Do Saturns Actually WORK?

Ignoring his agents wishes, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Detector195) flung open the hotel room door and announced to the gathering crowd:


I beg to differ about Saturns being straight forward to work on. Our thermostat on our 00 LS2 went out and it cost us over $500 to replace it. That's because, some engineer in their infinite wisdom, placed the thermostat under the intake manifold. The manifold and all the associated hardware has to be removed and then all the gaskets have to be replaced just to remove the proprietary ($20) gen-u-wine Saturn thermostat. It's almost a 4 hour labor intensive job to replace. And to add insult to injury, the new replacement thermostats require a different housing, which *also* has to be purchased since they no longer stock the older style thermostats. Our local Saturn dealer wanted $700 to repair the thermostat, part of that is because they charge nearly a hundred dollars an hour for labor. We went to an independent to get it done to save some money. At least around here, unless you *have* to have the dealer service your car, it's MUCH cheaper to get it done elsewhere.
We *also* found out that the oil seals on the oil cooler are leaking. Another $400 repair. Oh, did I mention that now the power steering pump is leaking? Yup, another $450 to replace. This just after two months ago when we had to replace the Mass Airflow Sensor which set us back another $400. Oh, and not to mention the rotors that have gone out every 30K miles to the tune of $350.
All this after 65k miles with *all* scheduled maintenance done by the dealer always on time. And the car still looks new!
Then there's the leaky door seals that's been replaced twice and still sounds like the windows are rolled down.
It's a great looking car, but we've given up on it. We're going to trade it in and buy something just a tad more reliable. Like a Lexus or a Toyota or a Honda.
Incidently, the cost of the LS2's (now the L300's), compare right along with an Accord and the resale value and reliability is no where near that of an Accord.
It's our second Saturn and we thought the first one, (a new SL2) was an isolated lemon, and ended up trading it in for the (then) new LS2 but now we're wondering if, like so many other GM vehicles, once they reach the 60k, mark it's time to seriously consider trading it in. I think we waited about 5k too long to do just that unfortunately.
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Quoth snipped-for-privacy@cox.net in

Just last year I finally disposed of a 1989 Chevy Celebrity wagon with 125K on it, and replaced it with an incredibly clean 1995 Buick Century wagon (basically the Buick version of the same vehicle) with just barely 61K on it. The Chevy (which I had bought with 65K on it) had been really reliable, and the transmission, though a bit leaky in its old age, had been solid as a rock, so I figured that I'd get at least 60K out of the Buick without major expenses.
At 69K, I've already had to replace the Buick's automatic transmission (unexpected), EGR valve (unexpected), catalytic converter (unexpected), alternator (I expected this), a major oil seal (I also expected this, but I expected it at about 85K, as it had occurred on the Chevy) and one injector (I'm now expecting to have to replace them all this winter, as I'm discovering that 3.0 V6s of this vintage seem to have a real injector problem) and I have an SES light thing happening on and off that I plan to have diagnosed at the next oil change; heaven knows what new surprise is in store for me then, as I know it's burning a small amount of oil.
In other words, at least insofar as it relates to mid-90's models and later, my GM experience agrees wih yours -- as much as we like driving our 2000 LS1 (that light-weight 4-banger rocks!), when it gets near 60K, we plan to get rid of it, and we'll probably replace it with a Honda.
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open the hotel room door and announced to the gathering crowd:

..and that's directly in line with several independent mechanics I know said. They told me that it would be in my best interest to get rid of the Saturn *now* at 65k than wait any longer because the problems I'm experiencing will only increase. And, unfortunately, even minor problems on an L series Saturn can be very expensive to repair. Couple that with a $25k car that, three years later, isn't worth $8k, any more miles we rack up will only lower the value even more.
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Ask any honest independent mechanic about Saturns, you'll touch a nerve. The parts aren't terrible expensive, but the design flaws lead to a lot of expense (at least on the S series). It's too early to tell on the Ion, but it looks like the L series is problematic as well.
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<snip>
Always buy the Saturn extended warranty on a Saturn (not after-market). Saturns are not designed for the home mechanic, just look at the oil filter location on the S series. Factor this cost into the total price, since with much of the competition the extended warranty is a bad gamble.

True.
Slow learner, huh?

Lease Saturns. Normally leases are bad deals, but for Saturn a three year subsidized lease is a better deal then buying, given the low resale value and the relatively poor long term dependability.
http://www.jdpa.com/studies_jdpower/pressrelease.asp?StudyIDt9&CatID=1
Saturn fluctuates between just above average and just below average, year after year.
If you're looking for a vehicle that you can drive for 5-10 years then you'll be better off with something else.
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Ignoring his agents wishes,"Steven M. Scharf"
announced to the gathering crowd:

wifes car. I didn't want to go the route of another Saturn but she was thrilled with the customer service and the plastic panels. Yes, we were *very* slow learners. Good thing the door panels are dent resistant, it's painless to bang my head against it. ;-)

sage advice. albeit a little late *sigh*. Oh well.

