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Saturn Maintenance & Repair



  • My problem was exactly like #30 marcinas...only my engine blew a piston when i had no idea that I had a problem. Saturns response was that they had no obligation to repair it and i could spend hundreds of dollars in a diagnostic engine tear down and if they found an engine design error they would then CONSIDER contributing to the replacement. Purely a BS ploy to get me deeper and deeper into the car repairs so I'll stay with Saturn. Then they offered me a fraction of the value for a trade in knowing that I was already screwed. This company and its dealers are classic sleezy disreputable dealers masked in this friendly PR made image........and their service claims are simply falsehoods proven by our nightmare.....

    Marcina...sell the car....I'm doing excatly the same thing and DONT BUY ANOTHER SATURN EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!LET THE BUYER BEWARE WITH SATURN!!!!!!!!!!and don't say you havn't been warned.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    "this company" is General Motors.
  • Would it be a fair assumption to say that GM has no interest at all in correcting the oil problems because its not a life safety issue and it gives them a methodology to deny warranty and owner based claims for service. From what I can see here and in numerous other message boards (such as, relating to oil issues, Saturn will not honor these types of repairs based upon the poor design of their engine whether the car is under warranty or not. The engine was designed to fail (or simply poorly designed) but it suits their need to limit their liability and avoid repair costs.

    The failure of a company to instruct their consumer base of this typical vehicle fault and this type of deceptive practive is certainly the basis for litagation.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    A LOT of saturns use oil. Mine did, other people i know had the same issue, etc. The cars definitely go through oil more than average. All cars do it to varying extents, though. BMW and Toyota make the most durable engines in the world, and some use appreciable oil.

    I didn't care *THAT* much, i always check my oil every week, and top off if necessary. Everyone should. Of course, i'd prefer if i didn't have to do that! I'd say to just just use normal oil, change it every 3,000 and top it off ar $.70 a quart sale junk whenever necessary. I passed emissions with flying colors, regardless.

    Still, you'd think saturn could do better. They've pissed off a lot of people with this issue. Don't get me started on the warp-o-matic brake rotors, though.

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Interesting anecdote. Long, boring mostly, but interesting to a point. So are we to glean from this that the Saturn dealer should take responsibility for the theft of your wallet? Interesting concept. As to the license plate bracket, the vehicle was shipped and equipped for the state in which it was initially sold. Quit whining about petty trivialities.
  • 4x4man4x4man Posts: 222
    Wow, I bought my wife a 1998 Saturn SC1 brand new with only 4 miles on it. It now has about 28,000 miles on it and no major problems (yet), the drivers seat belt mechanisim had to be replaced twice cause it would not retract, one time the gas door wouldn't open after pulling on the remote handle (funny to laugh at now)..oh there is a high pitched squeeking coming from the plastic hub caps. It is NOT brake dust, have cleaned and checked and sprayed cleaner many times. Took the hub caps off and drove the car around and the sqeeking stopped...should've gotton the aluminum 15" upgrades...oh looks ugly without the hub caps so I put 'em back on and we up with the noise. Dealer has tried to "adjust" the hub caps (don't know how) as this is a common problem, but to no avail.

  • spedispedi Posts: 1
    Anyone else with and L-series 4cylinder vehicle? If so, have you experienced a rough idle at 600-700 rpm when stopping at a stop sign/light? If you own/drive this type of car, please post your response either way! (Trying to learn how common this issue is.)

    Thanks !
  • Uses no oil, only had to replace alternator and one set of brake pads, 125,000 miles. Consistently rated well for reliability by Consumer Reports and J.D. Power surveys. Problems per 100 cars is well below the Detroit average. Liked it so much I bought a 2001 LS300. 2K and no problems at all.
  • I'm currently on my second Saturn (no problems on the first, just too many miles), with zero problems to report. 163,000 km and all I've had to do is replace the tires, brake pads, plugs and wires. I am noticing that it's starting to use a little more oil. It seems that this is somewhat normal for this car.

