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Saturn Aura Electrical / Computer Problems?

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  • Good Afternoon!
    I purchased a 2008 Saturn Aura XE in June of 2011. The car had 40k on it when I bought it. It now has 65k on it. I loved the car until a month ago. The gauges had been acting a little funny and I had had an issue with the vehicle not starting. Replaced the battery, spark plugs, and wires. This seemed to help the problem for a couple of weeks. Then the buzzers began to sound again once in awhile, when I hit my blinker or put the car in park. It has progressed from there!
    My son had an out of town football game. He rode with a friend to the game and I went up later. On my way there I lost all gauges and buzzers started dinging and then car started to shift extremely hard! I got to the parking lot of the school where he was playing and parked the car. When I went to restart the car it wouldn't start! I kept trying to get it started and finaly it turned over! YAY we could head home! On the way home once again I lost all gauges and car. I continued to drive on home all the while the service ESC was flashing at me, low fuel, service traction, security light, and the anti lock brake light. I was close to home so kept going. Made it home, but once again when I tried to start the car again it wouldn't start!
    This morning I was headed to work and lost all gauges again. Then drove it to gas station and the car locked its self while I was pumping gas! Engine was off key was still in ignition, I had a window down and was able to get back in!
    I'm a single parent and don't have the money to fix this issue let alone track it down! I now feel like I'm driving a death trap of a car and don't feel it's safe for me or my son to ride in! I don't think that 64k on a 2008 model car is that many miles!! I have had 3 jeep grand cherokees that have had over 250k before I have had any issues with them!!
    Could someone please help me get some answers to getting this fixed??? I now regret getting rid of my 1997 jeep grand cherokee with 200k on it for a nice "newer" car!!
  • Good morning jasclynp,

    Given your post, I am unsure if you were planning on working with your dealership on getting this checked out or not. If you do decide to go in and would like for us to check into the situation further, please email us at socialmedia@gm.com with more information (include your name and Edmunds username, phone and address, the last 8 of your VIN and current mileage, and the name of your dealer).

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • I have read the blog regarding the electric problems. Here is probably your fix. My ESC traction light was coming on. Cruise control was not holding. Break lights were coming on randomly. etc. Thought I had a lemon. The fix. UNHOOK CONNECTOR AND DISCONNECT FROM BCM. APPLY DIELECTRIC GREASE ON ALL CONNECTOR PINS. RECONNECT. CLEAR CODES. Cost me $30.49 from Dealership, thought it was gonna be huge. Restored my faith in Dealerships. There was fretting inside BCM connections, causing any combination of electrical problems. Sorry to those that changed wires, batteries, etc. I got lucky.
  • I have had my 2009 saturn aura for 3 months, this problem started about a month after I purchased the car. Took it to the dealership they wanted me to buy something on it might work and it might not. Im not a millionaire, I don't have money to waist on a maybe. Its a shame all these cars have had this problem and gm dont want to do the right thing and fix it or take these lemons bac k. I have an appt with a gm dealer next monday and will be out if 500 dollars, for what. This is not my problem. This has convinced me to NEVER buy another gm product I don't care it its a bike. They don't stand behind their pfoducts. If this don't fix it, I will trade it for a toyota. Very dissappointed customer.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,004
    Good morning judyann1,
    We hope that your appointment goes well next Monday; if you wanted for us to check into this further with your dealership, please contact us via email at socialmedia@gm.com (include your name and Edmunds username, phone and address, the last 8 digits of your VIN and mileage, and the name of your dealership, as well as a brief summary of the situation).

    Kind regards,
    Sarah
    GM Customer Service
  • geauxcajunsgeauxcajuns Posts: 4
    edited November 2012
    So I have a 2007 Saturn Aura XE. I bought it used and loved it... for about a month. It has the craziest electrical issues, and I have no idea what could be causing all of them. For starters, the driver side heated seat button does not work. Secondly, half the buttons on the radio work maybe 15% of the time. Cruise control button sometimes will not work, or cruise control will turn off in the middle of using it. Check airbag light came on for a while then finally went away. Trunk button on door does not work (must use clicker). Window lock button does not work. My dad has replaced the battery at least once since we have had it. The running lights completely went out, but brake lights still worked (changed fuse, but blew it every time the vehicle started-mechanic was able to find a short and fix issue). But now my brake lights decide to do whatever they want (pretty much do opposite- come on when I accelerate and go off when I brake). Mechanic says the whole anti-lock braking system is out (over $1000 to fix unless they find a used part). There are other things, but those are the most common/annoying issues. My car literally is in the shop every few months for random issues. I am so ready to be done with this car, but waiting to graduate before I buy a new one. Has anybody experienced similar issues and found a resolution?
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,004
    Hello geauxcajuns,

    We're sorry to hear about the difficulties you've had with your Aura. Is the mechanic you're working with affiliated with one of our GM dealerships? If so, we are happy to follow up on this with him if you would please send us more information at socialmedia@gm.com (include your name and contact information, the last 8 digits of your VIN and mileage, the name of your dealership, and a brief recap of the situation).

