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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 1 of 5)

problem #100

Mar 012016


  • 104,000 miles


Transmission problems. 35R wave plate known to be defective (causing complete transmission failure) in Outlook, acadia, enclave, vue, etc. Thousands and thousands of customers having this issue.

- Racine, WI, USA

problem #99

Feb 222016


  • 82,770 miles
Second transmission failure, loss of power and failure to upshift while accelerating in heavy traffic. Had to pull into center lane to avoid interfering with traffic nearly causing collision with oncoming traffic preparing to turn. Was notified by dealership that it is a transmission problem. Awaiting estimate for repairs. First transmission failure at 42K miles second failure at 86K miles. Other vehicles of this type had extended warranty for this type problem but for some reason, this vehicle was not included

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #98

Oct 162014


  • 132,653 miles
October 16, 2014 transmission 6T75 AWD failed. Into shop 10/17/14. Cost $4281.45 for transmission plus $366.53 for car rental. [have bills] transmission went into "limp" mode due to loss of all gears except 6th gear. March 2015 received letter from GM stating "this letter is intended to make you aware that some 2008 model year Saturn Outlook vehicles may experience a cracked or fractured wave plate, resulting in loss of 3rd, 5th and reverse gears. The affected vehicles are all equipped with a 6T70 or 6T75 6 speed automatic transmission and fwd or AWD." The letter went on to say "if you have paid for repairs for the condition described in this letter, please complete the enclosed reimbursement form and present it to your dealer with all required documents. If this is not convenient, you may mail the completed reimbursement form and all required documents to reimbursement department, po box 33170, detroit, mi 48232. I submitted two forms on April 11, 2015, one for the transmission [$4281.45 & one for the rental car while Saturn being repaired [$366.53]. May 22, 2015 both claims were rejected by GM. Reason given: "the vehicle is outside the time and mileage parameters of the customer service action program. To me this is clearly a safety issue. Traveling on the freeway and/or highway and suddenly loosing your transmission [momentum/vehicle speed] creates a safety hazard for both the driver and other vehicles in close proximately. There should not be "time and mileage parameter" that has been subjectively imposed by GM in order to avoid responsibility for poor engineering.

- Port Charlotte, FL, USA

problem #97

Oct 312015


  • 127,024 miles


Transmission slipping and high engine rev during commute from work to home.could not get over 40 mph and had to take side streets home. Was fearful that it would not make it !

- Brighton, MI, USA

problem #96

May 132015


  • 124,376 miles
The 2 separate incidents occurred while driving for an extended time on the highway. The incident was around 5/13/15 traveling along route 81. While driving the transmission began to fail thus losing power and causing a safety concern on a busy highway.. the 2nd incident occurred on 7/31/15. While driving along route 695 in baltimore the water pump failed causing a loss of power and over heating the engine. Thus becoming a safety hazard on busy highway.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

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problem #95

Jul 062015


  • 180,000 miles
We bought the vehicle from GM, as we pulled off the lot and made it less then a half mile down the road and the engine light came on. The engine was running rought so we took it to a mechanic. They advised us it was a power train issue. We called GM and the requested us to bring the vehicle in so they're mechanics could look into the issue. Confirmed that we have a timing chain and a power train that needs to be fixed. Ultimately they refused to foot the bill and said they would only go in half. Now we are having to pay $1700 to fix a vehicle before we even make our first car payment.

- Muncie , IN, USA

problem #94

Dec 132014


  • 120,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Outlook. The contact stated that the vehicle hesitated to shift gears and jerked forward. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and it was determined that the 35R wave plate failed. As a result, the entire transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 120,000.

- Buna, TX, USA

problem #93

Apr 202015


  • miles
Transmission has completely went out due to waveplate.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #92

Apr 142015

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
While driving car, I noticed a vibration at 30 to 40 mph. A transmission shop said it was caused by transmission problem. I was informed there is a recall repair for this transmission, but no response from General Motors.

