NHTSA — Power Train: Automatic Transmission 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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
48,554 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2008 Saturn Aura Owner Comments

problem #8

Feb 152012

Aura 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that he noticed that he could take the key our of the ignition without the vehicle being secured in park. The contact tried to start the vehicle but the vehicle would not start because the vehicle was not secured in park. The vehicle was not taken for inspection. The manufacturer was not notified of the issue. The failure mileage was 40,000. Updated 09/26/12

- Cypress, TX, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Jul 162011


  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated that the gear selector was shifted into the park position and the engine was turned off. When the contact exited the vehicle, it began to roll. The contact reentered the vehicle with caution and engaged the emergency brake to stop the it. The engine failed to restart until the gear was shifted into neutral, where it was started and resumed as normal. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who stated that the shift linkage was faulty. There was a recall on the 2009 model year associated with NHTSA campaign id number 09V073000 (power train: Automatic transmission: Lever and linkage: Column shift). The contact experienced a similar failure as mentioned in the recall. The repair was not covered in the service warranty and the vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 71,000.

- Hempstead, NY, USA

problem #5

Jul 102011

Aura 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,305 miles


Transmission shift cable 2008 Saturn Aura xe: The trans. Shift cable in my 2008 Saturn Aura with 47,305 miles had to be replaced. The car would not start, I tried to have a passerby jump the vehicle because initially I thought maybe it was the battery. When he lifted the hood and began to place the cables on the battery the vehicle rolled forward almost knocking him down. Luckily I was in the car and felt the vehicle move and placed my foot on the brake pushing on the shifter to the position for park believing that maybe in error I hadn't had the vehicle in park but it was in park already - I then applied the emergency brake. When the tow truck driver came to tow the vehicle I explained I couldn't get the vehicle into park and that it had moved almost running over someone. He sat in the vehicle and put it in neutral and started the car stating that it was in neutral safety mode because the transmission shift cable was stretched or broken. The cable has been repaired by me and wasn't covered under a recall or warranty.

- Belle Vernon, PA, USA

problem #4

Jun 202011

Aura 6-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
I have a 2008 Saturn Aura. The car was parked with nobody inside it and the, keys removed, in a parking lot with a very slight incline. While my wife was inside a store the vehicle rolled backward 100 feet only to be stopped by a parking block. The prndl still showed the vehicle as being in park.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #3

May 102011

Aura 6-cyl

  • 47,500 miles
I have a 2008 Saturn Aura. Car fails to engage in park 75% of the time, especially when the transmission is hot. Does not allow car to auto-unlock, not be able to be restarted unless shifted to neutral, causes car to roll unless emergency brake is engaged........dealer claims shifter cable is cracked and is charging $360 to replace.......I noticed a recall for almost this exact same problem on the 2009 Aura....should this model year be included also?

- Hanover Park, IL, USA

problem #2

Sep 062010


  • 43,287 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact stated the vehicle would not start due to the gear shift that was stuck in reverse. While driving in reverse out of a parking space the gear shift would not shift back into park or drive it remained in reverse. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who stated that they were researching the warranty with the General Motors manufacturer to confirm if the vehicle could be repaired under the warranty. There are no related recalls for this year make and model vehicle. The contact did not call the manufacturer. The failure mileage 43,287.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #1

Nov 272009


  • 57,782 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Aura. The contact was reversing approximately 2 mph into a parking space when the vehicle abnormally accelerated forward. Immediately, the gear was moved from reverse' into park and then the vehicle rolled forward without warning. The contact turned the engine off and removed the ignition key causing the vehicle to stop. The engine would not restart. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician informed the contact that the shift cable control failed. The vehicle was repaired. The contact stated there was a manufacturer's recall related to the failure. The reference number was unknown. The failure mileage was 57,782. Updated 11/16/10.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

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