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Saturn Maintenance & Repair

sema0427sema0427 Posts: 1
edited March 7 in Saturn
I have a Saturn SL2 from 1997. For the first 3
years, under the maintenance, the car ran perfect.
The contract expired last November(1999)and the
troubles began. The Supentine belt snapped and the
Tensioner had to be replaced. Then the spark plugs
were damaged and the cylinders were broken.
The ignition wires needed cleaning and the engine
housing collapsed. Doesn't this sound odd? The
Saturn dealer closest to our home(in Medford, MA)
advised us to call Saturn and complain. They
responded rudely saying that a car is a machine.
But when I took it to our original dealer, in
Danvers, they advised us that each dealer sets
their own price. We were overcharged!
Our car runs better now but the attitude of Saturn
has left us feeling angry. They started out as
family but now act cold and uncaring.
Just thought you'd like to know.


  • I'm glad to see someone else out there is not satisfied with the Saturn company. I bought a 1993 Saturn new and I have had nothing but trouble out of it. If I where you, I would trade your Saturn now. It only gets worse and Saturn of Knoxville service department has never been able to fix the problems on my Saturn. My Saturn has actually broken down twice within hours of having it serviced at the dealership and they would not even pay to have it towed back in. Now that's what I call service!
  • donachsdonachs Posts: 1
    I purchased a 1999 Saturn SL2, the car ran great and the dealership was wonderful....until I had a problem!!! The Saturn caught fire and burned, the entire engine compartment to ashes, molten plastic lay on the street around the front end of the car. I had it towed to the local Saturn dealership. Let me say that the dealership was extremely courteous the few times that I brought the car in for service. BUT... when the car burned they didn't want to see me at all.I was given all kinds of excuses as to what happened. The complaint dept. in Spring Hill, Tn. was no help whatsoever, all of my telephone calls were shuffled from one person to another. At one point they even denied that I owned a Saturn I had to have the dealership verify the fact. The car was examined by service reps, factory reps, and Saturn engineers, all to no avail, Saturn could not tell me what happened. They had the car for 30 days and refused to give me a loaner, The Saturn legal Dept. stated that by doing so it would indicate "LIABILITY". I knew then that I was going to get the short end of the stick.Finally I demanded that the Insurance company intervene on my behalf, they did and Saturn immediatly totaled the car out. They claimed that they did not know what happened therefore they were not liable for the damage. I wish to say that in all my experiences with retailers of all kinds I was never so callously and rudely treated as I was by the peoplr of Saturn.....Thanks
  • janevaethjanevaeth Posts: 1
    Bought my Saturn LS sedan on 7/15/00 here in Baltimore. 4 days later we attended the open house for new customers to get acquainted with the Saturn way of doing business. About 80 people showed up for the meal, video tapes and demonstrations. One lady said that she was having a problem turning the key. We all looked at each other, wondering where did she learn to drive. Everybody knows that you sometimes need to turn the wheel to release the pressure. Well, the next day at about my 5th errand, the key would not turn. At first I thought that it was my security system since I had never had a car with one. Then I pulled out the manual. Nothing. After about 5 minutes, I called the dealer. They had 2 mechanics out in 14 minutes, but neither could make it move. They took me to get a rental car and I was home, all within 35 minutes. They had to replace the housing cyclinder. I did not lay out a single penny, not even to refill the rental. The key now turns over very smoothly. I hope nothing else happens.

    I chose the Saturn LS over the Mazda 626 based on interior room, automatic overdrive versus pushing a button, Mazda's transmission history, and leg room for my tall husband.

    If you don't see a posting from me, you'll know everything is fine.
  • kkanterkkanter Posts: 1
    I have a 95 SL2 w/57000 miles, took it in for a ticking noise, I was told I need a new timing chain for $650.00 plus new front brakes and rotors for $165.00 (this was replaced at 27,000miles) and I have a leak in a transmission seal that will cost $160.00. Saturn said because I had my oil changed approx. every 5,000 miles instead of 3,000 it is not unreasonable for this to happen to the timing chain. And what about those front brakes going again?
  • I think there is a chance of getting a lemon whatever make car you buy. I bought a new SL2 Saturn in '93. I now have 95k miles on it. I replaced the voltage regulator. The engine compartment is still clean. It looks like a car engine with 10k miles instead of 95k. The dealer in Trevose, Pa. has always diagnosed and fixed any problem the first time. I had a tranny problem at about 45k. It was banging into gear after high speed , high temp driving. I talked the manufacturer into picking up half the cost. It cost me about $200. It now uses a quart of oil every 300k miles. Too bad i cannot buy another one--its too low and I'm to old
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    Has anyone had problems with their saturns alternators at all. My brothers went out at about 70K.
  • bigfur,

    Can you verify that it was a DELCO alternator? Of course, I would expect it to be straight from the GM parts bin, so it would have exactly the same life expectancy we have seen on other GM cars. In which case, your brother's experience is completely typical.