    After 8 years of driving Saturns, I'll be leaving for a new Mazda Minivan....if only GM and Saturn had come out with a Saturn Minivan, I would have bought one! Saturn was a great concept that seems to have withered. I hope it can return to it's former glory.

  • My 95 has 51K with auto trans. At 40K was driving on the interstate when I lost all power from trans. Engine ran, but no torque. Dealer replaced what I recall was an "upper modulator" or something along that line (took three visits to dealer). Now today when shifting from reverse to neutral there is a noticable "thunk". Doesn't do it any other time. Anyone know anything on this? I have had no oil use problems.
  • my Saturn at 88000 has that same problem since 45000 when you put it in reverse you get the thunk I have also replaced the alternator 3 times and the starter twice the last time the starter went was the other day I was at a used car lot and it died as I was telling him what a great car it was. had to tow it of the lot.... just bought a Jetta and iam waiting delivery thank god the nightmare is over I hope the Jetta doesn't do me wrong my 1st foreign car
  • My '98 SL2 (63k miles, 5-spd) has intermittent 30%loss of power. Happened during long road trip and made it a REAL DRAG. Hasn't happened too often since; perhaps car has to be thoroughly warmed up B4 problem happens? Check Engine light does not come on; dealer tells me this means the computer isn't recording a problem code they can refer to.

    Saturn dealers no help at all; one I bought it at sez there's nothing they can do unless it's doing it when I bring it in; other dealer far outta town wouldn't work on it when it WAS doing it, b/c I didn't have an appt...

    This problem, and the notorious nasty engine noises (especially on high-speed deceleration) bum me out, but overall, I like the car a lot. I can provide a rundown of good and bad points on request, if that'd help anyone.

    Anyway, back to the point: WHAT COULD CAUSE INTERMITTENT POWER LOSS ON MY '98 SL2?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,514
    Well, about a million things, really....the dealer is right, actually...can't fix something until it fails, unfortunately for you. Hopefully (I say that with some hesitation), it will fail and then you'll know. My ballpark guess is a fuel delivery problem of some type.

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  • I own a 1994 SW2 with 36,000 miles. The clutch was replaced at 17,000 miles and the slave cylinder replaced at 23,000 miles (Saturn paid for both), and now I need to replace the flywheel, etc., at 36,000 (I'm paying). I've been driving a stick since I was 16, and I've never had to replace a clutch, so I'm reasonably sure it's not my driving. The service guy said that Saturn redesigned the flywheel starting with the 1996 model. Does anyone know about a clutch design problem in the earlier models? Is it normal for clutches to go out every 17,000 miles?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,514
    Clutch problems depend on a lot of seems pretty premature at 17K, you are certainly right about that...I suppose that a clutch that engages too "softly" would wear more easily due to slippage...or if the clutch disk were simply too small for the engines power.

    As for your flywheel, that probably just overheated from slippage or got gouged by a destroyed clutch plate.

    I think if everybody's 1994 Saturn clutches were burning at 15K-17K, we would have heard about it by now, but certainly they could have installed a bad batch.

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  • After reading this discussion, who would want a Saturn? They also have about the worst seats in the business.
  • Too often only the negative posts receive any attention. I would guess that for all these dissatisfied customers, the vast majority of the millions of saturn owners love their cars. My 94 SL2 has 120K, same clutch and brake pads, did replace the alternator at 110K and runs great. 6 hour drives are a breeze, no fatigue at all. There are problems with the line, but on the whole, you can buy far more problematic cars.
  • Found out that SL1's have been having problems with cracked heads... check with a Saturn dealer near you about what can be done (SINCE I've learned each dealer is different)
    Dealer I called told me about the problem and that they will pay for part of the costs and towing... (I originally called to ask the price for a head gasket and then he proceeded to tell me about the SL1 problem) (I have a '96)
    FYI... (engine oil was leaking into my coolant was the first problem noticed)...
  • ernie303ernie303 Posts: 1
    My 96 SL1 was just diagnosed by my mechanic as having a cracked cylinder head. Ouch. It has 106,000 miles on it. I haven't talked to my saturn dealer yet as to what can be done. Is this a common problem? How should I proceed? It seems too early for this problem to have occurred.
    (It has been using oil and my alternator was replaced at about 90,000 miles.)
  • There ought to be a warning posted on these cars to alert new owners about the oil related sensitivity/issues.

