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Saturn Maintenance & Repair

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  • :sick: Hey everyone please help me with this issue I'm going to lose my job if I cant get this fixed. I live in montana, and so of course it gets extremely cold. When we attempt to start our car in the morning we put the key in the ignition and turn the key and it just clicks. Everything else turns on like it should but for some reason the car will not start. Brand new battery, starts any other time except early in the morning. The other day I spent 45 minutes trying to jump start the car thinking that it was a bad battery (happened with another car) and nothing. We are going to buy a block heater on payday today, but we would still would like to know if you guys have any other ideas on what it could be. Thank you for your help...

    robert98374
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    First, Saturn body panels are not fibreglass, they're thermoplastic which they use mainly to eliminate minor dents from parking lot encounters.

    Second, Saturns are targeted at the lower-mid end of the domestic transportation market. They don't have the build quality as far as fits and finish of the Japanese entries.

    Third, service life of an average Saturn is considerably less than that of the Accord, Camry, or Sonata, all else being equal as far as maintenance, etc.

    Here's an interesting blurb on thermoplastics in the automotive industry:

    http://www.autofieldguide.com/articles/060407.html
  • Hi, I saw your posting and it prompted me to sign up so I could reply. Saturns are fantastic vehicles.
    Depending upon which dealership you are shopping at, you may or may not be able to negotiate the price of the vehicle. Saturns when purchased are one price, best price. They do not believe that persons whom are not good at negotiating should be taken advantage of and pay more. That is just an FYI.
    As for the body they are not fiberglass, such as the corvette. Saturns are actually known for there polymer panels. Which are actually a blend of plastics. The bumpers themselves are 5 mph impact, and the sides are dent and rust resistant. If you full out kick them in the cold they may shatter. They are among the cheapest vehicles to insure. The panels are easily replaceable and not nearly as expensive as body work to a typical steel vehicle. The panels are one part of the safety design. The other is the solid steel space frame. So instead of welding each piece of the frame together it is cut as one. Think race car frame. VERY SOLID!
    Saturns are know for reliability It is very common for the vehicles to run to 200k plus. Remember that required maintenance is required. I would have to say that I am bias as I sell these for a living, however I recommend the Saturn brand to all my friends and family.
    Compared to Honda and Toyota. Both are great vehicles too, but known for being more expensive at purchase and for cost of ownership. Personally, best bang for the buck is going to be the Saturn.
    Hope that helps!!!
  • Used Saturns are not always sold at one price, best price. New ones are, but with a used one I think you can expect to haggle on the price unless it is at a dealership like CarMax.

    I have a Saturn wagon, my boyfriend has a Saturn wagon, and I've had many friends with Saturns since the early 90s. I have to say I don't know a single person whose Saturn made it to 200K. I know a few who have gone over 100K, but they all needed repair work, like most high mileage cars do.

    I don't think Saturns are as reliable as Hondas or Toyotas, but they are good in terms of reliability as far as domestic cars go. They are not a luxury marque by any means, but they are decently-appointed, solid cars.

    Saturn's resale value is also not great, but since you'd be buying used, it will work in your favour. My wagon was $23K new, but I bought it for $10.5K four years later. I bought my wagon at CarMax where you cannot haggle, and I expect I could have gotten it for cheaper elsewhere had I been able to find a used wagon. (The wagons are difficult to find.)
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    The L-Series is nothing more than a Chevy malibu covered in polymers. So any claim of "Saturn reliablility" is lost with this model as Saturn was a completely different company by this time.

    Having said that, If you can get them under $6000 I would snatch it up. You won't find a Camry or Accord with less thatn 120k miles on it for that price. And the vehicle will last you but you are going to have some problems with it. If you wan a good indication search through the Chevy malibu board (Pre-2004 models). Most of the problems are known and can be fixed by most mechanics.

