When I did a bounce test, it seemed like the front, passenger-side shock absorber of my Saturn LW1 is defective. Further checking confirmed that there's a fluid leak around the seals. Does the shock absorber warrant replacement? If yes, can I replace just the faulty unit?
Yes, fluid leak indicates that the shock absorber needs to be replaced anytime soon. You can consult your dealer or check your manual if it's okay to replace just the defective unit, but it is recommended that you replace worn-out shock absorbers in sets, meaning, both the front and rear pairs. Yes, this replacement doesn't come cheap, but changing just the front or the rear pair can result in a pitching ride because the old shocks will not be able to balance and work well with the new ones. Just be mindful of your suspension set-up, though, because in some vehicles, the front pair is different from the rear shock absorbers. Also, when one of the shock absorbers wears out, it won't be long until the rest also give up. So save yourself from the hassles of having to replace the front pair and then replacing the rear pair soon after by doing the replacement all at once.
I've been using synthetic oil in my Saturn LW1 for a couple of years now. Can I go back to conventional motor oil?
Of course you can. While it is recommended to use synthetic oil continuously because of its excellent cleansing properties as well as resistance to high temperatures, going back to conventional oil or switching back and forth between conventional and synthetic oils won't damage your engine. You just have to make sure that the viscosity of the conventional motor oil you're going to use meets the requirements suggested by your manual. It would pay to spend some time learning about the basics of motor oil, so you'll know which one is right for your Saturn's engine.
Aside from strange rhythmic-thumping noise that seems to come from the brakes of my Saturn LW1, I also feel that the brake pedal is pulsating whenever I'm slowing down. Just this morning, the vibration kind of travelled up to the steering wheel. What could be causing this, and how can I eliminate both the noise and the vibration?
These are indications of a warped brake rotor, and you shouldn't take this lightly as it can affect the braking performance of your Saturn LW1. The brake noise is produced when the warped rotor gets in contact with the brake pads at uneven intervals because of the disc's uneven surface. The vibration, on the other hand, reached the steering wheel because both the rotors and calipers are attached to the same spindle where the wheels are also attached. So when the warped rotors vibrate, the pulsation is transmitted to the wheels and the steering wheel via the calipers. The fix for this kind of problem is to have the rotor resurfaced or replaced. It is important, however, to make sure that the culprit is really a warped rotor because there are other conditions or problems that can cause the steering wheel to vibrate.
Saturn LW1: A Saturn L-Series Station Wagon
The LW1 was a station wagon under Saturn’s L-Series of vehicles. The L-Series was a line comprised of 4-door sedans and 5-door station wagons that were manufactured from 2000 to 2005. Here’s a quick glimpse into the short run of the Saturn LW1 in the market.
2000: The birth of the L-Series
In 2000, Saturn introduced the L-Series, which was made up of several mid-size sedans and station wagons, based on the Opel Vectra B. These vehicles were powered by either a straight-4 or V6 engine and they were offered with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. L-series vehicles were built based on the GM2900 platform and they had a transverse front engine and front-wheel drive layout. The entire line was manufactured and assembled in General Motors’ plant in Wilmington, Delaware.
2000: Introducing the L-Series
Upon initial release, the L-Series was comprised of 5 model vehicles—the LS, LS1, LW1, LS2, and LW2. All five models were made available with optional anti-lock brakes with traction control. And when it came to the engine, the LW1, together with the LS and LS1, were powered by a 2.2 L L61 4-cylinder engine. On the other hand, the LS2 and LW2 were equipped with a 3.0 L L81 V6 engine. The base model LS did not come with a station wagon counterpart and it had manual windows, manual door locks, and a basic AM/FM stereo. The Saturn LW1 was the station wagon counterpart of the LS1 sedan. Both models were furnished with power windows, power mirrors, and power door locks. They also featured keyless entry and heated mirrors. The LS1 sedan and LW1 station wagon, on the other hand, were packed with additional features and components such as fog lights.
2001: The LW200
The following year, all L-Series vehicles received new model designations. And because of this, the Saturn LW1 became the LW200. On the other hand, the LS became the L100, the LS1 the L200, the LS2 the L300, and the LW2 the LW300. Aside from having their names changed, all L-Series cars also received upgraded engines, shoulder belts, and head curtain side airbags.
2002: New standards
In 2002, all L-Series vehicles were furnished with anti-lock brakes with traction control. And at the same time, some features became optional such as the 6-spoke alloy wheel, automatic air-conditioning, and DVD player.
2003: A new look
2003 was all about upgrading the cars’ looks. For instance, the dash trim was changed from silver to wood. The seats inside the car were also reupholstered using a new material.
2004: Downsizing the L-Series
In 2004, all L-Series models were dropped save for the L300. And from that year on, only L300 sedans and station wagons were sold in the market. And just like the previous years, this new model vehicle was packed with several features inside and out. In 2005, General Motors completely dropped the entire line due to its poor sales performance in the market.