- autosalesrh, Santa Maria, US

problem #28

Jun 182017

Vue 4 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 115,000 miles

So I bought this car from someone on Craigslist and was told the car was in great shape and the history report mentioned a possible transmission issues, but I was also told the transmission was replaced not too long ago by the owner who had the car before the guy I bought it from.

Well after having the car for 2 days, the sub frame cracked which was a $700 fix and took me months to come up with the money and my car was not driveable at the time. I got the Vue from the shop maybe 2 weeks ago and now the transmission is going. When I put the car in reverse it either doesn't move or gives me a lot of trouble moving. When I pop it into drive it either doesn't move, gives me trouble moving, goes into reverse, or will make a loud noise and jerk aggressively before driving.

I took the car to get looked at and was told it had one of the original CVT Saturn transmissions and it will need replaced. The problem is the transmission is near impossible to find and cost most than the car is worth and more than I even paid for the car, according to the mechanics I took the car to. Apparently this is a common problem and even caused a lawsuit with Saturn and GM.

Since the problem is with the type of engine Saturn used, I didn't know if I could get it replaced like most of the people in the lawsuit did. I am a broke and struggling college student and other than the transmission this car is in great condition. I am worried I will be driving it one day and the car will stop working and I'll crash.

- Layna R., Slippery Rock, PA, US

problem #27

Mar 112017

Vue 2.2ll4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 193,700 miles

March 11, 2010 My Saturn Vue's transmission was not running correctly. The car had 95,605 miles on it. I had it towed to the dealer and was determined that my car fit the "recall" of the VIT transmission and it was replaced and I was charged 50% of the regular price. Well March 11, 2017, my transmission starts slipping on the way home. I am less than .25 mile from home. No matter what gear I placed the car in, it was like in neutral. Smoke was coming out from under the car. This time the car had 193700 miles on it. The first transmission lasted 7 years and the second transmission lasted 7 years. (To the day that the 1st one went)

GM knew the VIT transmission was faulty, why install a second only to have that fail also. I do believe that us Saturn Vue owners that have had several transmissions replaced or serviced are due not only an apology, but also compensation for putting faulty transmissions in our cars!!! I have had other cars before this with over 200,000 miles and still had the same transmission??? In this time of technology why would a transmission only last 7 years. I treat my cars as part of the family, so I took really good car of my VUE. I never towed with it.

- Cheryl Z., Naugatuck, US

problem #26

Nov 062015


  • CVT transmission
  • 57,889 miles


I called GMC they were of no help even after I read about how pronounced this problem was and is. My car is very low mileage. The cost to fix the transmission is more than the car is worth. GMC recommend trading it in. I am retired and don't want a car payment. I want a reliable car for around town. No one wants to work on it, I have been told it is a nightmare by another dealer in Reno, Nv 300 miles from me. Help What can I do?

- Cindy W., Elko, NV, US

problem #25

Jan 082015


  • CVT transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I got this vehicle at a Buy Here, Pay Here lot called Neil's Finance Plaza in Kansas City, MO around Feb 2012. It was around 85,000 mi when purchased. No real issues and it was running great for at least 2 years. At around 120 maybe 130,000 is when I started to have issues. Before this issues I must say I made the move and drove it from Kansas City, MO to Oviedo, FL. I had issues with wheel bearings towards the end of the trip which is understandable. I replaced those, but it is still at a lower mileage than most cars that age. So now my car is struggling in RPMs, I have to push the gas till it is at almost 4 RPMS! I'm worried that I'll blow the engine. I didn't even know there was a recall on this vehicle and didn't even know about CVT transmission till I bought this vehicle. I'm an automotive technician who likes to do most of the work on my vehicle. This is something I have never seen before and I've been working on vehicles for almost 5 years. I feel helpless cause I've been doing repairs that have cost hundreds of dollars. The last few months of my lease I didn't even pay because of the repairs I've had to do to this vehicle, its ruined my credit. Bottom line DO NOT PURCHASE SATURN VUE.

If anyone knows of possible solutions to a still running CVT transmission 4cyl 2.2L ecotec engine, please contact me.

- smitk30, Winter Park, FL, US

problem #24

Apr 062016

Vue Sport 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

I have an 03 Saturn Vue V6 AWD was driving it at a steady 40 mph when it was like someone put the car in neutral and it now no longer moves in forward or reverse. I have no clue what happened. Looking for answers as to what caused this and what I have to or should do.

- Jacob E., Gowanda, NY, US

problem #23

May 042015

Vue 2.2L

  • CVT transmission
  • 154,700 miles



- snesmith, Conway, SC, US

problem #22

Dec 202015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 189,000 miles

I bought the car used from someone local. I'm a new driver so it was my first car and I was excited about it. It cost me $2,500 and lasted 4 months. It was a waste of money and extremely depressing since it was my first car and lasted that small amount of time. I had planned on getting a new transmission but it's a rare make, and expensive to fix. Salvage yards won't even sell the transmission because they're junk.

