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Old 05-07-2016, 10:54 PM   #1
Steve L
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Question 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

I bought this car about a year ago - My daughter's first car. I went thru it pretty carefully - new belt, new plugs, air filter, new tires, new struts and shocks, fluid changes. It has about 125k miles on it. The car runs very well- no codes- passed emission control inspection- - It really doesn't seem to have anything wrong with it that I have been able to see or hear or feel, but the gas mileage seems poor to me. My daughter drives it mostly but I have had it for a week or two from time to time. I am a light footed driver but it only gets 22-23 in around town driving and maybe 26-27 on the highway. So first question is: Is that normal gas mileage? And second question: If that is low-Any ideas on what to look for that might be reducing the gas mileage?

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Old 05-08-2016, 12:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

Which auto trans is in the car?
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Old 05-08-2016, 02:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

No, it is not normal. Have you changed the spark plugs? Run fuel system cleaner through the system? Checked compression? Changed the transmission fluid? All regular maintenance for 100k except 0t the compression check.
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Old 05-08-2016, 10:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

Thanks for the replies. The car has the regular auto trans- it does not have the continuously variable trans. New plugs, air filter, trans flushed, new brake fluid, new serpentine belt. I have not yet changed the coolant though I did change the coolant tank and the coolant looks good. I plan to do that. I have not run fuel cleaner thru it, or replaced the fuel filter. I did not check the compressions but that is a good suggestion-- though if it has low compressions I don't really want to know!! But it is better to know I guess.....

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Old 05-08-2016, 11:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

Do you have a way of reading actual coolant temp? Possibly your thermostat may be sticking open not allowing the coolant to get to operating temp. It's possible you may have a brake dragging as well, if you have a temp gun check your brake temps after a drive.
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

All good suggestions- Thanks - I will check as many as I can next time I have the car.
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:25 PM   #7
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2003 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve L View Post
I am a light footed driver but it only gets 22-23 in around town driving and maybe 26-27 on the highway.
according to EPA it's 20/30, average 24MPG (2004 auto ion): https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymake/Saturn2004.shtml

i have 03 auto one and the best i could do in city was 25MPG. didn't drive much on hwy, it's my kid's car and he is doing more like 21-22MPG.

these are NOT fuel efficient cars for it's size. fortunately gas is cheap now.
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fixed/replaced so far: side mirror, window trims x4, trunk floor, radiator bushing, alternator, starter, LCA x2, sway bar bushings x2, end links x2, timing chain tensioner, O2 sensor.
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Old 05-12-2016, 11:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

Steve L - what about your tire pressures? Are they too low? Are you or your daughter carrying nonessential items that add extra weight in the trunk or back seat/floor?
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Old 05-12-2016, 02:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

Maybe I'm the only one, but I think for their weight and the tech in the transmissions (or in this case lack thereof) these cars actually are capable of great gas mileage. I routinely gw't the rated 36mpg or better on the highway, and can even get 40+ if in not in the hilly areas. I even get above 30 when pulling a 6x12 trailer with lawn equipment on it.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2006 ion2 View Post
Maybe I'm the only one, but I think for their weight and the tech in the transmissions (or in this case lack thereof) these cars actually are capable of great gas mileage. I routinely gw't the rated 36mpg or better on the highway, and can even get 40+ if in not in the hilly areas. I even get above 30 when pulling a 6x12 trailer with lawn equipment on it.
those are great numbers. AT? what speeds?
I think 07 was improved some over 04, so not exactly apples to apples.

here are my typical MPG numbers for different cars while doing my typical city/suburbs commuting:
87 yugo MT (no AC!): 30
90 nissan sentra AT: 27
92 mazda protege AT: 25 (22 after AT rebuild hack job)
00 subaru legacy AT: 20
03 toyota corolla AT: 28
03 saturn ion AT: 25
06 toyota RAV4 AT (V6!): 20
07 toyota yaris AT: 30
10 toyota prius (CVT): 52 (current commuter)
...
fixed/replaced so far: side mirror, window trims x4, trunk floor, radiator bushing, alternator, starter, LCA x2, sway bar bushings x2, end links x2, timing chain tensioner, O2 sensor.

