23rd Aug 2005, 09:17

Here I am over a year since my review and the Saturn SL2 is still going strong. The odometer is now at 182,000 miles; wow! The car still runs strong, looks good and is reliable as the sun rising.

Since my last write I have had new rotors and brake pads installed, both front wheel bearings replaced and changed the oil every 3000 miles. That's it for maintenance :)

Oh, I also put four new snow tires on in October of 2004 which made a dramatic difference in winter driving. Rotating these tires every 5000 miles like clockwork has kept them looking nearly new after a year of driving.

I really have a lot of good to say about the Saturn SL2 series. It is not often that one can say to their car salesman he'd like to buy a new car, but the the last one just won't die.

22nd Jan 2009, 14:05

I have a 1999 Saturn SL1, which I just got last month. It is great except both airbags deployed today when I hit a parked car at 15mph. There was no other damage to my Saturn. I don't know how much it will cost to replace the airbags but I have heard as much as $3000. So, "budget" my foot. My previous car never had airbags and was just fine.

So, if I have to pay $3000+ to replace them, as I have heard some people say, then I plan on taking Saturn to small claims court. Because, for crying out loud, for that much I could buy another car. This one is already 10 years old and it's not a BMW or anything... Jeez.

26th Mar 2009, 22:05

I wish I would have known about the oil burning when I got my Saturn... So I just have to tell my story...

Also from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I got my 99' Saturn SL2 Homecoming edition at the end January of 2007. It had around 100.000 miles, awesome condition! My dad got it for about $4000. The only thing wrong was the sunroof didn't work, passenger door didn't lock, and there was really no way to install a CD player without doing major customizing.

So I drove it through the winter, all went well, loved it. Well then in late fall I had some transmission problems, about $250 to fix. Also not long later, new brakes and rotors. Kind of a bummer, but whatever, I was stoked, it was my first car, & it was MY car. :)

So then at the beginning of January 2008, there was a knocking noise which only got worse, til' I found out I had rod-knock .=O Ah man how to even explain, because of course everyone thought right away "you should have been checking your oil". Little did they know I was up on it. Well I guess I thought so.

We had taken a 1100 mile trip to IL, hit some bad weather and I have to say I was a bit nervous, it's a lighter car and at steady higher speeds it is a bit scary in the snow. (I didn't have official snow tires, had the year rounds) Also was a bit noisy and a quite drafty.

Well it just so happened to be tough times. I hadn't had a job since November. Deep winter and right after the holidays.

At the time my boyfriends car needed work and had been under the snow @ the mechanics. He was going to MTU & I didn't have a job.. So it worked out for him to just use my car.

My previous oil change my boyfriend recommended to use synthetic oil, so we went up there together and asked the employer, he said it shouldn't be a problem switching & had also told us it will go for 3000 miles longer. (Maybe also assuming its like any other car)

Not long after the trip, of course we were totally broke, and he was back to school. I wasn't quite due for an oil change when we got back, but still he was only going to and from school, about 20 miles there and back.

One day he came home and said he noticed the oil lite was flickering and there was a little noise. He seemed concerned.

So he put a quart in temporarily, til we could afford a full change. Well apparently it was too late because it got worse and worse even after. So yeah, rod-knock. Didn't even drive the darn car a whole year. It's now March 2009 and unfortunately I'm still car-less. My Saturns' under the snow for the second winter in a row. I can't help but feel a bit screwed. I didn't expect to have to put a bunch of money in a car I paid that much for & drove for not even a year.

Really, how was I supposed to know they burn oil and there's multiple other common problems. I brought it in for regular oil changes, fuel injection cleanings, the whole nine. I never would have thought that after 11 months I would need a new engine.

My boyfriend knows a considerable amount about cars, and if not he can find out in a second on the Internet. So after all the b.s. he did some research. Sounds like the tranny work I had done was common and so were the engine and oil problems. Since the whole ordeal I've read quite a few problem stories of Saturn's. It's a shame. To be completely honest that car has been nothing but a nightmare for me. Many long depressing thoughts and how it's been such a huge inconvenience everyday to this day.

After last winter the gold trim took a beating. I'm sure it's wrecked. All the little things that add up. Not to mention the money.

I dread to know what's to come with that car.

Total and complete bummer.

So there's my story. Thanks for hearing me out. I know it's a bit detailed, but hopefully it'll help out other Saturn owners. If I only knew what I know now.

Word does seem to be getting out though. Just the other day at the gas station, there was a guy with his hood up and a quart of oil, sure enough it was a Saturn. (pretty sure a Saturn SC coupe)

23rd Feb 2010, 21:43

It's currently 2010 and I'm looking to buy a low mileage 1999 Saturn SL2 4 door... would anyone recommend I do or don't?

21st Apr 2010, 11:02

1999 SL2 - Bought it new in late 1998 and have had virtually no major issues. Presently running just over 308,000Km/192,500Mi. It has and does burn oil, but I understand that's a standard glitch in this engine (they all do it). I top up the oil after about every third gas fill and change the oil every 5000Km (Synthetic). Have recently purchased a new vehicle, but have continued to drive the Saturn simply because it still drives like a dream and frankly is more comfortable on the road than my new rig (a truck).

Only major maintenance required to date was a front wheel bearing and front brake change. Rotors included. Oh, and I had to replace the battery last year.

Great car, and I highly recommend it, whether you're buying one new or used.

18th Sep 2010, 17:52

Wife's SL has 330K miles and hasn't needed any work in a few years. Remarkable.

26th Nov 2011, 12:21

You can buy the set at Pick N Pull for around $100. Also on EBAY. Then whether to replace them yourself or hire a backyard mechanic off of Craigslist.

26th Nov 2011, 12:32

I have had a 99 Saturn SC2 since 2002. Used very little oil. Changed with synthetic once a year. Has 140,000 on the engine. Daughter came to visit for Thanksgiving, and totaled it while texting and driving. Not sure if I will fix it or not. Pricing parts now. Pick N Pull seems to be the place for parts, and maybe EBAY for the airbags.

I bought Saturns for both my kids, and they worked out well; great college cars for commuting and beating to death at a cheap price.