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Saturn S-Series



  • toml7toml7 Posts: 3
    The car is a '96, purchased new Nov. '95. Now, count on your fingers 96,97,98,99,00. The car is 5 years 3 months old. Since you were unable to do the calculations yourself I thought I would help. By the way boi, I am in the market for a new car but never again will it be a Saturn. Don't worry though, I share my Saturn experience with everyone that asks. It's quite obvious that your Saturn love is blind so may I recommend new glasses?
  • I couldn't stand to keep a Car for five whole years but luckily it seems I am in a much better Financial position then you. The longest time I have kept a car is 2.5 years.

    I figure for every 10 Happy Saturn owners there are 2 bitterly unhappy Saturn owners. So , since you like math, 8 Happy compared to two unhappy owners means our big mouths will outweigh yours.

    Saturn sales are up 26% for the month of January, and up in general, I can give you a specific link if you wish to verify good Saturn news, let me know if you dare to see it.

    Also, GM is very close to reaching a decision regarding extending their factory warranty on most GM cars including Saturn's to at least 5yr/60,000 miles to better compete with Korean garbadge cars. Saturn is on the up an up with 3 new models coming and an L Series redesign in 2002-2003.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    Bought a 99 Blackberry SC2 5 spd in April 1999 It is used for a 174 mile roundtrip commute....95% highway miles. So far warranty work has covered a new fog lamp, and an exhaust pipe problem,and there was a seatbelt recall. I do my own work and follow the maintenence requirements to the letter ....Use mobil one for oil at 3K and M1 for gearbox .all of the sudden at 50 K the engine is now using oil that it didnt use before. Havent figured how many miles between qts. but it is probably around 2K The car now has 55K and waiting to see what will happen. PS...The black metal trim of the doors does rust where it meets the weather stripping. it takes away from the plastic panel advantage
  • I would estimate that nearly two thirds of all S Series Saturn's use oil between oil changes normally starting between 25-50k.

    Is it sad> yes, is it the end of the world? no. A friend of mine has a 1994 SL2 with near 150,000 miles and has had no serious problems, it does use oil, about a quart per a thousand miles. But the secret is, it doesn't make the car unreliable, it keeps going, and going, regardless of some oil useage. I have every confidence that your SC will do the same.
  • I have a 95 Saturn SL.....purchased in 94 and it has 132k and some change on it... but other that the oil problem that seems to be pretty universal..... got no complaints.... that and a quarter could get you a cup o' joe in a crappy detective flick..... but just like the car.... its mine.
  • 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...

    Incidentally, I'm fred_putty who asked about the car a couple of months back. I did go ahead and buy it, obviously...just couldn't remember my old password ;).

    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?
  • Sorry to hear about the problem with your SL2, aside from this issue I can tell you that 1998 was Saturn's highest quality year. My 1998 SL has had only two minor problems and has never done such a thing to me.

    Go over to and post a messege under the general discussion. Their are many mechanic type people there who know Saturn cars inside and out, it is monitored hevily by the administraitor to keep NON saturn supporters out so enjoy the hassle free chat zone as well :)
    good luck
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Let's go back to talking about the vehicle and refrain from critiquing other posters.

    Sedans and Women's Auto Center Message Boards
  • Haven't been here in a while, I see not much has changed. Someone "PCWYZGUY" wanted to know about the problem I had with my Saturn engine. I think he actually wanted to know about a buddy SOHC wagon. If your problem is with the rings, My friend "Joe" brought his car to Saturn of Deadham (sp?) in Mass. The Service Tech. was rather chatty, and had mentioned that this was a problem on mostly 95's but also on some 96's. This happened to him a while ago so the 96's might not have been old enough to show any trend. If you look at the reliability charts, those two years did not score well. As far as Saturn helping you out, Joe's car was under extended warranty and was covered in full, my car wasn't and the best I could do was a few hundred taken off for "customer enthusiasm". I don't know if this is any help, but you might try voicing your opinion at the dealership, I think that translates into "customer enthusiasm".
  • I have to put in a good word about my Saturn since I see so many negative comments. Mine is a '93 SL1 (as you can probably tell from my name). I have a little over 162,000 on the do, and it runs and looks like new. Only things I've had to replace that weren't part of regular maintenance were the starter and the alternator, things that wear out on most cars anyway. Still have original suspension, exhaust, engine, a/c charge, and bulbs even. I think so many people have to have their engines rebuild because they don't check the oil or perform routine maintenance regularly... which I have several friends with Saturn who have never seen the engine before. I have a friend with a '98 Neon.... he's replaced the axles, head gasket, several other parts, and now it needs a new engine at only 46,000 miles. And I know of 2 Tercels that needed engine rebuilds with only about 60k on them; one of them was extremely well maintained... so every group has it's bad apples. I regularly road trip my Saturn running 80mph+ for several hours straight, and still get at least 35mpg and up. I wouldn't trade my Saturn for anything; I know too many people with brand new cars with much more problems than I've ever had.
  • ken1776ken1776 Posts: 41
    I'm glad you have had good luck with your Saturn, however you confuse me when you make statements like;
    "I think so many people have to have their engines rebuild because they don't check the oil or perform routine maintenance regularly"
    And then;
    "And I know of 2 Tercels that needed engine rebuilds with only about 60k on them; one of them was extremely well maintained."

