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Old 06-09-2008, 03:10 AM   #1
JunkYardSaint
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Default 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

Just bought this car not even a month ago and the check engine light came on last night. I can take it to the dealer tomorrow, but wondered if anyone might tell me what it could be: I'm worried.

I checked the Gas Cap and it seems fine, it's as tight as can be. I have been using 89 octane gas instead of 87 and though now I understand that I should stick with 87 I thought it might be 'better' for it some how and I don't know... thought I was giving my car some kind of special treatment; silly me -but now I understand, if those that have advised me are correct, that I shouldn't be using hight octane, I should stick with 87, but could that be causing it?

Should I take it in right away?
I saw some other posts about "error codes" but don't recall seeing that mentioned in the User's Manual: I'll double-check

Any advice will be appreciated. I just bought this car and I don't want anything to go wrong with it - it's my most valued possesion - not to mention something I depend on... what can I do? :/

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Old 06-09-2008, 04:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

It isn't necessary to bring your car to the dealer, just stop by any auto store like Autozone that have free scanning services as they want your business. Have the car scanned and write down the code(s), ignore whatever advice they may give you, look in the How-to library on page 5 under the title OBD II Powertrain Codes and look up the code interpretation yourself, then re-post the codes by copying and pasting here for help from some of the best around here. While you're cruising the 'net go take a look at how the codes are presented so you'll have an idea of what to write down when visiting the auto store.

89 octane didn't cause the SES light, something else did and guessing isn't going to solve anything. That's what the free scanning/reading services are for!?

...
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*There's more to a/c than just a few cans of refrigerant*
*There's more to brakes than just replacing parts*

Last edited by fdryer; 06-09-2008 at 04:31 AM..

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Old 06-09-2008, 08:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
It isn't necessary to bring your car to the dealer, just stop by any auto store like Autozone that have free scanning services as they want your business. Have the car scanned and write down the code(s), ignore whatever advice they may give you, look in the How-to library on page 5 under the title OBD II Powertrain Codes and look up the code interpretation yourself, then re-post the codes by copying and pasting here for help from some of the best around here. While you're cruising the 'net go take a look at how the codes are presented so you'll have an idea of what to write down when visiting the auto store.

89 octane didn't cause the SES light, something else did and guessing isn't going to solve anything. That's what the free scanning/reading services are for!?
Thanks for the reply!
Gee I wonder how much a scanning device is, if there's a scanning device then does that mean there's a USB port somewhere? It would be cool to be able to scan it myself and get the code, I don't know why - I guess cuz I love gadgets hehe... I wonder how that works...? I'll have to look into it.

There's a PeP Boys near me, they may be able to scan it for me, but when I say 'take it to the Dealer' I don't mean to Saturn, but rather to CarMax where I bought it; it's not far up the street a ways and thought they'd probably check it for free or cheaply. I could be wrong about that though, and will check near by for convenience.

I really appreciate your reply, believe it or not I didn't know any of this.
I work with computers, just don't have any experience with them being in my car. I guess I'm showing my age ..

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Old 06-09-2008, 08:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

Quite alright by me and anyone else as the most important thing is that you ask!? You know the old chinese proverb, "seek and ye shall find". As far as USB, no because the auto industry HAD to design a unique 15-pin D-connector called ALDL or DLC for connection to the various scanner/readers available anywhere from $30-thousands of dollars. The Saturn Techtool II is the expen$ive one with all the doodads attachments. A hand held portable one will do as soon as you see Autozone, Pepboys, etc., use one. They're only good for the basic DTC's, not for the proprietary codes unique to each manufacturer like transmission codes. Theyr'e good enough for most troubles though. The connector is right by your knees, maybe behind the knee bolster. Mine is on a velcro mount and easy to pull off.

...
*The CPS is the heart of the entire EFI system. No cps = dead EFI system*
*There's more to a/c than just a few cans of refrigerant*
*There's more to brakes than just replacing parts*

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Old 06-09-2008, 09:16 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

  1. take it to autozone
  2. they read code (for free)
  3. post code they tell you
  4. wait for responses.

