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Saturn S-Series



  • johnv10johnv10 Posts: 1
    Has anyone had the following problem and know a solution? -
    Today I purchased a 97 SL2 for my son to commute to school. When the car is stopped and in gear, we hear a loud vibration. It seems to come from the whole dash board and/or from under the floor. It is only noticeable inside the car and is very annoying sound. We did not notice the vibration in the test drives, probably because the AC was on.
    I will be bringing it back to the dealer tomorrow and may have to take advantage of the 3 day return policy!
  • chasmalachasmala Posts: 14
    I purchased a 1999 Saturn for my mother just as the '99 models came out. It is now just a month and a half short of being two years old.
    I periodically drive it when she comes over to my house to make sure there are no rattles or funny noises and because I enjoy checking it out and driving it. I am so very impressed with this little car. It's an SL2 and only has 8,500 miles on it and I think, for the money, it is a great car.
    It rides great and there have been absolutely no problems with it to date. The people at Saturn were a pleasure to deal with and I really feel she is in good hands if ever she needs to have anything done to it. I would like to get one myself but I am tempted to wait until the 2002 model because I understand there may be a major face lift and would like to see if it has even more appeal. Does anyone have any inside information as to what the 2002 SL model will look like compared to the present model? In some ways I hope it doesn't change too much.
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    Your best way to find out what the 2002 saturn looks like is to peruse the car magazines (motor trend, car and driver etc) as they do show 'spy' photographs of the coming years models. Probably be a year before any 2002 pictures are printed by them. The latest issue of popular mechanics has a picture of the saturn suv. The picture is quite small so hard to tell just how big it is.
  • sorcerersorcerer Posts: 28
    Does anyone know where I can go online to order stuff for my Saturn?

    Specifically, I am looking for touchup paint for my '95 SL2 (med Blue Green)

    There are a couple other things I need, but this is the main one, & the dealer nearest me is only open during the hours I work, & is 50 miles away...

    They do not want to send me the paint in the mail, (actually expect me to take a day off of work just to drive over there!)

    Any help would be great!

  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Well, as long as you want the dealer to mail it, it doesn't matter which dealer it is, right? You can call out of state ones, whatever.

  • j_colemanj_coleman Posts: 143
    This topic has been pretty quiet lately, what gives?

    Has anyone had a problem with a cracked cylinder head on their '96 SL with the SOHC engine? This was the problem that Saturn sent letters out about a year or two ago. Our SL's coolant is still clear pink and the car is not losing oil, so I think we are safe for now. Of course she only has 49K miles on the car, so the problem could still develop. I would be interested to hear from someone who has been through this, and how it was resolved.
  • chrissy6chrissy6 Posts: 1
    I have been test driving cars for awhile now under the 15 grand range and my fav's have been the focus and the saturn SL2. Until I just read a bunch of posts about saturns cookie sugar coating the buying part and turning around and giving people a hard time when something goes wrong. Honestly, now I don't know what to think! I loved the way the SL2 handled..the power..the clutch..the layout. Only thing I'm uneasy about in buying a car is that I want at least 150,000 miles out of it. I own a 92 Mercury Tracer LTS with 158,000 miles on it..original clutch and all and it's still going great and I want to be able to put that kind of wear and tear on my next car. I'd appreciate any input as to how the Saturn's really hold up after putting on some hefty miles. Thanks
  • saturnboysaturnboy Posts: 89

    If I were you I wouldn't put too much faith in a messege board where mostly people only come to complain about a car, and thier unfortunate experiences. In some cases, in this room and others at, stories from supposed owners often cannot be proved as to thier authenticity.

    As for Ford, if you liked your tracer so much why not give the Focus a whirl. On the other hand, for 2000 Saturn achieved a number 2 Spot in overall Customer Satisfaction from JD Power & Associates, Saturn did better then BMW, Mercedes, Acura, to name a few. In the end, some Ford's will hold up better then others, and Some Saturn's will hold up better then others.