- Sapulpa, OK, USA

problem #91

Jan 012014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 65,533 miles
Jan 2014 had problems with stabilitrac / traction control and transmission entering expressway. The stabilitrac / traction control service soon light came on and then the car began shifting hard as we began to enter traffic, the car then started to lose power we got off the expressway in fear of being hit and went to the dealer were they found nothing wrong. The car continued to do this on and off for some time for the next few months. In June 2014 coming home from a soccer game I my wife our son and another player had this happen again while traveling 70mph on the US23 expressway, stabilitrac / traction control service light came on transmission started shifting hard and then the transmission lost the ability to engage, the car began to slow almost getting hit. (thank god we made it to a safe place) we replaced the transmission because of broken wave plates within the transmission. On 3/7/15 took car in again for stabiltrac / traction control same thing again is happening dealer found nothing wrong told us to bring back when lights are on. 3/14/15 lights came on again took in dealer was unable to find anything wrong. Service adviser there was no danger driving the car but that I might after time begin to loss power and may not be able to travel over 20mph. I explained the history to him his advice was to avoid the expressways. My fear is to die in this car when merging into expressway traffic. After reviewing many complaints about the transmission and traction control / stabilitrac on the internet about the following cars Saturn Outlook, GMC acadia, Chevy traverse and Buick enclave I hope that GM can come up with a fix before anyone has to die!

- Fenton, MI, USA

problem #90

Jan 052015

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 55,890 miles


Have had several leaks, took it to GM dealership for repair and it cost me $1,600, still leaking, took it back to GM dealership paid $1,300, still leaking. Vehicle on has 57, 000 miles I was told that it could be the transmission. That is why I took it in the first place GM service is an embarrassment, and rip-off to its customers. Will not recommend either one of these dealership in Massachusetts, unless they can prove quality service. Currently, still having the same problem, but can not afford to spend another penny, will have to result to walking, something I cannot physical able to do on long stretch.

- Mattapan, MA, USA

problem #89

Mar 122015

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
Shutters in reverse shifts hard at times. Its a problem GM knows about but wont own up! they will see were that gets them. I only get Ford the only reason is my wife liked it should have GM junk.

- Marathon, NY, USA

problem #88

Feb 232015

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
-25 F, 2 hours away from home, 7 pm at night, two kids in the car, and treacherous road conditions ~ transmission fails !!!! was in the shop less then two weeks prior for check engine light & service stabilitrak/traction control warnings. GM dealer cleared lights & said they were historic & nothing to worry about. This problem is widespread & it isn't hundred of cars affected, its thousands and probably tens of thousands (as these transmissions plague the Outlooks, acadias, traverses, & enclaves). So far GM is doing nothing ~ apparently it takes people dying to issue major recalls, and even then it takes many years and investigations by various agencies. Unacceptable and criminal !!!! I have opened up a case with GM corporate to see if anything will be done to offset or even cover the cost of replacing the junk transmission ($3800) ~ but, after reading countless blogs, webpages, ect of other peoples experiences with GM, I am not holding my breath. I will certainly jump on the class action lawsuit wagon, if it exists, or when it does come to fruition !!! this is certainly the last GM product I will ever buy! furthermore, I will take to social media and any other place I can to tell my story and make sure others know about these cars and the "service" that GM provides.

- Highgate, VT, USA

problem #87

Feb 232011

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
Driver was on their way to dr appt with small child when the car revved very hard & jerked & making loud noises. I then was able to get it back to parking, onstar was called and diagnosing it as the exhaust system was throwing codes. A tow truck came and took the car into cavender in san antonio.they found the catalytic convertors failed. They found the water pump was failing as well and replaced it as well. The next incident occurred in may of 2012, my husband was being discharged from the army & we were advised after we got settled back in Ohio to have it serviced. In which we did, to have found the engine block had a small leak. We took it to GM dealership don's automotive as we had a family member who worked there. They supposedly fixed it, then not even a month went by we found it was leaking. We then decided to take it to dave white Chevrolet to have it repaired, they explained that it was not repaired right. They then fixed it. We then had it fixed and were back on the road. Then we began to notice the revving again and it would hesitate when driving causing panic in high traffic areas for my husband and I. we then took it back to dave white to find there was a speed control sensor that was failing. We then had to have that replaced. Not too long after, we began to notice pink fluid on the drive, we immediate took it back to dave white, they explained it was leaking transmission fluid, but the coupling was not covered by power train. We contacted GM because this should be a covered part as it could cause failure. They agreed to help with paying for it, but dave white was very unprofessional. Then in November of 2013, putting in reverse would cause it to hesitate, transmission was out. We then had to have it rebuilt. Then Feb 2015, check engine light came on as driving and would not pass 1st gear on busy road. It was towed 2/23/15 to dealership mcneils.

