2008 Saturn Outlook drivetrain NHTSA complaints: Power Train

NHTSA — Power Train Problems

2008 Saturn Outlook (Page 3 of 6)


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
79,394 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 Outlook drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Saturn Outlook Owner Comments (Page 3 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #64

Mar 082014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 54,500 miles


Noticed while driving at any speed that slight movement of the steering wheel right or left caused a whining noise in the steering column area. Only a few days later I noticed the car bucking when shifting in the lower gears after accelerating from a stop. Two days after the lower gear shifting issues, I noticed the car stuttered and bucked when I shifted into reverse and attempted to back into my driveway. I brought the car in for service and was told the car threw a code - P0018 - which means "crank to cam intake", along with saying the rack and pinion is leaking and could be fixed at a cost of $1700. And the transmission is shot and they recommended bringing to a local transmission shop to get the best cost/service. I have no idea what that will cost. The car only has 54K miles on it. Our 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty expired in September 2013. This could have been a major safety issue. Now it appears the repairs will cost a third of what the car is currently worth. Those systems should not fail after such low mileage.

- Duluth, MN, USA

problem #63

Nov 152013


  • 67,000 miles
Driving to a doctor appt and pulled into a parking lot to use my phone. Put car in park, engine on. Sat for 5 min, then put car in drive and engine revved and revved but did not move but a few feet. Put car in park and turned off the car for a few minutes. Upon restart, drove just fine for about 20 miles until check engine light went on. Went immediately to have to code read at a nearby auto zone. Gave 2 codes, one about a transmission problem and the 2nd about a computer self-repair completed. Never had the problem again. Then 3/5/14, at now 71,000 mi or so, while entering the on ramp to the freeway and now in the far left lane, attempted to accelerate, engine revved and car went maybe 25 mph if that. A large big rig slammed on its brakes and swerved to miss rear-ending us. Car was turned off and turned back on. Same problem-revved very high and would go only 25-35 mph in drive. Had to get off the freeway! vehicle overheated and smoking. Towed to mechanic shop and was told it was a miracle that we have been able to drive it as all the gears were stripped and it needed a new transmission. GM dealership said manufacturer warranty 5yr or 100,000 mi just expired 2/13. $2,500-$3,500 in cost...grrrr! along with a dual sun/moon roof leak!

- Magnolia, TX, USA

problem #62

Nov 112013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 65,278 miles
I was driving on the freeway at 65 miles per hour when my transmission failed on a vehicle that had only 65,000 miles and was well maintained in accordance with dealer recommendations. The vehicle was towed to my mechanic and required replacement. I was informed that by the transmission repair facility that they had been receiving Saturn SUVS on a regular basis. Exact quote was we have been getting "a ton" of these vehicles with very low miles.

- Milton, GA, USA

problem #61

Jan 092014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • miles


2008 Saturn Outlook. Consumer writes in regards to engine and transmission problems. The consumer stated the check engine light illuminated and the vehicle stopped running. Upon inspection, a code was received for a cam shaft position sensor. The consumer learned the problem was supposedly fixed at 51,000 on April 7, 2011, where the timing chain and crankshaft were replaced. On August 23, 2013 the vehicle was in the shop for transmission problems.

- Barnhart, MO, USA

problem #60

Mar 092014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 76,386 miles
Transmission stuck in gear. Would not shift. Service tech found metal filings in transmission and advised to replace with new. ($4700). Researched the problem and found the to be common with this transmission. My opinion that GM should have recalled it or pay for the new transmission.

- Antigo, WI, USA

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problem #59

May 012013


  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Outlook. The contact stated that while driving approximately 45 mph, the vehicle made a loud noise, jerked violently, and then stalled. The vehicle was not able to be driven and was towed to an authorized dealer where it was found that the transmission and transmission plate needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 76000.

- Jonesboro, GA, USA

problem #58

Jan 102011

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles


Vehicle would suddenly lose power, traction control light and check engine light would come on, then light would say engine power reduced. Ongoing problem since 2011. Becoming more frequent. Today complete power loss, transmission would not respond again. 85000 miles now. This has happened from every speed from 1 mph to 60 mph.

- Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #57

Jan 172014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
Transmission went bad right after 100000 miles, reverse and 3rd gear is not working. I am asking to GMC to replace it since there are hundreds of cases with the same situation.

- Wyoming, MI, USA

problem #56

Dec 262013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
Vehicle would not shift gears properly. Drove it directly (less than 5 miles) to a local auto shop. Diagnostics identified transmission problems. Vehicle is 5 months out of warranty. Transmission had to be replaced.

- Imperial, MO, USA

problem #55

Jan 052014

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
Transmission went out while driving. Stuttering, shaking, and then no power at all. This happened in busy traffic and all I could do was coast to a stop. Had to push it to the side of the road after traffic was stopped.

- Sidney, OH, USA

problem #54

Dec 232013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 59,200 miles


3 weeks ago the dealership replaced my ECM because the check engine light came on and the vehicle was stalling. On Monday, my husband talked to the dealership because it started not shifting properly. They said due to the holiday they couldn't see us until Thursday. Within minutes if the conversation, the vehicle stopped shifting all together...no check engine light; nothing. Using onstar, we have it towed to the dealership. Tuesady we receive a call and are told it is $1600 to replace a "ball" in the transmission. Oops, they forgot the tax in the first quote; now $1800! we get a loan to have it fixed. Thursday we receive a call and now there are metal shavings in our fluid they didn't see before and it is going to be $4300 for a re-manufactured transmission. The service agent at one point laughed at me and said to do the minimu repair and trade it in for a new vehicle!! our warranty just expired in June, the vehicle has less than 60,000 and this is the second time in less than 30 days it has been in! as active duty military, we cannot afford $4300 to fix it but also cannot be without a vehicle!!

