1995 Saturn SL SL1 from North America - Comments

13th Mar 2008, 13:19

I have a 1995 Saturn SL 1 that I bought new in 1995. So, this car is now 13 years old. It has 117,000 miles on it (used to be my wife's and my best car, but we now have a newer (2000) minivan that is what we do long trips in). That Saturn is a great car. I've paid for regular maintenance of course -- tires, muffler, brakes, but I've only had one non-regular maintenance item go bad on it -- a heat sensor. This made the car stall or difficult to start if I had been driving it a little bit. Repair for that was about $350 parts and labor -- that's it. I only drive it about 5,000 miles a year now, and I change the oil about every nine months. Thing is a peach and looks like it did the day I bought it. I never thought I'd still be driving it 13 years later. I have saved SOOOO much money continuing to drive this car. I won't get rid of it until it just doesn't go anymore.

28th Jun 2008, 22:52

I bought a 1995 Saturn SL1 back in April. It has 97,2XX miles on the engine. There is a clinging sound like metal clanking around somewhere when I hit around 20-40 mph. When I put it into reverse it sometimes takes a good 3 seconds to switch gears and does it very rough. (Does anyone else have this reverse problem).

However, this car is overall very good. I usually get about 27/28 mpg mostly local driving. Last fill up was 175 miles of local driving and mpg was 27.3. Only took $30.36 to fill up from 1/4 to full with gas @ $4.29 a gallon. One point did a straight highway run. MPG was around 40!

This car is very reliable. As long as you take good care of it. I would recommend this car, especially to teenagers as a first car, like me.

19th Aug 2008, 10:12

For those of you experiencing door leaks:

My driver's door leaked for years; I discovered the weather stripping had not been installed properly at the factory. By sliding some of the existing weather stripping up from the bottom (creating a small gap at the bottom), I was able to get extra slack and close the gap that was near the top of the door frame.

That fixed it. It's been years now with no leak. Good luck to you all. BTW, for coolant in the oil, you may try the quick fix head-gasket repair compounds at auto stores. I've been driving fine on them for over a year now with no more coolant loss / contaminated oil.

19th Aug 2008, 20:26

I bought my 1995 SL1 from my parents and it has been a pretty good car. The only problem I have lately is that the overdrive (automatic) was not kicking in until the temp rose to almost the red line. Then the overdrive would work all the time until I turned off the car. Now it will not even kick over to overdrive. Can anyone tell me if they had this problem and if so what did you do to solve it. I am thinking it is electrical. Fluid is changed and topped off. Thanks for your help.

11th Sep 2008, 21:48

I bought my 1995 Saturn SL new in Dec. '94. No frills - no a/c, no power locks, windows or sunroof, 5 speed. Replaced radiator and water pump but engine and transmission has been untouched. Now 306,000 miles later it is failing. It has burned a quart of oil every 1500 miles for a few years now and I also experienced rotor warping. Until about a year ago I was still getting @ 40 mpg on the highway. My question is this - starting losing gears and added transmission fluid. Probably overfilled since fluid leaked out - but now it doesn't register on dipstick. Where does fluid leak out of - no evidence it comes out dipstick hole?

22nd Sep 2008, 15:16

Apparently, I have been lucky with my 1995 Saturn SL2. I purchased it used in July 2008 and the seller only wanted $400 because he thought it had a cracked block. I was able to get it started, but it wouldn't idle without constantly hitting the accelerator. I offered him $325 and towed it home.

It started up OK when I went to remove it from the trailer, and other than a little bit of smoke, ran just fine. With the fuel gauge on EMPTY, I assumed it must have been very low on gas, which would explain the poor idle earlier. I added about a gallon of gas and drove it to the nearest gas station, topping it off with about 10 gallons. I have put over 3000 miles on the car since buying it, and it still runs good except for an occasional SES light and rough idle.

From researching the Internet, my EGR is probably dirty or needs replacing, which I can do myself. I can't complain about the car since it cost me less than one payment on my 2008 Chevy Silverado, which may get 18MPG if I baby it, while the Saturn gets 28MPG easily. Once I fix the EGR, I'm sure that will get better.

I was also able to repair the A/C using a $20 can of refrigerant. Where were cars like this when I was young and poor? :-)

29th Sep 2008, 06:40

I bought a 1995 Saturn back in April of 2008. There are a few things with the car but otherwise she runs well. I also have that pinging noise with the engine, it usually happens when I accelerate to about 40-55 mph. She goes through a quart of oil every 500-600 miles. The reverse is slow to get into gear. I don't have any leaking problems. I use the car for local driving, I live in NY so local driving is pretty harsh. I get about 22-25 mpg on the tank. I just replaced the tires. I'm going to change the oil in the next month.

Does anybody else have any advice on what to do? About the pinging noise as well as any other advice?

31st Oct 2008, 15:44

I own a 95 Saturn SL1. When I bought 5 years ago, it had 160,000 miles on it, it now has 243,000 plus on it..

I have had to put a starter, alternator, battery, water pump, serpentine belt and a thermostat on it. I average about 321 mile to the gallon. Right now my t-stat leaks, but it still runs like a charm. I just drove it on a 1300 mile trip.

10th Mar 2009, 22:11

I found this site while looking up a "check engine soon" code on Google.

I have a '95 SL1 with about 203,000 miles on it. I got it in summer 2004 with 127,000 miles or so on it. I've had a few problems but not many. Overall it's a great little car. I notice from reading this page that some of the problems seem to happen to this kind of car a lot.

The code I was looking up turned out the be probably a sticky EGR valve. It's only an intermittent problem, so I think it's probably not a vacuum leak or bad solenoid, which would probably be either working always or broken always. Or maybe I'm wrong. I'll examine that valve this weekend.

The driver's door leaks a little bit just by the roof. Some of the other posters suggested Vaseline or silicone caulk, I must try those.

It burns or leaks a little bit of oil, nothing too serious, I put in four quarts at each oil change and I only seem to get about half of that back out. I discovered some oil on one of the spark plugs when I changed it last, just a little bit though, it wasn't dripping or fouled with it.

The police occasionally put automated signs out in the city that says "Your speed is..." If those signs are accurate, then the car's speedometer underestimates my speed by around 5 to 10%. (example, I'm on the highway going 65 by my speedometer but the sign says I'm going 70.)

It sometimes slips out of third gear if I don't push hard enough on the gearshift when going into third.

There is a little bit of rust in the metal parts beneath the rear right door.

Since I've had the car, I've had to replace the alternator once and the water pump once. It has a new (er) fuel rail but that's my own fault, I damaged the original one while botching another repair.

I consider the problems I've had minor, especially for such an old car. I love this car, and I plan on driving it until the wheels fall off.