    Saturn engines are like all others, most run good, some suck. If a lot of people post because they had problems with there Saturn's, then a lot of people had problems with there Saturn's.
  • sloan2sloan2 Posts: 8
    When I began reading 93Saturnsl1's post I thought it was my post from about 6 months ago somehow reposting itself. As I read further I realized that there were some differences. I too have a 93 SL1 with 162K. Although I have replaced a few more items than my twin (tensioner pulley, alternator, and timing chain) I am loyal to my Saturn as well. It runs, looks, and handles great. I don't know how much longer it will last, but it really doesn't matter. I've definitely gotton my $12,500 out of it. I do have a question for 93Saturnsl1. Does you Saturn use any oil? Mine uses about a quart per 2,000 miles. This seems to be a recurring theme for Saturn owners > 100,000 miles.
  • My Saturn seems to use about a quart between oil changes. I check it pretty often, so it's never been more than half a quart low....I just add a little here and there to top it off. We had a '95 SL2 that had about 76k on it, and it hardly ever used any oil. It also hit a concrete wall at 55mph, so it definitely doesn't use any now. My SL1 just never ceases to amaze me, especially compared to the Fords and Chryslers we've owned in the past.
  • From the Delaware News Journal:
    Sales of Saturn's mid-size sedans and wagons, made at General Motors' Boxwood Road plant near Newport, also continued to grow. Sales of the L-Series vehicles jumped nearly 28 percent to 7,674 in February. And cumulative L-Series sales for the year are up nearly 48 percent, company officials said Thursday.

    "I think it shows that we're continuing to break into the mid-size market," Saturn spokeswoman Sue Mallino said.

    But Mallino said Saturn has no plan to boost production by bringing back the second shift of 490 workers cut last year because of lower-than-expected sales.
  • cai9300cai9300 Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 SL2 Automatic and my gf has a 1992 Sl1 Manual. Other than the oil eating at about 25-50k, what other problems are typical so maybe i can see them ahead of time or she can look for signs of her car becoming older, my car has about 950 miles on it, and hers has about 110,300 miles on it.

    Any input would be appreciated. Also I have a hole under my CD player that is extra space (no doubt intended for a cassette). What else can I use it for since on the new saturns it is flat and not slanted so everything falls out if it isn't wedged in there.

  • zargon2zargon2 Posts: 3
    Earlier I mentioned that my '98 SL2 would lose about 30% of its power for no apparent reason when driven on a long trip. I took it to the dealer and here's what happened:

    they found no error codes in the computer and nothing wrong with the car, except a temperature sensor that was reading about 15 degrees off. Noting that this might or might not be the problem---no guarantees---they quoted me $106 for the part plus 1/2 hour labor.

    I decided to go for it. When I went to pick up the car and pay the invoice, I noted that they had charged me only $85 for the part, and no labor at all. Washed the car, too.

    Well, as it turns out, this wasn't the problem (although the car does runs almost imperceptibly smoother). But they hadn't guaranteed that it would be, and they'd cut me a big break in case it wasn't, so I'm not really upset about it.

    Next I plan to contact Saturn itself and see if they can pick up the maintenance records from the previous owner---maybe a certain service item, like replacing the spark plug wires, was not done...?---because despite the fact the original owner bought a 60,000 mile service contract, and I bought the car with like 61k on it, my dealer has records only up to 24k miles.
    Incidentally, anyone see that Car & Driver subcompact sedan shootout? The SL2 placed right in the middle of a crowded field, its ranking hampered by a high as-equipped price. As MSN Carpoint notes: the SL series is an excellent value, but only if you're restrained with the options list...
  • junikatjunikat Posts: 1
    I wanted to post here to put in a good word for Saturn. I have a Pearl 98 SL2 with around 51K miles on it so far. It's taken me across the country multiple times, in hot weather (houston) and cold weather (michigan winter). Have had no problems.