    Good luck and report back on your purchase.
  • i have trouble with it starting sometimes after sitting overnight. i think it may be something w/the fuel line rather than the battery. it tries to start and won't. after about the 5th time of waiting/trying (maybe about a 15 minute period), it will start. i have to give it gas (it "chugs" a little) to make sure it doesn't peter out on me and then it's fine. i first thought it was b/c of the cold weather when it was windy, but it happened this morning (and it was relatively nice overnight through this morning).
    i have taken it to a local garage and he had put dry gas in it for me, but really couldn't tell anything b/c it didn't act up for him.
    twice it has happened with a full tank of gas and once w/about 1/4 tank.
  • have 1996 ls2 we bought used,it ran fine first 1000 miles than had intermittent problem not it is there all the time.service light stays on,yellow abs light stays on,ac blower not working,traction control not working,rear defrost inop.and electric windows will not go down this all happen when dervice light comes on,if light goes out everthing works again.thanks please help asap

    could it be the pcm shutting everthing down?
  • The other day, my ion had a problem. It was "service vehicle" displayed on the panel. A mechanic said my BCM inside the car was short and I had to replace a board. I'm not sure, but it's kinda a computer board. Unfortunately, they didn't have a stock. So, I'm going to go back a dealership again. If anyone has a similar problem, check electrical system.
  • :lemon: I HAVE BEEN STEWING ABOUT THIS FOR A LONG TIME AND NEED TO GET THIS OFF MY CHEST.MY WIFE AND I BOUGHT A SATURN L-300 2002 NEW FROM THE DEALERSHIP. WE WERE VERY PLEASED WITH OUR PURCHASE AT FIRST, BUT DUE TO THE FACT THAT SHE HAD CANCER WE RAN INTO A FEW PROBLEMS, AS THE CANCER SPREAD TO HER BACK WE FOUND IT HARDER TO GET IN AND OUT OF. SO WE WENT BACK TO THE DEALERSHIP TO TRADE UP TO A VUE. WE HAD ONLY HAD THE CAR A COUPLE OF MONTHS AND THE MILEAGE WAS VERY LOW, CAR WAS STILL LIKE NEW AND VERY WELL TAKEN CARE OF. WE PAID AROUND 24000.00 SO WE ASKED WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT TRADING UP. THEY LOOKED THE CAR OVER WENT AND TALKED FOR A FEW MINUTES AND CAME OUT TO US TO TELL US WHAT THEY COULD DO FOR US. WELL IT WAS LIKE GETTING SLAPPED IN THE FACE, AN AMERICAN CAR SUPPOSEDLY BETTER THAN MOST BECAUSE IT IS MADE HERE. SO WHEN THEY TOLD US THE VALUE OF THE CAR AFTER TWO MONTHS WAS ONLY 9000.00 WE WERE IN SHOCK. SO THE CARS VALUE TO TRADE IN FOR THE SAME YEAR VUE WAS PATHETIC,AND INSULT AND A COMPANY THAT COULD CARE LESS ABOUT A PERSON IN NEED. AND A CAR THAT IS FAR FROM THE AMERICAN DREAM OF A TRUE VALUE. ALONG WITH THERE COLD ATTITUDE AND LACK OF COMPASSION. SINCE THEN MY WIFE DID PASS AWAY AND I STILL HAVE THE CAR I TELL PEOPLE ITS A GOOD CAR BUT I WILL NEVER BUY ONE AGAIN. NOW AT 62000 MILES AND NO WARRANTY THE PROBLEMS HAVE BEGUN. I WILL NOT TAKE IT TO A SATURN DEALERSHIP OTHER THAN MY FREE OIL CHANGES, THE TIMING JUMPED,THE WATER PUMP WENT OUT AND THE CYLINDER HEADS HAD TO BE FIXED, PLUS THE GEAR BEHIND THE PUMP CRACKED. WHEN THE MECHANIC'S ASKED FOR HELP FROM SATURN, AFTER BUYING ALL THE PARTS THEY NEEDED FROM THEM, THEY WERE RUDE AND REFUSED ANY TYPE OF ASSISTANCE,(GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE) SO AFTER SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS THEY FOUND SOME ONE WHO COULD HELP. CAR IS ALMOST DONE NOW AND I CANT WAIT TO GET IT BACK SO I CAN TRADE IT IN FOR A CAR THAT MIGHT WITH OUT A DOUBT BE A BETTER DEAL.SO BUYER BEWARE!!!!!!!REC :sick:
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Try re-posting WITHOUT THE CAPS LOCKS ON so we can read it.
  • I've had several Saturns. Generally the older ones were better. I've not had major engine trouble with any of them, but the dealerships generally can't fix anything - even the little problems, unless you really complain about it and force the issue.