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • I purchased a 2008 Saturn Aura XE with 35k miles on it from a dealer a few years ago. The car has been outstanding and has had no issues until about 6-8 months ago. It first started out with the driver door lock not unlocking when using the key fob (but the issue was intermittent). Over time the issue has worsened and now none of the door locks work consistently (again intermittent). A few weeks ago I noticed that I now get a strange popping/cracking sound from from the radio when the car starts. Usually the radio issue only lasts a few seconds, or can be resolved by cycling the power on the radio. I also noticed last week that I have started to lose sound from the right driver side door speaker. What is really interesting about this issue is that is seems to get better in COLD weather. For example, when I come out first thing in the morning (when the car is cold) the door locks and radio seem to work fine. However after just a short drive...maybe 5-10 minutes...the locks won't work again. It makes me think it might be an electrical short that is triggered as the engine compartment warms up. I recall reading another Saturn Aura post about a misplaced screw in the firewall that was wearing through the primary wiring harness causing electrical issues, however I can't seem to find that post now. Does anyone know if this "screw issues" is an actual GM documented issue?

    Given I have had an electrical issue before with another car, I am well aware of the high costs dealerships charge (especially for an out of warranty vehicle) to troubleshoot. So before I embark on a "money pit" adventure, I was hoping someone might offer some suggestions I could try on my own. I was a motor head back in the day and do know my way around a volt/ohm meter. Any advice would be helpful.

    I have been a loyal GM customer for the last 25 years (previous electrical issue was with a Toyota which is why I came back to GM) so hopefully you can provide me some sound advice and/or assistance.

    Thanks
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,004
    Hello kproffitt,

    While I am limited in my access to any sort of technical information as a customer service agent, we would be happy to work with you if you did decide to visit your dealership on this. Please don't hesitate to email us at socialmedia@gm.com (include your name and contact information, the last 8 digits of your VIN and mileage, a brief recap of the situation, and the name of your dealership) and we will look into this further with them. In the meantime, I hope you get some great feedback from the forum here!

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • i'm in that situation...sorry but what is BCM and where can i find it to put the dielectric grease ?????
  • I have a 2009 Aura. The door lock and handle on the rear right passenger door stopped working so that you couldn't open or close the door from either inside the car or outside. The dealership said the culprit was a short in the electrical system of the locking mechanism. It cost me $275.00 to replace. Now, the automatic door lock on the front driver's door doesn't work. Has anyone else had similar issues?
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,004
    emolon,
    If you're thinking about working with the dealership on the front driver door done and want for us to work through that with you, please contact us via email at socialmedia@gm.com with more information (include your name and contact information, the last 8 digits of your VIN and mileage, and a summary of the situation so far).

    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • Since buying the car new in 2007 we are on our third battery. After my wife drove the car to run several short hop errands, the car would not start. The battery was dead. I jump started it and took it to the auto parts store where I had purchased the battery last year. They tested it and it is not defective. But the voltage from the alternator was only 12.3 volts. Normally it should read 14.4 volts. Since it was late on Friday, just drove it home and was planning to take it in on Monday to my mechanic. Put a battery charger on the battery overnight. With the car not running and the charger connected, the battery voltage is 12.5 volts. I started the car and immediately checked the voltage---14.5 volts. Let the car run for 10 minutes to warm up and checked again---14.5 volts. Ran some errands for an hour or so. Motor was plenty hot as normal. Checked the voltage again---12.3 volts. I know the alternator voltage is actually controlled by the ECM. Are the readings in my car normal? Do I have a bad ECM that only shows up when car is hot? Checked alternator belt, nice and tight. What else should I check? Ideas?.?.? thanks much.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,004
    Have you had any luck with this since your post, mellowpro?
    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • I've been closely monitoring the battery and it seems that short trips are the cause of the problem. Starting the car, playing the CD player and using seat heater apparently all put significant drain on the battery and a short trip doesn't give the battery time to recharge. Can you tell me if the changes in the voltage are normal? In a old fashioned alternator/battery arrangement, the regulator voltage is almost always about 14.4 volts unless there is a problem. On the Saturn it appears that, as the battery charges, the ECM reduces the regulator voltage. My 'fix', for the time being, is to monitor it and every few days to put the charger on it overnight. Not optimal, but cheaper than buying a new car or embarking on a costly wholesale parts replacement that may or may not fix it.

