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  #1  
Old 19 July 2014, 06:28 PM
Magdalene Magdalene is offline
 
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Default Are you finding it harder to get Saturn car parts?

A friend of mine was in an accident recently (another car hit her, no serious injuries, thankfully).

Her Saturn ION is still in the shop after all this time--the place she took it to said that parts for Saturn are harder to come by, since the company went out of business. (She was joking she was going to come steal parts off my car, we drive the same model.) I know when my car needed several parts replaced last year, my car was in the shop for awhile because they had to special order some of the parts.

How common is this? Are the parts for Saturns really becoming that rare? I know the company went out of business a few years ago, but I figured it was a major-selling brand, and that garages would have parts available for some years--it's not like the cars were rare, and I still see a lot of them on the road.

Magdalene
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Old 19 July 2014, 06:43 PM
diddy diddy is offline
 
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I have had a Saturn and I haven’t found it very hard to get most repairs done that require parts. I suppose that it would depend on the model and year the car was made though. I would think that most of the time, the answer is that most common parts will still be available for years to come. I think that some components are also pretty common between other brands and other manufacturers (not everything is OEM).

Plus Saturn ended up being a GM brand I believe. That would make me think that they could get parts as needed since they can fab what they don’t actively stock or keep on hand.
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Old 19 July 2014, 07:35 PM
lavender blue lavender blue is offline
 
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I sold my Saturn about 2.5 years ago because of this. I had my car AC fail twice in consecutive summers; the last time it took several weeks to find a compressor. They did eventually find one, but I worried there would soon be a time where I wouldn't be able to find parts. In addition, the car was over 10 years old. I'm not a hands-on repair person with cars, plus I didn't have a backup car if my car had to be in the shop for an extended period of time. So I decided to buy a new car sooner than later, just to avoid likely future troubles.

I sold the Saturn to a friend, but I can't tell you whether they had problems fixing it; less than a year later one of their kids had an accident in the car (the kid was not hurt) and the insurance company declared the car totaled.
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Old 19 July 2014, 08:05 PM
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WildaBeast WildaBeast is offline
 
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I have a very old (1995 model) Saturn SL series, basically their first generation car. A couple of years ago the shifter cable broke. The mechanic informed me that the repair required a bracket or something that was no longer made but they found something that would work. I had just assumed it was the age of the car rather than Saturn parts becoming scarce that was the problem. I can't speak to the availibity of other parts; I haven't had to have other repairs done since then.

I had heard something similar to what diddy said. Saturn was part of GM. I had heard that even though they discontinued the brand GM was still going to provide support for existing cars.
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Old 19 July 2014, 10:29 PM
Magdalene Magdalene is offline
 
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She and I both have 2007s. I bought mine that year, I think she bought hers the year after. The company went out of business in 2010, so it's only four years later. I figured parts would still be available for years, so it's striking me as a little worrisome that her car is only a seven year old model, and four years after the company went out of business, she's being told that the parts are harder to come by.

Magdalene
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Old 19 July 2014, 10:31 PM
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That's too bad. They were great cars. I sold my 1999 one three years ago, and it's probably still chugging along.
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  #7  
Old 19 July 2014, 10:35 PM
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UEL UEL is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdalene View Post
...she's being told that the parts are harder to come by.
I wonder if it has to do with current owners and independent garages amassing the parts and not selling them.

When I was in university, I bought an Austin Mini. 1978, just like Mr Bean's, except left hand drive. However, when my brakes went, it took me about a year to find the part. There were plenty of people with parts, but none wanted to sell them. They were keeping them for themselves, just in case.

In the end, my Mom bought a Mini Cooper, and we bought two others to cannabilise for parts. I miss those cars.
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Old 19 July 2014, 10:45 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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I've got a couple pretty old cars (like a '93) that I can get parts for without any problem at all. I wonder if the problem with getting Saturn parts has to do with (1) there weren't that many sold and (2) they didn't use common/stock/standard parts.

The fact that Saturn went out of business shouldn't matter much since for most cars the replaceable parts aren't made by the car manufacturer anyway. The starter for my '93 isn't made by Nissan and never was. Same for the brakes, and alternator, and AC compressor, and just about everything else that isn't a body or frame part. And, the same starter was used for other manufacturer's cars besides Nissan, so they are still being made and still easy to get. If Nissan went out of business it wouldn't affect the availability of most of the parts.