    Also, the service center I take it to is wonderful, Saturn North in Columbus, Ohio. When I take my car in for scheduled maintenance, they are friendly, courteous, and always do only the necessary work. I highly recommend them if you're in the area.

    I'm trading my baby in this year, probably for a 2001 SC2 with more options (dang I really wish I had gotten the sunroof and the manual transmission!), and I'm going to be very sad to see her go. She's been good to me, and Saturn has always treated me like an intelligent person instead of someone to gouge for more cash.
  • armagostarmagost Posts: 10
    I'm 6' 2" tall. I've test driven a 2001 Toyota Corolla LE. Loved it but headroom is marginal. The SW2's specs and price are similar to the Corolla, plus it's a hatchback. The driver's seat is lower, so maybe I'll fit in. It's an American car... Is it designed for big fathead drivers like me? I'll test drive the SW2 this Tuesday or Wednesday.

    Re: SL2 Intermittent loss of power

    Check the fuel pump. The fuel pump in my 1987 Chrysler died on the freeway at 65 MPH. Had to roll to the shoulder through three lanes of fast merging traffic _with no power_. That's when I decided to purchase a new car. I'd been experiencing power loss previous to this incident.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    The headroom was one of the best features of my saturn. In a lot of cars i brush the headliner more than i would like to. If you are big-headed like me, closeness to the window frame is the only issue.

    Our saab '900 beat the saturn for headroom, but it's one of the few, and it's quite a bit more expensive, of course, unless you go used.

  • Time has come to finally get rid of my 98 SL which has served me very well. To keep a story short after test driving the
    Ford Focus ZTS
    Toyota Corolla CE
    Hyundai Elantra
    Nissan Sentra GXE
    and the Saturn SL2

    I ordered a 2001 Saturn SL2 5 speed with abs/traction control, and cd player. I was very impressed with the power increase over my SL, seemed strong through out the entire RPM band, steering and handling seemed very good also.

    The ABS brakes seemed to work very well even thou some might consider it's operation unrefined. The seats seemed much more comfortable with the newly revised lumbar adjustment and higher grade cloth covering. Should arrive in 4 - 6 weeks.
  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    satboy: After driving all those cars what was your UNBIASED, LOL, opinion of the Elantra ? As you know I have a 1998 SC2 that is soon to go to the "bone yard" oops, I mean back to the lessor.I have not driven the Elantra but have been very impressed with the fit, finish and appearant overall high quality especially when you consider the price and that killer warranty. I know wild horses could not drag you out of your sacred Saturns but what did you think of that Elantra.

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    I tried to post this before but for some reason it was marked read only so if you have seen it sorry. This weekend I became a two Saturn owner. I had a Honda Prelude that decided to die under a big pile of snow over. Pulled it out and tried to start it and it ran like a three piston tractor. Just had it smogged and parked it before the last big snow storm. I know I live in California but even here it snows in the mountains. Long story short, it was time to trade in the old horse. It was more than wet wires or distributer, it was a cracked exhaust manifold, or head gasket, or block. I have replaced front struts, power steering pump and a cv boot or two. Not that bad for the years I have had it, knowing that driving it up and down a twisty mountain road will take it's toll on a car. Thought about a Honda, and even a Toyota, but I called the Saturn dealer to see what he could do for me. I now have a SC1 and a SL2. What caused me to go with a Saturn again? Service, service, service. I called the dealer, he did all the leg work and called me back. Same day, within an hour. This is something some of the other car dealers will have to face sooner or later. People are beginning to want to be treated with respect and they are expecting service. Younger buyers might be more willing to put up with dealer games but people that have been at this game a few years don't want to hear it. Saturn gives the customer what they advertise and that is one of the reasons they are doing as well as they are. I read that Saturn was rated at the top in customer sales satisfaction and customer service, the same source said VW was rated dead last. And VW has the youngest age group of customers in the industry. Times are changing, again.
  • As I mentioned I wished to keep a story short but I will break it down for you regarding my thoughts of those cars.

