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Old 07-12-2002, 02:42 PM   #1
sjt78
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Default 75,000 mile mark- Any maintenance advice?

My newly acquired 94 SW2 just reached the 75k mark. I'll be doing an oil change in the next week or two and was wondering other parts I should check/replace at that time. I don't have records for the car so I do not know what has been replaced and what is stock on the car. It runs very well right now, but I want to keep it running well for a few more years.

I've noticed I'm on schedule to lose ~1 quart of oil every 3k miles which I've read here is ok with the DOHC engine. Are there any tips on keeping this engine at peak performance? Should I think about flushing the transmission or coolant fluids at this time? If not now, when should I do that? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
-Steve

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Old 07-12-2002, 03:42 PM   #2
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First of all Steve, congrats on your new car and welcome to the board. My 97 SC2 is at 75,000 miles and I've had no problems with it to date. I understand you don't know the history of the car. Did you happen to get a carfax report before you bought it?

As far as maintenance goes, take it to a Saturn dealership, as they know how to best take care of it for you. Tell them your situation and that you'd like the whole car looked over. I don't mean that they should have to take the engine apart...LOL. You may want them to do a tune up also while you're there, just to assure that all the parts you do have on the car are in tip top shape. That should take care of just about everything.

Good luck with the car!!

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Old 07-12-2002, 04:40 PM   #3
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ShadowMan,
Thanks for the reply. I've been lurking around on these boards for the past couple of weeks and have just begun posting a few questions. I had a carfax report done on the car before I bought it from the dealer (non-Saturn). It checked out OK on everything and the car was bought new from its previous owner so it was a one-owner car.

The only problem I had with it so far was a bad vibration when speeding up towards 55mph and so I brought it in and got two new front tires and a 4-wheel alignment. That cured the problem and the car drives very smooth now. My previous car was an 86 Merc. Cougar so driving this Saturn is very different.

I'm going to be out of town for the next two weeks, but when I get back I'll see about bringing the car into a Saturn dealer to get an oil change and a tune-up. I was poking around the engine a few minutes ago and when I popped up the wires to check out the spark plugs I noticed 2 out of the 4 wells where the spark plugs are had a little oil at the bottom, the other two were mostly dry. There wasn't a pool of oil, but it was greasy at the bottom of the 2...is this a problem? I also checked my antifreeze reservoir and the fluid is only a very light green almost clear. Is this a sign that I need new fluid? Other than those two things I didn't see anything that was alarming. The oil after 2,000+ miles on it is still fairly honey brown and I've only lost about 1/2 to 2/3 of fill area on the dipstick (when I bought the car the oil was at the top line). The transmission fluid also looked nice and red and not really dirty.

Well thanks for the help. This website and the people on it has been a great help so far.
-Steve

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Old 07-12-2002, 05:44 PM   #4
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Your local Saturn dealer will also have a computer record of ANY work ever done to the car at ANY Saturn dealer....a good place to start, and most will give you a printout of this info FREE for the asking...uses VIN # to access records.

...
Old Saturns never die, people KILL them, so check your damn oil!
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." Albert Einstein

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Old 07-12-2002, 06:01 PM   #5
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sjt78,
If it was me and just buying a used car, ecspecially with some miles on it I would probally do a full tune up on it. At least then you will know that everything is good to go. It's good that it's been a one person car but you never know how some else takes care of there car.
The basics you know, oil and filter, air filter, spark plugs, wires, belt and wiperblades. Coolant flush, can of fuel system cleaner. If it's an automatic definetly do a tranny fluid and filter change. Manual, it's up to you. Like I said get it done and you know it's good. If you can, lift it up check out the undercarriage, exhaust and the brakes.
If your inclined to do it yourself it will come out pretty cheap and you will learn alot about your Saturn instead of taking it to Saturn but that's just me. It could be good experience though to go and meet the Saturn service department.
The oil in the spark plug holes is a leaking valve cover gasket. Pretty cheap and easy to do yourself.
Good luck with your new Saturn!

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Old 07-13-2002, 12:39 AM   #6
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As far as buying a used car goes, the first thing I recommend you doing is an oil change. I would recommend full synthetic, Mobil 1 5w-30. This runs about 4.00$ a quart, but it is worth it in the long run, especially if you plan on keeping the car for a while. And stay away from fram filters, try for a Purolator, Mobil 1, or STP.

Generally I would just check the regular "preventative maintenance" items. Get a 5/8 spark plug socket, and pull out the spark plugs. This should give you a good idea of how well the engine was maintained. The ground electrode (the L shaped one) should be tan or light grey in color, and shouldn't be burned away at all. If this isn't the case, I would recommend replacing both the spark plugs and the wires (since they are both generally replaced @ same time).

The coolant is easily replaced, the saturn holds 8 quarts, which means you can flush it and refill it for 5$ (one gallon of antifreeze, one gallon of water). This will keep the cooling system running for a good 3 years.

If the brakes are squeeling (75K is a likely time for pads to go), it's a good time to replace those. You can do it yourself for the price of the pads / shoes, however most brake shops will do it for 50$ an axle, however the quality is unknown, since I've never taken my car to these shops. The saturn dealership will be much more expensive, as they will with any other repair, but the quality is good.

I bought my '92 SL2 w/ 125K about 3 months ago... I perfomed all the maintaince above (not to mention an alternator that died that I had to replace), and my car is running strong as ever. I've put 10,000 miles in those three months, and I'm extremely pleased with my purchase.

I would recommend a used Saturn, even a new one to anybody looking for a good sedan.

Good Luck!

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Old 07-14-2002, 07:05 AM   #7
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First things first, definitely visit a Saturn dealer and have them print out the service history for your car. This will at least tell you what was done by Saturn, so you don't waste time and money doing something which was done already. Aside from that, you'll save at least $100 doing the tuneup yourself. Saturn charges about $50 to change spark plugs, which is really easy.

The nice thing about Saturn 1.9s is that a tuneup is just spark plugs, air filter, and oil change. Other things if not done yet: coolant change, trans fluid change, fuel filter change, PCV valve change, Techron Concentrate fuel system cleaner, check the serpentine belt for wear, and clean the throttle body. Also check the ignition wires with an ohmmeter, and if the resistance is high, replace them. I still have stock wires with 109k miles, but the car runs fine, so I've never checked the resistance. Buy some graphite powder and shoot some into the lock cylinders every 6 mos.-yr. to keep them from wearing.

Next time your oil is low, you might want to run a quart of Marvel Mystery Oil to flush out the engine prior to changing the oil. Since you're beginning to lose oil, it may be a leak, or it may be the start of the oil control rings sticking. If it's the rings, MMO will help clean out some of the carbon gunking up those rings. If not too far gone, you may see the oil usage decrease.

Oh, and the oil in the spark plug wells is a sign that the cam cover is starting to leak at those O-rings. Not crucial yet, if there's only residue. Mine has been like that for years, and hasn't gotten worse. However, you'll need to change it before the oil ever reaches the spark plug boots, because if it damages the spark plugs and wires, you'll need to replace them. The gasket is $30 from Saturn, and about $100 labor (also an easy job, but doing it yourself can be time consuming to get all the old gasket gunk off).

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Old 07-14-2002, 09:38 AM   #8
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Along with trying to get a copy of the service records (hopefully available because the car was serviced at Saturn), you should just follow the service schedule in the owners' manual (or get a copy of the service schedule/prices from Saturn retailer). Saturn service charges are very competitive, in my experience. The most important thing is to stick to the 3K oil change interval.

Enjoy your SW2, mine has 106K+ miles and has been just great for every one of those miles.

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