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.

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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,293 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 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Jan 252013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 46,992 miles


Regarding our 2008 Outlook that we purchased in August'12 - the vehicle has 47K on it & had 39K when we purchased it from our bank (a repo'd car). On 1/25/13 the transmission gave out literally in my driveway. Five minutes prior to that, I would have been on a major highway with school aged kids on board - I shutter to think of the possibilities. No warnings prior to this ever. (1/28/13) I contacted GMC directly, received a claim number from them, followed that up with a phone call to a towing company & then the GMC dealership to let them know that the vehicle was on it's way. Received a call from the dealership - diagnosis news - we needed a new transmission (we weren't surprised). The estimate wasn't fully completed yet (never a good sign) & they would call later with the cost. I missed that later in the evening - I'd had enough & talking about this issue was making me madder by the minute. How can you claim to do such 'rigorous testing' on your vehicles & then have transmission failure happen in a matter of minutes without any warning whatsoever!! (1/29/13) I was informed of the cost (I nearly hit the floor) but wait - they were offering a 10% discount & I could get a $200 visa rebate from GM - like I'd won a prize or something. Is this supposed to make it better"! how about standing behind your product"! it would seem to me that GM has a problem with their transmissions just based on the many posts on edmunds & online - perhaps a recall is in order. I was the one who pursued my Ford husband with "let's give a GMC car a try, it's american made too. So much for that - shame on me. This is so wrong to have to replace this transmission at this point & having to pay for it pay for it entirely only adds insult to injury! shame on me - no - shame on you GMC!!

- Parker, CO, USA

problem #19

Jan 102013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 68,618 miles
The vehicle starting jerking and lunging at low speeds. Vehicle's engine started revving in between shifting gears and would then jerk into gear. At times vehicle transmission would not engage in reverse. The dealership had to replace third, fifth and reverse gears.

- Pinckney, MI, USA

problem #18

Jan 012013


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Outlook. The contact was driving approximately 20 mph when the vehicle began to jerk abnormally. In addition, the engine rpms increased however, the vehicle would not accelerate and began to roll backward. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing and was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 73,000.

- New Albany, IN, USA

problem #17

Dec 072012

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 79,796 miles


My wife and I own a 2008 Saturn Outlook xr with just a hair under 80K miles on it and within the last week or so we have started having some weird transmission issues related to shifting between gears. From 1st to 2nd gear the transmission seems to "slip? momentarily causing the engine to rev mid shift. It also seems to ?clunk" very hard between 5th and 6th (overdrive). Occasionally, between other gears it seems to shift roughly, too. I have double checked the transmission fluid levels which are within tolerances, but seem to smell hot to me. One other thing I have noticed, is that when braking or putting the car in park, the transmission doesn't seem to fully disengage properly as noticed by the engine seemingly "lurching". we are the second owners of this vehicle having only had it roughly two years. We have already had to replace the water pump under warranty, and have had it repaired under recall for various issues at least twice.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #16

Nov 082012

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 33,530 miles
The vehicle was in an accident before, but only body damage, I bought it at 33254 miles, it is driving fine, but having hesitation issues, looks like the transmission is having a problem, I have read others with the same problem. Apparently this is a huge issue with many Saturn 2008 owners this car has a salvage title but only because of the body damage accident, not engine, all otherwise is running perfectly fine.

- Mooresville, NC, USA

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problem #15

Dec 082012


  • 98,457 miles
Transmission slipped very badly switching from second to third gear. Thankfully was in a populated area close to home and was able to limp into a parking lot. Once put in park, would no longer shift out of park and had to be flat towed to a garage.

- Blythe, CA, USA

problem #14

Apr 102012

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


My transmission on my 2008 Saturn Outlook went out and was replaced (with a brand new transmission) under warranty in April 2012. It is going out again and the warranty is expired, November 2012. When I bought the truck, the dealer was trying to push an extended warranty on me, stressing over and over that it covered the transmission, so obviously he knew my truck would have future transmission problems. My truck still had a warranty, and with my truck being only 2 years old, I opted not to buy it, trusting that Saturn was a reputable dealer. Big mistake trusting Saturn.

- Keshena, WI, USA

problem #13

Nov 052012

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 135,707 miles
Transmission started shifting hard but was not doing it all the time, I took a friend home backed out of his driveway and the vehicle started bucking and jumping and not shifting when I got about a block down the road the check engine light come on and it would not shift out of 1st gear, I took it to a parts store and had the scanner put on it and it come up with the code PO796 which is the 3-5 pressure plate, this SUV has never pulled or towed anything so there should be no reason why it went out. My previous SUV was a Saturn Outlook 2007 and the 3-5 wave plate went out of it, it is pretty clear that there is a defect from the factory on these plates and they are unsafe this repair has cost me $3400 and I just bought the SUV in July, this is something that needs to be looked into and investigated because it is pretty clear that the plates are defective and GM needs to stand behind these with a recall.

