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Saturn S-Series



  • Wow, that's too bad. I guess whoever had the car for the first years may not have been too kind to it. You know, improper break in, negligent in maintenance, etc. Saturn redesigned the engine in 1998, so hopefully many of the sounds you have will be less frequent now. I know I don't have them in my '99.
  • cwo4cwo4 Posts: 90
    Saturn has a special I didn't know about until I entered the dealership today. They call it a "Springtime Special" and what it is is a blue Saturn SL, base engine, 5 speed, 4 door with AC and CD player with AM/FM. What makes this really stand out to me is the price, $9995! And the SL1 has 0% financing. Now if I can talk the Mrs. out of a Toyota and into a Saturn, I'll save money!
  • jeff186jeff186 Posts: 95
    OK, the dealer I'm leasing from said to change the oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months. I read the owners manual for my '02 SL1 and it says 3,000 for Severe conditions, which I'm not operating under. My question: under normal driving conditions, what does Saturn recommend for oil change interval. I believe it's when the oil change light comes on. I'm looking for Saturn's base requirements for mandatory service. Thanks.
  • danili19danili19 Posts: 7
    Oil changes don't really vary that much. With a car as new as yours, don't use synthetic- wait until about 25k. At that point, with syn. oil AND a syn. filter, change every 6-7k. With regular oil in any car though, I wouldn't go much more than 4k. There are myths all over the place about having to change at 3k 'if you want your car to last.' True, oil breaks down after a while. But as long as you're not driving a cab, I don't see why you couldn't bring it out to 4000 between changes. Also, I'm sure your car is past this point already, but it's always recommended that when you buy a new car, change the oil after 1000 miles. When the aluminum in a Saturn engine is new, sometimes there are rough edges in the cylinder housings and/or on the pistons, and the friction can cause small pieces of metal to enter the oil stream and clog the filter much faster. Even though it's just another myth, I'd rather spend 20 bucks changing it early one time than 200 or more fixing worn seals or compression leaks.
  • Go by the owner's manual. The dealer wants you to use 3000 miles because they make big bucks in the service department. That being said, city stop and go driving is considered "severe" is it not? Do what the book says and you'll be just fine.
  • There was another post a week or so ago about a guy who found one of these. It sounds like a heck of a deal. Have your wife drive it and see what you can do!
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    My blackberry 99 SC2 5spd now has 90,000 miles. Since 45-50k miles it uses 1 quart of mobil 1 every 1k miles >I change the oil every 3to 4k and use a mobil 1 filter. Car is used for a 142 mile commute which is 99% highway mile. Have replaced many driving lights (they burn out fast))Yes i dont touch the bulb)Have to clean the throttle body assembly every so often )its easy to do) replaced the resonator assembly, front hub bearings failed about 70 to 75 K the dealer replacement lasted 15K the tech was a horror show seems he used a hammer to press the bearings in . Got them replaced but now i noticed they drove a screwdriver through the CV joint boot, I am done with them. There are no more good techs out there ,They talk a good game, but its all talk , and the service managers just try to cover up the techs mistakes by blaming ANYTHING else but the real problem .. PS The car still looks great the plastic panels are a good idea
  • soggydogsoggydog Posts: 67
    I Just changed oil on my wife's 96 SL2 with 51K. The oil level was right up on the full mark. I never have had to add oil between changes. I use Castrol GTX 5W30 and use the Saturn or AC Delco filter. Most all miles are short trips in and around town and I stick with the 3K service schedule.

    So far so good, However I understand that the oil use problem usually shows up after 50K. I think this would be a good time to trade for a VUE, But my wife is happy with her SL2.
  • My 94' SL2 has 118,000 miles and uses about a 1/3 qt. every two weeks as a commuter car. Oil usage is supposed to be more common with the twin cam SL2/SC2 engines. It isn't as bad with around town driving but highway driving it tends to use more oil. I also had the serpitine belt and tensioner replaced along with the water pump. My engine runs smoother now than ever before. Another common problem with the s series is top engine mounts breaking down. They cost about $150 for a dealer to replace. Early 90's S cars will also wear out altenators.

