Question about 2004 Saturn ION

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2004 Saturn Ion - Power Steering Problem

The power steering indicator came on and the power steering was out. What could cause this problem? I can't even find where the power steering fluid goes and the owner's manual is no help at all.

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  • bgbratcher Oct 23, 2008

    Thank you. I have since found out that it has an electric power steering. I was told that if it was the fuse...it would not work at all. Was also told that the one time it went out could have just been a fluke, or the motor may be on it's way out. I guess it's sort of a hit and miss thing?!?! It's kind of scarey to think that it could go out while I'm driving. The only thing I have not been told, is that it could be a control module. So far it has only happened one time. Thanks again! :)

  • siulater Nov 09, 2008

    I have had this problem now for over a month and have done a good amount of research on it and so far cannot find that it has to do with a fuse. I cannot even find a fuse in my car for the power steering system because there may not be one. I hear the same click when it goes out, but the click is not near the BCM which to me says it probably isn't a Control Module problem. The electric assist motor (on my 04 Ion) is on the steering column itself, which may be where the clicking is coming from. I cannot find any info on the specs of the motor from the maker. Another blog I read said to wait it out because the problem will go away in a matter of months, but the issue is to dangerous to just let go. Please let me know if anyone finds a solution to this problem!

  • jrtcrazyone Nov 12, 2008

    my 04 ion is saying service vehicle on and off and sometimes it says power steering i found out thats its electronic and sometimes the steering gets really hard or really touchy and the gages will drop when im going down the highway and resume agian its weird i read some of the blogs and they siad they have to replace the whole column around $1000 thats insane

  • Lcottonwood Dec 03, 2008

    I just took my '04 Saturn Ion in today. Of course they say I need to replace the whole steering column and, of course, they then must realigned the thing. This is a scam. They won't recall it because they're making too much money off this! I've looked for a mechanic who can fix it, but no one deals with electric power steering! Very clever, Saturn. What a Wal-Mart thing to do. I just hope people will see posts like ours before they purchase a Saturn so they won't have to pay over $1000 for the company's sheisty schemes.

  • shonda38 Dec 13, 2008

    my power steering signal came on as well and I can hardly turn the wheel. It's a Saturday so the service shop is closed, are the repairs costly?

  • Anonymous Jan 18, 2009

    Mine is doing the same exact thing...mine is an 05....i will never purchase another saturn...and advise anyone else considering against it.  I'm glad they are going out of business!!!  I would not wish this stupid car problem upon my worst enemy.

  • brokelyn Jan 28, 2009

    Does anyone know where this fuse box is?

  • Anonymous Feb 03, 2009

    As I was driving to work today, this light (PWR STR) flashed on my screen. As I was going in a staight line, I didn't know what the light was trying to tell me until I had to turn. Arm muscles are not what they used to be so I brought my Saturn 2004 ION into the shop for diagnosis. I was told that the steering column module would have to be replaced for the price of $1067.00. I told them not to fix the column as I was not in a postition to have it fixed at this time. I sure hope there is another way around this problem. If it is electrical as they say, couldn't it be as simple as rewiring the module.

  • bgbratcher Feb 20, 2009

    I don't know WHAT the problem is with the power steering. But, it made me VERY uncomfortable driving! So...I got rid of it. The power steering would go off at LEAST once a week and sometimes more. I was quite paranoid driving...in fear that one day that would happen and I would not be able to drive it again. Of course, unless I wanted to pay $1000 to get it replaced! Was not worth the stress for me. My mechanic said if it was a fuse, then it wouldn't work at all. So it was just a matter of time before it went completely out. Good luck to all you guys with your 2004 Saturn IONs!!! I got a 2008 Mazda 6 and LOVE it!

  • troyce4 Feb 23, 2009

    I have a 2004 ion and I ran into this problem all summer long. When it happened I would while driving turn the car off then back on. When I did that it would reset the power steering. As soon as the winter came I did not have a problem with the power steering but I would every once in a while have the vechile light come on and it would not let my saturn start. I would have to let it sit then it would reset it's self and then would start. I love this car but do not understand these problems.

  • Anonymous Mar 23, 2009

    my power steering went out and i could not get a answer from the tech support. they wanted to charge a service fee. i did some more research and found out it was just a fuse.number 42 or 43 fuse. hope this makes things easier for anybody else.



    kevin

  • ana_alh Mar 26, 2009

    Where is the darn fuse box?!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous Mar 31, 2009

    I own a 2004 Ion Coupe and yesterday my power steering light came on and the power steering went out, it was scarey. I was told to shut the car off and it would reset which I did and that did work, but that night again it the light came on no power steering. My car is now at the dealership waiting for the call on the out come.

