NHTSA — Power Train Problems

2008 Saturn Outlook (Page 2 of 6)


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
78,480 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 Outlook drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Saturn Outlook Owner Comments (Page 2 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #82

Jan 012015


  • 105,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Outlook. While driving approximately 35 mph, the check engine light and the transmission hot message illuminated on the instrument panel. The accelerator pedal failed to respond when depressed and there was a sudden increase in engine rpms. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the transmission control module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 105,000.

- Saint Cloud, FL, USA

problem #81

Dec 142012

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Vehicle was attempting to accelerate onto interstate highway. Transmission began to slip and buck causing the car to loose power dangerously in traffic. Turns out this is known problem with transmission 3-5-R wave plate breaking and occurs almost always around 70-100K mileage. Based on my research the wave plate breakage is not a question of if but when? I cannot fathom why GM would not get ahead of this problem. I cant believe issues like ignition get national attention but an issue like the transmission is overlooked.

- Fuquay Varina, NC, USA

problem #80

Dec 042014


  • 92,100 miles
Driving the vehicle at low speed coming to a stop, but the vehicle wave plate in transmission broke causing the vehicle stop could not move it. Had to get out of the vehicle to push it off the road. GM has installed a bad wave plate in the transmissions for Saturn, GMC and Chevy SUV. There are a number of complaints about the wave plate that have failed. Once the plate breaks the vehicle will not move, which could cause an accident.

- Ooltewah, TN, USA

problem #79

Apr 142014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


Approximately April of 2014 we had the first incident: While driving on the highway, at speed, the transmission seemed to "pop" into neutral (no change of gearshift lever, just engine revved). As the truck no longer had power, we managed (thank goodness) to get the truck to the shoulder avoiding highway traffic. Moved gearshift lever to park and then back to drive with no change - engine just revved as in neutral. Turned the truck off and called for a tow. While waiting for same, we turned the truck back on, and transmission seemed to function normally. Brought the truck to both wind gap Chevrolet (place of purchase) as well as an independent aamco - verdict was the same: Broken "wave plate" and a new transmission was needed at a cost of over $3000. Problem continues to this date. When we referenced the endless online complaints of same, GM was unmoved, although the power train warranty was still in effect. Very dangerous - lose power at highway speed with multiple close calls!!!! headlights: Headlights, both low and high beam, continually burn anywhere from minutes to days after being replaced. Switch assemblies have been replaced, cannot get low beams to illuminate at times, then no headlights at times. Very dangerous. Again, endless online complaints of the same issue. Sunroof: Endless issues with the sunroof leaking and soaking the floorboards on both drivers and passenger sides. Taken to wind gap Chevrolet, told we need to have sunroof replaced. Again, endless online complaints of the same issue. Based online and on this NHTSA site: It seems that these are serious and dangerous issues with this vehicle!!!!! recent headlight recall on similar vehicles for the same issue. Why is this vehicle not recalled for transmission/power train and headlight issues!"!"

- Stewartsville, NJ, USA

problem #78

Jul 012014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
Transmission failure due to fractured wave plate 3/5. the 6T70/75 6-speed automatic transmission may experience no reverse and slip/flare/harsh shifts in 3rd and/or 5th gear. Codes P0776 clutch pressure control (pc) solenoid 2 stuck off and P0842 transmission fluid pressure (tfp) switch 1 circuit low voltage may be set. The 35R clutch wave plate may be broken, allowing the piston to overstroke, causing the piston to leak and resulting in loss of apply on vehicles with greater than 25,000 miles. During the repair process it is important to install the wave plate in the proper orientation to prevent the possibility for the failure to re-occur. Install the rounded edge of the new wave plate internal splines facing the 35R piston. Note: The same tsb applies to 2007-2009 GMC acadia, 2007-2009 Pontiac G5, 2008-2009 Pontiac torrent, 2008-2009 Buick enclave, 2008-2009 Chevrolet equinox and Malibu, and 2009 Chevrolet traverse, equipped with the 6T70/75 6-speed automatic transmission (RPO MH2, MH4, MH6 and MY9).

- Okemos, MI, USA

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problem #77

Oct 142014


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Outlook. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to reverse and would not accelerate over 20 mph. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 105,000.

