MADISON, WISCONSIN -- I went to Saturn of Madison yesterday because an indicator light on my dashboard was intermittently blinking. I mistakenly thought it was the battery light, so that's what I told them and they said they'd check out the electrical system. Later they told me that they never saw the light come on but they tested the alternator, and it took a long time, but after testing it for a while, they found that my alternator was at only 70% power. They replaced the alternator (for $385 including labor), I drove off and the indicator light immediately came back on.
I returned immediately to the dealership, and they asked me to come back the next morning. The next day they found the blinking light and said that it was actually the coolant light. They topped off my coolant and said that it was fine now and the light was off. I asked if I could get my old alternator put back in, but they said that it was bad anyway, so they recommended that I keep it. I asked them to put the old one back in again and they said that they couldn't refund the labor (about $200). I told them to leave in the new alternator and give me back the old one. They charged me $30 to keep my old part, but I paid it anyway.
I made a few calls and quickly found a nearby company that does nothing but repair and rebuild generators, drove straight over there, and had my old alternator tested. They were very kind and didn't charge me for the test. There was nothing wrong with my old alternator! I went straight back to the Saturn dealership and told them about the test and they quickly agreed to put the old alternator back in the car and give me a full refund.
The refund will be by check even though I paid by credit card and it will take two weeks. I don't know if I'll actually get the money or not, but in any case, I know that they would have done nothing if I hadn't gone right away to have the old part tested. Replacing a car part that isn't broken is not something I would expect from a reputable car dealership.
UPDATE: Saturn did refund my money right away, and after I complained to the head office I received a certificate for 4 free oil changes. The only problem with that is that I have to go back to that same dealership to have my oil changed. They always tell me that I need hundreds of dollars worth of things done to it, even things that I've just had done elsewhere. Oh well. Three more oil changes to go and I'll never have to walk in there again.
I was driving home at approximately 9:30 PM on a very busy highway (RTE 695 - THE BALTIMORE BELTWAY) and was approaching the intersection of Interstate 70 when my car (Saturn 2000 L-Series) cut out with NO warning - no "idiot lights" - nothing. I was almost rear-ended by a semi and was fortunate to coast to the shoulder without an accident. Fortunately a Maryland State Police Vehicle stopped and provided flares for more visibility while I awaited a tow to the Saturn Dealership. My complaint is similar to a pending NHTSA case (**) in that the source of the failure is attributed to a timing chain that skipped.
The dealership refuses to recognize this wide spread problem as does Saturn Headquarters in Tennessee. They offer no mitigation to the $3,200 estimate for repair. If circumstances had been different, i.e., going up hill, rain or snow, I and my family could have been seriously injured in this Saturn with this KNOWN defect that DIED on the road with absolutely NO warning. Does someone have to die in an accident before this known defect is corrected? - End of complaint to NHTSA
I urge anyone who has had this happen to file a complaint with NHTSA (www.nhtsa.dot.gov) to help build a case to cause a recall. Additionally, file a complaint with you State Attorney General's Office... MAKE NOISE or Saturn will continue to cover up this defect and we, the consumer, will foot the bill for their error.
I have a 2001 Saturn Sedan with less than 37,000 miles on it and it just stopped last week, of course 30 miles from home. I was informed that the timing chain broke with repair to be over $2,000.00. The Saturn dealership disowned any problems with the issue. Saying I must not have changed the oil properly. Well, I have a record of oil changes and maintenance so that is not the reason.
On getting it repaired the new part has been improved from the original and there is now an Oil valve (or something to that effect) that helps lubricate the new timing chain. This differently tells me something. I am in the process of getting the car repaired and plan to pursue this further with Saturn Company. Has anyone else had this problem.
LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA -- Recently purchased a 2005 Relay. With such high gas prices, I was looking for a vehicle that would seat at least 6 and would get significantly better gas mileage than my SUV. Was told that the 18 average MPG City on the sticker (with a range of 15-21) was reliable. Got app. 12.6 MPG on first tank. The vehicle had previously been driven over 2500 miles. Based on my complaint, Saturn of Lafayette, Louisiana swapped the first Relay for a second.
