Howdy, Stranger!

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

Saturn Maintenance & Repair

sema0427sema0427 Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Saturn
I have a Saturn SL2 from 1997. For the first 3
years, under the maintenance, the car ran perfect.
The contract expired last November(1999)and the
troubles began. The Supentine belt snapped and the
Tensioner had to be replaced. Then the spark plugs
were damaged and the cylinders were broken.
The ignition wires needed cleaning and the engine
housing collapsed. Doesn't this sound odd? The
Saturn dealer closest to our home(in Medford, MA)
advised us to call Saturn and complain. They
responded rudely saying that a car is a machine.
But when I took it to our original dealer, in
Danvers, they advised us that each dealer sets
their own price. We were overcharged!
Our car runs better now but the attitude of Saturn
has left us feeling angry. They started out as
family but now act cold and uncaring.
Just thought you'd like to know.


  • I'm glad to see someone else out there is not satisfied with the Saturn company. I bought a 1993 Saturn new and I have had nothing but trouble out of it. If I where you, I would trade your Saturn now. It only gets worse and Saturn of Knoxville service department has never been able to fix the problems on my Saturn. My Saturn has actually broken down twice within hours of having it serviced at the dealership and they would not even pay to have it towed back in. Now that's what I call service!
  • donachsdonachs Posts: 1
    I purchased a 1999 Saturn SL2, the car ran great and the dealership was wonderful....until I had a problem!!! The Saturn caught fire and burned, the entire engine compartment to ashes, molten plastic lay on the street around the front end of the car. I had it towed to the local Saturn dealership. Let me say that the dealership was extremely courteous the few times that I brought the car in for service. BUT... when the car burned they didn't want to see me at all.I was given all kinds of excuses as to what happened. The complaint dept. in Spring Hill, Tn. was no help whatsoever, all of my telephone calls were shuffled from one person to another. At one point they even denied that I owned a Saturn I had to have the dealership verify the fact. The car was examined by service reps, factory reps, and Saturn engineers, all to no avail, Saturn could not tell me what happened. They had the car for 30 days and refused to give me a loaner, The Saturn legal Dept. stated that by doing so it would indicate "LIABILITY". I knew then that I was going to get the short end of the stick.Finally I demanded that the Insurance company intervene on my behalf, they did and Saturn immediatly totaled the car out. They claimed that they did not know what happened therefore they were not liable for the damage. I wish to say that in all my experiences with retailers of all kinds I was never so callously and rudely treated as I was by the peoplr of Saturn.....Thanks
  • janevaethjanevaeth Posts: 1
    Bought my Saturn LS sedan on 7/15/00 here in Baltimore. 4 days later we attended the open house for new customers to get acquainted with the Saturn way of doing business. About 80 people showed up for the meal, video tapes and demonstrations. One lady said that she was having a problem turning the key. We all looked at each other, wondering where did she learn to drive. Everybody knows that you sometimes need to turn the wheel to release the pressure. Well, the next day at about my 5th errand, the key would not turn. At first I thought that it was my security system since I had never had a car with one. Then I pulled out the manual. Nothing. After about 5 minutes, I called the dealer. They had 2 mechanics out in 14 minutes, but neither could make it move. They took me to get a rental car and I was home, all within 35 minutes. They had to replace the housing cyclinder. I did not lay out a single penny, not even to refill the rental. The key now turns over very smoothly. I hope nothing else happens.

    I chose the Saturn LS over the Mazda 626 based on interior room, automatic overdrive versus pushing a button, Mazda's transmission history, and leg room for my tall husband.

    If you don't see a posting from me, you'll know everything is fine.
  • kkanterkkanter Posts: 1
    I have a 95 SL2 w/57000 miles, took it in for a ticking noise, I was told I need a new timing chain for $650.00 plus new front brakes and rotors for $165.00 (this was replaced at 27,000miles) and I have a leak in a transmission seal that will cost $160.00. Saturn said because I had my oil changed approx. every 5,000 miles instead of 3,000 it is not unreasonable for this to happen to the timing chain. And what about those front brakes going again?
  • I think there is a chance of getting a lemon whatever make car you buy. I bought a new SL2 Saturn in '93. I now have 95k miles on it. I replaced the voltage regulator. The engine compartment is still clean. It looks like a car engine with 10k miles instead of 95k. The dealer in Trevose, Pa. has always diagnosed and fixed any problem the first time. I had a tranny problem at about 45k. It was banging into gear after high speed , high temp driving. I talked the manufacturer into picking up half the cost. It cost me about $200. It now uses a quart of oil every 300k miles. Too bad i cannot buy another one--its too low and I'm to old
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    Has anyone had problems with their saturns alternators at all. My brothers went out at about 70K.
  • bigfur,

    Can you verify that it was a DELCO alternator? Of course, I would expect it to be straight from the GM parts bin, so it would have exactly the same life expectancy we have seen on other GM cars. In which case, your brother's experience is completely typical.

  • Has anyone had any problems with their Saturn ingnition switch? My niece has a 3 dr and Saturday she could not turn the car all the way off. It wouldn't turn any further than ACC and you could pull the key out while the car was running! The car is only about a year old.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Seem to be a weak spot in the car. Apparently this has to do with inadequate cooling. Not sure if they're delco or not, but i would guess that they are.

