It has now been one year since I got the deal of the century on my 2002 Saturn SL2. At the time this was a questionable purchase, even at a price of only $400.00 with 138,180 miles. But I knew that mechanically these were good cars and this one, despite being trashed inside and out, was in good shape mechanically and had basic maintenance done as required.
I now have spent a total, including purchase price, of $900.00 on this vehicle, and have driven it 20,000 miles. Thanks to the cost of gasonline I now am looking smarter and smarter every day. Without running A/C I get 36-38 mpg highway, and 30-32 mpg in commuting traffic. Running the A/C knocks about 1-3 mpg off those numbers depending on how I drive.
On top of that, it is actually a fun little car to drive. Especially after I dropped $150 on two new front tires, I heard something called traction is helpful at times. Probably my second best investment was the $70 for the full set of junkyard seats, the car would not have been tolerable without them. The busted-out driver’s seat gave new meaning to the term “bucket seat”. The power options of the SL2 trim level make it seem like it’s not such a cheap ride also. It’s got power windows, mirrors, keyless entry, cruise control, and a decent CD stereo. It also has a factory sunroof which doesn’t open but still lets the sun shine in when I want it too. As soon as I find a working sunroof in the junkyard that will be fixed also.
I’m kind of suprised that it made it this far while being flogged daily. I’ve joked that if it dies I’ll drop another used engine in it and keep going. Due to many circumstances over the past year I will probably do exactly that if it does die. I have also joked that if it makes it to January 2011 I will give it to my son, who will turn 16 then. This is looking more and more probable as the months go by. As an Anniversary treat I’m going to change the engine oil and filter this weekend, which it really likes. I’ve learned to tell when it’s low on oil just by ear and feel. And time has shown that if you keep the oil properly topped and changed these little engines will run a long time.