I purchased a 2002 Saturn L200 in 2004 with approx. 20,000 miles. This was the worst and most expensive mistake of my life.
I have spent over $5,000 in repairs in the past year. I have also had to pay for 7 diagnostic tests ($125 each) in the past 10 months, because the service engine light consistently comes on every couple weeks.
At 72,000 miles, my catalytic converter went. When I called the standard muffler place to have it replaced, I was told Saturn does not make their parts compatible with after market parts, so I would have to purchase as a new part from the dealership. An after market converter usually costs $200-400, but instead I was forced to go through the dealership, which costs $1004, and that was just for the part, NOT including labor.
My car has continuously been in the shop every other week since I have purchased it, and every time I'm told the same thing... No after market parts, you have to purchase directly from the dealership. I can't even buy windshield wipers at a standard car shop, as the universal clip is universal for all cars EXCEPT Saturn! This would not be an issue if I was driving a Cadillac or other luxury car, but a Saturn??? Why am I paying so much and having to go through the dealership (over an hour away) for everything?
I have also had to replace tires, shocks, struts, tie rods, gas cap, etc. and my transmission needs to be replaced, all with less than 75,000 miles, and all at ridiculous prices from the dealership.
I also recently had to replace my shift solenoid, which is a part inside the shifter that allows your car to be shifted out of park. Most places had not even heard of this, and had no idea how it could have broken. When I called to have this fixed (also had a service engine light of course), I was told they didn't have the part in stock, but I could bring it in for the engine light. I explained I lived over an hour away, and would wait until the part came in and have it all checked at once. They called me back 20 minutes later and told me they had found the part at another dealership, and they would overnight it and it would be there by noon the next day, and they could also schedule me in at 1pm.
Saturday came, and I dropped off my car at noon, and spoke to the lady at the service desk. We reviewed why my car was being brought in, and she told me they had received the solenoid that morning. After leaving and not hearing from them for 5 hours, I called to check the status of my car, and was told at that time that the part never arrived, and I would have to drop my car off another day??? And yes, it was the same lady that assured me earlier that day that the part had already arrived!!! Now I also work in a business where we do a lot of shipments, and I know if something is shipped overnight, it comes with a tracking # and 99.9% of the time it arrives as scheduled, which makes me wonder whether they really didn't receive the part, or they were just busy and didn't want to take the time to install it.
So that leaves me with no choice, but to have to waste another Saturday and try to convince someone to drive me over 4 hours in one day (over an hour there, back, there, and back). Saturn was less than willing to assist me, and had the too bad attitude. They weren't even willing to send the part to another GM dealership closer to my home to have installed there, I was told it has to be done at a Saturn dealership (Saturn is a GM car, why can it not be installed at a GM dealership??).
To conclude I would strongly advise everyone to really consider purchasing any alternative to a Saturn. They may ride nice when taken for a test drive, but you will be flooded with every problem a car can possibly have soon after the car leaves the lot. They claim to make a reliable affordable car, but in the long run it is much more expensive, as no parts are compatible with standard after market parts, and you are forced to give all the repair money back to Saturn (at ridiculous prices).
So if nothing else, I would Google Saturn customer reviews, and take a serious look at the customer complaints, there are thousands, and I wish that someone had given me a heads up on Saturn and their customer relations.