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Saturn Vue Electrical Problems



  • Hello Everyone,

    I am seeking your advice/information re: a 2004 Saturn Vue Redline edition that began showing the low battery icon after my 1 yr old turned on all of the lights interior/exterior while I was washing the car. I also had the radio on to entertain her. Needless to say I needed a jump to get home.

    This was when the low battery light began popping on and off. If the car sat for a period of time it would come on and stay on about the first 5 min of my drive. Once I'd get to my destination if I began driving again 20-30 minutes later no light. So we purchased a new battery, which I thought would end the issue. Unfortunately right after the battery was changed and before we could leave the parking lot of the parts store the light came right back on. The guy said it might be a short or fuse related.

    What information can you provide to us because the next step is the dealer, we are soon to go to Florida on vacation and we need this issue to be fixed.
    Thanks in advance for you support.
  • kisonkison Posts: 1
    I have been trying to help an elderly customer of mine with her nightmare 02 Vue. Headlight switch hot to the point of melting (saturn dealer says they have seen them catch on fire) wipers working intermittently during a severe monsoon storm, IP cluster lights intermittent, fuel gauge rapidly fluctuating, turn signals intermittent operation. Wow , ,,, Saturn Vue owners are really tough people, I would have given up a long time ago. Any help with a one time cure all would be nice. I have been a GM and Nissan Tech. for 22 years and I have walked this vehicle through independant circuit tests, everything is within specs. This customer loves the car and cannot afford another vehicle as she has recently lost her husband of 50+ years. I would appreciate any help I can get . Thanks and waiting, Ken
  • 442dude442dude Posts: 373
    Hello Ken,

    I certainly don't have your qualifications as a mechanic but from what I've read, the symptoms you describe are indicative of a failing body control module (BCM) Apparently the earlier Vues are well known for this issue...

    Good Luck,
    John :shades:
  • Update, after taking my car in for diagnostic, it turned out that I mistook the coolant icon for the battery icon. After adding antifreeze the car was fine. All of my prevoius vehicles were Pontiacs and I have never had a coolant issue until now since it was always taking care of with my oil changes. Just sharing information incase someone else makes the same mistake.
  • Before i traded the vue in the battery was replaced. Then that coolant light came on as well. It did look like the battery light so you aren't the only one.
  • e4400e4400 Posts: 2
    I too have a "possessed" VUE. However, my problems occur when it's cold outside. Typically when it gets below freezing the car alarm will go off and then my doors will remain unlocked (this is typically at night). When I get in my car the next morning, the interior lights will not turn off and the doors will not lock, almost as if it's not recognizing that the doors are shut. As the car gets warmer, the lights flicker on and off as the doors lock and unlock. I too have taken my car into the dealership and they cannot recreate the problem. I am starting my fourth winter with this car and this problem and I am going to leave it at the dealership for a week because the problem is getting worse.
  • Just to add my two cents on the issue, as I have just had my BCM replaced...
    about two months prior to the final diagnosis and replacement, the dashboard lights started flashing at random. The problem went away after a day. Then in December 2008 they began flashing again, this time persisting every time I drove over 30 minutes. There was no rhyme or reason; they would flash while I was speeding down the highway or sitting still at a red light. Then all four of my gauges started to dip during the time the lights were flashing. I never lost power to the engine. I could accelerate while the gauges were zeroed out. I had Vera - I named my VUE. Don't make fun - in for testing and the techs couldn't find any codes from the computer, so they had me look for a pattern in the flashing and dipping.
    I had a six hour drive across New York the next day and still found no pattern. I bought a new battery after Advance Auto said I had a bad one, since I drive a five-year old vehicle and it seemed like it was probably time to replace it. This didn't fix the issue. Nothing seemed to cause the issue. I drove her until the flashing and dipping became more frequent, then I'd pull over for 20-30 minutes for a break.
    After the return trip six hours back home, I had stopped to get an unrelated part from a salvage yard and when I came back out, Vera wouldn't start. After holding my breath and finally getting her started again, I was able to wheel into the dealer - without an appointment, even - where they diagnosed again and hallelujah! found codes that indicated the BCM.
    So now I have a sparkly new battery and BCM and I've noticed that little things have changed. Where the running lamps used to only flash twice when I unlock the vehicle with the keyless remote, they now stay on. And when the doors are open and I hit the lock button on the inside of the door, she dings. I close the doors and they don't lock until a few seconds after. Before, they would lock automatically when I'd lock them with the interior door button. The headlights and interior lights seem brighter, too. I had to get new remotes because the old ones wouldn't work with the new BCM, so I'm attributing all these new things to that.
  • What exactly is the BCM? I have recently seen half of my dash not lighting up, but about 10-15 minutes later it will be fully illuminated. So I'm not sure if blinking may be next. Just wanting to be fully educated.
  • My understanding is there are a couple modules that control our VUEs. The body control module (BCM) is the brain that takes care of all things dealing with communication. This communication is both direct - to us, like the dashboard lights - and indirect - when we click the switch to turn on the wiper blades, the BCM takes that command and tells the wiper blades to work, so we're not actually turning on the blades. We tell the BCM to turn on the blades.
    There's also an engine control module, which I'm not educated on at all but I assume basically monitors the engine and all things related to the engine and the hamster that runs in the wheel to propel the engine. Hopefully I never have to find out more about that one and mine just keeps on running.
    The issues that I had leading up to the replacement of my BCM never included what you described, with only some of my dash lighting up.
    If I were you, I would continue to monitor your dashboard for patterns. Does it start out only half illuminated all the time? Does your speed or road condition have anything to do with it? Etc... If your engine doesn't lose power and your vehicle starts on the first try and otherwise operates just fine and you feel comfortable, maybe it's a loose wire behind your control panel. If you don't feel safe, the technicians can try to look for codes from your vehicle's computer. I think that diagnosis alone costs about $50.
  • Just curious - did they figure out what your "cold" problem is? I have the EXACT same problem, and took it in several times to the dealer the first winter - they could not find the problem. I have lived with this for 4 winters now - would LOVE to know that the problem is.
  • e4400e4400 Posts: 2
    I have not. I took it in and they could not "recreate the problem" after I left my car there for a week. Then the GM had the audicity to ask me if I wanted to buy a new Vue while I was in there. I told her I would never buy another GM vehicle again.