Last edited by jacek_p; 05-12-2016 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:05 PM   #11
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

It is kind of puzzling the range of gas mileage figures that different people get in similar cars. I guess maybe the best one can do is make sure everything is working right and then the mileage is what the mileage is. For me a compression check, check coolant temp or just replace the tstat, and possibly fuel system service would be the likely problem areas to rule out. I will do that next time I trade cars with my daughter and see if the mileage budges.
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Old 05-12-2016, 11:33 PM   #12
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve L View Post
It is kind of puzzling the range of gas mileage figures that different people get in similar cars.
3 things:
different people drive differently (city vs hwy, different speeds, etc).
some people are known to lie or exaggerate.
cars are not identical.

see this: http://www.fuelly.com/car/saturn/ion/2004
keep in mind that most of those are hwy drivers.
...
fixed/replaced so far: side mirror, window trims x4, trunk floor, radiator bushing, alternator, starter, LCA x2, sway bar bushings x2, end links x2, timing chain tensioner, O2 sensor.

Last edited by jacek_p; 05-12-2016 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 05-13-2016, 11:09 AM   #13
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

I have a manual transmission, which helps. I got those numbers right off the showroom floor. How you drive the car has a lot to do with it. My 03 venture with a pushrod engine and 4 speed transmission would get 36mpg if driven the right way.

I drive 55, on long trips or bad weather I sometimes go 50 to keep the mpg up around that 36mpg number. I also use basic common sense. I know my stoplights and stops on a trip and don't wait until the last second to brake. On the highway I try to get at least 10mph of my speed (usually more like 25) before using my brakes, and I don't gun it often.
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Old 05-13-2016, 11:43 AM   #14
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2006 ion2 View Post
I drive 55, on long trips or bad weather I sometimes go 50 to keep the mpg up around that 36mpg number.
that will do it indeed. thanks for explaining.
...
fixed/replaced so far: side mirror, window trims x4, trunk floor, radiator bushing, alternator, starter, LCA x2, sway bar bushings x2, end links x2, timing chain tensioner, O2 sensor.
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Old 05-13-2016, 01:30 PM   #15
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Thumbs Up Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

I have a 04 ion automatic and I calculated my mpg at 25 in the city. Thats average for a ecotech engine. Definitely check spark plug if they need replacing go with NGK and change fuel filter, check tire pressure and clean your throttle body out. My throttle body was gunked up. Just look at my prior posts in my profile and it walks you through how to do clean it out. Keep us posted.
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Old 05-13-2016, 04:32 PM   #16
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

Have been getting 23-24 city since new. Up to 39 on the freeway with most tanks 32-36. Records kept are from the first tank to just recently [25, local driving some secondary short road trips].

O5 ION with GM 4 speed automatic. Never have gotten as low as the original or the re adjusted EPA #s and still don't.

The 04 Has the Aisin 5 speed automatic in the sedans.

Seems to get the best mileage on the freeway at 70 MPH or just below.
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:08 PM   #17
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Default Re: 04 Ion 2.2 automatic- poor gas mileage

Glad to hear my average 25-27MPG in my 03 ION Sedan Auto is Normal... I'd always been lead to believe that I was on the low end with others claiming averages in the 30's. Thinking my rare highs around 33MPG exclusively Highway with Hypermiling in mind was so special.

As for tips on the Spark Plug side I stayed with AC Delco when I did my 100k service. Upgrading the Copper to now standard Irridiums. Not sure if the "No Bosch" rule still applies for the ION/Ecotec but as it didn't seem to come up as having any apparent related performance issues you probably chose wisely...

Assume the Coolant Tank was swapped because of the Low Coolant Sensor issue. (Must have been a fun swap... Be sure to give the tank an extra rinsing when you change the Coolant. Give the new sensor the best of chances down the road...)
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