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2003 Saturn Vue / Major transmission problems

1 United States Review updated:

I have a 2003 Saturn Vue with major transmission problems. I bought the car with 35000 miles on it, at 35990 the car starting making a grinding noise and found out the transmission was having problems, Saturn said they fixed it.

I drove to about 70000 miles and heard the same noise and took it to Saturn, this time the transmission had to be completely replaced. I thought at this time I was safe for the life of the car, because it had a new transmission. I am at 10300 miles and the same noise has appeared again. I called saturn consumer customer call line and was told to take it to a dealership and have it diagnosed. I did this and was told that the end cover needed to be replaced and that it could be flushed but this would only be at temporary fix. I called Saturn back and was told that the transmission needed to be completely replaced again and that it was out of warranty and they would cover half as a good will gesture and I would have to cover the rest. I asked how that could be when they had put a brand new transmission in at 70000 miles and it went out again. I also told them that I was aware that they have had severe problems with this model year car transmissions, the girl on the other line stated that was not true. I am at my wits end, I cannot afford another car, I still owe alot and cannot afford another one at this time. I am beside myself and don't know what to do. I thought I would come here to see if there was help out there that I did not know about that you could point me to.

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  • Al
      17th of Nov, 2007
    +1 Votes

    I purchased a 2003 Saturn Vue 2.2l 4cyl 5spd manual in 2005. Always bragged to everyone on how wonderful the SUV was and how I would never buy another make. That was until I hit 82,000 miles. On Oct 6 2007 I was driving down the street when the car started what it felt like fighting me to go forward. When at an idle the engine shook really bad. I continued driving it under severely reduced power, worrying about getting it up hill. The next day I had my boyfriend take a listen to it. He started it, revved it and turned it off. Told me it was misfiring and probably needed new plugs. He opened up the hood and checked the plugs. 1&4 were fine but 2&3 were not firing. You can tell this by the amount of gas that is on the plugs. He looked at other things and decided that for 2 plugs to fail it was more than likely the Ignition Coil Pack. Bought a new one ($100.81) and put it in, did not fix the problem. Returned the coil pack and bought an Ignition control module ($92.36) Put it in, worked like a charm. Three days later the same part failed. After doing research I came upon a recall for 19 Different Saturn's for the EXACT same problem, but the Vue is not one of the recalls. I contacted Saturn and they stated even though the manufacture date falls within that time frame and it is the exact same problem, it's not covered under that recall. I have since filed a complaint with the NHTSA. I have a friend who has the same year and model vue I have. 3 weeks ago hers did the same thing. She took it to Saturn where she was told it was her coil pack which they replaced for $800 then her Ignition Control module $400 then her catalytic converter $880 and now they are telling her it was her transmission and will cost $1500 to fix that.
    She is also filing a complaint. The Campaign number for the complaint/recall is 03V231000. I ask that all vue owners who have had the same problem contact the National Highway Transportation Safety authority and file a complaint. If enough do this they can do an investigation and find that this should have been included in the recall.

  • La
      21st of Nov, 2007
    +1 Votes

    we had a 2003 Saturn Vue with 64,000 miles. It was to be our last vehicle as my husband was retiring and we would not have enough money for car payments. We heard the noise - Saturn put additive in. Long story- transmission was going out. Saturn refused to put in new transmission even though it was still on warranty. We now have car payments for 5 years, which we absolutely could not afford, and my husband had to take a meanial job at the age of 70 years. Because of both of our health we probably will not live long enough to pay off the car we had to buy.

  • Ki
      16th of Jun, 2008
    0 Votes

    I purchased a 2003 Saturn in May 2005 and it only had 27000 miles. Last month (May) it started to make a clicking noise, after speaking with some mechanics and taking it to the Dealership, come to find out it was a transmission problem... I have only had this car for a little over a year, and it seems like it has caused nothing but problems. I am currently in the search for a more reliable car.

  • Vi
      6th of Jul, 2008
    +1 Votes

    I am saddened that others are going thru this and relieved at the same time that i am not the only one out there complaining about the Saturn Vue. Mine is 2003 V6 3.0L It does not seem to want to accelerate from a being idle.

    Through computer diagnostics through a very trusted friend I was saved from the expenses as the others have. Turns out my TCM (transmission control module) has gone bad some timing I just finished paying for the Vue and now problems.

    I totally regret getting this vehicle.

    I have had the ignition and key replaced 3 times the storage compartment lid replaced 2 times rear driver side window replaced

    and now this

    Never again will i consider Saturn it's nothing but tupperware on wheels.

  • Ma
      11th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    Parked the car and the ignition locked up could not turn it to start it.
    After about 30 min it turned on and started .
    Still don't know what happened.