    I bought a used 1995 Saturn SC2 less than a year ago. Brought it in to Saturn for service for it's regular maintenance and was told a year previously the car got a new engine. I thought, "lucky me", 5K later it blew a ring. Saturn told me I didn't change the oil often enough & it was my negligence that caused the piston to blow. On further research I found the car is now on it's 3rd engine (4th owner), total odometer reading is less than 80K. By the way, Saturn is "giving" me a 20% goodwill discount (the previous owner got a 55% discount to replace the engine) so it'll only cost me $4K for a new engine.

    I plan to take this to my local consumer news advocate and also contact (a nationwide consumer action center) - maybe others should too. At minimum I think Saturn has an obligation to their customers (especially people who've never owned a Saturn) to disclose the engine's oil related issues. My last car was a Nissan & the engine died at 210K miles.
  • jjr8jjr8 Posts: 1
    Jeremiah87...I have a 94SL2 with 71,000 miles on it and the same thing is happening to me. My car thunks when I put it in reverse. Saturn took a look at it and is predicting a total valve body replacement. No estimates yet on what this is going to cost but it sounds expensive. Anybody had this problem and had it repaired?
  • pirellipirelli Posts: 3
    Seat belt retractor gave out , front wheel bearing, altenator, timing belt, rotors, windshield wiper motor, i guess when you pay full list price highest dealer markup, you get what you deserve.
  • rrobertrrobert Posts: 5
    Replaced alternator and tires. Everything else is perfect. Runs great. Guess I got what I deserved.
  • cofccofc Posts: 6
    I've been doing some on-line research for my friend trying to help him decide about a car. He found a 96 Saturn SC2 coupe fully loaded with power win/locks/sunroof and leather. It does have a lot of miles on it for a 96, 110K. They guy wants 6400 for it. I thought that didn't sound too bad, and he porb can talk him down to at least 6K, which didn't seem too bad for a 96, but then after reading all these posts, I am wondering if I should tell him go by a corolla! Are most sat urns really this bad? And is the oil burning really a problem if you check it every time you fill up the tank with gas? Should he go for it? He's planning on taking it by the dealership if he gets really interested in it and getting it checked out. Any other advice.. should he just bail, or do you think this would be a good car that he will get 5 or so years out of?
  • rrobertrrobert Posts: 5
    And the J.D. Power survey's and CR seems to bear this out for most people. I think a Corolla would ultimately be more reliable, but would cost more and wouldn't offer the bang for buck the saturn does. I have a 94 SL2 and a 2001 L300. Love them both, most trouble free cars I have ever had.
  • neiltekneiltek Posts: 2
    My SL1 now has 156000 miles on it. At 125000 I replaced the engine after it locked on me, then at 145000 the tranny went. I'm fairly abusive on it and sometimes neglect the maintainance. The engine and tranny didn't set me back too badly. (a local salvage yard had parts from a wreck) It runs great now and I put about 75 miles a day on it, but my next car will be a late model BMW convertible.
  • t56gen3t56gen3 Posts: 6
    My $.03 worth...... have a '92 SL2 auto with 171,000 miles on it. This car has had a rough life. Bought new in '91 by my mother, totalled 12 months later by mom (opted for repair instead, $13,000 later) (BTW, she plowed a concrete embankment at 65 mph, both front doors still opened freely and she walked away) She was/is very aggressive driver, and constantly runs back and forth from brake to gas (very hard on an engine and brakes). At ~90k my little sister takes over. Twice as bad a driver as mom, and her boyfriend drove the car most the time (I can imagine a 16 yr old driving the hell out of it, I found out later that he spent most of his time with it at redline). Neither one was very good about the oil changes (sometimes 10k between). Sis washed the car ONCE in year (no kidding). At 120k, I take the car (being the shade tree mechanic I am), give it a little TLC, and bring it back to life. At that point, it had gone through a couple sets of front brake pads (no surprise there, considering the drivers), radiator fan motor, coolant temp sensor, starter, and alternator. At 120k I replaced the tranny seal and fluid (for the first time!), oil and filter, timing chain, serpentine belt, struts, and gave it a bath