Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Saturn S-Series



  • podunk503podunk503 Posts: 45
    just bought 2000 sl2, auto and keyless entry. 49k on it. i like it. i bought used off a saturn dealer. not certified. when i brake i feel vibrations through the steering wheel and column and underneath me. anyone know what that might be? any advice for me on keeping my car running well, my main concern is the transmission. i'm really paranoid about that for some reason. thanks.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    That vibration is probably a warped rotor. We had a 1999 SL2 and it was a little shaky as well. Our 2003 Ion had a slight shimmy in certain braking situations, so I had it looked at. I had a rotor slightly out of round, so they machined it and it stops very solidly and smoothly now. Have your rotors checked. If your car still has the original brakes, that may be your problem.
  • ochsskochssk Posts: 52
    Back in 1999 Saturn had a safety recall for the recliner in the front seats. My wife never fixed it and I finally got our '95 SL2 in for it's 90K service and asked Saturn to take care of the recall. They called and said the recliner is fine and doesn't need to be replaced yet. I thought NHTSA recalls were supposed to get fixed. Anyone have input on this?

  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    Not all recalls affect every car of that model year. Usually they only affect cars made in a certain time period. Yours may have been made in a time that did not use the defective recliner? Did you actually get a post card informing you of the recall; or, did you read about the recall somewhere?
  • ochsskochssk Posts: 52
    Yup got the recall card a long time ago. The service rep said that our VIN# was one the list of affected cars.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    It's possible the recall called for the dealer to inspect the reclining mechanism for wear and if found, replace it. Maybe they didn't find anything wrong with it. But I still would question them as to why they aren't replacing it. If your car was affected by the recall, you have a right to demand it gets fixed if it fits the criteria.
  • soggydogsoggydog Posts: 67
    Podunk503: When I was thinking of trading in my 96 SL2 with 49K, The dealer wanted proof that the following Items were serviced/ replaced with Saturn OEM parts.
    1. Top motor mount replaced.
    2. Auto transmission serviced.
    3. Spark plug wires replaced.
    4. Fuel filter replaced.

    I had proof of all but the motor mount, so I replaced the motor mount and decided to keep the car. It now has 59K and runs great.

    The transmission filter is a spin on filter located under the air box in left front section of the engine compartment. I suggest useing Saturn filter and Saturn auto trans fluid.

    I also think it is a good idea to replace the fuel filter because if it is restricted it can confuse the computer controlled transmission and shift at the wrong time.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    Are you serious? Was this a Saturn dealer? I would have to laugh and walk away if they said that to me. When I traded my 99 SL2 with close to 60k mi, they did not ask me a thing about how it had been serviced. I've never heard of that.
  • soggydogsoggydog Posts: 67
    Yes a Saturn dealer, I was looking at the L value addition I think. They were going to give me 5K for my car if those items were replaced, otherwise they would deduct. I can't remember the exact amount, but I think the motor mount was around $200. The other Items were less. He actually wrote it on the work sheet.

     He said since I do my own maintenance they could not check it out with the service department.

    I thought 5K was a good price, so I didn't mind the silly stuff. We just didn't like the L enough to trade.

    Even though they did not ask about service, it is possible the appraiser check'd out your service record by entering the VIN in the service computer.
  • soggydogsoggydog Posts: 67
    I think I missed my point. Podunk503 said he bought his car from a Saturn dealer but it was not certified. I think they wanted all this proof from me because they wanted to sell it as a certified used car. I was just saying if he was worried about the transmission, change the fluid and filter.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    With the low mileage you had, that may have been the case.
  • podunk503podunk503 Posts: 45
    so i turned the defrost/floor control on to clear the windshield and to warm the car. after a while i'd turn the fan down to the first click but not all the way off. and i'll be driving and i hear like a whine. the whine sometimes seems like it goes with the engine speed. the noise is only there if it's on either defrost alone or defrost/floor. doesn't matter if recirculation is on or off. any ideas? could something be stuck in the vents? thanks. also i'll have my fuel filter checked at my oil change. and i drive A LOT in the city so do you think trans. fluid & filter changes would keep my trans lasting? i've never had an automatic nor any family members(worth keeping anyways)thank you.
  • zanfardinozanfardino Posts: 1
    Does anyone happen to know how to program a new remote without going to the dealer and paying a bunch of money
  • cards_200cards_200 Posts: 44
    New to this board - just picked up a '96 SL2 w/82K. Appears to have been pretty well taken care of. I will probably get all service on items in the manual just to be on safe side (i.e. fluids & filters). What other maintenance might you folks recommend?