    Saturn is offering special equipment packages on the base SL with a/a for 10k. They also have a base SL "sport" with sunroof, SL2 interior & alloy wheels, a spoiler, A/C and maybe a CD player??
    I think the price was around 13k.

    There is also a special SC2 with added leather, alloys and upgraded stereo for under 17k.
    I think you can order one of these specials with ABS and or side air bags.
    These are the final days for the S series before spring Hill retools for the new ION this summer.
    Those are some good option packages considering how ultra expensive options are on the s series.
  • green_obgreen_ob Posts: 10
    What are your recommendations for four new tires on my 1994 Saturn SL1 (P175/70R14) ? I'm an average driver spending most of the time on the highway. I don't need super-handling but I would like a smooth and quiet ride.

    How about Yokohama Avid T4's ($269 otd) ?

  • birdman579birdman579 Posts: 151
    This weekend I'll be performing the 120K mile service on my 93 SL2. This will include change oil, filter, AT fluid, AT filter, fuel filter, spark plugs, spark plug wires, and cleaning the intake manifold. Any tips? I assume it should be pretty straight-forward. I've done a bunch of oil changes before. Also done a coolant flush, engine mount replacement, and minor body repair. I should change the oil pan seal, cam cover gasket, and timing chain, but that will all have to wait for a less time consuming service. Saturday morning should be fun!

    My only concern is the fuel filter. Do I relieve the fuel system pressure by just running the engine until it stalls with no fuel pump fuse? I'm a little concerned about this. My Haynes book says to leave the gas cap off. This should trigger the "check engine" light. Will this go off after I get everything reconnected and back in place? I hope so because its NEVER been on before.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Posts: 535
    The leading surface of my 99 SC2 oilpan has developed something considerably more than surface rust Is the a problem with this car?
  • Hey, y'all.... Don't know if this will benefit anyone here, but we just joined the Saturn Family with the introduction of their SL Limited Edition.

    We got a brand new 2002 SL base model with air conditioning for $9995 (including destination). After our trade ins, lien fulfilments, taxes, etc., we paid about $100 less.

    According to the salesman, they're only making 300 of them, 5 per dealership. They sold the first one they got two days after it arrived. We had to set a deposit to claim the next one.

    Overall, it was an awesome buy. Maybe we can keep a little equity in this one and trade it in a couple years for something a little nicer... We'll see. :)

    Great car for young, new manual transmission driver or for getting to and from work.
  • That sounds great. There have been a couple other posters mentioning this special edition SL. I'm sure it'll do just fine getting you to work and back--for the price of a Rio, no less!
  • has a catch from GM. A 8.0 intrest rate. I checked out the special myself to replace my 94' SL2 that needs something replaced evry other month. In contrast there was 0.9 intrest on a SL2. Basically a wash in monthly payment for a 60 month loan.

    I decided to wait for the ION. The saturn dealer only offered me $500 trade in for a carwith only 120,000 miles no body damage, clean with auto trans and A/C. That was totally taken care of by thier service dept. since I bought it.

    Since they can't haggle with sticker price. I guess they wanted to haggle with my trade but I wasn't that driven to get another S series.
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Posts: 534
    I can't blame you for that! As the Ions start rolling in, I'm sure the dealer will find a way to mark down any remaining SLs on the lot.

    I can't believe they would not give you more than $500 for your 94 SL2! Maintained at that dealer? With auto and AC? I would have talked to someone about that. My local Saturn store gave me $1500 for a 1995 Kia Sephia 5 speed needing cosmetic work. I was expecting them to offer $500--maybe they got our cars mixed up?
  • I have bought 3 cars there. (they are a 5 minute walk from my house)

    the salesman actually told me "I talked to the service wrtiter and she said it was maintained by us and in good shape" They still only offered me $500. I have asked and gotten more from previous trade ins at this dealer. I just diddn't feel like playing the game for another S series. Even with low intrest rates. I am tired of sitting so low to other vehicles in traffic. I will shop around my SL2 with dealers for trade in price if I get the new ION to replace it.

    It's tough looking for a good deal and being a "car guy" at the same time. I'm sure alot of other town hallers feel the same!!

