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Avoid Saturn, and Saturn of the Valley, like the plague
By -

I purchased my Saturn Vue in late 2003; and it was in the shop before the first payment was even made with engine block issues. Between 2004-2009; the car was at the dealership over 20 times for problems; not basic service, but problems.

The main problem started in 2006, when the transmission started acting up; the car wouldn't accelerate quite right, it had trouble going up hills (I was terrified it would roll backwards every time I came across a hill) and didn't quite work right when trying to shift on the freeway. Every time this would happen, I would take it to my closest Saturn dealership, Saturn of the Valley.

They were no help. They had techs drive out with me, who HEARD the problems; yet, could never find any problems. Because my warranty came with the rental car option, they were always in a hurry to get me out of there, never being able to find anything, of course.

The final straw came when, in 2008, the transmission suddenly decided not to work on the corner of one of the busiest intersections in Los Angeles. I got the car to Saturn of the Valley, and they, ONCE AGAIN, couldn't find anything wrong with it. When I told the manager of the dealership that I didn't feel safe in that car, and could they please keep it a bit longer so keep looking, and I would just use the rental car another day, he responded with: “If I let you have the car for another day, you'll just want another one.”

Thank goodness, Saturn of Santa Monica opened. When the Hazard Light broke shortly after being sent away from Saturn of the Valley, I took it to Santa Monica and I am so glad I did. **, the AMAZING manager there took ONE look at my service history, even though I brought the car in for something else, and knew exactly what was wrong with my car. I literally started crying with relief when he told me that the transmission had actually been recalled and that he would replace it for me ASAP.

That transmission worked for about a year and a half. I don't blame Santa Monica for this, and am very sad that they closed (the service I received at Galpin-otherwise known as Saturn of the Valley-is much more indicative of how I've been treated by this company; Santa Monica was an anomaly).

This time, the transmission died on a busy street-no warning, no lights, NOTHING. It just wouldn't drive anymore. Given my service history, and the class action settlement, and the warranty extension, I THOUGHT they might attempt to help me. They did nothing except the following: I called on the day it happened to find out my recourse and spoke with **-who was no help. He reviewed my service history, and told me the car needed to be evaluated at a Saturn dealership. I understand this, but when I asked who would pay to get the car there, I was told I would have to do this.

When I disputed this, he immediately said that he can't help me and would be elevating my issue to a “district specialist” but that they weren't in on the weekend. He wouldn't give me their names, wouldn't give me their phone numbers, and wouldn't give me the names to the district managers of the Saturn dealership I would be taking my car to…nothing.

On Monday, **, a district specialist, called. She, like **, literally, did nothing. She said that she would not (her words) authorize a courtesy tow to the Saturn dealership so they could “evaluate” my car nor would she even indicate that they might pay for the repair on a faulty, new, transmission. When I asked to speak to someone above her she said, and I quote “There is nobody above me.” When I asked who she reports to, I was told that their department reports to nobody. When I asked to speak to her supervisor she said, “My supervisor will tell you the same thing.”

When I asked, once again, for the name of the department she reports to, I was told “I am empowered to make these decisions; there is nobody above us.” Given my service history, I am appalled at the way Saturn, and GM, are treating their customers. According to the Kelly Blue Book, my 2003 Vue, with 93000 miles, because of the transmission, even though the body looks great, and I took very good care of the car, has “No Value.”

I've only had the car for 7 years and it now has “No Value.” I will never, ever consider another Saturn, nor, ever use any of the Galpin dealerships that Saturn of the Valley is affiliated with again and am shocked at how Saturn has no respect for their customers, allowing them to remain, in may case, car-less and stranded.

2007 Saturn Vue
By -

POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK -- I purchased my Saturn Vue from a dealer in Amarillo, Texas approximately two and a half years ago. I have had probably a dozen cars in my life, but this was my first [and perhaps] last brand new car. At the outset, I would say that I chose Saturn, for the most part because of the reliability others had expressed in their vehicles and their award-winning customer service reputation they had established over the years, OR SO I THOUGHT.

I have had multiple problems from the start; from annoying non-essential things like a key buzzer that would go off indiscriminately to the radio controls on the steering wheel which broke 5,000 miles in; to essential things like strut mounts which have had to be replaced twice [you'd think we take the thing off road 4- wheeling]. As well as the car falling out of gear when it's still in gear. (Did I mention the fact that our '07 Vue has only 37,000 miles on it).

