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Is this Saturn L200 worth keeping?

A family member has the option to keep our family’s inherited 2002 Saturn L200 with about 70k miles, zero rust, great looking shape, runs perfectly. The only thing wrong with it is a bad BCM. But two mechanics have said that Saturns are not worth keeping for a repair like this because parts are hard to get, expensive, and she should not keep it (one said to even junk it).

What do you think?

I would need the cost estimate for a bcm, Saturns are imhop a generally easily repairable and solid choice.

I agree with above. Parts are still available esp if you look online. Can you get a BCM from a junk yard or and have someone install it.

We need to know the cost of this repair though and also if the car has been maintained properly with regards to transmission fluid, possible timing belt if it has one, etc.

Did these mechanics actually look at the vehicle, did they give a estimate for the current problem and what else might need to be done now? Vehicle repair is something that just happens.

Agree with the two replies above. If it was me, I would get the BCM replaced and run the vehicle as long as I could, unless I just hated the car. I did a quickie browser search; it looks like the BCM is available. I would repeat this cycle for every repair until I could not find a replacement part. It wouldn’t surprise me if you could get replacement parts for another 5-10 years.

A car that is paid for (especially if you didn’t do the paying) is worth a lot.

Saturns, especially the L200, have lots of rather generic GM parts since they were made by GM. They became more like mainstream GM cars (not a good thing IMHO) as they entered the 2000’s and used more pats out of the GM bins but that is a benefit to you. Mechanical and electrical parts should be available for some time to come.

Crash repair parts likely will not be available so try to avoid accidents.

Mechanics can be intelligent or they can be very dumb. The 2 mechanics who told you that Saturn’s are not worth keeping…fall into the very dumb category. Fix the car and drive it until the wheels fall off.

Rockauto has three of them, $236 each plus shipping.

And find a new mechanic. Ask everyone you know for recommendations. You should have multiple recommendations for a few. Try those guys for your BCM issue. You might also want a second opinion on the BCM. If the first two couldn’t figure out how to get a BCM, maybe they can’t determine whether it is really the issue. There are a number of excellent mechanics on this board. If you describe the problem, they might have a few thoughts on your problem.

Does the family member like and/or need the car? If the answer to both is “not really”, than perhaps the best thing to do it sell it and use the cash for a good evening out. Sitting in the yard for years, the car will only depreciate… as will the value of whatever dollars he/she can get for it.

“The only thing wrong with it is a bad BCM.”

What functions are lost or intermittent with the bad BCM?

I had to replace a BCM once (Chrysler) because w/wipers and gas gauge became inoperative. The manufacturer wanted to impound the car while they ordered a BCM and my bill would have been $800.

I bought a used BCM from the salvage yard for $30 (exact part number) and installed it myself. However, I had to live with more miles (the salvage car’s mileage) shown on the odometer than I had previously, but I made note of it and it was a good trade-off.

On some vehicles the BCM holds the car’s mileage and sends it to the digital odometer and that’s why the dealer wanted to impound the vehicle. They have to order a new one with the exact current mileage or they would be guilty of tampering with the odometer miles.

I don’t know if Saturn uses the BCM to record mileage or not. Call a dealer just to see if they will sell you a BCM (if available) over the counter.


What functions are lost or intermittent with the bad BCM?

I’ve seen Saturn BCMs fail in so many different ways I can’t even recall them all. You can be driving down the road and lose all instrument cluster functions. The door locks and dome light will start cycling on their own. No headlights. Loss of power steering. Stall and no start.

A replacement BCM will need to be set-up and programmed to the car using a GM capable scan tool. Dealers or independent shops with the right equipment can do this.

As to whether the car should be repaired, I say it should. It runs well and looks good and has low miles. The cost to replace the BCM will be far less than replacing it with a car in similar condition. And replacement parts for routine maintenance and repair are and will be available for quite some time.

First, get a new mechanic.

What is the problem that is being diagnosed as a bad BCM? Do you have a Service Engine Soon (SES) light on? If so, is it giving a code that starts with B as in B0000?

If you are actually getting a B code, check the grounds to the BCM and through out the car, especially the ground straps that go from the engine block to the frame.

If the issue is with the gauges only, the problem is likely the gauge cluster and not the BCM. Odds are it will be in the ground to the gauge cluster but it can also be in the data loop.

There are some really experienced Saturn people on this site. Join them and post your question here, be sure to include the exact symptoms you are having.

Edit: and if you decide to get rid of it, maybe you could PM this guy, he could use a good car like this.