    Anyways, the changed my door jams thinking I had gotten Armor-All or something jammed in there, even though I told them this was not the case. They did this only after I complained to the GM about the service department.

    They also said I could try replacing the BCM if that didn't work. I have the number for Saturn Corporate who I am going to ask to pay for the new BCM since the individual stores do not do that.

    I have also lived with this 4 winters and have documentation of each time I took it to the dealer and they could never recreate the problem. I'll keep you posted if I can get Saturn to pay and if that works.
  • Interesting - I am sorry you got such a run around. My local mechanic also tried to "recreate" the scenario - and hasn't gotten it to do it for him. I used to wait until the car was warmer - the lights would evenutally go off after flickering a few times - and the locks locking and unlocking. My husband started using his fist and hitting the dash right above the glove compartment. This usually gets it to go off after about 10 minutes of the car running. I think it is so odd it only does it in cold weather! We live in Wisconsin - it is cold here A LOT. Good luck - at least I know someone else has this issue - my friends think it is funny - but I am so tired of it.
  • Unfortunately I haven't taken it in to the dealer. It illuminates completely with in 5minutes of warming up. So until it becomes more complicated I am not interested in paying them some overpriced charge.
  • My GOD! I thought I was the only one going through this. I've taken it to the dealer in my area and they were able to recreate this. They just wouldn't do anything to fix it. They also insisted it was the door jam. Does anyone know legally if this can be a class action suit. You are describing my exact problem. Everyone says my car is haunted. I keep having to jump start my car and have replaced the batteries several times.
  • I finished reading over everyones posts last night and couldnt help myself but ask why is there not a recall on the bcm when almost everyone is having the same problem. In Dec my tranny went which I would liek to say its a 2003 and only had 143 000 ks on it. After finally get it back after a week. I noticed my coolent light and E break light kept coming on as soon as I started my car in the morning. I took it to CT and they said is was because my breaks and needed to be cleaned. Well a month later my gas light, service light and service engine soon light all came on after driving longer then 30 mins. The a few days later on top off all the lights my needles on my temp., gas, and rpms started to go crazy. I took it back to saturn for them to tell me its the bcm and it will cost me almost 800 (but its mostly the part they said that costs that much not labour). So after reading everyones problems and having the same issues I called saturn and spoke with someone who gave me all these run around issues stating there hasnt been a recall cause we dont know forsure what the actual issue is and not enough people have had the problem. So he told me I should get it fixed and if there is a recall then I will POSSIBLY get my money back. So I think its time we fight back and get this recalled. The phone number is 1-800-463-7483 and the more people that call and complain the fast this will be taken care of and hopefully those of you who have fixed the problem will get your money back. Hope this helps!
  • I'm currently having some major trouble with my 2002 Saturn Vue AWD, I left my lights on overnight and my battery went dead, I tried jumpstarting the battery but was unable to start the car even after trying to charge it for the longest time. I went to advance auto and bought a new battery, installed it and expected it to start right up. Unfortunately the ignition turned and the engine seemed to catch for a split second before it died again. Every time I tried starting the car it seemed like it wanted to start but couldn't. Finally I had it towed where the mechanic had it for 3 days, apparently my fuel filter was clogged which he fixed, but the car still wouldnt start because of 2 codes. the first code was 1630 a theft detterent code which prevents the engine from starting also there was a 1631 password incorrect code so the car is not recognizing my key or keyfob signal thus keeping it in security mode and disabling the engine. I had to get my car towed from that mechanics shop to a dealership because :cry: "only a saturn dealer shop could fix it." I'm hoping the saturn people can fix it pretty easily. They said hopefully they'd just have to reprogram the BCM, I saw on another post that BCMs cost aroung 800 so I pray its not that. Has anyone got any advice, experience or comments about this, I'd be happy to hear them.
