15th Aug 2007, 10:21

I am the owner of a 2003 Saturn Vue, front wheel drive. Approximately 4 months after leasing the vehicle, the transmission started making what to me were "funny" sounds. Whenever I brought the vehicle in for servicing, I would mention the "strange sounds" to the service technicians. I described the noise as akin to insects (usually at night) making a high-pitched "sawing sound" - like a high-pitched dental drill (but muted - not loud). I took at least one service technician for a ride in the car; what I heard, he felt was just the normal transmission. This continued for two and one half years time, whereupon I would make comments and the technician would say it was just the normal transmission. I took the various service technicians' word that the "sound" was normal - because that is what I was told. No one apprised me of the fact that it was well-known that the 2003 Saturn Vue's transmission was fraught with problems - although from the beginning I noted that the car felt/sounded like it would almost stall out when going from a stopped to a driving mode. And sometimes it did stall. THERE WAS NO FACTORY RECALL TO FIX OR REPLACE THIS TRANSMISSION. NOTE THAT THIS TRANSMISSION WAS ONLY USED IN THE 2002 AND 2003 VUE - AND RETIRED THEREAFTER - BECAUSE OF THE PROBLEMS. But no one told the Vue owners about this.

Then in 2006, my car suddenly stopped; the transmission was broken at 77,000 kilometres. There was a 9 day wait for the dealership to get the transmission from Tennessee to Canada and my city. No incentives were offered to me at that time for my inconvenience - nor have they been provided to-date. The Vue is, unfortunately not a stellar performer - and has virtually no resale value. In fact I think it would be unethical to sell this car privately - so I am at loss as to what to do with the thing. Moreover, other non-Vue dealerships indicate that the car would not move on their lot - and have encouraged me to try to sell it privately. They say that usually when life gives you a lemon, that you should make lemonade (the beverage). In this case, I would hope that the Saturn / GM Corporation provide the so-afflicted owners of such seemingly unsellable vehicles with some true "LEMON" AID - and give us an extended warranty free-of-charge - in an attempt to re-capture / make amends to such hapless Vue owners (including myself).

18th Aug 2007, 13:41

Wow! Well it is comforting to know that I am not alone with my 2003 Saturn Vue transmission problems.

I purchased my 2003 Saturn Vue in May 2005, used with 75,184 miles. This is the first car I have ever bought myself, and I already know that this has been the worst investment of my life.

I have just recently found out that because of the CVT transmission issues, Saturn extended the warranty to 75,000 miles, which now makes perfect sense why the last owner dumped it. I had even purchased extra warranty for the vehicle, but of course I did not start having issues with the CVT transmission until after the warranty was over.

The first problem I had with the transmission started in June 2006 where it refused to go into drive. It would go into reverse, but would not move at all when put into drive. I contacted Saturn where they informed me that I should try to change the transmission fluid and put a special additive (that Saturn makes) into the transmission, which I did. This seemed to correct the problem until March 2007.

In March 2007, it again refused to go into drive and this time also reverse. It would not move whatsoever! I contacted Saturn and they informed me that they could not replace individual parts in the CVT transmission, but that you had to buy a whole new transmission which cost $5000+. Needless to say if I had money to throw around like that, I would not have purchased a used Saturn in the first place. So, I had the car towed to a private transmission shop. There they found a used CVT transmission and replaced it which cost $1700 and guaranteed it for 6 months regardless of mileage.

Well, in July 2007, it again had issues. This time it did not have any power and the transmission whines. I took it back to the private transmission shop where they would be more than happy to replace it with ANOTHER used transmission, but another one cannot be found in THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

So currently I am without a vehicle now for going on over a month, and my Saturn Vue is sitting in the transmission shop without a transmission waiting for one to be found. Evidently every used CVT transmission is being used as soon as they hit the junk yard, because Saturn is asking for an outrageous amount of money for a new transmission.

I did contact Saturn Customer Service and discussed this issue with them, and their only answer was to have it towed to a Saturn Dealer. I asked if they could guarantee me no charge and of course they could not. So I informed them that this was not the answer, because my car is just not worth spending that much money.

Then they had the audacity to send me a greeting card in the mail saying they hoped they helped me with my problem!!! Can you believe it? They will definitely be hearing back from me what I think about that!

I am so throughly fed up with this vehicle, I just want it to be fixed so I can sell it and be rid of this nightmare. I WILL NEVER AGAIN PURCHASE A SATURN, and I will make sure everyone I ever meet will know about this outrageous injustice!!

Does anyone know if I am eligible to be part of the class action lawsuit?? If so, please respond! (Also let me know if anyone has a working used transmission to sell to me to put in my vehicle!) Saturn should have to eat every single one of this cars they made!!

21st Aug 2007, 13:26

I am just wondering if the manual 03 Vue's are problematic. I would greatly appreciate any feedback.

Thanks good people of the world!

28th Aug 2007, 21:36

I got a call from my daughter in college saying her 2003 Vue with 79,000 miles would not go. She was driving it and all of sudden it had no power. Of course, it has the VTI transmission and a 4 cylinder engine. I tried to find transmission shops in my hometown if they worked on this type of transmission. There answer, No. Take it to the dealership. The dealership is an hour away. After reading all the comments, it sounds like the next couple of days are going to be fun ones. Ha. ha. By the way, after I towed it home. Cranked it back up, it drove fine. But what I have read this problem will surface again.

2nd Sep 2007, 18:23

Although I don't wish it on anyone I'm glad to hear other people having a problem with the VTi in their VUE. Thought I was the only one. I have a 2003 AWD Vue. I like the car and haven't had any major problems EXCEPT that %## transmission. I'll start by saying that I have about 100K on the car and I'm looking at putting in my 6th transmission (stock, 4 replacements and looking at another one). I got the car in june 2003. I got the recalls and updates when they came out. That's when I started hearing a growl. they changed the fluid in the trans.

Jan 2004,41k is when the first trans failed. replaced under warranty.

I can't find the paperwork, but it also failed in 2005 / ~60k. I can say that because as described below I was just out of the 12 / 12 (I think it was 14 months / 20K between failure), paid still under warranty.

Oct 2006,84K failed again. since I was then out of the 12 month / 12K warranty and the 5 year / 75K extended warranty they gave me crap about having to cover it myself. took a week of calling Saturn corporate customer service and the shop, but they covered it after a $250 deductible.

2/2007, 92K. replaced again. Anyone see a pattern?!?! Now I was living in CT and moved to Florida in 2006 (that's replaced twice in CT and twice in FL). Never did any off roading, towing, most of my driving was my 40 min drive back and forth from work so it's not like I overworked it. Now it's 9/2007, 100k so I'm well within the 12/12. Now I did speak with a lemon law attny. after the 4th failure since I should never have to replace it, much less 5 times!! Now I have replaced transmissions before in cars I've owned previously, but never every ~14 months / ~20K!!! I can't describe too much except that since I have high mileage and they were all replaced with Saturns money it wasn't very fruitful. I think after this replacement (If it goes thru, I'm certainly not going to pay for it) it's time to give it up. I guess I learned my lesson with the CVT!