The Saturns were from "a new kind of car company". Did Saturn tend to design a bunch of their own parts instead of using industry standard (and widely available) parts?
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  #9  
Old 20 July 2014, 07:02 AM
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WildaBeast WildaBeast is offline
 
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Possibly. They were always part of GM but they were allowed to do their own thing unlike their other brands that often made cars that were virtually identical other than styling differences.
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Old 20 July 2014, 06:29 PM
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Latiam Latiam is offline
 
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I didn't have any trouble. My Ion was written off about a year and a half ago.
The dealership where I got it serviced sent me a letter offering trade-in values that were very generous a while back. I think they may have been stockpiling parts. I still see a lot of Saturns on the road.
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Old 20 July 2014, 06:47 PM
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erwins erwins is offline
 
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I would guess that inventories are dwindling not because Saturn made the parts, but because demand naturally went down considerably for parts when the cars stopped being made. Companies that make the replacement parts make fewer and fewer of them the longer it is since the cars were made, because there are fewer and fewer of them on the road.

So with less supply, it takes longer to find the needed parts. There probably are a few parts, too, that don't have an aftermarket supplier, so something will either need to be adapted to the purpose or pulled from a junked car. (Like the shifter cable bracket, maybe). I had a part of my climate controls in my dash break on a Nissan. My mechanic had to order the part from a dealer because it's not something there was an aftermarket supplier for, and it was delicate enough that they didn't recommend trying a used one.
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Old 20 July 2014, 07:23 PM
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Roadsterboy Roadsterboy is offline
 
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Many mechanical parts for the Ion should still be available, due to commonality with other GM vehicles. Things like trim and body panels, however, will likely be harder to find, being the sorts of things you might discover that a former Saturn dealer has sitting on the shelf.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
When I was in university, I bought an Austin Mini. 1978, just like Mr Bean's, except left hand drive. However, when my brakes went, it took me about a year to find the part. There were plenty of people with parts, but none wanted to sell them. They were keeping them for themselves, just in case.
This genuinely surprises me, since Mini parts are common as all heck in the UK, and even back in the 80's weren't that hard to get here in the States, and the Mini hadn't been sold here new since the sixties by then. Since they were sold for longer in Canada it should've been easier to get parts, especially for something like brakes.
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  #13  
Old 20 July 2014, 08:59 PM
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UEL UEL is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Roadsterboy View Post
This genuinely surprises me, since Mini parts are common as all heck in the UK, and even back in the 80's weren't that hard to get here in the States, and the Mini hadn't been sold here new since the sixties by then. Since they were sold for longer in Canada it should've been easier to get parts, especially for something like brakes.
It was the master cylinder that went on my car. And the master cylinder for my specific car was a proprietary part that only fit one model of car, the late '70s Mini.

There were a lot of parts, but they were being hoarded by a few (and as I said, at one time we owned 4 cars, two for parts only) and either they weren't being sold or sold at prices at which I could buy another car.

To be fair, this was in the pre-internet age and I was in Manitoba. So, I did not have the luxury of big city availability and had to rely upon my Mini Cooper Club to resource parts. And these guys were all desperate for parts too.

On the flip side though, when my ignition switch broke (where the key goes in) I was able to find a new steering column in hours and have it installed (did it myself) for very little. This was before my Mom got her Mini Cooper so I was quite pleased with the cost and time I was able to do it.
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Old 20 July 2014, 09:07 PM
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Latiam Latiam is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadsterboy View Post
Many mechanical parts for the Ion should still be available, due to commonality with other GM vehicles. Things like trim and body panels, however, will likely be harder to find, being the sorts of things you might discover that a former Saturn dealer has sitting on the shelf.
I don't know about trim, but generally you don't need new panels unless you've been in an accident. They were a polymer that took a lot of abuse, and on the Ion and some others could be unbolted, repaired/repainted, and bolted back on. The repair guy told me. As he was preparing to unbolt it. Stuck his fingers in right behind it.
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Old 20 July 2014, 10:53 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
I would guess that inventories are dwindling not because Saturn made the parts, but because demand naturally went down considerably for parts when the cars stopped being made. Companies that make the replacement parts make fewer and fewer of them the longer it is since the cars were made, because there are fewer and fewer of them on the road.

