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Saturn S-Series

L8_ApexL8_Apex Posts: 187
Since the talk in the Saturn Stories topic has
been primarily about the Saturn SL, I'm creating
this topic as continuation.

Please continue to tell your Saturn stories in
either this topic or the Saturn LS topic.


Sedans Host


  • Has any one tried using heavier weight oils in the oil consuming Saturns, such as 20-50, or straight weight oils? Has any one used synthetic oil from the beginning and still experienced excessive oil consumption.
  • I have two Saturns with the twin cam engine. I started using synthetic and went to regular oil at about 30,000 miles. Ror awhile I was using 10w30 but now use 5w30. At about 60,000 miles that engine started issuing oil at about a quart per thousand miles. It is now at 108,000 miles and running fine, buat still issuing oil at the same rate. The other engine issues about one half quart per thousand miles. Both driven the same, I can not explain why one issues more than the other. I have tried 20w50 one time and it made no difference in the rate of oil useage.
  • sejdosejdo Posts: 1
    Looking for a 2000 model. Saturn is my firt choice but I'm looking for something relaible. Should I buy a nissan or mazda instead.
  • carl27carl27 Posts: 2
    Sejdo: I have a Saturn SL1. It is one year old. It was this, Corolla or Civic, because Consumer Reports gave them all the Highest reliability ratings. I chose Satrun because of the high theft rate on Toyota and Honda. WHAT A MISTAKE! My Saturn is a piece of junk. In the one year I have had it I have repaired three window regulators, the center console mount, the rack and pinion steering, the engine knocks and pings and the service department cannot tell me why, the doors rattle and the service department padded them to stop the rattleing, but it didn't work..... I could go on but you get the idea, BUY AN IMPORT!!
  • I have a 96 with 54k miles. It has been back 12 times for some sort of failure. It now breaks about once per month to the tune of $100-300. Suggest you get rid of a new one before warranty expires or buy extended warranty and just add it to price of car.
  • carl27carl27 Posts: 2
    Good Point! I purchased the extended warranty when I bought the car. After it expires (6 years or 75,000 miles) I will trade in the car. The car may be in the shop a lot, but at least I won't have to pay for all of the repairs. The one good thing is that for some strange reason, these things retain a high resale value, so hopefully I get a good trade in on a Honda or a Toyota.
  • pje65pje65 Posts: 2
    My mom is planning to buy a new car. She's had a Saturn (not sure which) since about 1991-2, and has been very happy with it. She's thinking of buying an SL2 now. However, she has a severely screwed up back, and needs really good lumbar support. She's been satisfied with the support in the Saturn she had. Can anyone comment on the back support in the new SL2s?
  • I have a 99 SL2 and find the back support very comfortable in it. I don't know if it is on the SL1 for 99 or 2000. For 99 it is only on the drivers seat so check out the 2000 to see if available for passenger seat in case she has to be a passenger instead of the driver. A note we test drove a 99 SL1 and found the seats not as comfortable as the SL2 but this is our opinion. You have to sit in them and drive them and form your own opinion.
  • The very first car I bought brand new was my 1992 Toyota Tercel. I have a high emotional attachement to it as it is still with me 178K miles later. Now, however, it is starting to do the blue smoke thing...the starter is going, etc. Well, my mom has a 96 SL2 Black Hills Gold Saturn. They looked at a 93 SL2 tonight with only 63K miles on it. They told me it was squeaky clean...rode wonderfully, and since it was only $4400, they bought it for me. The other two cars we were looking at: 95 Saturn with 100K miles at $4500 and a 97 Cavalier with 57K miles at $8600. I guess I figured that The SL2 with 63K miles on it is really only 6,000 more miles than the Cavalier!!

