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    Never Buy a Saturn

    October 7, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    Have I ever mentioned that Si drives a Saturn Ion? Probably not. It’s a fairly innocuous little car. Or it seemed that way when we bought it. We bought it new because that was the only way we could get out of our Saturn lease. And we had the lease because that was the only way Si was able to quickly aquire a car after college.

    He needed the car to get to work to earn the money to buy me an engagement ring so that we could get married and have a great marriage and really cute kids but really bad, ugly car problems.


    In October of 2005, we made a journey to visit the MPL family. Our car, less than three years old at the time, lost its transmission on the mountain roads we were traveling to get home.

    That was fun.

    But…it was still under warranty. We were without an extra car for a while, but Si worked from home, and so we were fine.

    It has been less than two years. Si has been on a business trip this week. The transmission went out. Again. And, this time, we hear it might not be covered by warranty {though perhaps the manufacturer will stand by a defective product?}. Apparently, the warranty was up when the original car warranty was up, even though the transmission itself is, this time around, less than two years old.

    The car has also had other problems, like windows that won’t roll down, and a collapsible back seat that wishes to stay collapsed, so it is somewhat dangerous to actually use the seat to transport passengers.

    But the car is a simple commuter car. Our family is too big to actually go anywhere in it. So Si takes it to work and takes it home, and occasionally on a business trip.

    Which brings me back to the two-year-old transmission that went out yesterday.

    Cost (in time) away from family
    when you really thought
    you’d be home early: 7 hours

    Cost of fixing the transmission
    that was less than two-years old
    and driven less than 5,000 miles:
    $170 and counting

    Driving a Saturn Ion: priceless

    If I end up adding “donations accepted” button in the sidebar, you’ll know why.

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  • Reply Brandy October 8, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Hi Rach!
    I suppose you’re right. As I was thinking about it, our Ion is first generation, meaning it was the first year they sold the Ion. I have read a bit more about this, and it sounds like it is risky to buy a first generation of any brand of car. It takes a couple generations to get the kinks worked out, especially if they incorporate “new technology” rather than simply a new look. I believe the Ion used some pretty major new technology, and this might be some of the problem.

    However, comma…

    Before this, my sister had a Saturn that was an absolute lemon, and the company did not stand by their product and even “forgot” to document her complaints–which of course meant they didn’t have to honor the lemon law.

    I do think it depends on the dealership, though. Si happened, by the grace of God, to break down where we had purchased the car in L.A. county, and many of the people there are good people. This helps bunches.

  • Reply Rachel Green October 8, 2007 at 7:34 am

    I’m so sorry, Brandy! What a hassle!! 🙁

    But honestly, I’m beginning to wonder. Until you [& obviously now the MPL family as well! :-)], I had never heard of a single person having trouble with a Saturn!! I had heard WONDERFUL things about them! And for a long while, that was the next type of car we were going to buy.

    We have had two Fords and swore to never buy a Ford again. :-/ I’m really starting to think though that just about every car has it’s problems. It’s all in who you talk to. But when we have personal experience against one, we say “never again”. Then, we get another kind and have the same type of problems OR we don’t . . . but our next door neighbor does.

    I don’t know. I’m just beginning to wonder. :-/

    My husband says the next type of car we’re getting now is a hybrid!! Hmmmm . . . we’ll see.

    Love you and miss you, my friend!!

  • Reply Gracie October 8, 2007 at 12:47 am

    I’m all for Hondas or Toyotas. But then again it’s because of my asian background and when your parents are buying you the car you get what they want you to get. 🙂

  • Reply Brandy October 7, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Wow. The MPL family is out in full force! 🙂

    I must say that we have been thrilled with the Suburban. Of course, it is a 1999, so none of the newfangled thingamajigs that cause problems are on it. We have done some work on it, but all of it was normal for the mileage. My goal is to get it to 200,000 miles.

    And, before that, I drove another Chevy (the Cavalier), also a prize-winning car. Honestly, I wish we had kept the Chevy and sold the Saturn, even though the Chevy was five or six years older!

    My theory? If we buy American again (and we will also buy used from here on out), I am certain we will buy a Chevy!

  • Reply MountainPowerLineman October 7, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    I’m hoping that your other GM product is working well enough. Sorry to hear that your Saturn is far less than reliable. I’m planning to buy other than American vehicles from here out. I just don’t trust American made.

  • Reply mrs.mpl October 7, 2007 at 3:39 am

    So sorry to hear of your car troubles. Never fun! We seem to be having better luck with our Saturn, but also don’t think we will buy another.

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