1996 Saturn SL SL1 1.9L from North America


What a piece of junk!


This vehicle has less than 90,000 miles on it and has a blown head gasket. I unknowingly purchased it in this condition. I have had this car for about two weeks and have gone through three quarts of oil- I don't know if this has all gone into the coolant (that's what blew the gasket) or if it's also one of Saturn's other oil consumption problems at work.

After purchasing this vehicle I found a wealth of information on the Internet about this known defect of Saturn's. From what I can determine they are admitting the problem for the 1994-1996 years, and extended a "secret" warranty. However, the warranty expired after 6 years, so I am out of luck. I am hoping to find someone out there who is filing a class action lawsuit, though I have no idea how feasible that would be for a nine-year-old car. But I do know that Saturn has admitted (quietly) to this defect and there is no logical reason as to why this car should have a blown head gasket at 88,000 miles.

My last two cars, both Honda's, ran to 150,000 with only regular maintenance costs, and are probably still running today.

I will never buy GM again.

General Comments:

My hope is to dissuade any possible Saturn purchaser from believing all the hype. Saturn does not live up to it's promises and is knowingly selling defective cars. From what I have read, the problems extend at least until 2001. But don't take my word for it, do the research yourself! I wish I would have.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 6th March, 2004

10th Mar 2007, 09:45

I own a 1996 Saturn SL1 which I bought from the dealership in November of 1995. Everything was running beautifully on the car until the guarantee was over which was at about 38,000 miles. The problem was the CV bolts at a cost of $1,000.00 on my credit card through the Saturn Car Repair Shop. I love my Saturn and use it every day for work and back - 45 minute drives one way since 1995.

Unfortunately I've been rear ended three times. Two of those occasions, the driver did not have car insurance. I was also hit head on by an elderly man without his glasses that day in 1999. The Hartford Insurance company paid me close to $2,300.00 and I faithfully took the check to the Saturn Repair Shop to get my baby fixed again, but ever since then, my Saturn has never worked the same.

I faithfully followed the Maintenance Checklist until I lost my job in 1999. I've had the alternator, starter, tension belts, radiator, battery, water pump replaced. I had a friend do a Transmission Flush in 2002, brake repairs, tune ups; I've purchased four, new tires twice because I drove my Saturn to New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Connecticut, Miami, FL Fort Lauderdale, Fort Meyers, Orlando, FL and Tampa, FL on mini vacations to keep my sanity.

Today I have a blown head gasket and it will cost me $1,000 to $1,800 get it fixed. The transmission has been slipping for two years. I'm trying to bring down my credit card balance not raise it, so this expense is not going to happen. I am seeking advice from several mechanic friends before I make a decision on what to do next.

Throughout the years what I notice is that whether you get a new car or an old car, you will spend money getting parts replaced. I think "Labor" is overly priced and it depends on the mechanic's integrity that will determine the outcome. Profit verses greed is the denominator in all American businesses.

I live in the flatlands of Florida and I grieve for all who have had to go thru car repair nightmares.

God bless.


Port Richey, Florida.

1996 Saturn SL Standar from North America


Saturn is great!


My PVC valve and 02 sensor have gone out twice. Easy to fix - not expensive if you do it yourself. Cost me $300 the first time to have it done; $30 the second time - did it myself. The car does burn a bit of oil, but with regular oil changes and topping off in between, it runs great and has been very dependable so far from Texas to Oregon and beyond!

General Comments:

I love my Saturn. I depend on it and I would buy another one in a heartbeat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th November, 2003