...
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

PO442
Troubleshooting PO442
OEM Brand: DOMESTIC
Definition:
EVAP (Evaporative Emission System) small leak/no flow condition
Explanation
The evaporative emission system is monitored
Probably Causes
1) Defective or losse fuel cap
2) EVAP canister or hose cracked-not connected
3)Purge or vent solenoid defective
4)Vacuum leak at engine


On the one hand it looks sort of obvious, but then again I'm so unfamiliar with cars especially new cars I'm not sure what to do or really where to start - unless the problem is glaringly obvious like say maybe a hose disconnected, torn, or clamp broken or something - odds are I won't see what's causing this by just looking.

Any advice/input is of course appreciated.

Note: One of the first things I checked was the gas cap, and I've always made sure it's seated tight and on the way it should be. I've taken it off and put it back on many times, so it doesn't appear to be the gas cap; oh how I wish it was.

[Oh and by the way... I saw a neat little OBDII Code Scanner for $99.00, it was smaller than the one they use and came with a little booklet; they also had a really good one for about 325, and some mid range which is what they used for 125-150. I see you say they have them as inexpensive as 30, so I'm looking 'round... let me know if you come across a good one at a reasonable price; certainly not on the top of my priority list; the free service is fine, but with the weird hours I work having my own would be convenient, I think I'll eventually get one. - Thanks again!!]

Last edited by JunkYardSaint; 06-10-2008 at 07:28 AM..

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Old 06-10-2008, 08:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

You can take it back to CarMax and get it fixed, I would think. Isn't that something that's included in the list of things they check ? And still under their warranty too isn't it ?

At any rate that's part of your emissions system and the factory warranty should still be in force for those parts. It's much longer than the one on the car and especially long in CA. Investigate !!!

How many miles do you have ?

Welcome BTW. You came to the right place !!!!

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Old 06-11-2008, 03:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Citation84 View Post
You can take it back to CarMax and get it fixed, I would think. Isn't that something that's included in the list of things they check ? And still under their warranty too isn't it ?
Yup, I finally got ahold of them and learned that I've got something called "MaxCare" or something like that - anyway... I have an appointment with them tomorrow morning!
Quote:
At any rate that's part of your emissions system and the factory warranty should still be in force for those parts. It's much longer than the one on the car and especially long in CA. Investigate !!!
Yeah, unfortunately I learned that my regular warranty has expired but I've got coverage on emissions like you say. I know I'm covered right now, I forgot to ask how much longer I'd be covered but it's covered now, so that's good to know - thanks for the info by the way you are right on all points!
Quote:
How many miles do you have ?
47000
Quote:
Welcome BTW. You came to the right place !!!!
It seems I have, thanks so much!!! Well they changed things up over at the Saturn site, previously I had joined some other forum, I think I just followed links - but now I can't find that forum; they have a completely different website now at Saturn so I guess that first forum I joined will be forever lost to me. This one is better anyway!! THanks!!!

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Old 06-12-2008, 10:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

YAY.... "Mister Bad Luck" over here actually had a little good fortune for a change. Just as luck always hits, it happened in an instant; in fact it was in the space of about 3 minutes and ten feet of asphalt as I was rolling to a stop at a red traffic light.
...suddenly my car stalled. I could almost 'hear' the whooshing air, it was that obvious to me that because I was topped off - something about the fact that I filled my gas tank up until it full to the tippy top, seems topping off created some sort of an air lock or vapor lock: after a little 'hic-up' when my car stalled - and if it wasn't for the 'ding...ding...' from the dash I might have not even noticed that it had stalled, as I was rolling to a stop the engine kicked right back in immediately afterword....and then....
NO MORE ENGINE LIGHT!!!!

YAY!!!! - So... I called them up on my cell phone on my way in to work this afternoon and cancelled my apointment. My 'Check Engine/SES Light' hasn't come back on since last night!!!

SOOOOO the lesson is, that not only can it be your gas cap - but if you top off or fill your gas up too far and you get a little air lock thing happening like I did it will make your light come on.