- Jacksonville, IL, USA

problem #12

Nov 252012


  • 80,130 miles
While driving, suddenly the Saturn Outlook xr 2008 wouldn't go above 30 miles per hour. When it was switched from the automatic transmission to manual transmission, it would not change above gear #3. in addition, when trying to park, it was found that reverse gear wouldn't work.

- Hummelstown, PA, USA

problem #11

Aug 172011

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 34,774 miles
8/17/2011 - J0511 head, cylinder left bank replaced as there was excessive play in camshafts R & R motor assy replace bank 2 cylinder head and new timing chain re-installed. 01/11/2012 - 3-5 reverse clutch plate replaced transmission slipping into 3rd gear, transmission rebuilt. 02/20/2012 leak was found in front transmission connector area, seal was replaced & rechecked. On 12/01/2012 truck going back into shop for transmission leak again and clunking noise. GM needs to resolve this problem with the transmission, they need to stand behind their product and go ahead and resolve this issue immediately.

- Willingboro, NJ, USA

problem #10

Oct 092012

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 99,890 miles


On September 05, 2012 while driving on the highway with my families in the vehicle. I was driving at 55 mph. The vehicle suddenly started to accelerate and the RPM rise up very high and very quickly. I try to step on the brake but it did not slow the vehicle down. I had to step on the brake a couple of time but did not slow the vehicle down. It speed off for approximately a quarter miles before it slow down and the RPM came down. I was terrified of how the vehicle suddenly accelerates out of control. After the sudden acceleration the traction control light and the service stabilitrak warning light came on. There is also a humming noise coming out of the engine or the transmission. The traction control / services stabilitrak warning light went off after turning the engine off. This happen three time to me with the same vehicle. I wrote to GM and GM refused to do anything to help me or look into the these issue. I hope that with my complaint and all of the other complaints from all of the other GM vehicle owners, something could be done about these issue. I told GM that this is a serious safety issue that I am having with my 2008 Saturn Outlook xr AWD and GM told me to go screw myself. That is soo sad, considering this is the holiday and me and my families have no transportation to go anywhere.

- St. Paul, MN, USA

problem #9

Nov 012011

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
The vehicle's transmission failed as I attempted to accelerate. I coasted to a stop at a red light. The vehicle was then pushed, through a busy intersection, to a gas station. It was later towed to a dealer for repairs.

- Whitinsville, MA, USA

problem #8

Nov 082008

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Outlook. The contact stated that while driving at any speed the vehicle would lose power and downshift with an abnormal increase in rpms. The failure was experienced numerous times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times. The dealer updated the transmission module but the failure was not corrected. The vehicle continued to lose power with a significant loss of fuel mileage. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 46,000 and the failure mileage was 50,000...updated 07/12/12 the consumer stated the sensor camshaft, cylinder head, battery, windshield wiper motor, air bag wiring harness, power steering rack and gear, front pads and rotors, gaskets for intake manifold, gasket for rear valve cover, right front strut, both strut mounts, engine mounts, left front stabilizer link, headlight harness, timing belt cover seal, exhaust stud, power steering pump, hose and clamp, all had to be replaced. Updated 10/02/12

- Danbury , CT, USA

problem #7

Mar 242010


  • 43,080 miles
Vehicle has had 3 major transmission warranty repairs done tone NHTSA # 10030729, two engine warranty repairs (water pump, engine seals) and one electrical recalls NHTSA # 08V44100 wire harness which is a fire hazard and one windshield wiper/washer linkage 08V410000 which could result in a vehicle crash

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #6

Dec 012008

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 200 miles
Specifically, the performance of the transmission my Saturn 2008 Outlook has never been satisfactory. Altogether it's incredibly sluggish, giving a jerky, pulling feel and takes 45-60 seconds to speed the car up past 50 mph. There have been times when I came dangerously close to being hit by oncoming traffic. Additionally, the stabilitrak light warning comes on when it shouldn't. this light is generally followed by a warning the traction control is off when it isn't. I have complained to 2 of GM's dealers (Saturn and Chevrolet) for the last 3 years about the transmission. They have all told me that there nothing wrong with the transmission--until things got bad enough that the transmission stopped working altogether, and I was stuck on the side of the road. Raleigh's downtown GM dealer finally had no other choice than to take the transmission apart and discovered the root of the problem. So they thought. Ever since I picked up the car from this repair, I have been experiencing the same problems. I took it back to the GM dealership. Again, they purported they could not "simulate" the problem; therefore, in their mind, there was no problem. I'm reminded at this point that this is the same thing GM's dealers had said before the transmission finally gave way. Through the internet, I understand that there are many others who report problems with GM's transmission on the Outlook. Like my counterparts, I would appreciate a resolution that includes GM's owning up to this problem and resolving to fix it once and for all.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #5