    Brake fluid flush, plug wires, PCV valve, timing belt? I don't see any reference to these in the owners manual. Would it be wise to service any of these items?

    A bit of high noise level when driving (not at idle). What is 'motor mount' issue? What are symptoms - and ballpark cost to repair? Any issue if you just continue driving on a (degraded) motor mount?

    Saw reference to 'red' vs. 'green' coolant. I have red. Is it really true I can't have coolant flushed and replaced with (green) or any other quality coolant? Thought I seen a reference along this line in earlier post. But I had never before heard of not being able to mix - especially if you flushed system prior. Insight?

    Thanks for you help folks.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    If you have the owner's manual, just do what it says in it. If not, go to and find recommended maintenance items in there.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    Has a timing Chain not a rubber belt it will usually last the life of the engine . It will get real noisy if it wears excessively . the most important thing you can do with a DOHC is check the oil at every fill up . YES every fill up
  • 94 SL1 5spd, 107k, $900.

    Always serviced by Saturn. Alternator replaced 10k/10 months ago; brakes 15k ago; original everything else.

    My mechanic checked and said:

    Exhaust system rust, will need replacement but not yet...$300?

    <50% tire tread, recommends new rubber all around for winter...$250?

    Oil pan leak (actually just "collecting" on pan, not really leaking)...gasket $200?...gasket+pan $350?

    PS pump weak...showed "moisture", heard a little noise...when it goes $350?

    Original struts...weak...noise on bumps...$700-800?

    Original clutch, grabs at end, when it goes $600-800?

    Engine good, compartment clean, no leaks.

    This seems a low enough price that I could pop for rubber and do the exhaust when it goes and still be just under private party value.

    Little worried about the oil pan "leak"

    Figure the struts are non-issue since ride was not objectionable in the least. Ditto the clutch since pedal movement was OK, and she shifted fine.

    Anyone and everyone, opinions most appreciated!This will be a 3rd car, maybe doing 8-12k a year, and I wouldn't mind having it around for 2-1/2 years for when my son starts driving.

  • john355john355 Posts: 4
    I had purchased a brand new 2000 SW2. The following items had to be fixed in about 3.5 years.
    1. transmission quill bearing.
    2. intake manifold coolant leak.
    3. clutch failed at 42 k.
    4. battery went dead (AC Delco battery) at 3 years and leaked acid ruining cables.
    5. electrical short that kept the lights on.

