Consumer Complaints and Reviews
I had heard in the original Saturn series of bad engines, but I had acquired a 2005 which is a later series. I had a wait and see attitude about it, it reached 142,000 miles before the transmission slipped. The mechanics had told me that it would cost about $600 just to open it up and assess the problem...not including any repairs. At that point it would have cost nearly what the car was worth at that point. Before that there were few repair problems.
My 2000 Saturn LS now has 118,000 miles on it. 2 weeks ago it suddenly began emitting a very loud noise under the hood. It starts up immediately and drives smoothly, but when idling gets very loud. Took to mechanic. They thought maybe rocker arms had broken but they were fine. Could find no reason for the noise. They decided something must be sticking from built-up gunk so they replaced the Valve Cover Gasket, cleaned and put in some oil additive and let it run. The noise stopped, I picked the car up and it has been fine.
Now 12 days later and only driven about 50 miles, it began the exact same thing, same noise, etc and it starts up immediately and drives smooth. But the noise is very loud when idling and I can hear a little bit of the noise when driving. I took it to the Mechanic this morning and left it. He did recommend a Power Steering Seal, and the output Shaft Seal has slow leak, but said it is not urgent to fix right now since I do not drive daily nor far. I see no leaks on the driveway. Any clue or suggestions on what could be causing this very loud noise? It does not overheat and oil pressure gauge indicates no problem. All fluid levels are fine and I just had an oil change and have only driven 1,000 miles since that was done. Help please!!
As some have rightly noted, RUN from GM vehicles!! I purchased a 2008 Saturn Outlook, and it has been plagued with problems - overheating, water pump failure, power steering pump leak, cv joints, struts, oil leaks, stabilitrak sensor failure, engine (sensors going out), transaxle leak, master brake cylinder failure, etc. Most of the problems occurred within 5 years of ownership. I decided to buy American and purchased a Saturn because of word of mouth reviews about the brand. Worst mistake ever!!! GM refuses to own the issues with this vehicle and declare it a lemon. I had to purchase another vehicle - a foreign one this time - because of its unreliability. Pre-owned buyers beware - DO NOT BUY THIS VEHICLE!!! A vehicle I thought I could have for 10 years is just a piece of crap.
Folks, run away, and I mean far, far away from GM and most American made cars. Just plain horrible. What they keep churning out every year and yet won't last 10 years. You will be ladened with huge repair cost. I am done with USA made vehicles after a very bad experience with Ford, both Taurus, and Windstar.
I own a 2009 Saturn Outlook XR with approximately 84000 miles on the vehicle. The transmission has failed on the vehicle, and the warranty was for five years or 100,000 miles. My local dealer has said the five years are up and they will not give me any consideration for repairs and want over four thousand dollars to repair it. When the towing company placed the vehicle on the roll back, the operator made the statement that he averages quite a few of these a week! This vehicle has had at least six recalls on major issues, water pump, power steering, power tailgate, seat belts, and etc.
I can assure you this will be the last GM vehicle that I will ever buy. I have talked to two transmission shops in town and have been told that this transmission has had issues from the very start, and GM has been working on correcting the problem with the transmission. I was told GM has made three changes in the last twenty-four months to correct the problems with this transmission. Thanks GM, for keeping your customers updated on a defective transmission.
How do I know I can trust these reviews about Saturn?
- 639,780 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
- We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
- We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
- Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.
For more information about reviews on ConsumerAffairs.com please visit our FAQ.
Bought my 2008 Saturn Vue, brand new in August of 2007. I haven't had any problems with it, until a few days ago, when a few dashboard lights came on. Then yesterday, while driving, the lights came on & I lost power & it died on me. Couldn't get it started so I called a few places, decided to get AAA to tow me to a local recommended mechanic, not sure what the problem was.
The next day, I was told my engine was "shot," that the oil was low & was leaking. I decided to get a factory rebuilt engine, about $6000.00, good for 3 years, or 100,000 miles... OMG, I was shocked. I take really good care of my car & did not expect this. Has anyone else had this problem? Guess I will keep it a few more years and hope nothing else goes bad.