    My 2004 ION has been reliable, but has need multiple visits to the dealer for what I think are "soft recalls." Saturn knows that certain problems exist and has found remedies for most of them, but Saturn has chosen not to recall the cars because most of the items are not safety issues. It seems that they do not share these remedies with their service departments very quickly either.

    For example, the fuel gauge was inaccurate for 24,000 miles. They checked it twice and could not fix it. On my last visit to the dealer for another issue, I mentioned that the fuel gauge operation was still unacceptable. They wrote up no paperwork on it, but when I picked up the car they said that they updated the computer so it should work better. Guess what - it does work better! Why so many visits and so much secrecy about the solution to the problem? This makes no sense.

    The only remaining issue I have on the car is that it DOES NOT get anywhere near its rated MPG - especially on the highway. I have been told that there is no fix for this - all 5 spd automatics are like this in the ION.

    I am seriously looking at the new Dodge Caliber. It can be bought fairly inexpensively in my area and we have some Dodge dealers who actually know how to service their cars. Several years ago we had a Caravan that developed small oil leaks in the head gaskets after only 25K miles, but it was more than 3 years old, so the warranty was expired. When the local Dodge dealer found the problem, they went to bat for me with Dodge and it was repaired at no cost.

    The reviews on the 2007 Caliber are pretty promising. I know its not a Honda Civic, but it not $18k either. I drove one and its a nice riding 36 mpg car(5spd) with plenty of style. Side airbags are also standard on the Caliber. I can get a nice 5 spd Caliber for $14k. To me, this repesents a good value.

    I also think that Dodge has learned from its own mistake. Known problems are best addressed promptly without hassles. That gives me some purchasing confidence that I do not have now.

    The Honda and Toyota dealers act as if their cars NEVER have problems. The fact is they sometimes do ahev problems, and I do not know if they are good at fixing them. I have heard that Honda, in particular, tries to opt out of fixing major problems if you did not take the car to a dealer for all the regular maintenance. This sounds like corporate blame-shifting to me.

    What I want is a reasonably priced car that I know will be serviced properly when needed. Maybe I should order a Caliber. :confuse:

    Any thoughts?
  • I have been stewing about this for a long time and need to get this off my chest.My wife and I bought a satrun L-300 2002 new from the dealership.We were very pleased with our purchase at first,but due to the fact that she had cancer we ran into a few problems, as the cancer spread to her back we found it harder to get in and out of. So we went back to the dealership to trade up to a vue. We had only had the car a couple of months and the mileage was very low, car was still like new and very well taken care of.WE paid around $24,000.00 so we asked what we can do about trading up. They looked the car over went and talked for a few minutes and came out to us to tell us what they could do for us.Well it was like getting slapped in the face, an american car supposedly better than most because it is made here.So when they told us the value of the car after two months was only $9,000.00 we were in shock.So the cars value trade in for the same year vue was pathetic, and insult and a company that could care less about a person in need. And a car that is from the american dream of a true value.Along with there cold attitude and lack of compassion. Since then my wife did pass way and I still have the car.I tell people its good car but I will never but one again.Now at 62000 minles and no warranty the problems begun.I will not take it to a satrun dealership other than my free-oil changes, the timing jumped, the water pump went out and the cylinder heads had to be fixed, plus the gear behind the pump cracked. When the mechanic's asked for help from saturn, after buying all the parts they needed from them, they were rude and refused any type of assistance, (good customer service)so after showing their tru clors they found some one who could help.Car is almost done now and I cant wait to get it back so I can trade it in for a car that might with out a doubt be a better deal. So buyer beware!!! REC
  • try going through saturn's national office for intervention & resolution.... Saturn Customer Assistance Center 100 Saturn Parkway, PO Box 1500 Sopring Hill, TN 37174-1500 phone: 800-553-6000.

