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Old 01-29-2017, 07:20 PM   #1
New Member
thielgrad04 is on a distinguished road
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1

2003 ION-2 Sedan
Default Hi


I've been reading a lot of posts on this forum on several occasions over the past maybe year when I've been trying to figure out what might be wrong or how to fix some issues with the car.

I bought mine right before senior year of college in 2003, so I'm still on my first car. It was a dealership car with almost 5k miles on it. Ion 2. Blue. It's been very reliable, as the first time I ever got stranded was in like Oct 2015. It was fine when I went to run errands, but when I came out of Home Depot, ready to go home, the car wouldn't start. Ended up having the starter replaced.

That seems to have been the start of a bunch of random issues. Granted, I've had a handful of issues, none that would leave me stranded though, but a lot were goofy issues, like popping the hood to fill wiper fluid and then not being able to close the hood because the line snapped. I had to have something with a wiper fixed at one point. I think something happened at the hinge or something that made it unusable.

So, my main reason for checking out these forums is to become more self-sufficient and knowledgable when it comes to the car so I don't get ripped off when taking it to a mechanic. Being a girl, I know a few people at places I've taken it to take advantage of that, and looking back at some of the instances and old invoices, it definitely happened. Back then, I had a decent job and money wasn't as much an issue as it has been the last few years and inexperience.

So, back in 2009, I took the car to the dealership (I think this was the last time they were open) for inspection and they said I needed to repair a hole in the exhaust, but they don't have a welding machine. So I took it to Midas and they patched it up. 2010 inspection rolls around and Midas says I have a hole in the exhaust, takes me back to show me, and points to this hole with a pen, a hole which I really couldn't even see. He starts tapping and scraping at it, making the hole bigger (was so annoyed) and saying it's too brittle to weld so it'll have to be replaced. I clearly remember being told everything including the catalytic because it was all one piece. I ended up having them do it, because I was dumb and didn't research.

In Sept 2011, I got rear ended when I stopped for a school bus, and had to have the bumper repaired. The tailpipe was bent and needed some work on, so part of that was replaced again.

Then, in early 2013 my car starts being really loud, and a neighbor said it sounds like exhaust issues. So I take it to the guy who has a shop 1 1/2 blocks from my house. People at work recommended him and I figured, it's nice I can drop it off and walk home. So, I take it in and he looks it over, gives me an estimate on the exhaust and new brakes/rotors (which is a whole other story). He calls me to come back down saying that it doesn't look like the exhaust has ever been replaced, and shows me. I wish I'd paid more attention but I remember him saying all the screws looked original, or at least older than 2 years. So, basically he was saying the cat. hadn't been replaced. So at that point, I have no idea what was done before and feel like I might have gotten screwed. Especially since this guy is saying he doesn't need to replace the cat because he can just weld the pieces on. So, he doesn't fix the car that day; I'm to bring it back in the next week or so to have the work done. But like the next day, I'm at work (delivering pizza) and it's dark and rainy and I keep noticing these oily puddles every time I get back in the car after leaving a person's house and after the 3rd or 4th time I'm like OK, this has gotta be me. So I take it and park it where there's more light and when I come back, there's the puddle again. I'm like I think I have a gas leak. So, I take the car home (luckily work is like 1/2 mile) and the next day I call the mechanic guy and tell him this. I'm kind of freaking out at this point. He tells me to bring it down and I drop it off. I go home. Like 2 hours later he calls to tell me that he had my car up and was about to get started on the exhaust pipe when he realized....I have a leak in my fuel line! He's like, it's a good thing I noticed before I turned the torch on. That probably should have been a red flag to not deal with this guy. It really gets on my nerves when people don't LISTEN. What did I call him up and bring the car right down for all in a panic!?! ugh.

So, my feeling with that situation was that it was just odd that I take the car to him to get an estimate and end up with this fuel just seemed fishy.