  • Has anyone had any problems with their Saturn ingnition switch? My niece has a 3 dr and Saturday she could not turn the car all the way off. It wouldn't turn any further than ACC and you could pull the key out while the car was running! The car is only about a year old.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Seem to be a weak spot in the car. Apparently this has to do with inadequate cooling. Not sure if they're delco or not, but i would guess that they are.

  • I just got stranded today because I stopped for gas and when I got in my car to leave the, ignition, steering column and gear shift were frozen solid! It looks like it's a common problem. Does anyone else find the interior fabric a little to fragile? I wore a hole in it on the drivers side with my elbow, of course they replaced it, how can you do that after only 3 months? I love the service, but wish I didn't have to see them so often.
    I also had to get a new windshield wiper fluid hose, of all things it broke on me without advance notice. I sent a little note to Saturn Customer support to let them know that I am a little disenchanted with my car.
    I hope they investigate and make sure this problem doesn't happen to others. Luckily, I was stranded in a good neighborhood and was not in any personal danger. There are plenty of places here where that wouldn't have been true.
  • My 94 SL has continuously had problems with intermittedly overheating (according to temp guage) since the alternator went bad at approx 70K miles. The dealership keeps saying the temp sensors are bad and have replaced them several times (this week without charge). The car has 89K now and we are original owners. About 15K of those miles are tow miles (we once read Saturns do not rack up miles when towed but this one does). The car is a 5 speed and this week after I had let it set for an hour (while traveling out of town) when I started in back up it would only go in reverse. I backed it up, could not get it in another gear, so I cut the engine off. When I restarted the gears were fine. Saturn could not replicate the problem or find anything wrong there. Has anyone else experienced similar problems and have any solutions?
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    One thing is that the saturn gauge is calbrated well, "different." Most automakers make the first 1/4 of the gauge cover a long range so that people don't worry even though the engine IS changing in temperature. Saturn used a linear gauge, which is more accurate, but worries people. They moved to the technically-incorrect but less troublesome gauge later.

    it's like of like the horn buttons: The rim is a much better place for it, because in an accident, what do people often do? Honk. If you honk on the rim, the airbag pushes your hands out to the side. No damage. Honk in the middle and your hand gets smashed into your face at 100mph. Saturn moved the horn to the middle eventually, though, because every stupid car reviewer complained about the horn being in a "funny spot."

    judith, i'd worry a bit about the gear thing. That shoudln't hapeen in a 5-speed. Like the racking up miles when towed. If that is happening the trans is broken.

    BYW, repairs at saturn dealers are supposed to have a 1 year unlimited mile warranty.

  • I have a 1997 SL2 with 17,000 miles.
    The muffler seems rather loud lately.
    I'm wondering if maybe I'm paying too much attention to it.
    Anyone know if noisy mufflers are common with 97 SL2's.
  • Judith, My Wife's 95 SL II just started to do the same thing. she starts it up and the gauge peg's to the red end. Has to be a faulty sensor, how much did Saturn charge to replace your sensor the first time?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    I bet the baffles in the muffler have come apart,common with 4cyl engines.They will replace under warranty if its still covered.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    If it's a problem in the muffler, I *think* it has to be replaced for up to 5 years unlimited mileage as an emissions component.

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Saturn engines have had a history of seizing oil rings in their grooves in the pistons. Doesn't affect compression rings quite as badly, so there's still some pep, but it'll go through oil like you-know-what through a goose.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    The exhaust system up to and including the catalytic converter is an emission related system and warranted up to 5 years. The rest of the exhaust system isn't.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Ok, the muffler's not covered.

    The oil burning is weird. Some cars do and some cars don't. I heard it was the valve seals that are the culprit, not the rings. I have always used synthetic and now close to 100K miles I go through a quart about every 1200-1500 miles. Theoretically the synthetic should have prevented ring coking.

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    DOHC engines up to about 1994 had a problem dropping valve guides, similar to Chrysler 3L engines. Newer ones like to seize oil rings and taper cylinder bores. Oil in the coolant is a cracked head, not uncommon, and warranted 6 years/120,000 kilometers.(You do the math for miles in the U.S.) This info from a friend who's a Saturn dealer tech.
This discussion has been closed.