  • Ro
      26th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    I have a 2003 Vue. They replaced the transmission twice already. Now the warranty is up and the car needs another transmission. I owe $9000.00 on the car and it costs $5000.00 to fix it. I keep gettting the run around with GM. I probably will have to let it sit in my driveway while I pay it off and now I have no car. Does anyone know of a class action lawsuit that I can be part of? We all cant have the same problem by coinsidence. Maybe thats why the two ocal Saturn dealerships went out of buisnesss...

  • Du
      2nd of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    We have a 2003 Vue. Long story short. Have had it one year and owe alot. We are now looking at our second transmission in a three month period. Now the ignition runs on. I agree there should be a class action in this matter. We have opted to let the financial institution have the vehicle and not put any more money in something we know is not repairable. There is a website for new and used cars. Type in key word " lemon law" and it will bring up the lemon law website. You can file a complaint at this website and a lawyer will review your case. Maybe if enough complaints are received maybe they will finally do something in this matter. If anyone has any info. please feel free to share it with us.

  • Jo
      3rd of Aug, 2008
    +2 Votes

    The 2003 Saturn Vue which I purchased in 2006 had only 30, 000 miles. I have had major engine work done on this care (head gasket and the other gasket - do not know name) before 50, 000 miles. The rack and pinion had to be repaired and appears to have th e same problem after being fixed. I also have a strange squeaking noice in the left front tire area that appeared to go away after I had suspension work but the same noice has came back. I met 2 other people with the same exact car and bothe mentioned they had the same problem with the gasket situation. This is the worse car. My ignition switch started locking up again, I had it previously repaired and it is doing the same exact thing! Only God can help me now to bare this. People wonder why America business is going down!

  • Ma
      8th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    2003 Saturn Vue, 4 cyc., AWD - transmission went out at 80, 000 miles. Saturn Vues from 2002 to 2004 are total junk. GM should be held accountable. GM knew they had a weak transmission in the Vue, but they still made them. I wonder why GM is losing money as a company ????

  • Le
      12th of Aug, 2008
    +1 Votes

    i have the same problem with my car. i have a 2003 saturn vue. and i only had the car not even two months the transmission went. and i am trying to fight with the warranty place.It was just recently that I found out the car had the VTI tranny and nobody seems to want to deal with it. I hope that there is someone that can help me

  • Dj
      16th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I bought my 2004 Saturn Vue with only 19, 000 miles on it. The car drove really good for a short time and then noticed grinding when in reverse. Took it to the Saturn Dealership in Lexinton, KY and they stated that the computer just needed different codes as well as changing the fluid and screen. Kept doing this for about 3 times until transmission went out at about 35, 000 miles. Saturn fixed this and also stated that they have had nothing but troube with this transmision. They even recommended getting rid of the vechile before it reached 75, 000 miles. Due to what I own and the trade-in value I can not afford such a loss. Now at 67, 00o miles the transmission is out again. This time they are giving me the run around stating that due to this not being the original transmission they do not know if it is covered under the 75, 000 mile warranty. I am fed up with Saturn product and will never buy one again. There is a class action lawsuit posted on the web.

  • Ch
      22nd of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    We bought a 2003 Saturn Vue in the fall of 2006 and thought it was a great vehicle with they roomy interior, good gas mileage, and the right price. Hadn't had any problems with it until one day the service light came on the beginning of this year (2008). We took it in to the Saturn of Gulf Frwy dealership here in Houston and they said that it was just one of the seals had a leak and it was about $100-$200 to have it replaced. The mechanic who worked on it and one of the salesman mentioned "on the side" that our Vue had the VTI transmission and that they have had problems with them and that we might want to bring in on a later date and mention that we felt like there was something wrong with the transmission. This way we could get them to fix it under warranty at no cost to us. So I went home and started researching this issue on the internet and noticed that many people were actually having problems with the transmission and that it was anywhere from $4000-$6000+ to have it replaced. Thinking these guys had given us a great tip we turned around and brought back about 2 weeks later and made the complaint like they said. However, they called us back the next day and said that it wouldn't be covered under warranty because it had expired two months before. They wanted $4500 to fix it. We couldn't believe it and started complaining to managers at the dealership which got us nowhere. My wife insisted on calling somebody from the offices in Tennessee which paid off. We stated how this was our second Saturn and that we planned on being customers for life and had recommended everybody to Saturn. They called us the next day and said that Saturn would cover it and we were ecstatic. So they fixed free of charge and everything was great but the Service Light was still on but we didn't think much of it at first. Then my wife thought that they must have not done something right because it wasn't going off so we took it back to them where they discovered that there was a problem with the engine and that the only way to fix the problem was to completely replace the heads which they wanted $2700 for the job. We decided at this time we were done with Saturn and took it to Firestone instead and they did they job for about $1600. The vehicle seems to being doing fine now but the Service Light is still on.

  • An
      1st of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    I too have a 2003 Saturn Vue. I bought it May 2005. Eight months later, I couldn't shift (It's a 5 speed). Found out through friends that have their own auto repair, that the Vues, up until mid 2003, have design flaws in the transmission. The cables tend to stretch. I was furious that the dealership would not fix it for free. They stated they would be taking the loss, not Saturn. Now, 2 1/2 yrs. later, it's not shifting again. Saturn stinks.

