Saturn ION Maintenance and Repair

sneaky141sneaky141 Posts: 3
July 19th 2008 my daughter drover her new 2007 Saturn Ion through a street that had three inches of water on the road. The water spashed as she went through the water and the car died. After several attempts to start the vehicle it was towed to Saturn of Cedar Rapids. The starter would not turn the engine over and we were told that the engine had water in it and needed to be replaced at $6200.00 dollars. Her bumper to bumper 36000 3 year warrant would not be honored as the saturn dealership said it was her fault that she drove through the water. (Actuall milege 11400 bought in Novemner of 2007) Saturn Dealership would not help kept saying that it was not covered the engine had to be replaced. Saturn the company support echoed that it had to be the owners fault as quoted to them by the dealer. Questioned on why the engine could not be rebuilt and always told had to be replaced with new engine. Took my own mechanic to the dealership, vehicle was hydrolocked and after 15 minutes of work my mechanic had the vehicle running and there was not any damage to engine. So check the fine print Bumper to bumper does not help if they will not honor it. I have to question the ability of the service department to diagnose the correct problem. Saturn Ion has the air intake hose right behind the passenger headlight, nothing covering the opening so water can go into the intake any time water is splashed into the engine compartment in my opinion.


  • helpmycarhelpmycar Posts: 8
    I bought a used 2004 Saturn Ion 2 about two months ago. The dealer gave me the Maryland required "inspection" certificate and 30 day warranty. Nothing much seemed out of sorts during the 30 days but of course now that the warranty is over I am noticing all kinds of scary things that could be danger signals. My fears are augmented by the fact that I think the inspection was not really done.

    The following is my biggest worry: on two occasions, the air vents emitted a tar-burning kind of smell. The first time, I was climbing a hill with the a/c on full and the smell lingered for about 2 minutes or 2 miles then dissappeared. The second time I was on the flat but still with the a/c on; this time it was only a wiff for a few seconds but very distinctively the same smell as the first time.

