Are you shopping for a new vehicle and having trouble finding one, or have you been waiting a long time for a factory order? A reporter would like to speak with you; please reach out to [email protected] by Tues. 5/11 for more details.

Saturn Maintenance & Repair



  • mdawnemdawne Member Posts: 1
    I bought my Saturn Relay 3 new in 2005, and we loved it. However, there was a problem from the time we drove off the dealership lot with the alignment. After bringing it to them 4 times (twice for just the alignment, and twice for that & to rotate tires), they have told me (female, as you may guess from their reasoning - I don't think they'd even try this line on a man...LOL) everything from "It's the high winds in the area that make it seem to be pulling." to "that's just the way the roads are made - it's not the car pulling - it's the roads...the Alignment is perfect. The first time we had the tires rotated, they had to completely replace one, due to excessive wear. 12K miles later, they tell me that the tires on this minivan (warrantied by Continental Tires for 80K miles) are completely worn (unevenly from the looks of it, although they didn't say that), and all of them need to be replaced. Oh - and their reason for this at 29K miles...."tires are just not made to withstand the weight of a minivan or truck - you will always need them replaced at around 30K miles". I've skipped the service dept altogether, and gone straight to the President of the dealership. Will find out what he has to say tomorrow. Any advice would be appreciated. In any case, they finally DID manage to align it (somewhat) - and they told me they didn't do a thing to it...just makes you laugh. I looked, but could not find the "stupid" sign on my forehead. Guess we'll see tomorrow. :mad:
  • user777user777 Member Posts: 3,341
    sounds like they don't know how to align the vehicle, or their specs for alignment are off. you may have an issue with tire inflation, or suspension / steering components. it's hard to say what you are dealing with when people can't see it.

    continental should have some mileage guarentee and provide pro-rating of the tires. At 29K, you didn't get 1/2 the mileage of the tires.

    roads are sloped to the sides and your vehicle should naturally drift to the side, but at a very slow rate if it's aligned properly. don't ask me how long, but several seconds.

    you shouldn't have to fight the wheel with excessive force to get it to track straight down the road. if you let go of the wheel and move quickly towards the side, you have a problem.

    winds can affect a vehicle, honestly they can. tire tread pattern and road surface, specially groves in the road or going over a metal grate bridge together can cause you to move all over as well. but both of these phenomenon are situation dependant and short lived.

    if you have to use excessive force to turn right or left, or you don't have to use much force at all, your tires may be under or over-inflated respectively. the former usually is indicated by wear on the sides of the tread but not in the middle, while the latter (over-inflation), you'll have wear in the middle of the tires but not the sides.

    these may help:
  • okko1okko1 Member Posts: 327
    it is more likely than not you have a tire and alignment problem. more often than not pull problems start with slight pull and get worse with time. this kind of pull is generally related to the tire. a hard pull that turns the wheel would be more likely to be alignment issue most mini vans require additional action to adjust caster/camber like kit installs or strut mods or other means. was there irregular wear on all tires or just front.
  • bdietzbdietz Member Posts: 1
    Purchased the car new from the dealer. Car has low mileage, approx. 6,000 miles. No problems with car until last year. Noticed that while coming out of a stop, during acceleration, it will hesitate. It doesn't happen all of the time, but usually once each time the car is used. We have taken it to the dealer on two different occasions and they have worked on it(under warranty) and the problem goes away for a short time. Any one have any suggestions?
  • ryanfiala81ryanfiala81 Member Posts: 35
    My SL2 has started reliably since I purchased it in April with 40,000 miles...until recently. Now, my key slides right into the ignition, but will not turn. Sometimes a half hour of playing with the steering wheel and jiggling the key will do the trick, but sometimes not. I have also tried WD40 and lock-ease. If anyone has heard of this problem and knows of a solution cheaper than the $300-$500 the dealer says it will cost to install a new ignition module, I'm all ears.

  • tarmnstarmns Member Posts: 5
    I recently had to slam on the horn to avoid a head-on accident, and fortunately I was able to avoid the other car, however, now the horn won't shut off. The only way I can make it stop is by removing the fuse. Any ideas on repair costs or options???

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You'll have to pop off the steering wheel I'm afraid, which requires messing with the air bag. I don't think there are any options here. Probably you damaged a spring or some such. it's all labor, probably little for parts. Probably not a DIY job either.
  • tarmnstarmns Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for the information----this was my concern also that it might not be a DIY option, so hopefully it won't get too expensive in labor.

    Thanks again!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well shop around for estimates--I'm just guessing here but I'm almost sure the horn mechanism is behind the air bag on your car. But I've been wrong before :P
  • user777user777 Member Posts: 3,341
    right. unless you can clearly see where perhaps some portion of the air-bag assembly sitting on top of the steering column has been jamed underneath the other portion. but because of accidental air-bag deployment potential if you aren't careful, it's best if someone else does the work. ;)
  • cjgruhlcjgruhl Member Posts: 2
    I had this very same issue on the same model and year. Have the dealership cut you a new key from their database. Mine got the the point where I could not turn it at all and ended up getting it towed in. Someone at work mentioned excessive key wear so I had them cut a new key (at under 10$ I figured it was worth a shot before they took apart the ignition system). That was it and after seeing what the new key looks like it's amazing that the old one worked at all! They said I was lucky I did not damage the tumblers with such a bad key.