- Fleming Island, FL, USA

problem #53

Dec 232013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
Vehicle lost speed on freeway and driver control panel lite up with error messages (stabilitrak, traction control, engine reduced power, and emission control warnings). Onstar ran diagnostic with multilpe error codes and had to have vehicle towed to delarship. The dealership stated that the valve covers were leaking and oil was all over the throttle body. Extended warranty will only over throttle body and not valve cover since GM re-designed the valve covers! obviously GM knows the valve covvers fail!! my portion of repair is $1100. Again just outside of 5 year powertrain warranty.

- Saint Paul, MN, USA

problem #52

Dec 222013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
While driving the transmission started slipping and had gone completely out. The cost to repair this will be around 3500 dollars. This is absurd considering how new the car is.

- Watsonville, CA, USA

problem #51

Dec 202013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 82,548 miles
I had just pulled out on a interstate highway, and the vehicle acted like it did not want to shift gears. The check engine light came on and I could not accelerate any faster than 40 mph. I pulled off the side of the road and waited on a tow vehicle. The steering has been very stiff also in the last few months.

- Delbarton, WV, USA

problem #50

Nov 282013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
On November 28, 2013 we experienced our first symptom that something was not quite right on our 2008 Saturn Outlook. Upon acceleration our car started to rev excessively at around 35-40 mph. We were able to continue to drive and the vehicle seemed to switch gears ok in every other gear...but really struggled when in the lower gears. We brought it into to see if possibly it just needed to have the transmission flushed and were advised against doing that. Instead, they topped of the transmission fluid and our vehicle seemed to run smoothly for exactly one week. And than boom, we had the exact same symptom where the vehicle could not shift out of lower gears and this time it had a burning type smell. I went online and, to my surprise, found page and page of discussions surrounding transmission issues with the 2007 and 2008 Saturn Outlook. In all cases, the symptoms were identical. In all cases, complete transmission rebuilds were the only solution. Most vehicles were just outside of their warranty, but in some cases, the mileage was as low as 30,000. GM is fully aware of the situation, yet is doing nothing to rectify the matter. They know that they have a faulty "wave plate" in these cars that is causing the transmissions to completely break down. If you google "2008 Saturn transmissions" you will find all of the evidence you want to support the need to investigate a possible recall. This is both dangerous and incredibly costly and something that GM needs to accept and step up and repair. Our vehicle has only 72,000 miles on it and we are looking at a minimum of $3,400 in repairs. The mechanic that is fixing our vehicle has had six Outlooks in his shop alone. When I spoke to the customer service agent, [xxx] at GM 866-790-5700 ext [xxx], she freely and readily admitted that they were fully aware of the problem. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Andover, MN, USA

problem #49

Dec 032013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 60,365 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Saturn Outlook. The contact stated that while driving approximately 50 mph, the transmission began to slip gears with severe hesitation without warning. The vehicle failed to accelerate over 35 mph. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who recommended that the transmission be rebuilt. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 60,365. Updated 2/11/14 according to the invoice, the reverse waveplate was broken. Updated 02/18/14

- Uniontown, OH, USA

problem #48

Dec 042013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
Power train warranty expired 11/1/13 and now my Outlook won't go reverse, 3rd or 5th, check engine light illuminated, I'll take it tomorrow to the dealer and find out if it's the same problem everyone has been having with the tcm or if it's the reverse clutch plate (waved). I also have the other common problem with the leaky sunroof, water comes down the driver floor board by the parking brake. This is my first GM and it looks to me like it's going to be my last. I'm going back to Toyota! I wish I had known all of these problems, I would had never bought this SUV if I knew this info exist online, live and learn! I can't believe GM knowingly allows these problems go on and won't do anything to correct it.

- Brooksville, FL, USA

problem #47

Nov 152013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
I was driving vehicle home from work when the car began to slow down. I pulled to the side of the road and could not engage the reverse or drive setting. The vehicle was towed to a mechanic who checked the vehicle out and told me the transmission would have to be replace for $3600. The vehicle is one year past the warranty but should not matter because I have owned several vehicles other than Saturn with more than 100K miles and never had a transmission go out. This vehicle only has 67K miles and to have the trans go is pathetic. I feel GM should take care of this but I do not know who to call. This vehicle has been involved in other recalls like the wiper arm motor that I replaced and did not know it was being recalled. Therefore, I was wanting to know where I can send the bill for that.

- Waterford, MI, USA

problem #46

Nov 032013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 89,172 miles
My car has 89,000 miles and the transmission went out yesterday. I was traveling at 57mph when the cars engine revved to 7 rpms, and then slowed to 30 mph. I was unable to maintain the speed limit because the car would not go above 25-30 mph. It's gonna cost nearly $4,000 to fix and the "5yr" warranty expired in March. Very disappointed in GM for making such a terrible transmission. So many problems and very little help with the problem!

- Lenoir, NC, USA

problem #45

Oct 172013

Outlook 6-cyl

  • 139,000 miles
Without warning, I left a parking lot and my car seemed very sluggish. I noticed that it would not shift out of 1st gear. The check engine light came on, so I pulled over and killed the engine. I let it sit a few minutes and started the engine again. I had the same problem as I accelerated to go down the road. I didn't know what to do, so we called a wrecker and had it hauled to the transmission place. They called and told me the transmission would have to be rebuilt and the computer inside the transmission replaced and programmed. These repairs totaled just over $3,000. I am so angry because I have read on a Saturn forum that this is a pretty common problem. I don't understand why GM won't do the right thing and recall the transmission. This is ridiculous to have this type problem on a 5-6 year old vehicle.

- Marion, LA, USA

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