    The first two years of ownership went well and then the car needed all of the above repairs. After each repair, I was hoping to ride out a year or two without trouble, however, things just kept breaking. Prior to the Saturn, I had owned a 1993 Chevy S-10 pickup for 6 years without having to repair anything. I wanted to stay with GM vehicles (a type of economic patriotism), however, after the fifth repair I finally traded the vehicle in towards a Toyota truck. Has anyone else had similar experiences with this vehicle?
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    A Saturn? Yes. Have 3 times. This Saturn? No. When you replace all the worn parts your mechanic found, it won't be worth what you have in it.
  • laurap52laurap52 Posts: 4
    I owned a 1996 SL2. I had nothing but problems with it from the start. It would save time to tell what I didn't have to have fixed. It used oil like crazy-never left home without oil in the trunk. Sunroof broke twice - $1000 repair - 1st time fixed under warranty, then I never had it fixed-I didn't have $1000 to fix that when I had to pay to fix everything else); had it at dealer 3 times to fix leaking Cam Cover, and I could go on. I think I must have gotten everyone's problem in my car. I know others that have Saturns and love them-even buy another one. I can say that since I got rid of mine I will NEVER buy another one. It sure was "A Different Kind of Car" if that is what you want to call it.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    Sounds like you are looking for a NEW car there are a lot of good deals out there with low interest rates . All used cars have issues if issues bother you then buy NEW it helps the economy. what do you expect for $900
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    some people swear by SATURN and some people swear at them !!
  • birdman579birdman579 Posts: 151
    I'm one of those people that loves my Saturn. Mine is a 93 with 148K miles. I had a leaky sunroof and cam cover gasket. The sunroof was covered by my dealer (even though the car was well beyond the warranty period) and I just fixed the cam cover gasket myself. It hasn't leaked a drop in the 1000 miles since I changed it. It sounds like laurap52's dealer did not know what they were doing. My dealership has been excellent. Everything is fixed the first time, no exceptions. The parts department is also very helpful at giving advice for do-it-yourself fixes.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    Sorry to hear about all your problems. Do you really, though, think this was indicative of Saturn or of just yours. Yeah, you know every manufacturer makes a bad one now and again--even the luxury brands. At least you now own the most problem free car in America, the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Uh-oh. Never mind. How are those brakes holding up?
  • laurap52laurap52 Posts: 4
    I never said my Jeep was problem free but it has been to the shop twice which is a whole lot less than my Saturn. I know every car is going to have problems. And yes, I probably did get the lemon of the bunch. But for that being my first Saturn and to have had such a bad experience - that was enough for me.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    My coworkers 96 Saturn SL2 blew its engine after 160k of constant oil burning. She said the thing always burned way too much oil but they could never find any leaks and the car didn't smoke. Either the car started burning more oil than normal or she got a little lazy in checking the level. Either way, the engine blew a hole through the block. She's now debating on what to do. Saturn wants $2500 for a used engine and 3500-4500 for a new one. Her brother thinks he can find a Saturn at the auction for about 1000-1500 and stick the engine in her car. But she will end up spending a lot of money on such a worn out car. I'm trying to convince her to buy a new Hyundai or Kia since she has no car credit and has been turned down for a car loan already. She was quite surprised to learn that the twin cam engine was known for oil burning. She knew it wasn't normal but just didn't know any better. Live and learn I guess.
  • soggydogsoggydog Posts: 67
    If the transmission, AC, and the rest of the car is in really good shape, It may be worth it. Otherwise it's like throwing money in the well. Does the $2500 used engine from Saturn include installation and a 90 warranty? I would check Edmunds used car section, but I think you can pick up a good used 96 SL2 for around 3K.

    I made that mistake before. I replaced the transmission on a 87 Taurus for $1800, then within two months I noticed a antifreeze leak from the cylinder head gasket and the Air conditioner quit again. That's when I traded for the 96 Saturn I have now. They gave me $1700 for the Taurus.

    In my opinion, for someone who can't afford to take a chance on a used car, It's hard to beat the Korean cars with the security of the 5Yr-60K bumper to bumper and 10Yr-100K drive train warranty for less than $200 a month.
  • birdman579birdman579 Posts: 151
    I'd highly recommend getting a Hyundai Elantra. My girl friend has had one for 2 years now and its a great car. The only problem was the digital clock would occasionally not work. It was fixed under warranty and its fine now. The quality is just as good, if not better than a Civic or Corolla. The handling could be slightly better, but its much better than a Corolla. Just not up to Protege levels. Good luck with your decision.
  • You may have had a bad Saturn, that is unfortunate.

    But PLEASE ... one can not even use the word reliable in the same sentence at "Jeep Grand Cherokee." That vehicle is one of the most unreliable vehicles possible to buy. Check Consumer Reports or ANY other organization that does reliability surveys/estimates.

    If you have some sort of reverse reliability power, then just as you had problems with your Saturn (generally a 4 or 5 star reliability rating) then your Jeep should be one of the most reliable cars ever.

  • I have a 95 SL2 with 102k miles. The Service Engine Soon light comes on when going down steep hills but goes off when on flatter ground.

    I changed the spark plugs, wires and both iginition coils. I have also recently put on a new converter and oxygen sensor. The light still comes on when going downhill.

    Thanks for any clues.
Sign In or Register to comment.