1997 Saturn SL SL2 1.4L? from North America
You get what you pay for
I bought this car new in '97 and drive it lightly (only 65k miles in 8 years). When I bought the car, the rear left automatic door lock didn't work, and there were some other issues which I don't recall. I got the issues cleared up (except the door lock!) at the dealer right away, but that was already a sign that perhaps the Saturn quality control was not up to par. Also the shifting was not all that smooth, I knew the transmission would be an issue from the get go.
Later (50k miles) I had a linkage break in the manual transmission, that was cheap to replace ($100-$200).
Recently (65k miles) the manual transmission was completely rebuilt ($2500), as all the gears have failed except first - at least I could drive it to the transmission shop!
Now (66k miles) I brought it into the shop and they said the water pump is leaking and needs replacement ($220) and the serpentine belt needs replacement ($38).
The car vibrates BADLY, I'm not sure why. Everything vibrates, it's worst at idle. It's not teeth rattling, but still.
I don't know about the oil issue, maybe I haven't been keeping track. I think it's a decent car, but not the best; my wife's Honda hasn't had any major trouble (it's 2 years younger though). But her dealer charges her an arm and a leg to fix minor problems. So I guess you get what you pay for??
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 9th October, 2006
Do not go to the dealer to get your car fixed. The labor alone can at least 40 dollars more/hour and sometimes they screw up the car too. An independent mechanic can do things for a cheaper price. When both of my Honda's needed a timing belt, the dealer wanted at least 1000 bucks/vechicle and an independent garage did them both for around 500 bucks each.
My daughter's 1997 Saturn SL is vibrating as well. Her mechanic told her it is an engine mount, which may mean the front transmission mount instead. I expect to replace one or both for her this Christmas when she visits. I would suspect your problem is the same.
I have had the problem with the vibration also. It was an engine mount, and was fixed at the dealership for about $120. On another note I got 132k miles out of my transmission, and just now I am looking for a boot to link the shifter to the transmission cable.