So far, on two tanks of gas, I've gotten 11.9 and 11.8 MPG in the city. I traded in a Yukon that I was VERY happy with on the adamant statement from the salesman that I could expect much better fuel economy from the Relay as compared to the Yukon's 11 MPG I was getting in the city. Wow, I am now driving a vehicle that is far inferior to a Yukon and I'm getting a whopping .8-.9 MPG more.
Saturn of Lafayette and the Saturn Corporation are both aware of the problem but state that since they aren't responsible for what is stated on the sticker, there is nothing they can do for me. Buyer beware of Saturn. If their vehicle does not perform as expected, they may not take responsibility for the failure.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- About a month ago I was going to work when my engine started making noise and blew up, leaving me stranded on the side of the road. I was forced to walk to work on a very busy highway. My 2002 Saturn S-Series is only three years old and has had all the maintenance requirements done by Saturn themselves. Saturn is now requesting $5500 for a new engine. They do not want to pay because the warranty has since expired. They have not even offered a loaner car for my inconvenience.
One of the reasons I bought a Saturn was their reputation of reliability and good customer service. Well, I have seen realize that their logo/advertisement of "People First" is just a gimmick. In addition, they now send me a letter saying this car is man made and problems will arise. I have not gotten anywhere with sending letters to the company. If I would have known their cars were so unreliable then I would have bought a used car and take my chances. I am still paying for this car and now it is in the shop waiting for me to pay for an engine.
MOSINEE, WISCONSIN -- I own a Saturn 1994 SW2. From the time I bought the car, used, it has lost oil, slowly, but does lose enough that have to continually add. I have a close friend that owns a 1999 Saturn SL2 that has the same problem but a lot worse than mine, we have not detected a leak or that it's burning it. I would say that like I read in another review that they produced a defective head. Also, mine as is with hers the power windows now lock up while opening or closing. I have not been very impressed by this car, the engines have some zip to them but the oil loss is annoying.
KANSAS -- Well, let's see where to start. I have the last year of the SC series and now I know why they stopped making it. After the car was 3.5 years old, it got a vacuum leak and I had to spend $600 dollars to replace the intake gasket (parts were only $80). Just two weeks ago the power locks went out (the key fobs went out about two years ago and new batteries didn't help) so now we get to manually lock and unlock the doors. The side mirrors also went out and I'm trying to figure out how to get the dome light cover off to change the bulb to see if that's related.
Everything on the car already rattles. The seatbelt locks when I'm accelerating onto the highway (and going over RR tracks). Also, it blocks the back window so I can't see out it when changing lanes (hello blind spot). Well, I'm sure there is more, but can't think of it right now. With all of these problems and I got a five year loan so it's not even paid off yet!!! I will never own another Saturn again!!!
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA -- I am writing this after watching my daughter go through years of ridiculous and costly repairs on her what was once new Saturn. She got caught up in the "customer service" promise like so many have before and since her. Ha! She has had nothing but headaches with that car. It stalls out when she turns corners if the gas tank is 1/4 full. It doesn't start. It stalls at stop lights. Saturn can't find anything wrong with it. But they keep "fixing" things... like talking her into major tune ups when it's not even time for them.
This girl is anal about getting her car serviced on time (even before time). She has NEVER missed an oil change or scheduled service. Saturn cars are crap. The car is in the dealership right now because it stalled and she had to push it to the side of the road. Called her with a $500 estimate to fix a few things. What recourse does she have? NEVER EVER BUY ANOTHER SATURN EVER. I've had my Honda for 4 years... no problem EVER.
PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- Watch out for L300 series, I found out hard way. Bought one new. Lots of electrical problems. Flickering headlights, voltage issues, buzzing noise, radio turns off and on, heater turns off and on. Saturn has a corporate bulletin issued in 9/14/04 that was not disclosed to me before purchase that states this is a "normal operating characteristic" and no service is required! Lost a lemon law hearing! Looking for class action participants - anyone out there with similar issues?
DUNDEE, ILLINOIS -- I just wanted to say I have purchased 3 automobiles from Saturn of Dundee, in Dundee Illinois and they have been wonderful with me all 3 times. I had some bad experiences with traditional dealerships including a Used car manager who took my keys and wouldn't give them back until I threatened him! But Saturn has been such a blessing not to have to haggle! I will never buy a car from a traditional dealership again because I just don't wanted to be treated that way. Thank you Saturn.