Are Saturns Expensive to Maintain?

Saturn cars have an average annual maintenance cost of $553, which makes their maintenance cost about average.
Written by Bellina Gaskey
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Saturn cars have an average annual maintenance cost of $553, which makes their maintenance cost about average. 
Your main focus may be building up savings to purchase the car you want, but it’s equally important to budget for maintenance, which is crucial to boosting the safety and resale value of your car.
To help you understand what to expect with your new (or new-to-you) car, the
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has compiled everything you need to know about whether Saturns are expensive to maintain.
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How much maintenance does my Saturn require?

While Saturns have never come with a high price tag — even for repairs — they are likely to need repairs more frequently than the average car. Common problems cited by drivers include power steering failure and issues with brake fluid and cooling systems. 
Additionally, Consumer Reports identifies the Outlook, Sky, and Vue models as the most likely Saturns to need extra maintenance.
Overall, Saturn maintenance costs are on par with costs for similar makes. Annual maintenance for a Saturn falls within $100 of Pontiac and Mercury maintenance costs (which brand is more expensive depends on the type of model). 

How much does maintenance for a Saturn cost?

On average, a Saturn costs about $553 per year for standard maintenance. The specific model you drive will have a large impact on your individual maintenance costs.  
Here is a brief overview of the reliability ratings and annual maintenance costs for some popular Saturn models:

Budget: Ion

  • Reliability: 3.5/5 (average)
  • Annual maintenance cost: $338 (average)

Mid-range: Astra

  • Reliability: 3.5/5 (average)
  • Annual maintenance cost: $519 (average)

Splurge: Outlook

  • Reliability: 4/5 (average)
  • Annual maintenance cost: $750 (average)
Taking your Saturn in for regular maintenance is key to keep it performing its best. Neglecting proper maintenance jeopardizes your car’s safety and can cause the value of your car to decrease. 
Adhering to a regular maintenance schedule is also the best way to save money in the long run. You’ll lower the possibility of an unexpected major breakdown—which translates to major repair bills and an overall headache.

How often does a Saturn require maintenance?

According to RepairPal, an example Saturn maintenance schedule includes oil changes and tune-ups roughly every 6,000 miles. As this discontinued brand continues to age, parts may become harder to find and their prices may increase. 
Still, Saturn parts are not expensive overall. For instance, Saturn tires will cost about $100 each to replace, and a set of Saturn brake pads costs around $60.
Average cost
Every 6,000-10,000 miles
Oil change, tire rotation, and basic safety inspection, including: checking brakes, fluid leaks, irregular sounds, etc.
30,000 mile service
Replacement of air filter and possibly fluids including brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant
60,000 mile service
Intermediate-level service and possible replacement of the timing belt, transmission, spark plugs, fluids, and brake pads
Tire Cost: $100-$400
Engine Replacement Cost: $4000-$7000
Oil Change Cost: $102-$112
Windshield Replacement Cost: ~$200
Paint Cost: $1000-$4500
Make Specific Costs: Timing Chains ($696-$802), Transmission ($200-$5000) [depends on severity of damage]

Oil changes

  • When: Usually required every 5,000 to 7,500 miles
  • Cost: $102-112
  • Why: Important for removing excess dirt that can build up in your engine from use
  • DIY?: Maybe—if you have the right tools

Tire replacement

When: NHTSA recommends that tires be replaced every six years, regardless of the number of miles driven
  • Cost: $100-400
  • Why: It’s important to replace tires when the treads are worn to maintain traction and reduce noise
  • DIY?: No—it’s best to let a professional handle the tire replacement so they can ensure your new tires are balanced for even wear and a smooth ride

Engine replacement

  • When: If the car has aged significantly, is over 150,000 miles, or the engine is spewing smoke, making suspicious noises, or shows other signs of damage post-collision or aging
  • Cost: $4,000-7,000
  • Why: A damaged engine makes the car unsafe to drive
  • DIY?: Not recommended

Windshield replacement

  • When: If the windshield has a crack longer than a dollar bill, halfway deep into the shield, or expanding toward the side edges
  • Cost: ~$200
  • Why: A cracked windshield can impair vision while driving
  • DIY?: Not recommended


  • When: If the paint is visibly faded or peeling
  • Cost: $1,000-4,500
  • Why: Exterior paint prevents corrosion and maintains the car’s resale value
  • DIY?: Possible, but going to a professional will yield best results

Timing Chains

  • When: If you experience ticking noises, engine misfiring, reach 60,000-100,000 miles, or when your Saturn owner’s manual recommends it. Older vehicle timing chains will need to be replaced more frequently than newer ones. 
  • Cost: $696-802
  • Why: Misaligned or damaged timing chains can cause the engine to misfire or stop working
  • DIY?: Maybe—you need to be experienced and it may take hours


  • When: If you have a transmission leak, the car has reached 100,000+ miles
  • Cost: $200-5,000: cost can fluctuate depending on extent of the damage and whether it needs repairs vs. replacement
  • Why: Smooth transmission is essential to efficient delivery of energy from the engine to the wheels
  • DIY?: Not recommended

Finding cheap car insurance

Taking care of your car includes more than just bringing it into the shop when problems arise. It’s important to be proactive, both with your maintenance schedule and with finding the right
car insurance
Car insurance is important for keeping your car protected in case of a collision or other unexpected circumstance. Beyond it being illegal to drive without insurance in 48 states, it’s highly recommended that you purchase the right insurance to avoid hefty out-of-pocket costs after an accident.
Insurance providers often work with preferred mechanics and repair shops, making it easier to get your car fixed, too. 
If you want to pay less for your car insurance without sacrificing coverage, just use
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FAQs about Saturns

It depends on your definition of a good car. Generally, Saturns have been able to compete with similar economy lines in terms of performance and cost. Still, some cite a lack of reliability as a reason to question Saturn’s reputation.
Some people hold a negative view of Saturn cars because of their reported issues with transmission and power steering. Others believe that Saturns are less reliable and more cheaply made than comparable economy brands. 
On the whole, GM stopped producing Saturns after 2009 because Penske Automotive backed out of a buying deal. During Saturn’s production, millions of models were sold and you can still find Saturns on the road today.
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