11th Dec 2004, 09:15

An oil light is not a substitute for checking your oil.

Far too many people never check their oil, and far too many neglect to change their oil nearly as often as they should.

3 months 3,000 miles, no matter what the manual says!

5th Jul 2005, 15:56

I have a 1999 Saturn SL with 175,000 miles and have never had this issue. I have religiously gotten the oil changed and performed preventive maintenance. I had one issue at 160,000 miles. The manual transmission cable broke due to normal wear. Very reliable car when proper maintenance is performed.

17th Jul 2006, 14:33

The car shouldn't drink oil, but you should check the oil on a regular basis. There is probably another explanation for this like... if you have the oil changed by someone else, maybe they didn't put in any oil after they took out the old oil. Or maybe they didn't put the drain cap on when they poured the oil in! Check to see if the oil drain cap is still there.

6th Aug 2006, 22:10

LX isn't even a model for any Saturn. This guy doesn't know about cars!

7th Apr 2007, 23:07

If it wasn't smoking severely, but lost all its oil between the 3k oil changes you surely made, it had a bad gasket or seal and dumped the oil out on the ground. Very common in older cars, as gaskets compress and rubber seals age and harden.

Those of us who drive old cars bear the responsibility of learning enough about them to catch such things.

Sorry you lost an engine, but it's almost certainly not Saturn's fault.

26th Oct 2007, 11:47

Own a SL2. At about the 80k mark, started to burn oil - I check it often so I was able to notice when this occurred. Now at 150k, and burn about a quart every week - no leaking, it's all being consumed within the engine. I've even had gaskets replaced - without tearing the engine apart, mechanics believe the issue to be with the pistons - the seals are shot and due to the large amount of metal filings in the oil there is obvious rubbing. Sizeable decrease in engine performance, going up hills is now a challenge. Also, the catillic converter recently went out and now creates a loud noise during acceleration. Hoping to trade off the car before it just quits.

18th Dec 2007, 23:48

I have read on this website and elsewhere that many people have had problems with early Saturns (91-02), specifically the S-series. And I'm aware that one of the biggest problems, which may or may not explain your problems, is that the motors will often get a crack in the cylinder head. However I've heard, and from searching around this is all I can figure out, is that that problem was only known on the DOHC cars, specifically the SL2's and most of the SC's. I've heard of SOHC SL's and SL1's going for 300 and upwards of 400K miles without any problems.

So does anyone know if the severe engine problems of the S-series were limited to the twin cam motor? Cuz I was perfectly happy with my 1999 SL SOHC, until of course it got crushed by a semi (not my fault, the idiot was in my lane on a corner) And now I'm looking at getting a 2001-2002 SL or SL1 with a manual transmission and a SOHC, not any newer than 2002 for two reasons, one I have a small budget, and two, because GM got rid of the saturn platform after 2002 and went to their own platform which I've heard is not without any of its own problems.

Back to my basic question, if anyone knows please let me know, is the problem of cracked cylinder head limited to the DOHC motors and excluding the SOHC motors of the S-series? I just want to be sure. THANKS!!!

30th Apr 2008, 22:27

I just sold an SL1 with 220,000km. The engine was in perfect running condition, so was the rest of the car. No worries about the SOHC engine.

8th Jan 2010, 16:19

Tough call on this one. Many folks aren't aware that oil has to be changed religiously every 3500 miles. If you forget, the oil turns to sludge and you get an engine failure. Yet, these Saturns are not known for their long lasting engines. Folks either love their Saturns, or they hate them - there is no in between.