    I was wondering if anyone can give me their own personal opinion on my decision based on your experience! (HONEST ONES, PLEASE!!!!!)
  • Hiya--
    I have a 93 SL2 with 63,000 miles on the car as well. I have it fully loaded; everything except leather, and have had zero problems with the car. It just keeps going, and going and going. Like the Energizer bunny. I previously owned a Nissan Sentra E and had zero problemas with that car as well (used to get 45 mpg WHOAH!)

    One of the MAJOR reasons I like Saturns is the service department. They don't try to **get** you or make you buy unnecessary parts. They are totally honest with me and treat me very well. I have heard many HORROR stories from Honda and Nissan service depts.

    When looking for new or used cars, be sure to take a peek at the service dept and how the sales people treat you, that is what really sells me on a car. (yes, the product as well counts for a %)

    Kudos to Saturn of Sterling!!!
  • Here is a question for anyone out there with a Saturn that has leather seats. I am planning on buying a Saturn SL2 in the spring. My wife has always wanted leather seats but people tell me that the are hot in the summer, cold in the winter and slippery to sit on year round. I understand Saturn does not offer heated seats so if I get leather will I be sorry??
  • pje65pje65 Posts: 2
    Thanks for the input!
  • As I stated in the other Saturn conference I will keep people posted regularly about my saturn. I have just turned 12.3K and have rotated the tires a second time. Tread wear is not excessive and brakes are fine. The drivers arm rest is starting to show wear from my elbow, probably not a good idea to have it fabric covered otherwise rest of interior is ok. Have noticed that the transmission case shows sign of a leak somewhere and will try to find the source. No oil leaks from the engine. The maintenace record form that came with the car is a nice guide to use when changing oil and filter. All other fluids are ok. I plan on driving this car for at least 150K miles and will keep you posted on its progress. Had a 94 Mazda protege and put 122K miles on it and only replaced pads, rotors, timing belt, tires. It didn,t cost me much for upkeep and if the saturn does the same for me, that will be good.
  • In response to leather seats. I had an SL2 for seven years 1992 model. Bear in mind this is with in one year of Saturns being made. My leather seats were HOT in the Alabama summer. My air conditioner was not strong enough to cool the interior down until after 20 or so mins. So, I ended up sweating it out. I do not know how the later models are, but I can tell you that my NEW LS2 also has leather seats (yes these are heated) and my air conditioner seems VERY powerful. I believe the seats may not be quite as hot in the summer, but I will not know that until next summer gets here.
  • Thank you, diverjones, for the information. I am still somewhat unsure at this time whether to go with leather or not. I guess I need more input. But thanks for your help.
  • Get 20% window tint all the way around, and use a sun reflector in the front window and you will not have to worry about the seats getting super hot. A/C also works a lot better.
  • normtnormt Posts: 1
    I have a 95 Saturn SL with the 1.9 liter, SOHC engine. Oil consumption has been about a half quart per thousand miles. Saturn claims this is within their specifications for the vehicle. It seems way high to me. I received a letter from Saturn indicating that these engines have experienced cracked cylinder heads and Saturn has extended the warranty to 100,000 miles. Anyone with any experience with replacing the cylinder head and improvements in oil consumption let me know.
  • Do you HAVE TO take your Saturn to the dealership for repair or can you take it to any old mechanic? Thanks.
  • kd5kd5 Posts: 1
    I have been driving a '97 Mazda 626LX and have been very pleased with this vehicle. My transmission is making some strange noises but all fluids are filled and "clear". I presently have 68,000 on this vehicle and was very interested in a 2000 Saturn LS1. Time is of an essence (7 days to 30 days for a new vehicle) and reading the past remarks I'm concern if I should pursue a Saturn. This Mazda has been my first foreign car and I'm very interested with staying with American. Any suggestions?
  • No, you do not have to always go to the Saturn dealer for maintenance, although they would like you to. If you already know of or have a good mechanic in mind go there. Also, depending on the type of shop, they can do any of the things the dealer shop can do. A good mechanic with the right equipment should be able to diagnose the majority of problems. Hardest for any mechanic, even factory trained ones, are the intermittent problems that crop up and don't have a specific trouble code to set in the onboard diagnostics computer. We had a real good non dealer mechanic but he suffered a stroke (age related) and miss his service.
  • It all depends which area of the engine leaks oil into the combustion chamber. If worn rings, then replacing the cylinder would not help at all. If it is in the head, it could be the valve stem seals or the cracked head. If its the valve stem seals, they have to be replaced but it requires the head to be removed. If it isn't bad seals a shop can remove the head and pressure test it and determine if it is cracked and if it is only cure is to replace it.
  • I bought my '95 SL2 new with an extended warranty from the Englewood Saturn in NJ. The warranty was through Fidelity and the dealership said at the time that this was better then the Saturn warranty, yea right. When things started breaking I would bring it back to the same dealership, they would then tell me that the repair was not covered and that I should have bought the Saturn warranty. When I told them that they, the dealership, were the ones who recommended me the warranty all I got was a blank stare. So far this year alone I've had to put in $1600 dollars in repairs. New fuel pump, master/slave for the clutch, 3rd horn, some other work I don't recall right now and now I need a new starter. Total amount of repairs that I've put into this car since I bought is around $3400. I have 93000 miles, mostly highway. Extended warranty saved me $600 in repairs but cost me $1100, including interest. Left driver side mirror broke at 28000 miles, dealer said it was not covered under warranty and to replace is would be $230. Will I ever buy a Saturn again, NFW. Looking to buy wife a new car in December. It will be either a Avalon, Infiniti I30, Acura TL, Accord or Camry. I will never buy another American car again and I will take the money for an extended warranty and put in a Mutual Fund.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    So far at 74K miles all I've had fixed is a brake light, and that was under warranty. Considering how I abuse the car, that is really great. I plan to trade up to something else at about 130K miles, and anticipating similar repair costs, the car has been very cheap per mile. Also the sl is the top safety performer for compact cars, my sl2 has good power, and holds good amount of stuff. It the car were a bit quieter, I'd be 100% happy, but considering what I paid and continue to pay for it I have zero regrets.