I reached out to GM today after my second door jam mechanism failed and I see over 900 complaints lodged as such in this model's year (2006 VUE). Despite the obvious safety issue I was told I was on my own. The door(s) eventually will not close as the jam mechanism fails so the door is subject to swinging open while the vehicle is in use. This is not an inexpensive fix and must be taken to a body shop. I will need all 4 door mechanisms replaced as I will not risk the other two failing as well.
Saturn vue 2008, 80000 miles, transmissions than, + many problems and noise in front end.
We purchased a 2008 Saturn with 76,000 miles. In May 2014 we begin having transmission problems. Upon researching the net we discovered other owners having problems and GMC doing a recall. I begin correspondence and after eight months and numerous e-mails and recall letters we were told that due to the 19,000 mile over their criteria of 120,000 we were out of luck. But to show their goodwill they decided to give us a $2,000 dollar credit toward a NEW 2015 GMC. But not a credit toward having this piece of Saturn repaired at a cost of $4,000.00. per Jim **.
We have a 2008 Saturn Aura, it has 80 thousand miles. One day, the wife was driving it. It made a noise and bam, the car died. I talk to some people and they said it was the timing chain. So we took in to get looked at and the garage said they took off one of the valve covers off, and all the valves were broke in half. It's going to cost a lot of money. This stinks.
I own a 2009 Saturn Vue with less than 70,000 miles on it. A couple of weeks ago, it began making a noise and I took it to JBA Chevrolet in Glen Burnie, MD. They charged me $110 to tell me that something was wrong with the transmission and it needed further diagnostics in the amount of $700. This is the cost for them to take the entire transmission apart in an attempt to diagnose the issue. I picked the car up, I also left a message for the service manager asking for a refund on the $110 diagnostics charge because I was not given a diagnosis, he never returned my call.
I then took the car to Harford Transmissions in Bel Air, MD since I was getting no help from the dealer. The gentleman there was very helpful, diagnosing it for free. The transmission is falling apart and needs to be replaced or rebuilt. I called GM and spoke to several people, my case number is **. Over the course of a week, my father and I called 8 times. Not one person ever called us back. We were constantly promised callbacks from higher authorities that never came. In the end, after countless house on the phone, we were told that we were past the 5 year warranty and GM would be offering no assistance in paying for the transmission to be rebuilt.
I explained that I've done my research on this, Saturns have notorious transmission issues that have led to recalls and class action lawsuits. I am now stuck putting a new transmission in a car with less than 70,000 miles out of my pocket. I wasted countless hours on the phone to be treated poorly and receive no retribution. I believe GM should stand behind this. There is no reason a car with so few miles, despite being 6 years old as opposed to 5 years old (5 year warranty), should need a new transmission. This is obviously a manufacturer defect.
Per the manual, the car doesn't even need regular transmission maintenance until 100,000 miles, which I am far from. I would like the $110 back from JBA Chevrolet for refusing to diagnose the car. I would also like retribution from GM for this, obviously, faulty transmission. My family and I are loyal GM customers, we have been for years, I'm just asking them to take responsibility for this defective part.
Bought my 03 Saturn wagon 5 years ago. Engine light stays on 3 years now. Clears out with mechanic. Get it to pass inspection. Light comes back on. Horn died, trunk lock had to be replaced, eats tires and sway bars like crazy. Put new brakes every year. Everything rusted underneath. New manifold. Needed catalytic converter twice. Now I just can't put any more funds into this car. Seeking a different vehicle now. Only has 167,000 miles. I drove a 96 Subaru wagon into the ground. It had over 200,000 miles and still ran awesome. It was the body that finally gave out. Disappointed in the many needed repairs. Doesn't shift out of first without struggling either. The clock gains a minute every couple weeks.
Recently purchased a 2001 Saturn SC2. The ignition locked in the off position and there no way I could get it to turn. I broke one key and bent a spare. Finally had to get it towed and it's at a local repair shop now. I have read many complaints on this issue, but apparently GM has never issued a recall. I used to be a big GM fan, but not now.