    Ford Focus, con number one, it's a FORD, good steering, lots of room

    Hyundai Elantra, seemed to drive old school, unrefined, good price, warranty is only as good as the company providing it

    Toyota Corolla, my second choice, great build quality, nice interior, numb steering and handling thou, no flare, lousy dealers

    Nissan Sentra, did nothing particually well nor stood out in any way, decent price thou

    And of course, none of these other models have polymer panels, low cost of ownership, and they do not offer competitive lease rates in my area, rates Saturn as a "best lease deal" consistently.

    I found the Saturn SL2 5 speed to be the most fun to drive, at a reasonable price, with a retailer I know, trust, who has treated me fair over the years.

    I ruled out another SL/SL1 for their lack of handling, power, and believe an SL2 will keep me in the Saturn family till they get newer models to blow the doors off the likes of recent new designs from other manufacturs.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    It is possible to discuss this vehicle without resorting to criticizing other posters. In fact, that is a requirement of the Terms of Use to which you all have agreed.

    Please do so.

    Sedans and Women's Auto Center Message Boards
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    My 1999 SC2 with 58K has been good to us . It just seems like the car has a huge turning radius? Maybe because the wheels are place closer to the corners , but it seems like my Dodge Ram will turn tighter. Anyone else notice this ?
  • I have a auto trans with AC and alloy wheels. This car has been great. The turning radius is rather wide so I plan U-turns carefully. The engine uses about 1/2 a quart between 3k service's. The engine performs very well so a little oil every few weeks is fine by me, engines use oil as they get older. If your emmisions are bad that could be too much oil burning. The interior plastic parts have broken. This IS a entry level compact sedan not a expensive luxury car! The car handles very well with decent tires. The ride is a lttle harsh but it is a small car that sits low to the ground and I like the handling of the car because of that. Besides wear and tear stuff. I have replaced the top engine mount, altenator, and engine temp. sensor. That is not to bad over 103,000 miles. The S car is a solid design with a polymer panel body that will look good for a long time on a tough frame that will provide decent crash protection. Along with ok gas mileage if you drive it with somewhat of a featherfoot. I have had wide parameters for gas mileage depending on how heavy a right foot I have had. It is a solid little car, but it is not good as a family sedan as most compacts aren't. It is a excellent commuter car though. Saturn dealer service has been good for the most part but they are still car dealers so beware like you would at any car dealer. I would get another in a minute because they perform well. Saturn is the only dealer where you can tell them exactly what color, model, and options you want and you won't pay more or less depending what is on the lot at the time. The longer a car sits on a dealer lot the more money they lose. Because of the no haggle price though, it doesn't matter if you order one or pick off the lot the price you pay is what is on the window. Buy only the options you wan't why buy what a dealer thinks you should buy?
  • o4u2nvo4u2nv Posts: 1
    looking for a new car, my jeep started leaking oil again, it's like the exxon valdez. but it is a '73.

    So I was looking for a new car and was considering a 2001 sc2 with sunroof. My new car has to be reliable and there seem to be some question about longevity. do these cars really last? I would like anyone input.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Is extremely reliable. In the past you would expect to have some or all of the following problems.

    Altenators - Due to their position behind the engine they tended to get extremely hot. In 1998 Saturn went to a dual fan. Since then there have been very few problems in this area.

    Engine mounts - Due to a lot of engine vibration you would need a new mount every 50-60K. Since 1999 the engine vibration has been lowered substantially. Engine mounts have a much longer life now.

    Interior rattles - Caused by excessive engine vibration. Saturns still develop rattles but on a very limited basis depending on how hard you drive the car. See Engine mounts for further clarification.

    Oil Consumption - The technical details of how this was cured is beyond my understanding. Needless to say this problem was largely solved in 1997 and has supposedly gotten better every year since.

    Brakes - Rotors warped a lot in the past. I never hear of this with anything 1996 or newer.

    The engines - tranny - and entire powertrain on Saturns are VERY durable and reliable and always have been. The cars are not perfect but if you do regular oil and filter changes your 2001 S series should last you a LONG LONG time.

    Good luck whatever you decide.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I have a friend who got a 2000, and itrattles worse than our '92 or '96 used to, to the point he prefers to drive his '90 cavalier in town.

    just a datapoint.

  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Should take it into the dealer and have them make the rattles go away.

    By the way my friend has a Toyota Seinna that has some NASTY rattles and the dealer gave me the "thats normal" treatment until he raised hell. JD Powers ranks Saturn service #2 second only to Lexus and Consumer Reports ranks Saturn number one in this area.

    Just a data point
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