The Saturn SL1 had the proud distinction of being the first in a long time of Saturn vehicleseffectively kick-starting a 20-year long run that put Saturn on the map. The SL1 was, specifically, the sedan of the entire series. It had two very unique things going for it. First, it was completely developed in-house by Saturn. This was important because it meant that the SL1 would be distinct from parent company General Motors' own line of vehicles. Second, the SL1 incorporated dent-resistant panelingthis was, in fact, a major selling point for Saturn that few others could match!
In keeping with its goal to provide a different kind of car experience, the Saturn SL1 was given a modest Single Overhead Camshaft 1.9-L I4 Lk0 engine that was capable of 85 hp output. This meant that there was a balance between power and fuel economy that was hard to distinguish from one another. The SL1 certainly felt powerful and zipped along rather quicklybut users would note that in terms of miles to the gallon, they came out on top. It was a revolution in design too, the front end angling sharply forward and downward to make it look like a shiny bullet of sorts speeding down the highway.
By 2002, the Saturn SL1 reaches the end of an otherwise successful production run when it is replaced by a more GM-friendly platform, seeing the ultimate end to Saturn's in-house designing. Discontinued hardly means "dead" when it comes to the SL1, though. It is still enjoying a great deal of buzz due to the fact that it offered a premium, dependable ride at a less than premium price. Given that its retirement was only a decade earlier, you will be surprised that there is still a thriving market of high-quality Saturn SL1 parts and accessories out there for any replacements and upgrades you might need for your sedan.
I will be changing the oil and oil filter on my Saturn SL1 for the first time. How do I remove the oil filter?
Try wrapping an old belt around the oil filter and loosen it with your hand. If this step does not work, you will need an oil filter wrench that is specifically designed for unscrewing an oil filter from an SL1. Does your SL1 have a low ground clearance? If so, it will be difficult for you to access the oil filter under your car. Make sure to use jack stands for this purpose. Also, you have to observe safety when working under your car—wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from harmful fluids such as coolant, engine oil, brake fluid, and battery acid.
What is the correct engine oil type for my SL1? How much oil is required?
The right oil type for most Saturns is indicated on the oil cap. If you cannot find the information on the oil cap, consult your SL1 owner's manual for the oil type before you add new oil to your engine. As for the amount of oil, 4 to 5 quarts should be enough.
What exactly does the maintenance required light mean? How do I reset it?
This is part of a maintenance reminder system that lights up when service needs to be done on your car. A standard feature in most SL1 models, the maintenance reminder system monitors mileage driven and driving conditions to help you know when your SL1 needs maintenance, such as when it needs an oil change. You can reset the maintenance required light manually if you perform car maintenance yourself. It involves several easy steps: turning the ignition switch on without starting the engine, opening the hood, removing the lid from the fuse box, pushing the "OIL-R" button in the fuse box for around five seconds, releasing the "OIL-R" button, pushing the trip odometer reset button until the maintenance required light appears, and pushing again and holding the trip odometer reset button until the maintenance required light resets. Once the light resets, you can turn the engine to "OFF," put back the fuse box lid until it secures in place, and then close the hood.
How do I know what kind of fluid is leaking from my SL1?
The first thing to know about identifying leaks is that it is quite difficult because many systems in your car can leak fluids. Each fluid has a different color, and this can help you locate the source of a leak. Engine oil, for example, is usually black or brown. If it is a new oil, the color may be amber or yellowish brown. Another common leak on cars is the coolant, which is typically green and sticky.
My SL1 is burning oil excessively. What might be causing it?
Excessive oil burning or extremely high oil consumption is a common problem experienced by Saturn SL1 owners. The first thing to do is to identify what is causing the oil burning, so you know which part of your SL1 needs to be addressed immediately. It can be any of the following: pressurized oil pan, broken valve seals, damaged piston rings, or broken valve guides.
The 12 Years of Saturn SL1
As part of the first vehicle series from Saturn Corporation, the Saturn SL1 is a compact family car that is very much distinct compared to other automobiles from General Motors Company. It is due to its spaceframe design where the side panels do not carry any load, allowing them to be made of polymer materials instead of metal. These polymer panels are resistant to dents and rust, making the Saturn SL1 run 12 decent years in the market from 1991 to 2002.
1991: Saturn’s first
The Saturn S-Series was introduced into the market as the make’s first vehicle series the year 1991. It came with four trim levels to accommodate different needs and tastes: the base sedan level (SL), SL1, SL2, and sports coupe. The Saturn SL1 trim level was characterized by an SOHC 1.9L I4 engine which gave it a power of 85 hp. It was run by a five-speed manual transmission which contributes to its fuel efficiency of 37 mpg. The first models also came with alloy wheels for higher torque. By this time, it already had acoustic insulated passenger compartments as well as climate controls, making it a safe choice as a family car during the time.
1996: A softer and smoother SL1
The year 1996 brought about major changes in how the Saturn SL1 looked and performed. It had a facelift that made it look round due to its smoother edges, larger interior, and improved doorway size. Aside from its appearance, foremost performance enhancements were done with the addition of various systems such as the OBDII powertrain control module. This system uses an electronic control unit to manage a series of actuators in the engine. These actuators allow the computer to control the way the engine works depending on driving situations. Also by 1996, the Saturn SL1 already had a traction control for its transmission system, providing enhanced driver control and smoother handling. Another improvement was the use of sequential-port fuel injectors instead of multiport injectors. This change allowed better fuel economy with faster engine response and less emission.
1999: A quieter run
The Saturn SL1’s engine had some noticeable upgrades in the year 1999. However, these improvements did not bring about major changes in the engine’s output performance. Instead, it made driving the compact family sedan with less noise, vibrations, and emissions with improved fuel efficiency. Part of the changes were revised pistons for more solid fuel combustion, improved connecting rods for a more efficient engine performance, and crankshaft counterweight that promote firmer grip on the pistons.
2002: The end of the road
2002 is the last year of production for the whole Saturn S-Series. This is to give way to a Saturn Ion which proved to be more appealing to the consumers. The last models of the Saturn SL1 features 15-inch aluminum wheels, head curtain airbags, lower-body panels, and fresh front fascias. By this time, it already carried the OnStar Communication System, a system General Motors developed to provide different communication features such as in-vehicle security, hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation, subscription-based communications, and remote diagnostics systems.