At a stop light, all of a sudden the clutch pedal had no effect. I bought the Vue used, so had no warranty. It seemed like a pretty good deal for the price. The dealer was fairly upfront about the issues it had (mostly minor), but while driving it today, out of nowhere, the clutch pedal had no effect! Sitting at a red light I suddenly wasn't able to get it into gear! It's ran pretty good till this and I've owned Saturn's before with minimal issues, but this was different. This time my life was in danger. I've read lots of people with the same problems. Hope I can get it fixed without spending too much or PUTTING MY FAMILY IN DANGER AGAIN! BOOOO GM!!!
Bought a 2009 Saturn Outlook last year with 64,000 miles. Beautiful car and body in really good shape. Loaded with everything you could think of. 2 weeks after having it, it would make all kinds of noise when turning and sound really ruff. Took it to a GM dealer and it was completely out of oil. They could not find any leaks or that is was burning oil. Needless to say putting oil in it was a once a month thing.
Steering went out - had to pay $1900 to get that and the rack and pinion repaired. One week later we lost all power to the car driving down the mountains in Virginia. Spent $1,000 to get it towed back to Ohio to spend another $100 to put on analyser. Now they are saying we have to pay another 1500 for GM to tear it down so GM specialist can look at it since they still cannot figure out what is wrong with it. I still owe on this car and they said once they figure out what's wrong it could cost another 4 to 5 thousand to fix it. This has been the biggest headache. I can't believe we spend the money we do on cars and they don't even last 5 YEARS.
Just got my 2003 Saturn l300 two years ago at a dealership used. Started having trouble when the battery needed changed. The horn/door locks quit working then it kept getting stuck in park. Intermittent problems for months. Not having the money to fix this problem I decided to look online for answers. And from everything I have read and learned my problem is the (bcm) or body control module. What irritates me is that the only way to fix this issue is to take to a dealership to be replaced and reprogrammed as it costs from 700 to $900 dollars to be done! I still make payments on this piece of junk as I don't have credit for new cars. I'm paying for a car to sit in my driveway and cause me stress! If this is such a common issue why hasn't this been put into a recall? Why should I pay for this junk!
I purchased a 2006 Saturn Vue XL, it had approximately 108,000 miles on it, lots of life left. When I hit 124,000 the transmission completely went while driving down the highway at 70 mph. But loving the look and every other aspect of the Vue I purchased a 2008 Saturn Vue XE, it had 65,000. Everything was going perfect and then at 78,000 the exact same thing started happening. It started stuttering while going down the highway and eventually wouldn't even shift into gear. Learning from my last experience I purchased an extended warranty. Took it in, the transmission had gone out, exact same way as the 2006 Vue had. NOW, at 87,000, its happening again!!! I am so irate. A part continues to shave off me. Metal slivers into the transmission causing these problems. This vehicle needs to be recalled STAT!!
I bought my VUE new in 2003. Loved this car. Just right for me. All of a sudden it started stalling out while driving down the street. All the dash lights came on, the steering and brakes were gone. All of this in rush hour traffic in Denver. Took it in...paid out just over $900 to try to find out what it was, didn't help. Picked it up on Friday, stalled in traffic on Saturday. Did some research found out this was a problem with the 2002-2004 Saturn VUE and Ion.
During those years the Saturn VUE was on a car chassis or so I'm told - and beginning 2005 on a truck base. I went to the GM dealer after this last brush with death and was told I probably needed a new transmission.....$3,800. Found out about the GM class action suits in California and other places regarding the Saturn VUE. I had the car towed....not driving it. Certainly not trading it in for someone else to be hurt. Looking for a good used car now.
New engine at 106,000. We just bought the Saturn 2008 Outlook at 76,000 less than 2 years ago. We have already put in $600 in fixes, and now we found out the engine needs to be replaced for $5000. This car has been a total lemon. Researching the v6 3.6 lt engine we have found out that it is a piece of junk.
Faulty wave plate 2009 saturn vue XE - This wave plate cracked at 140,000 miles costing me around $3,000 to replace my transmission. A month later I get a letter stated that GM will be completely cover the cost up to 120,000 due to this being a faulty part. I applied for at least a partial reimbursement. Got denied over the phone. When I asked to speak with a manager I was transferred to what I believe was the exact same voice under a different name again stated they understood and could not honor my request. If you put a faulty part in a car it should be covered by the company. This car is six years old and the transmission should not fail if quality made.