    I'm also suspicious of a clicking noise when I turn at low speeds...dont know if its from the wheels or the steering system...could this be related to the smell problem, or am I just being new buyer paranoid...?
  • yea man I've noticed both those problems with my car. i've had the smell when the ac wasn't ojn. I think that its coming from the fan. I'm in canada and sometimes when I drive with the heat blasting i get the same smell. i wouldn't wory though I've owned the car for over two years and have put almost 100000k onto the car with no issues
  • I am curious, were you in the car when this happened? the only other time I have seen this happen is when a friend's two daughters made an effort to run through standing water at a great speed. You are lucky it didn't lift the head or bend rods. The dealership possibly could have tried to pull the plugs and see what happened next but--there was no way they could guarantee that there were no broken rings, pistons, bent rods etc when the car rolled out.
    As a part time mechanic, it is stories like this that make me think twice about being a full time mechanic.
    sorry, but, it was your daughter's fault and I hope she learned a lesson from it.
  • No I was not there, but I can tell you what other mechanics tell me. You are correct in the dealership had no idea what was wrong. Could not know untill they tore the engine apart to see what was wrong. So why did they insist the engine was broke and could only insist that it had to be replaced not repaired. All the mechanics I have talked to say they should have pulled the plugs and dropped the oil at the very first. The insurance believes that it was low speed that may have caused the problem as it allowed water to ride up into the engine compartment. Being that she was turning into a parking lot I really don't believe speed is the issue. Maybe the intake location is in a bad spot.
  • I am going to go take a look at my car now! Sheesh! Is all I can say. I can see their position but, they didn't handle it well at all. And to say that a new engine is the ONLY way to go, well, that just showed their ignorance. Glad that your car is not showing any signs of damage.
  • Look behind the passenger side headlight, this is where the air intake is located and appears to me that water would be likely to enter here. Just appears to be in a bad location to me. I agree they jumped the gun, they pushed very hard to replace the engine. Both the adjuster and I wanted to tear apart and fix the damage and they kept repeating no had to replace. Thankfully I knew enough mechanics that knew that was not right. You are right as she was lucky that the rods did not get bent. My mechanic said because the car died right away probably was a blessing
  • my wife's ion has been sending the power steering warning as the power quits. It can be reactivated by turning off and restarting the car. Any help out there?
  • Any one out there have a step by step resource for removing and installing a power window motor on a 2006 Ion?
  • tutzotutzo Posts: 1
    My 2003 Saturn ION starts when it wants to and leaves me stranded often, does any one have a fix for this problem?
  • go to the starting problem thread. you have to cut the white wire in in your steering column. It's very easy, I did it to mine, and one guy posted a video of how to do it on youtube. Our problom was that the car would not start when the temp dropped below 32. it only happened to me in the winter. I would try to start the car and it would try and then not go. The car then send "service vehicle" I would wait 10 minutes and try again, and sometimes it would start and sometimes not.
  • Does everyone have an aftermarket alarm? My car never wouldn't start, but now I have a wireless start and some times I have the same problem as you guys, but not since i have reset the alarm. I know it has something to do with the key because it has its own chip inside I was told, dont know if its true or not. only real problem I have is when I make left or right turns sometimes the car will skip or jump up in the back. only have 60K miles and its been like that the whole time. I am going to get tein springs and kyb shocks
  • ya i forgot to type that I was also told to let the car sit 10-15 min with key on first switch so it can reset. dont know if not having key in will work, been to busy with key in and time wasting to not have key in and more time wasted
  • I"ve had the same problem! Bought the car last Wednesday, a 2004, with <49K miles on it; Thursday it would not start (very cold info in other forum). Both TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY this week, my PWR STR message came on and the power steering failed. After restarting the car, it worked fine. Pain in the'd think Saturn would have a solution......I'll visit them today. Oh, had the diagnostic computer hook-up done yesterday which showed "NO CODES" therefore everything must be "fine"?????? :(:(
  • I just did this on my daughter's car last week and and it was astonishingly simple. I'm reconstructing this from memory: from nside the car there is a triangular plastic plate that you have to work off -- this will reveal a piece of foam insulation. Remove and save the insulation. Then you will see two 10mm nuts (there is a third protruding from the door frame which is not concealed behind the plastic cover) when you have removed these three 10mm nuts the mirror assembly pulls out from outside the car. Unclip the wiring harness and you can work on the mirror assembly on a bench.

    If I recall, there is more foam insulation that you now have to remove. Then you will need a torx wrench -- t15 or t20, I can't recall which-- to remove the several torx screws that secure the power assembly to the mirror housing. Then reinstall

    That is essentially all there is to it -- I had a damaged mirror exterior but working power element, so I had to remove my power mirror, disassembled it to remove the power component and re-install the power component in a used manual mirror housing (the housings are the same). Entire job took about 40 minutes.
  • buckeye79buckeye79 Posts: 2
    my car alarm keeps going off every 5-10 mins..i dunno what the problem is and its very annoying but now the car is unlocked and its quiet but i dont wanna keep it unlocked..any suggestions? thanks.
  • blackion2blackion2 Posts: 4
  • I have a2004 and had to replace the ignition switch 2 years ago seemed to solve the problem.I also have the power steering problem no solution yet. Any suggestions? :confuse:
  • I need the best advice I can get for this supposed problem. 2004 Satun ION owners and honest mechanics please help!

    I took my car in for just an oil change at one of those multi do it chain shops. So, without my knowledge, they did a 20 something point inspection and tallied $1800 in repairs and maintenance.

    They said I had 5% life on my breaks, and I still had 30% when I got them measured somewhere else. Moreover, they said 3 out of the four struts were leaking, and they needed to be replaced--very expensive, and I can't afford it right now.

    The car has no obvious symptoms of failing struts--no bouncing, corners fine, good on bumps, and passes the push down test with flying colors.

    Is this place just trying to exploit me and scare me to make money fast, or is this just a slow leak that Saturn owners have experienced that can take a considerable amount of time to actually start to show symptoms?

    He showed them to me. I don't know if that was just superficial grease, a very slow leak, or what.

    How long did other Saturn owners wait if this really is a problem?

