Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The 2008 Aura’s issues with brakes, such as worn out rotors, isn’t as severe as the prior model year, but let’s just not start awarding them any brake awards just yet. Does that even exist? “The Brakies”?

One thing the 2008 does share with the 2007 is a recall of a busted gear shifter cable which can make it look like your car is in park, when the transmission is still engaged. You can only imagine what kind of fun that causes.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,003 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2008 Saturn Aura drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Saturn Aura Owner Comments (Page 2 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #64

Feb 102015

Aura 6-cyl

  • 91,000 miles


The vehicle would shutter when I placed it into reverse. Also, when going into 3rd and 5th gear, the rpms would jump suddenly. I took the vehicle to a Chevrolet dealership who said it was the transmission and recommended I sell the vehicle immediately and buy a new one. I then took the vehicle to three transmission shops who confirmed the transmission has known problems with the wave plate breaking. My Saturn Aura will be fixed Tuesday, February 24th. It was confirmed the wave plate broke which tore up the drum. The transmission shop has boxed up the bad parts for me to keep.

- Fort Mill, SC, USA

problem #63

Nov 012014


  • 113,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph, the check engine light illuminated as the contact heard a loud noise and felt a pull on the vehicle. The failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but there was no diagnosis or repair. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact was notified of NHTSA campaign number: 14V252000 (electrical system, electronic stability control, exterior lighting, service brakes, hydraulic, vehicle speed control), the VIN was not included. The approximate failure mileage was 113,000.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #62

Feb 052015


  • 67,265 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to reverse. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 67,265.

- Fenton, MO, USA

problem #61

May 012014


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 5 mph, the vehicle jerked without warning. The failure recurred on several occasions. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign numbers: 12V460000 (power train) and 14V252000 (electrical system, electronic stability control, exterior lighting, service brakes, hydraulic, vehicle speed control) however, the parts to do the repairs were unavailable. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repairs. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000.

- Mansfiled, MA, USA

problem #60

Jun 152013


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver. Also, the transmission failed to shift out of park intermittently and the four doors failed to lock. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Eight Mile , AL, USA

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problem #59

Jan 082015

Aura 6-cyl

  • 147,000 miles
Driving entering the freeway when my 1008 Saturn Aura suddenly when into neutral mode while the gear lever was still on drive. The felt like it went to neutral - pressing on gas RPM is up but the car was not responding. Truck was behind me almost hit me.... I have read up on the issue its there are a lot of similar story about this event.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #58

Dec 212014


  • 62,922 miles


Got to the bank parked a car and it did not want to go to park, somehow got it to drive and got back to the work place, did not want to go into the reverse or any other gear, pushed car into the parking lot. Did get recall notice earlier in the year but did not have time to take it in for the fix.

- Plainfield, IL, USA

problem #57

Nov 162014


  • 113,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. While shifting the gear into reverse, the shifter suddenly became loose. The failure occurred after the vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 14V224000 (power train). The dealer diagnosed that the transmission shift cable fractured. The dealer installed a retainer over the cable, which was not the expected repair for the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 113,000.

- Renton, WA, USA

problem #56

Feb 012010


  • 47,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. While driving approximately 20 mph over a grass patch, the contact lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a pole. The contact indicated that the traction control light illuminated during the incident. A police report was filed and no injuries were reported. Also, while driving at an unknown speed, the contact inadvertently made contact with the transmission shifter and the shifter switched to the neutral position. Also, the power steering malfunctioned and failed to work while operating the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 47,000.

- Farmersville, LA, USA

problem #55

Sep 242014

Aura 6-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
My 2008 Saturn Aura xr had shifted very hard from 2nd to 3rd gear but then seemed to operate normally. Drove for approximately 20 miles and had just gotten off of the highway when the vehicle began to once again shift very hard from one gear to the next. Was traveling about 25 mph when it suddenly did one last very hard shift. The engine light came on and the vehicle began to slow down and proceed to power down on its own. Came to a full stop and the vechicle would no longer move forward. Vehicle had to be towed home. I have spoken with GM and according to them, my VIN# does not currently have any recalls regarding transmission problems attached to it. I will have to cover the cost of repairs myself. Although my specific vehicle does not have any current or past recalls regarding engine or transmission issues, there are recalls listed out there for other Saturn Auras. There is obviously an issue and GM should step up and take care of it. I am so grateful that this did not occurr while I was still on the highway or it may have ended up being a very different outcome.

- Germantown, OH, USA

problem #54

Feb 112009

Aura 6-cyl

  • miles


2008 Saturn Aura. Consumer writes in regards to transmission recall notice and requests reimbursement for repairs. The consumer was informed, the intermediate steering shaft needed to be replaced

- Kentwood, MI, USA

problem #53

Aug 032014

Aura 6-cyl

  • 66,728 miles
While driving home from work, my temp gauge shot up just beyond the 3/4 mark into the red zone. I pulled over and waited for about 14 minutes till the gauge came down to just under 1/2. I began to move the vehicle again and the gauge kept jumping up and down till I got home. I looked under the hood and noticed that the radiator fluid reservoir was about empty. I added radiator fluid and left the car parked till the next day. Drove the car around for almost 29 days when it began to overheat again. Once again when I looked under the hood, the reservoir was about empty again. I look up the problem on the internet and have found that a lot of GM owners with vehicles that have the 3.5L or 3.9L engines have been experiencing the same problem but GM will not fix the issue (gasket leak at the side of the block). According to what I have read, this is a known issue with these engines but GM has not done a thing to correct the problems.