and polish. (Many auto trannys have been known to go out when you wait that long to change the fluid, due to the lack of detergents over time, not to mention Saturn says to change it every 30k). It left me stranded one time (for the first time ever since the family bought originally) at the gas station at 135k when the fuel pump went out (not that uncommon, especially since mom and sis NEVER filled it up, only a buck or two at a time! It was always on "E" when they had it.) Since then, I have gone through another alternator (POS cheap remans are a waste of money, the factory ones are worth the cost and, as with most Saturn engine parts, are not real expensive, and will last 2-3 times as long), brake pads on the rear (at 140k for the first time), A/C compressor (which I could have prevented if I could have located a can R12 oil charge at the time), belt tensioner, and general maintenance (plugs, wires, throttle body cleanings, fluid changes, seat belt track lubrication, etc). The car is perfect for daily driving and commuting. I bought a '00 Alero (for sale, too, if anyones interested) because I wanted a bigger car, and I keep the Saturn around for shopping/errands (and for the girlfriend to drive). It has no door dings (love those plastic panels) and people have mistaken it more than once for being new (imagine that). The car is fully loaded, and everything still works fine (sunroof, no leaks, automatic seat belts, ABS brakes, etc). I plan to buy another as soon as my Alero sells. Anything that has been to hell and back three times and still idles PERFECTLY smooth at idle in gear with the A/C on at a light is great in my book). Did I mention that at 85k mom took the car in for really rough running engine? Saturn finds it to be stuck injector (again, no surprise, she never used additives to clean them). Since Saturn did not have the injector in stock at the time (and mom needed to get to work), the tech tried to clean it--just to hold till they could get one in (He didn't think it would last very long). At over 170k I am still on that same injector--never a peep out of it since (use that cleaner additive every 3 months or so). It says something to me about the quality of the components. Yes, it does use a little oil (supposedly the 92s were the most sensitive to the oil changes). We put 20-25k a year on this car, and I dump 0 to 1/2 quart a week in it. Feel free to email me with questions....... Hope this helps with some of your descisions! (Sorry so long)
    P.S. I love ZAINO!
  • odyseekerodyseeker Posts: 1
    My 97 SL2 with 40k has intermittently started to vibrate excessively as I'm just about to come to a stop. Wonder if anyone has had this happen and if it could be the trans since the vibration stops if I shift into neutral.
  • t56gen3t56gen3 Posts: 6
    Ody, though I don't know how bad of a vibration you are referring to, the rough idle at a stop can be caused by several things......Assuming that the engine runs perfectly smooth and normal at any other situation (especially the right idle speed), I would suggest that you examine your engine mounts, if they are fatigued or broken they will cause all sorts of vibration, expecially under load at a light. (I have had this issue with my own car at one time.) A good way to check would be to watch the engine while you have an assistant swtich in and out of the gears and see how much the engine torques back and forth (a little movement is normal), if there is considerable movement, then that is probably your problem. Have your assistant stand on the brakes and switch between Drive and Reverse and watch the engine. Hope this helps!
  • I have a 94' SL2 that I bought when it had 58K on it. Overall the car has performed well. it uses 1 quart between oil changes. The altenator went when it was still under warranty. The top engine mount also went but out of warranty. Both have been redesigned in the later models. I am currently at 105k miles and now the water pump is leaking. The Saturn dealer quoted me $230 for a new water pump. I checked some other repair shops and was quoted closer to $300 so I am suprised at the lower price from my dealer (only 2 hours labor) vs. 3 at other places. So that doesn't seem to bad. However the other problem is the muffler strap broke and my dealer wanted $125 just to replace the strap! I think I can get a new muffler with a strap for that price at a national exhaust chain shop. A fair price for a pain *** job like a water pump yet raked for a simpler muffler strap?
This discussion has been closed.