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.