    Leaking at 54,400 miles?? I want to wait till I start to notice symptoms before even thinking about getting them replaced because the leak must be superficial or slow, because I notice no symptoms compared to the car's entire life.

    I think this guy is trying to promote business in this slugish economy. He gave me all kinds of witty answers to my doubts of not noticing, like, "It's like a father not noticing much change in his kids because he with them all the time, but an uncle who would if he only sees them once in a while."

    Is this a real problem that is known to progress fast in a 2004 Saturn ION 1?

    Is this guy just trying to make money and change something too soon?

    Can some leakage be superficial and normal?

    Your help is highly appreciated! Please help stop cusomer exploitation.

  • uzzybuzzyb Posts: 1
    Help!!! I have gas leaking from the back driver's side in front of the tire. Good 5-6 inch circle in 4 hours....down to nothing or a splotch on an near-empty tank. I've seen regional recall for 2006 Ions (CA, NM area) about a problem fuel...specifically "PLASTIC SUPPLY OR RETURN PORT ON THE MODULAR RESERVOIR ASSEMBLY". I don't know where that is or if its on a 2004 Ion. Anyone know where I can get a blueprint\diagram of my 2004 Ion 2?
  • din1din1 Posts: 1
    2006 Saturn Ion engine died as I approached stop light. This problem happened last year as well. The dealership cannot duplicate the problem and I am afraid to drive the car now until they find a problem. Any suggestions I can give the mechanics?
  • kenbradykenbrady Posts: 1
    Over the past year I've noticed at times when I shut my engine off, I'd hear a fast clicking - like a fluttering - coming from underneath the car. When sitting in the driver's seat, it sounds as if it's coming from underneath the hump inside.

    What has happened recently is that if I do not drive my Saturn at least every day, my battery is dead. As long as I start it & do something with it daily, I'm okay. But if it sets for 2 or more days, when I try to start it, the battery is flat dead.

    Is this a relay that's gone bad? What do I need to look for? (Or have my mechanic look for?)
  • mrmoe13mrmoe13 Posts: 4
    After experiencing all the problems listed here and on the other sites, I dropped my 06 Ion like a hot rock. Saturn Corp was no help. Kinda funny the dealer always had the parts in stock no matter how strange they were. 3 times to the dealer for 3 different issues on a car with less than 25K miles. Ever wonder why they went under, I don't. I was lucky enough to find a Toyota dealer to give me Book trade in for it. I've finally realized I can't afford American cars any more. Very sad. Toyota gave me a 5 yr warranty on a 08 Corolla.
  • mrmoe13mrmoe13 Posts: 4
    A follow up to my last missive.
    If you have a teenage driver in an Ion, I strongly urge you to re-consider putting them in another vehicle. 3 times my young daughter was put in jepordy. First passlock problem not being able to start the car, second, power steering going out while driving, that could have been real ugly, and just recently not being able to shut the car off. The dealers gladly take your money to fix the problems but like I said Corp. is no help. I guess until someone is badly hurt or killed, Saturn or GM doesn't really care. Take it from someone who been there. Good Luck
  • I have a 2004 ion 3 have or have had all the same problems.I just got a letter from Saturn that they would replace the power steering module up to 10 years or 100,000 miles unfortunately even though I have had the power str problem for years they won't cover mine because I have 145,000 miles on my car.The government should make this a safety recall
  • Okay, so you guys have all these issues... I have 3 issues... I have a '04 Ion, 200k Miles on it. Runs like a CHAMP! The three issues: key is stripped out due to excessive use... I start my car 6-10 times, Daily. Used 100% for business. And the second issue is the front suspension is faulty, may be "worn" approximately 85k miles it the bushings in the stabilizers were worn out. Haven't bothered to replace it.. Will cost over $200 for just the supplies and about 4 hours of work. Not too worried. And the last issue... approximately 86k miles I took my car in to the shop about a transmission that was lagging with shifting - it's an automatic -, of course they do a "reprogram" on the learning transmission.. which from that point on has caused the car to jolt when braking at 20 MPH. At 93K miles I took it back into the shop as I was told it may take a few weeks to get back to normal... - I was skeptical at this point. I took it to a new shop and they said my warranty was now void because the transmission fluid was never changed. I bought this car used with 63K miles on it. Purchasing this car at that mileage should have had a transmission fluid change already done on it in order for that warranty to be applied anyhow. They told me it wouldn't make it another 20k miles on that transmission and needed to be replaced. I am still driving this car, over 100K miles later. The issue has not gotten worse.... Saturn Dealership Mechanics have no idea WTF they're trying to do. I am glad I bought this car, it's made it's money worth.. But even if they remained in business, I would NEVER purchase another Saturn. Cheers - Magna.
  • buckeye79buckeye79 Posts: 2
  • nhammacknhammack Posts: 3
    Ours just started doing this today as well... It's a 2003 Saturn Ion 3 Sedan. It sucks that I find the same issue, but no resolution to the issue. :sick:
  • well i also have a saturn ion automatic 2003 and have for the past year experienced starting problems also have to wait at least 10 minutes before starting car again which have made me late for appointments my ignition dont want to turn off key gets stuck and can also pull key out while car is still running can anyone give me an email address for gm as this car still has only 86k on it i read somewhere that gm will fix problem as long as the car is less than 10 years old or less than 100k miles on it ,i also have my coolant light constantly coming on and coolant is good car never overheats and now a week ago my service engine light also keeps on coming on and i am still about a 1000 miles away from my next service .i checked the oil and the oil is still pretty much clear ..whats up with all these problems why cant all these people thats having problems with the saturn not get taken care of
  • GET A SECOND OR EVEN THIRD OPINION. It seems like the Just Brakes place told me something similar about my car, which has many more miles than yours, and I haven't done anything about it yet and it's been over a year.