I do not recommend this vehicle, it WILL breakdown.

- Clara M., Brookville, IN, US

problem #21

Jun 172013

Vue V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

I bought the car in December of 2012. 135,00 miles used for teenagers first car. Saturn 2003 Vue. April 2013 the transmission started acting funny. May 2013 it fell out. I had it replaced May 2013, drove it 7377 miles and it messed up again December 2013. Drove it again 8242 miles and then after the one year warranty is up I am having problems again Dec 2014. I can't pass local emissions test to renew tag. Take it back to the dealer who sold me the 5000 dollar transmission. They couldn't help me and GMC rep said too bad for me they wouldn't help me, but they would help me at buying a new car or trade in for new car.

No wonder GMC is having problems and about to go under. They do not care about the customer or the product that they sell. I told him I would not buy a car from GMC again. Now stuck with a car almost paid off and still owe on the $5000 transmission piece of junk from GMC. CVT transmission piece of junk that they are still putting in cars but won't back up.

- lailtn, Chattanooga, TN, US

problem #20

Dec 022009


  • CVT transmission
  • 56,000 miles

A real piece of work. This transmission failed in every car and I lost 4630 dollars because GM used their bankruptcy to screw their customers. The transmission failed without any overload. I never towed anything. 99% of the time I was the only one in the car. The CVT chain broke.

I have since sold the car losing a lot of further money and will never ever consider buying a GM car. Not even free.

- George B., Boca Raton, FL, US

problem #19

Nov 102008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


I sit hear reading all the bad reviews about the Saturn Vue .. I feel for everyone who got SCREWED over with this car!! I wrote letters,,called customer service, escalated calls trying to speak to a CEO wanting to speak to someone who cared or someone who would help me! I JUST COULDN'T FIGURE OUT HOW IT WAS MY PROBLEM ? IT WAS A FAULTY PRODUCT THEY MANUFACTURED AND PUT TOGETHER & I GOT STUCK PAYING FOR IT!!!

My first new car. It coast me $23,000..back in 2003. I put so much money into this car it's disgusting.!!!. Sad thing is I still have it.!!!. The transmission was covered and fixed by Saturn 1 time. I paid and fixed it another time. I guess because I spent so much money on the car, it would be like throwing money out the window ...!!! . The car stalls out .. till this day!!!.. It will drive but it will just reduce power and run like someone is pulling it back.. No one knows how to fix it?/!! I am in the market to finally get another car!! I ALSO HAVE A YOUNG CHILD..LIKE I SAID, NO ONE CARED !!I SHE WAS ONLY A BABY IN A CAR SEAT THE FIRST TIME THE CAR DIED ON ME!! Too bad we all can't get together and sue the sh*t out of them!! ;-)

- Rose P., port richey, FL, US

problem #18

May 102014

Vue 4 Cyclinder

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,539 miles

About 2 hours ago me and my husband we're driving back home from a great family mother's day lunch with the family when all the sudden I could feel a kind of knocking. I start to worry a little so I let off the gas peddle. I went from 75mph to about 70mph. I started watching my dash to make sure all my gauges were O.K when all the sudden my R.P.M's shoot up to 5000, so I let off the gas and reapplied it, the same response with no acceleration!!!!! Great I JUST BLEW MY TRANSMISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY MOTHERS DAY

I have no reverse, drive, nothing. We had a tow truck come out and just got home. Come in and got on the computer and look up 2003 Saturn Vue transmissions and found you guys and a long list of other people with the same problem right around the same miles!! F-C-ING SATURN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lucky I got off the freeway by the skin of my lip, it scared the S--T out of me!!!! I had to coast to an off ramp because there was no shoulder to pull off on!! Lucky I made it!!!! I can't believe the car companies are getting away with this kind of thing!!!! They are putting people's life in danger and in some cases even killing them for what!!! The all mighty $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

- L S., Fernley, NV, US

problem #17

Jan 132014

Vue 2.2L

  • CVT transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I purchased my Saturn Vue brand new. This will be the fifth Transmission & the vehicle has 150,000 miles on it. The first time it had 62,000 miles on it. Saturn told me that it was out of warranty but I had purchased an extended warrenty. They said that the extended warranty did not cover the transmission. I threatened them with a lawsuit & they agreed to replace the transmission because so far nothing that had gone wrong was covered by the extended warranty. The new transmission lasted 27 miles, yes 27 miles. Saturn replaced it. At 110,000 miles the third transmission gave up the ghost. I had to absorb the cost because Saturn refused to talk to me. Now at 150,000 miles my wife was driving the Vue & with no warning it went BOOM!!!. She coasted to the side of the road & I can't afford another $3700.00 to travel 30,000 miles. Satun/GM won't talk to me & I never heard about any recall.

