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Old 03-29-2023, 01:30 AM   #1
Mister_Cee
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Default Posted in an "Other cars" sub forum thread ...

entitled "Other Considerable cars to move on from Saturn" which I took to mean "What cars should I consider if moving on from Saturn?" The original thread was pretty old and no one has returned to answer. Here's the post:

Hate to "necropost" on this old thread, but was having some of the same questions (and some others less related) myself.

I bought my 1996 SW2 (5 speed MT) new, 27 years ago. While it hasn't given me any huge problems, I think it is only a matter of time before something (that costs multiple times what the car is worth) breaks and whatever part(s) might be needed are as rare as unobtainium. Since I'm not a DIYer, I can foresee that being very costly. That said, I've been keeping my eyes open to alternatives, should the need ever arise.

Lots of cars, these days have the the stop/start tech (which, on some can be defeated). Others also have Cylinder Deactivation tech (which, can't be manually turned off). Those are the types of things hat stop me from "pulling the trigger" on something new. I've been semi-interested in exploring a Mazda 3 hatchback but have stayed away from the dealership (which has a vested interest in telling me whatever I want to hear in order to close a sale) until I become more informed.

Also...many cars have wireless lock/unlock/start etc. If a person downloads the relevant app to a cell phone, does the cell data plan need to remain active in order for the lock/unlock to work from the phone?
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Old 03-29-2023, 12:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: Posted in an "Other cars" sub forum thread ...

I still have my Saturn but I have also bought a used 2012 Ford Focus SEL hatchback with a 5 speed manual transmission 3 years ago. I definitely wouldn't recommend the automatic transmission which has well documented problems.

I really like the Focus and it has been extremely dependable so far. Parts are readily available as it is a global platform. It drives really tight and gets great gas mileage. It currently has 165K miles on it, 41K added since I acquired it. I wouldn't hesitate getting another.

Regarding the Apps you are referring to, my 2011 Chevrolet Suburban is App enabled for start/stop, lock/unlock, etc... The smart phone does need an data plan or to be on Wifi to work. It communicates with the vehicle via internet and cellular data. The vehicle does not need a data plan; however you need to have a basic subscription (MyChevrolet/OnStar, FordPass, etc...). Some subscriptions are free for a number of years. My enhanced subscription costs me $25/mo and gets me some other safety and convenience features.

Keep in mind that as the technology gets old, the app features will become obsolete. Older GM products that have 3G have succumbed as the cellular infrastructure is being decommissioned. They no longer have a means to communicate with the App. 4G is next to go.
...
1999 SL2 MT (311,300 km @ 01/2023)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
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1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
1992 SL2 MT (5y)

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Old 03-29-2023, 01:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Posted in an "Other cars" sub forum thread ...

Which parts are as rare as unobtanium? I don't have any trouble getting parts for my car. Our '98 SW2 is the newest car in our fleet.

You can do a whole lot of work on these cars for a year's worth of car payments.
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Old 03-29-2023, 04:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Posted in an "Other cars" sub forum thread ...

Original Equipment (OEM) motor mounts are all gone.
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2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
1994 SL1 new traded
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Old 03-29-2023, 11:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: Posted in an "Other cars" sub forum thread ...

I guess. So you propose getting rid of a car because you can't get a new OEM engine mount?

The car is about as simple as you can get and still have modern driveability and reliability. It is a '96 so it has the old/simple fuel filter. It has a manual transmission so you aren't waiting for the TAAT to explode. Even if the diff pin exited it isn't that hard to get a used manual transmission. If you keep oil in the engine it will run forever. Fuel pump would require dropping the tank so I suppose that might be a few hours labor at a shop? It doesn't have a BCM to complicate things. The car is in Arizona so there probably isn't any rust on it at all. I honestly can't think of anything major or catastrophic that would require so much money or any impossible to find parts that you couldn't fix it for a reasonable amount of money. Suspension, steering, brakes, engine, clutch, tune-up, fuel, parts all should be readily available.

