2008 Saturn Aura drivetrain NHTSA complaints: Power Train

NHTSA — Power Train Problems

2008 Saturn Aura (Page 4 of 5)

CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2008 Aura’s issues with brakes, such as worn out rotors, isn’t as severe as the prior model year, but let’s just not start awarding them any brake awards just yet. Does that even exist? “The Brakies”?

One thing the 2008 does share with the 2007 is a recall of a busted gear shifter cable which can make it look like your car is in park, when the transmission is still engaged. You can only imagine what kind of fun that causes.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,980 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 Aura drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Saturn Aura Owner Comments (Page 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #27

Dec 032013


  • 60,585 miles


Vehicle was at a stop sign and when it was time to move forward the vehicle hesitated and would not respond to increase acceleration. Vehicle was able to drive approximately 5 mile to be parked at home. When at home, checked to see if vehicle would back up and found that there was no reverse function.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #26

Nov 082013


  • 90,000 miles
I have had my car for about 1 year now and I have been having issues with it since I left the dealer ship. The car has begun to give me a traction control light, engine power reduced light, and check engine light. I was driving down the road trying to get to work when I came up to a hill. I started going up the hill as usual and the car all of sudden lost all power. It would not go above 45 miles per hour and was struggling to do even that. It took me about 10 minutes to get the hill where I shut my car off and waited about 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes I turned my car back on and it functioned as normal. If there is a problem going on in the car why would be cleared after 10 minutes of being off? this car needs to be recalled before someone doesn't see that the Aura in front of them in being forced by the computer to slow down. The break lights do not come on when this occurs. I had to shut my car off 3 times just to make it 5 miles where I could get it looked at. The power steering in my car is also whacked out. I will be driving down the road and it will start turning the wheel back and forth. I have seen this happen in older cars, it is usually caused by a bad U joint. In this particular case it is not. After this occurred I slowed down and pulled over on the side of the road and placed my car in park. The steering was still shaking back and forth rapidly. I have taken it to many dealers and asked if they could determine a cause. All of them have said the same thing, "I have never seen that happen before". I wish I would have looked into all of the reviews about this car before I bought it. There are hundreds of instances of this happen to Aura owners and I think it time GM pays for it!

- Mears, MI, USA

problem #25

Jul 312013

Aura 6-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
While driving my 2008 Saturn Aura ABS light, traction control, and ESC light comes on. Car starts. Transmission on route 95 South in Florida went from speed limit of 70 to 20 with no warning. Got off the highway car would not go any faster. Also could not put car into reverse.

- Melbourne , FL, USA

problem #24

Jul 132013

Aura 6-cyl

  • miles


The vehicle does not go into park. When placed in park it rolls foward or backward and I must use the emergency brake to turn off the car and remove the key. It only allows me to start my car in neutral. It has shifted from drive to neutral as I am driving. There has been over 421, 000 of these recalled but I am being told mine is not on the list and I must pay for it all out of pocket from falicia, the district specialist for Saturn. My biggest concern is who would the blame be on if my car were to roll into another car or building? I want and need to get this fixes asap but do not have any money for ot and do not believe I should have to pay for it when all the others were fixed for free due to it being a defect.

- Lima, OH, USA

problem #23

Jun 072013

Aura 6-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
Transmission stopped shifting, could not get any gear. Mechanic says it is the typical 3-5-R wave plate issue.

- Flushing, MI, USA

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problem #22

May 212013

Aura 6-cyl

  • 99,850 miles
Transmission failure suddenly in my 08 Saturn Aura xe 6 speed auto/paddle sedan symptoms include with out warning: Slipping in forward gears, not working in reverse at all and finally not engaging at all with engine revving in traffic causing a major traffic safety problem and narrowly avoiding an accident all in one day while attempting to reach transmission repair shop. My car has 99850 miles on it and the 5 years elapsed in January of this year. Although the car has been vigorously maintained with oil changes every 3K, transmission, brake, and antifreeze fluids changed on schedule this failure occurred like many other horrified owners about as close after expiration date and mileage as one could possible imagine. I assumed that my Aura would be performing well until at least the car was paid for. Now with blue book for value and subtracting what I still owe and estimated $4000 repair the options are dismal. Researching on line revealed a host of people plagued by the same problems with their 6 speed auto/paddle transmission in 07-2010 Saturn. Can the NHTSA be of any relief via interceding with General Motors to do a recall or provide dispensation due to the extreme safety hazard for Saturn drivers but the general public as well?

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #21

Feb 072012

Aura 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles


I have a 2008 Saturn Aura xe with only 58,000 miles on it and recently it started jumping gears when I get to 40-45 mph.... its annoying and today took it in to a dealership for that recall September last year from on my car I knew nothing about since recently when it started acting up... what it does is goes up and down with the gears in that speed limit.... the dealership took care of the recall but that didn't fix it and I have a powertrain warranty till June 30th of this year...I cant afford to pay to have them look into this further only the quick 25 pt inspection which they did and said it didn't look like anything.... soo what im asking is anyone else having this same problem and could it be a recall? this car is not that old and it just started acting up please help!!!!

- Antioch, IL, USA

problem #20

Dec 182012

Aura 6-cyl

  • 102,725 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that while in reverse, the vehicle failed to respond to acceleration attempts. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician replaced the transmission control module and clutch plate. The approximate failure mileage was 102, 725...updated 03/18/13 the consumer stated the vehicle also did not go to drive, only 2nd gear. Updated 04/26/2013

- Brandon, FL, USA

problem #19

Jan 302013


  • 64,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that the vehicle rolled away while in park. The contact was able to stop the vehicle but was unable to start the engine after placing the key in the ignition. The vehicle was towed to a private mechanic where it was found that the shifter cable had failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and informed the contact that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V460000 (power train). The approximate failure and current mileage was 64,000.

