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Saturn Maintenance & Repair



  • Hi guys. Just wanted to know if anyone had any ideas for the following scenario:

    I have a manual 1995 Saturn SC1 with 124000 miles on it. It has been running like champ. This morning I went to go to work and of course, it doesn't start. The interior lights and dash lights come on, the door chime sounds and the "click" happens when you turn the key. The car even ATTEMPTS to start, but its very, very weak the first time; almost no attempt the second try, and nothing but the "click" the third time. It was ZERO degrees out last night here and the car is not garaged, with wind chill its about -15 or so. Does this sound like it could be a cold weather problem or something more? AND if it is a cold weather problem, would a core heater help with this issue? Thanks so much!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496
    Your battery will lose 40% of its strength at that temperature, if not more. So if the battery is more than 3-4 years old to begin with, you have 40% of an old battery, not a new one.

    Definitely anything you can do to keep the engine warm (or even just keeping the battery warm by bringing it inside) would be helpful.

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  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    or a new battery with more CCA (cold crank amps)?

    i suppose i'd run it over to a autozone or other similar and have them load the battery and alternator.

    also - this person should be going for some good long drives with the cold weather to make sure alternator has time to re-charge the battery.
  • I bought a 2000 Saturn LS2. I have been told by Saturn that it would cost 400+ dollars to fix this. is there a way I can buy the part and have someone install it without a huge problem????? ANYONE!!! they said it was the crank shaft sensor.
  • Hi,

    I have complained to the dealership, to NHTSA and to my local news channel. I am having the same experience that everyone else is. The dealership insists that I bring the car in for diagnosis so they can charge me $100 for the repair. I don'te think I should have to pay anything for this malfunction and I am trying really hard to be patient while others investigate this situation. In the meantime is there anyone else I can complain to where I know I will get results. I really don't want to have to pay for Saturns mistakes. and if we all wanted to get together and start a class action lawsuit how can we get the ball rolling on that?
  • I AM HAVING THE SAME PROBLEM!!! any ideas or did you solve the problem yet? please tell me, any help is appreciated
  • bgilsonbgilson Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 LW200 with 27000 miles. The headlamps blink off and on at road speeds on some road surfaces? Anyone else experienced this problem?
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    It is most likely your alternator. Very common problem with the Malibu/L-Series/Grand Am as they all shared the same platform and had many common parts. Try pushing the dealership to replace as a warranty item.
  • amanda9amanda9 Posts: 1
    I have a 1997 Saturn SC1 Single Cam want to convert it to a Twin Cam Manuel- Don't even know where to start shopping for engine and parts! I know only a little about cars but i know enough as to what im looking for. Now i just need to find them!! Any help is great!
  • theaaddtheaadd Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 Saturn SL1- I have two issues and can't really afford to take it to Saturn so they can charge me a fee just to tell me what they need to fix.

    The first is that my keyless entry has stopped working. It will lock all the doors but only unlocks the driver door. I've changed the battery but that didn't work. Anyone know how I fix this?

    The second issue is that my car stalls all the time, usually when it's cold. I literally have to drive around with one foot on the gas and one on the brake to keep it from stalling every time I stop. Autozone ran a diagnostic check and it said there was something wrong with my idel control but they couldn't tell me what that meant. Any advice here?
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    1). some wireless remotes have a means to set if it unlocks all doors or just driver's, and it's a toggle that is accomplished i think by holding both the unlock and panic buttons. maybe it's in your manual or it's found via googling

    2). hmmm, yeah an idle air control valve (IACV), something that provides a bypass around the throttle valve, when the throttle is all the way closed. maybe your's can be cleaned. maybe there's a broken hose.

    another possibility, when you changed the battery, you messed up the idle. maybe your vehicle, like other vehicles has an idle "learn" procedure after replacing the battery.

    more googling.
  • theaaddtheaadd Posts: 2
    Hmm, maybe my two year old reset it when she was playing with it, I'll try that, thanks.

    I'll google the idle control and see what I get.

  • relantelrelantel Posts: 2
    Today is Day 49 in my ongoing fight with Saturn over a broken timing chain at 84,700 miles on our 2001 L200. It broke while the vehicle was in operation on April 17, 2007. I discover after the fact that Saturn had known about the problem for a long time, since well before the vehicle had moved out of the extended warranty period, even as far back as during the model year, when they changed the design of the lubricating nozzel for the timing chain in the middle of the MY. On NHTSA, Saturn admits a high rate of failure for vehicles manufactured between Nov 2000 and Feb 2001, yet did not recall those to remedy the problem. There are fresh complaints on NHTSA's ODI site even now.

    We purchased ours new from Saturn of Fairfax in June 2001, after the change had been made, but ours had been manufactured in November 2000, part of the increased failure period.

    The above notwithstanding, Saturn has offered an insulting 15% off of a warranty price on a new engine - admitting responsibility but not wanting to pay the cost or even willing to make it reasonable for the customer - who in their right mind would sink $3k into a vehicle whose trade-in value is less than $5k?

