Why I Won’t Buy Saturn Again

I have a 2003 Saturn Ion 3. When I bought it in 2004 it was a demo model with about 4,000 km on it. That the salesperson changed three times before I bought it should have been an indicator to me where Saturn was headed, and it seems to be…out of the world.

The dealership then closed. I had a VIP membership for lifetime free oil changes but had to go to the Morrey dealerships for that; Morrey Nissan in Burnaby. But the car was on warranty and I had to go to a Saturn dealership for any warranty work, in Richmond. I live in Vancouver and work in New Westminster.

Under warranty, I took the car in four times because the back passenger door didn’t seal correctly and was most noticeable at high speeds. Four times and they never did fix it correctly. Now, if I open the door I have to push the loose molding back into place before shutting the door to minimize the air blowing through.

Under warranty, I took the car in at least four times because it would idle high when the weather was cold. It would not start this way but after I’d driven it even a few minutes it would idle high when stopped at lights. If I shut off the car, it would reset. It only happened when cold, which told me that there was something wrong with the idle or throttle and cold weather caused it to freeze or stick. I took a small automotive course in high school and have enough of a logical mind that I can figure out basic mechanical. Somehow though, mechanics can’t seem to use a brain to figure out car problems now unless they plug it into a computer.

So I drove the car in one day and didn’t shut it off and lo and behold they could find the problem. It was fixed but then the weather turned warm and I couldn’t test it until the fall when it was cold again. And guess what, problem not fixed. Oh and the car, no longer under warranty and the part isn’t working right and I was told the part has no warranty. So why would I bother to fix the part again, knowing that if it blows it’s still not under any warranty and that I can keep paying and paying for the same part? That’s what the service people told me.

Now my car was at about 70,000 km when the fan in the car stopped working. I could get heat but no fan to blow it around. But of course it wasn’t the fan itself that wasn’t working. It was the computer component and would cost over $600 to fix. On top of that, I made an appointment and had to wait over four hours for them to check the car. Then they charged me $60 for telling me it would cost $600. The car’s warranty ended at 60,000 km.

I contacted Saturn/GM Canada and their generous offer was to go 50/50 on the fan part. That’s it. Nothing on the other things they never managed to fix. And basically they’re saying, well we won’t make money on this part but we won’t go out of the way to satisfy you.

Although the service guys were nice and friendly at Lansdowne Saturn in Richmond, the service wasn’t that great and one day, while waiting in Richmond to get picked up and taken back to my car, it took them over an hour. I was no more than ten minutes away. One service guy condescended to me in explaining that the car might just be idling high because it was cold. As if I’m not aware of the difference between a cold idle and a stuck throttle.

So, this is why I won’t buy Saturn again. Poor service, poor repair record, a very short warranty and no customer satisfaction from Saturn Canada.

Of the car itself, its mileage was okay, it has a huge blind spot for turning corners, the visors only work if you’re six feet tall. I loved the adjustable heat vents that could blow right on my hands. The door locks are stupidly designed and the pockets on the side doors are smaller than any map, should you want to store them there. But a car under warranty comes part and parcel with the dealership and I wasn’t convinced that with Saturn’s lagging sales that I’ll ever buy another Saturn again.

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Filed under cars, consumer affairs, driving, shopping, travel

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