    Keep in mind that the Saturn was rated a best overall value by Intellichoice, under 15k. The Saturn also received the highest Crash Test rating possible from At this point you might as well flip a coin to decide :) good luck.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Saturns have had some minor reliablity issues. You could pretty much count on a Saturn needing a new alternator around 80K miles. Also due to vibration you usually need an engine mount replaced about the same time. The average life expectancy of an S series vehilce engine has been between 150K - 200K, but a rebuilt engine actually doesnt cost very much.

    The new Saturns have signifigantly less harsh engines than prior years and I would expect that the need for replacing the engine mount is over. Also they have made changes to to increase the life of the alternator.

    All that being said, I would not buy an SL2. I would spend a little more (very little) and get an LS. Its not much more and its WAY better in every way. Although it doesn't have a long track reccord I can point to, they are fantastic cars.

    Whatever you decide, good luck
  • ken1776ken1776 Posts: 41
    A lot can be learned from how Saturn has handled those unfortunate customers who have not had the greatest Saturn experience in the world. Although it might be true that this board is over negative because angry people tend to voice their opinion more often then happy ones, just remember that most of us are angry because Saturn made us angry. And if you think our opinion is biased, well think twice about the opinion from someone with "Saturn" in his name. And I am of the opinion that although Saturn is probably a better built car then many, it's still just another division of GM.
  • sorcerersorcerer Posts: 28
    I got my '95 SL2 in october of '94, I ordered the exact car I wanted, and the dealership got one for me directly off the production line. I recieved the car with 3 miles on it, and after a 4 mile test drive, I signed the papers, and it was mine. I have had so few problems with this car, that I am reluctant to stop driving it. However, my lifestyle has changed somewhat and I now have the need for something a bit bigger (read SUV). Since I love the SL2 so much, instead of trading or selling it, I plan to give it to my younger brother who is 16 now, and is in need of a reliable car.

    In the nearly 6 years that I have had this car, the only things I have had done to it, (aside from regular maintnence) is replaceing the clutch that I wore out. (my fault entirely: couldn't afford to have my brake pad's replaced, & used the clutch to slow my self down for several months(chicago traffic))
    I had never owned a new car before this one, and I am still amazed at how little this car has costed me over the years.

    I'm not trying to convince anyone to buy one, just thought that I would share a positive experience on this board.

  • sorcerersorcerer Posts: 28
    Forgot to mention that my SL2 now has 90k on it.
  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    Satboy; I thought they "killed" you off. Welcome back.

  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    taking a line from the Mituu Galant commercials, sticking it to Accord and Camry.

    Yeah, you dare not disagree with anyone's opinion on these posts or you are labeled a "flamer" loud mouth etc. Well, we all know we are RIGHT don't we Satboy LOL.

    I have been threatened so many times with "exile" from these boards because I just love to "stir the pot". Especially when I unload about all the sleezy, low life dealers & salesmen. Certain archtypes out on the "leftcoast" just go ballistic when I poke 'em in the eye! That's ok tho my skin is about 1" thick and 65 years old, bulletproof.

  • chasmalachasmala Posts: 14
    Here is my theory on the 2001 and 2002 SL model Saturns. The Saturn Company produces the 2001 SL in August/September. There are no changes except two color additions and two deletions and a modification to the engine for emissions. The car is basically the same as 2000. Then in March or April Saturn announces the 2002 model and gets a jump on the competition with a brand new and very different SL model. What do you think?
  • norbert444norbert444 Posts: 195
    Just a personal note:
    It is nice to see you back. I noticed that your detractors are now much nicer to you, except that they can't spell your screen name correctly.
    It is important that you keep coming up with facts that support Saturn.
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    I have a 99 sl2 with automatic. Ihave put just over 32,000 miles on it in 15 months. I have not had any major problems. I have had replaced under warranty a muffler and a right rear door exterior plastic panel. I change the oil and filter betwen 3000 and 3200 miles and just recently changed the transmission fluid and filter at 31000 miles.
    I am pleased with the car and I plan on driving it at least 150,000 miles. I would not be afraid to buy another one but it depends on what GM does to the Saturn in the next year or two as it is moving totally under GM management. If it loses its Saturn uniqueness, so long.
  • dannygdannyg Posts: 131
    Hey Saturnboy, just curious where you heard about the price reductions on the L series for 2001. I didn't spot anything at