    If you explain your situation in a letter you will be given a "case number" and it will initially be handled by an "area manager." But you need to take it to the next level, asking for a "territory manager." They have more decision-making power within the org.

    Never mind my case... but I just went through this process as an extremely upset Saturn customer. If there is anyone that can help you it will be through a territory mgr at Saturn national. They intervene on your behlf when the dealer screws up.
  • Change your EGR valve , around $ 200,00 .
    I had the exact same problem,,, cost $ 800,00 to find out it was the egr Valve...
  • taxnerdtaxnerd Posts: 4
    I bought my Saturn new in 2001. 4 cylinder with 5 speed stick. 6 months later I drove to Detroit for Thanksgiving (post 9-11). In Indianapolis it would not shift out of 5th as I was going up an exit ramp off the freeway. (It finally shifted out when the engine lugged at the stop sign, and was okay for local driving.) Took it to a dealer in Detroit. Had to rebuild the clutch (incorrectly we later found out) Clutch crapped out again at 20k miles. Local dealer determined clutch was missing a few parts. New clutch installed. At 28k miles new slave cylinder installed. Unfortunately out of warranty, last month at 60k, new master cylinder installed when no pressure on clutch pedal and hard to get out of any gear. Now, yesterday, I start the car and pull out of the parking spot. I shift from 1st to 2nd and the shifter just floats in my hand. No gates, nothing. I look underthe hood and I can move the linkage by hand, but it feels like it is not copnnected to anything inside the trannie. Any idea what broke this time?
  • taxnerdtaxnerd Posts: 4
    I had the same complaint with my 2001 a couple of years back. I went up on the online tire store sites and researched which tires had the quietest ride, and I was then able to special order them online from COSTCO for pickup an installation at the local store. I forget which Michelin model it was but the down side was that they had a crappy treadware rating.
  • Hi dtownfb, thanks for the tip, I ended up buying a 99 toyota corolla instead, it does seem they get better reviews and have a higher JD Power satisfaction rating. It was cheaper and has only 30 K miles more than the Saturn I looked at (88 vs. 65 K miles) and Toyotas are well known to go to 200,000 miles without problem whereas with american cars it's not uncommon to start talking about engine rebuilds after 130,000 miles.

    Thanks again!

    Peter
  • rkachmarrkachmar Posts: 2
    I have a 2005 ION,when you turn the key nothing happens no cranking or anything. I have check all fuses and relays which seem to be fine. Battery is fully charged.Has anyone found a fix to this problem?
  • taxnerdtaxnerd Posts: 4
    My L series did that when I first got it. No power to accessories either (radio, vents). Normally on a cold or foggy morning. Dealer never found the gremlin.

    It is like it hasn't cleared a security kill switch, or something. There is supposed to be some sort of key fob activation requirement that locks out the ignition for five minutes if you manually opened the door with the actual key, or a brick.

    Take the key out of the ignition and Cycle with your key fob (lock/unlock the doors a couple of times). Now put the key back in and turn it. If the accessories wake up (radio is a good indicator), then the car should be happy and you can start. Might have to repeat 2 or three times to get it to catch.
  • taxnerdtaxnerd Posts: 4
    Sounds like a temp related problem.
    Put it in warm garage or wait for spring?
    Hopefully the block heater worked.