If your daughter almost got killed by a product, you would also be angry. I am embarrassed for GM, especially since I could be considered "part of the family". I have owned several Corvettes, a Camaro, several Tahoes, I currently drive a Cadillac, etc. Additionally, my brother in law worked for GM over 40 years and my father in law over 50 years. My daughter lost control of her Saturn while doing nothing wrong, totaled it and almost got killed. That was Thanksgiving weekend. The car got totaled. It was inspected, but GM has been 100 percent non-responsive regarding a car that failed through the fault of no one and they don't care. I am blessed my daughter is still alive. Call me a definite ex GM customer. They should be ashamed.
I have a 2004 Saturn Vue. Has 108,000 miles, RUNS GREAT, SHIFTS GREAT, DRIVES GREAT!!! But today I was under the car looking at it as I was changing the oil, and noticed the engine cradle was rusty and had little pinholes. So I tapped on it with a claw hammer and big holes came looking at me. Lucky, I can fabricate and weld very well. I wire wheeled the bad area and fabricated a piece of metal to fit the area. Then welded place and made a new plate for the 2 bolts where the back mount of the trans bolted up due to that was rusted out also...It is ok now. BUT SATURN NEEDS TO BUILD THE CRADLE OUT OF HEAVIER STEEL. VERY THIN AND POOR DESIGN FOR DIRT AND MUD TO GET IN THERE AND THEN RUST OUT.
Vue 2.2 5MT 2004 - I bought this car after careful consideration. I needed an SUV, 5MT (I love manual) and a gas saver. Saturn Vue was one of very few vehicles on the US market which satisfied my requirements. However, before buying it, do your research (as I did)! The 2.2 engine is good on gas and has chain instead of belt (so no worries about changing it), but stay away from 2.2 CVT vehicles!!! This is the most unreliable transmission I ever heard of. I have never read a single review about CVT where the transmission wasn't changed (which costs about $5000). 5MT Saturns only come with FWD, no AWD versions, but I have never experienced any problems getting stuck even during this horrible winter. And in terms of reliability, 5MT cannot even be compared to CVT, it's very difficult to kill it, only if you don't know how to drive a manual at all and shift with grinding all the time - while a CVT can die every moment, without warning.
However, with 5MT, don't forget that you should change both your transmission fluid (DEXRON III, don't use VI!!! Or, I use Pennzoil Syncromesh) and brake fluid in the clutch mechanism in time. Some people think these don't have to be changed, and it's completely wrong. If your fluid is black, you're certainly killing your clutch or transmission. If you're a DIY person, it's very easy to do both.
However, there are several serious drawbacks. First, at RPMs above 3000, the engine is noisy. And at the same time, the transmission is built very strangely, so that at 40 mph you can already put it in 5th. As a result, at highway speeds (~70-75 mph) your RPMs are between 3200 and 4000 approximately. So engine noise inside the cab is guaranteed. It's not too loud, but it's audible, the only thing that makes it tolerable is the whistling of air (I couldn't understand where it's coming from) so that the engine noise doesn't seem so loud. I don't know why Saturn made such a transmission. I was riding with my friend in his Honda, it's automatic, but still, at 60 mph his RPMs were only about 2000, while Saturn has at least 2500 on the tachometer even in 5th gear.
Why make such a transmission? Of course it's noisy when the engine runs constantly between 3300-4000 RPM on a highway! And at the same time, why did they install this dashboard which proudly says that the maximum speed is 130 mph? This transmission can't go even close to that, it will reach maximum RPMs well before. And by the way, if the engine didn't work at such high RPMs, it would have even better highway gas mileage. This is Saturn...
I won't say anything about cheap plastic materials in the cab, I don't care about this, and it's not a luxury car. If you need extreme comfort and expensive cab interior, buy something like a Cadillac and pay for servicing its numerous electronic devices. For me, the advantage of this car is its simplicity, I can fix or change most of the stuff myself.