I'm happy that's all it was.

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Old 06-14-2008, 11:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

Quote:
Originally Posted by JunkYardSaint View Post
PO442
Troubleshooting PO442
OEM Brand: DOMESTIC
Definition:
EVAP (Evaporative Emission System) small leak/no flow condition
Explanation
The evaporative emission system is monitored
Probably Causes
1) Defective or losse fuel cap
2) EVAP canister or hose cracked-not connected
3)Purge or vent solenoid defective
4)Vacuum leak at engine


On the one hand it looks sort of obvious, but then again I'm so unfamiliar with cars especially new cars I'm not sure what to do or really where to start - unless the problem is glaringly obvious like say maybe a hose disconnected, torn, or clamp broken or something - odds are I won't see what's causing this by just looking.

Any advice/input is of course appreciated.

Note: One of the first things I checked was the gas cap, and I've always made sure it's seated tight and on the way it should be. I've taken it off and put it back on many times, so it doesn't appear to be the gas cap; oh how I wish it was.

[Oh and by the way... I saw a neat little OBDII Code Scanner for $99.00, it was smaller than the one they use and came with a little booklet; they also had a really good one for about 325, and some mid range which is what they used for 125-150. I see you say they have them as inexpensive as 30, so I'm looking 'round... let me know if you come across a good one at a reasonable price; certainly not on the top of my priority list; the free service is fine, but with the weird hours I work having my own would be convenient, I think I'll eventually get one. - Thanks again!!]
So, you think it's cuz you are filling it too full? Highly doubtful. Have you replaced the cap yet? I know you mentioned you check to make sure it's seated properly, but those caps are an integral part of the emmissions system. If the seal (internally) fails, they bleed pressure off of the tank which is used to minimize vapor emmissions from your tank. If your system doesn't sense the proper suction, it throws a code. If this comes back, change your cap. More than likely it's failing. They do go bad.

...
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:30 AM   #11
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

JunkyardSaint: that site may have been www.imsaturn.com I joined it as well.

Glad it seemed to fix itself, but take it in anyway. The owner's manual will tell you how long your emissions system is warranted. It's longer in CA. than in other states I think.

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Old 06-16-2008, 08:32 AM   #12
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

Glad to hear your code went away. I'd still keep the appointment and have them look at your evaporative emissions system - it could reappear later and you want it noted.

Resist the urge to "top off" the tank. If you fill it on the slowest setting the pump allows until it clicks off, wait 10 sec then start again until it shuts off you will still have a full tank and won't risk screwing up the evaporative emission control system. It's designed for vapor, not liquid.

Unless you're going to be doing a lot of diagnostic work, don't bother buying a code reader. Good ones will cost you between $200-400. The cheap ones generally aren't reliable, or aren't designed for OBDII.

...
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:11 AM   #13
tesulliv
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

I have a 2004 Ion and the check engine light has come on recently.

After filling up this morning I noticed the gas cap stays on but doesn't tighten then click like before rather it turns with no resistance like a stripped screw.

My question is their a specific gas cap I need to get as a replacement or will most any replacement do? Any help would be appreciated,

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Old 11-05-2009, 09:41 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

yes, it will run you around $45 from your local dealer. Ordering one tomorow. My SES light has been on for 2 weeks..... stupid evap crap....

...
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:49 AM   #15
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Default Re: 2004 Saturn ION 'Check Engine Light'

Hi,

Just to counter point 20twinz's post if $45 is for a replacement Gas Cap.

You should be able to find after market gas caps that will fit the 04 ION for a lot less.

I recently got a couple of FRAM RG-506 (Locking Gas Cap) to replace my "flaky" Saturn Locking Gas Cap (which I think in 2003 cost about $30) and a spare which my Mom could use on her 2005 Equinox OR I could use another backup.

I actually picked these up at a local Goodwill store for $2.99 each. According to several places online that same Gas Cap is available for approx $10-11 each.

So for tesulliv and even others where you might just suspect the Gas Cap is a problem... $10 for a new Gas Cap (locking too) isn't much to pay...

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