  • ThisisTough May 11, 2010

    I suppose it would ne helpful for those who mentioned it was a fuse, to name which one it was, by location and number. Even better if you can find a photo or diagram of the fuse box & point it out. Thanks.

    I wonder what % of Saturns have failed?


  • vickieski200
    vickieski200 Aug 27, 2012

    i know there are two fuse boxes one inside and one in the engine. Mine just did it today, turned off car when i turned it back on it was ok. I did recieve a letter a couple months ago from Saturn stating issues with the power steering ... will call dealship tomorrow

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19 Answers

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The motor on the power steering is overheating which causes the thermal overloads to trip.

go tho the junk yard and buy a motor for a 2004 thru 206 ion or a 2004 thru 2008 chevy colbalt.

they are all the same. You may have to buy the wholle steering colum but you can remove the motor with 2 - 12mm bolts and a quick dissconnect pulg. Replace just the motor as the whole steering colum is a bit more complicated. the dealerships want you to replace the whoe steering colum, in fact that is the only way they sell the parts. It is a scam. Just the motor needs to be replaced.
I have done it on 4 different ions. try to get a motor with few as possible miles and as new as possible. I have paid between $50 and $125 for these. The dealer wants $900 fnad about $500 to install. It is very simple to do. Only 2 bolts.

ccmclamb@gmail.com

Posted on May 20, 2009

  • Efrain Leiva
    Efrain Leiva Jan 07, 2014

    Does any body has the right number for GM were we can call to report the problem ?? and also will like to thanks everyone one for adding their comments very helpful

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Just a warning to anyone who has a Saturn ION: There is a big problem with Saturn ION’s; this car will have the electric power steering turn off when you are driving down the road at high speeds. This makes it almost impossible to turn the car for it is now resisting you from turning it. Now people may say that it is just a fuse because this car has an electric power steering but changing the fuse is good but won’t fix the problem. Now if this ever happens to you what you need to do is try to pull off to the side (It will not be easy) then turn off your car and start it back up and your electric power steering will work again. If you have had this done to you or if you are worried about the electric power steering going out on your car (even if it many have low millage ) PLEASE CALL NHTSA at 888-327-4236 to document your complaint. You will need car year, VIN #, and current mileage. With enough complaints, the Ion will be added! Other GM cars that have had the electric power steering gone out have had a recall on them like the Chevy Cobalt. There have been reports all over the internet about this happening to Saturn Ion’s since 2004.

Posted on Apr 13, 2010

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There is a special coverage for power steering problems on the Saturn Ion. Mine is a 2005 and all I had to do was call Saturn customer service at 1-800-553-6000 and give them my Vin number. They even helped hook me up with a dealer in my area (happens to be Chevy) that could fix it.

Posted on Mar 03, 2011

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  • Webklinger Apr 05, 2011

    I just called and it's all true... 10 years or 100,000 miles. I'm so glad I hardly drive. Thank you man/woman!

  • Zazzers Skenan Apr 28, 2011

    It is crazy, I have 94XXX miles I almost didn't make it haha, But yeah I called the number you posted and got it in the next morning and it was done in like 3 hours! I'm so happy!

  • thebadbrummi Jul 16, 2011

    It's very true, they even answered the phone on Saturday afternoon and told me the vehicle is covered by "special coverage" but not a recall. All they needed was the VIN number. This is for a 2004 Ion with 47,000 miles. A HUGE "Thank you" to jmkoon for taking the time to post this!!!

  • beerman1378 Sep 13, 2011

    I am in the process of doing this now. The Saturn rep is sceduling an appt. for me to bring my car to a GM dealer that will service it for zero!

  • beerman1378 Sep 13, 2011

    Also, How many had this issue come back after the fix? Anybody?

  • Dawg from MS Sep 20, 2011

    This solution should be number one as it's the only one that matters. The warranty if for real as I just used it today to get my Saturn fixed.

