1999 Saturn SL SL1 1.9 single cam from North America


Wouldn't buy another


Well I bought this car used. I thought it was a good deal at the time, but now I know I should have walked away as soon as the owner asked me if I did my own work on cars.

Radiator - cracked.

Cylinder head cracked 147,000.

Bearing 147,000.

Brakes squeal still after pad and rotor replacement.

Lug nut stripped, my fault, I didn't know they where aluminum.

Radio had only two settings, off and all the way up.

Window tracks are junk, they break if you rest your head on them when they're half way open.

General Comments:

In all fairness, it handles decent for a front wheel drive and got great gas mileage. I knocked down 39+mpg in it nearly every tank, and it was just an automatic. It also rode nice compared to the 98 I test drove when new.

I changed the oil and greased everything every 3,000 miles. Despite that, the cylinder head still cracked, which I found out was a defect from the factory on the 98-01 cars. It would suck the oil out of the crack and dump it into the radiator. I put 5qrts of oil into it once to travel 35 miles. It was a good car in good shape (body wise) when I got it, but this a big problem.

All in all, I wouldn't buy another 98-01 Saturn, there are just too many things that go wrong with them for them to be called a good car. And GM screwed up big time with these heads, then they tried to sweep it under the rug. Their recall was to add a bottle of stop leak to the rad and oil. Yeah, good idea GM.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th November, 2010

11th Nov 2010, 20:03

"Window tracks are junk, they break if you rest your head on them when they're half way open."

Well, yes. They weren't designed to support a head when open. All your other complaints are legitimate, but the window mechanism was under abnormal abuse.

1999 Saturn SL SL2 4 cylinder from North America




First my shifter cable has broken three times in three years. Napa Auto Parts has the best replacement bushing available for $19.99. Now due to this reoccurring problem, my shifter cable is badly damaged and needs to be replaced.

General Comments:

I will never buy another Saturn.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th November, 2010

22nd Jan 2015, 23:31

I had the same car; same year, make and model.

I owned it and personally drove it for over 150,000 miles with no issues. I only ever performed routine maintenance myself. I also always managed an average of 40 MPG. Great car for me, absolute pleasure to own, sorry to hear your experience was not like mine.

1999 Saturn SL SL2 1.9L from North America


The car has been reliable, great purchase


There was a failure of the transmission at 40,000 miles. Because we maintained the car properly, Saturn replaced the transmission for a $50 deductible. No other major problems.

General Comments:

Car has been operating just fine. Other than the transmission as stated above, there have been no major problems.

Oil now needs to be checked frequently since it is burning more, and seats could use no padding. Otherwise, the car has been very reliable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th June, 2009

1999 Saturn SL from North America


This is a fantastic, well engineered vehicle


First off, most of the people on here complain too much. I would imagine that you never take care of any car you own. Problems happen. It's just a car. Maintain it. That's what you have to do. Do you brush your teeth, take vitamins, exercise, etc...? This is all to maintain your health so as to avoid a problem down the road. Your car requires the same thing. Quit complaining about how bad this car is, and get a bicycle if you can't hack owning a car.

I am extremely versed in auto repair, and Saturns are by far one of the easiest vehicles to maintain/fix (if there's a problem). Everything is very accessible. Of course this car probably won't stand up to the connoisseur of fine automobiles, but for the money, you get everything you need in a car.

There was a posting on here that I fully agree with... your car comes with an owner's manual. If you don't understand what the word "manual" means, then sell your vehicle. This manual contains ALL of the information needed to MAINTAIN your vehicle. This means that the responsibility falls on YOU to maintain your vehicle, and you will never know what to maintain if you don't READ your owner's manual. That being said, if you think that your car is a "piece of junk", then it's because you let it get that way or you bought it from someone who did. Quit crying and get off your couch and do something about it instead of placing the blame somewhere else. IT'S YOUR FAULT YOUR CAR FELL APART... NOT ANYONE ELSE'S!!

My Saturn happens to have a shift problem right now that I know for a fact is a problem with the transmission's valve body. This valve body is one of the easiest I've ever seen to replace. No, it wasn't one of the most well designed parts on the car, but it failed. So, now I must replace it with a better one.

The engine also leaked oil, which was caused by the head cover gasket. I replaced it and solved the problem.

High oil consumption is also a known problem for these cars, but more than likely it is a problem with the valve stem seals being worn/dry rotted. Since my car is no longer under warranty, I must replace it myself or pay someone to do it. It is my responsibility.

Nothing is perfect, people. Let's start taking accountability for ourselves already. Finger pointing is way too easy to do, but for some reason, never gets pointed in our own direction.

General Comments:

I bought this car to save gas. No, it's not a Mercedes, but it does everything I need for the price. These cars actually handle very good, have excellent gas mileage, have a decent amount of trunk space, and people can actually sit in the back seat comfortably. It's not a rocket, but that's not what I bought the car for.

IMHO, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these cars, even when they have a problem every now and then.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th May, 2009