the last time I had my car serviced and new brakes installed, the mechanic said I would need "new linkage" What did he mean by this?
what is my front end problem on 2003 Saturn Ion
That is a really non-descriptive term. Look at the repair order, see if there is any other info, and call the shop and have them give you the name of the parts needed. It may be shift linkage, suspension linkage...
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Out of the 5 Ions I have owned, each of them (Level 1, Level 2, and even Level 3 models), that I have owned, driven and maintained, has developped a clunking noise from the front end during sharp left & right turns and going over speedbumps, -one (the level 3 that I own) even does it in normal windy road curves. The problem is the front swaybar linkage bushings & grommets may wear out by the 40,000 mile mark, as on my 2005 Level 1... Like on my 2003 Level 2: I had taken the extended warranty option on the vehicle and made a claim on the issue of defective suspension parts: the extended warranty kicked in and covered 100% of the repairs. The repair was done by replacement of the front swaybar, links & bushings (about $300.00) at 65,000 miles. Problem solved. Clunking Noise is gone on that car, and it has become a pleasure to drive, because I no longer cringe all of the time while driving. I think the replacemnt of the swaybar itself was superflous. It may possible to simply replace all the rubber parts and keep the swaybar,if it's not bent or worn... These cars are really somewhat cool otherwise. The batteries last a lot longer, I believe, because of their sheltered location in the trunk... I love these cars for their Tupperware characteristic (no obvious signs of rust or paint fading. My 2003 model Level 2 still has that teenage sexappeal that kids around here seem to like (no mods, - just rims/tires). My son cruised thru 1.5 years of High School in it.