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.

NHTSA — Engine And Engine Cooling Problems

1.5

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
115,701 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.

2002 Saturn Vue engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Saturn Vue Owner Comments

problem #20

May 062010

Vue

  • 108,500 miles

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

I'm the original owner of a 2002 Saturn Vue AWD with the GM vti transmission and engine. Two days ago I experienced my transmission/engine failing for the fifth or sixth time since 2006. The very first time I took my Vue to the dealership in austin, tx where I had to argue with first my service rep. Followed by his manager that the problem was with the transmission. Since the faulty GM design was still relatively new, they originally blamed me for poor driving, resulting a bad BCM which they made me pay in spite of my argument the faulty GM design was the origin of the problem. First time it cost me $1500 to repair my car that had less than 60,000 miles on it. This however was quite an ordeal since my vehicle actually lost power on three or four different occasions. I would immediately go to the dealership for assistance with what I knew was the transmission. After bugging them almost everyday with the same problem they finally admitted gms transmission problems and replaced my transmission on the third visit. The second transmission lasted approximately a year. In 2007 I had relocated within the state and was experiencing similar problems and reluctantly called my local Saturn dealership. Here we go again another $500 for odds and ends and this time it was supposedly the ECM and of course it did not fix the problem! the transmission was finally replaced on my third trip! however they did not pay for my loaner car though I requested one. Brings us to 2009, when the above mentioned dealer had gone out of business and I of course had transmission problems! luckily I found a dealership near and had my car towed to them. They confirmed by that afternoon that the transmission was bad! they replaced the transmission, and closed for business within three days. No loaner car again. Here I sit again with the transmission dangerously going out, and dreading the thought of the Saturn dealership fiascoes. At what point will GM take these dangerous 2002-2005 cars off the road?

- Richmond, TX, USA

problem #19

Mar 032002

Vue

  • 68,000 miles
Timing chain broke on my 2002 Saturn Vue leaving my daughter & me stranded. It only had 68K miles. Saturn dealerships only suggestion: New engine @ $3400 installation @ $1600. I chose an independent mechanic, who was unaware of the zero tolerance engine. What is that?! I am hearing about class action lawsuits, thousands of dollars in repairs nationwide due to this same malfunction. They have known of this dangerous malfunction for years & fail to do a recall. Isn't it time they be made accountable. There are many many similar stories to mine. Please research!!

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #18

Mar 122009

Vue

  • 140,129 miles
I had just left a stop light on a busy street in Chicago driving about 15 miles an hour and the engine just died. I tried to restart the car and it would not start. I called a tow truck to have it taken back to my repair shop. The next day I was told that the timing chain had broken and crushed the casing and valves and that I would need a new engine at a cost of $3,200. I spoke with the Saturn dealership in tinley park, il and they agreed to put a new engine in for $2,200. I spoke with the Saturn main office of consumer complaints and they stated that no recalls were made on the 2002 Saturn Vue's and would not help with the cost of the replacement engine.

- Tinley Park, IL, USA

problem #17

May 012008

Vue

  • 55,000 miles

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

Approximately 6-9 months ago my 2002 Saturn Vue, 4 cyl, with approx 55,000 miles stopped working. Saturn of bowie, now closed, told me that the timing chain broke and engine was now no good. They said the only way to fix vehicle was to replace engine at my expense. Approximately $6,500. I complained and after my discussions with a Saturn hq person, they replaced the engine and charged me approximately $5,500. I have exact figures in my files. I asked if there was any history of this problem and Saturn responded that it wasn't known problem. This morning after doing some research, on the internet, relating to another problem with my Saturn Vue regarding the fuel gauge, I learned that Saturn was aware of the timing chain problem and should have sent me a recall notice. They charged me alot of money to fix something that was their responsibility because of poor engineering.

- Crofton, MD, USA

problem #16

Aug 292008

Vue 4-cyl

  • 102,639 miles
I was driving my 2002 Saturn Vue (4 cyl, 2.2 L engine, manual transmission) on the freeway. The engine stalled and then lost power. I fortunately was able to coast down the freeway exit, and I (with the assistance of a few kind hearted motorists) had to push my car out of the exit lane and on coming traffic. My car was towed through aaa to a service garage. The mechanic informed me that the timing chain broke, and in turn damaged the pistons, thus requiring me to replace the engine in my vehicle. Replacing the engine is estimated to cost between $1,800 and $2,800 depending upon the availability of the engine in my area. It is my understanding through reading today that there may have been a recall on this very issue with the Saturn 2.2 L engines, but I was never contacted by General Motors concerning this issue with the 2.2 L engine. I am fortunate that I was able to exit the freeway safely, that other motorists were able to hold off traffic and assist me pushing the car to safety, and that my child, other family members, and I were not in an accident or injured due to this failure at high speed.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #15

