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Old 05-12-2003, 12:37 AM   #1
IONicSaturn
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2001 L-Series 3.0L Wagon
Default Saturns Over the Long Haul (Beware: Long Post)

In 1998 my family purchased a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird LE coupe from a relative after our '88 Sentra bit the big one, BIG TIME (tranny and motor died at the same time). The Sunbird lasted from June of '98 to October of '98. When that car decided it no longer wanted to serve us, we decided against buying another old car and to try and find a decent late model used car or minivan (there is a point to all of the stuff I'm gonna mention). So, our search brought us to Major Auto in Queens, NY. There we looked at a 1995 Ford Windstar GL in Mint Green that we were ready to buy, right up until the point in which we met our salesman. He said every phrase a typical used car salesman uses from "well, she's a beauty ain't she" to "let me tell you what I'm gonna do" in all of about 4 minutes. Completely aggrevated by this guy's garbage, we walked across the lot to Regan Pontiac, where we saw a nice looking Emerald Green '95 Plymouth Voyager. Again, the salesman was a complete scuzzball. Only this time, my parents fell for the "let's make a deal" game. He tried selling us a '90 Plymouth Sundance sedan with peeling paint, a torn airbag cover, over 100K, grease all over the mats, a leaky sunroof and 4 bald tires for $1600. Being completely fed up after only about an hour of shopping my parents decided that "this was the car for us." After a day of arguing with them that the car was no good, unsafe and unreliable I finally convinced them to cancel the deal and keep looking. (FINALLY someone listened to me). This led us to Riverdale Chrysler. Here we looked at a 1993 Dodge Caravan, a 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante Wagon, a 1995 Plymouth Voyager, and a 1996 Saturn SL1 (our car, thank God). Of all of them, the Saturn and the Mitsu were in the best condition and had the least amount of mileage. So, we decided to make a deposit on the Saturn (this is without test driving it because the person who took us there had to go somewhere and because the saleslady mentioned she sold another Saturn last week about 3 hours after it went on the lot). Happily, we left the showroom. Then, the next day, my aunt calls and says that the Ford dealership my uncle worked for at the time, Bill Kolb Jr. Ford, had 2 great prospective cars for us. So, my aunt comes to get us and we go up to Blauvelt to look at these cars. The first one was a 1996 Ford Escort LX wagon with 27,000 miles on it and the second was a 1995 Contour LX with about 54K. My dad drives the Escort and decides that he likes it. We decide that we want it and go ahead and fill out the paperwork. The next day, we get a call from Chrysler to ask if we want to test drive the Saturn. My dad gets a ride there, drives it, and falls in love with it. He said that it was a much better feeling car than the Escort, and was a far better deal. So, we end up with the Saturn. <---- That's what I did.

Anyway, as it turns out (here comes the point to all of that up there), my uncle's brother ended up buying the Escort wagon from Bill Kolb because his '89 Sundance had been on its way out for quite some time (go figure ). Just a couple of days ago, I find out through my aunt that the Escort is on its way out now too, having a multitude of fairly major problems going on now, and having a bunch of other problems in the past. Right now, my Saturn is running pretty darn good (knock wood) and looks as though it will be for a pretty long time (knock wood yet again). Meanwhile, the Escort we were ready to buy is as good as dead, and probably looks it too (I haven't seen it in about a year and the last time I saw it, it wasn't sitting pretty). So what I'm saying here is that, even though I've had some problems with my Saturn, that information makes me and my parents feel so much better about deciding to buy it almost 5 years ago. (See, I said there was a point, I thought I needed to get all that information across to make my point).

After finding this out about that Escort, I thought about the condition of some of the cars around the same age as mine, on my street. I've noticed that compared to these cars, my Saturn looks like brand new.

Cosmetic issues with my Saturn:

A dent in the hood, a scratch here and there, 2 cracks in the dash board, and a ripped driver's seat (thanks to my dad's keys).

My neighbor across the street has the identical 1996 SL1 and hers looks absolutely brand new inside and out, with a little scratch here and there on the paint.

Cosmetic issues with other cars I see on my street every day (keep in mind I havent sat in any of these cars, so I can't compare the interiors):

1995 Neon, rust on the bottom edges of all 4 doors, peeling paint on the hood, roof, and trunk, faded paint where it's not peeling, dents all over the place.

1995 Cavalier, faded paint, dents everywhere, rust on the hood, and a little on the bottom edges of the doors.

1996 Sentra, glossy paint but scratched up everywhere, dents all over the place, a little rust on one of the doors, and a painted rear bumper that looks like it's been to Hell and back.

Those are the only cars on my street around the same year as mine, everyone else buys new cars every couple of years. Keep in mind that I live on a dead end street with very few houses. (One of my neighbors has a Dodge Viper and a '95 S500, and another neighbor has a '01 Corvette and a '03 S500)

So anyway, the point of all this, I guess, is that Saturn is able to make a car that is far better over the long haul then most of its competitors. I guess many of you already knew about that though.