  • Syndi Dec 03, 2011

    i have a 2005 Saturn Ion. The first time I lost my power steering, I called an 800#, and was asked whether or not I had jump started someone, or had someone jump start me. My car was approximately 2 years old (and I drive about 18,000 a year). So that would have been at approximately 36,000 miles. Yesterday, I left my headlights on at work and my battery went down. I purchased a new battery..... no power steering. It has happened again. It is sporatic... In almost 7 years, I have had to get 4 jumpstarts, twice the power steering fuse blew out. I am glad that I found this forum. I have had sporatic problems with the key being stuck in the ignition for the past couple of years. It is quite annoying that I have to take a spare key with me everywhere that I go, because the key may stick, and it is very difficult to get my housekey off the ring. Additionally... when the battery went down, my key stuck in the ignition. I had this happen before, and called roadside assist. Roadside told me that the key locking in the ignition if the battery is down is a security device.... WHAT? WHY? Who is going to steal a car with a dead battery. It makes no sense to me. That was when I started taking a spare key with me everywhere that I go. I could not get the key out of the ignition to get into my house. So last night when my battery died, I locked the doors with my key. But my issue is... I left my vehicle registration in the car. So IF someone had decided to get into my car, they not only know where I live. But they also have a key to my house...because my car was stranded. THIS IS CRAZY!!

  • vickieski200
    vickieski200 Aug 27, 2012

    yes that is a safety feature, the key will not come out if battery is dead

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ANY ONE WITH A SATURN ION THAT HAS POWER STEERING PROBLEMS....PLEASE READ....The power steering recall on the cars just made by GM have the very same steering parts as the Saturn Ion. But the Ion was not included in the recall... PLEASE call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 to document your complaint. You will need car year, VIN #, and current mileage. With enough complaints, the Ion will be added!

Posted on Mar 03, 2010

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I have an 04 ion myself and just got back from the dealerdship and had a dianostic check on it i have the same problem as other with the electronic power steering it gets really loose or tight and the power steering light comes on as well as the check vehicle light the problem with mine is the PSCM (power steering control module) its in the steering column itself. the guy at the dealership told me those go out all the time with ions and there is no recall on them which is bs to me. so people with the same problem sorry to say but thats most likely the problem 9 times out of 10 it is it could be the fuse but like i said its the PSCM. you can tjust order a new motor or module you have to replace the whole column and its costly i got a invoice for nabout $700 but it could be close to a $1000

Posted on Nov 14, 2008

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To all you ION owners, I just hung up from a Saturn dealer and this power steering problem has now been recalled. You should be able to get it fixed under the recall, for those that have already paid to have it fixed you can apply for a refund from the dealer that repaired it. Hope this helps all of you.

Posted on Mar 20, 2010

  • savebuyatpre Mar 20, 2010

    Now they say its not covered under the recall because it is not the Chevy Cobalt which has the same exact steering unit.

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  1. it does not use power steering fluid.It has an electric motor on the bottom of the steering column.The cause of it failing is still exactly unknown.It could be a fuse,control module or possibly a falty motor on the column.

Posted on Oct 23, 2008

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Just replace the power steering fuses, there are two. When you take it in, they of course, wont tell you that. But if that doesnt work then you do have a problem. When you jump the car using the battery it blows the fuses.

Posted on Dec 04, 2008

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Same problem with steering here also. replaced steering column twice, module twice and fuses.. no help at all trying to just get rid of the car nothing but problems since day one.

Posted on Dec 20, 2009

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I know you have already got an answer, and yes your power steering is electronic. But i had this same problem and the dealership ended up replacing the entire steering column and electronic module...almost $1,000 repair. just so ya know :)

Posted on Nov 08, 2008

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Sorry to scare you but my daughter's '06 Saturn ION had power steering suddenly go out when she was exiting interstate on a loop-around exit one week-end. She had to fight the steering wheel with all her strength to get the car to turn the curve. The problem occurred off & on the rest of the week-end. No warning, just the light would come on & out went the power steering immediately.
Took it into dealership following Monday, they said it would require the WHOLE STEERING COLUMN to be replaced as there is no separate steering box like in the old days. Bill was around $900.00! What choice do we have when we're still making payments on the danged car!?

Posted on Nov 02, 2008

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1. There is no power steering fluid in the Saturn Ion
2. There is a recall on the power steering, take it to your local Chevy and they will fix it
3. To reset it turn your car off then on again

Posted on Jun 06, 2012

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Sometimes when you jump a car it blows a fuse, turns out it blew both of my power steering fuses it cost $7.14 for both fuses. Luckily that was my only problem. Might wanna check the fuses before you pay for major work done.