we have an appointment with a Lexus dealer this afternoon. They have a certified pre-owned, 2000 ES300 on the lot with 20k miles for $23k.
I've known several people who have owned a Lexus and they all have said you can drive those puppies into the ground without worrying about it constantly breaking down. However, I also realize that when it *does* require any repairs, it will be pricey. Considering we've put almost $2k in repairs in the past year and a half in our Saturn already, it's pretty much a wash but we'll have a MUCH nicer (and quieter) car for our money. It's also nice to know that with the certified pre-owned program, it's covered up to 100k miles *and* they pick up/drop off the car at your home or place of work and leave an 04 Lexus to drive as a loaner. Even Saturn doesn't do that.
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Well it looks like the Saturn era is coming to a close. I wouldn't be surprised if GM shut down Saturn and merges it into Chevrolet or Pontiac. The Ion and the L series are doing poorly, only the Vue is doing relatively well. Cavalier and Impala are doing quite well. They can keep the brand name for a while, just as they did with Geo, then eventually drop it. The Saturn dealer nearest to me has already closed (Sunnyvale). GM just "delayed" the Saturn hybrid SUV for a year.
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On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 18:06:25 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"

Hey, I still own my Geo Tracker from 1993. It had the clutch replaced at 90k, and basic maintnance that is it. The thing never dies and is really good on gas. It just sits now for the most part, but has 130,000 miles on it.
Cant complain. I would NEVER buy a new tracker, especially made between 99-02, GM and Chevy really had some bad years with all their cars. Hopefully they can turn it around.
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Ignoring his agents wishes,"Jonnie Santos"
announced to the gathering crowd:

thanks! Buy a pre-owned, certified Lexus. They're *much* cheaper. On the high end cars, it's better to let someone else take the big hit up front when they're new. Buy them when they come off lease, (like we did), and you'll save a ton of money.
We bought a 2000 ES300, loaded, in red with an ivory interior, with 20K miles in absolutely like new condition for $23k. And that includes a 5 year 100,000 mile warranty, roadside assistance and pickup from home/work of the car and a free 04 Lexus loaner. Monthly payments, which includes GAP insurance is $480, about half what a new one costs in monthly payments. Also, if the car is certified, you're eligible for new car interest rates, which usually saves a percentage point or two.
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snipped-for-privacy@cox.net wrote:

Why wouldn't you just buy a new 2003 Camry instead? The Lexus is rated to have a little more power but otherwise the chassis are almost identical. They didn't even try to disguise the ES300 - it still looks just like the Camry. GM used to play this silly game, but I thought most people had gotten tired of paying a lot extra for a "name" - guess not.
Ed
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I don't know, and have heard that Lexus, even the Camry twin is much quieter and luxurious that a vanilla Toyota. There might be a little prestige with the Lexus nameplate too (and least in my thinking)...
wrote:

have a

didn't
used to

a lot

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Prestige is not important to me. At least a few years ago I remember reading an article that claimed that the Camry and ES300 had exactly the same sound deadening materials. The interior styling is different and the seats in the Lexus look fancier, but all the stuff that really matters is the same. Some people prefer Japanese built Toyotas over US built ones, but I don't see this difference reflected in any quality surveys.
Ed
Jonnie Santos wrote:

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flung open the hotel room door and announced to the gathering crowd:

we took an 04 Camry for a test drive. The *only* similarity was the body style. The engine was more powerful, it was a lot quieter and the interior was much more luxurious.
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snipped-for-privacy@cox.net wrote:

news://news1.prserv.net/g6OdnVKvIYlb-CiiRVn-sA%40comcast.com
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flung open the hotel room door and announced to the gathering crowd:

bad link
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So, how do you like being a Toyota owner?
Stan
On Tue, 18 Nov 2003 17:59:06 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@cox.net wrote:

{Delete nospam for email}
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Ignoring his agents wishes, snipped-for-privacy@bcplnospam.net flung open the hotel room door and announced to the gathering crowd:

I like it. I like it a LOT.
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snipped-for-privacy@cox.net wrote:

Sorry. Try
http://groups.google.com/groups?q mry+Lexus+ES330&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&selm=w3etb.16812%24IK2.1347729%40news20.bellglobal.com&rnum=1
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And you would know how? Have you ever owned one and worked on it? I've done about everything there is to do to my S series and its very home-mechanic friendly. If you can't handle changing the oil filter on it, you shouldn't be under the car to begin with.
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I read through these posts and I'm amazed at how negative everyone is.
Our 2000 SL2 hasn't been perfect, but we really can't complain. It's well equiped with everything we wanted (A/C, PW, PDL, Alarm, AM/FM/Cass/CD changer, leather interior, remote entry, power mirrors, 5 speed, etc.) and only cost $17,500 Cdn ($12,500 US) + tax after the GM Visa rebate ($3100).
After 194,000 hard kms it's still going like new, hardly burns any oil (can do 5000km oil change without adding any), looks new (except the recent crack in the windshield from a rock), starts and runs flawlessly. I'm hoping to get 500,000+ kms out of it. So far it truely isn't show any signs of aging.
We also tow our 2000 lbs camper with it - 41,000 kms of towing so far. It does a great job and handled the Rocky mountains well (WOT all the way up the mountains at 5000+ rpm, overtaking most travel trailers).
I also race it with my friends and have taken driving school with it quite a few times. Here it spends 3+ hours straight running flat out, threshold braking, flat out, etc. The little car holds it own well, especially at Shannonville (road course track near Toronto)
We were so impressed with the durability we bought a 2000 SW2 for my wife.
Both cars have had some annoying problems which these Saturns are known for, but overall they are very cost effective. The problems have been exhaust resonator cracked (updated design has lasted), leaking positive termal on the both batteries after 3 years, outer tie rods at 100,000-130,000 kms, right front wheel bearing at 193,000 kms, and front brake pads at 130,000 kms (which is fine).
The 2000-2002 S-series were probably the best years, and our cars have been very durable. I still consider them not the best looking, and they aren't BMW's, but when you look at the total cost and performance per mile I don't think there's much that can beat them.
Steve
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