Dec 012009

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 4,500 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Outlook. The contact stated that the engine stalled when the accelerator was depressed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the manufacturer was not contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 4,500 and the current mileage was 41,000. Updated 11/07/11 updated 06/13/2012

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #4

Aug 182011


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Outlook. The contact stated that the wiring for the exterior lights was melted. As a result, the lights would not function at night. In addition, the vehicle would not shift into third gear while driving. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, where the dealer diagnosed that a speed sensor was needed to repair the transmission and an exterior lighting assembly was needed to repair the wiring. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified and informed the contact that the vehicle was out of warranty. The failure and current mileages were 100,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Swartz Creek, MI, USA

problem #3

Jan 152011


  • 47,700 miles
I was driving my Saturn Outlook 2008 to go onto the highway. As I accelerated, the gas pedal/transmission got stuck and the RPM stayed @5000 RPM for about 8 seconds during my attempt to brake the vehicle. Once the RPM let up we heard a loud thump noise and then the car was able to get unstuck. It took about 8+ seconds for the brakes to actually take over. This has occurred at least 4 times. No repairs have been made for this problem.

- St. Augustine, FL, USA

problem #2

Jan 312010


  • 39,000 miles
I purchased this 2008 vehicle in July 2008, used but "new" with a bit over 16,000 miles on it from a dealership in syracuse that is no longer active. My vehicle has always been well cared for and serviced accordingly. Starting Jan. 31, 2010, the engine began to make a loud knock. It did not matter if I warmed the vehicle, or if it was warm weather or cold. On some instances it seemed to not accelerate on the highway as it should. Often hesitating to "go". it has been into the dealership four different occasions, for a total of 21 days out-of-service cumulatively, soon to be more. The first time they gave it back the next day as they stated they could not duplicate the noise. Three days later the knock was back. The second time it went in they had for 7 days, could not duplicate. 2 days later back again...the third time the dealership locally here put a new timing chain in. They said it was "slack". however, this did not fix the issue. It was supposed to go back in for the same engine knocking, etc. Before it could go in I was driving at night with small children in the car on a highway and had no headlights. After taking it to the dealership they say the wiring harness melted and they have no idea why. They take the vehicle in again for a fourth time. Tell me its fixed. New wiring harness. Pick up vehicle..same engine knock present. They now say maybe its a lifter" cam? don't have parts. Give me this same vehicle to continue to drive. Something is fishy here. How many vehicles does it take for a safety recall or investigation????? does someone have to die"! headlights going out at night on highway, engine not accelerating....major safety issues. Multiple complaints. I'd rather not have someone called to the scene of my death or the deaths of my children because of a known defect that is not being addressed! also, another 2008 Saturn Outlook is at the same dealership for similar problems...

- Endicott, NY, USA

problem #1

Apr 262008


  • 15 miles
Since I leased this vehicle, I have had to return it to the dealership a total of 6 times. My vehicle has been out of service for repairs for approximately 20 calendar days. The current mileage on my vehicle is 18,654. My vehicle has had problems with steering, transmission, and the electric seat, but the main reason that the vehicle was brought in for repair on each of the six visits is as follows: When raining, water appears in the following locations: (a) passenger side, 2nd column; (B) passenger side, directly below glove compartment; (C) passenger side, floor area; (D) passenger side door, floor area directly below door; (E) passenger side windshield, dropping from top of windshield area onto dashboard; (F) passenger side seatbelt -- completely soaking wet; (G) passenger side airbag plug, water dripping out from edges; (H) driver side seatbelt; (I) driver side window. Please note that this does not happen each and every time it rains; it happens every 2 to 4 times it rains. The last time it was brought in to Saturn, smoke was pouring out from below the glove compartment and there was a very bad "electrical" type of smell. The headliner has been removed a couple of times; they have verified that there is dampness and a water leak above the headliner, but they cannot replicate or determine the source of the leaking. The dealership has informed that at this point they can do nothing further to determine the source of the leak. They state that an engineer from Saturn must look at the vehicle to attempt to determine the problem. I have written to Saturn and they are sending someone out to look at it next week. If it cannot be repaired, I am instituting lemon law proceedings. The car reeks of mildew.

- Wayne, NJ, USA

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