Our Saturn Blew Up: Engine Down

10965Two years ago, we bought a 2008 Saturn Outlook SUV. We downsized from a large, 12-passenger van, to save on gas mileage. It was important at the time, being we were struggling a bit, financially. Our van got 12 miles per gallon and this promised about 20. In reality, it got about 16.

No matter, we bought it and off we went. The kids were pissed. Now, instead of 2 seats per child to choose from, they had only one. Ever since, they’ve been begging for the van back.

Now they have their chance.

A rod just blew through the pistons in the engine. It’s a $4000 fix, right after we spent $4000 to replace the timing chain, which happened to be the only model that wasn’t on a recall for this particular timing chain, on top of plenty of other repairs over the last 24 months. It’s time for the lemon to go, even though we’re underwater by about $2000, not including any of the repairs.

I hope a junkyard is nice enough to give us a good deal. Oh…and don’t ever buy a Saturn.


  1. Holms says

    You wanted an efficient people mover… and you went with an SUV? And if I recall correctly from an earlier post of yours, you make two trips to school each morning because one / some of your kids want to get there early?? Dude, mpg is paramount!

    However, I’m not much of a car aficionado, and a vehicle able to fit driver + 7 is outside my experience, so all I can do is give you the lame advice of ‘avoid an SUV ffs’ – the rest of the research I leave to you. Maybe a consumer group type forum would be the place to go?

    Oh and if the kids insist on getting a vehicle with a surplus of seats just so they can have some elbow room, please tell them to pay the difference out of their savings if it is so terribly important to them. (Oh, they can’t? Exactly!)

  2. says

    Do they even sell Saturns anymore? Except in junkyards?

    I believe the invisible hand of the market swatted down that particular attempt by detroit to reinvent itself.

  3. Lofty says

    There I was thinking you had an article on the Saturn V and the space race, only to find a post about a crap car. Oh well, perhaps you can scare your kids by threatening to buy one of these. Dunno about the MPG though.

  4. quotetheunquote says

    Hi Joe;

    That’s very sad; quite agree it had to go, but I suspect you just had bad (really bad) luck.

    My own experience with Saturns has been quite the opposite: my wife’s 1998 SW2 made it to 403,000 km before we (very regretfully) had to trade it in for a Subaru in December ’14; and my 2002 SC2 just passed 330,000 km, and I still commute to a different city three times a week in it. I was right miffed at GM for dropping the brand.

    On the other hand, I don’t know anything specific about the Outlook, maybe they larger engine required had an inherent flaw.


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