So, let's move along to the beginning of 2016. At this point, I haven't been delivering pizza since May 2014...and aside from driving to class 1 - 2 x week or the 10 miles per day when I began student teaching in 2015, I had only put maybe 5k miles on the car...I was exempt from emissions that's how little I used it. But my car started being so loud you could hear it across town. I was like, how is this possible? So, a few weeks go by...okay I've driven the thing maybe 40 miles total since the problem started, and my exhaust manifold falls off while I'm driving and is dragging on the ground. So, I had to the exhaust from the pipe that comes out of the cat converter, as that was completely just gone...How does an exhaust system need replaced on a car 3x in like 5 years when I've driven like 30k miles?

So, there's just a bunch of things like that, and taking it to the Chevy dealer in town a few times has made me weary too. I originally took it to them for a recall or two.

So, a few days ago I took the car to NTB for an oil change. PRogressive gave me a coupon and I figured, it's an oil change. And I had just gone on line and researched things about tune ups and from those things, what are signs/symptoms of xyz needing work done (spark plugs, suspension, etc) and actually felt like maybe my car wasn't in such bad shape because I wasn't really noticing any of these signs that things needed done. I decided not to say anything to NTB anyway, because I feel that if I ask or tell them about something, they're gonna come back and say that it needed done. But when they're done with the oil change, the guys telling me I neede a tranny flush and a coolant flush, yada yada...I tell him I had those done recently...the tranny was replaced in late 2009, and coolant was flushed at 85k (currently at 141k)...but then goes on to say that the rear shocks are very bad...(okay I can handle that...13 years old, never been replaced, maybe the car does feel more bumps than my husbands car does...but also the transmission lines are wet because fluid is leaking....not sure why you recommend a tranny flush first. maybe tell me the more critical fixes before you hit me with the less critical? no?

So, I ask for an estimate and stuff and tell him I need to figure out my finances first. He's sort of pushing me to get it done today, meanwell he says one of the parts will take a day, although hte other thing can get her today if he orders by's 2pm now. It's like...uh, maybe I have places I gotta if you can't get it all done today, why should I wait around for the part to arrive today, get that 1 thing done, pay, and then come back tomorrow and wait around annoying.

So, I end up going home with an estimate to replace tranny line and 2 rear shock absorbers for 600.00. I look up the shocks and find the same ones as on the estimate at advanced auto for 35 bucks...which NTB says are 75 a piece. I know they need to make a profit, but from youtube, it looks fairly simple to replace, so at 107 bucks/hr labor, I think 50% mark up is kind of a lot. Plus, they're a business, so shouldn't they get shocks for less than I could at retail anyway?

So, I drive to work on Friday and it sounds like a helicoptor is flying on top of the car. The car just FEELS off. The acceleration, the brake feels...idk...gritty under my feet. Other weird noises. I popped the hood and I did see several locations, not just on the tran hoses where there was this gritty grease looking spots. So, trans fluid, or oil? or what? I haven't noticed anything on the ground. I park in the same spot, and at times don't move for a few if it was leaking enough, I'd notice it on the ground...but at the same time, just how long has it been leaking? So how much fluid is missing and how long do i have till I screw up the car?

So, husband called his Honda guy who owns a shop in the area and i trust him a little more just because my neighbor trusts him with her car and my husband takes his civic to this guy for the past 4 years. He fixed something on my car a few months ago. But I gotta wait till Monday and see when he has time...and i have to get to work just stressed out!!!

Have gotten a lot of great advice and found a lot of helpful information on this forum about either common problems, or info that helped me try to fix some things myself, so thanks!


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Old 01-29-2017, 10:18 PM   #2
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ALennox is on a distinguished road
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Hamilton Ontario Canada
Posts: 1

2009 Astra XE
Roll Eyes Re: Hi

Hello. I wish I had found this site before I invested so much money to fix a Coolant Level warning. I do not understand why even the mechanics at GM did not know about this. 3 Mechanics, 2 Flushes, 2 senors, and 2 caps later, I find this common issue. Its just so frustrating that no one knew.


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Old 02-10-2017, 02:00 AM   #3
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Astrofarian is on a distinguished road
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Manitoba Canada
Posts: 49

2001 SC2
Default Re: Hi

Hi and welcome! This is a great place to ask Saturn-SPECIFIC questions and get honest answers from people with no vested interest in selling you anything. Always hated hearing how women sometimes get the short end of unscrupulous tech's/service advisors. You're among like-minded people here.....enjoy!


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