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Saturn S-Series



  • I am very sorry to hear about those people that have had major problems with their cars. I myself am going on my third Saturn.

       My two S Series vehicles (98SL and 01SL1) have not had any major problems. My third Saturn (2003 L200) is the best Saturn driving experience I have had yet. My retailer has been above average and as long as Saturn cars continue to have polymer i will continue buying them.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    If you know anyone looking for good transportation to commute in or give to a teen, tell them to check out thier local Saturn store. All remaining 2002 S-Series in stock at the dealers are $4000 off sticker! We went and looked at our dealer and they had dozens of 2002 models in stock. We found a silver SL2 with auto, CD upgrade and sunroof that we like that will be about $11,800 after discounts. I think we will go again this weekend as we had just mailed our March payment to GMAC and I wanted to wait a few days to make sure our payoff is updated. We are still not sure we will trade, but if we get decent trade-in for our 1999 SL2, it will be tempting to get a sunroof and a new warranty for that kind of money.
  • Glad to hear it... don't forget to look at the ION's which are at least $ 3000.00 off, with more horsepower, and an updated suspension / interior...
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I did not know they were at least $3k off. Thanks!
  • The rebates may vary by retailer, but most retailers nationwide are offering a $ 2000.00 Saturn rebate, plus a $ 1000.00 GM loyalty rebate on the ION... IF you can find a retailer that has way too many IONs you can also get another $500.00-1000.00 off for a market adjustment making a total of $ 4000.00 off a new ION.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    My local dealer, Saturn of Gwinnett, has at least 100 of them on the lot. I never see any on the road or in parking lots at the store or anywhere else, either. I'm sure they would love to sell us one!
  • "I'm sure they would love to sell us one!"

      Im sure they would too, and as someone who has owned two S Series vehicles I believe the ION is improved in every way at a lower price.

       More power, two anti roll bars on base models, electronic steering, still has polymer, more insulation, need I say more ?
  • jas9297jas9297 Posts: 26
    I'm looking at buying a '98-'01 Saturn (and also Corolla or Sentra) with under 50,000 miles.

    Can anyone shed some advice about the quality of these cars? I've read about alternators pre-1998 and motor mounts. But any other mechanical issues? How do these drive on the highway?

  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    I think a pre-owned S series makes a very good buy. Right now the market is very soft and you can pick one up cheap. REAL cheap.

    In 1998 they did redesign the altenator but one older than that probably has already had the altenator replaced anyways.

    As for motor mounts it really doesn't matter what year you buy you're going to have to put on a top axis mount every 60K to keep the vibrations in the cabin at a low level. Thats the only mount you really have to worry about unless you're going to keep it for 10+ years or 200K+ miles.

    The only other common problem you didn't mention is oil consuption which can happen even in the later model years but it usually fairly minimal and for most people doesn't even happen.
  • As I have owned two S Series (1998 SL and 2001 SL1) I can tell you that my experiences have been positive overall. I never had any major problems, and S Series cars are very economical to own/operate.

    As for a highway ride, the SL/ SL1 have a decent ride, but the seats were a bit small for my tastes. I would suggest an SL2 for it has 24 more horsepower than the SL/SL1..

    However, I have seen SL1's with around 30,000-40,000 miles with auto/ air/ cd going for $ 8000.00 or so.. A great deal less than a similarly equipted Corolla/ Civic. Let us know what you decide.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    They are very good buys because of the oil consumption wild card . Most dont have that problem .....but if you are unlucky to get one . the cars are pretty solid other wise . Listen to the drivetrain noise carefully used Saturns are very loud maybe to loud to live with
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I agree with the idea of getting a SL2 for the extra 24 ponies for your highway driving. I had a 1995 SL2 and a 1999 SL2 with no problems from either. In 1998, Saturn did some engine work, so you should be okay with the years you are looking at. Neither of my past Saturns leaked or burned oil--maybe I just got lucky! My opinion is going to be biased (since I'm on my 3rd Saturn, a 2003 Ion), but I think a used SL2 is a good idea.
  • We have a 92 SC Coupe that was purchased a few years ago for the college kids. At low speeds, we get a hesitation (Around 1.5k - 2k rpm) that goes away as you speed up. We have taken it to the dealer who has replaced the plugs, plug wires and ignition module (where the plug wires plug into by the engine housing) with no improvement. Any other ideas out there to solve this? I have tried several tanks with fuel injector cleaner, changed the PCV valve, etc... the battery is new. One posting mentioned about spraying an intake manifold cleaner into the engine by taking off the air clearner housing.

    Any insights would be appreciated.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    Do a web search and find the saturnfans website they have a very strong technical forum and you will get good solutions for your problem
  • tbear503tbear503 Posts: 70
    Looking at a 1996 SC 2 with 61,ooo miles. Car looks to be in great shape. Cn anyone give any insight as to potential problems or positive experiences with this or similar models. immediate respowill be highly and greatly appreciated.

  • Questions, is the car a one owner car? does it come with maintenance records? If yes to one or both of these questions and your're in good shape (especially if it was serviced by a Saturn retailer.

       I have only owned S Series cars second generation and later (1998 SL/ 2001 SL1) both with no problems. A "few" first generation Saturns, may have oil consumption problems (but most do not affect the cars normal operation) despite what some may tell you.