- Weare , NH, USA

problem #76

Aug 082014


  • 93,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Outlook. The contact stated that while attempting to accelerate after a stop, the vehicle failed to shift into gear without warning. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing, who stated that a new transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 93,000.

- Greensburg, KY, USA

problem #75

Jul 032014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
I was driving home doing 35mph, when my car would not shift into gear and the engine light came on. I was able to get it home doing 5mph. My husband came out to take it for a drive and will not go into reverse. We had it put on the computer and a couple of different codes showed one of them being P0776. I have been looking on line and found many other complaints with this same problem. I also came across this: Saturn Outlook transmission fault and/or check engine light with code P0716, P0776, P0717, P0777, P2714, P2715, and/or P02723 Saturn Outlook problem model years affected: 2007, 2008, 2009 drive trains affected: 2wd, 4WD average mileage: 71,429 mi (39,000 mi - 118,879 mi) verified vehicles with a 6 speed automatic transmission may develop one or more of the following faults related to a broken 35R clutch wave plate inside the transmission: Illumination of the check engine light with code P0716, P0776, P0717, P0777, P2714, P2715, and/or P02723, loss of reverse gear, slipping or harsh 3rd or 5th gear shift. Removal and dis-assembly of the transmission will be required to replace the broken 35R wave plate. It is also extremely important that all debris from the failed part be cleaned from the transmission while it is disassembled in order to try and prevent future problems.

- Sawyer, MI, USA

problem #74

Jul 022014


  • 103,000 miles
Transmission valve body failed. Car was unable to shift out of first gear.

- Milton, FL, USA

problem #73

Jun 252014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
The car was moving at approximately 55mph on RT168 chesapeake expressway and would not accelerate which almost resulted in a rear-end collision. Over the next few days we experienced hard shifts going into 3rd gear and 5th gear. On 6/25/2014, the car would not shift into reverse, so we took the car to the priority Chevy. We were told the transmission was destroyed, and a new one would need to be installed. I researched the issue, and found many other drivers reporting the same issue. I also contacted a national transmission chain, and they also reported seeing an increased number of transmission issues with Saturn Outlooks, some of which almost resulted in crashes due to the hard shifting.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #72

Jun 232014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


Transmission would not upshift from 2nd gear. Engine was warm and had been driving for 6 miles. I was accelerating to reach highway speeds in the left lane in heavy traffic. As it tried to go from second to third gear, the check engine light came on and it would not shift. I limped the car off the highway (much slower than the traffic honking and trying to avoid hitting me) and could only get the gears to reengage after completely powering down the car and cutting all auxiliary power. Then after restart, the gears worked properly again. After transmission teardown, we have identified that the wave plate has broken lose and additionally damaged the transmission control module, and clutch assembly.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #71

May 232014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
While driving truck started slipping really bad. Drove to a O'reilly and check the transmission fluid it was good. Thought maybe it was just a fluke, started the truck back up and it wouldn't go in reverse. Transmission done!

- Westchester, IL, USA

problem #70

Jul 242013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
This car sucks, bought the car last May 2013 and within 2 months and to take it to cottman trans in NJ, I still had a warranty from guardian, they came out to look at it, the wave plate is bad, but we aren't going to be responsible for it because they should of fixed it, took it back to faulkner Buick GMC and an hour of free, guess what the wave plate and trans needs to be replace, I looked O the web and it states this car Saturn Outlook has transmission problems, when are the going to recall this problem too.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #69

Jun 012013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
I have an issue with my 2008 Saturn Outlook. All of the sudden one day I went to leave my driveway, put the car in reverse and it would not go into gear. It also barley goes forward. I had previously had problems with slower than normal acceleration and rough gear change. After doing extensive research on what the problem could be I have found numerous complaints of the similar kind all over the internet. It seems there is a $25 part called a wave plate that is defective in these cars which causes the transmission to cease resulting in thousands of dollars of repairs. After finding this out I called GM customer service and was bounced around quite a bit. They are aware of the problem and discussed helping financially to fix the issue. They asked us to have it towed to a GM dealership so we did just that. After doing that they renigged their offer to help us so the car just sat there for quite a while. I bought this car used in 2011 with 98,000 and owned it 2 years then had this problem, now at 126,000. After I bought it and had this happen I have found out there have already been transmission issues with this car. I love the car but it is a complete headache. I am a single mother of three kids and do not have $3500 to shell out to get this problem fixed and believe that it is such a huge issue that something should be done and these cars need to be recalled. Meanwhile I make a car payment every month for a broken down car in my driveway. My car has been sitting for almost a year because I can't and also feel like I should shell out that kind of $ when GM is clearly at fault. I also am afraid if I do fix it the same problem will happen again. This is very unsafe. They are a terrible company who does not stand behind their products and leaves so many americans out in the cold. What horrible customer service.