Aug 032008

Vue 4-cyl

  • 59,323 miles
2002 Saturn Vue; L61 2.2 liter 4 cyl engine; mileage 59,323. August 3, 2008. Preparing to enter interstate vehicle stopped running. Had it towed to omaha Saturn for repair. Service department stated that timing chain had broken, and fallen down into oil pan. Along with this valves were damaged (bent) due to minimum clearances in cylinder head design. Repair involved new cylinder head and timing chain ($2650.94) plus the $100 towing charge. Car has been well maintained and has not been driven hard.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #14

Aug 032008

Vue

  • 101,414 miles

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

Re: to whom it may concern; I am writing this letter to state how bad a 2002 Saturn Vue is on safety. I just came in from trying to tow my scooter mobility trailer up the hill in front of my house. The 'service engine soon¿ light is on like it always is. I have tried to get something done about it on several occasions to no avail. One thing it says is that the engine temperature thermostat is sticking. I was told that it would cost me $400 to replace the thermostat. The vehicle does not have a thermostat problem. The temperature gauge always stays about 1/3 of the way between the second and third marks, winter or summer. The only difference between winter and summer is the length of time it takes to get fully warmed up. There is a hill between my community and the highway. It is about ½ mile long. In the summer, the vehicle is fully warmed up by the bottom of that hill. In the winter, it takes to the top of that hill before it is fully warmed up. I spent about #100 for a new thermostat and all the necessary gaskets to replace that thermostat and I still have the light and the temperature is still 1.3 the way between the second and third marks. The main reason for my complaint of safety is that the vehicle will go into ¿limp mode¿ at any time, even while driving down the freeway, at freeway speeds, and suddenly I have no power to avoid an accident. Any vehicle with a ¿check engine soon¿ light should go into limp mode on startup, not randomly while driving.

- Banning, CA, USA

problem #13

Apr 252008

Vue

  • 92,000 miles
Over the past year, I have had several instances where the "check engine" light comes on and the car just shuts down and won't start up. I have also had the low coolant light come on and was leaking anti-freeze, which I kept on filling up. Once it was towed to the dealer and when they went to look at it the next morning, it started right up and they could not figure out what was wrong. Another time I left it and when I came back, it started right up. In both of those instances, I was driving less than 40 mph and was able to get to the side of the road safely. The 3rd time that the car died, I was traveling 65 mph on an interstate when the car suddenly died, without any warning. I had just enough time to pull over to the side of the road and avert an accident. I bought a new car, because I was afraid to drive this one and it has been sitting in my driveway for 8 weeks. I recently had the Vue towed to a different dealership. They said that I need a new timing belt and water pump. They also say that I need to have an I-bolt pulley, belt tensioner, alternator, and serpentine belt replaced. Other repairs that are needed are a front sway bar links and the bearing on the drive shaft. This car has only 92,000 miles.

- Beverly, MA, USA

problem #12

Apr 062008

Vue 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Saturn Vue. While driving approximately 40 mph, the check engine light and the low power light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle shut off completely and would not restart after several attempts. The vehicle was diagnosed as having timing chain failure. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 07V519000 (engine and engine cooling). The current and failure mileages were 125,000. Updated 6/9/08 updated 06/09/08

- Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #11

Apr 062008

Vue 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 125,000 miles
I began to hear a little bit more engine noise than normal, like a tapping noise. I had the oil changed as I did regularly and within manufacturers recommendation. Local mechanic said it was the timing chain and to continue with frequent oil changes. Car died while traveling at 40 mph locally on the weekend, but could have happened while traveling 65mph on my way to work if it was a weekday. Luckily, I was able to pull immediately into a side street and have the car towed to local Goodyear service center. I've seen internet postings citing the same problems on Saturn models with the same engine. There may even be a recall for the L-class Saturn cars with the same engine and not the Vue?

- Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #10

Apr 032008

Vue 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

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

The car shut off while driving. There was no warning prior to car turning off: No interior warning lights came on prior to car stopping and no noises were heard prior to the incident. I was unable to start the car back up and move off of the road. This car has all of it's routine maintenance up to date. Dealership system diagnostics shows that it is a problem with the "crank shaft position sensor."

