Problems With Saturn Cars (9 Most Common Issues)

The Saturn section of General Motors started its sales operation in 1991 despite being established in 1985.

Saturn is known to have different compact coupes, sedans, SUVs, and other sports vehicles. The brand was famous for its excellent performance and dependability.

However, the Saturn vehicles are not perfect, just like every other automobile you see around. Some of the significant issues faced by Saturn owners include power steering problems, transmission failure, and defective gas caps.

Saturn was a subsidiary of General Motors until 2010, and most of the Saturn vehicles are still available to date.

If you want to own a Saturn vehicle, it is advisable to get familiar with the everyday problems of some of its models. This will help you make an informed decision about your preferred model.

Let us address each of these problems in detail.

1. Ignition Module Failure, Power Steering Problems, and Gas Cap Problems

If you are planning to buy a Saturn Ion, you need to be aware of its issues, as the power steering system can give you a headache.

As you know, the power steering system helps control the car, and any problem with the system could lead to a crash.

Due to this problem, the auto manufacturer had to extend the warranty on the power steering system.

Some Saturn Ion owners also complained about issues with their vehicles’ ignition coil or ignition module. Once this issue happens, it could lead to the misfiring of your engine.

Some drivers also complained that they notice their “Check Engine” light switches on abruptly when the fitting is worn out.

It is the most unreliable model from the Saturn stable, and it has not been sold since 2017.

The Check Engine Light issue is common with most Saturn vehicles; you need to know this.

This light is part of the vehicle’s electronic engine management system, and its role is to show light when there is a problem with the engine.

Once error codes are shown on the dashboard, you need to visit a competent technician to reset the light manually.

Some drivers even complained that their Check Engine lights still stay after servicing their vehicles.

2. Failure of Wheel Bearing, Blown Cooling Fan Base, and Transmission Problems

If you want to purchase a Saturn Aura, note that you may have problems with the automatic transmission system.

Some owners complained about the 3-5-R wave plate in the transmission system, which will lead to damage. When the wave plate is broken, it will cause rough transmission shifting.

Saturn Auras are known to have weak cooling fuses that get blown quickly, which can cause overheating of the engine.

You need to be prepared for the failure of its wheel bearing, and this is usually fixed by changing the whole wheel hub assembly.

3. Gas Cap Problems, Powertrain Control Module, and Transmission Issues

It is crucial to note that the Saturn Outlook and Saturn Ion have related problems, including the gas cap and transmission problems.

However, frequent engine codes on the Saturn Outlook affect the powertrain control module.

Most drivers of this model said they had to update their software to solve the problem.

4. Malfunctioning of the Air Conditioning System, Gas Cap Problems, and Transmission Issues

Failure of the transmission is a common thing with the Saturn Vue, and this leads to problems when you want to shift gears.

Drivers also complained about the loosening of their gas cap, which can cause trouble for the computerized settings of your vehicle.

More Saturn Vue owners have observed that their vehicles’ air conditioning systems misbehave and often lead to overheating of the engine.

5. Direct Injection Injectors Issues

Like other models of the Saturn brand, you will likely battle with gas cap problems if you drive a Stturn Sky.

On the other hand, drivers who own Saturn Sky also complained that fuel injectors give them headaches.

The reason is that its 2.0L engine is programmed to inject fuel into its combustion sections. However, drivers complain of clicking noise from the fuel injectors each time they are in motion.

Most individuals love Saturn vehicles because of their low maintenance expenses. Most reputable car reliability sites have given the automaker a clean slate.

The annual average cost of repairing Saturn vehicles is relatively cheap, not up to $600.

6. Defective Timing Chains

The timing chain problem is one of the most common issues faced by Saturn owners, especially the Saturn L series.

This issue occurs when the chain breaks are disengaged due to broken teeth. Once this happens, it may cause the engine to stop abruptly, which can cause accidents and severe damage to the vehicle and other cars or road users.

It is important to note that the Saturn L series does not have a diagnostic sensor. The sensor, if present, should inform drivers of a defective timing chain.

Without a detector, drivers will not notice any problem until there is a significant problem.

8. Bent Clutch Disks and Defective Worn Cooling Lines

Some drivers have complained about worn cooling lines, transmission problems, and twisted clutch disks.

Most Saturn models have an automatic transmission that slips between gears from time to time.

The automatic transmission system in some Saturn models tends to make unnecessary noise.

Make sure to also read our article about problems with Vauxhall cars.

9. Electrical Issues

Saturn vehicles, especially the L-series, have a common problem: an electrical problem that halts the car’s ignition system.

Many individuals who own the Saturn L-series have complained about their ignition.

The L-series and other models are affected by this issue, leading to a recall of this specific model.

General Pros and Cons of Saturn cars

Here are some pros and cons of Saturn cars:

Pros of Saturn

  • Well-designed engine
  • Great clutch
  • Reliable on the road and rough terrains

Cons of Saturn

  • Currently out of production
  • High maintenance costs
  • Spare parts hard to find
  • Mechanical faults are common, ranging from transmission issues to gearbox problems

Please also read about problems with Chevrolet cars if you love General Motors brands.

What Reviews are Saying

Saturn cars earned reliability ratings from sites like J.D. Power. Of the five models examined above, their reliability ratings ranged from 73/100 to 82/100.

According to RepairPal, the average annual maintenance cost across all Saturn brands is $553.

Irrespective of this maintenance cost, finding the spare parts of the automobile can be hard, as the company is no longer manufacturing new vehicles.

Final Thoughts

The decision to purchase a car lies in the hands of the customers, and ours is to help you make an informed decision.

Saturn cars are no longer in production, and it is advisable to drive better models of automakers.

The problems associated with the Saturn brand are enormous, and it is hard to find the spare parts of the vehicle.


Should I Buy a Saturn Car? |Consumer Reports

Are Saturns Reliable? | Copilot Search

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