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NHTSA — Engine And Engine Cooling: Engine Problems


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,000 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.

2000 Saturn SL engine problems

engine problem

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2000 Saturn SL Owner Comments

problem #10

Nov 212007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles


I purchased the vehicle from a private dealer with an as-is no warranty back in August 2007. The vehicle had a little over 88,000 miles on it. Had the vehicle inspected by a mechanic and all major items appeared to be in good working order. Approximately 1 month later, the car came due for an oil change. I had the oil changed at approximately 90,000 miles. At approximately 94,000 miles, while driving on the interstate on November 21, 2007, the engine went bang. The car jerked violently and the oil light and check engine lights came on. I was going at approximately 75-80 mph and there was no knocking heard prior to engine failure. I pulled the vehicle to the side of the interstate and noticed smoke billowing out of the engine compartment. Immediately called 9-1-1 to report my vehicle was on fire. The fire department arrived and said the engine had not been on fire, but that the engine threw a rod through the block. The fire department asked about knocking prior and I told them there was none. In fact, a mechanic had just looked at it the day before. I recall that the change oil soon light had been coming on intermittently but never steady. The oil light also kept flickering but was never steady. The RPM's increased from 2500 to 3000 and returned to 2500. No previous history of problems reported by dealer. The vehicle was towed to northland community and technical college in East grand forks. The automotive mechanics looked at the engine and said it is totaled. Currently in the process of locating a new or used engine to replace.

- East Grand Forks, MN, USA

problem #9

Nov 152005

SL 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles
I purchased a 2000 Saturn SL2 which was used, therefore, I had a shop thoroughly check that all major components were in working order...I was told that all were in great, the engine, starter, and any vital parts. The car ran great...well, for 5-6 mos. I was in the middle of driving, when the car just shut off...the car would not start warning, no lights, nothing! the car is now in the shop to find the problem. The lights and radio worked but I just heard clicking when turning the ignition. With only 80,000 miles on the car, the mechanic says that the engine is shot, there's nothing he can do other than put a brand new engine in it...with a small fee of $4000. Both of us do not understand why the car was in great shape and within 6 months and barely 3,000 miles the engine went from great to gone! I have read several documents from this site and there are many persons with 2000 Saturn that are saying that they too have a car that stopped suddenly and the stories sound very similar to mine...I've seen many of have similar VIN #S...I identified with the docs regarding the 2000-2003 Saturn L-series issues, although, mine is of the S-series (I guess, because it is an Sl-2). The letter discussing this issue referred to (EA06-009), the defect petition (DP05-008) or the ODI investigation PE06-006 that was opened on 1/24/06. I am not sure that those document include my vehicle being that I thought my engine was of the size 1.9L, I-4, mp, DOHC. If you have the time to view the docs mentioned, they are basically describing the same prob. That I have. Will you please find out if I am incorrect with the info. That I've viewed and if there has been an investigation into the problems that I've had for over 1 yr. Of course, if you have any questions, advice, or know what I should do or with whom I should speak...please let me know. I would greatly appreciate any help that you could provide me with.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #8

Dec 242005

SL 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
When checking the color of my oil, the dip stick was found 3 times bone dry. No oil light indicator would come on and finally one time it was too late. On christmas eve my engine blew due to heat and lack of oil. I would lose 5 quarts before my 3000 mile oil change. I had to buy a used engine and have it installed by a family friend due to lack of money to fix this unexpected problem on my 5 year old car that I am still making payemnts on.

- South San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #7

Jan 202004

SL 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 60,000 miles


60,000 miles engine check light came on, it turns out the intake manifold gasket had a crack and had to be replaced. I feel this was a manufacturing defect, but the dealer would not replace for free.

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #6

Aug 052003

SL 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles
I have a 2000 Saturn SL1 (auto trans). The oil galley plug come out of the back of the engine and broke my flywheel, torque converter, and the transmission. Saturn says it is not their fault and they will not pay for it to be fixed, but this plug can not be touch without taking the whole engine out and taking the engine apart. Know this now the last one to touch this plug is Saturn when they were putting the engine together now I have to pay for their mistake, now a plug that does nothing and can not be touch or a reason to be serviced, has caused $2200 of damage. Knowing all of this, why should I pay for their mistake. Is there anyway that you can help me. Call if you can or can't help please!

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #5

Aug 142003


  • miles
Check engine light appeared on the dashboard and suddenly shut down. All the electrical light components were off.

- Clovis, NM, USA

problem #4

Jul 102003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


When the consumer started the vehicle, the oil light illuminated, the vehicle was towed to the dealership, who stated the oil pump failed.

- Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #3

Dec 062001


  • miles
Consumer stated that service engine soon light came on while driving. Also, vehicle was leaking coolant due to gasket failure.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #2

Aug 252002


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving at highway speeds engine died. Vehicle was towed to dealer. Dealer stated engine needed replacement. Consumer stated the timing cahin broke, which caused vehicle to stall.

- West Bloomfield, MI, USA

problem #1

Apr 122000


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Ongoing problem with engine stalling. Vehicle been into dealer shop on three occasions, and problem still reoccurring. Dealer replaced oil pan due to oil pan leak. Glove box fell out due to the lock being broke. Ses light on due to terminal dislodged on 5 volt reference splice pack. Consumer has replaced the ECM due to stalling and found battery cable loose and fixed problem, however vehicle is still stalling.

- Crestline, CA, USA

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