Not Shifting Properly


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
115,400 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. rebuild transmission (3 reports)
  3. rebuild or replace transmission (1 reports)
2008 Saturn Vue transmission problems

transmission problem

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2008 Saturn Vue Owner Comments

problem #7

Jul 012016

Vue XR 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles


The transmission has been rebuilt and then replaced in 2011. The month it has started to act up again. It seems the transmissions only last around 75,000 miles. The last few days it has just seemed to keep getting worse. We dont know what the answer is. Rebuilt are replaced seems to both be pretty expensive. The people we have talked to say that these are bad transmissions.

- Diane K., Albright, WV, US

problem #6

Oct 202015

Vue XR 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

I purchased this car on Oct. 17th. I had the first episode of it not shifting into gear that the other folks here describe on Oct. 20th. The second episode was on the 22nd and it happened again yesterday. When you try to drive this car from a cold start it just won' t shift out of 1st gear and it sounds like the engine is going to blow.Just as described by the other folks on this site, you have to pull over, shut it off,and re- start it to get it into gear. I had to do it twice yesterday. I too, am disabled and cannot afford to make car payments AND costly repairs. Has anyone else gotten any resolution to their problem?

- cumminsoh, Lynchburg, OH, US

problem #5

Sep 012015

Vue XR V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

I just spent $2000 on fixing the brakes (master cylinder 3 mos ago) and now the transmission is slipping. Usually within the first 2-3 mils after start up and after I am pulling off from stopping at a red light. Pull over, restart back in gear and off we go. Happens once about every 5 days and leaves me with engine light that will go overnight. Tire Kingdom pulled a bunch of codes but couldn't replicate the problem while they had it.

Took it to transmission guy... he said (& the Saturn Forums) its the valve body & computer. Cost $1700-$1800 as he also has to take it to dealer to reprogram the computer. However , he said that when he drained the fluid it was dark and showed a lot of contamination from deteriorating parts and valve body might not be the end of it and that once he get inside the transmission he may see additional wear and need to rebuilt it to tune of $3000. Went looking for a replacement used car today. I love my Vue, the way it looks, drives, size, etc. but mechanically is it just a pile of junk? It's paid off so finding a cute replacement will be expensive.

Is it worth getting the fix and risking the rebuild - has a rebuild fixed the problem for other and then I'm good for another 2-3 years? Advice?

- Kay C., Tampa, FL, US

problem #4

May 052014

Vue XR 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles


When driving the car it would not shift out of 1st gear. So I stopped along the road and shut the car off. Needed to get it home so I thought I would start it again and see if the problem continued when I would start driving it again and it did not but the check engine light was on. I went on and thought well maybe it was dirt or something so I stopped at another store got back in my car started out got down the road and it happened again. Stopped the car and restarted it and was able to get it to shift again. Anyway took it to a mechanic to be checked and it read that it was a sensor problem within the transmission. They thought it was the 3-5 wave plate but they stated it looked good and did not replace it. I got my car back on the 16th of May 2014.

- walkerohio, Washington Court HOuse, OH, US

problem #3

May 132014

Vue XR 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,300 miles

I actually tried to go back and fix date for last complaint I had it wrong 1st time it happened it was on 5/5/14 got it back on the 13th. Now it has happened again same problem would not shift out of 1st gear and the check engine light is now on again. If I stop my car along the road and restart it then it will shift and you can drive it until it decides to not shift again. I have called my mechanic that just fixed it to take it back over this coming Monday. I do not know what is going on with this vehicle but I do know that I have found several complaints online about this situation and I feel that this particular problem with these vehicles need to be investigated more and fixed by the dealerships. I will be inquiring more on these due to I have worked in the automotive world prior and have a lot of inside resources Something needs to be done on all of these automotive issues that the public has been having with vehicles being put on the roads. I can not afford to keep having these huge charges to keep having this vehicle repaired.

- walkerohio, Washington Court HOuse, OH, US

problem #2

Apr 262014

Vue XR 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,300 miles

The 6-speed transmission used in this car and other GM vehicles from 07-09 has a incorrectly manufactured 3-5-R wave-plate which is part of one of the clutch sets in this transmission. The part was not properly stress relieved/heat treated to the proper specification. Therefore it will fail usually between 50k and 130k. GM has updated the part so it is now properly manufactured, yet it is only replaced after failure, so no recall!

Buyer beware, if you go to buy this vehicle make sure to get an extended warranty or know the history of the vehicle to make sure the transmission was rebuilt with updated part/re-manufactured transmission with updated part!

This also affects, Acadia, Traverse, Aura, Outlook, and Malibu.

Update from Oct 30, 2015: Just wanted to add, GM has extended the warranty to the transmission due to this wave plate failure, you now have 10years/120,000 mile coverage if your wave plate goes out in that time. Regardless of owner. Just bring the vehicle to a GM dealership with this wave plate problem to get a free rental and the repairs done, again it must be taken to a GM dealership so like a GMC, Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac type one.

Update from Jul 27, 2017: Just want to update that not all VIN numbers are on this recall, why I don't know, but assuming they missed a heat treatment step during production of the Wave Plate maybe they are able to track when those happened. Also, if you are having shifting issues now after the rebuild/replace or your VIN number excludes you from this repair it could very well be the TCM valves are wearing out. This is something you can repair yourself or buy the repair part about $300 from Dorman and have someone else replace for you or even have the dealer replace/repair, but I've heard total cost to be around $1400, if you go that route.... The erratic shifting can be very changing, as I believe the computer is trying to compensate for pressure loss by increasing pressure, changing shifting, take this last sentence with a grain of salt though. I've had issues that came up a few months ago and have now gone away on themselves and I can only attribute this to compensation in the shift profile by the computer or TCM. I am now just waiting for more issues and a check engine light code so I can attempt repair myself.....

- kartboarder22g, Otsego, MN - Minnesota, US

problem #1

Jun 182013

Vue XR

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

purchased 2008 Saturn vue suv in 2009 .still making payments on it and the transmission takes a sh*t. Did some research on it and found out, that Saturn has known about the transmission problem for a while now but refuses to do anything about it. where other automobiles when they discover problems with there vehicles they recall them but Saturn continues to frick people over and nothing I mean nothing is being done about it. Maybe if I did not live on disability it would not bother me as much but when you live on a set income it is not easy to have to come up with 3000,00 to fix the problem. I just wish there was a way to hold Saturn accountable for there wrong doings. I can not believe they have known this and chooses not to fix the problem in my eyes that is a scam and no one is doing anything about it.

- pamlon, Grand Marsh, WI, mexico

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