1998 Saturn SL SL2 1.9L 4 cylinder from North America




The belt tensioner broke about 4 months ago, and the head gasket/seal was leaking oil about a year and a half ago and had to be replaced.

I replaced the oxygen sensor less than a year ago (easy fix). I bought a diagnostic scanner and found that's why the service engine soon light was on. Everything else that has gone wrong has been normal maintenance. Such as brakes and rotors.

Oh, one of my power window motors went out. Pep Boys wanted to charge me a fortune to fix it. I ended up buying a motor from the Saturn dealer and installed it myself.

Actually, lately the car seems to run a bit rough while on the freeway, especially when I go above 60 mpg or so. I need to figure out what's wrong. But on the streets it runs smooth.

General Comments:

I have been very happy with my car. The 1998 Saturn Sl2 has been very reliable and drives well.

I've read a lot of negative comments about this car. But it is after all an 'economy' car. And it is bound to have problems here and there. Even luxury cars will have problems after being 10 years old. If you get all your routine maintenance done, it should last.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th July, 2009

1998 Saturn SL SL2 from North America


Decent until 100,000 miles, but then it's simply not worth the time or money


Yes, it's an old car. But that doesn't mean I can't complain about it.

Interior is no good.. headliner is falling apart, as are the super stiff visors. Fabric on seats is greatly worn.

Brakes were never that great. Started a 'pulsing' when stopping around 95,000 miles. Fluid leaks. Brakes are now awful. I've learned to watch a few cars ahead so I know when to begin stopping.

Coolant system leaked for a few months. It has since stopped, but engine tends to overheat easily.

Sun-roof leaked heavily whenever it rained. It stopped working anyways, so I sealed if off.

Because of said leaky sun-roof, the seat-belts and trunk grew mold. :(

A/C crapped out around 100,000 miles. Dealership was going to charge and then check for leaks, but after seeing everything else wrong with it, they decided to save me from having to pay for the charge. Told me it wasn't worth it as the A/C system would most definitely be leaking just like everything else.

It eats power-steering fluid. Started as a small leak at about 105k. I am now driving without power steering as I got tired of putting in a full bottle of fluid every day.

The car mysteriously wouldn't start one day. Something drained my battery completely (most likely faulty power locks, which would "click-click-click-click.." endlessly until I could position the lock button on the door in *just* the right position). Replaced the battery after just 1 1/2 years since it wouldn't charge.

I thought the Saturn had finally kicked the bucket around 105k, when I was unable to start it. Wouldn't respond to jumper cables or starting fluid. It sat for about two weeks. Then magically one morning after willing it to start, it sprung back to life. Has been a rough start-up since. The car takes some time to think about whether or not to ruin your day in the morning.

General Comments:


My SL-2 was a trooper for the first year. Had a few minor problem you would expect with an older car. But now my local Saturn dealership has deemed it a lost cause.

Once I hit 100,000 miles it was one thing after another.

I don't feel safe in this car. Unreliable brakes and too many electrical issues. Not to mention it now smells funny because of the leaks. :/

At 109k, my SL-2 is dying a painful, leaky death.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th June, 2009