  • Ru
      3rd of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    I bought my vue 1 year ago. this is the 2nd time it has left me stranded. it is 6000 to fix it. saturn wont recall it. they make millions of dollars but wont buy it back. i owe 12000. i have to surrender the car cuz i cant afford to fix it AGAIN. any info on lawsuit is appreciated

  • Br
      11th of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    I can only add to everyone elses problems. I to have a 2003 Saturn Vue. 4 cylinder Auto.
    Transmission troubles. It has 75000 miles on the clock, and was just told by a Saturn Dealership, I should have bought a different model, what does a person say to that comment from a Dealer??
    Basically, they want $5000.00 dollars to replace the transmission. I don't have the money, as a lot of people don't.
    I am at my wits end. There is talk of a Class Action Law Suit, hopefully someone can point me in that direction.

  • Ch
      20th of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    I bought saturn vue 2003, fwd 2.2L vti two months ago and already spent over $1, 600 and, just find out that the transmission is bad. The Saturn dealership told me that it will cost $6, 000 to fix it or partially will cost $1, 600 which I can not afford anymore. A'm looking forward to any action we might deemed fit to initiate against GM. One of the company mechanics told me that that 2003 vue was a mistake and they never make any other maker of it again just one year product

  • Sh
      21st of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    Sadly, after reading many of these complaints for some time now as I have kept an eye any Vue-related issues, I now find myself in the same boat as so many others it seems. My Vue is a 2003 4-Cyl 2.2L AWD with 41, 000 miles on it. I have never "babied" any car so much as my wife and I have done this one. EVERY service done by the dealer and nearly every oil change (they all would have but, we moved and the local Saturn dealer doesn't honor out of state lifetime oil change agreements.)

    A year after we purchased the vehicle new, it had ot go in for a recall for some rear drive train issues. (We hadn't personally experienced any problems but took it in as told by a letter from Saturn HQ.) After that, my only real issue has been a decided decline in cabin comfort mainly due to a marked increase in road noise and window rattles. The car is garaged and not used for daily commutes and so these noises seemed a bit premature in my opinion, but hey, what can I do--right?

    Well, yesterday (09/21/08) on a routine trip back from the garden center, the transmission (the VTi version)suddenly lost the ability to shift. We could only travel in low gear for the last 8 miles to the dealership. The service dept. was closed, so we left it there and now await the verdict in the morning, based on everything I am reading here, however, I am not hopeful.

    Of course, no one ever likes to have something like this come up, but given so many issues of the same nature it does seem that Saturn should be liable for transmission-related problems of this nature. We purchased this car with hope of it lasting us 10 years as we are not heavy-users. It is completely paid-off and just 5 years and 5 months from purchase date. So to trade it in will in NO WAY equal its value to us as even in excellent condition blue book is only a little over $8K. And why would we want to trade it in for another Saturn after this experience? Certainly no other dealership will take it in a fair trade. What sort of recourse does a consumer have in this scenario?

    Suggestions are appreciated. --Shaun in Austin TX

  • El
      24th of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    Well I also bought a 2003 Saturn Vue. I had an SL that never gave me problems. Because my family was growing my husband wanted me to have a bigger and better, so we thought, car. Now at almost 75, 000 miles the transmission started acting up. I've already taken it twice to the dealer. They "fixed" it but now I had to take it in this morning because I fill is very sluggish when I take off from a stop. I had to leave it at the dealer so they can check it in the morning because when I took it in this morning they didn't find a thing. So now, I have to pay for a rental, I already paid for one when they had it for a week to do the repairs. I was told they would replace the transmission but the tech said they only replace some parts not all. I guess I have to wait and see.

  • Ti
      1st of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    My 2003 AWD Saturn Vue with the VTi transmission just went out 4 days ago (9-27-08) and it has about 75, 500 miles on it. As I was accelerating from a stop light (luckily not too far away from my home) the engine just started reving and before I knew it, I was coasting along on a 4 lane road. The transmission just failed, no sounds, no warnings. I made the mistake of having it towed to a nearby repair shop who wouldn't or couldn't work on it so then I had it towed to a Saturn dealership. I was told that the transmission was junk and that a new one needed to be installed. They did tell me though that due to litigation on this issue and because my mileage was close to the 75, 000 mark, they would install a new one and cover 75% of the cost. Of course they found some other minor stuff that needed repair too but I new about some of that so all in all it is better than what could of been. Thanks to previous owners who stood up and fought for this issue. Without them, me and i assume others would be looking at some serious out-of-pocket costs!

    St. Paul, MN

  • De
      5th of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    i have had my 2003 vue 4 years and had transmission fixed 4 times now it is makeing a noise again saturn dealer told me to get rid off it as soon as i could the vue is to heavy for transmission

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