  • I just got stranded today because I stopped for gas and when I got in my car to leave the, ignition, steering column and gear shift were frozen solid! It looks like it's a common problem. Does anyone else find the interior fabric a little to fragile? I wore a hole in it on the drivers side with my elbow, of course they replaced it, how can you do that after only 3 months? I love the service, but wish I didn't have to see them so often.
    I also had to get a new windshield wiper fluid hose, of all things it broke on me without advance notice. I sent a little note to Saturn Customer support to let them know that I am a little disenchanted with my car.
    I hope they investigate and make sure this problem doesn't happen to others. Luckily, I was stranded in a good neighborhood and was not in any personal danger. There are plenty of places here where that wouldn't have been true.
  • My 94 SL has continuously had problems with intermittedly overheating (according to temp guage) since the alternator went bad at approx 70K miles. The dealership keeps saying the temp sensors are bad and have replaced them several times (this week without charge). The car has 89K now and we are original owners. About 15K of those miles are tow miles (we once read Saturns do not rack up miles when towed but this one does). The car is a 5 speed and this week after I had let it set for an hour (while traveling out of town) when I started in back up it would only go in reverse. I backed it up, could not get it in another gear, so I cut the engine off. When I restarted the gears were fine. Saturn could not replicate the problem or find anything wrong there. Has anyone else experienced similar problems and have any solutions?
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    One thing is that the saturn gauge is calbrated well, "different." Most automakers make the first 1/4 of the gauge cover a long range so that people don't worry even though the engine IS changing in temperature. Saturn used a linear gauge, which is more accurate, but worries people. They moved to the technically-incorrect but less troublesome gauge later.

    it's like of like the horn buttons: The rim is a much better place for it, because in an accident, what do people often do? Honk. If you honk on the rim, the airbag pushes your hands out to the side. No damage. Honk in the middle and your hand gets smashed into your face at 100mph. Saturn moved the horn to the middle eventually, though, because every stupid car reviewer complained about the horn being in a "funny spot."

    judith, i'd worry a bit about the gear thing. That shoudln't hapeen in a 5-speed. Like the racking up miles when towed. If that is happening the trans is broken.

    BYW, repairs at saturn dealers are supposed to have a 1 year unlimited mile warranty.

  • I have a 1997 SL2 with 17,000 miles.
    The muffler seems rather loud lately.
    I'm wondering if maybe I'm paying too much attention to it.
    Anyone know if noisy mufflers are common with 97 SL2's.
  • Judith, My Wife's 95 SL II just started to do the same thing. she starts it up and the gauge peg's to the red end. Has to be a faulty sensor, how much did Saturn charge to replace your sensor the first time?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    I bet the baffles in the muffler have come apart,common with 4cyl engines.They will replace under warranty if its still covered.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    If it's a problem in the muffler, I *think* it has to be replaced for up to 5 years unlimited mileage as an emissions component.

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Saturn engines have had a history of seizing oil rings in their grooves in the pistons. Doesn't affect compression rings quite as badly, so there's still some pep, but it'll go through oil like you-know-what through a goose.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    The exhaust system up to and including the catalytic converter is an emission related system and warranted up to 5 years. The rest of the exhaust system isn't.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Ok, the muffler's not covered.

    The oil burning is weird. Some cars do and some cars don't. I heard it was the valve seals that are the culprit, not the rings. I have always used synthetic and now close to 100K miles I go through a quart about every 1200-1500 miles. Theoretically the synthetic should have prevented ring coking.

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    DOHC engines up to about 1994 had a problem dropping valve guides, similar to Chrysler 3L engines. Newer ones like to seize oil rings and taper cylinder bores. Oil in the coolant is a cracked head, not uncommon, and warranted 6 years/120,000 kilometers.(You do the math for miles in the U.S.) This info from a friend who's a Saturn dealer tech.
  • For what it's worth, this has been my experience with a 1992 SC:
    The car has 150,000 miles. It uses about 1 quart of oil in 600-700 miles. It creaks, rattles and squeaks; the interior trim pieces over the doors have come loose, and rattle. The automatic belt on the driver's side has given up the struggle. The warning chime goes off when the door is open and there's no key in the ignition. The trunk lid rains water down into the trunk when it's opened, even days after a rainstorm. The cupholder broke. The windshield washer stopped working, because the hose had a hole worn in it; the Saturn dealer didn't have another in stock, and had to order it.
    (By the way, one frustration has been Saturn's unwillingness to let aftermarket manufacturers offer replacement parts, so everything has to come from the Saturn dealer.)
    On the plus side, the car has gotten very good mileage (over 30 mpg with an automatic), and it's been fun to drive.
    I don't mean for this to sound like a sob story; I just wanted to offer my experience.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Some of that stuff sucks, but it does have 150K miles. Some of those things just happen over miles and if you don't fix them along the way then your car seems like a wreck. But things like the trunk lid sound like a design defect. Some of those things happened to me too, both door panels rattled and it seemed like they got loosened up by opening & closing--IOW they were not strong enough. I had tons of wind noise--this was the biggest defect to me. I went through a quart of oil every 1200 miles despite using synthetic the entire time. OTOH, as you say it was fun to drive, got good mileage only only left me stuck once ( bad battery ) when i traded it in at 97K miles. Even got close to $5k for it.