  • My wife has a '96 SL with about 40,000 miles. It's been pretty reliable, but it just feels like it's falling apart and it's loud. It idles pretty rough too, and she uses 89 octane gas. The steering is very slow and unresponsive. This may be due to the lack of power steering. Guess I shouldn't expect too much for $12K, but we will not buy another one.
  • I have a '96 SL1 with 60K miles. I am losing about 1" of coolant out of my reservoir each month. It has gotten progressively worse over the past 10 months. When I took it to the dealer they pressure tested it and told me there was nothing wrong. This is the second time it was pressure tested. Where is my coolant going? Is it the cracked cylinder head? Is anyone else having this problem? Otherwise, it is a good car (so far).
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Check the following website...
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Saturn exposed is run by a lawyer trying to win money from saturn. He doesn't tell you he had his car rewired for a funky sterio, he was in an accident and had to have his car repaired ( at a non-saturn facility ) and that saturn has even offerend to buy back his post-accident poorly wired car.

    gives saturn good scores for reliability.

  • I have a 91 Saturn SL1 with oil leaking from the oilpan gasket. If you have any experience fixing this yourself, or know where I can get online info on repairs, please let me know.

    Thanks !
  • usmc3usmc3 Posts: 1
    Traveler, On your 29Oct99 posting you mentioned transmission oil leaking at about 12K miles. My 99SL2 did the same--dealer put in chemical that shows up with black light--determined that aluminum casting (housing) was porous. The dealership replaced the housing under warranty--no recurring problems now with 28K miles. At 27.5K miles, wheel bearing went out--fixed under warranty. Thinking of buying an extended warranty!!! My wife has a 99SL2 also. Overall, we love the cars--great mpg and handling. Great service! Twin Cam has enough power and handling to get out of the way of monster SUV's!
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