24th Mar 2005, 09:38

Hello, I am driving my wife's '97 Saturn SL2. My major beef is with the burnt oil smell that gets into the interior as I drive this beautiful car. Our sunroof stopped working, the dome light fluctuates, the motor shakes like Rosanne Barr on a department store pony, the coolant light comes on for no reason, one of the front speakers come on only if I lower the passenger side window, the alternator went kaplooee, the fuel pump has been replaced (warranty), wheels are pitted and ugly, suspension is wack (sic), and it is sometimes difficult to key the ignition key to turn. Now for the good news: it's paid off and provides excellent transportation for my 6' 4.5" 256 pound frame. Thank You!

2nd Apr 2005, 16:52

I bought a 1997 SL2 for my daughter and while we haven't had a great deal of trouble, a couple of things said here spurred me to write.

1. The frequent mention of trouble with the ignition. This happened to me with very little warning. Fortunately, I was leaving the shop (see no. 2) when it happened. The key refused to turn or to come out of the ignition. They had to pull the steering wheel and install a new switch. I suggest that if you are having trouble with the key, you have this changed as soon as possible.

2. The reason her coolant light was coming on was a small leak on the upper side of the radiator. (drivers side) It seems that part of the radiator is made of plastic and I guess that the antifreeze eats it up. It can only be repaired by replacing the radiator.

4th Jan 2006, 11:20

I own a 1997 Saturn. I got it a year ago, and have not had to replace anything. The thing with these cars, is that when they work, they work, and when things start to go wrong, everything will go wrong. That's just how the cookie crumbles.

29th May 2006, 14:01

It seems that most of these negative comments are from people who bought it used. Maybe that's the problem...

10th Dec 2006, 10:06

I own a 1997 Saturn sl-2. I agree that there can be problems, however, I think that with 140k miles on my car it could be worse.

A lot of the postings are from people who have bought a used car (myself included), consequently.. we have no idea what abuse or lack of maintenance the previous owner provided. I still think saturn has a fairly decent car.

Finally all I can say is preventive maintenance is key!

Good luck! I hope to keep driving my saturn until??

18th Mar 2007, 19:35

I have a '97 Saturn SL2 that is in great shape. But that's mostly due to the fact that its only got 63000 miles on her. The car seems to have been taken care and that's why it does so well.

Remember, with a Saturn, it will treat you right if you pay attention to it. Make sure to always change oil in a timely fashion, every 3000 miles. Keep it filled up with oil, change filters when needed (especially the fuel filter) keep 1/4 tank of gas or more in the car, and ensure that belts, when installed and replacing are positioned properly and to the correct tension (not too tight)! If you do that its all gravy.

1st Apr 2007, 14:05

I've had my (previously owned) 2001 SC2 for about 1 1/2 yrs. Previous comment is correct. Pay attention to your car (any car) and it will treat you right. I love my Saturn and the only reason I haven't traded it for another Saturn yet is because it still looks GREAT and runs GREAT. No problems so far and don't expect any for now. This car has been kept up very well.

Kevin Genaw Port St. John Florida.

23rd May 2007, 10:21

We own a 92 Saturn SL1, 299,850 KM. As past comments suggest, regular maintenance is the key to your vehicles long life.

Small quote on an issue I had that may help other Saturn owners.

I had realized while stuck in traffic that the cooling fan was no longer turning on, and the engine would run excessively hot. To the point where I would have to pull over in traffic to cool it down. As the winter months were approaching, I made no attempts to repair it, as forced cold air would keep it running at normal temp.

Christmas eve 2006,I was stopped at a red light and realized the car was still idling at 1500 RPM, even after a 45 minute drive. The next two weeks cost a fortune in gas!!!

SO.. no cooling fan, and extremely high idle... Heres the problem:

After researching the net, I found the problem to be the coolant temperature sensor (or CT sensor). It was so logical.. the computer always saw the engine as cold so not fan, and high idle. The sensor itself cost me 25$ and took 5 minutes to change.

The sensor is located on the right hand side of the block. There are two identical sensors. The top one is the engine temp sensor. The bottom one is the CT. (Its well hidden in the block) but there are only two small wires connecting to it. Follow the wires.

Make sure the engine is cold if you change it. Once the sensor is removed, there will be minor coolant loss. So avoid getting seriously hurt. Change it fast to avoid losing too much coolant.

SL1 has been running fine since, and way less expensive on gas!

Hope this can be helpful if someone has this issue.

10th Aug 2007, 13:30

I bought my 1997 Saturn SL2 in 2003. It had 90,000 miles on it when I purchased it and it now has 170,000 miles on it. Until this year, I only put around 10,000 miles a year on the car, but a year ago, I moved and I now drive 170 miles round-trip to and from work daily. That's 850 miles a week; approximately 3,680 miles a month, which calculates out to around 44,000 miles annually. I'm terrible at maintaining a car - I always forget - but I DO change the oil and I only use the highest octane gas. Yep - it burns a bit of oil - around 2 quarts every 1,500 miles. The sunroof decided to stop opening about 6 months ago, and there's a "hitch" in the driver's side window when I close it. The headliner started to peel in the back, so that's been re-glued and the cigarette lighter recently stopped working. It won't get out of it's own way if I'm accelerating with the a/c running, but all-in-all, it's been a fabulous vehicle and is very cheap transportation. It's paid off, insurance is cheap, and I've had to put less than $2,000 into it since I've owned it. People ask me why I don't buy a new car. Why should I when this one is still going... and going...and going! I paid $2,400 for it 4 years ago - I think I'm getting my money's worth out of it. If you're not worried about image, and cheap, basic transportation is what you want, this is a great car to buy. If you want consistent luxury - forget it.

22nd Aug 2007, 17:04

Hi there. I own a 1997 SC2 that's in great mechanical shape and has 110k miles on it. I'm hearing a lot of folks talking about regular maintenance being the key, and this is entirely true. But if the problem happens to be with your sun roof, and it can't be remedied without replacement, you're looking at coming off a lot of dough. I just came from the Saturn dealership, and they quoted me $1,700 to replace a sun roof that won't close the whole way, and there is no way of manually cranking it closed, they say.