    Mellowpro
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,004
    Hey mellowpro,
    If I could have you forward this question and the last 8 digits of your VIN to us via email at socialmedia@gm.com we would be happy to confer with a technical department here to see if we can get any insights for you.
    Regards,
    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • mrkbker1mrkbker1 Posts: 4
    I went with a friend to check this car out about 2 months ago, and in spite of the high miles. (160,000) it was well taken care of, had a car fax that showed the owner had the car serviced on a regular basis at a Saturn/Chevy dealer in Doylestown, and it ran well, no leaks, shifted well...I did put a scanner on it and saw no problems at all. I told the potential buyer that it was in good mechanical shape, seemed to be previously owned by someone who took great care of it, I saw no obvious problems.
    Now a month plus later, and about 1200 miles, it has weird electrical issues. He called me to say it was 'stuck in first' gear and the traction control, ESC warning, low tire pressure, security light, ABS light and check engine light were all on. I told him to pull over, shut it off, restart it. He did, and it all went away except for the CEL. He brought the car to me, and I hooked up a scanner and got a U2100, U2107, U0073 and P0700. The first three all refer to some communication issues with the ECM, and/or BCM, and the P0700 is a trans code that set the check engine light. I cleared it, and went about checking the battery and alternator. It had what appeared to be a replacement Delco 650CCA battery that, after slow charging, and testing with a digital tester, would only get to around 580CCA. I talked him into letting me install an Advance Auto Gold 700CCA battery, which test out at over 900CCA now. The alternator is around 14 volts at idle, and I cleaned all electrical connections. It ran great, no issues at all. He took the car back, I did not hear from him the first day but the second day he called and said traction, ESC. Security, Tire monitor were all on. I got it back, cleared everything again, drove it to another mechanic I know who is really good with this type of issue-when he saw the U0073, he said he went through this with another Saturn and ended up taking it to a dealer, and felt his $3000 plus SnapOn scanner would not diagnose it like a Tech 2 would (GM specific dealer scanner). I took it to the dealer, they said they'd check it and call me that afternoon. I got a call later, the service manager told me the tech pulled the same codes, cleared it, and drove it 'in the parking lot and on the road' (total 4 miles) and it did not occur. I said I could come over and drive it,it was doing it for me almost immediately for the last half-dozen times I drove it. He said 'it's Friday, we're only here till 5 (it was 4, I'm 5 minutes away)-so I said, fine, tell me when you need me there Monday. He said tech would not be there Monday, come Tuesday around 12:15. I came today, got the car AFTER BEING CHARGED $171 for Friday for the Tech to CLEAR CODES after he wrote them down and DRIVE THE CAR 4 miles with NO ISSUES EXHIBITED.
    I drove the car out after they got PAID, and drove it three miles, no problems. I hooked up my Actron scanner after pulling over, shutting down, starting up, input information and drove-within a mile, all the warnings came up, including the CEL and first gear only. Drove it back to the dealer, the Service manager felt that, since I hooked up MY scanner, the issue was not necessarily the car but could be MY SCANNER...so I asked him to have the tech clear it again, and I drove it again, this time about 8 miles with no issues. I went back and told the Service Manager that I wasn't too old to learn something, and said I would drove it more, without hooking up anything...I drove it another 4 miles, and BINGO-all the same warnings, sans the taint of my scanner. So I took it back to the dealer, where it sits now.
    If it took a Tech one and a half hours to record, clear and test drive a car (4 miles) to the tune of $171, and then the Service Manager is going to infer that my scanner was the issue, I have to have some concern for the costs this might incur for my friend. I note that I have spent a lot of time on the internet and I see lots of TSB's and accounts from owners about these same types of problems. I asked about having them check for things like connectors at the BCM, ECM, the VCIM (especially symptomatic)...and I didn't seem to get much reaction from the SM on these suggestions. My friend is not real happy and I can't blame him-if you wonder why dealers have such a bad reputation, I submit this is an example of why. I do not take any of my cars to dealers for any work but I would if I felt they weren't guessing (like I might) if they could not figure out a problem. Difference is, it wouldn't cost anything if I were guessing...and, to be clear, I do have some cars that are somewhat 'complicated', like a 2002 Aurora, and a 96 Mark VIII, and my experience tells me that I can, eventually, find the reason for any issue. I do not have that luxury when it comes to this car since it seems even very good independent mechanics will stay away from dealing with these cars. I was told (make that convinced) that a GM Tech with a Tech 2 was the best way to solve this-so far, no really though. No real effort to initially diagnose it (but a bill for $171), then blame a scanner that is not theirs-really???
    Please get back to me on this, as I am curious as to what to do next. So is my friend.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,004
    mrkbker1,
    If you friend wanted to contact the GM Customer Assistance Center about this visit to the dealership, they can be reached at 800-553-6000 (Hours: Mon to Sat, 8am to 9pm ET; Closed Sunday).
    Hopefully we're able to get this resolved soon!
    Sarah, GM Customer Service
  • Took the car to my mechanic and he tested it and said, "Bad alternator. $550 please." Since the brand is no longer made and marketed, everything is very expensive because there are no aftermarket suppliers rebuilding the components for resale. Seems that only dealers have replacement parts. Word to the wise, don't ever buy a car from an abandoned product line unless you're willing to pay for the priovilege. No more GM cars for me.
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