We purchased our 2003 Ion 2 in June of 2003. In April, 2006, at only 42,200 miles and out of warranty, we noticed a rattling noise coming from the front, so we had it checked at the Saturn dealership where it was purchased. The Service Manager there stated the sway bar bushings were bad, as were the stabilizer links, and they should be replaced, even though neither were representative of safety issues... just noise issues, and would cost $400+ to correct.
In addition, we were told the tires were 'cupping', meaning a wheel alignment was in order -- for another $95.00.
We were both surprised to learn of the bushings/links problem at only 42k miles, because these were never a problem with any of our other cars (either Toyota or Honda). We did not elect at that time to have the dealer make these repairs. I took the car to a mechanic friend who explained to me what tire cupping is. He said the tires were fine. He also asked if the car was 'pulling' to the left or right while driving; and I said "no". Having heard that, he told me an alignment was not necessary. Another $95 saved!
Today, April 28, 2006, the car would not start at all from the "get go". After tapping what we thought was the starter, the engine turned over and we took it to our mechanic friend. He checked the starter and determined a solenoid was bad -- already -- and that only the left front stabilizer link was bad and the bushings were OK. Since we only have this one car, we told our mechanic friend (not the dealership) to get replace the entire starter rather than just the solenoid to just to play it safe. We also told our friend to replace the one stabilizer link. It is just our luck the car is now out of warranty -- but that's not saying the starter would have been covered anyways by the warranty.
I also noticed this past week that the cruise control is now making a funny noise when it is engaged and disengaged. From a posting on www.complaints.com, I learned from a 2004 Saturn Ion 2 owner that his cruise started making a funny noise in September 2004 (he had just bought the car in January, 2004), the dealer said the cruise was OK at that time, but then by April 2005 the cruise had to be replaced.
Needless to say, we are both EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED with the poor quality of the Saturn's components. It seems too many things are going bad too soon or will be going bad way before they should. We purchased the Saturn in lieu of a Japanese car in an attempt to support American car manufacturing. This was the first and only American car I purchased since 1976, and it will probably be the last.
I have a 2003 Saturn Ion quad coupe. Now, I am a heavy mileage user, however it's been primarily highway commuting, not so bad on a car. With this Ion, I am on my THIRD set of bushings, 2nd set of struts, the trunk release broke under warranty, but wouldn't be replaced as I was told it would cost on one trip (under warranty) and then that it was covered (after the warranty expired). But, this is the topper - the BCU chip went (which can be a freaky thing when driving down the highway!). I had this replaced - the car was working fine except that the odometer had zeroed out. Given that this is illegal, I took it back again for a second chip to be installed - same problem reoccurred, only this time, when the dealership gave it back, the key fob didn't work and the in-car trunk release didn't work. Within 5 months - over $2000 in repairs to a 3 year old car.
I love the look of this car, the suicide doors and peppy engine, but I will never ever again go near a Saturn, and indeed, I'm giving it back ahead of the lease expiry, just because I'm terrified of the additional bills! Oh, and one more thing - watch the seat belt guides attached to the headrest. They break very easily!
I purchased my 2003 Ion 3 in Rhode Island in January of 2003. Within the first week of ownership, a tire was blown out. I had the car towed to Saturn of Warwick, RI and they were gracious and replaced the tire.
In March 2003 I moved to Florida. I have maintained the car and did all necessary maintenance to keep the car in top running performance.
At 23,000 miles, I had to replace the tires because they were bald. I cannot get over a brand new car needing new tires after such a short period of travel. At 25,000 miles, I brought the car in for alignment and was told the Stabilizer Bushings were gone, I needed new Ceramic brake pads, and all four tires needed to be aligned. I was shocked when I was handed a bill for just shy of $1,000.
Needless to say, I doubt I will be purchasing another Saturn. I must say it has never been a problem to get it started and has never stalled, but the repairs for a car only 4 years old, and only having 25,000 miles on it, is unacceptable.
After reading many posts about Saturn ION I have to put my two cents in. We have a 2005 Ion2. The best MPG we have achieved is 26 on the highway and we get 15-16 mpg in city. Saturn keeps saying that the computer says we are getting 37mpg, but then again they are not putting in the gas. Two problems since new. 1. Left side headlight leaked and was replaced 3 times before it was waterproof. 2. Ignition switch broke. Oops, 3. Driver window (power) motor went out. How do I get Saturn to take this seriously and the guarantee is up in April 2008. I have mileage logs to prove poor gas mileage.
I have a 2004 Saturn Ion with bushing problems too. I've needed to have them replaced at 20,000 and, just recently, 60,000 miles. Not only that, when I took my car in to have the bushings checked, the dealer picked up a whining noise in the transmission. Luckily, Saturn extended the warranty on it and fixed it for free. But since I bought the car based on Saturn's supposed reliability, it does make me start to question my decision.
Purchased a 2004 Ion Coupe in October of 2004. The car was delivered with nicks and scratches all over the bumpers. The car had less than 100 miles on it. Warning sign number 1... However, the dealer was very nice, and said they could paint the bumper in two weeks. Two weeks later I dropped my car off, and the dealer gave me a brand new (also <100miles) 2004 sedan to drive. I immediately pulled out of the parking lot and realized that the sedan shifted better than mine (both were 5 speed). The dealer insisted that nothing was wrong with my clutch. 1 year later (and 5 visits about 'noisy clutching') the dealer replaced the clutch assembly and clutch master cylinder. And that was only when, with the windows and doors closed, the person at the service desk could hear my clutch "whine" as I pulled into the service station.
Third, I needed a new started at 20k miles.
Fourth, Some how the factory forgot to wire in the anti-theft device. One day I got into my car and it wouldn't start - just beeped and said "SERVICE REQUIRED".
Fifth - I hit 37K (by the way I have been told I drive like the elderly) and I'm paying for new sway bar linkage. The car has already had 2 alignments, and front end work. They claim its normal wear and tear.
Sixth - My car hit 47K - Gas mileage went from 34mpg to 28mpg almost overnight. Last year in Feb - the coldest month - I got 32mpg. The dealer says it's my new air filter (which they put in 2 months ago). I think they are ignoring another problem.
Seventh - I've decided I will never buy a Saturn again.