    When you wan't a certain car..but can afford only a....
  • Hi,

    I just joined the website. I was reading the postings about servicing a Saturn and decided to sign up so I can share my story about my Saturn. I am currently in college and drive a 1996 Light Plum SL2. My mom gave it to me when my blazer died in 1999. (Because she gave me her car, she went out and got herself another Saturn). My Saturn currently has 150,000 miles. She has been used for every type of driving: city, country, dirt roads...Since my parents purchased the car new, we have had very few problems with it. We have replaced the battery, alternator (both due to a dealer mistake so they replaced them for free), water pump, a hose (do not remember what it was for), and the spark plugs. We also had to clean the fuel injectors once. The other repairs were because of normal wear and tear (tires, a set of breaks, wipers...). As to oil usage, our Saturn dealership has changed the oil about every 3000 miles. I never need to add any oil between changes. She is a very reliable car and I trust her enough to drive anywhere. (This summer I am even planning to drive it across the country to visit a friend).

    This Saturn in not the first Saturn in my family and it wont be the last. We have been loyal Saturn owners since our first red 1991 Saturn coupe (We still have it). I hope you like your Saturn as much as we love ALL of ours.

    I do not know if this will help anyone, I hope it does.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    If you want a 9995 SilverBlue SL do this:

    1. Obtain your own financing. If you have excellent credit you should be able to get 6-7%.

    2. Sell your 94 on your own. If it runs well you should be able to sell it for 1500 in about 1 day or hold out for 2500 (should take less than 30 days). If you REALLY want to hold out for top dollar you can sell that puppie for 3500-4000. This assumes it runs well and you can prove all the maintinence was done.


    Try a different dealer
  • A co worker offerd me $1200 for it this week. I won't sell it to the public. Because of personal/family reasons, but it is good to know someone wan'ts my SL2 and understands how well it has been taken care of. Actually I proably could get it for a good price to a teenager/first time driver because of the Sony stereo & speakers I have in it and the other aftermarket (but not over the top mods I have done to the car, It's not a honda wannabe)

    I am really just waiting for the right time to buy, and get somehting different. The S series sits way to low to the ground with all the tall, suvs and trucks on the road. I can't even see past the parked vehicles in my town. To make a turn on to a street without creeping out and taking my front end of my car into jeporady!! Low riding cars that take corners and off ramps while sticking to the road. Aren't what american drivers wan't I suppose. They would rather have a truck based sedan that can go into deep snow the few times a year they need to then actually be able to have a car that turns and handles sharply. I don't think my SL2 even shows up in thier side view mirrors. If you can't beat them...... :( :(
  • pbagratpbagrat Posts: 25
    My wife's 1996 Sl-1 with 73000 miles died yesterday. Fortunately my 2001 Accord was in the shop for a tune up, so I was with her. The a/c quit working and the temp gauge maxed out. I shut it down, let it cool off and went to get some water & antifreeze. When I opened the reservoir it was gunked up with a mixture of antifreeze and oil. I drove it to a shop one block away and had them look at it. Oil quantity was good, but after he flushed the cooling system and the engine block the oil was bone dry! He said it looked like I blew a head gasket. Does this sound right?

    I called Saturn and the woman said there is a known problem with the 1995/96 S series and my vehicle was covered under a voluntary recall for 6 years or 100,000 miles. My problem is that I took delivery in November 1995, so technically the six years have passed. She suggested I call the manager on Monday and he may be able to work with me. Has anyone else gone through this?

  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Posts: 534
    That's too bad--let us know how it works out for you. My 1999 SL2 only has about 49,000 miles, and it runs great--so I'm hoping not to have this problem myself!
  • pbagratpbagrat Posts: 25