New cars are great. Until you realize all of the modules and other garbage on them that makes them difficult and expensive to repair. Drive by wire throttle bodies, electric steering assist, etc. Integrated modules for everything that can be difficult to troubleshoot. I had a late model Cherokee in several months ago that needed a simple parking brake module that rendered the parking brake as well as four wheel drive inop. On indefinite back order. Just because it is newer doesn't mean parts are immediately available. Many modules require programming so they can interface with the car. It isn't all just simple plug and play. I work on enough of this crap and that is why our two main cars are 25 and 26 years old. You don't need to be able to lock/unlock/start your car from a cell phone app. Give me a break. People must think I'm stealing my car when they see me pull out an actual real live physical key to unlock the door. "What is that strange man doing to that car mommy, I'm scared!"
...
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'89 Cougar XR-7 5 Speed
'95 T-Bird SC 5 Speed
'97 T-Bird LX
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Old 03-30-2023, 01:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: Posted in an "Other cars" sub forum thread ...

All great comments. Thanks for adding your personal perspectives for me.

The first thing that came to mind in unavailable quality replacement parts was, indeed, motor mounts. As Dummo said, those have been gone for quite awhile now. There are quite a few other OEM parts that have been discontinued, though.

I'm just a tad worried, although I've treated my SW2 with care all these years, the fact remains that the car is worth "x" dollars and that any major work (engine, transmission, clutch replacement etc.) would far exceed that value. Heck, In the past year I've had new tires and a new a/c compressor installed and the cost of those two maintenances already exceeds the car's trade-in value. That's one reason I haven't been seriously looking at an alternative until I, at least, get my money's worth out of the latest investments (the air conditioning being of utmost value , here in the desert southwest!).

The point about "gadgetry" in most new cars is well taken, too. As my dad would have opined ..."just more things to possibly go wrong" and I surely don't need that.

The query about the automatic door locks was made just because so many cars seem to tout that as a feature these days and (being a cell phone luddite lol)I don't understand how that tech works.

Again .. thanks for the responses.
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Old 03-30-2023, 01:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: Posted in an "Other cars" sub forum thread ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinVarnes View Post
. You don't need to be able to lock/unlock/start your car from a cell phone app. Give me a break. People must think I'm stealing my car when they see me pull out an actual real live physical key to unlock the door. "What is that strange man doing to that car mommy, I'm scared!"
My motivation going with the app was for remote start. My previous Suburban had an aftermarket remote start with 1000' range which worked well for my purposes. I could start it from my 5th floor office at work in the winter to pre-heat or in the summer to pre-cool the interior. The winters here can be quite cold. The used 2011 Suburban LT I bought has factory remote start and the fob range was about 150' which made it a useless feature from my perspective. I could choose to replace the factory option with an aftermarket or enable the remote start using the app option. Now I can start it from pretty much anywhere there is Wifi or cellular. The other features that come with it are a bonus - lock/unlock, sound horn, flash lights, phone, turn by turn directions through the radio, vehicle locate, vehicle diagnostics, tire pressure levels, fuel levels, odometer reading & oil life monitor.

Do I absolutely need it - no. Is it convenient - yes. In my opinion it is worth it for my needs as a primary family vehicle.
...
1999 SL2 MT (311,300 km @ 01/2023)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
2001 SL1 MT (438,500 km 11y)
1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
1992 SL2 MT (5y)

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Old 03-30-2023, 01:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Posted in an "Other cars" sub forum thread ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister_Cee View Post

I'm just a tad worried, although I've treated my SW2 with care all these years, the fact remains that the car is worth "x" dollars and that any major work (engine, transmission, clutch replacement etc.) would far exceed that value. Heck, In the past year I've had new tires and a new a/c compressor installed and the cost of those two maintenances already exceeds the car's trade-in value. That's one reason I haven't been seriously looking at an alternative until I, at least, get my money's worth out of the latest investments (the air conditioning being of utmost value , here in the desert southwest!).
I understand where you are coming from, but I look at it differently. Sure our SW2 might not be worth much out on the market, but I don't really care about that. What would it cost to replace it with something similar if you had to? That is the question you need to ask yourself. If I spend $1000 on this repair and can drive my car for another 5 years is that a better investment than buying a newer car for $15k? I'm always a proponent of keeping an older car on the road, but I also understand you might not be able to do much/any repair work yourself. Honestly, the biggest killer of these cars is probably going to be rust these days. You don't even have to worry about that.
...
'85 Ford LTD Squire
'89 Cougar XR-7 5 Speed
'95 T-Bird SC 5 Speed
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Old 03-31-2023, 01:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: Posted in an "Other cars" sub forum thread ...