This Monday, I went to the dealer (in Poughkeepsie, NY) yet again to find out why the ignition key sometimes needs to be turned with a plumber's wrench to move and the manual transmission reminds me of the good ol' days when I had to drive an old diesel truck! The repair manager told me I needed a new ignition [ $342 + tax] and the "cables" that apparently make the car (manual trans) shift were not covered under the power train warranty [$380 + tax] and "front sway bar" links [$260 + tax], also not covered under warranty. I'm sorry, I thought drive train would include whatever makes car go from reverse to 1st gear would be part of the deal. Apparently NOT!

Our miles put on this vehicle are as follows: the first 10,000 miles were around town in the city of Amarillo, Texas. We then drove 1,500 miles across the country as we moved to the Hudson Valley region of upstate New York. I'll give you that the Catskill mountains are not as urban as Amarillo, but with the stress that the shock mounts and other things have taken, you would think we go through downtown Kabul every day!

I remember with fondness the day we said this little cheer with the sales team at the dealership. Looking forward to driving my new Vue, not having to worry about things breaking down all the time. (Yeah right). For the most part I love my Saturn. I just wish there was an express lane to the service and parts department, because I am there so frequently and the dealership is 60 miles from my house. (Not your fault, I'm the one that moved to the mountains). I've been to the dealership more often with my (NEW) car, then I ever was with my old Toyota that I drove until it had 150,000 miles on it, then the muffler fell off. The only repair other than normal maintenance and oil changes.

I told my husband that it was pointless to complain, since the 3 yr/36,000 mile warranty has expired (by all of 1000 miles). Yet, I write this in earnest that someone will acknowledge my plea and not pound on the delete button or this note hits the recycle bin faster than parts seem to go bad on my car. All kidding aside, I am rather disappointed in your vehicle and should someone ask, I will not hesitate to give my informed unbiased opinion and share my experience with your product.

Never Ending Repairs
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LANGLEY -- We have a 2002 Saturn Vue with 77,000 km on it. In December last year we started having electrical troubles with it. While driving all electrical assisted functions shut down - we had no power steering or power brakes. We drove it to the shop and left it. We were told it was the battery and paid $150 for a top line battery. We drove it home and it was fine. The very next time I drove it, we again lost all the electrical systems. Back to the shop. It took a week to diagnose. We were told it was the BCM module which never breaks down. The bill was $1400.

The fix lasted 2 months. Upon starting the vehicle, we received a "reduced power" warning light. The car would only go 5 km/hr. Turning it off and restarting would usually clear the problem. This happened 3 or 4 times. We made an appointment for service the second day this happened. When we took it back in February, I received a phone call an hour after dropping the vehicle off. 'We don't know what's wrong with it. What do you want us to do?' I said unless they wanted it as a trade in they should find and fix the problem. No they weren't interested in it if it wasn't running.

An hour later they said it was the ECM - the part would take 4 days to come in from back east - $1300. The day they were to replace it, I got another phone call. 'terribly sorry', but when they replaced the ECM they discovered the Throttle Body Module was fried (apparently couldn't diagnose that with the bad ECM) that'll be $2200 more. (We were told THESE parts also never break down.) Total bill with taxes etc. $4,200 which they graciously dropped 20%.

That repair lasted 28 days, one tank of gas, less than 1,000 km. Suddenly the vehicle was refusing to start. We called the dealership and the service person told us over the phone that he thought it sounded like the passlock system. The security system was not recognizing the key and not letting any fuel through to the engine. Bring it in.

When I took it in, they told me this part never breaks down (so how could he recognize and diagnose it on the phone?) About 2 hours later I was told that it was indeed the passlock system and for only $500 my problems would be solved. I refused and went and picked up the vehicle. The work order recommendation said 'intermittent problem - recommend starting with replacement of the passlock system and retesting.

As we pondered what to do with our lemon, a friend said to see if we could order the part as he had a friend that might be able to fix it. My wife called the dealer and was told it needed a passlock system AND a water pump which would be another $800. When I called back and asked about the water pump, the service manager couldn't explain why it didn't appear on our work order, why we'd never had a puddle on our driveway, or had to replace fluids. He insisted that he was there when the VUE came in and he remembered there was water spraying all over in the service bay.

At this point, I called Saturn Canada. The operator I talked to, listened to me vent for an hour and promised to get back to me in 2 days. Four days later she called back. She had talked to the dealership, and Saturn Canada was confident that everything was being handled properly. I had to realize that my vehicle was getting older and I should expect a few repair costs. The dealer was sure that if I just got the passlock system done everything would be fine.