- Mark H., Nampa, ID, US

problem #16

Mar 012012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

It sucks to have a vehicle you are still paying for and having it non-op and having to pay full coverage as it sits in the garage. Upon advising the bank that the vehicle is crap all they want is the money and don't care if you are inconvenienced. I love my car and all I want is to find out how to get it fixed..The other option is to pay $3,000.00 and have a transmission sent from Los Angelas. Hell living on a very fixed income...Thanks for listening.

- lunallena, Vallejo, CA, US

problem #15

May 102011

Vue V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,475 miles

For the past two years I have called, wrote letters and sent e-mails, to my congressmen and to GM. I have never received a response. My vehicle is not running and I am handicapped. I need my vehicle to take me and my mom to the doctor.(she is also handicapped). We have had to take a cab. I get SSI disability. Someone hit my other car and I have had to have 8 surgeries in my rt leg, I also have nerve damage. I do need a car that I running not a plant stand. I still have to pay for insurance on the vehicle even if it is sitting. I do not know what else I can do. Everybody says that I have to bring it in I can't now that it is not running. I was getting estimates, but they even gave me the runaround. Can someone please help me!!!!



- elainaminer, Lehigh Acres, FL, US

problem #14

Oct 102012

Vue V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

got diagnostics done by Goodyear tire - they said it was the transmission - Bought used transmission with 51K miles & had it installed. Turns out the car still will not work. Now diagnostics test pulls up zero codes. The engine is not 'talking' to the transmission & dealership says 50% chance they will find a solution. Could be a wiring issue, or ECM or TCM etc etc etc.

- joyoh, Columbus, OH, US

problem #13

May 082012

Vue 2.2L

  • CVT transmission
  • 119,000 miles

Bought car 09/04 with 12,000 miles. Transmission went at 16,000 miles in 10/04. They replaced but not without threating the general mgr at the dealership (hate doing that).

Within the next year would occasionly try to proceed at a light and car would pull back.

I would pull of road, restart, and it was ok. Everytime I have taken it into the dealership or repair shop would ask them to check the engine problem. "Computer says your fine and I drove it, runs good." I have heard this so many times I could scream. One mechanic at a repair shop asked If I was looking for a problem because nothing wrong with my car.

Had it the shop last week 4/30/12 because problem ongoing, everyday. That checked out fine and ofcourse he drove it and seemed good to him. Did replace back struts, front brake job, alignment, tune up and a few other small things.

Sunday was on the expressway and heard what sounded like rubbing front left tire area. Stopped and checked and nothing was rubbing. Decided that I would take back to repair shop was at last week. Pulled out the driveway Monday early am, with much difficulty, and chugged for 1/2 a mile the service engine now light came on then reduced power. Almost didn't make it that one mile. Later that day repair guy said the transmission lights are all red on the computer and to take it to a transmission place down street, which he towed down there. At 5/9 @ 5:00 I call trans shop and spoke to the owner and he said between $3500 and $5000 to replace trans! Said because 2.2 L in short supply and hard to find. I got sick and told him I would call him in the am. Really sucky timing on this and will not pay him that money. Need to research the 2.2L online and find myself one and a new trans shop. Any suggestions?

- Anjie D., Sebastian, FL, US

problem #12

Apr 162010

Vue 2.2L 4 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 95,474 miles

I bought the saturn vue for $3000.00 at an auto auction the person who was selling it said it only needed 200.00 worth of work. I never in my life have ever owned a vue and at this point i will never buy anything that GM wants to sell. I'm afraid of GM now. because seeing they didn't build an after market transmission for this car. How many other cars running around out there without after market transmissions. But i guess if they could make a vehicle that you have to replace the trasnmissions that's not rebuild-able they stand to make a lot more money off of no matter what the year i guess they feel it's ok if no one else is complaining I feel i was totally riped off on this deal. This was my only car i can't afford to buy another one this one killed my wallet. GM should replace this one or at least help with the payment cause i think they knew about this problem and did nothing. They knew these transmissions were junk cause why would you not build an after market transmission if you knew they were junk,2003 vt25e cvt 2.2l fwd junk. I'm very disapointed in GM i thought they were better than that.In the past they made after market parts for every car they made for cars truck and vans. But when it came to the vue they didn't why? I think i hit the nail on the head from what i wrote in my previous sentence. I think they owe me and everyone else who bought these junkie cars an explanation. Canda could have kept these or was it more like americans will buy them they'll buy anything did you think we would find out about these cars sooner or later? Or was that even a thought? proberly not. If you can't trust your auto makers to give you a fair shake who can you trust?

- ganttmissouri, Kansas City, MO, US

problem #11

Dec 102011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

The vti transmission used in these VUEs are so bad that they are breaking down everywhere. My mechanic could only find a couple from GM. This is a replacement transmission that only has 55,000 miles on it but GM only warranted it for 12,000. Ridiculous.

- sandrar, Cypress, TX, US

problem #10

Dec 192009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Saturn lost a class action lawsuit and had to pay half of this repair. but is was a very limited time offer.

- sandrar, Cypress, TX, US

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