6th Sep 2008, 16:28

OK, I have a 1996 Saturn SL1. It ran sluggish when the A/C was on, in past 2 years I have changed all of the sensors, A/C unit, alternator, plugs, wires, oil change, and cleaned the throttle body. Still runs a little sluggish with the A/C on.

I am at my wits end with this car. 16000 miles on it. I think it is the computer? Any help would be appreciated.

21st Nov 2008, 20:54

Hi- I, like some of the commentators above, had my radiator replaced- all was fine for a week, and now the radiator light comes on and blinks for about 2 miles after I start the car, then it stops- will hitting the reservoir bottle work for this? Proud owner of 1999 SL2 with 226,571 miles on it-


30th Nov 2008, 21:39

Nov 30 2008.

I have 1996 Saturn SL1 from new. So far I replaced an alternator, starter, solenoid, and just recently a new oil pump and a used motor.

I just received my car back last Monday, and only ran my car for 3 days. I went to start it, and it came on and just that quick it shut off. I had a friend look at her, and he said possibly it needs a new fuel pump. Also he found that the ignition switch will probably need replaced soon too. What are your thoughts on this?


p.s. I forgot to add the sunroof does not work anymore, as well as the power locks too.

21st Dec 2008, 18:30

I have a 1996 SL1 Saturn 5 speed manual trans and the door cannot lock or unlock, and the service light came on and the check engine light keep coming on, and my brake is not working at all.

I'm still driving the car without a brake till I get my money at the end of the month, and any body tell me what wrong with it :(

I love my car, it's cheap on gas; I can fill it up for like $25 all the way up. It used to take $38 to fill it up, but now the gas went down it's really cheap to fill it up I'm happy.

I know I shouldn't to drive without the brake, but I need it for work and stuff. I can use the brakes and the emergency brake. I live in Pagosa Springs Colorado and it been cold here this winter. I do not know if I have air in my brake or it got frozen up. Please let me know what do I need to fix the car thanks :)

28th Jan 2009, 18:17

I have a 1996 Saturn SL, and the heater and the A/C has quit working. I have check the fuses, none is blown. Can anyone help me?

13th Feb 2009, 20:26

My 1996 Saturn SL2's battery dies the other day after I drove it a short distance and stopped. It was time for the battery to go. But when the new battery was installed, the rear defrosters and radio stopped working. The mechanic said that power is getting to the fuses, so they are not blown. Anyone help me. I get so bored driving without music.

22nd Feb 2009, 18:26

I have a 1996 Saturn SL2 and I just replaced the battery. Now the rear defrost doesn't work. Any ideas???

27th Feb 2009, 03:54

I was given a 96 Saturn SL 5 speed. My car is the best, it runs great, gets me everywhere I need to be.

The only thing I had to replace was the clutch, and that's only because my brother broke it cause he doesn't know how to drive a stick.

I replace the serpentine belt, brakes, and that is it, and the car has been in the family since 96, and I have 167,000 miles on it. A car will run forever; it all depends on how you take care of it.


15th Jul 2009, 09:47

I have a 1996 Saturn, the SES light stays on, the neutral safety switch has something to do with it. When hooked up right, it will kick into neutral or down shift on its own, so I disconnected the 10 prong wire that goes to the NSS; it will change gears fine now except it starts in 2nd gear, and the SES light is still on. Any help, I will be very thankful.

14th Sep 2009, 18:05

I have a '97 Saturn SL2 that's been running rough. My son and I checked the spark plugs and there is oil fouling the one on the left. (Cylinder 1?) Any ideas of the cause?

19th Oct 2009, 11:31

We have a 1996 Saturn SL2 Automatic. It shifts very hard when changing gears. Any ideas?

18th Dec 2009, 00:01

I've only had my '96 SL2 for just over a year now, and I've had no issues whatsoever. Keep in mind, also, that I'm a very aggressive/impatient driver. I've replaced the tires, and the rear brakes. Other than that, no issues that weren't related to me being careless.

25th Jan 2010, 15:12

I have a 1996 Saturn SL2 automatic. It's been a great car, and has stayed in the family, but just about a year ago my tranny exploded taking off from a red light. I put a used tranny in it, and all was fine till about a month or so ago, and my reverse went out, and was shifting hard into second. Both act like they are in neutral. Second gear does kick in, but it does so very hard. Changed the transmission fluid and filter, and it didn't smell burned, and there were no metal shavings or anything in it. IDK what's going on besides it's most likely going out again.

Let me know if there are any ideas of what the problem could be. Don't want to get rid of it. Thanks.

6th Feb 2010, 21:53

I have a 99 SL2 that I have the issue with; the starter just spins, but won't start. I found that taking off the console cover on the drivers side and shaking the wires going to the back of the breaker box, (the breakers are on the passenger side of the console) will always bring the car to start. The dash lights will flicker, as will the radio, but it will always start after that.

12th Mar 2010, 18:32

Our daughter drives a 1994 Saturn SL. She must add coolant all the time. Several of the comments suggest 'hitting the reservoir'... what are you talking about? What can we tell our daughter to do for that?

Has anyone replaced their catalytic converter for the sluggish acceleration problems? She replaced the fuel filter... still acting up. Mechanic replaced exhaust and said her catalytic converter is the problem. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

4th Apr 2010, 05:48

Attention Saturn owners! The most common problem these cars have is a defective Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor.

This is a tiny $10 part that is smaller than half of your pinkie finger. It is screwed into the back of the cylinder head near the transmission... underneath the big black air intake hose. There are two wires that go into it.

The powers that be at General Motors decided to make this critical part out of PLASTIC instead of the usual brass. With age, this part cracks and shorts out. This has the effect of making the engine's computer think that the engine is COLD when it is really HOT. Cold engines require more fuel to run than hot engines, so the computer essentially floods the engine with extra fuel causing it to stall out. You may smell the extra fuel under the hood after the car stalls, or you may see black smoke from the exhaust pipe.

All you need to replace the sensor is a deep 13mm socket, a 6" extension, a ratchet, and a pair of pliers. And, of course, a new sensor and thread sealing tape.

First, you need to pull the air intake hose off. There are clamps on either end, but you only need to take the clamp off of the engine side. Use the pliers to squeeze together the two tabs on the clamp. Then pull the hose off. There is also a small hose that you need to remove which goes from the black intake hose to the cylinder head. It just pulls off. To remove the other end of the intake hose, just take off the top of the air filter housing as if you are removing the filter.

Once you have the hoses off, you will need to remove the connector for the sensor. All you need to do is pinch it tightly and pull it off. When you unscrew the sensor, coolant will spill out. You will want to have the new sensor in your hand and ready to install when you remove the old one to minimize this. Wrap the threads in thread sealing tape (like plumbers use), or use a little sealant to prevent leakage. Reinstall the new sensor SNUGLY, but do not over tighten it! Reattach the connector (you will have to get it clocked right... it only goes on one way), and reinstall the hoses.

I just bought a '96 SL2 with this very problem, and my car was doing everything that most of the posters here are complaining about. Replace the sensor and your Saturn will likely purr like a kitten. Mine did! :) The instructions above are for an SL2, but SL1s should be similar. Good luck!