Also, there are stupid things which are just gross mistakes of the designers. Take the clutch: the bleeder valve is metal, but the tube which holds it is plastic, so if you want to change your old black fluid and then bleed the system, be very careful, because the valve may be rusty and stuck, and you can easily break the plactic tube and disable your car until it is replaced (you'll have to buy a new master brake cylinder as this tube is not sold separately). Why couldn't they make this tube metal instead of plastic, knowing that there may be some effort needed to turn the valve??? Probably because it's cheaper...
And finally, I'd like to mention the headlights. In this car they are the most horrible I've ever seen. They sit in deep "wells" so the light beam is very narrow and only lights up a small piece of the road, not speaking about street signs - you can forget about it. At the same time, if you try to install a powerful bulb, you'll see the other problem - the idiot designers didn't make a glare screen in front of the bulb, instead, there's a strange-looking and completely useless tube! I have specially looked at lots of other vehicles, they all have either projectors or a glare cap! But Saturn decided that Vue drivers don't need them!
So if you install a powerful bulb, you have to make sure it's the type with end painted, otherwise oncoming drivers are looking directly at your bulb, not covered by anything! At the same time, this light is just wasted, instead of being reflected by the glare cap and thrown onto the main reflector to magnify the beam. Bravo, Saturn! A very wise decision!
I also have to mention that the high beams are poor as well, and they are located separately from low beams (different bulbs) but adjusted together. Which is horrible because normal car manufacturers make high beam HIGH - so that it's ABOVE low beam cutoff. No such luck with the Vue - the high beams are practically on the same level as low beams, and if you try to raise them so they can do their work, low beams are raised too and start blinding oncoming traffic! But if you adjust low beams so that they don't blind, your so-called "high beams" point to the ground and are practically useless! I've never seen more stupid headlights. And worst of all, there are NO aftermarket modified (e.g. projector) headlights for this car, they're all the same stupid type!
But overall, the car's not bad and I didn't have too many issues with it. Just don't buy CVT versions. And check the clutch before buying it, the replacement is expensive. If you don't know what to look for, bring a friend who knows a lot about manual cars.
I have had the BEST luck with my 2008 Saturn VUE XE. Bought it brand new December 2008. Have not had one problem EVER. I do however take very good care of her - I do think that is key. Oil change every 3500, recommended owner guide maintenance. 120,000 and going strong.
I had same problem which turned fatal for some people. Electrical problems from alarm randomly going off while driving, interior lights coming on, stalling out completely while driving. Cost me a fortune to repair. Got rid of it. I have had 6 Saturns since 1990 and from a family of GM employees. In my opinion, and firsthand experience, GM mismanaged Saturn, essentially killing it either out of sheer incompetence or intentional neglect. [I mean, what company copies the same exact cars the Saturn made and advertises them but ignores the marketing for Saturn?]
So what was once proudly touted as a 97% American-made car, was now in 2004, a car with parts from all over the world. Coincidence? I think not. "It opened in 1990 as the site for Saturn manufacturing and continued through March 2004 as the sole manufacturing plant overseen by the Saturn subsidiary. After the United Auto Workers ratified a new contract in March 2004, the plant became part of General Motors..." Wikipedia, accessed 3/13/2015. I own a Saturn Aura 2007 [it's an American built Opel Vectra GM's German brand that always has been superior]. I will run it into the ground but then never buy another GM car again. Mismanagement should not be rewarded.
Computer warning and detection symbols go on and off. But, the engine light has been on for more than 2 years. It's been reset, but comes on later. Sometimes the radio shows funky symbols. Took it in for inspection. They reset the engine light. Drove it until it came on. Went back within 50 miles of driving. The code was undetermined by the dealer/manufacturer. Don't know how I'll ever sell it with an engine light on. It can be inspected if the shop tries to repair it and you spend up to $200. But, I have never had a car that the engine light "ever" came on period. And, I've had quite a few. What's up with that.
