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NHTSA — Power Train: Manual Transmission: Column Shift Assembly Problems


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 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.

1998 Saturn SL transmission problems

transmission problem

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1998 Saturn SL Owner Comments

problem #1

Jul 302004

SL 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles


My wife's '98 Saturn SL1 has approximately 80,000 miles on it. About a week ago, she was no longer able to shift out of 1st gear. After taking the center console out, I noticed that a rubber grommet that attached the shift rod to the shift cables had rotted and broken in half. Normally, this should have been very easy to replace. A new grommet could very easily be popped in with around 1/2 hour of work. When I approached the local Saturn dealers, they said they did not have the.50 cent grommet available, and that the entire shifter cable would have to be replaced (there is nothing wrong with the cables themselves). The person working there said they have to replace the whole cables very often. Total cost for the cables and labor is around $600. They do not sell the grommet seperately. Getting suspicious, I went on the internet to research the problem. I found many sites with people experiencing the same problem (see,, for example). All could easily have fixed the problem by getting a new rubber grommet. I believe this is a serious problem that Saturn needs to do something about. Spending $600 for a $5 repair is rediculous and wrong. Also, my wife's car is completely out of comission until this can be replaced. Many reports from other owners I have read have stated that to get around spending $600, they are using self made fixes. This could be very dangerous to do, and could cause accidents in the future. However, their options are somewhat limited unless they wish to spend a lot of money. Again, this problem could be easily rectified if Saturn would simply make the grommet available for sale. Regards, james langford.

- Garland, TX, USA

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