  • mush1mush1 Posts: 1
    My 95 SL1 has a large appetite for 5W30 Penzoil! It only has 45000 miles . It's using a quart every 1200 miles. Anyone else have this problem? I'm very disappointed. I just bought the car about 3 months ago. Is this typical for Saturns ?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Read post #20 and 23 in this topic.
  • '94 SW2 107K, oil dipstick came up dry on last oil change. Sort of a shock. No history of oil consumption. Not driven hard, almost 90 percent highway miles. (Changed front brakes for first time at 101K; that's how little stop and go this one's seen) Rinky-dink oil guys at Jiffy Lube say my rear engine seal is going, which seems like a pretty nasty outcome for simple oil loss, but maybe that's to be expected at this mileage. Or maybe they're just morons. Any thoughts out there, wiser Saturn owners than I? If I do need a new rear seal, what's that usually going to run me? (Four figures? Ug.) Thanks! Chilly in MSP.
  • The washer hoses on my 91 (one of the first in NY)
    have been broken for a long while. I have not seen this in any other old car I ever owned or drove (quite a few). How many years has GM been making cras (Freud slip), I mean cars... where they don't know how to design washer hoses that will last?

    As far as I'm concerned... that's a safety defect amd Saturn should give a new set to anyone who asks...
    for free! Yeah right.

    As far as alternators go... almost everyone I know with a GM car has had to replace theirs prematurely.

    Oil burning... mine does a quart every 400 miles.
    Saturns excuse is that the oil was not changed frequently enough in the beginning.

    Otherwise it's fun to drive... but I'm getting tired of sitting on the ground with the roof on top of my head feeling like I'm riding a wild horse every time I hit a bump!
  • As for all posting about ignition problems, it is a known Saturn design flaw. I personally have been through two ignition cylinders in the 4 years that I have owned by 94' Saturn SL2. However, I have learned a trick to get them to last infinitely by spending 3 cents every three months. Just two squirts of WD-40 in the ignition cylnder every three months will keep the thing from jamming up. However, if will not prevent the wear n' tear where your key can be removed while it is still running ... consider that a perk. :-)
  • gasguzzgasguzz Posts: 214
    Check out
    You'll find everything you need to (and don't want to) know on your Sattys.
    You'll learn about the "normal" overheating temp gauge, oil-burners, top engine mount deterioration, warped rotors, and rattles and vibrations.
    We no longer have our 98SW2, mainly outgrew it into an '01 minivan. Bought in 09/97 and 3 years is all I want with this car, before I really have a problem with it (also since it's the wife's and toddlers ride). Saturn too needs to dump the no-haggle pricing, it's an aged concept and a disadvantage in keeping with the competition.
    Good luck and enjoy.
  • I bought my 97 Saturn 1 1/2 years ago with 29,000 miles. I am an outside sales person and put alot of highway miles on my car, it now has 52,000. 3 months ago the oil light came on, so immediatly I drove to the dealer....MY CAR HAD NO OIL IN IT !!! and the dipstick was burnt black. I was shocked !! I had the engine flushed and had an oil change and was then put on an oil consumption test, every week I was at the dealer getting it checked and it was using (burning) 1to 1 1/2 quarts every 1,000 miles. They printed my service report and said that my oil changes were anywhere from 3,995 to 4,800 miles apart (which is true) I was at fault for causing my car to have this problem, EVENTHOUGH THE OWNERS MANUAL SAYS TO CHANGE IT EVERY 6,000 ACCORDING TO MY DRIVING PATTERNS !! All this happened right before Christmas, now I'm being told that GM specs say that it is normal for a car to consume 1 quart or more every 1,000 miles and that there is nothing wrong with my car. I AM VERY DISSATISFIED WITH THE CAR AND THE TREATMENT THAT I HAVE RECEIVED. IF ANYONE HAS AN ANSWER OR ADVICE I WOULD APPRECIATE IT OTHERWISE I WILL BE SELLING THE CAR AND NOT BUYING ANOTHER SATURN!!!
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    G.M.'s policy has always been that oil consumption of up to 1 quart per 1,000 miles is acceptable, and will not do anything under warranty to remedy it. I'm not asserting that their view is correct or popular, merely stating what I know their policy to be, based on 15 years as a G.M. dealer tech. No doubt some "knowledgeable" individuals will waste bandwidth here opining on G.M.'s policy but that and $1.00 will buy you a cup of coffee, unfortunately.

    An approach you might want to consider is to discuss with the service manager the fact that Saturn engines have a history of siezing oil rings, and tapering cylinder walls, both causing high oil consumption. If either of these is present it should be a warrantable condition. Taking it to another Saturn dealer in hopes of a different response is probably not viable, as all Saturn dealers are computer linked and your vehicle's repair history will show up as soon as they key in the VIN.
This discussion has been closed.