But they realized I was unhappy with the vehicle; so if I wanted to trade it in AFTER paying for the repairs, they would give me a very good deal. She couldn't explain the water pump situation but was sure it was an honest recommendation.

So we called Springmans back and made an appointment to take the vehicle back in. We were told it would take 10 days to get the passlock system part from the US (as this part never breaks down and is rare in Canada.) Would we like to make an appointment in 3 days? When I asked what the point of making an appointment a week before the part came in would be I just got silence until I said to call me when the part came in.

Five days later we got a call that the part was in. My wife took the vehicle in and was met by the service manager. He asked what the problem was. She told him she had an appointment to replace the part they had brought in for us and he replied with 'but what's the problem?' When she described it to him; his response was 'Well I can tell you right now, it's not your passlock system. You've bought a cheap key somewhere, it's broken down and you have metal filings in your ignition.'

My wife told him we have never bought a key from anywhere but that dealership, so if we got a cheap key, it was from them. He told her she was a liar, that the ignition was the problem and we had gotten a cheap key somewhere else. Saturn keys are good quality and never break down. She left the key and walked out. (We did have one key that was worn. It was original with the car and was the one we had replaced about 1 1/2 years earlier with a key we bought at Springmans).

About three hours later, she phoned me. The dealership had called and said the vehicle was ready, she was going to pick it up. They said the first part they put in was faulty and they had to replace it a second time. They just wanted her to know that they had done that free of charge. I immediately told her there was something wrong here. They waited for the part to come from the US, they shouldn't have had a second part to replace it with. Sure enough, they replace the ignition housing, not the passlock system.

Now my wife was faced with a tough decision. The car is working. They hadn't replaced the part they were supposed to replace, but the car is working. Does she make them replace the other part, too? Does she complain about them replacing the ignition housing? But the car is working. So she took it. $492. No mention was made of the faulty water pump.

The wonderful trade in we were offered was a $500 cash back bonus advertised in the front window of the dealership. We really don't think we want to sign up for another 5 year term of Saturn ownership, especially after reading all the posts on sites like this one. We decide to keep the Saturn and only use it for emergencies. We have now put another 400 km on the vehicle. It's outside in the driveway and won't start. It seems that the battery is not charging...

Bad transmissions/service
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GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN -- I have a 2003 Saturn Vue that I purchased used in June 2005 with 37,000 miles on it. I have always maintained the appropriate oil changes and check ups that come with owning a vehicle. I had to replace the same part (something to do with the passenger front tire). That was around $55 each time along with the fee for putting it on. During the summer of 2006 it started making some weird sounds.

I took it in to the dealership (Saturn of Grand Rapids 28th St.) which stated that they could not find anything wrong with it. I ended up paying for the visit and walking out with no answers. My fiance's friend had a neighbor that was a mechanic at the Saturn dealership. He wanted us to bring it in because it most likely was the transmission. They were finding that at around 75,000 the transmissions were going out in them and at which that was the same time the warranty just happened to expire.

So, my fiance got fed up with the noises and took it back to the same dealership (the closest one to us within an hours drive) which in turn checked it all out again. I received a phone call from my fiance that it was for sure the transmission. They could get it fixed for about $5,500. The manufacturer's warranty expired at 75,000 miles of course which we had already learned beforehand. The mileage was just over it. I wanted to fall over. We didn't have that kind of money on hand. I drove and met him there.

One of the saleswoman had been talking to him about some options. I introduced myself and began talking about what to do now. She instantly started talking about other vehicles they had on the lot and walked us over to a car on display in the store. I told her I had a lot on my mind now because I owed a little over $14,000 on the Vue still. She walked away for a few minutes then returned. She stated that she and her boss had discussed some things and they could get me in the car for around $450 a month and that they could only give me around $4,000 for the Vue. I said absolutely not. I would be stuck with $10,000 added on top of the cost for the car.

But of course, she started talking about how the original problem would be taken away and we would have a new running car, and not have to worry about trying to take care of the bill. I was so angry that she said that. HELLO!!!!! I would have a bill STILL! A much higher one and owe a whole lot more in the long run. I walked out. A few days later I had a voice mail from the woman wanting to know if I had thought about and/or made a decision about the car. The one she insisted on showing us. I nearly blew a gasket at the nerve of her.

In the beginning of November my fiance was leaving my in law's house luckily with myself following behind him when the vehicle stopped and wouldn't move. We towed it back to my in laws (less than a block away). It has sat at their house ever since and it is now April. We have been down to one vehicle the whole time trying to get the kids to the babysitter and both of us to our jobs and trying to raise our children and maintain a home.