Posted on Jul 26, 2011

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I recently started having freak problems with my power steering where it just started cutting out on me while i was driving around. I happened one night and then continued to happen again and again. it would come back on when i would stop the car, turn the ignition off and then turn it back on. I was told about a similar problem by a friend of mine who had this happen with her saturn. She called GM and they replaced her power steering for free. She told me she called the dealership and they gave her a 1800 number to call. Supposedly they are doing a "quiet recall" of sorts. I didnt want to get the run around from the dealership so I just got the number online and called. They called it "extended coverage" for 10 years or 100,000 miles. They hooked me up with a specific dealership and i am taking my car in on monday! They have to order the parts but I can handle waiting if it is going to be free.

Posted on Oct 22, 2010

  • Ravendrkwolf Aug 16, 2011

    I was told if I had less than 100 thousand miles they would fix it for free, but if over, I had to pay. That stinks, if its a saftey issue, it shouldnt cost me a dime to fix.

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I have Saturn Ion Quad Cope with 34,000 KM on it, and its the same problem.

I want to do a letter from people who have the same problem with Electric Power Steering, and send it to GM that they will do something faster. If you want to enjoy, feel free to send me an email Adept11@gmail.com

Posted on Nov 12, 2009

  • adept11 Nov 12, 2009

    I have Saturn Ion Quad Cope with 34,000 KM on it, and its the same problem.

    I want to do a letter from people who have the same problem with Electric Power Steering, and send it to GM that they will do something faster. If you want to enjoy, feel free to send me an email Adept11@gmail.com



  • creesephoto Oct 22, 2010

    If you call GM they will hook you up with a dealership and fix it for free. I am having mine fixed this week.

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I have had this same problem for awhile now. I replaced the fuses and the power steering still goes out. I guess I can still drive the car but with the small steering wheel parallel parking is a *****. I am taking the car in on Monday to see what the dealership can do but if it is around $1000 bucks I will be driving this car old school.

Posted on Aug 23, 2009

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I tried to jump the car and ended up blowing some fuses. One of them was the power steering fuse. Replaced it and Bob's yer uncle.

Posted on Nov 23, 2008

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Thanks guys for the info on this site! It saved me a grand. I did not nor would have I known about the so called silent recall on the power steering if I had not found your posts.

We have a 2004 Saturn ION with 99,485 miles on it and by calling GM I got it fixed at no cost. I just made it under the 100,000 miles, 10 year mark.

Posted on Mar 03, 2012

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Just check the red wire on the left side on the fuse block under the hood.and tight it.

Posted on Jul 04, 2015

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: Steering

It is an electric assist steering. On very heavy use the motor can become overheated and goes into "safe mode" only partial assist until it cools down. Repeated attempts at parrallel parking have been know to cause this.

Posted on Jan 24, 2009

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hi Eva.
As you turn your steering wheel it is this fluid pressure that aids in turning the wheels of your car. ... If the pump impeller is trying to move power steering fluid and starts catching air bubbles it can cause whining noises and vibrations to occur.
Maybe you've heard it at a stop light. Maybe you've heard it as you pass a car on the freeway. Or maybe you've heard it in the parking lot at work when someone is leaving. The unmistakable whine of a power steering pump can make even the most confident mechanic wonder when that car will breakdown.
Power steering pump noise is a unique noise that your car may make and once you've heard it you always know what it is. The noise is a mix of a whirring and a whining and will always vary with the speed of your engine whether your car is driving or in park. This whining noise can be subtle or extremely loud and may be worse in colder weather, or right when you first start your car.
Power steering pumps are most often vain style centrifugal pumps that are tasked with pressurizing the power steering fluid and pushing it down to your power steering gear or rack. As you turn your steering wheel it is this fluid pressure that aids in turning the wheels of your car.
There are a few reasons why you are hearing power steering pump noise from your car. First, it may simply be due to the design of the pump. Sometimes, noisy power steering pumps can continue to work flawlessly for years after they start making noise. This may simply be due to the manufacture's design or a tight tolerance in that particular pump. In this case, you would hear the noise but not see any other adverse effect like a loss in power steering, leaking fluid or a wobbly pulley. In this case, you may be able to help reduce your power steering pump noise by choosing a different type of power steering fluid, like a synthetic fluid.
Your power steering pump may also be making noises due to air trapped in the system. If the pump impeller is trying to move power steering fluid and starts catching air bubbles it can cause whining noises and vibrations to occur. Even tiny air bubbles you cannot see that are trapping in the power steering fluid may be causing the whining you are hearing. In this case, the best thing to do is flush your power steering system to try and remove the air from the system. Having air trapped in your power steering system can be difficult to diagnose so you may need to simply try a power steering flush to see if it solves your problem.
Power Steering pump noise may also be due to a failing power steering pump. As the bearings on the impeller go bad it will start to make noise as the pump is turning. If you have a bad power steering pump you usually will also experience leaks from around the pulley, a wobbly pulley, or difficulty turning the steering wheel when you are stopped. If you have multiple of these symptoms together, it is probably time to replace your power steering pump.
Lastly, and most usually, a whining power steering pump is an indication of a low fluid level. Your power steering fluid is probably something you have rarely if ever checked, so it often comes as a surprise if the level is low. Your power steering fluid reservoir is also relatively small so even a slow leak will cause a low fluid level relatively quickly. To confirm this is your problem it is as simple as checking your power steering fluid level. Some power steering reservoirs are clear so you can see through them to check how full they are. You may have to wipe away some dirt and grime to find the "full" line, but it should be easy to check. If you have an opaque power steering fluid reservoir there should be a small dipstick under the cap that will help you measure the fluid level. If it is low, then you have a leak somewhere and topping off the fluid should quite down your power steering pump.
If you discover a power steering leak, rather than simply continuing to add fluid every time it gets low, you should fix the problem permanently so you don't have to continue to check your power steering fluid level. Replacing lines or seals can be a surprisingly difficult task due to the location of your power steering pump and steering gear or rack. The easiest way to seal your leak is to do it from the inside out!

