I've got a '92 Saturn SL1 w/ 100K of urban driving on it. Several months
ago I took it to a dealer for routine service. Part of the service was a
tire rotation. I told them I just had the tires rotated just do the rest of
the service but don't rotate the tires and don't charge me for rotating the
tires. They replied they can't perform the scheduled maintenance w/o
rotating the tires again. The maintenance wasn't done only an oil change
was done. My question is does the drive train need to lubricated? What
about the front end CV joints? The standard shift mechanism has become
stiff and the door locks are harder to open. What should I use to lubricate
the locks and shifter?
IMHO you need to find a dealer who will do what YOU request. It is your
money any they should be happy to do anything YOU want. I cannot imagine
that this car is covered by any warranty and as a low mileage (for it's age)
car would be expected to need special extra maintenance due to its lack of
normal use and city driving. I would recommend short engine oil change
intervals. You do not say what your climate conditions are but corrosion is
likely to be causing more problems than wear.
AFAIK there are no lube points on the drive train but age may cause the CV
joint boots to deteriorate and they should be checked regularly (at each oil
change or any time grease shows up in your wheels, wheel wells or under the
I suspect that this car is in need of a half life major servicing. Don't
let anyone sell you special fuel flushes or anything expensive but do the
simple and inexpensive stuff.
I would recommend a transmission fluid (and filter if autotrans) change as
this is cheap preventative maintenance. While you are at it change the
power steering fluid. Likewise the engine coolant could probably use a
change. Any oil will work for lock strikers and latches but there are some
specialty lubes that will not collect dust or oil your clothing, you should
also lube the hinge pins on the doors and hood, and wipers. The shifter
cables and linkage may need to be disassembled to lubricate properly and are
likewise probably suffering from lack of use.
Use only correct lock lube for the key locks and ignition, most garages will
not have this lube but any locksmith can help you.
You may expect brake system problems due to old brake fluid, I would
recommend a change of fluid if this has never been done. You are probably
due for parking brake cable problems, not much you can do about it but do
not be surprised and service them if you need to do anything with your rear
If you still have the original accessory belt (used to be called fan belt)
they are cheap ($15) and can be changed in about 15 minutes. Save the old
one for a spare, it is a perfect fit around the spare tire.
You may be due for new plug wires if they have not been changed. Save the
old ones for spares, they will also fit with the spare tire.
Find a mechanic that understands older cars and will do what YOU need. A
dealer may be more interested in convincing you that it is time to trade for
new or (shudder) newer but slightly?? used. Better to stay with what you
know. This car has depreciated about as much as it is going to and has lots
of life left if kept oiled properly.
No, it's not covered by any warranty. However, I faithfully have it
serviced. The last scheduled maintenance was somewhere around 100K - rotate
tires, lube locks, and I don't remember what else. They weren't trying to
sell me extra work, just perform the scheduled eminence, which I always have
done. They wanted me to pay for a tire rotation which was done by the
dealer. I drive 5K - 6k a year and change the oil every 3 - months. I
live in the mid Atlantic region snowy winters and hot humid summers. I use
Castrol GTX 5w - 30w. Been thinking to changing to 10w - 30w. I don't buy
oil or gas additives. It;s a standard transmission at 69K I had the tranny
oil changed, The dealer told me tranny oil lasts a lifetime, yeah right.
Flush the coolant every 30k, been thinking I should flush it more frequently
due the low annual mileage. Plug wires and fan belt changed around around
three years ago., break fluid changed about four years ago. I'm going to
look for a mechanic and dump the dealer. What is half life maintenance?
The car is almost perfect for urban driving eg, easy to park, don't worry
about dings, reasonable gas mileage, etc. I hope to get a couple more years
out of it. It's got some rust around the roof where it meets too sunroof
and I've managed to destroy the plastic grid under the bumper by head in
parking to close the curb. A friend has a 2001 or 2002 Toyota Camry that
I'm going to buy in a year or so.
Thank you for your very helpful advice,
@ 5-6000 mi / yr this = 1 qt / 850-1000 mi
This is not really excesive oil consumption (in the old days we said that a
V8 engine that didn't burn this much was too tight) but it is more than we
experience or like. I normally add a quart every 2200 mi when I use high
quality oil. I recently tried some Walmart Tech2000 oil 5w30 just as a test
and used the first quart in 1650 mi and the second at 1350 mi. Went back to
higher price oil and used 1/2 a qt in 1700 mi. I would think that the
difference is due to the city/highway different usage.
When the car was new I would change all the oil when it was down a qt but
now I add a little then change when down a qt. I aim for 3600 mi/change.
good news for me now at 145k
good used is a valid strategy especially if you know the previous owner and
can trust the history.
The fuel filter is over $100 + 1/2 hr shop labor approx.
The clutch is a real wild card and really depends on how badly the garage
wants to beat you up. Make sure you get firm quotes for all labor and
expect to change the clutch, preasure plate and probably re-face/grind the
flywheel. DO replace the release bearing when it is apart.
The good news about a clutch job is that it is a lot cheeper than a rebuilt
automatic (and usually lasts longer) the R&R labor is about the same as an
auto but the parts are a lot less and there is a high early failure rate
with rebuilt auto trannys.
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