We have absolutely no way of coming up with that kind of money to fix that piece of junk. I always let people know about what happened and that I would never recommend or buy a Saturn ever again. Please if anyone has had a success with getting help with their junk of a Saturn transmission please...let me know.

Poor gas Mileage
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OCEANSIDE, NEW YORK -- In January 2006 I purchased a Saturn Vue FWD V-6 after extensive research to buy a car with good gas mileage. I was promised 20 city and 28 highway because it had a proven Honda engine as a result of a joint venture with Honda Motor Co. I immediately began testing the mileage and found it only got about 13 mpg. As part of the 30 day exchange policy offered by Saturn I requested a different car. I was denied because they claimed it took 3-7 thousand miles for a car engine to break in.

I brought the car in at 3000 miles because the mileage had not increased much above the 13 mpg. They tested it and miraculously it got 32 mpg but they had a hand written receipt from the gas station where they filled my car up. I drove the car another 4000 miles but the mileage remained extremely low. I brought it back and this time the dealer got 26 mpg again with a written receipt. I had dozens of calculations with pump generated receipts which calculated an overall 15.5 mpg for city and highway combined.

I brought the car back one more time and this time they calculated 20 mpg with a gas pump receipt with all highway mileage which was still 8 mpg below the promised 28 mpg. Their calculations continued to go down from a high of 32 now down to 20.

I looked the service manager in the face and asked him to teach me how to drive the car so I can get that mileage. He said since they couldn't duplicate my low mileage they couldn't do anything for me, but asked me to have my children drive the car while I was away on vacation to see if it was my driving habits creating the poor gas mileage.

We did this and my daughter got 15.64 mpg all highways and my son got 11.74 mpg with local driving around our town. The end result is I'm SOL according to the dealer. I got an area manager involved and she too told me I'm SOL because they were unable to duplicate my low mileage even though I had dozens of receipts proving the low mileage.

I currently own three GM products in my family but based on my treatment they will be our last. I am telling my kids no more American cars. Detroit is losing another generation of car buyers because they treat their loyal customers like dogs. TOYOTA HERE WE COME.

Vue This!
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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- My husband and I purchased this Saturn Vue 2002 from his mother almost 2 years ago. She had the maintenance done through the dealer and is methodical about up keep on her vehicles. A new battery was installed and the 50000 mile check was done. We figured we were buying a very reliable car, boy were we wrong. We have had all the maintenance done since through our mechanic.

First problem we had was the fuel pumps had to be replaced 1800 dollars now the throttle body needs replacing. My mechanic said he couldn't get the parts from Saturn till mid March I found this hard to believe so he towed it up to Saturn for me to see what they could do. They said the same thing and that it needs a new battery, positive terminal bolt throttle body J5490, engine wiring harness and to recall the PCM about 2200.

I start reading on line how many people have had similar issues with their Vue's, it's a lot. I spoke to someone at a GM dealership and asked why would a part be back ordered on a 2002. My understanding is that reserves of parts are kept for cars for 10years.

He said that was standard if the parts are depleted that it could be a problem. So I called corporate and ** passed me off to ** in financial assistance. She basically told me that that was normal wear and tear on a perfectly maintained car with 68000 miles on it. My husband then spoke to ** at sales, since we don't have a car what would we get if we traded it.

My husband said that he didn't want another Saturn. She came back with a 2500 offer and said that since 2003 the problems with the Vue's have been worked out. Funny ** in the repairs department said that there are no problems and we are lucky that another customer has been waiting 6 months for a part. I have owned several used cars with 2 or even 3X's the mileage and never had these kinds of issues or service.

Now I open up the Yahoo page and guess what, I see part of GM's bailout package is to sell or close under performing brands and there doesn't seem to be a company interested in buying Saturn. Help what do we do, we can't find a salvaged part; we need another car do they even intent to find a new manufacturer for the part? Where do we go from here? I would love your input.

Don't Buy Any Vue
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ROGERS, ARKANSAS -- I own the 2003 V-6 AWD Vue and it has its own set of problems. Uneven tire wear, mainly the right rear, bearing failure and moisture getting in the rear differential, causing the clutch drum and inner bearings to go out. I didn't find out about the differential until the warranty was out, even though I had taken it to them with the wear problem and noise in the rear in 2006. Due to being talked down to at the dealer, I started taking it elsewhere. The dealer told me the noise was caused by the tires being worn and so did everyone else I took it to. The noise and vibration DID go away with new tires and always returned when worn.

