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Another Saturn SL2 Tale

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by mikepd, Jan 6, 2003.

  1. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    My wife's car is a 2000 Saturn SL 2 sedan which we got when it still had part of the factory warranty remaining. The warranty just ran out as it now has a little over 37,500 miles on it. Last week she comes home from work saying a light is on the dash that she had never seen before. As I'm looking through the manual, she's describing what sounds like a coolant light and that's what it is. She said the light came on briefly while she had he heater on and then went out when she turned the heater off. I told her since the car was out of warranty, our local mechanic was closer and took the extended warranty plan we purchased from the Saturn dealership when we got the car that it made more sense just to get it done at the local mechanic. The car was driven about 15 miles from work to home and then less than a mile to the mechanic.

    He diagnosed the right manifold needed replacing as it had become warped. A gasket and belt had to be replaced as well. The extended warranty plan refused to cover the cost as they consider warpage not to be a 'mechanical defect'. They implied that heat related manifold issues is a maintenance cause. The car was always maintained at Saturn during the warranty period and after it went out of warranty, maintenance was done according to Saturn schedules.

    We probably have no recourse anywhere but I really would like to let Saturn headquarters know just what I think of their 'warm and fuzzy' feel good ads. I have never had a car go with a manifold problem at 37.5k miles. Stuff happens but an over $800 bill for this is ridiculous on a car this 'young'.

    Thanks for listening.

  2. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    It's really disheartening to see this with Saturn. I thought they were one of the few American hopes in reference to getting a good deal for a decent car.

    Not anymore? What changed?
  3. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    Nothing changed.

    Saturn started off and remains a brilliant marketing scheme.

    They dont 'allow' haggling over price because it 'makes the customer uncomfortable and our prices are SOOO low' - how convenient.

    Their cars are poorly made, perform terribly, are styled poorly and are HUGELY overpriced. Compare a Saturn for 22K with a VW Jetta for the same price... there really IS no comparison, the difference in quality is so huge.

    And yet, the hypnotic power of masterful marketing allows them to pull off their scam year after year.

    Its really amazing what companies can pull on the conspicuous consumers of America.

  4. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Uhm, since when are Saturns 22K? Has it changed THAT much over the years?
  5. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    All part of the brilliant plan.

    Introduce the company, the 'philosophy' etc., get the brand and marketing rolling, slowly raise prices while lowering costs and shortening the length of planned obsolescence.

    Im probably only slightly less guilty than most - the average American consumer is a major sucker.

    Its part of our 'culture', for some strange reason.

  6. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Whoa, an american piece of crap for 22k???? I'll take the VW ANY DAY. Hell, for 22k, you could buy a nicely equipped ACCORD or ALTIMA (now that's a nice car).

    Never buy an American car. Say it with me now, people - NEVER BUY AMERICAN. It's nice to support our country, but dude, when these American car companies have made a living screwing customers in the butt like that, they don't deserve our support.

    I own a Dodge ram currently, and though I love my truck, it's already starting to show signs of being just an American-built piece of crap. My dashboard, which has never been crashed or hit or pounded or ANYTHING, has 2 HUGE cracks. The dash has literally split into 3 pieces, all on it's own. And it's not for lack of Armorall - the dash is made of plastic - like, really hard plastic. Regular plastic. No amount of armorall would have any effect, as it's not some sort of vinyl plastic - it's honest to God regular hard plastic. And it cracked, on it's OWN. Called up the dealer to get a quote on the piece - $750 for a new dash, installed. See, you can't just get the dash and install it yourself. NO - they have to take the ENTIRE CAR APART inside in order to install the dash.

    So repeat after me - NEVER BUY AMERICAN.

    My next is car will be an import. Fuck that shit. :)
  7. Sam

    Sam Cute and cuddly!

    I also have a Ram right now and I really like it except for the mileage and the bumpy ride is killing my back. (Copz's is a 4 door and has a much smoother ride and gets better mileage, V8 verses my V6)

    I am currently saving up for a down payment for an Accord EX auto ( that's power everything, 4 wheel disc, abs, 16"alloy, front and side air bags, moon roof, 6disc CD, remote keyless, I mean everything) It can be had between $22 and $23 after tt&l.

    I can't wait!!!:happy:
  8. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Accords are really nice ride too. Anything Japanese is great in my book.
  9. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    If you are willing to spend 22K, but not more than 23, I think that you would be quite insane to not buy a VW.

    They are so fantastically built, solid, safe, reliable, feature laden and performance engineered - for the money I think they really have the Japanese beat right now.


    Im VERY happy with my 2000 Golf 1.8 Liter turbo.

    22K Loaded and Ill tell ya, the little thing MOVES.

  10. Sam

    Sam Cute and cuddly!

    My deciding factor is I put alot of miles on a vehicle. (ex. My truck is a year and a half old and has over 41k miles on it.) A Honda is tha only one that I can be pretty sure can take that kind of abuse and I won't have to worry about it beaking down right after the warranty is up. And it will retain a higher resale value. Also what other car can be had for that price that has the quality of customer service, ie. loaner car when repairs are needed. I am not sure about a VW but I know Toyota does not give loaners. We had a Civic for about 8 years and it never broke down. We only did regular maintenance on it.
  11. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    I average about 30K a year on my Golf.

    Almost zero issues, nothing major, lightbulbs etc., running solid for last 2.5 years.

    Not sure about resale value, no car really holds resale value - theyre all a losing investment the minute you sign, but this is the first German engineered and built vehicle Ive ever had, and Ill never go back. The differences down to the littlest things really impress.

    My next car will be another VW, an Audi (ooooh TT please) or the only non-german car Id buy - a Toyota Tacoma.

    Ive had a couple Toyota trucks. They never die - ever... 500K is not a problem at all with regular maintenance.

