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Saturn S-Series



  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    I agree with dhanley, interior rattles in a car drive me nuts. I also have to 'cure' the noise as I like it quiet inside. As far as engine noise goes, I believe any make with a 4 cylinder will be noisy when under moderate to hard acceleration. I have 22k+ on my 99 SL2 in less than a year. As far as buying another Saturn, it depends on several factors which I won't go into now.
    Floridian, what do you mean by the plastic really sings? I'm in NY and have much larger temp swings in one day than florida and I can't recall any noises from the plastic panels.
  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    traveler: contrary to what a lot of people think it DOES get pretty cold here at times. We have occasional dips into the "teens" in Dec.Jan.and Feb.but more common are morning temps around 39 to 40 degrees. I did not mean the plastic body panels but the interior plastic stuff, the door pulls crunch and creak when you pull the doors shut, the center console moans and groans, the door panels squeek if you rest your elbow on them etc. nothing really too much to get excited about but when i think about what the vehicle cost (over $19,000 out the door i think it could be better. My old Mustang (1996) with 188,000 mles on it has not a squeek, rattle or groan. go figure !! As i have said before i don't have any issues with the reliability of the car it's been 100% and for that i am thankful. had it been a problem car it would have been "dumped" a long time ago. I hear the abandoned rock quarries around here are full of Saturns that have been "stolen" from unhappy owners, just kidding of course.

  • Hello,

    I'm a newbie, so don't slam me if I make
    a faux pas.

    I am looking at a 1996 Saturn today at 3PM.
    I'd like some feedback on this car and its
    price. Here's the scoop:

    It's a 1996 Saturn SL1, 5-speed standard
    transmission, 4-door, with 92,000 miles on
    it. It has air conditioning. It's silver/
    grey. That's all I know until I see it.

    The guy says its book value is $7,275
    and its loan value is $5,175 but he'd
    sell it to me for $4,250. It sounds too
    good to be true. What should I look for?
    Who knows if this is a good deal or what?
    I'd love some advice and feedback. I
    checked Consumer Reports, and the 1996
    Saturn is listed as one of their "Most
    Reliable Used Cars" and Edmunds had a
    pretty good review too.

    I am less concerned about looks and
    "comfort." I want a car that is reliable
    and gets good mileage. I haven't got a
    whole lot of money to spend, and this
    sounds like a great deal. It's also
    the very top of what I have to spend.



  • norbert444norbert444 Posts: 195
    Where are thou? Our saturns are in dire need of thy adulation. Be back!
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    That sounds like a pretty good deal! We looked at a similarly low-priced saturn, but I could tell it hadn't been taken care of--there was considerable valve clatter. All I can say for the reliability issue is to take it to a good mechanic, and for the comfort, drive it for awhile--insist that you need to drive it for 15 minutes at least, on several kinds of roads. Maybe go to a saturn dealer and try a few similar ones; that may give you a comparison car to let you know if something is wrong.

  • Thanks, Dave. The fact that the nearest
    Saturn dealer is an hour and 15 min. away
    is an issue, as is the fact that I can't
    drive a standard very well. And other
    people I have asked are very suspicious
    of the low price tag. I plan to take it
    to a local mechanic -- he can't get it on
    the lift today, but he said he'd look
    it over. Thanks again.

  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Big purchases are nothing to rush. Make sure it's just what you want before getting it. The worst thing is to say "well, I could have..." IF it's in good shape, it's a great car for $4250, though. Big IF. I have a '96 as well, (an sl2, however) and I'll be crushed if this is all they are going for now. :)

  • norbert444norbert444 Posts: 195
    I wouldn't let my 95 SL2 go for less than 8K! The two good sources of pricing information are Kelly Blue Book ( and this site. Of course, those prices have lots of qualifications, or what I call "adjusters."
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    I take it that the mechanic you're taking the car to is one you know to be good and will give you an honest answer about the car. If you're not sure how to use the pricing system in edmunds or kellybluebook send the info to the townhall site,
    mileage, options on the vehicle, how you think the interior looks ( worn to nearly new looking) especially the pedals( worn pedals and low mileage is fishy) how much tread on tires, how the engine sounds, all equipment works properly etc . Somebody here will run it through the pricing system and see how it comes out. 4250 seems like a low price even for upstate NY. Double checked your post and yopu gave the mileage of 96k average mileage would be around 60k so the seller is deducting for high mileage but not sure right now if they deducted right amount.
  • sruthsruth Posts: 1
    I have experienced what I would call excessive oil consumption in my 1997 Saturn SL2. Has anyone else seen this in a Saturn? At 47,000 miles, I would not expect there to be a major engine problem.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Comes up a lot on the newsgroup. It seems like either the tolerances on the rings are not that good or something. The good news is it probably will not get much worse, and it probably won't have any adverse effects. The bad news is you will have to check the oil once every 2 weeks os so and keep a quart around to top it off. Mine burns a quart every 3k miles or so and has for quite some time now, and the above is what i do. Really the cost of a quart of oil a month is not going to hurt anyone, but it is a pain to check and add..