    I just got the car back today. I had it towed Monday afternoon and got the car back at 3pm Tuesday. AT least they did it quickly. I had to pay a "deductible" of $500 since I was 6 months past the recall limit. I thought a recall was absolute, not subject to change by a manufacturer. Pretty sad the Saturn failed with a mere 73K miles on it! All of my Japanese cars have been driven over 150K with no problems at all (Owned a Mazda Protege, Toyota Tercel, and a Honda Civic). I could have pressed the issue with GM, but my wife needed the car and I didn't have time to fight a lost cause. She is going to buy a Honda Civic early next year and dump the SL1. BTW - The recall affects 1994-1996 models only from what I have read on the net. Saturn does not make this common knowledge to owners though.
  • claywaterfillclaywaterfill Posts: 534
    Glad to hear they fixed the problem in a timely manner. It is a shame you had such a problem at 73,000 miles--but you know any car can have problems at any time. You might want to reconsider the Civic purchase until you shop around a little more. From what I understand (and even Consumer Reports has downgraded their reliability ratings), current Civics are not the bulletproof wonders of the past. Apparently the 2001 models were so bad that Honda made engineering changes for the 2002 just to appease the critics--almost unheard of after only one year in a new design. Read the Civic thread as well--many unhappy campers from what I've read there as well. Maybe the new Corolla would be a good option? All new design, but they kept the bulletproof drive train from the previous model. Mazda is giving great deals on the Protege as well. Good luck to you!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    The Town Hall is about to take on a new look in an effort to make content more easily searchable and accessible.

    Have you seen the Letter from the Town Hall Manager on the Town Hall Welcome page? If not, you might want to follow that link to have a look.

    And hang on to your seats. Change is never easy - for any of us - but resolving the Search problems we've had will be worth the pain.

    Sedans Host
  • Hi,

    I just bought a 2002 SL2 5-speed and have noticed a rough idle in it from the day I bought it until now (approx. 3K mi.). I asked the dealer to look at the problem with about 150 mi. on the car, and he said to wait until the first oil change at 3K and the idle would smooth out. Well, I did, and it didn't, so I asked the dealer to look into the problem and fix the rough idle.

    According to the service tech at my dealership, and according to the Saturn helpline area manager, the rough idle is caused by sticky exhaust valves, but is completely normal and within specs for the SL2's engine. The official Saturn "fix" for the issue was for the tech to drive the car at 5K rpm for a few miles to reseat the valves. That didn't do a thing. When I called the customer care line, Saturn's response was that this is a totally normal feature of the 5-speed engine, and that there is nothing which they can do to fix it. I find this hard to believe, so I wanted to post here to see if anyone else who has an SL2 or SC2 (which have the same engine, as far as I can tell) has experienced this rough idle, too.

    Also, if anyone could point me to some other Saturn forums where I can do further research on this issue, I'd be grateful.

  • My SL2 does not have a rough idle. Mine is a 1999 model, but I believe they have the same engine--changed in 1998, I believe.

    You say it was like that the day you bought it? Was there any reason why you didn't test drive it before you bought it? It would seem strange that it drove smoothly on your test drive, then got rough after you signed the papers for it, IMO.
  • Well, at first we didn't notice the idle problem (guess we didn't stay in neutral at too many stoplights), but we noticed it the next day. We brought the car to the dealer to have some excess epoxy residue cleaned off the running board, and mentioned the idle then.

    Thanks for the input.
  • rhouserhouse Posts: 3
    bought a new sw2 in nov 97 (98 model)
    use mobile 1 always, changed every 3,000 mi.
    it now has 73,000 and has been very reliable. the motor mount (upper) does have a problem, and i think it's due to heat transfer from head. i am
    experimenting with fixits for this. there is no oil burning at all. i am getting a few rattles in the interior around dash. saturn has been great to me in san diego area, but saturn usa says there is no problem with motor mount. they should check & see how many people have to have them changed. i think most of the vibration is caused by this mount. mine typically last about 18,000 mi & then the vibration starts. oil breakdown is not a problem, its the acid that builds up in the oil that causes problems. i have installed pirelli touring tires in size 195 60 15. much more traction, but not the quietest or smoothest. this size has almost exactly the same circumference of 185 65 15. they dont rub & work well. i really like the car & have respect for the way saturn has treated me.
  • My 97' SW1 and 94' SL2 both needed new engine mounts. I think it is the engine is tuned for low end power. It pushes back on that mount at every input so it just wears out. Early models also went through altenators that had no air flow to them and would cook themselves to death. I just got rid of my 94' SL2 last week and it was really starting to use oil but ran quite well after a new water pump and belt tensioner last summer. It was just to cramped and low to sit in to keep. But the polymer body panels looked brand new.
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