2003 Saturn ION 1 from North America - Comments

30th Nov 2010, 12:23

My son owns a 2004 ION 3 and is currently deployed in Iraq. So I only drive it once a week to keep the cobwebs out.

I have had the stabilizer bar/bushings replaced twice (40,000 miles and most recently at 81,000). The noise never really went away, so now I am told it has to be the struts? Does anyone know if it will cure the irritating thumping noise you constantly hear when going over bumpy roads? My son says he just turns the stereo up on the car and the noise goes away... Grrrr. I give up!

My only rationale for continuing the repairs is to thank him for serving our country. Maybe GM will give him a new car? I have put a few bucks into this car over the years... If I do the struts and it continues, I am out $400!

14th Aug 2013, 03:03

I have a 2004 Saturn Ion 4 door, and my clutch pedal was doing that popping thing and the pedal went up. Continued to drive it and finally the pedal snapped in half. I'm debating if I should spend the money trying to fix it, considering all these posts... SMH.

15th Nov 2013, 00:10

I have a 2003 Ion Saturn 2 (manual transmission) with 117,000 miles as of today. I've read most of the comments, and it sounds like no one realizes that cars will not be perfect for life.

Any how, I had to replace the ignition switch and the gear belt within the first 3 years of warranty; thank God.

I have a weird sound that occurs whenever I turn my steering wheel. The dealer said it's a worn plastic cup around the steering column. Never got it fixed; it's still turning so what the hell.

I had no other problems with this car until I moved from Missouri to Massachusetts. This is when my repair bill started to increase, but luckily after I had already paid it off.

My clutch pedal popped out the socket, but since just moving, I couldn't afford the entire fix like Saturn told me in 2008, replacing and reassembling the entire pedal. Firestone did a rig fix on it so it would work fine for the time being.

At about 80k miles, I had to replace the sway bar links and bushes; under $500 fix from a side shop. Firestone keep saying the struts are leaking and should be replaced to get rid the knocking noise, but a second opinion from a side shop said this is normal wear and tear on your car, and it was not hazardous to drive.

At about 110,000 is when I hit a major life and death moment with this car. The gas line rusted through. I found a forum that said this was common for this car at miles of 80k and over, but there was a recall on 05-08 vehicles regarding this problem. Thank God again, I got to Firestone to have this fixed for under $500, but my life is priceless; if someone threw a cigarette out the window while I was driving...

A couple of days ago during a heavy traffic back-up, my clutch popped out again and wouldn't stay down. Firestone said they can replace this pedal for me, but I wound up staying at the shop today from 5-8:30 pm because they couldn't get the hose from the cylinder to bleed to finish this process. I was told I would only pay $350 for this job, but I'm now waiting overnight for them to finish, and praying again that this doesn't amount to over $500.

Overall, this car has been a decent car and gets me where I need to be. I don't worry about the repair costs, because they are not amounting to what I would have paid with a monthly car note. So, I thank every good moment with this car over the 10 years I've had it, and will continue to drive this car until it can't be driven no more.

I hope my experience has helped someone to think twice about getting a new one, which scares me with all the new automatic features. It's not so good to live and drive in complete computers. Yikes!!!

26th Feb 2014, 17:51

I have owned my 2003 Saturn Ion 1, manual transmission, since 2006. I bought it with 40,000 miles.

My first problem began when applying the brakes going down a steep incline. The whole front end shook. I researched the internet and found that it was a common problem with this car for the rotors to go bad early on. I ordered new rotors and brakes from Rockauto, had my mechanic replace both and the car was as good as new.

Next problem, was with the ignition switch, another common problem with this car. I bought the switch online, researched how to replace it, and once again, the car was fine.

Another common complaint is clunking noises when going over bumps. Again, searched the internet, and found that the most probable cause of the clunking was the sway bar bushings. I ordered the bushings off of eBay, had my mechanic replace them, and no more clunking.

I now have 187,000 miles on this car. I never had any exhaust, clutch or engine problems. I do keep the oil changed regularly. I consistently get 34-36 MPG with this car.

One gripe I do have about my Saturn Ion is that it is impossible to keep the interior clean. No amount of scrubbing will get the stains out of the seats and carpet. But, mechanically, I'm happy with the car overall.

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