Blown engine in 2003 Saturn...should we move on?

Im not going to pretend I (or my fiancee) knows much about cars at all. So I will try to simplify the question and try to find answers if you have questions. Just trying to determine what we should do here.

2 weeks ago we got the Saturn inspected. He (my fiancee) took it to a shop he always patronizes despite that fact that I haven’t liked them much from my dads negative opinion on an incident with them. He still liked them and continued going there. Kept up on taking it for oil changes as often as he was supposed to. This is the vehicle he uses to commute to and from work with and had 200K on it. So I’m aware it gave us a lot. But again, it was maintained the way it should have been (even moreso I believe). Meaning my fiancee knows so little about cars they could tell him he needed the steering wheel replaced because the color was unsafe to drive with and he would entertain the idea thoroughly. Every repair or preventative measure that was thrown out there, he had done. So two weeks ago we get the inspection and they require a crapload of stuff be done including 3 new tires, struts and something they said wouldve made the steering go if he didnt get it done then. 2600.00 Fine…sucked it up, cleared out the savings and got it all done. Supposedly (which sounds VERY likely) he asked them how the oil was and they said it was fine. Fast forward to Tues of this past week…hes driving to work and gets about 30 minutes into drive up the highway when he said it lost its gusto more or less. He heard a “bbbbbrrrr” noise and it was struggling to stay at 30mph. He then just lost all “power” to it and cruised off to the shoulder. Unable to get it back on, AAA came out and towed it to a place out by his job. (now kept there about 45 min to an hour away). They originally called us the next day and said it had no oil. No oil at all. How is that possible? Even if he for some reason had no oil, should it have disappeared in 2 weeks from the day of inspection? Maybe a leak? Anyway, the mechanic at the “new” place said they would fill it up, check for leaks etc. and get back to us. (I had a Saturn before I met him and the timing chain went twice in it, seemed the same to me. cost 700.00 each time to fix). Thought it may have been that. The “new” mechanic called to tell us they put oil in it, started it and a rod blew through the engine. That its done. How the hell does this happen? I keep reading things that it is a term they sometimes throw around and now wondering about that too. So he told us he could find another and replace it for 2500.00 We cant blow another 2500.00 and thought it best to part ways with it. Listed it on Craigslist at 500.00. All in all, we are really financially screwed over this. We were thinking of a used car but so overly paranoid that we’re making wrong decisions all the time. We cant get my kids to school AND him to work starting on Monday, so needing some info soon. Should we just be selling it or replacing engine? Is 500 the right amount? I should say that we called the first place back after they said it was no oil and asked how that was the case to which they replied “It is not mandatory to check your oil during inspections?” Maybe not. But we thought with 2600.00 worth of work, at the very least a courtesy. So frustrating. Thanks

Others may disagree but I say it’s time to move on. Your Saturn is an orphan as the company is now defunct. Get what you can for the vehicle and never look back. BTW @Kmazz…you included a lot of facts in your post…which is great but please use paragraphs next time. It’s a lot easier to read that way.

You could check you oil in the morning before you leave the house and not have any by the time you drop your kids off at school. Stuff happens - seals blow, gaskets blow, things leak etc. So there’s no way to know anything about the oil loss without being able to inspect the car or having specific info. It’s a good idea to check it about every other time you put gas in it. Or more often if there’s any indication that there might be an issue.

Like missileman, I don’t think going to any great lengths to keep a Saturn on the road is a very good idea.

Assuming the “inspection” was a mandatory state safety inspection, they would not likely have checked the oil. The only items they check are safety items. Their goal is not to help you maintain your vehicle.

On a 200,000 mile Saturn, oil can disappear rapidly. I suspect that the reason the rod blew is that the engine bearing(s) seized due to lack of oil. That caused the engine to die and probably left the rod broken, and the attempt to start the engine pushed it through the engine’s sidewall.

Move on. Post an ad to sell it for a few hundred as a “parts car” or call one of those places that tows away old cars for free. I’m sorry to say that this one is history.

Since I expect you’ll be replacing the Saturn with a used car, be sure you get it thoroughly inspected before signing any purchase agreements. And teach your fiancée to regularly check the oil and fluids.

Sorry. I wish you both the best.

Move on! Life is too short to prop up an orphan that’s a loser as well.