1995 Saturn SL SL1 SOHC from North America
Good choice if your standards are lower
Cassette deck failed at 8,000 miles. Warranty replacement.
Brake pads replaced at around 20,000 miles.
Engine mounts replaced at around 40,000 miles.
Alternator/battery replaced at around 45,000 miles.
The stock Firestone tires are awful, so make sure you replace them with something better. Of course if you find a 95, it probably won't have the stock tires anymore. However one should definitely obtain wider tires as a replacement. There are a number of choices that will fit inside the wheel well. I installed Pirelli P600s around 38,000 miles, and was very happy. The stock size is far too narrow. They're good for fuel economy but poor for handling and stopping, particularly if you don't have the optional ABS.
Known Saturn SL problems:
Driver's side door will leak on your head during rain. The problem was reduced in the 95 model, but not eliminated.
Odometer produces an odd sound that is audible at low speed. At higher speeds you can't hear it because of the road noise.
The elastic strap on the driver side sun visor always stretches out. Eventually you have to cut it off, even if you've never used it.
The twin cam SL2 is supposed to consume oil at an unusual rate, but this hasn't been a problem for my single cam SL1.
OK, so that's it. I don't have many complaints except that the car is becoming very boring. Where once I dreamt of 100,000 miles with no car payments, now I can't wait to get out of it. The 1991-1995 body style is much more interesting than the following style, and the 1995 was the best model of that series, so buy a 95 if you want one. That was the only year that Dark Green was offered in that body style. The 100HP engine in the 95 SL1 is more than adequate, even with the automatic transmission.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 24th January, 2002
23rd Jun 2002, 22:01
I bought a used 1995 Saturn SL1 almost 2 years ago, with 114,000 miles on it. It has had a horrible squeal since three days after purchase. I have taken it to the dealer, not a Saturn dealer, but the used car man I bought it from to have it lubricated or have the belt replaced five times, with the mechanic telling me each time that the problem was gone. Luckily I have only spent $40 on this process. I have recently found out that I may need a the belt tensioner replaced, which I will attempt and report back. Other than that I find the squeal goes away when I repeatedly scream at the car and threaten to take it to a chop shop.
I have also had a problem with the engine temperature light. It doesn't actually bother me, I just put in more coolant and the car and I both feel better.
The door does leak in when it rains, if I'm not careful to close it right. The last several inches of rain have stayed on the outside of the car.
I do agree with the problem of the elastic strap on the driver side sun visor, but I have my CD holder covering it, and it isn't a problem.
The car is almost 8 years old with 133,000 miles on it and despite minor inconveniences, I adore my Saturn and would definitely buy another. When I compare my car troubles to those of my friends, who are also 20-year-old college students with no money to speak of, I have it pretty good.