    Odd thing that killed my mazda to just a click once was the ground wire/pig tail had rotted out, so check to see if the complete circuit is there.
    Other idea is to put full synthetic oil in so it has less friction to fight.
  • beebee13beebee13 Posts: 38
    #25 of 25 saturn dealerships closing by beebee13 Mar 07, 2006 (1:41 pm)
    Reply | E-mail Msg
    I have a '97 Saturn wagon, and I sure love this little car. My sister recently bought an '05 VUE that is great for her. She recently took it in for its oil change, and was told that out closest dealership is closing. There are two more dealerships a little farther away that are ALSO closing!! Now we will have to go many many miles away if we want to go to a Saturn dealership. Her concern is her warranty... now what does she do?? I don't know if she has the extended or not, but all she was told by Saturn is that each dealership is independently owned, and that she will have to keep looking. Is this information correct?! I can't believe that Saturn would leave their customers high and dry like that! Any information would be greatly helpful. she is considering trading in her Saturn for something else as am I which is sad. We are in Southern California.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990
    not all dealerships are independently owned...some could be factory stores...but yeah, she has to go to an authorized dealer for service. Sometimes a factory will set up a "service-only" facility that doesn't sell cars.

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  • I have a 2003 Saturn L200 with about 52,000 miles on it. Up until January 2006, I had no problems with the car or anything, and then right when I hit 50,000 miles, something went wrong with the passing gear. My transmission seems fine since I have no trouble accelerating or anything in the lower gears, but when I go for fast acceleration in higher gears trying to pass cars, my RPM's go between 5000 and 6000 and I don't gain any speed, in fact, it basically goes neutral and I lose speed. This is actually my first car so I have no idea what's wrong with it, and I was hoping to get some idea of what's wrong before I try to take it into the shop and probably get screwed over and charged a shitload of money. Thanks.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    She should be able to get her VUE serviced at any GM dealership. I believe the current VUE is based on the Equinox platform and shares many parts with other GM products. So a Chevy dealership should be able to adequately service her vehicle.

    have her call Customer Service to confirm this.

    Where she may have issues is with body parts but even then a good body shop can do the work.
  • I have a 1998 Saturn SC2 and it has started bucking all the time. It used to only do it at 60 kph and 80 kph but is now doing it all the time. My husband changed the spark plugs and ran a purge through the system but it hasn't helped. He also changed the fuel filter but that didn't do anything either. Someone suggested that it may be the coil. Does anyone have any ideas?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Plug wires. Use AC Delco.
  • I have a 2003 L200 and have many problems with it. It does have close to 60,000 miles. I've had to replace brakes and rotors once already. I also have the exact same noise you are talking about. It doesn't happen all of the time, seems to be worse in the morning when the car is cold and improves throughout the day. The starter also sounds as if it is going. When I start the car I hear an awful grinding sound afterwards. Getting ready to take it to the shop this week. I have an extended warranty, I'm sure they will find some reason why the problems don't fall under it.
  • jst4jst4 Posts: 4
    On my third visit to the dealer, I hope we may have finally found the answer to the steering noises (it's getting fixed today). True to form, the steering would not make any noise during my third visit, but I demanded that they replace the power steering hose as suggested in a previous reply to my original message. When the mechanic started to look at that, he discovered that my steering rack was defective (the seals had leaked out their fluid) and needed to be replaced. He considered that a big problem and needs the whole day to repair it. Considering that the car turns three years old in June, it's weird to be having these kind of problems already. Also, my drivers side visor just fell off and they are replacing that too. Although it's all covered under warranty, I can only image what will happen next. Looks like you were wise to get the extended warranty. Oh yeah, and I just had them do something to my back brakes because they were making a terrible screeching sound. It was an easy fix, something about cleaning the brakes.
  • My 97 SL2 with 115,000 Km's has a strange power window problem. The front doors windows power up and down but with an irregular speed. One day they go down an inch or so and then almost stop. If you push the down button again they will go down a little bit more and when they reach about half way begin to speed up and finaly reach the full open position. They go up just fine. The next day they power down with no apparent slowness. This problem changes from day to day. The back windows seem fine. Obviously the front windows get more use. Is this a switch problem or a servo problem? If it is a switch, is it the button switch or some other mechanism in the door it self. :)
  • I've recently starting experiencing the same thing with my '02 SL2 - any help would be awesome!
This discussion has been closed.