  • mpo1mpo1 Posts: 1
    I have a 1996 SL2 that was experiencing excessive oil usage at 77000 miles. My Saturn dealer did documentation of this (took one week and two oil checks by them) and then they scheduled a complete engine rebuild job that was covered in full by my extended warranty. This also included the use of a rental car for the duration of the repairs which took 3 days. So far at 83000 miles my car is running fine and using no oil. Good luck.
  • claryclary Posts: 18
    I wonder what causes some to burn oil and some to not do so. My 1997 SW2 w/ 54 000 miles burns almost no oil between changes. I use synthetic oil and have done so for the past 33 000 miles or so. My oil change interval at the last change was a bit over 7000 miles, and I think it was a half quart low by the time I changed it. Is it different rings that cause different oil consumption, or is it mere lock o' the draw?
  • toddz20toddz20 Posts: 1
    just wondering if this is a decent seems to be, since it was through a friend anways...just bought a '95 SL2 fer 3500 w/ 84k, no power windows, but it has air, tinted, new speakers, new tires, brakes and a rear drives pretty well, was well maintained, has no major problems as far as i know...just wondering what to expect to go wrong when it gets around the 100k mark...

    one thing i did notice that i didnt notice when i was test driving is the squeak coming from the passanger side dash board, if i even put my hand on it while driving it stops, wondering if i could just put some foam or something in there, or something else, doesnt really matter the radio is always gonna be blaring so i wont hear it 90% of the time...i've seen that some of you guys have noticed i guess it's a common thing and not really something to be worried about when the car gets up in the higher mileage...

    things that were a plus, the color the design, gas mileage doesnt seem too bad, considering im coming from an 89 buick regal...reliablilty seems real good, previous owners had oil changes transmission fluid changes often, well before scheduled maintenence due...they recently took it on a few decently sized over 1000 miles trips with no problems, i think that's a plus too...

    lemme know whatcha think...
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    Is Saturnboy such a fanatic that he can't stand to hear any negative comments or owner experiences about Saturns? Does he work for the Saturn marketing department or does he just really believe in that "Saturn family" propaganda? Sorry, but when I buy a car it is for transportation and not to be a part of some bizarre automotive cult.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I don't own a Saturn, but I think the way Saturn and their dealers treat customers is great. It has the highest customer satisfaction rating among car makers so they are clearly doing something right. I think implying that people who own Saturn's are part of a cult is silly. I wish all dealers were more like Saturn.
  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    Saturn owners cult members? Not hardly. I think the "Saturn thing" is akin to the buddy,buddy thing that VW drivers and earlier MG pilots shared. Always a wave etc. Most people are so turned off by the blandness and commonness of most of the car offerings that they crave some kind of mutual "togetherness" that the Saturn "family" seems to offer. I attended the first "homecoming" up in Springhill,Tenn.and it was more like a high school reunion. I really don't think the Saturns are anything special at all (I have a 1998 SC2)it's a OK car but nothing to write home about.

    If you want to talk "cult" I predict that the Ford Focus will rise to that level if for no other reason than it's quirky styling. Aside from the styling tho it represents a quantum leap in value and technonlgy,compared to Saturn. Saturn has lost the "ballgame" by resting on their laurels, depending on this "warm and cozy" we love you hype. At this stage of the game they really are not much more than what a Cavalier and Sunfire have to offer.

    Saturnboy just ran out of stuff to say. How many times can you harp on the virtues of plastic bodywork,good resale(questionable also)and low maintenance (also questionable if you follow factory polocy)I do miss his rantings tho. He can come back anytime and welcome. Could be he finally has gotten some new wheels and feels guilty for not honoring the "Shrine of Saturn" anymore?

    Come on Saturnboy, we know you are out there "lurking" around. put on your "tough skin" and join the fray once more,We won't bite you.

