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Saturn Sky - Maintenance and Repair

Bought my Sky 3 weeks ago. Right away I discovered a problem - the brakes don't work after the car has been sitting overnight in the garage. The engine has to warm up before the brakes work! I almost took out a side mirror backing out of the garage the first morning.

Saturn says it is common to turbos. Don't you think they would warn new buyers before they back into people and/or property?

Anyone else notice this problem?
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Comments

  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 979
    I don't own a Sky, but do have a turbo and don't have this problem; it seems kind of weird that there would be a connection. If you do a google search, you'll see that some people have had a "cold start = no brakes" problem.

    MODERATOR
    Need help getting around? claires@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • I too bought an '08 Redline on Oct 26th of this year. Within 48 hours I experienced the same brake problem and promptly called Saturn to ask for a mechanic to take a look at it. I was informed this was "normal" and I needed to allow the car to 'warm up' first. I've built a few hot-rods in my time and I thought the brakes felt like the vacuum booster was failing. Upon furthing questioning the Saturn mech's admitted that the vacuum booster was indeed not functional after sitting for awhile and required a few minutes of running to become operational. I then contacted Saturn corporate asking for clarification and they sent me a bulletin they send to their mechanics stating that this vacuum booster failure was a "normal" thing and part of the design. They further state that a hydraulic booster is designed to assist with the problem but that drivers may "encounter a need for additional pedal force during low vacuum driving conditions". I countered them with "admitting you have a design flaw in your brakes doesn't alleviate you from the liability associated with that flaw, you need to get your engineers on a fix for this immediately". Then I got a phone call from the district PR person with the typical "we value your call" BS but no answers. The end result is this. Saturn, in 2008, is offering a $30+K car that has brakes which don't work when the car is started. I can't wait to hear about the first person that walks out, starts their new Sky, throws it in reverse and backs through a garage door, into a car, over their dog, over their child, over their neighbor, because they "didn't let the car warm up". The problem is made worse by the fact that if the engine is cold, it's running at an accelerated idle at the time and you almost can't stop the thing. Several times I've emergently thrown mine from reverse to neutral (automatic) just to get my "additional pedal pressure" to stop it. Those of you with manuals aren't seeing this as bad because you're inherently pressing on the clutch as you attempt to brake.

    To add insult to injury, when I've "gotten on it" playing around I find the Stabilitrak is "Stabili-scary". You lay into a turn and romp on it and all of a sudden you feel various wheels braking suddenly placing the car into a rocking, countersteering mess. If you're gonna play around, turn that piece of junk off!

    Sorry folks, the car looks good, it's very fast and sexy, but it's a dangerous car in my opinion. I can't recommend any of my friends purchase one until Saturn steps up and fixes this. I sure hope someone at Saturn got a demotion over this. If I could sell this thing and come out even I would do it today.

    Sorry Saturn, this was my third car from you. I don't see a 4th in your future.

    Disappointing to say the least.
    WW
  • Medicup, you said you couldn't wait for someone to have an accident due to the faulty brakes, well it has already happened... go to the Sky Forum:
    http://www.skyroadster.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20867. Someone backed into a neighbor's tree. Good thing it was a tree and not a person.

    Personally, I love my Sky, despite the brakes. I am actually enjoying driving again. I'm sure a fix will be forthcoming. In the meantime, we all need to file complaints with the NHTSA (the address is in the manual). Like you, it did me no good to complain to Saturn.

    JJH
  • I have an early '08 Redline with this problem.
    Actually it is not a turbo problem, it is a problem on late '07 & early '08 models - they changed the vacuum system for the brakes. But I have heard that they have changed it again.
    It is being fixed on the affected models only if you make noise to the dealer & manufacturer.
    The problem can also be avoided if you will just let the car warm up for a couple of minutes so the vacuum for the brakes can build up.
  • Noise to the dealer and manufacturer have done nothing to date. I encourage all with these brake problems to file complaints - with Saturn (who will send you a "So Sorry" form letter) and with the NHTSA.
  • Bought my car 3 weeks ago and have the same problem. It's so scary!!!
    Last night took it to the dealer, they gave me a rent a car and now I'm waiting to see what happens.
    I can assure you, I did NOT buy this car to have to warm it up every single time in order for the brakes to work correctly at start-up.
  • My 08' Sky Redline is only a month old. This happens to me too! It's so scary! I filed complaints on www.NHTSA.com and I took it to the dealer last night. I now have a rent a car and await to see what they are going to say. Others say to let the car warm up each time to get the brakes to work properly. Like i'm going to do that each time. No way! If the car is not fixed, I may return the car. What if someone else were to drive the car or if I took it to a valet???????

