Does the engine in my 2005 Saturn ION need to be replaced?

Asked by Feb 08, 2015 at 11:33 AM about the 2005 Saturn ION 1

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The oil light came on, and then went right back off, in my 2005 Saturn ION Friday night.  
She's got 156, 427 miles on her. Saturday morning I took it for an oil change.  The
mechanic said there was no oil at all in it.  They did not report any leakage of oil (I
asked).
After they were done, I drove for about 10 minutes along regular street roads, without
incident.  After which I was in the post office for about 10 minutes.  Then I drove about
30 minutes, along regular street roads and on an interstate, without incident.  This was
a stop at the butcher that took about 10 minutes.  Then I drove about 30 minutes along
an interstate, and in the last 3 minutes, it began to sputter, like it would if it had a
clogged fuel filter.  I gave it more gas and it was fine.  I parked the car and went into the
store to run my errands. I was meeting a friend in the area, so I waited in my car until it
was time.  About two hours time elapsed here.
I tried to start the car and it was a pretty loud metal racket going on, which I was afraid
meant damage from no oil, but if it were, I thought, then it would be running all this
time.  I tried it again, same ghastly noise.
AAA tow truck driver arrived and tried to start it.  It made a similar, but less violent
noise.  The battery was starting to go now.
My husband tried to start it after the car got towed, and it wouldn't turn over at all
(standard dead battery sound).  Checked the oil level and the dipstick read it was
FULL, albeit quite a bit darker than it should be for brand new.
Any suggestions on possible causes, problems, repairs, costs, would be greatly
appreciated.

2 Answers

38,165

Personally I would junk it and get something second hand. You've probably driven it for 10 years already. The amount of time and money you will sink into it, will probably come out to the same price as buying a good used car. If the engine has to be replaced, you will be looking at around $1600 for a crate engine, plus whatever labor costs. Usually after putting in a new engine, a myriad of other problems will come up. I would take the 3k you will end up spending in labor, and get a good used car.

Thanks Reelin68 ... I've had it since '09 and it's been exactly what I needed, and I come from a long line of Saturns, so I was hoping somebody would say, oh, it only needs X and that will only cost $500 (I'm a dreamer). After the mechanic said it was completely out of oil, I started looking online at used cars while I waited for the oil change to manage my expectations of price and availability.

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