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NHTSA — Engine And Engine Cooling: Engine Problems

5.1

fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
19,065 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.

1998 Saturn SL engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Saturn SL Owner Comments

problem #15

Oct 052000

SL 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The contact owns a 1998 Saturn SL2. While driving 50 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning and shut off. The contact was able to restart the vehicle. The failure occurs when the vehicle has traveled long distances. The dealer is unable to diagnose the cause of failure. The current mileage is 181,000 and failure mileage was 40,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Port Jefferson Station, NY, USA

problem #14

Nov 142006

SL 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles
: the contact stated the coolant level indicator light illuminated. When the coolant was checked, the coolant level was low and thickened. On further investigation, coolant had been found mixed into the oil due to the gasket breaking down from contact with the coolant. The oil mixed with the coolant caused sludge build up in the engine. The contact notified the service dealer who recommended flushing the radiator. The manufacturer was notified.

- Clinton, MO, USA

problem #13

Jun 011999

SL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,979 miles
The vehicle stalled intermittently while driving. The cam switch was replaced twice, the idle control was adjusted and the throttle was replaced yet the problem recurred. The vehicle lunged forward when the vehicle was shifted in reverse. The transmission was replaced.

- Tigard, OR, USA

problem #12

May 222004

SL 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The car was parked at home Saturday night, went to drive it Sunday and it made a strange noise. The car was brought to the mechanic who sent it to Saturn where it was determined to have a blown motor (the car only has 40,000 miles on it, and the oil was changed regularly).

- Somerset, MA, USA

problem #11

Oct 172003

SL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
For the past 2-3 years I have had a massive oil consumption problem with my Saturn SL2 '98. I brought it to two Saturn dealerships who told me that I had no leak nor was my car burning oil, in essence that I was imagining this problem. In July of 2003, the problem had gotten so bad that I was adding oil every 100 miles, then the car broke down and I brought it to a Saturn dealership. They said it was the timing belt/gasket and I replaced them on their recommendation that it would fix all the problems - cost $1000. The car continues to consume massive amounts of oil and regularly exhibits a burning smell. I brought it to a Saturn dealer last week who now tells me that the cam cover is cracked and needs to be replaced; however, he told me that I probably indeed have significant engine damage as a result of my many oil problems that this repair will not fix. I have worked my way up the Saturn corporate complaint system and I cannot get anyone to either pay for the repair, reimburse me for the previous repair or even acknowledge the underlying engine problem. Originally, I thought that this was a just me getting a "lemon" but after researching the problem my concern is much much greater. Specifically, there are numerous (well over 100) complaints on various internet cites about the same problem - everyone has massive oil consumption and many people's engines have actually caught on fire as a result of low oil. They have also tried to get Saturn to acknowledge the problem with the engines and to no avail. I am now afraid to drive the car for fear of it catching on fire. I would like the NHTSA to investigate the problems with Saturn engines and oil consumption. I am an attorney and plan to pursue my own case against Saturn for the cost of my repairs, but really feel like is a safety issue and that Saturn or the NHTSA needs to issue a warning to consumers to keep careful watch on their engines.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #10

Aug 012003

SL 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving, the engine stalled. The dealer replaced the crankshaft senor and coolant temperature sensor, however the engine stalled again. The power steering and ignition switch needed to be replaced. The gear did not shift properly, mainly in first gear.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #9

Jan 082002

SL 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The motor mount failed. Dealer notified. The mount probably malfunctioned prior to 52184 miles. The mounts for the vibration was found on the top of the engine in which the mount(s) cracked. The water pump was replaced because a leak was found.

- El Cerrito, CA, USA

problem #8

Jun 062003

SL

  • miles
While traveling on the highway engine is leaking oil from underneath the vehicle.

- Saginaw, MI, USA

problem #7

Jan 292003

(reported on)

SL

  • miles
Vehicle stalled on several occasions.

- Norwood, MA, USA

problem #6

Jul 182002

SL

  • miles
Cracked cyl head, oil & coolant were mixing together.

- Marinette, WI, USA

problem #5

Feb 022002

SL

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I check my car weekly. With no warning or tell tale signs, I found water in the crankcase and oil in the radiator. I had the car towed to my mechanic and he claims I have either a blown head gasket or a cracked engine head with estimated repairs in excess of $2, 000.00. I called the dealership and was told the car has a warranty of 36,000 miles or 3 years and I am out of warranty due to time.

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #4

Feb 022002

SL

  • miles
I check my car weekly. With no warning or tell tale signs, I found water in the crankcase and oil in the radiator. I had the car towed to my mechanic and he claims I have either a blown head gasket or a cracked engine head with estimated repairs in excess of $2, 000.00. I called the dealership and was told the car has a warranty of 36,000 miles or 3 years and I am out of warranty due to time.

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #3

Jan 082002

SL

  • miles
Cylinder head cracked in engine after approx. 85000 miles. All engine oil leaked from the automobile as a result. Engine was covered with oil upon inspection but luckily, did not ignite. Needed to be replaced with new engine at a cost of $2400 as repairs would have been risky and at a higher cost.

- Berwyn Heights, MD, USA

problem #2

Jun 131998

SL

  • miles
Valve replaced due to failure.

- Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #1

Jun 181999

SL

  • miles
Cracked head cylinder at 16K miles without any unusual or harsh driving. Car had to be towed to the dealer. No oil was left in the car -- it was in an "undriveable" condition. The service dept was shocked this happened on a twin overhead cam engine & thus didn't even stock the part to fix the car. Dealer also said there was no engine damage, although I find that hard to believe since the car was driven for some time without realizing the problem.

- Windsor, CT, USA

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