    Anyway it's an easy thing to try cheaply you just need to take the time to bring the car to a saturn dealership.

    Good luck!
  • ryanfiala81ryanfiala81 Member Posts: 35
    It seems to be working again - a combo of WD40 and lock-ease appears to have done the least for now. Most importantly, I always now park with the wheels straight and don't touch the steering wheel until I've started the car again (once the wheel locks, it's much more difficult to get the key to turn). I had a new key made, but there appeared to be nothing wrong with the old ones. Thanks for the suggestion; I'm just glad I don't have to spring for a new $300-$500 ignition module yet.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Try not to use WD-40 in locks. Not a good idea as a rule. Graphite is good.
  • flyingdragonflyingdragon Member Posts: 8
    I had the same problem on my 2002 Vue. The bad news is that the horn switch is integrated into the air bag assembly, so replacing the horn switch requires replacing the entire assembly (I was past warranty). It's a poor design for sure. The good news is that my dealer agreed and supported my assertion that I shouldn't have to pay for the consequences of a poor design. I contacted Saturn Customer Support via their toll free number and described the situation, they verified with the dealer, and in two weeks I had a new ($600 approx.) air bag assembly installed. No problems after that - I traded for a new '07 Vue last fall. My '02 had 160,000 miles and the vehicle was trouble-free otherwise.
  • flyingdragonflyingdragon Member Posts: 8
    I'm looking at purchasing a Saturn Sky (not a red line), just for fair weather/weekend driving. I'd appreciate having the benefit of other owners experience with this vehicle - good and bad. Have heard some complaints about soft top leaks, unverified. Thanks in advance!
  • tarmnstarmns Member Posts: 5
    Maybe I'll try that since it worked out so well for you. The bid I rec'd from our local Saturn dealership was approximately $1,000.00 to repair, which is outrageous. Thanks for the input.
  • saturnvetsaturnvet Member Posts: 1
    I own a 1998 Saturn SL-1 4-cyl automatic with 173,000-PLUS miles. I have been quite happy with my vehicle for the 9 and a half years I've owned it. Been to 13 states, two oceans, and from Death Valley to the Rocky Mountains.

    But the problems are beginning to take their toll. And while I am probably going to get a new vehicle soon (considering either an 07 or 08 VUE to accommodate growing family, but skeptical of the Hybrid), I would still like to get as much out of my current Saturn as possible.

    Problem: Several times over the last three years I have taken the car to the dearlership because the engine will begin racing for no particular reason. I can be idling and the tachometer will suddenly soar to over 2,000 rpm.

    When I'm decelerating, the rpm will jump when I'm at about 35 mph.

    Every time, I am told there is a faulty sensor or some other minor thing. The repair bills are relatively low, which isn't the problem. I'm just getting tired of having to take the vehicle in for this.

    Any idea what is going on?

    This particular problem is annoying, but not as bad as the $762 repair bill I just endured ... :mad:
  • ryanfiala81ryanfiala81 Member Posts: 35
    I have a 2000 SL2, so the motor's slightly different from an SL1, but I'd assume the same transmission. My car has only 43,000 miles, but does the same slight RPM surge at around 35 MPH on deceleration. I assume it's just a Saturn quirk from the transmission upshifting as you slow down. It's annoying at times, but I hope I never viewed it as a critical problem (although I've never owned another car that has done this). If anyone knows anything about this quirk, I'd love to hear it, too.
  • flyingdragonflyingdragon Member Posts: 8
    Sorry I can't offer any advice re the SL-2 issue, but I'm a big fan of the Vue. I put 160,000 miles on my '02 with a 4 cylinder EcoTec, 5 speed manual and front wheel drive. I had to have the driver's airbag replaced because of a horn switch failure (warranty) and a Body Control Module (BCM), non-warranty. Both rear wheel bearings/carrier assemblies were also replaced, non-warranty. The engine and transmission were flawless, requiring only routine lube services and the 100,000 mile service (grit your teeth for that one!). Overall I was very pleased with the reliability, utility and net cost of ownership (I averaged 32 mpg highway) - enough so that I bought an '07 last fall.

    I have 24,000 miles on the '07, also a 4-cylinder, 5-speed, front wheel drive model. This week the clutch was replaced due to a factory parts mismatch problem identified by the dealer via a factory service bulletin. It was accomplished in under 24 hours and I was given a free rental car while repairs were made.