So with less supply, it takes longer to find the needed parts. There probably are a few parts, too, that don't have an aftermarket supplier, so something will either need to be adapted to the purpose or pulled from a junked car. (Like the shifter cable bracket, maybe). I had a part of my climate controls in my dash break on a Nissan. My mechanic had to order the part from a dealer because it's not something there was an aftermarket supplier for, and it was delicate enough that they didn't recommend trying a used one.
You are probably right but I would think that for a car ten years old or more that whether it is still being made wouldn't affect part availability since nothing on the ten year old car would match the current version. I can walk into a local car parts store and get a starter for a 20 year old nissan without any problem. Of course, I probably can't get a door handle (or a parking brake bracket).
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  #16  
Old 21 July 2014, 03:49 AM
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Roadsterboy Roadsterboy is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Latiam View Post
I don't know about trim, but generally you don't need new panels unless you've been in an accident.
Or rust - I'd like to repair the rust on the rear fenders of my Mazda but parts aren't available, so I'd have to find an example that's rust free in those areas, cut the parts out, then weld them in to my car (obviously not a problem with the plastic exterior panels on a Saturn). Similarly, structural parts like floors or sills aren't likely to be remade either, so anyone wanting to repair such a car due to damage (or restoration in the future) will have problems. Not that I think most Saturns will carry a whole lot of value in another 20 years or so, certainly not enough to be candidates for restoration.

ETA: I spoke too soon, and seem to have found quarters for my car. So, bad example.
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  #17  
Old 21 July 2014, 02:43 PM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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I have a 1998 Infiniti QX4 - my father bought it brand new in 98 and 16 years later it is still in excellent shape (when he died I got it and having lived mostly in cities until very recently, it's only got about 70k miles on it).

It's only been in the shop twice - once when the fan belt went, which was no big deal, but more recently while driving from NY to Toronto the speedometer died. That was a fun trip, having to gauge my speed based on how fast everyone else was going on the 401. Luckily I didn't get a ticket.

We took it to our local mechanic who said he couldn't work on it, and ended up taking it to a Nissan dealership downtown. It took 2 weeks because (a) the QX4 hasn't been made in a while (even though it's identical to a Pathfinder with a different logo on the front) and (b) they had to special order a speedometer from the US to get one that featured mph, not kph (I would have happily taken a kph one but they didn't even ask me ).
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Old 21 July 2014, 05:47 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plurabelle View Post
It's only been in the shop twice - once when the fan belt went, which was no big deal, but more recently while driving from NY to Toronto the speedometer died. That was a fun trip, having to gauge my speed based on how fast everyone else was going on the 401. Luckily I didn't get a ticket.
Just as an FYI, most GPS units now have a speedometer feature. And most cell phones are GPS enabled and many apps exist for a speedometer.

[Not knowing when that speedo' broke, I can't speak for whether this was available to you].

OY
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  #19  
Old 21 July 2014, 06:05 PM
niner niner is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
Possibly. They were always part of GM but they were allowed to do their own thing unlike their other brands that often made cars that were virtually identical other than styling differences.
Like the Saturn Outlook, which was virtually identical to the Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Envoy (the Envoy gets a much nicer sound barrier package, though). I would imagine Outlook parts are a lot easier to come by.

I would guess overall the lack of parts is due to the age and no "modern" version of the same model using similar or backwards-compatible parts.
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  #20  
Old 21 July 2014, 06:34 PM
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They were originally very different. As time went on they got more and more similar to GM cars and shared parts.
It was an excellent idea but once the guy who created it retired it kind of petered out. No more movie nights or other get-togethers, the cars weren't as good. It was kind of sad.
We bought 6 Saturns and would still be buying them now if they were around. The treatment at the dealership was just so different. You were a face and mattered. They knew your name. And not because they'd checked the file.
I still remember the mechanic who worked on my car. His name was Joe.
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