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Power steering whining sqreeching Google Search

Dec 14, 2017 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Loss of power steering


If fluid level is up and pump drive belt is not slipping it could be an early indication of either a pump issue or seals/valving issue in steering sector/steering rack.

If fluid looks like it has a metallic look to it like some paint finishes do- replacement of both units is in order.

If fluid looks clean, just dark and oxidized, look for loose or leaking hoses. Also check for possible mechanical interference with steering, loose colmn to dashboard, loose or binding flex coupling, or loose power steering rack, inner and outer tie rod bind, even ball joints or king pins that might be close to siezing.

Jan 27, 2012 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Can low steering fluid cause mechanical problems


Problems associated with low power steering fluid…

Hard Vehicle Steering
A low power steering fluid level can often times cause a vehicle's steering to become hard and labored. Adequate amounts of power steering fluid are necessary to enable a vehicle's power steering system to function and operate at optimum levels. A lack of power steering fluid in a vehicle's power steering system reduces the amount of hydraulic fluid pressure necessary to efficiently operating the various parts of the entire power steering system. Power steering fluid supplies the fluid force needed to operate the power steering gears and to enable power steering gearbox operation. Low power steering fluid levels reduce this hydraulic pressure, which commonly results in hard vehicle steering.

Pump Noise
It is very common for a low power steering fluid level to cause significant power steering pump noise. An adequate amount of power steering fluid is required to ensure the proper function and longevity of a power steering pump unit, which is a belt-driven pump responsible for housing and circulating power steering pump fluid. A low level of power steering fluid results in increased power steering pump friction, heat, and wear, all of which can significantly reduce the operational life of the power steering pump while at the same time cause excessive power steering pump noise.

Fluid Boiling
Many times a low power steering fluid level can result in excessive heating of power steering fluid, a condition that can seriously degrade the fluid and cause it to boil. A low power steering fluid level results in less available fluid to both lubricate and cool a power steering pump unit. A lack of power steering pump lubrication and cooling leads to excessive heat being generated within the power steering pump unit itself, a condition that translates into the available level of power steering fluid becoming super-heated and degraded. When this happens it is common for the power steering fluid to boil and lose all of its lubricating and heat-reducing capabilities.

Gearbox Wear
The power steering gearbox is a set of gears within a vehicle's power steering system designed to facilitate movement of a vehicle's front wheels. The power steering gearbox is connected to the power steering pump by hydraulic fluid lines that deliver a constant supply of power steering fluid to the power steering gearbox. A low power steering fluid level, especially a chronic and severe low power steering fluid level, can lead to increased friction and wear within the power steering gearbox assembly, a condition that can significantly shorten the operational life of the power steering gearbox and negatively affect its operation

Nov 26, 2009 | 2003 Pontiac Grand Am

3 Answers

My power steering pump makes a growling noise even when the car is idle. The noise is louder when I turn the steering wheel. The power steering fluid has gotten low a couple of times and gets foamy.


if gets low definitely a leak foam is pump mixing fluid with air roar is pump cavitation check lines or pump for leak keep fluid at recommended level air bound unit can cause steering difficulty and or failure if need have trained mech look into problem

Oct 11, 2009 | 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass

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