    Someone could be hurt, killed, or my car might be wrecked. I'm very upset.
  • Hey Tinoonit, let me know what the dealer finally decides. When I took my Redline to the dealer, they scratched their heads and finally called Saturn. Saturn's reply was - it's normal, just let it warm up before driving!!!! I told the mgr at the dealership. Now they warn new buyers. This is too much liability exposure for Saturn to continue to ignore forever. A fix must be forthcoming.
  • has anyone learned anything new about this Saturn Sky "no brakes are available until the car warms up" issue that would care to share it with the rest of us?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • Like I wrote before, I got a call one evening from Saturn Corp asking for more detail. That was the last contact I have had.
  • I filed a formal complaint with the NHTSA (a division of the DOT) via their website. Pretty easy form to fill out. I then emailed Saturn via their website and told them I'd filed the complaint and finished the email with "when you come to your senses and decide to fix this problem, please contact me."

    I received a call from Saturn within 48 hours but they only left a message. Unfortunately the person enunciated so poorly I couldn't understand the number they left so I've not spoken with them again. I assume it's probably the standard, "We value your concerns but we aren't gonna do anything about it" courtesy call.

    Yesterday I received an email from an NHTSA representative asking for more information on my complaint. Hopefully they'll get something done with GM.
  • issue because as everyone reading this forum already knows, that is just not right. And the sister car the Pontiac Solstice doesn't have the same problem, either. I have not heard of such a glitch before but it sounds like it could get very dangerous if someone just takes off right away(as if that is some kind of automotive driving sin or something!).

    I hope you guys get a good fix for this soon, I really do.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • I bought my Solstice in late October and found the same brake problem that "you'al" had stated about the Sky. I'll be watching if GM does have a fix.

    I saw on CNN that GM is doing a recall on sky's, solstice's and Cadillacs because of a gas leakage problem that can cause loss of driver control. Anybody heard or has experienced such an issue?

    John
  • karinjkarinj Posts: 1
    I filed my complaint today: 10219931.
    2008 redline, automatic.
    One week after I bought it, it started to not stop work until warmed up. Very scary the first time.
    I took it in, they replaced the module switch- did not work. Took it in a week ago today- they say they do not know what is wrong.
  • carguy916carguy916 Posts: 11
    Geezzz, all they gotta do is call Saturn, the reps there will tell them that it is normal for the RL to lack brakes until it warms up. :(
  • I am so disappointed in my 2008 Saturn Sky. I've had to take it Las Vegas 3 times for brake problems. At start up there are no brakes for the first 45 to 60 seconds. The dealer is telling us now, that this is NORMAL for this car. The 3rd time we took it in for the start up brake problem AND for the brakes NOT WORKING when stepping on the brake while using CRUISE CONTROL! This happened to me going 55 miles per hour down the highway. Was told by the dealer that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle and was given a print out saying that the vehicles brakes are normal for THIS vehicle! Just for kicks, I went over to a salesman and acted interested in buying an 08. He did NOT mention the brake START UP problem. Just yesterday the brakes failed to work AGAIN going down the highway at 75 miles per hour! This CAN NOT be NORMAL. Does someone have to DIE before they decide the brakes are not NORMAL?
  • I am so disappointed in my 2008 Saturn Sky. I've had to take it to Las Vegas 3 times for brake problems. At start up there are no brakes for the first 45 to 60 seconds. At first they are rock hard and then go to crunchy and finally work. The dealer is telling us now, that this is NORMAL for this car. I know other car ownere are having this problem. The 3rd time we took it in for the start up brake problem AND for the brakes NOT WORKING when stepping on the brake while using CRUISE CONTROL! This happened to me going 55 miles per hour down the highway. Was told by the dealer that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle and was given a print out saying that the vehicles brakes are normal for THIS vehicle! Just for kicks, I went over to a salesman and acted interested in buying an 08. He did NOT mention the brake START UP problem. Just yesterday the brakes failed to work AGAIN going down the highway at 75 miles per hour using cruise control! This CAN NOT be NORMAL. Does someone have to DIE before they decide the brakes are not NORMAL? Or a horrible thought, maybe someone has, and no one knows it was because while using CRUISE CONTROL, the brakes were ROCK HARD and DIDNT WORK!
  • carguy916carguy916 Posts: 11
    I have not heard of the brakes failing while in cruise control. I don't use my cruise control..., but will try it and get back to you. Still waiting for the feds or Saturn to do something here, they can't ignore such a big problem for long... can they?
  • carguy916carguy916 Posts: 11
    OK, I just went out on the freeway, set the cruise control, then hit the brakes. The car came out of cruise control and the brakes worked fine. I think you need to get the dealer's attention.
  • carguy916.........I'm taking it to the dealer again this weekend. The thing with the cruise control has only happened 2 times since I've had the car. I stopped using cruise control after the 1st time it happened to me. My husband kept using it until it just happened to him. It is so unexpected and scary! I'll let you know what happens at the dealer.
  • Mine is being worked on for the 4th time right now. I'm one of those women who always have there keys in my hand when I come out into a parking lot, so to be ready to jump in my car and take off if someone tries to attack me, but in my Sky, I will have to ask the assailant to please wait a minute while my brakes get ready to work, and then drive away from harm.
  • carguy916carguy916 Posts: 11
    Did you know that Taser makes a nice non-lethal weapon for civilians? It is small, would fit in your purse. Does not kill anyone, but renders them useless, giving you time to warm up your lovely Sky, then get the heck out of Dodge. :)