  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Maybe he's just waiting for you to explain your whole saturn sucks "reasoning" instead of repeating this opinion ever few posts. Maybe it's good to go away when you run out of things to say rather than just repeat it ad nausem, eh?

  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that Saturn owners were a part of a cult. I was being sarcastic in light of Saturnboy's overenthusiasm. What I meant is that I don't think it is worth paying so much extra for a bland car that is nothing to write home about, just to be a part of the "Saturn family." I also find Saturn's supposedly terrific dealer service questionable, at least it is in my neck of the woods. As I have said before, I am considering a Saturn but I can't shake the feeling that the price is overinflated. And I am skeptical about reliability and dealer service, which is why I think the word of mouth on a forum like this is much better than any Consumer Report type of ratings which Saturnboy always seemed to quote from.
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    some foks are so fanatical about their favortie car, that if u disagee with them, you get long winded insulting posts.
    I say get real and go out and make some real friends!
  • jenc1jenc1 Posts: 5
    I went out looking at new cars recently and the Saturn was one of my choices. There is only one Saturn dealer near me so I went looking there. While looking at there extremely small selection of used Saturns the salesman came out and I asked him if I could test drive one of the cars. When I came back (it was a short test drive the dang tank was already on E), the same salesmen was with another customer. Is it just me or was that incredibly rude? Needless to say I didn't stay and didn't get a Saturn.
  • Thanks for all the good advice. The dealer
    started backpedalling when I went back to see
    him again the next day -- so I was really
    nervous. He said his mechanic saw it as
    a valve cover leak, and he said he took it
    to a local dealer (chevys) and their
    mechanic didn't find a head gasket leak
    either. So, he said, he'd get with *my*
    mechanic and see what was the story. Well,
    I checked back with my mechanic and he'd
    not heard from the dealer. So, I have
    left things on hold while I work on some
    loan issues. The mechanic is someone I
    trust, and he has no vested interest in
    me buying this vehicle or not. He did
    say it would be a great deal if, in fact,
    the dealer fixed the loose front bumper
    and the head gasket. Well, I only have
    so much to spend, and I am going with
    caution. I doubt I can find another
    Saturn for a price I cn afford. :-(

    Thanks again, everyone!

    Karin at Wells
  • norbert444norbert444 Posts: 195
    How did your dashboard work go?
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I heeded your warning about how hard it was, and just pushed it in a little and put foam tape in the gap. Took a few seconds, problem solved, can't see it.

  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    Is the Saturn you're looking at being sold by a used car dealer and not from a Saturn dealer? When I was buying my saturn, the salesman let it slip either accidentally or on purpose but they wholesale some Saturns that come back in as trades. Another thought, have them do a dye test, if it is a valve cover gasket as they say, will see dye showing from where the leak begins. Only problem, if they do the test might be able to manipulate the result so that it appears to be coming from the valve cover. If it is from the head, it will show up quite low on the engine block. Does your mechanic feel that the dealer that is selling the saturn is honest?
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    Poor salesman that would get involved with another customer while you are test driving a car. was he the only salesman?
  • mi297fmi297f Posts: 2
    Our '95 SL2 is a fairly good car, but I have some gripes about it:
    -seats are German-like: hard with lots of side bolstering, uncomfortable on long trips
    -only one cupholder with ashtray in place
    -while radio is good it has confusing controls and the controls for our A/C is cheap
    -materials are GM-cheap, but reliability and fit and finish is good for an American econobox
    -trunk not the best in the world
    -rear seat is not a nice place to be
    -high noise levels from wind, engine, and tires; but, hey, last car was Nissan
    -styling sharp in front but bland in rear, and Cd is a below-average 0.34

    These may seem like a lot of complaints, but just make sure to buy the much better 2000 S-Series and the great L-Series.
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    Sorry about taking so long to get back to you, but so far mine doesn't squeak or groan as far as the interior plastic panels, console or dash. Hope this is not what I have to look forward to as car gets more miles on it. Have 23k on it now and at next oil change switching to synthetic oil for type of driving I do.
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    Has anyone checked out the website Many owners have written in to share their ownership experiences. The posts start out with things like..."My Red Saturn From Hell"...."I Rue the Day I Bought My Saturn SL2"..."My 14,000 dollar mistake"...etc. All posts cite Saturn's complete disregard for their customers
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    The guy who runs the site is a quack! I heard that Saturn offered the guy a new car and he refused it, instead opting to bash the company. Probably along the same line as the guy who runs a similar BMW site.
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