1997 Saturn SL 1.9L OHC 8v from North America


A sweet graduation present


Well let's see, it is a 10 year old car.

I had to replace the battery twice 67k, 149k.

Clutch needed to be replaced at 155k.

Alternator at 99k.

And yeah I have to fill the oil at least 1 quart twice between oil changes.

EGR valve needed replaced at 112k.

Engine light comes on at start up at really random times, like once or twice every 2 months since 148k, but always goes away after 2 minutes of driving every time.

General Comments:

Overall I think the car is very reliable; it has only left me stranded twice in 10 years. The Honda CRX I originally bought barely made it through high school; it left me stranded at least 5 or 6 times in a 2 year period.

I got the car as a graduation present, and so far so good.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th December, 2009

1997 Saturn SL from North America


I like Saturns, they run good, and get good gas mileage


I bought this car in 2005 and it had 76,000 miles. I didn't know the previous history, so I immediately changed the oil and filter, trans fluid and filter, and air filter.

I noticed once in a while the transmission would shift back and forth several times from passing gear into overdrive. This was intermittent and happened infrequently (it felt like a possible electronic shifting issue, if there is such a thing).

The last couple of months I had to park on a steep hill, and once in a while when I started out, the front wheel would spin because of the right front wheel being off asphalt and on loose damp dirt. I would let off the gas immediately and ease my way out of the spot.

Lately, when I start out from a stop there seems to be a slight short slippage for a second and then it grabs. I have owned a lot of Saturns over the years, but never experienced this. If I start slow and easy on flat it doesn't slip, but if I am on a hill or even on flat, and start without babying it, I get the slip and jerk. It's not like a typical auto transmission slippage (like when a trans is on its way out). It's only for a second and it's jerky, cause it grabs so suddenly. Sometimes it feels like its slipping on the passenger side front wheel. The other day I was stopped at a red light, the motors rpms cut out and it felt like it was something in the transmission. It seemed like something grabbed or bound up inside the trans when it was stopped with the brake on. The engine runs excellent and it has never faltered like that before. I feel 99.9% sure that it had something to do with the trans problem.

I have worked on cars my whole life, but I am not a certified mechanic. I am wondering if anyone out there might know these symptoms that can guide me toward a solution. I thought the binding sounded like it could be a possible torque converter problem, but it seems probable that the parking on the hill and wheel spinning has led to this problem. There is a traction button on the dashboard that is always lit up. Could it be an electronic shifting issue (wishful thinking).?

Any help that you Saturn owners can offer would be greatly appreciated.

General Comments:

I have had a lot of Saturns and have had excellent experiences. There are some idiosyncrasies like upper motor mounts that go out often, and overheating due too bad coolant sensors. All cars have their issues, and Saturn has theirs. I have found them to be minor things. I have bought many used Saturns over the years. I felt strongly enough to have given and sold them to brothers, nephews, and a niece. The engines will give you 300,000 miles if you take care of them, and keep the oil clean.

I did have another problem with a bearing on an automatic transmission which was costly. I don't know why that occurred, but it was one out of 9 used Saturns that I have bought and sold.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th December, 2009