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #9

Jan 182008

Vue 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 117,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Saturn Vue. While driving approximately 60 mph, the contact noticed that the engine and reduced power lights illuminated on the instrument control panel. The vehicle completely lost power. The contact had to shift into neutral in order to pull off the road. The vehicle was towed to a local dealer and they stated that the timing chain failed. She has pictures of the failed component. The contact filed a formal complaint with the manufacturer. The failure and current mileages were 117,000. Updated 02/15/08.

- Stratford, NY, USA

problem #8

Jul 272007

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 880,165 miles
The contact owns 2002 Saturn Vue. While driving 70 mph, he heard a noise in the engine. The check engine and reduce power light were also illuminated. The vehicle drifted into the slow lane allowing him to stop. The vehicle would not restart. The vehicle was towed and the mechanic stated that faulty wiring caused the failure. The mechanic repaired the wiring; however, the timing chain fell off. Vehicle maintenance has been up to date since he purchased the vehicle. The timing chain should not have failed due to the mileage. The current and failure mileages were 88,165.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #7

Jun 042007

Vue 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 55,026 miles
The timing chain on my 2002 Saturn Vue, that has only 55,000 miles on it, broke, causing the engine to be destroyed. (engine destroyed was verified by the dealership I took it to, they said it was something they had never seen happen, yet I see many complaints about their L series here. My car has the same engine as it was the first year the Vue was made and the engine was the same as the L series that year).

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #6

Dec 102006

Vue 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 54,430 miles
This is the second instance in 54,438 miles of: Timing chain 'slipped' due to lack of lubrication. In both instances, the engine stalled while driving (at low speed), then restarted with reduced power/performance along with the service engine warning light. This time, the engine was badly damaged and must be replaced. Saturn blames me for not keeping up with the every 3000 mile oil change requirement. (and is satisfied to look no further for any other causes.) I have seen the investigative report (PE06-006), on this site, of an investigation into frequent timing chain failures in L-series models (having the same engine as this vehicle). The report references lack of oil flow to the timing chain when operating at low RPM. (this is the type of driving I do.) the report also references GM tsb 03-06-01-017 stating "all timing chain service kits now available will include an oiler nozzle, a new design that will increase oil flow to the timing chain under low RPM operating conditions". the dealer does not acknowledge existence of the improved design for the Vue engine. The first failure instance was covered under warranty at 24,663 miles. The current instance occurred at 54,438 mi., and is now out of warranty. Saturn is offering to take 50% cost of an engine replacement.

- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA

problem #5

Sep 262006

Vue 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 65,000 miles
2002 Saturn Vue (65,000 miles) making noise. Would not start, towed to mechanic. Timing chain failure causing engine damage. Estimated cost is $3000; loss of vehicle for at least a week while being repaired. Currently at the mechanics awaiting repair.

- Camarillo, CA, USA

problem #4

Aug 252006

Vue 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,400 miles
While driving on the highway, our 2002 Vue made a grinding noise and then began to lose power. As we were pulling off to the side, the vehicle stalled and then would not re-start. The Saturn dealership towed the Vue to their lot and informed us, that the timing chain had skipped and blew the motor. The timing chain was supposed to be no maintenance and didn't even need to be checked until 100,000 miles. My Vue had 65,000 miles. After 3 weeks we were told that they would rebuild the engine at a cost of $3500- $3800 and Saturn would pay half of that cost. Several weeks prior, the vehicle was stalling while driving and would not restart until it cooled off. We took it to the dealership and they replaced a sensor for the cam shaft. The switch for the back wiper has been replaced and we were told by Saturn tech's that the motor for the back wiper also needs to be replaced, again at our cost.

- Bowdoinham, ME, USA

problem #3

Dec 012002

Vue 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
: the contact stated the vehicle has timing chain failure which causes vehicle to stall. The check engine light illuminated and the dealer cannot find the cause of the illumination. The transmission also has problems as well as the brakes.

- Eastpointe, MI, USA

problem #2

Sep 172004

Vue 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles
While driving 30 mph vehicle lost power and stalled. Consumer pulled over, and had the vehicle towed. The dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.

- Hudson, FL, USA

problem #1

Jul 152003

Vue

  • Manual transmission
  • 16,000 miles
This vehicle has had this trouble since its puchase. After the first break down, Saturn returned it to us stating that it was a loose battery terminal. The second time Saturn stated that they replaced two of the three on board computers, they also stated that a full diagnostic and repair record would be fowarded to us. That never came. Yesteday 7/6/03 the engine shut off in traffic. I could not get it started and had to have it towed. I will not put my family back in this car again, I don't trust Saturn, the company or the vehicle with my families lives.

- Northport, NY, USA

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