Is it normal for my 1998 Saturn SL to use up oil? It has 194k miles on it and it runs perfectly fine. Will it be worth it or even be expensive to get the engine rebuilt? I love the car even if it has 0 power so I want it to last


Asked by Feb 27, 2016 at 10:52 PM about the 1998 Saturn S-Series 4 Dr SL Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

It has 194k miles on it and it runs perfectly fine. Will it be worth it or even be
expensive to get the engine rebuilt? I love the car even if it has 0 power, but I
want it to last another 100k.  I don't even go on long trips with it because I'm
scared it'll run out of oil on me :/

8 Answers


Yes. I have had two Saturn SL's and the one I have now, just turned 100K a few weeks ago. She uses about a quart of oil between oil changes (every 3k miles). My first Saturn SL was a 1994 and had 292k miles on and used the same amount of oil but was super reliable (she was totaled after I was T-Boned on the driver side by a Ford Taurus who's driver ran a stop sign) other wise that car would still be running. I bought this 98 last spring after seeing it on Craigslist as a one owner with all maintenance records for $900!! These cars will go forever if you just make sure to keep her topped off.

2 people found this helpful.

How much oil is it using? Meaning how much are you putting into it between oil changes? These engines are known to use a bit of oil. I bought the 98 just as a run around car as it is in perfect shape (see the photos and the information on my page by clicking "my garage"). I have done a ton of work on Saturn's and they are great cars, despite what some people say. The little 95 horsepower engine isn't powerful, but don't they get AMAZING gas mileage? I have a 145hp Hyundai Elantra that seems like a sports car compared to the Saturn but it remains close to my heart. I know that sounds weird but I just have a love for these cars as they have got me through tough times in my life, (I also owned a 2001 L300 (Sunroof, Leather, V6, but she was also totaled in an accident when my friend had borrowed it, and was rear ended by a UPS truck). It was a very nice "bigger car" and with a V6 was powerful and EVERY Saturn I have had is cheap to fix, reliable, and good to me. Engine replacement literally can take a few hours, just pull one out of a junk yard, and slap it in your car for a few hundred bucks.

2 people found this helpful.

Here's a little shot of Sally (That's her name :) ) If your's runs fine with no problems, do not worry about her running out of oil unless the oil light is coming on, or you are going through more than a quart a month. Let me know exactly how much you are using, and we can troubleshoot your problems and maybe restore your trust in her, so that you are able to take her on a trip!

2 people found this helpful.

It varies time to time. Sometimes I would have to top it off every other day or I will go a week or two without topping it off. I don't know if it's my paranoia, but I always try and have it fully up to the line (sometimes I go over by accident) but for whatever reason, whenever I visit my sister (30 minute drive) it always uses about half the oil. The speed limit on most of the drive is 55 mph and I rarely speed, it’s a 5 speed so I sometimes shift later since there’s a few hills but I don’t drive it rough. I’ve owned for 2 years and i’ve had to replace the tensioner, the lights for the A/C and cup holder and i’m saving up to get a new radiator since it’s leaking and a new backup light switch. The only real problem I have with the car is that it’s using the oil and for some reason it tends to idle randomly anywhere between 1500 rpm and 1800 rpm but it’ll stop if I turn it off, I might use some seafoam to clean out the gunk and the throttle body to see if that helps the idle issue but other than that I love the car and the gas is great even with it nearly having 200k on the engine. My neighbor has a Saturn ion in blue and I hope he sells it some day so I can snatch it up lol


I am glad to hear that you love it, and I will be happy to assist you with troubleshooting your issue. Do you see oil on your driveway or under the car when it is parked? Make sure not to overfill the oil as this can cause the seals to leak in the engine making the problem even worse. Also ensure that you are checking the oil when the car is cold (meaning after it has sat without running for at least a few hours, overnight is preferred). This will ensure that all the oil is in the pan and you get an accurate reading. Does the car smell like it's burning oil? When you get out, does it smell like burnt oil around the front end of the car? I have replaced a few items on the 98 after I bought it because when a guest visits from out of town, like my brother, sister, or other family/friends I lend them the Saturn to drive so they don't have to rent a car, and they all say that they are so surprised at how nice it is for it being so old and such an inexpensive car. I hope you get the Ion if you like Saturns! They are great cars if you take care of them, and your's sounds like a great little SL. Take a picture and throw it on your page :) You can also message me directly if you have questions. I will be happy to help you in anyway I can! Best of luck and Ill check back tomorrow to see if you answered the questions about it leaking or if you are checking the oil when the car is cold!

1 people found this helpful.

Heres another newer photo of Sally!


Yup, I always check it when it sits for a few hours or overnight. I don't smell any oil or see any on the ground. I thankfully have a Chevy/GM repair and parts place near me to get stuff that Autozone doesn't carry. I always joke with my mom that i'll put a corvette engine in it one of these days lol I'll take a picture of it one of these days.


Regarding your idle issue it could be your throttle position sensor that's one thing and goes out you might want to check into that.

1 people found this helpful.

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