- Kannapolis, NC, USA

problem #52

May 012014


  • 5,300 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. When the vehicle was started, the contact could not shift from the park to the drive position. The failure occurred multiple times. The dealer stated that the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 5,300.

- Defiance, OH, USA

problem #51

Jun 192014

Aura 6-cyl

  • 63,000 miles
After stopping the car in the driveway my wife put the car in park and when she removed her foot from the brake the car started moving backwards. While trying to get the transmission in park it continued to roll out of the driveway and into the street. We were able to get the car put back into a forward gear and drive back into the driveway where when put back into park it was in reverse again (the indicator showed park but the transmission was in reverse). At that time I shut off the car and applied the parking brake. The car was towed to the local dealer (fisher Chevrolet) where it was determined that the shift cable had broken. I then checked the recall list and found that the Saturn Aura had a recall for that specific issue (NHTSA campaign number: 14V224000). We contacted the dealer and was told that our car was not on the recall list!!" we then contacted GM and was told that the cable had been inspected prior to the recall and was determined to not be a problem and therefore not covered under the recall. Talking to the service manager and asking him about the inspection he told us that they had not inspected the cable and he doesn't know why our car is not part of the recall. If a vehicle model is recalled for a specific problem and a vehicle actually has that issue occur wouldn't that indicate that vehicle should be included in the recall"

- Yuma, AZ, USA

problem #50

Jun 162014


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V224000 (power train). The contact stated that the transmission cable fractured. The vehicle was taken to a dealer but the vehicle was not repaired because the part was unavailable. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 130,000.

- Rosharon, TX, USA

problem #49

Aug 102014

Aura 6-cyl

  • 75,500 miles
Vehicle is 2008 Saturn Aura xr with auto 6-speed trans. While driving, the transmission shifted harshly from 1 to 2 then to 3rd gear. It remained in 3 gear and the check engine light came on. Trans remains stuck in 3rd gear when moving forward. Still can use reverse gear. Called onstar and they said the vehicle shows fault code P0700. Took car to dealership. Dealership verified failure, said most likely wave plate failed, and this is a common failure mode for this trans. Component for later model years has been made more robust. Failures are common for 2007-09 model years. Reference GM tsb 09-07-30 012B.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #48

Apr 132013


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that while driving various speeds, the power steering and brakes failed. The vehicle would also jerk and fail to accelerate. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #47

Jul 182014


  • 107,000 miles
From the owner's manual: "this vehicle is equipped with an electronic shift lock release system. The shift lock release is designed to: (1) prevent ignition key removal unless the shift lever is in park (P) with the shift lever button fully released, and (2) prevent movement of the shift lever out of park (P), unless the ignition is in on/run or acc/accessory and the regular brake pedal is applied. The shift lock release is always functional except in the case of an uncharged or low voltage (less than 9 volt) battery. If your vehicle has an uncharged battery or a battery with low voltage, try charging or jump starting the battery. See jump starting on page 5-43 for more information." The car has a V6 engine and from park, with the keys in the ignition and the ignition in the off position, I was able to shift the car into drive after depressing the brake. The car rolled backwards but I was able to stop it before any personal injury or damage occurred. I was also able to turn the engine off with the car in drive and remove the keys from the ignition. The battery is fully charged and does not have low voltage. While I've been luck there has been no personal or property damage sustained, it's easy to see that it can happen. Especially if an automatic transmission can be left in gear, the engine turned off and the keys removed from the vehicle. I purchased this car October 10, 2007 and the door label indicates it was built in October 2007, so the build date for this car was between 10/1 and 10/10/2007.

- Platte City, MO, USA

problem #46

Jul 042014

Aura 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
Vehicle will not shift out of park. Had it towed to the local Chevrolet dealer and was told by them that the shift cable and bracket were broken and needed to be replace. The dealer says this vehicle is not covered under the current recall 14152. Called GM customer assistance but was referred back to dealer. This vehicle and the problem appears to be the listed in the recall.

- Las Cruces, NM, USA

problem #45

Jul 042014

Aura 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
While driving our car along coastal highway near bethany, de our transmission became disengaged ( no forward or reverse gear). I was able to coast across four lanes of traffic and parked the car on a side road. At that time I noticed an engine alert and we received an on-star alert message but could not get the information without intent. We called aaa and they towed my car to a local repair shop in belin, md. At this repair shop I was informed that my transmission was "toasted and would cost around $4,800 to replace. I had to rent a car and move out of my rented condo and then returned to my home near baltimore, md. I discussed my problem with my local mechanic and he suggested that a transmission company look at the condition of the transmission it could be repairable because the transmission for my car (xr 6-3.6L) has had numerous problems with the GM 6T70 in the wave plates. I arranged at great expense to have my car towed 150 miles to a local transmission repair shop near my home. We have been GM owners since 1985 with many good experiences but the 2008 Aura has been had many problems (last yearfor Saturn) and we have not been happy with the GM dealership. If GM has had these problems with this transmission why was I not informed to bring it in for service. My searching the internet I see that my car has several recall notices ( transmission shifting cable, steering power assist system etc) but we have never received any notice although we are the original owners and have lived at this address for the last 17-years.

- Towson, MD, USA

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