2002 Saturn SL2 Life Expectancy

With the 2002 Saturn SL2 exceeding 20 years on the road, it’s not expected to last much longer. Here are the details!
Written by Brittni Brinn
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
The upper-level 2002 Saturn SL2 sedan may have had some extra features, but it’s only expected to last just over 200,000 miles. If you have an SL2 in good condition and it’s about to pass 200,000 miles, you can thank your lucky stars—and Saturn’s reliable engine!
The 2002 model was the last in the third-generation run of the Saturn S-series. Aside from upgraded airbags, a 2002 S-Series doesn’t have much going for it, not even affordable
car insurance
rates. Even at the time of its release, it was considered a bland vehicle of questionable quality—it was mostly the customer service experience that gave Saturn its edge.
The 2002 SL2 may have proven to be more reliable than expected, but with over 20 years on its odometer, it may only have a few years left in its tank. Let’s take a closer look at the life expectancy of this Saturn model.
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How many miles can a 2002 Saturn SL2 last?

Your 2002 Saturn SL2 should last at least 200,000 miles. Although you shouldn’t count on a 2002 SL2 hitting much higher than this, with
regular maintenance
and check-ups at the auto shop, you should be able to maximize the miles on your SL2’s odometer!
MORE: Are Saturns expensive to maintain?

How long does a Saturn SL2 engine last?

Saturn engines were generally reliable and long-lasting. A 2002 Saturn SL2 came with an I4 engine that made 124 horsepower and 122 lb-ft of torque. With regular oil changes and smooth driving, you can expect the SL2’s engine to last at least 200,000 miles

Can a 2002 Saturn SL2 last 500,000 miles?

It would be extremely rare for a used sedan to hit 500,000 miles. However, there is a case of a 1995 SL2 reportedly reaching 695,000 miles on Carfax—so nothing is impossible! 
To get this insane level of mileage, the vehicle would have to always have top-notch maintenance and repair services—and a whole lot of luck!

Average life expectancy for a 2002 Saturn SL2

A 2002 Saturn SL2 will probably last you just over 200,000 miles on average. But what does that mean for your 2002 SL2?
Considering that the Bureau of Transportation Statistics puts the average lifespan of a passenger car in America at around 11 years, the 14 or 15 years it would take an SL2 to reach 200,000 miles is pretty impressive. If you still have a 2002 SL2 in good condition, you likely have been excellent at upkeep for your 20+-year-old Saturn. 
In the end, the life expectancy of a 2002 Saturn SL2 will depend on: 
  • Regular maintenance: Keeping up with scheduled oil changes and other maintenance tasks is crucial to extending the life of your Saturn. 
  • Mileage: In cases where your SL2 is driven less than 14,000 miles a year, you can expect it to last longer than 15 years.
  • Accident history: A collision can make a vehicle more susceptible to wear and tear and other problems over time. 
So, if your SL2 has under 200,000 miles, you can probably get a few good years out of it with the proper care. You’ll probably have to be more intentional about taking it to the mechanic for regular check-ups, but it’s worth it to keep your SL2 happy on the road!

How to extend a 2002 Saturn SL2’s life expectancy

Maintenance is the key to keeping your car running at peak performance, no matter how old it is. 
If you’re not sure what kind of maintenance your Saturn needs, you can refer to the owner’s manual for specific information, like how often you should change the oil and other motor fluids, as well as when you should take your car in for brake services or parts inspections. 

Common 2002 Saturn SL2 problems to watch out for

The 2002 Saturn SL2 doesn’t have many repeated issues, and no recalls are listed for this model year. 
Here are the major problems to watch out for according to RepairPal: 
  • Rubber transmission cooler lines can leak fluid: Usually reported around 136,000 miles, the inspection and line replacement will cost between $88 and $111 on average.
  • Front brake rotor wear can cause pulsations: Something to watch out for around 119,000 miles. This will require a brake pad replacement.
  • Stalling/Charge Light illumination due to failed alternator: If the Charge Light illuminates, it may indicate a problem with the alternator and can result in an engine stall if not repaired. An alternator replacement will cost between $531 and $560 on average.
  • Check Engine Light due to gas cap issue: If your gas cap is loose or worn, it may cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate. This is usually an easy fix that may occur around 102,000 miles.
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A car that lasts longer than 300,000 miles is basically a miracle—only 0.03% of vehicles reach this milestone.
According to AutoTrader, the Saturn with the highest mileage recorded was a 1993 Saturn SL2—it had 695,000 miles on the odometer when it was sold in 2019 on Carfax.
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