- Maumee, OH, USA

problem #86

Feb 072015

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
Driving when the car jerked and reved and then went squealing away. Going 40 mph and cars behind were not following closely. This happened for about 50 feet and then the car would not move - reverse and D and L would not work. We were in a city for an audition for college admission which was 400 miles from home. We had to have the vehicle towed to a nearby independent mechanic. The transmission is gone. Needed to rent a car to return home and will now have to fly back to pick up the vehicle again after paying $4400. We were lucky that nothing had happened when we were on the interstate or driving around the city and campus. Also, forunate that we made it to the audition. This is a family car usually carrying kids and animals. Besides the repair bills, the vehicle is junk because no one would want to buy this. The $4400 to bring the vehicle home and wait for the next thing to happen like the power steering issue. This car was a large purchase and very sad to know that you have to keep investmenting money in it or junk it. This needs to become widespread and definitely a recall before something tragic happens.

- Lake Villa, IL, USA

problem #85

Jan 152015

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
Transmission failure transmission would not go into reverse, drive, and was shifting hard. Upon further research found numerous like failures for Saturn Outlook, GMC acadia. Big safety issue. I was fortunate it didn't happen while I was driving. Please review failure rates and propose GM recall transmissions for failures.

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #84

Feb 022015

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
The day before when my wife was pulling out of the garage, we heard a popping sound. We just kind of gave each other a look, not sure what it was. She noticed some hesitation in acceleration that day. 2 days later, while she was driving the kids to school, the car started to make a revving sound, like what kids would make while pretending to drive. Then when she turned and tried to accelerate, the engine RPM's would go up but the car wouldn't move. She turned it off and then back on and limped home. Tried to reverse into garage but the car wouldn't go in reverse. Now it's sitting on the street in front of the house.

- Battle Ground, WA, USA

problem #83

Jan 222015

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
I have a 2008 Saturn Outlook AWD vehicle, I began having problems with my vehicle's engine light being on (after replacing my factory supplied gas cap which had broken with a generic one) and the vehicle's acceleration became sluggish and slow in response. On 22 Jan 2015 I drove my vehicle (veh) about 1/2 mile, stopped at a store, pulled into a parking spot, returned to my veh starting it up and trying to place the veh in reverse to no avail. I placed the gear shifter in park, tried reverse again and nothing. Each time I tried to place the veh in reverse and apply the gas I would only hear the revving of the veh's engine. I could put the veh in drive and move forward however, my veh's tires were against the sidewalk (curb). I was able to rock the veh to an angle, drive over the sidewalk and drive to my house and park the vehicle. After having the vehicle towed to the repair shop, I learned that a part known as the: 3, 5, reverse wave plate had gone bad and it would cost $2500 to repair (not including the parts). As I searched on-line (GMC,, and other internet forums) I learned that this was not an isolated event. I read reports of other 2007, 2008, Outlook, acadia, and traverse vehicles (all GMC) all having experienced the same problem. Time after time the malfunction involved no negligence on behalf of the veh driver, merely driving of the vehicle. In most of these incidents, the veh owner informed GMC about the problem and was offered no assistance with this issue. I have learned that this part costing approx. $20 has done millions of dollars in damage to countless veh. There has to be something that can be done about this issue, there are too many consumers affected by this faulty $20 part that breaks apart and damages your transmission. Please take a moment to look into this matter and try and get some monetary relief for these affected consumers.

- Las Cruces, NM, USA

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

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