    Did you see the news release from NHTSA?
  • Yes I did see the news release just yesterday. Let's hope that now the problems will be fixed.
    Just might look into that Taser idea. :)
  • I have not had this problem while using cruise control but when I first start the car and try to back out I almost ran into a car the brakes felt like they were dragging and rock hard but the car did not stop. I informed the dealer and they said this has been fixed/nothing is wrong with the brakes.
  • I need to update the info on my Saturn Sky. I got it back about a month and a half ago. The vac boost pump they installed completely fixed all of my brake issues. Also Saturn had all of the damage fixed that was caused when the pump was installed. (The tech didnt bolt everything back into place and my car was scratched and pieces underneath the car fell off). I would like to say that I am now very pleased with my car, and am finally getting to enjoy driving it.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,711
    great news to hear. Now you can get on with what you bought your Sky for in the first place...driving enjoyment!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • medicupmedicup Posts: 6
    How did you get them to install a vac boost pump? Is it an OEM mod that Saturn provides? Is Saturn finally pulling their head out and fixing this problem? If so, are they notifying buyers?

    Thanks
    WW
  • medicupmedicup Posts: 6
    I did a little search on the NHTSA site and found they have finished their investigation. I guess they didn't see fit to notify anyone that complained to them about the car. You can read the findings at;

    http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/defect/results.cfm

    Guess we all need to get our cars down to the dealer for some adjustments. Saturn apparently is going to notify us but they're taking their sweet A$$ time doing it.

    WW
  • medicupmedicup Posts: 6
    Sorry, the link won't connect. I've pasted the report below.

    NHTSA Action Number: NHTSA Recall Campaign Number:
    PE08016 N/A
    Make: SATURN Model: SKY
    Manufacturer : GENERAL MOTORS CORP.
    Year : 2008
    Component :
    SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:POWER ASSIST:VACUUM
    SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:POWER ASSIST:HYDRAULIC
    SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:ANTILOCK:CONTROL UNIT/MODULE

