2003 Saturn L200 2.4L from North America
Great commuter car due to safety, gas mileage, comfort, and room
At 64,000 miles it needs a new power steering pump and rear brakes. The "groaning" when turning around corners just a couple of weeks ago. Cost to replace today is about $400. Ouch! Saturn dealer is higher, but is this normal? $535 to replace the rear brake shoes and drums! Again Saturn dealer was about $100 higher. The grinding started suddenly this week. Can't understand how or why the brake shoe wear was so much above normal between the last inspection and the one due next month.
Having the transmission fluid changed today, too. Manual states 50k for this service. Had brake fluid changed once already; again today. Have changed oil every 3,000 to 3,500 miles since the beginning.
Was rear-ended by an illegal alien traveling >25MPH while stopped at a light in 2005. $5k damage to my L200, but the car came through fine and so did I.
Gas mileage driving back and forth to work in mixed 55mpg and stop-and-go driving has been about 26~26 MPG. On trips low 30's is the norm. Of note is that using the 10% ethanol mix they sell in my area, as opposed to 100% gasoline, mileage decreases about 10%. When filling up outside of my area with 100% gasoline, AC off, windows up, and driving back at a steady 65 (with the old Firestone tires) I once got 39MPG. For the size and weight of the car, this is phenomenal.
New tires at 59,000 miles. The original Firestones lasted a reasonable number of miles. I maintained alignment about annually. Replaced with Goodyear assurance tripletred. The original Firestones had far less traction than the new Goodyears. So much so that the ABS used to engage frequently in traffic and almost never does now. Noted a small drop in gas mileage, however. Maybe about 5%, so it is hard to pin it down except for saying a small decrease. Small price to pay for safety!
Replaced Front pads the first time at 42,000 miles. Cost $157 at the local Goodyear. No problems since.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th October, 2007
Was rear-ended by an "illegal alien". How is that relevant to the vehicle review??
$157 to change your front pads!!!???
You realize you can go into any auto parts store, and simply buy the front brake pads, all four or them for about 30$ at the most. Then you take off the tire, snap off the pad and put the new one on. In total, this is including driving to get the parts and putting on the pads, it should cost about $30, and take up about 20 minutes of your time.
I have had 3 Saturns, and that is why I buy them, because they are like matchbox cars, the parts are very easy to work on, very cheap and in general anyone can do it.
For example, my old '98 SL2, the oxygen/fuel sensor went, so I was going to have a garage do it, simply cuz I had no tools at the time. They wanted $350...
No way, not a chance. I went to the nearest auto zone, picked up a $25 sensor, went out into the parking lot, asked the guy behind the counter to borrow a few tools and bam, 5 minutes, done. You basically open the hood, and the O2 sensor is staring you in the face.. $350, unbelievable...
But that is the reason I got a Saturn, to work on it myself, unless, I don't have the tools to do the job. In that case it will probably not be worth fixing.
Anyway, I guess my point is, brake pads for a Saturn are approx. $20-$30, depending what auto parts store you go to, if you are going to change your brake pads, why not save yourself $140??
Once you take the tire off, which I'm sure you can do, you literally pull off the old pads with your hands and replace them into the shoe, then snap them back on.. it is soooo easy. I'm certainly not putting you down, maybe you're just too busy, but I'm just making you aware of how easy Saturns are to work on. I've had 3 and that is the reason why, cheap parts, easy to work on. Good luck with yours.
Unfortunately, I just got the third one, it was used, great shape, but it is the much maligned 2002 L-200 2.2l 4 cylinder engine. The one where apparently the timing "chain", not belt, but chain is going to snap any mile now, and cause horrible valve and engine damage. So I guess we'll see. So far, so good. It runs beautifully just as I thought it would.
Again, good luck in the future with yours, and save yourself some money, even if it's just buying the pads at an auto parts store and having the mechanics use those.. that will save you at least 60 bucks. They triple most parts.
Good day to you.