- Staten Island , NY, USA

problem #18

Oct 092012


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that when the gear shifter was moved into any position, the transmission would not respond until after several attempts. The failure recurred intermittently. There was a recall associated with the failure under NHTSA campaign id number 12V460000 (power train: Automatic transmission: Gear position indication (prndl)). The contact's VIN was included however, an authorized dealer informed the contact that there would be a charge to inspect the vehicle to determine whether there was a safety defect present or not. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Parma, OH, USA

problem #17

Nov 282012


  • 39,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated he received NHTSA recall campaign id number 12V460000 (power train:automatic transmission:gear position indication (prndl). After contacting the manufacturer they advised him that there were no parts available and he had to wait until January 2013. The contact was concerned due to the consequence that was described in the recall. The current mileage was approximately 39,000.

- East Meadow, NY, USA

problem #16

Apr 012012


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that she shifted into park and exited the vehicle as it began to roll away in reverse. The contact was able to stop the vehicle by engaging the emergency brake. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the shift cable would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. Three months later the vehicle became stuck in reverse. The vehicle was returned to an independent mechanic where the shift cable was replaced again. Four months later after putting the vehicle in park and exiting the vehicle, it began to roll away in reverse and once again, was stopped by engaging the emergency brake. The contact was notified of a recall for the failure under NHTSA campaign id number: 12V460000 (power train:automatic transmission:gear position indication (prndl)). A dealer was notified and informed the contact that her VIN was not included in the recall. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was 50,000 and the current mileage was 66,000.

- Jackson, MS, USA

problem #15

Oct 222012


  • 50,321 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that while attempting to shift into drive, the vehicle erroneously shifted into first gear but proceeded to roll backward. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where the failure could not be replicated. The manufacturer was contacted about the issue and informed the contact that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 12V460000 (power train:automatic transmission:gear position indication (prndl)). The failure and current mileages were 50,321. The VIN was not available.

- Pearl City, HI, USA

problem #14

Sep 032012


  • 79,399 miles
Shifter cable broken behind retaining bracket vehicle rolls in park intermittently vehicle wont start in park lots of recalls online for shifter cable on this Saturn model and many other GM models GM has not issued a recall (yet) for this vehicle.

- Spring Lake Park, MN, USA

problem #13

Sep 062012


  • 22,000 miles
Transmission will not shift in low gear.....recurring problem since new....almost hit in accident due to no shifting...then suddenly shifts like no problem.....

- Louisburg, NC, USA

problem #12

Jun 162010

Aura 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,554 miles
Automatic transmission shift cable broke when moving from park into reverse. Cable had corroded and broke near the point of connection to the transmission in front of the firewall. Car rolled backwards and would not restart because transmission was no longer in park and could not be shifted. 2008 Saturn Aura 3.5L with 4 speed transmission with problems very similar to NHTSA action number : EA11015. Saturn would not cover repairs under warranty and repairs cost $307.72. If breakage had occurred somewhere other than a parking lot it could have been very dangerous with no control or ability to move out of traffic or harm's way. Should not have worn out and broken with 40,000 miles and 2 years old.

- Richfield, UT, USA

problem #11

Mar 122012

Aura 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
I cannot consistently get the car into park. The prndl indicates I'm in park, but the car keeps rolling. I believe that this is the same issue as campaign id #: EA11015.

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #10

Oct 172010

Aura 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
Placed car in park, car doors did not unlock and key could not be removed from the transmission. Other symptoms included selecting reverse and gear shift stayed in neutral, car shut down ok and would not re-start. The problem is intermittent but would return at random intervals. Took the car to a local garage and nothing was found. The problem seemed to clear up by repeatedly cycling the shift selector. The last time was this weekend when the parking brake was used to stop the car from rolling in the garage after the console indicator and position indicated park. Took the car to the Chevy dealer today and the shift cable and bracket were replaced. Seems to be ok now. Filed this report because the Chevy 1-800 line said no help because the car was out of the VIN number range -- was told that another Aura out of the VIN range on the service bulletin was towed in for the same problem. The range GM has identified is apparently too narrow and more cars are involved than GM acknowledges. It was my fault this wasn't addressed sooner -- but just couldn't find time or resources to deal with it after the local garage found nothing.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #9

Mar 072012


  • 47,942 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that while the vehicle was parked, red fluid was leaking from the vehicle. The contact checked the transmission reservoir and noticed that there was no transmission fluid in the vehicle. The contact called the manufacturer who suggested that the contact take the vehicle to a dealer. The contact took the vehicle to a dealer where it was discovered that transmission fluid was leaking from the faulty trans cooler lines. The dealer replaced both trans cooler lines. The failure mileage was 47,942.

- Auburn, CA, USA

problem #8

Jan 232012

Aura 6-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
This vehicle is a major safety concern for me. This car started jerking out of nowhere when I was on my way home from work. The other major problem it has is that if I have the car in one gear it forces itself to drive in another gear. I try to switch gears and that became almost impossible to do. This car did not switch to the correct gear when I was driving amidst traffic. A car could have easily toppled me over with this car not wanting to drive when I know that it is in the right gear. Most every other Saturn has had plenty of issues in regards to recalls. How this car seems to escape the same fate is beyond me. I never thought that I would be posting anything negative about my car but this needs to be brought to attention. This car is more of a safety issue than any other car I have previously owned.

- Paducah, KY, USA

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