    Hate to say this, but if you are a woman they will totally take advantage of your ignorance on the subject. And it's not just the car repair business either. Veterinarians and Doctors and Lawyers are the SAME WAY! CROOKS!
  • Thank you so much for responding. Yes, I'm a dude, so I didn't believe it, and I did get two opinions--there fine....there's always some slight residual, but there fine, that's Normal.

    But when you ask a chain business, they'll swear to there little stupid sign that says get them changed. Don't ask for an opinion at Midas either.

    They are CROOKS! Just like u said.

    There are honest good people out there,luckily, but placed like these should be reported, or something... The chevy dealer told me they were fine and Saturn, too.
  • It started when I was just a tad over 100,000 miles. I was driving down the street going 40 and all of a sudden I went over a bump and the car just shut off. Everything turned off, as if I had turned the key myself. As you can see this is an extremely dangerous problem.

    I took it to a mechanic he said my battery was almost dead and that could have cause it so I got a new battery and a couple months later it did it again.

    Ive searched the internet and have found that a lot of saturn ions have had this problem, yet no fix. There are horror stories of people almost getting killed cause their car just shuts off on the highway. A few people even said that they took it to saturn themselves (when they were still in business) and they had multiple things switched and fixed and blah blah blah and STILL it continues to shut off on its own.

    I also read that someone at saturn said this is a major problems with ions and nobody knows whats wrong with the car.

    ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED! Im afraid im gonna have to just get rid of the car even though its only 6 years old, its either that or potentially get killed or in a severe accident. Thanks in advance!
  • Yes, I have a similar problem. I was told by a midas mechanic, that the wipers and controled my the body control module,but mine willstart thenI move it ti drive and as soonas I move the shifter it dies, then at least 5 times it as shut off during driving. Replaced my starter and battery, I want to scream, cannot trust it obtrips..I ahve 191,000miles on my 04 saturn ion 1..It has been as exellemt car, except 2 yrs ago mykey would get stuck on accessory and i was going to replace ignition switch, but it was only fuses. So I am really concerned about my problem.
  • Ok, So, earlier this year my parents bought me a 2003 Ion Quad coupe with the CVT transmission. As of right now, it has around 101,300 miles on it. Runs fine. But I started reading about the CVT system and how it can fail, so I'm kind of starting to worry. Should I try to get my dad to let drive someone else's car? I don't know too much about cars other than what make and model they are. I love my Ion, it's a fun car to drive, but I don't want it to screw up or anything. Any pointers about this car would be greatly appreciated. :)
  • I have an 05 ION that I bought 7 months ago and have encountered several problems but this last one baffles me. the service vehicle light started flashing and the gas gauge went to empty but everything else works. this only follows replacing both links to the anti sway bar and replacing the engine knock sensor when it was a bad wire.
  • If we can look into any open warranty information for you, we'd be happy to do so. Send us an email with the last 8 digits of your VIN and we'll check into our databases here.