  • I too am having odd electrical problems, but mine seem similar but not identical to all of yours. So, my 2003 vue decided that the clutch wouldn't work anymore last week. This, after 43k, and I had to have the master and slave cylinders replaced, and something else. I brought it home, and the next time I went to drive it, my dashboard lights all started to flicker, then went dead. This started from 1st to 2nd gear at about 20 mph. ALL WHEN THE CAR WAS COLD. I live in Colorado, so it was only about 50 degrees out. Then, I got to the stoplight, put the car in neutral and everything popped back on. Started again, 1st to 2nd, and lost everything, again. Then, while going from 2nd to 3rd I realized that the speedometer stopped working at about 20 mph. But, if I put the car in neutral for a second (and let it coast) everything popped back on and the speedometer jumped to the actual speed (about 35 mph). I took it to the dealer that day, left it, and they were able to "recreate" the problem for 30 seconds, they say. They then ran all the diagnostics on it and cannot find anything wrong with it. The service manager didn't know what to do, so I told him to keep it another night and try again in the morning, as it seems to only happen when it is cold. (My fiance tried it later in the day before we took it to the dealer, about 60 degrees out, and it didn't do it). Next day, service manger doesn't even call me back. Someone else calls and says they can only "recreate" it for about 30 seconds. I wonder how long they are driving the darn thing. At any rate, they "don't know what to do" and suggested I take the car home. I told them "no". This is a problem, the car still has an extended warranty on it and they are obligated to fix it. I do not want to make it worse, and they do not seem to know what to do. I left it there again today, and no one has called me about it. Great business. Best part...I emailed this form to them 2 days ago to read. They told me "my car doesn't apply". BS? I am calling Saturn.
  • lawson86lawson86 Posts: 1
    Hey everyone,

    I currently drive an 02 Vue, 5spd 2.2L. My DRL's didn't come on yesterday while driving home from work. The DRL indicator light on the dash blinks a couple times, then goes out. All the fuses are in good order, but were replaced anyway. The relays also are in good working order. My dad works for the company that makes the relays, and they are in good shape. I remember seeing a voluntary recall on this DRL issue, but cannot find the slip for it. Anyone know where I can find the recall info for ones not made mandatory by the government? It would make life much easier.
  • Okay so 3 months after I bought my 2003 Saturn Vue the electrical problems started up. My RPM's and gas gauge and MPH and everything in that area just stopped working and this has been going on now for almost 3 years. Oh and did I mention when all that happened the power steering went out. I keep getting told it's going to be minimum of $1,000 and that I need to take it to an electrician, and of course the only thing my warranty didn't cover was electrical issues.
  • jim03vuejim03vue Posts: 1
    Well, I don't feel so lonely anymore!

    My 03 Vue 5spd 4cyl 107K mi is asking to go to the auto auction. Many front end problems, but most frustrating are the electrical issues starting to show up.

    Random security horn blasting and lights flashing, electrical door locks cycling on and off, interior and instrumentation lighting triggering on and off, wipers turning on randomly...

    Sounds like what many of you have experienced. Is there a way to reset the computer? Disconnect the battery for short time?

    Bad body control module? $800? Ugh..."> :lemon:
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