         The best thing you can do with any used car before you buy it is do a car fax history report to start with, , check to make sure the price is fair , and take it to a Saturn retailer.. for 50 bucks or so they can tell you right off the bat what may be needed if anything.. good luck..
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Have you had the EGR valve checked? It could cause hesitation problems.
  • seal1seal1 Posts: 1
    I've had my 1996 SC2 since fall 1995. I hardly ever drive, so the car only has 42K miles. I had no maintenance issues until this year. Since January I've had to get a new cam, a new motor mount, and a new coolant temp sensor.

    Nonetheless, I've been pretty satisfied with this car for the seven-and-a-half years that I've owned it. Even this year's maintenance bills have all been cheaper than the depreciation on a new car would have been.

    I may have something useful to say about hesitation. When the coolant temp sensor was going bad the needle would be all the way at cold and car would idle high. When driven from a dead stop when the sensor was off the car would hesitate (nearly stall, actually). Apparently the bad reading caused the car to mix a bad ratio of fuel to air, and giving it gas would nearly stop combustion. Over 10 mph everything was fine. With a new sensor it's running fine again.
  • sl1ownersl1owner Posts: 2
    I purchased 2000 sl1 with 58k miles on it with all the options except moonroof for $4500. The seller gave it for the price that carmax offered him. The blue book value is over $6000. The car looks great inside out. The braking system is not very effetive. Is it a known problem or does it just need some service. The pickup is a little low which again seems normal for this model. I am not sure about its hp ratings. Can someone out there let me know if it was a wise decision to buy it? What are the known problems in this model if any..?

  • As far as the braking system, this could be something to have checked but I can tell you the brakes on my last Saturn (2001 SL1) were very soft and required alot of pressure on the brake pedal for effective stops. My rotors warped around 8-10,000 miles.

      I thought power was simply ok, but I had a five speed manual ( is yours auto box ) that will cut down on any power the single over head cam engine has. The SL and SL1 have an 8 valve engine with 100 horsepower. Moving up to an SL2 would afford you a 16 valve engine with 124 horsepower (big difference).

       It sounds like a great deal thou, a three year old car for less than $ 5,000.00 that looks new. The SL/SL1/SL2 have proven engines that typically last a long time, other than my brake issues I never had a problem with my 2001 SL1 nor my 1998 SL. I hope my 2003 L300 will be close in terms of reliability.
  • OK everyone, hear this one. My Saturn has less than 7,000 miles on it. I've had it since last October 2002. My gas tank makes clunking noise in it because the tank didn't come with any dividers inside it. My Saturn dealer said there's nothing they can do about it because they said it was the manufacturer's plants fault. All they said was to give the Saturn corp. a call and talk to them. Go figure....What's a big corporation gonna do for one little guy's complaint. I only know of one other person who has this problem. He paid cash for his 02 L-Series Wagon. Anyone else out there or any advice?
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    Aren't almost all defects the result of a manufacturing problem? I don't believe the dealer would not fix. That is why it is called a "Bumper to Bumper Warranty" and not a "Bumper to Bumper Warranty Unless the Part That Breaks was Made Wrong by its Manufacturer Warranty." Saturn should replace the tank and then Saturn will get a credit from its manufacturer. If your Saturn retailer really will not fix it, report it to the Saturn Division of GM, the Better Business Bureau, and your local newspaper. Here in Atlanta the TV networks all have a reporter whose job it is to publicly harass companies that do not do what they are supposed to do until the company gives in and fixes the situation. This is not a good thing, but Saturn should replace it.
  • sl1ownersl1owner Posts: 2
    Thanks for your input. After two days of riding in it I feel that the engine is noisy and steering a little stiff. The combination of the two along with some minor vibrations in the cab would make one believe that its not shifting upwards even though I touch 60 mph. Do you think that's ok or should I get it checked. I hope I could address some of these issues at 60K dealer service.
    I liked the other features on it and the am/fm/cd sound system is great.
  • It couldn't hurt to have it checked when you are in for your 60k service, if not sooner. Good luck.
  • jeff186jeff186 Posts: 95
    Only 15 months and 15K, mainly highway, on my leased SL-1 and the brakes are shuddering when I apply them at highway speeds. No way should the rotors be warped on this car, but it seems so. Well, i guess i get to see how good the much-touted Saturn service dept. really is. Hope this is under warranty. Well, i know which make of car i won't be getting next time.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    all Saturn service departments are not the same. Anyone who makes a blanket statement about how wonderful they are just doesnt get it .
  • saturnfreak01saturnfreak01 Posts: 134
    True, some service areas are better than others. But when comparing the worst Saturn retailer to the horrid Toyota Dealer, the difference is still clear when the name on the building reads S A T U R N .

    Saturn did not achieve its number one ranking in sales and service out of luck.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    Sorry about your warped rotors. I don't understand why you say it will cause you to not buy Saturn again, though. You will be hard pressed to find a car that does not have this issue occasionally. Even more so in the price range you were shopping in. A LEASED SL1? What are your payments--about $99/mo? Maybe your new Rio next year will have better rotors--good luck to you!
  • jeff186jeff186 Posts: 95
    Sucked in by the $199/month lease rate. No my friend, an '03 Nissan Maxima is my next vehicle, as of Saturday. The Saturn becomes my son's vehicle for the duration of the lease.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I hope the rotors work out better on your Nissan. The Saturn should prove to be a great car for your teen age son--big enough to get the job done yet not enough car to get him into trouble.
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