How many miles have you put on it since you got it?
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Old 03-31-2023, 04:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: Posted in an "Other cars" sub forum thread ...

Let's say you give yourself an imaginary budget of $200.00/month for upkeep on your Saturn. When you consider the average car payment today is over $400/month and even the newest car also requires some money for upkeep you should realize that you are well ahead of the game. The blue book value of all 20+ year old cars is meaningless when the car already sitting in your driveway is somewhat priceless. I recently saw a poster in a Firestone Shop that read 'The Best Used Car Is The One You Already Own'.
...
1997 SW2 used 12/29/2011 with 124,200 -27 mpg
2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
1994 SL1 new traded
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Old 04-05-2023, 11:14 AM   #11
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Default Re: Posted in an "Other cars" sub forum thread ...

I have the same year and model Saturn. I've put a lot of new parts in it over the years so I can understand the OP's concern. I have done all the work myself though. I think the decision on replacing the car also should take into account how you use the car and do you have a good repair shop/mechanic to work on it. The majority of my experience with repair shops hasn't been good so I avoid using them. Is the car needed daily or is it a second car? My car is primarily an errand/grocery getter car. If it has to sit in the garage for a while it's only a fairly miner inconvenience. With all that said, I don't have enough of a reason to replace mine at this time. If something major breaks on it, I'll either fix it myself or have it towed to the junk yard. The car doesn't owe me anything at this point. I do think it will make it to the 30 year mark easily though. I also have this silly goal that I'd like to see my grandaughter drive the same car that I taught my son to drive in.
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Old 04-09-2023, 03:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: Posted in an "Other cars" sub forum thread ...

I agree the right way to look at it is not how much the car is worth (as a trade or to sell), but how much will it cost to replace? A $1,500 repair is still less than 4 car payments (generally).

A few years ago, we bought a used 2017 Hyundai Elantra, 2.0L engine (147 hp) and 6 spd auto trans. It was meant for my son to drive his hour long commute to work. But he got laid off when his co shuttered in the pandemic, then found work that was fully remote.

This car is safer than the Saturn (airbags everywhere, lol), more powerful engine, better gas mileage. Average over 21k miles driven is 39.8 mpg, last fill was 42 mpg, high was 49.9 mpg. Larger interior and trunk. Has a 15 gallon tank so range > 500 miles.

There's soooo little maintenance. Plugs at 100k miles, burns no oil. I went with Mobil 1 filter (claimed good for 20k miles) and Mobil 1 extended performance oil (claimed good for 15k miles). I changed the oil after a year at 8,200 miles and had it tested. Blackstone said oil was good and they had no problem with recommending 10k for next oil change. So oil change once a year.

This summer, will do a first antifreeze change. Peak has an extended life antifreeze, 10 years or 300k miles. Bought a couple of jugs on sale w rebate, so . . . set for life?

When my 02 SC2 developed some "can't drive this way" problems at the same time, I wanted another car quickly. Cheapest car was a 2012 Elantra with 203k miles for $2,500, next cheapest was a Chevy Cobalt for $6k (pretty sparse pickings).

I don't usually like buying from dealerships, but checked it out - clean underneath, test drive was decent, bunch of lights (TPMS, CEL, airbag) on the dash. Had my OBDII reader, CEL was minor. Techs at dealership checked tire pressure but still had TPMS on. Bought the car, added a few PSI, and the TPMS lights went out. Was planning on doing first oil change and spark plugs soon, coolant later this summer. Had it for a couple of months now, been very reliable so far. Different engine than the 2017 so only about 34 mpg average (only filled it a few times so far). Only 12 gallon gas tank, too
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