    Futher details on - we were die-hard Saturn loyalists, having bought four Saturns (a 2000 SL2, 2001 L200 and two VUEs, 2003 and 2004) within a 5 year period between 1999 and 2004. The treatment during the process has been about as bad as the "final" word from the last-name-less area manager at Saturn. A four-page letter, along with 9 pages of email-thread with Saturn, and 12 pages of NHTSA printouts was fedexed to the head of Saturn Corporation, General Manager Jill Lajdziak, on May 23, 2007, and copies were sent by certified mail to G. Richard Wagoner, Jr., Chairman & CEO of General Motors Corp; Troy A. Clarke, President, GM North America; Mark R. LaNeve, Vice President, GM North America, Sales Service and Marketing; and Tom Tellepson, General Manager of Saturn of Manassas. These copies were sent on Friday, May 25, 2007. No response has been received from Saturn, and none of the reply cards have yet been received from GM or the local dealer.

    The gloves have come off, and I am telling this story far and wide. Saturn has done a lot these past 7 weeks to keep us from ever purchasing a Saturn or GM product again. They seem not to care about losing my business, or that of anyone who hears this story.
  • I recently bought an A/C recharge kit for my 2000 SL2. It blows warm air and I thought it might need a recharge. The kit came with a pressure gauge, which told me that my system is holding at between 65-70 psi (25-45 is normal, according to the kit). Any ideas what could be causing this? My old auto shop teacher suggested a sensor?

  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    I know you'd like to have a new engine (heck, who wouldn't), but just what is their responsibility in this? What is the published warranty on this product, 3 years and 36K miles?........which would put your vehicle at twice both the years and miles?

    What would the cost be to pull the engine out of a wrecked car, and put it in yours (an engine from outside of that higher defect timeframe)?

    I think your options are to:
    - Continue to try to rattle the cages, which will probably have minimal chance of success. My opinion is that you are so far out of the warranty period that any reasonable third party person would come down on the side of the dealer as being fair.
    - Swap out the engine with a previously totaled vehicle, guessing it would cost ?? 1K ??, then either continue to drive it or sell it at around it's value of 2.8-3.5K.
    - Accept their offer of 15% coverage, spend 3K for a new engine, and then drive it till the wheels fall off (since you'll have a new engine good for another 80K miles).
    - Unload it as is, take about a 3K loss.

    I think I'd be looking for a replacement used engine.

    I personally had a similar situation. Transmission went out on 11 year old 85K GM Suburban (our road trip vehicle). Turns out that they made a model year change to a transmission part, and didn't spec it as being made out of hardened steel any longer. These things are failing right and left, obviously a manufacturing weakness. Vehicle is worthless in broken condition, and way outside of warranty even though it's a previously recognized problem. This is a significant repair I ended up eating.

    I'm sure you don't want to hear this, but I'd suggest channelling energies to finding a more reasonably cost solution than a full new engine replacement. You got dealt a bad hand of cards, make the best of it and get on with life. You'll look back at this in 5 years, and it will be a blip on your radar screen.
  • relantelrelantel Posts: 2
    Kiawah, the vehicle in question had a Saturn Car Care extended warranty until 60k, the max offered for that year, and a recall replacement of the transmission was performed at 72k even though there were no issues with the original one. The timing chain is said to be part of the 90,000 mile scheduled service according to Saturn - an implied warranty that the original should last at least that long. All maintenance was performed at a Saturn dealer, most of it at the same dealer. Saturn knew of the timing chain problems in the 2001 Ls long before the extended warranty was up - in fact, they knew of the problem before we purchased our L200 new from Saturn of Fairfax.
    In its ODI filings, Saturn claimed the failures never happened during operation. Wrong. The failure due to a manufacturing defect could have resulted in serious injury, and I am not alone. Saturn used to value the "100,000 mile club" - a wall of poloroid photos at each dealer of Saturn owners and their cars that made the 100k mark. They used to value the customer - now they'd rather throw them under the bus. A timing chain should have lasted more than 200,000 miles, not fail at 84,700.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    The vehicle was purchased with a 36,000 mile "Car Care" service package, which was extended to 60,000 miles before its expiration, a package which also acted as an extended warranty.

    So is the care package a legal warranty specifically covering parts and labor, or a service package covering normal maintenance and serviceable your terminology "acting as" an extended warranty? If the original 36K package was was purchased by you (as opposed to a warranty which is included in the sale of the vehicle), it sounds more like the service packages that dealers have which cover oil changes, brake pads, etc. Does it use the words warranty?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666

    Been thinking about your situation some more. What exactly is it that you are asking for from Saturn? What is it in your eyes, is a fair resolution to your situation?

    Is Saturns' logic on their offer of 15%, that you drove 85K miles of the 100K miles that gets your picture on the dealership wall....therefore you were short 15K miles or 15%?

    Now I don't know what the actual statistics would prove (as opposed to marketing/sales hype) as to the average mileage of Saturns before they are retired....but I'm betting that most people would think by the time an average GM vehicle is at 100K it's taking it's last breaths. There's always the stories about someone making 250K, but I'm talking about the actual average mileage @ retirement.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    If it died after an oil change, you should check to make sure there is the correck amount of oil in the engine. If you check the oil level (via the dipstick) and it's low, check to see whether the oil filter came loose and and lost all the oil, or the oil pan bolt came out and is missing (thereby loosing all the oil).
  • mdawnemdawne 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 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 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 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?
  • 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 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, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496
    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.

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  • tarmnstarmns 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, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496
    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

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  • user777user777 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. ;)
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