    Just curious, I'm researching a sedan/wagon for a friend.
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    This is not the only board where Saturn owners "come to complain about their unfortunate experiences." Check out others like It has been point out numerous times here that the webmaster is a quack--and perhaps he might be--but read all of the horror stories that have been posted by burnt Saturn owners. All of whom seem to have run into very similar problems. Just something to keep in mind since some people (who like to flaim those that have problems) feel that this board has no crediblitly. Like it has been pointed out, perhaps the unhappy owners are more vocal, but perhaps there is a reason why they are unhappy. Good luck in your search.
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73

    I should have metioned that I, myself, do not own a new Saturn. I first joined this list when I was in the market for a new car and considering one. I finally decided against it after reading this list and others like it, and after weighing in Saturn's unusually high-profit, non-negotiable price. I decided against it.

    A Saturn wasn't for me, but if it is for you, I hope you buy one and enjoy it and hopeful have a good track record with it. However, I really would think twice about taking the advice of someone who dismisses others problems as uncredible. I can't stress that enough. We are talking about someone that has a Saturn with only about 19,000 miles on (and is already thinking about trading it--for a Ford) so is really not qualified yet to talk about reliablity issues. This same person flamed a poster who mentioned that she needed an engine rebuilt at about 80,000 miles. He dismissed it at "High Mileage."

    Like I said before, I'm sure that more people with problems tend to post, but there still seems to be an unnormally high numbers of horror stories on the Saturn forums. The product will speak for itself.
  • dannygdannyg Posts: 131
    Saturnboy, when you say "Individual
    Saturn Retailer" do you mean that Saturn is experimenting with negotiable prices? Wow. Doesn't that go completely against everything Saturn stands for?

    I agree completely with the MSRP reduction for the L series and hope Saturn makes a big deal about it in their ads. This is in keeping with "the Saturn way" (whatever that is)--own up to a mistake, reduce the MSRP, and get on with it. However, I'm not sure that going to negotiable prices with help them. The dealer experience is one of the few things distinguishing Saturn from other car manufacturers these days.

    Yes, I'll tell my friend to hold off until the 2001s come in stock. Real soon, I assume.
  • norbert444norbert444 Posts: 195
    Saturnboy and dannyg (and others):
    Saturn prices can be bent in more than one way. The fixed price is only nominal. As saturnboy points out, sometime there are rebates and other forms of price reduction.
    I experienced another twist of this price game: I did not want a tape player and it was in the car the dealer wanted me to buy. Otherwise the car was to my specs. Eventually, I paid for the player but got an OEM car cover and some other goodies (maybe $300 worth) free.
    The bottom line: One can use one's imagination to soften some aspects of the price.
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    Saturnboy, you do keep me laughing! If you were rolling in $$$$, I highly doubt that you would be driving a Saturn SL anything.

    It looks like you kept your resolution not to respond to "certain types of posts" about as long as long as you kept your many resolutions to bail from this list. Not that this is any of my concern.

    Nuff said.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    There are many things I don't understand and never will. However your post must be rebuked. Your post indicates that you considered Saturn, and after researching it decided Saturn was the wrong course of action. Your post seems to imply that if others do their own research they will come to the same conclusion. One of the main reasons you did not buy a Saturn is that they have problems that Saturn ignors. While you seem at first glance to be an independant third party, who's motivation for posting is only to help spread valuable information, you left out some very important things.

    If you go to any thread, for any car make, you will be sure to find one thing. What is this one thing you ask? Its simple. People with car issues. There are people everywhere who have problems with their cars, and Saturn is no exception. Honda's have problems? Yup. Toyotas? Yup. Lexus? Yup. Ford? Indeed. I think the main reason people who have problems with their Saturns are so vocal is because of the kind of people who buy Saturns.

    These people are the type that don't rush to buy. They are the kind that do their homework. They are not looking for the latest hot import, they are looking for value. Understandably when this kind of person gets a car that have problems, they are going to let people know. Its pretty much that simple. Now onto the REAL issue.

