Used 2001 Saturn L-Series Consumer Reviews
There is a design flaw on the timing chain tensioner. Anywhere from 80k miles to 150k miles, it usually breaks. This is a 30.00 part. But if you don't know about it, and you don't fix it, the car will "jump time", and when this happens, it almost certainly will destroy the top part of your engine. This will cost about 2k to fix. If you own one, get it down to the shop and get that part changed. You will be sorry if you don't. In my town, the junk yard is full of these L series Saturns. They all look nice, but they are sitting there rotting. I had a S series, and it was the best car I ever owned. This L series, not so much!
I needed a new car, and heard a lot of good things from other Saturn owners. We took delivery of this car with just under 17k on the odometer. For the first 21/2 years it was a very reliable car. There were 2 recalls on this car and this was taken care of with no problems. We did oil changes and all suggested maintenance on time. One day I was driving to work and the car was acting a little sluggish but did not seem to be running rough or anything. I parked the car at work and when I came out it would not start. I had it towed to the deaer and was told that it was the timing chain and would cost $1100 to fix. Many other Saturn owners have had this problem at around 70 to 80k miles
If your thinking of buying this model vehicle DON'T. Hands down the worst car I have ever owned. It WILL suck every penny you have out of you. These cars have the weakest commuters in any car I am aware of. Just change a battery, alternator, or just put a battery charger on it and you can burn out the BCM (Body Control Module). Diagnosing the problem will be the first problem then there is the $600 to replace it. Subframe built by SAAB with a curved muffler $400 for muffler only. Poor design on the oiler that keeps timing chain oiled+interferance motor=t-chain jump & replace motor, used $1000, new $2500. Heater fan,switch, and repair melted under sized connector in the dash $400. Just say NO
Please pay attention to the model of car people are reviewing. This car is fabulous! Mine has 116,000 miles and it still looks new under the hood. The lw300 is the best version in this model line and can come with lots of extras such as leather seats, remote start and locks, power everything, rear defog and wiper, heated seats, etc. so you might get a lot more for your money. It drives and runs fabulously!
I really like the comfort and performance of the car, but repair costs are killing me: Oil cooler leak, $1,350; water pump $450; power steering pump $400; front brake pads and rotors $450; faulty MAF sensor $450; thermostat $400. All of these repairs in the last year after the car went over 50,000 miles. The dealer tells me a new steering rack will be required in the near future. If anyone has one of these cars, sell at the first sign of problems after 50,000 miles. It will only get worse!