    Date Investigation Opened : March 6, 2008
    Date Investigation Closed : June 24, 2008
    Summary:
    IN MODEL YEAR (MY) 2007, PONTIAC SOLSTICE AND SATURN SKY VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH THE 2.0L TURBOCHARGED ENGINE USED AN AUXILIARY VACUUM PUMP TO SUPPLEMENT THE ENGINE AS A SOURCE OF VACUUM TO THE BRAKE BOOSTER DURING LOW VACUUM CONDITIONS, SUCH AS IMMEDIATELY AFTER A COLD START. THE VACUUM PUMP OPERATION WAS CONTROLLED BY SWITCHES THAT SENSED BOOSTER VACUUM, TURNING THE PUMP ON WHEN BOOSTER VACUUM DROPPED BELOW A SPECIFIED LEVEL. IN THE MY 2008 SOLSTICE AND SKY VEHICLES (THE SUBJECT VEHICLES), GENERAL MOTORS (GM) ELIMINATED THE AUXILIARY VACUUM PUMP AND REPLACED IT WITH THE OPTIMIZED HYDRAULIC BRAKING (OHB) SYSTEM. THE DESIGN INTENT OF OHB IS TO SUPPLEMENT ENGINE VACUUM, IN CONDITIONS WHERE LOW VACUUM IS GENERATED BY THE ENGINE, WITH HYDRAULIC PRESSURE GENERATED BY THE STABILITY CONTROL SYSTEM PUMP CONTROLLED BY THE ELECTRONIC BRAKE CONTROL MODULE (EBCM). FOR UP TO ABOUT A MINUTE AFTER A COLD START, WHEN THE SYSTEM IS IN OHB ASSIST MODE, THE DRIVER MUST PRESS HARDER ON THE BRAKE PEDAL TO ACHIEVE DESIRED DECELERATION. ALSO, WHEN THE OHB MODE IS ACTIVATED, THE DRIVER CAN HEAR AND FEEL, THROUGH BRAKE PEDAL VIBRATION, THE STABILITY CONTROL SYSTEM PUMP OPERATION. STARTING IN LATE APRIL 2008, GM CHANGED FROM THE OHB SYSTEM BACK TO THE VACUUM PUMP SYSTEM DESIGN. ODI IS AWARE OF 264 NON-DUPLICATIVE COMPLAINTS TO ODI AND GM ALLEGING INADEQUATE BRAKE POWER ASSIST IN THE SUBJECT VEHICLES WHEN APPLYING THE BRAKES JUST AFTER A COLD START, INCLUDING ONE INCIDENT INVOLVING A CRASH INTO A TREE DURING A DRIVEWAY MANEUVER. TO ADDRESS THESE CONCERNS BY CONSUMERS, GM HAS ISSUED THREE TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETINS. ON JUNE 4, 2007, GM RELEASED AN INFORMATIONAL BULLETIN (NO PART REPLACEMENT OR SOFTWARE UPDATES), BULLETIN# 07-05-22-002, TO DEALERS EXPLAINING THE FUNCTIONALITY OF THE OHB SYSTEM. ON NOVEMBER 29, 2007, GM RELEASED A SERVICE BULLETIN, BULLETIN# 07-05-22-007, WITH INSTRUCTIONS TO RECALIBRATE THE EBCM WITH REVISED SOFTWARE TO MAKE OHB OPERATION FEEL MORE LIKE A NORMAL VACUUM ASSIST SYSTEM. TO IMPROVE COLD START BRAKING PERFORMANCE COMPARABLE TO MY 2007 VEHICLES, GM RELEASED A THIRD SERVICE BULLETIN IN TWO PARTS, BULLETINS 07-05-25-007A (APRIL 29, 2008) AND 07-05-25-007B (MAY 16, 2008), FOR AUTOMATIC AND MANUAL TRANSMISSION VEHICLES RESPECTIVELY. THESE BULLETINS RELEASED NEW ENGINE CONTROL SOFTWARE TO CHANGE THE IDLE STRATEGY AFTER A COLD START SO THAT MORE VACUUM IS AVAILABLE FOR BRAKE POWER ASSIST. BEGINNING THE WEEK OF JUNE 23, 2008, GM WILL BEGIN SENDING LETTERS TO CONSUMERS TO MAKE THEM AWARE OF THE AVAILABILITY OF MOST RECENT CALIBRATION. A SAFETY-RELATED DEFECT HAS NOT BEEN IDENTIFIED AT THIS TIME AND FURTHER USE OF AGENCY RESOURCES DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE WARRANTED. ACCORDINGLY, THIS INVESTIGATION IS CLOSED. THE CLOSING OF THIS INVESTIGATION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A FINDING BY NHTSA THAT A SAFETY-RELATED DEFECT DOES NOT EXIST. THE AGENCY WILL TAKE FURTHER ACTION IF WARRANTED BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,711
    I have been following this thread and the Pontiac Solstice thread about this brake problem. I would agree, if you own one of these, you're gonna have to get aggressive about it and find out what your dealer is planning to do to make this problem right for you.

    Nobody should have to wait for their car to warm up two minutes before they take off. Imagine a parking valet not getting that important little tidbit of information and getting in to an accident with your Sky or Solstice?

    You've all paid enough money for your cars that you deserve a safe, well running Sky and Solstice. I wouldn't wait, I'd call your dealers and get them cracking on this ASAP. I'd be on it like a Gary Payton steal of Michael Jordan and a layup at the other end kissed gently off the Sonic's glass for two points, gentlemen.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

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