    The important question is, do Saturns have more than their fair share of problems than other makes, and more importantly when problems do arise how does Saturn handle them. I think one of the best sources for consumers is Consumer Reports.

    If you are to look at the experiences of Saturn owners as a whole, you will find a lot of red circles. What does this mean? FEWER PROBLEMS THAN AVERAGE. Yes its true. The secret is out. Some Saturns will have problems. But according to statistical evidence, Saturns have FEWER problems than average.

    Now for the kicker. As you know Consumer Reports also does a Lemon ranking. This measures how good a manufacturer is at resolving consumer complaints. Thank you very much, Saturn is number one.

    To summerize, Saturns have fewer problems than other similar cars, and resolves the problems that do arise better than any other manufacturer.

    As a bonus, Consumer reports also ranks Saturn as number one for dealer satisfaction, and JD powers ranks Saturn second only to Lexus, for satisfaction with the Sales proces.

    Thank you for your imput. I certainly think you are entitled to your own opinion. I just don't think you should spread false information.

    Have a nice day.
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    It is true that I did come to the conclusion that Saturn has problems which the company ignores, so I did not buy a Saturn. But I don't think that everyone will come to that conclusion. I just think that the information on the internet should not be ignored.

    Every new car has problems....absolutely. I have never bought a new car that didn't need to have some bugs worked out of it. But it seems there are an unusally high number of negative posts---on this and other websites--regarding problems that are very similar, such as the oil burning problem. I thought it was bad enough that the problem was there, but why doesn't the company at least acknowledge it? I dont think I am spreading false information by bringing this up. The information is out there.

    As for Consumer Reports, that is good information to consider too but, like I mentioned to Saturnboy, I take more stock in actual owner experiences.
    I hope that those that own Saturn's go on to enjoy them and have years of trouble free operation. I just didnt feel the car was for me. Not only did I feel nervous about relaibility issues, but I am not a big fan of thier pricing, size or styling. It all boils down to your own personal tastes.

  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Thank you for your response. I'm glad you are being fair. As you have said, there are a number of people who want only to bash Saturn. You clearly are not one of those people. Consumer reports data is gathered from actual Saturn owners, who reports how many and what type of problems they have had.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    As much as I like you for your support of Saturn, you need to ask yourself what your personal remarks contribute to this forum.

    Example :

    "Face it, your an old man that loves coming
    here to post and stir the pot, I come here to talk
    about Saturn cars, As a Saturn OWNER, which you
    will never be able to say. "

    I'm sure Fred could go and buy a Saturn today if he wanted. Fred seems to be very fair in his postings even if he didn't present all the information. There simply is no need for the kind of statement you made.
  • 72malibu72malibu Posts: 2
    Tomorrow I am buying a 93 SL1 with 67K miles on it. It has sat around for about a year, except being started periodically. What should I do to it once I get it? It does have a new battery. Does this car take special tires? The radio now doesnt work, could that be just a fuse? By the way I am paying only $3000 for it. Any help would be great.
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    First thing I would do is change all the fluids, filters and plugs.

    I'd imagine that the fuse for the radio controls other things too that would be bad if that were the problem. However, you can buy a whole pack of fuses for a couple of bucks and they are very simple to replace---so it couldn't hurt to try.
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    Thanks for posting the excerpt from Saturnboy's post. As usual he deleted it before I even had a chance to read it.

    As far as his accusations that I am an old man who comes here to stir the pot, let me respond.

    First of all I am a 28 year old journalist. Perhaps 28 may seem "old" to Saturnboy though--I don't know.

    Secondly, I do not come here to stir anything. Although my post certanly seemed anti-Saturn in nature, the point that I really was trying to make is that the complaints of Saturn owners are just as valid as the praises. Saturnboy should not have told Chrissy that the negative posts were uncredible. His knowledge of Saturn contributes greatly to this forum, but why must he constantly deride others in order to make his point?? In short, I am under the impression that he can dish it out but he can't take it.

    And, while I am not a Saturn owner, I did SERIOUSLY consider one and I have also owned two other makes that were purchased and serviced through Saturn dealerships. So I feel that I am qualified to speak about my own "Saturn experience."

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