The last time on the tire replacement, they found a broken axle and when they replaced it, the noise and vibration were worse than ever. The dealer told me it was the differential and it would cost $1200 to fix. I showed them the old axle and they said it it literally came apart, not broken. Apparently the loose axle kept the pressure off the rear with new tires so the need for repair of the differential was overlooked. But, I just found out there has been a service bulletin out on this since 2004, so they should have known.

In all, I have had 5 sets of tires, a bearing assembly (think I need another now), replaced faulty hood latch, driver door latch doesn't open from inside properly, cracked (for no reason) driver outside mirror, cap blew off roof rack so it whistles, and the rear differential clutch drum and bearings needing replaced. I am going through the corporate office to see if they will pay to fix the differential but they were supposed to call me yesterday and didn't. Looks like lawyer time.

Advice to all: don't buy any Saturn Vues. They all have issues and the service department will play games with you until you are out of warranty. They have knowledge of the issues and should fix them free, no matter what. It's the right thing to do.

2005 Saturn Vue Head Gasket Repair
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LOMA LINDA, CALIFORNIA -- I have a 2005 Vue. Several months ago I noticed that it was leaking (a few drops) of oil. I took it to Saturn of Ontario and they added dye to the oil and told me drive it another 500 miles because they couldn't tell where the leak was coming from. I work far from home and was not able to get it back into the shop until December. I took it to Firestone (love them) and they said it was leaking from the head gasket and that I should take it to the dealer. I immediately took it to Saturn of Loma Linda and told them what Firestone told me...this was Friday morning at 9:30 am.

Friday evening, ** from Saturn called to say they hadn't gotten to it, but hopefully could on Saturday...or Monday. On Saturday morning ** called to say it was in fact the head gasket and they would have to order it and it should be in Monday or Tuesday. Tuesday, ** called to say that when they took the engine apart they discovered that the bearings were also bad and that they would have to order those, but they were going to overnight them. On Wednesday, I called Saturn at 2:30 pm to find out about my car. The parts had not come in…apparently they didn't think I needed to know this.

On Thursday ** called to say that the bearings had come in, but they were damaged and they had to be re-order. He offered a 10% discount. On Friday ** called again to say that the bearings had arrived undamaged, but only the lower bearings had arrived, not the uppers. They will have to be re-ordered. He offered me a loaner car for the weekend. Saturn has had my car, for a one-day repair job, for 8 days. I opened a case with Saturn Corporate because I didn't feel that a car with 52,000 miles on it should need these types of repairs, but they disagreed and offered me $100 in retail store coupons; I declined. This is my second and last Saturn.

Saturn Vue Premature Battery Failure
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MILAN -- I own a 2007 Saturn Vue 3.5L with 22,300 miles. I had a dead battery at 6 pm on a Friday. I called the closest dealership on Saturday and was told they had no batteries for this vehicle, instructed to bring it in on Monday morning and they would 'order' one for me. When I told them I had to go to work on Monday, they told me there was nothing they could do about it.

I wound up spending most of Saturday trying to find anyone with a replacement battery. It appears GM/Saturn uses a 'special' battery for this vehicle and the model is too 'new' for most replacement suppliers to begin stocking, and because it is special, no one wants to stock a slow moving item. Nice product quality and service Saturn, this will be my last American vehicle.

2003 Saturn VUE - Absolute Crap
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MANCHESTER, CONNECTICUT -- Apparently despite Saturn realizing that there are significant problems with the CVT transmission they put in the 2003 VUE, they refuse to accept responsibility or help consumers. My vehicle is now effectively totaled because of this transmission that will cost more than $5000 to repair. That's more than the car is worth. So now I am stuck with a vehicle that is completely undriveable after having only owned it for two years, and a $3500 car loan still on it.

On top of that, when I ask the Saturn dealerships what I should do, their advice is to "figure out some way to dispose of the vehicle." They will give me nothing to trade it in, not even a few dollars for spare parts. I had absolutely no warning that this was a problem with these cars or that it was something I should have had checked out. There is no way to repair the transmission without flat out replacing it, and Saturn makes that such a complicated experience that only their dealerships can do it, so there's no way to get a more reasonable price.

I'm flabbergasted, furious, and never, ever buying a Saturn product again. Please save yourselves the excruciating aggravation and don't purchase a Saturn product either. Detroit wonders why they're having problems with giant revenue losses, right here is their answer.

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Saturn Vue Rating:
13 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
100 Saturn Parkway, PO Box 1500
Spring Hill, TN 37174
800-553-6000 (ph)
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