- Clinton, CT, USA

problem #68

May 122014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
The vehicle suddenly would not accelerate while attempting to merge with traffic. The vehicle revved up and would max out at about 25 mph. I was able to turn on my hazards and drive into a parking lot. I have been told the issue is with a faulty wave plate and it appears to be a very common issue.

- Montgomery, IL, USA

problem #67

May 042014


  • 171,000 miles
Every since I have had a recall fixed...my lights flicker on the dash and I have been having problems with the transmission seeming to stay in one gear. It was told to me that it may be a timing chain issue but it is not a recall. I have read numerous complaints in regards to this issue from other Outlook owners.

- Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #66

Apr 042014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
Family on vacation out of state with two adults and 3 children. At stoplight in heavy traffic. Went to accelerate and engine would run high RPM's but no vehicle movement. Finally got the vehicle to move slowly and barely made it to a local gas station. Could have caused an accident due to transmission failure in heavy traffic.

- Millington, MI, USA

problem #65

Feb 172014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
I was driving my children to school when my power steering just stopped and I had to try and drive without it. I was told a month before it was the steering and pinion rack, got that fixed and there was two codes that popped up. I was told that one cancelled out the other which didn't make sense. Now the transmission needs work and they say that was the problem to begin with. I have spent so much money trying to fix this problem only to find out that it was the transmission along. I am very disappointed in GMC cause when I went to the dealer they suggested that I change part until they find the problem. I am pissed cause I still can't enjoy my truck anymore. My extended warranty is over and they dealer wants over 2000 grand to fix the transmission if that's what it really the problem. Looking online many people have had this issue and still no recall on the transmissions for Saturn Outlooks. Shame on you GMC.

- Cambridge, MA, USA

problem #64

Mar 082014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 54,500 miles
Noticed while driving at any speed that slight movement of the steering wheel right or left caused a whining noise in the steering column area. Only a few days later I noticed the car bucking when shifting in the lower gears after accelerating from a stop. Two days after the lower gear shifting issues, I noticed the car stuttered and bucked when I shifted into reverse and attempted to back into my driveway. I brought the car in for service and was told the car threw a code - P0018 - which means "crank to cam intake", along with saying the rack and pinion is leaking and could be fixed at a cost of $1700. And the transmission is shot and they recommended bringing to a local transmission shop to get the best cost/service. I have no idea what that will cost. The car only has 54K miles on it. Our 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty expired in September 2013. This could have been a major safety issue. Now it appears the repairs will cost a third of what the car is currently worth. Those systems should not fail after such low mileage.

- Duluth, MN, USA

problem #63

Nov 152013


  • 67,000 miles
Driving to a doctor appt and pulled into a parking lot to use my phone. Put car in park, engine on. Sat for 5 min, then put car in drive and engine revved and revved but did not move but a few feet. Put car in park and turned off the car for a few minutes. Upon restart, drove just fine for about 20 miles until check engine light went on. Went immediately to have to code read at a nearby auto zone. Gave 2 codes, one about a transmission problem and the 2nd about a computer self-repair completed. Never had the problem again. Then 3/5/14, at now 71,000 mi or so, while entering the on ramp to the freeway and now in the far left lane, attempted to accelerate, engine revved and car went maybe 25 mph if that. A large big rig slammed on its brakes and swerved to miss rear-ending us. Car was turned off and turned back on. Same problem-revved very high and would go only 25-35 mph in drive. Had to get off the freeway! vehicle overheated and smoking. Towed to mechanic shop and was told it was a miracle that we have been able to drive it as all the gears were stripped and it needed a new transmission. GM dealership said manufacturer warranty 5yr or 100,000 mi just expired 2/13. $2,500-$3,500 in cost...grrrr! along with a dual sun/moon roof leak!

- Magnolia, TX, USA

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