I bought a 2008 vue 9/13/2013 and after a week I drove it from purchasing it from sellers renew the sensor lights went on. Sellers never inspected the car and put it on the lot from an auction and sold it to me! I have had it in the shop more times I have drove it. I mean it was in the shop for two months due to warranty issues and car kept breaking down. I have Took it in and told me the accel pedal sensor needed fixed that cost me 350.00, then one thing after another the control module is bad, the alternator has been replaced three times within a year, also a new transmission, evap code keeps coming up when we diagnose it, the whole computer system is shutting down and this is a Saturn. Issue should not be a consumer problem when the vehicle is dangerous to drive.
I'm not getting anywhere with Saturn, all these issues I have with my car and no dealer will take the car back or can even fix the car right. I pay out and another sensor issue or transmission issue. I had also experienced three times when I'm driving at high speeds, the steering wheel will lock up and car will completely shut down. I have mechanic Invoices from day one and it's a stack long, so more times being repaired than I drove it. But dealership says no codes come up and can't figure it and in the meantime, I'm paying for a car that sits in my garage cause no one will buy it or trade it in is impossible, and literally had the car a month and all problems occurred.
This should be a saturn issue to refund us and take their crappy car back and we should not be out of pocket. I have numerous bills from dealerships and this is a saturn issue, not a consumer problem when the car is dangerous to drive! Also the warranty they make you purchase with credit acceptance does not cover these issues when this is a default on behalf of saturn.
Our 2009 Saturn Outlook ONLY has 53,000 miles on it. The 100,000 mile warranty was up because we have just barely had our vehicle 5 years. We have taken it to the same dealer for the life of the car, and taken very good care of it. I was driving to work the other day and my power steering and transmission completely went out. I almost lost control of the vehicle several times.
It started when I was at a stoplight, when I pressed the gas to accelerate once it turned green, then my car lurched forward but only revved up. I made it work and then it wouldn't go in reverse at all!. I had it towed to a trusted mechanic. He told us it was indeed the transmission and power-steering but also that the rack and pinion broke. We had our car to the dealer several times for the whining noise to be fixed but they only ever told me they 'didn't hear the noise'.
I called GM, who told us to have it towed to a certified GM dealer and that the power steering should have been under a special coverage warranty. Turns out GM was sued and lost in court because of the power steering. The dealer then refused to diagnose my car without us paying them a $1,000 up front. I told them it had already been diagnosed, and if this was covered under their special warranty, then why on earth should I have to pay this large amount of money up front. The service manager told me he did NOT believe that our problem was covered under this special warranty and that the transmission doesn't go out because of the power steering. He said one doesn't have anything to do with the other.
Well funny, then how they both went out at the exact same time. I went round and round with both the dealer and GM and neither of them want to take responsibility for what has happened. Especially considering we have documented proof (the dealer has it in their computers) that we had our car to them multiple times to have THIS exact issue fixed. I believe it is time to get another law suit started. GM needs to fix their faulty vehicles BEFORE someone gets severely hurt or dies! We had it towed a 3rd time to be taken care of by our mechanic since the dealer refused to diagnose our vehicle. Do not ever trust GM or their "Certified dealers", all they care about is lining their pockets.
It start making noise when turning to enter or exiting a parking. It sounds very hard when steering is turn left or right. This is my first Saturn Vue 2003 and to fix this problem it would cost me at least 2,000.00. I don't even take one of this for free.
I loved my Saturn until now. The first thing that it started doing was the oil pressure light came on saying oil pressure low, turn engine off. I pulled over and turned the engine off, waited a few minutes and turned it back on. Message was gone. Then a couple days later the stabilitrak error message came up saying traction control off service stabilitrak. Engine speed decreasing. Couldn't go above 20 mph. Turned car off. Restarted car error message gone. Then transmission started slipping until it wouldn't go out of 2nd gear. Took the car to the shop and 4000.00 dollars later the transmission was replaced. Now one week later, the stabilitrak message came back on while driving home today and in a curve the steering wheel locked up.
This car is horrible. I have never had this many problems out of a car before. Back to the shop where I'm sure I will have to break the bank. Again! Saturn needs to make a recall on these cars. How many complaints about the same thing has to be posted before they actually do something about it. Never again. I will tell everyone to avoid buying a GM product.
Saturn Company Profile
- Company Name: