really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
134,590 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.

2004 Saturn Vue engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Saturn Vue Owner Comments

problem #6

Aug 012015


  • 163,147 miles


I pulled up to a stop sign and the engine died. When I turned the key, I could hear the pistons impacting the valves. The timing chain slipped and because this is an interference engine, it destroyed the engine. My mechanic has offered a remanufactured engine with a warranty for $3000+ or a used junkyard engine for $2000+. the vehicle is in excellent condition but will most likely need to be scrapped because it's not logical to spend that much money on a car that is only worth $1800. All of this after I've spent over $1000 replacing the whole suspension, shift cables, brakes, and calipers. This engine and timing chain setup has been used in many GM vehicles and has been recalled in the Saturn ls. But not in any of the other models which use the same setup. It's ridiculous and they should have all been recalled.

- Ofallon, MO, USA

problem #5

Mar 112015


  • 100,200 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Saturn Vue. While driving at an unknown speed, an abnormal noise emitted from the engine without warning. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,200.

- Bettendorf, IA, USA

problem #4

Nov 112014

Vue 6-cyl

  • 131,000 miles
I can pull my key out of the ignition while it is running. I was told that my car does not have an active recall even though it is doing the same thing as the Saturn Vues they are recalling.

- Mount Clemens , MI, USA

problem #3

Nov 242014

Vue 4-cyl

  • 194,000 miles


The vehicle was started in the morning to move it a short distance. Upon attempting to start the vehicle later in the morning, it was not possible to start the engine. It attempted to turn over and made some muffled noises and then would only crank with no sign of firing. Upon researching the issue it was determined that a timing failure was likely. Once the timing cover was opened it was discovered that the plastic chain guide had broken into four pieces. Additional damage included a partially sheared oiler nozzle, stripped bolt holes for both lower and upper attachment points for the plastic chain guide, bent intake valves on every cylinder and dings on the intake side of the pistons. At the time of the incident the vehicle was also fitted with the old style tensioner (flat bolt head style) and the original timing chain oiler. The timing chain was evaluated against a new chain and was determined to have stretched the length of one link. The head was pulled and sent for repair where the valve damage was exposed; in addition three valve guides were cracked and there was a significant abraded area on one of the cam races. The head was determined to be a loss and a new head was purchased. There appears to be minor damage to the piston tops, and they are currently being evaluated. So far this incident has cost approximately $1000 in parts and diy labor. It has caused me to miss over two weeks of work ($600-$800) as an independent contractor who relies on this vehicle. Given the extent of similar experiences involving the ecotec 2.2 L engine this vehicle is equipped with, it is surprising that there has not been a recall.

- Bonner Springs , KS, USA

problem #2

Oct 272014

Vue 4-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
I was on my way home in my 2004 Saturn Vue when a buck jumped out in front of me. I stomped on the brakes, however, I ended up hitting the buck (deer) that then ran away. My entire front in was smashed in, the air bags never deployed, the seat belts didn't lock when I stomped on the breaks. My daughter and I were both in the front seats and we both went forward messing up both of our necks and backs.

- Basehor , KS, USA

problem #1

Feb 092014

Vue 4-cyl

  • 145,192 miles
The transmission for my Saturn Vue (2004) was replaced in 2010 when my vehicle had 77637 miles. The transmission was replaced in 2010 after receiving a letter from Saturn notifying of issue with intelligence (vti) transmission and my vehicle experiencing issues. My now second transmission is having the same problems the first transmission had. The mechanic who diagnosed the vehicle has said that it is not normal for a vehicle to have the same transmission issue and I know my family and friends have not experience this type of issue with their vehicles. This leads me to believe that this is not normal and that the issue with the intelligence (vti) transmission has not been resolved. I am asking for GMC to cover the cost to replace the new defected transmission for my vehicle. I would like for this issue to be escalated. My experience with GMC product and customer services I receive from jay has left me very disappointed and dissatisfied with GMC. I would like to know if there is anyone who can help me fight this issue with GMC.

- Azusa, CA, USA

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