2001 Saturn L200 4-cylinder

Ok so here goes…my girlfriend’s car has about 160,000 miles on it and I won’t say it has been the best maintained. It recently wouldn’t start for about a month before she realized she left the lights on. Anyway, once it got a new battery, I was driving it while she used my car. I was coming home from work and as I started slowing in traffic, it sputtered and stopped on the highway. The radio, windows, lights, etc all still worked but it wouldn’t “turn over” when cranking even though it sounded like it was going to. I had it towed home and before I have it completely junked, I was wondering if anyone had any idea what the problem could be? If it’s not too expensive, I’ll get it fixed to trade it in. Just not in the mood to have it towed to a mechanic for bad news. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

You’ll have to determine if it’s a fuel or ignition problem.

Take some starting fluid, open the throttle plate on the throttle body and give a quick shot of starting fluid in the intake. Now try starting the engine. If the engine starts and runs for a second or two it’s a fuel issue. If the engine doesn’t start it’s an ignition issue.


Can you hear the fuel pump run when you turn the ignition key to the on position? If not it’s probably either a bad fuel pump of fuel pump relay. You should be able to hear a humming that last about 2 seconds if the fuel pump is working. Does the engine turn over at the same speed as always or does it turn faster like there’s a lack of compression? If it’s turning faster and seems to be lower compression, I’d check the timing belt. I’m not sure whether the Saturn has an interference or non interference engine, but if it’s an interference engine and the timing belt broke it means the pistons would have hit the valves, probably causing significant damage, if it’s a non interference engine and the timing belt broke all that will probably need to be done is line up the timing marks and put a new timing belt on it. Do you know when the timing belt was last changed? Most cars have a recommended timing belt change interval of 100K miles or less. I’m not exactly sure what you mean by it wouldn’t turn over, but sounded like it was going to. Was the engine spinning over or was there no sound from the engine. Not turning over usually means the engine does nothing, not starting means the engine is turning over but won’t fire up. An engine takes 3 things to start and run, correct air/fuel mixture, spark at correct time and compression. You need to determine which you don’t have then post your results, this will help everyone with diagnosing the problem.