    GM Customer Service
  • I am sorry to hear about the difficulty your Ion is having getting started. Are you planning on working with a GM dealership towards addressing this?

    Look forward to hearing from you,
    GM Customer Service
  • jo_jojo_jo Posts: 1
    I recently am having problems with my 06 Saturn Ion, the gas gauge will indicate that I am low when I have gas. The gauge will go from a half a tank to empty back up to quarter and then back to half a tank. Where would I find information on an extended warranty, I have not received no letter with this information.
    Thanks for your help,
    JoAnn :sick:
  • Good afternoon JoAnn,
    The service contracts that GM has available (GM Protection Plans or GMPP) are only available during the vehicle's initial manufacturer's limited warranty, or the bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. However, there may be other third party service contracts that your local dealership would be able to recommend.

    I'm sorry to hear about your gas gauge. Were you planning on having this looked into?

    GM Customer Service
  • If I were you I check out all the other problems to expect with your Ion on the Net, you will have a bunch of problems in the future. Get rid of the car while you can. I spent over $2000 on mine on mysterious problems that GM would not recall.
    Beware and Good Luck
  • There is a recall on Saturn 2006. This happened to my car. Contact GM customer service to set up an appointment with the dealer and the reset it for free. Contact Customer Service...
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsPosts: 11,114
    An automotive organization would like to speak with used car buyers who bought cars that they later found out were not up to date on recall repairs. If you are willing to discuss your experience, please email [email protected] no later than 10 a.m. Pacific /1 p.m. Eastern Friday, April 20, 2012 with your daytime contact information.


    Need help navigating? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • Very frustrated with GM. I bought a 2004 Saturn ION brand new and it is now the 6th time the transmission has gone out of it. It has been a nightmare ever since I got this car. As soon as the extended warranty I purchased ran out I've had to fight GM every time to fix this car. When I was seven months pregnant I could tell the transmission was slipping and took it into Saturn (when they were still in business) and they charged me $200 to tell me it was fine when a month later I'm stranded on the side of a semi busy country road with the transmission out. They had it a whole month before they finally relented and fixed it. The last time it went out was a year and a half ago and it has gone out again. Customer Service tells us they will no longer fix these vehicles because they want them off the road and would only offer $5000 towards a trade-in (basically trying to get a profit out of me). When I told them I didn't want another GM vehicle I wanted the car fixed or if they wanted it off the road then buy it off me for the KBB value of what it would be worth with a working transmission since I can't even trade it in now and they refused that. We finally called their corporate in Detroit and their answer was to take away the $5000 offer?? Seriously? and they wonder why they need bailed out. They suggested looking into the class action lawsuit~ even though they knew very well that they are now protected under bankruptcy protection from the old GM. I've never dealt with such a horrible company and not sure where to go from here. I still don't have my car and have never been reimbursed for any of the hassle I've had from GM for every time this thing has broke. Any suggestions???
  • mkreishermkreisher Posts: 5
  • Mine does this as well. Most of the time it is while I'm driving at low speeds (25mph). I called a mechanic about it and he suggested using a fuel injector cleaner such as Sea Foam and then fill your gas tank with it and your regular gas in order to clean it out. Since doing that (about a week ago), my car has not done it...
  • icjpadgetticjpadgett Posts: 1
    edited September 2012
    I own a 03 Saturn Ion and all my power windows plus my power mirrors stopped working. They had been working intermittantly. I checked the fuses and relays but couldn't find anything wrong. I also checked the wiring in the door and everything looked fine. Any help would be appreciated.
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