    Hondas are good, sure, but from my research its either Toyota or VW.

  12. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    Both our Saturns were bought used at nowhere near the original price and then we had trade-in vehicles on top of that. In any event, I should have added to the story that at no time did the water gauge move. It gave no indication of a heat condition at all. My car is a Saturn 1998 SW1 wagon and has around 42k miles on it and other than a problem with the power door locks and coolant sensor (I see a pattern as I type this) it's been fine). The Saturn dealership gave us the insurance rates even though the work on the wagon did not qualify under the policy. However, our next vehicles will most likely not be American.
  13. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    I had a Volvo once where every gauge on the dash failed in the first three months. At one point both the speedometer and the fuel gauge had failed so I was guessing on filling up. Then a bracket failed that held the alternator and it took a week to get the part. Traded it the day I got it back. Moral of the story is there are many horror stories of cars that got past quality control and even some models.

    When I bought my 1998 Malibu I wanted auto trans, a/c, v6, and cruise. The comparable foreign cars were 3-5000 more. my car is 5 years old and I have spent 200 for a repair that was not normal maintenance. That is quite a savings. I think part of the problem is the packages. They gussy them up so far for the dealer profit that you can not get just what you want without ordering and then see how they deal on the trade in. I despise buying a car.
  14. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    I hate buying a car, too. I really dislike the entire process, so whenever we go, we tell the guy upfront, that if we feel pressured, we walk. And it doesn't take long for some asshole to test us, and sure enough - we walk out the door. They sit there and call you back, as if it's a joke. We just keep walking and find another sales person, or just walk out of the dealership entirely.

    You know, I think next time we buy a car, we're going to do so online. Pick out everything we want, shop around, and then order it and pick it up. No dealing with sales people. GOD that would be nice :)
  15. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    Shiny's right about the package thing though. I was playing around on the Saturn site customizing various options. If you had certain combinations, it says you have a conflict and have to pick an entire package to get that one or two features. I question whether this is really needed from an engineering standpoint. More like marketing and bottom line. Buying a car has got to be one of the most stressful purchases short of buying a house one can do.
  16. Stonehawk

    Stonehawk AKA Jerry

    Yeah Misu, we did just that with our 1998 Mazda B3000 we just bought a few months ago.

    We gave the specs we wanted to the company and they went out and found the vehicle for us, with all the pluses we wanted with it.

    We bought a 2002 Intrigue about 6 - 7 months ago. Been very happy with it so far. We will see.....

    Stay safe all....
  17. Sam

    Sam Cute and cuddly!

    I really like the way we got Copz's new truck. We looked around at sale adds and the website for a few weeks. When the time came we called one of the sale adv. dealerships. Told the guy if that's really the price then we will be there in 2 hours. But if we drive 2 hours and find out after we get there that it isn't the price then we will be pissed and walk. He had all the papers drawn up when we got there it took a 5 minute phone call and 30 minutes to get out of the dealership with the truck.

    I did close to the same when I got mine a while back. I told the Honey I was going to go look. "Look yeah right"hehehe I walked into the dealership with a three month old sale adv. from another dealership grabbed a sales guy and
    asked him "Can you match this price? If you can I will get one today if not then I don't want to waste your time." I called Copz an hour after I left the house and said you better get down here I just bought a truck. He about shit his pant's. hehehe

    The trick is to not let them get into your finances. Get pre-approved at a credit union or somethign before you ever go to the dealership. Then when they ask you what do you want the payments to be you can tell them it is non of their business.
  18. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Keep us posted. :)
  19. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    Well, I just got back from taking the SL2 to the Saturn dealer for a complete checkup at no charge. I showed them the invoice from our local mechanic and explained again the entire story. They said it could have been just a gasket failure and the manifold need not have been required to be replaced. Said it was made of composite materials that they have special equipment that could be used to correct a fitting problem if it was warped. Not having seen the part, they could not comment further. At least they gave the car a clean bill of health and said in the future bring it to them. The mechanic who was there at the service desk when I brought the car in also said they don't like to work on non-Saturn cars for just that reason. They may run into something they are not familiar with and have to do work that may not be needed. Oh well, it is a situation where hindsight is always better. We should have just topped the reservoir off well and taken it to Saturn. We were more concerned with driving the car too far and the thought of a manifold problem at 37,500 some miles never occurred to us. Live and learn.

  20. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    When I bought my Ram 3500 I wasn't really planning on buying a truck then. Was due to retire in 6 months, and was looking to get a price so I could get a budget set up to buy it just before I retired.

    Went down to the dealership and knew I was in trouble when I drove on to the lot. Nice duallie sitting in the first spot as I drove in. Oh Oh.. Drop the wife off at the main building and I walk out to where the truck is. It's a brand new model year (1999) for 39,000 bucks. Ouch..

    Salesman meets me at the truck, and starts trying to get me to take the truck out. Try to explain I'm not really looking to buy, but get talked into taking it for a spin. What the hell.. Just because I drive it doesn't mean I have to buy it.. Get it out on the road and I'm like Will Smith as he takes off in the flying saucer in Independence Day.. I have GOT to get me one of THESE! **sigh** I'm hooked.

    Get back to the dealership and he's just arriving back in my Plymouth Voyager. I hadn't even decided what I was going to do with the van. Knew I probably wouldn't use it in trade and was looking to sell it. We get inside and he starts up with the "I need to talk to my manager" crap. I roll my eyes and check to see if the other half is about ready to go.

    Salesman walks back out, writes down a figure on a piece of paper and I'm floored. I ask if that's including trade and paying off my van. Yup.. He paid off the van, and still knocked 12 thousand off the price of the truck. Where do I sign? Picked up the truck the next day.

    Still have it. 130,000 miles later, it's still running great. Love that Cummins diesel.

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