Sorry for the incredibly long post here, but I've been thinking about this for about a week now, and I wanted to get out all of my thoughts and observations!

...
Mike

2012 Nissan Maxima SV Sport
2005 Saturn L300
1999 Dodge Durango SLT

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Old 05-12-2003, 01:59 AM   #2
Jaseball
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Wow that is a long &^$ post. I bleeped my own post, but that had to be implied. I do have some advice on long posts. Just use paragraphs and re-read what you wrote to see how long you can take it. Thanks for the warning in the title.

I agree with your post. Many cars without the polymer, engine tech, American assembly, timing chain, alloy wheels, space frame, etc., and pretty good quality do not hold a candle to a properly cared for Saturn. Saturn would not have the reputation that it has with people who actually own or drive one if there were not many people who loved the S series.

My SL2, besides the random door scratches that would have been dents, hood damage I made, roof damage from who knows where, rear end collision that did not crush the bumper, and other things the Saturn was just a wonderful car for over 11 years and still looked sharp.

I'm hoping for my new Ion3 to serve me just as good as my SL2 and so far she's doing a great job.

I hope your Saturn serves you well. As long as you go 3K miles/4 months on oil and filter changes and keep up maintenance it will serve you well; as long as there is a problem caused with prior abuse.

My friend's Chrysl.., I mean Mercedes causes him so much grief and anguish it is painful to watch at times.

Last edited by Jaseball; 05-12-2003 at 02:04 AM..

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Old 05-12-2003, 04:49 AM   #3
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Mike

I hope that you continue to have a good ownership experience with your Saturn. (How many miles has it gone so far?)

I don't think there is anything better than having your family realize that you were giving them good advice. :-)

Jim

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Old 05-12-2003, 10:43 AM   #4
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good post. I have a friend who has a 95 camaro z 28 with somewhere in the 50 k mile range. He babies this car yet everytime I see him he is fixing something else on it. Saw him just a couple days ago, ask him "where's the car" tells me he's going to pick it up from the shop. "How much?" I ask. Oh, about 1,100. I just smile and drive away in my Saturn.

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Old 05-12-2003, 11:15 AM   #5
SonataInFSharp
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You like to write, try the online weblogging at www.blogger.com it's a load of fun!

It's like the old Harley joke... if it is such a great American Bike, why are they always working on them?

...
*Drive it like you bought it.

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Old 05-12-2003, 11:56 AM   #6
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Car is always subjected as Wear Item, so eventually somethings will break depends on which area. Sometimes it is based on your luck, but in most cases of Saturn cars the failure is likely predictable.

Indeed, I haven't heard a lot fans complaining their Saturns stranded them on the road....they can always make their way to the dealer to fix other issues. (Powertrain or Chassis components related)

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Old 05-12-2003, 08:05 PM   #7
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I've got a 93 SC2 that has seen very light use (read 45k miles) to date. From a distance the car looks pretty nice. On closer inspection every panel has scratches thanks to the garage I park in, but no dents thanks to the polymer panels! The upper front fender is slightly cracked and there's an ugly gash on the rear bumper where I backed into something. But from a distance those were fairly easy to patch up using the touch-up paint.

I've decided not to do any more elective bodywork (no safety concerns) due to the age of the car. But the engine runs extremely well, the car gets great gas milage and having all the panels already scratched I feel pretty secure parking the car anywhere.

...
93 SC2a 69k

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Old 05-12-2003, 08:44 PM   #8
rossao1
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Default I agree about the long haul.

Well, with all that being said, Let me add that my EARLY '92 SC is beautiful. At least to me. No rust, (here that Ford!) Runs well, (here that Chevy!), And has something more than a Basement level resale value still. ( here that Dodge!) I have owned each of the other brands and had a severe problems with all of those problems. Now how can I gripe about a car that has taken me to work everyday for the last 8 years with-out a car payment! (it does need about two payments a year in maintenance) But I will gladly pay it. And is is fun to drive.

I am a big fan. Oh, it has warts and little niggly problems that are more of laziness to get them fixed that real flaw from age.

Here, Here Saturn! for a job well done!

...
A Saturn owner since 10/91.
'92 SC, '91 SL2, 95 SW1, '06 ION3
other car- '02 Expedition 5.4L

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Old 05-13-2003, 10:44 PM   #9
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Jim, my Saturn hit 103,000 miles today!! You're right, there is no better feeling than realizing you gave someone in your family good advice especially when the whole time you were saying your peace they were telling you that you are only 14 and do not know what you are talking about so be quiet. Oh crap, sorry, I lapsed for a second there. Hehehe.

SonataInFSharp, thanks for that link! I signed up. Yes, I do like to write, a lot, and I think I will be using that site frequently. I LOVE to write fictional short stories and editorials. I just tend to go into details a lot and some people have said that my opinions can sometimes be a little harsh.

I am glad just about everyone who has had their Saturns "over the long haul" have been happy with them. I certainly am happy with mine.

...
Mike

2012 Nissan Maxima SV Sport
2005 Saturn L300
1999 Dodge Durango SLT

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