2008 Saturn Aura engine NHTSA complaints: Engine

NHTSA — Engine Problems

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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
89,591 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Saturn Aura Owner Comments

problem #8

Jun 272016


  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. While driving 40 mph, the traction and brake warning lights illuminated at 4 rpms. In addition, when the accelerator pedal was depressed, the vehicle failed to accelerate and the check engine warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 130,000.

- Salem, NH, USA

problem #7

Feb 092016


  • 112,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. While driving various speeds, the vehicle stalled and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was restarted. In addition, the contact mentioned that an abnormal sound emitted from the vehicle and it locked and unlocked independently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 112,000.

- Millersburg, PA, USA

problem #6

Jan 152016


  • 52,000 miles
While passing another car to merge onto an off ramp, I accelerated and then let up on the gas pedal as I exited. Immediately the engine started making a loud ticking noise which continued as I drove home on surfaces streets. Upon starting the car the next day I heard a light knocking noise. I drove to the Chevy dealer and the knock got louder. They advised tearing the engine down for $1,000 to determine the issue. They said there was metal in the oil. I believe my issues are the same as many 3.6ltr vvt engine owners, the timing chains and supports for them. The noise is persistent and varies in tone. I had barely 50,000 miles on it and have kept the oil changes regular, I even had mobile 1 synthetic put in its last oil change. I am extremely frustrated as this was my first american made new car purchase and there were only eight months after it was paid off when this failure occured. I am a usaf vet and retired from a city job of 30 years. After spending $32,000 on this car, I expected so much more.

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #5

Nov 022015


  • 85,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. While driving at 15 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact was unable to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 85,000. Updated 1/13/16

- Rice Lake, WI, USA

problem #4

Sep 242014

Aura 6-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
My 2008 Saturn Aura xr had shifted very hard from 2nd to 3rd gear but then seemed to operate normally. Drove for approximately 20 miles and had just gotten off of the highway when the vehicle began to once again shift very hard from one gear to the next. Was traveling about 25 mph when it suddenly did one last very hard shift. The engine light came on and the vehicle began to slow down and proceed to power down on its own. Came to a full stop and the vechicle would no longer move forward. Vehicle had to be towed home. I have spoken with GM and according to them, my VIN# does not currently have any recalls regarding transmission problems attached to it. I will have to cover the cost of repairs myself. Although my specific vehicle does not have any current or past recalls regarding engine or transmission issues, there are recalls listed out there for other Saturn Auras. There is obviously an issue and GM should step up and take care of it. I am so grateful that this did not occurr while I was still on the highway or it may have ended up being a very different outcome.

- Germantown, OH, USA

problem #3

Aug 032014

Aura 6-cyl

  • 66,728 miles
While driving home from work, my temp gauge shot up just beyond the 3/4 mark into the red zone. I pulled over and waited for about 14 minutes till the gauge came down to just under 1/2. I began to move the vehicle again and the gauge kept jumping up and down till I got home. I looked under the hood and noticed that the radiator fluid reservoir was about empty. I added radiator fluid and left the car parked till the next day. Drove the car around for almost 29 days when it began to overheat again. Once again when I looked under the hood, the reservoir was about empty again. I look up the problem on the internet and have found that a lot of GM owners with vehicles that have the 3.5L or 3.9L engines have been experiencing the same problem but GM will not fix the issue (gasket leak at the side of the block). According to what I have read, this is a known issue with these engines but GM has not done a thing to correct the problems.

- Kannapolis, NC, USA

problem #2

Jun 142014


  • 80,000 miles
On Saturday, June 14 my car would not start. I moved the floor gear shift deeper into the park position and it started. On Monday, June 16 I parked my car after purchasing an item at drive-through window. When I attempted to start it, it would not start. The gear shift moved through all of the indicators (PRD...) and the car began to roll backwards nearly hitting another car. I called for a tow, and the driver noted the problem. Today, pep boys completed repair of the the gear shift assembly. There was a missing part. The incident notice (www.motortrend.com/cars/2008/Saturn/Aura/recalls/) recall id # 103875 - power train:automatic transmission:lever and linkage:floor shiftplushide details recall date: Apr 30, 2014 model affected: 2008 Saturn Aura summary: General Motors llc (GM) notified the Agency on April 29, 2014, that they are recalling 56,214 model year 2007 and 2008 Saturn Aura vehicles. Consequences: If the transmission shift cable fractures while the vehicle is being driven, the transmission gear selection may not match the indicated gear and the vehicle may move in an unintended or unexpected direction, increasing the risk of a crash. Furthermore, when the driver goes to stop and park the vehicle, despite selecting the ┐park┐ position, the transmission may not be in ┐park.┐ if the vehicle is not in the "park" position there is a risk the vehicle will roll away as the driver and other occupants exit the vehicle or anytime thereafter. A vehicle rollaway increases the risk of injury to exiting occupants and bystanders. Remedy: GM will notify owners, and GM dealers will replace the shift cable assembly and mounting bracket, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact General Motors at 1-800-553-6000. GM's number for this recall is 14152.

- Fishers, IN, USA

problem #1

Jan 282014

Aura 4-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
Back in Jan 2014 car was put in park at shopping mall parking lot engine shut off exited vehicle security system engaged with remote I was having dinner when police came in to asked who owned the Saturn Aura and that my car was in the middle of the road this was the beginning of the issues. Automatic door locks constantly lock and unlock while driving and while car has been off for hours. Automatic start malfunctioned now car will not start at all even with using the key.

- Hopatcong, NJ, USA

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