    The '07 is a more refined vehicle in every way. It's the same dimensions, same basic utility and features. But the drive train, suspension, sound control, brakes - all are somewhat improved vs. the '02. For the price, I think the Vue is a great value. I currently average 28 mpg highway.
  • stupidcar85stupidcar85 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 L200. This weekend it just stopped working. I would sometimes make weird noises when the car would start but it was maybe once a month. We thought it was the starter. I've had the starter replaced but it still will not start. We think it has to do with the alarm but I'm not sure. Has anyone else encountered this before?
  • solracsolrac Member Posts: 1
    2004 Saturn Ion was in an accident...repaired after a long starts up but then shuts off...padlock pic is on dashboard...I don't have a manual...what does this indicate?
  • cw_meekscw_meeks Member Posts: 4
    Replace the fuel filter.
  • tzupptzupp Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone out there had any problems with their wipers on their L-Series? I have a 2000 LS1 and recently started having problems with my wipers. My mechanic has retired and I'm hesitant about paying high dealer prices.

    So here's the problem, the wipers work fine on low and high speeds. If I try to use them on the delay setting, they will go up but struggle to come back down. The same thing happens if I try to use the mist setting. I was told that it might be the motor but it sounds more like the switch on the steering column to me. Any ideas???
  • cw_meekscw_meeks Member Posts: 4
    I have learned that unusual engine noises can be caused by oil filters with excessive resistance to oil flow.The worst I've seen are those painted orange that seem to be sold everywhere.
  • tarmnstarmns Member Posts: 5
    Well, we were not as fortunate as you when approaching customer care about our defective horn/air bag assembly. The Dealership, Saturn of Blue Springs, MO was of no help either and we are basically being told for $1,023.00 they will correct this problem. Not a happy Saturn Vue owner, for sure!! Thanks for the suggestion, however.
  • user777user777 Member Posts: 3,341
    That's broken. I can't imagine the air bag assembly costs anywhere near this much. Did you research it at all?

    Me personally? I'd be looking for another dealership. At the very least, they should do it at cost.
  • flyingdragonflyingdragon Member Posts: 8
    Very sorry to hear about your lack of success. I'm assuming you've discussed the matter with your zone rep, and directly with Saturn. It might be useful to urge them to discuss the situation with my original dealer - Saturn of Burlington, VT. They were very helpful it putting the information together and did the actual repairs. This was clearly a design and/or manufacturing defect. You should not have to pay for repairs, in or out of warranty. As a last resort, write a letter to your state Attorney General's office and take it to the dealer. Give them one more chance to do the right thing. If they don't respond as they should, mail the letter, and provide a copy to the dealer. Good luck!
  • slimrizzoslimrizzo Member Posts: 2
    :shades: So In conclusion.. The Saturn Dealership of Lexington implied I would need a new air bag to fix the horn for the alarm to sound. 1100$ (I drive HORNLESS) THANX
  • tarmnstarmns Member Posts: 5
    I appreciate the feedback. I just can't believe that Saturn doesn't want to work with us at all on this, and I too, will probably need to drive without a horn (which can be very challenging at times, depending on other drivers around you, until we can come up with something. It's been very helpful hearing all the other Saturn owner's experiences with such a ridiculous design that is so costly to repair!!
  • carman26carman26 Member Posts: 2
    :cry: The horn on my 1996 Saturn SC1 sedan started going off one day incessantly. After touching the horn button it stopped. I visited several mechanics, who said that I need a new horn.

    I bought a new horn (the one with the two mounting sites). However, my Saturn horn has a three-wire relay cap. I cut that off (per seller at AutoZone) and have tried "wrapping" each wire on one mount while the other is attached to a cable that is attached to the grounded horn. Nothing works.

    :confuse: QUESTION: WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO!?!?!? How can I get this work!?!? PLEASE HELP ASAP!!!!
  • matt06071977matt06071977 Member Posts: 2
    CARMAN26 ~ Even though I own a 1994 Saturn SL1, I ran into a similar problem in October of 2006.

    I am not a mechanic by any means -- and have no clue as to how to make the horn your purhcased work -- but I feel I can point you in the right direction. After diagnosing and correcting it a few times, the meachanics at the garage I go to put in a new Clock Spring. Hopefully this is different than a horn, though like I said -- this is why I go to professionals!!

    What I did in the meantime was took the fuse out so the horn wouldn't work, as it would go off in the middle of the night and the neighbors would get upset.

    Hopefully this helps a little bit -- please let me know.

    A fellow Saturn owner, ~ MATT
  • caitywcaityw Member Posts: 2
    So here is the Deal. When I push my horn on my 04' Saturn Ion level 2, I can hear the relay click in the engine compartment. The fuses are good. So I then go to find the horn disc and I can not find it any where. My father and my boyfriend who know just about everything about cars can not find it. I was wondering if anyone here has had any experience finding theirs. Or I might just be missing it all together.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    For future Saturn issues, please post in the particular model group. You can find them using the "browse by vehicle" to your left.
This discussion has been closed.