Rough transmission on a 2002 Saturn SL2

Our Saturn had been acting up, revving kind of high and taking too long to shift, espcially when going up a hill. Then it started clunking or kicking when it shifted. We had the transmission fluid drained and replaced, as well as the filter. It’s better but hasn’t stopped the roughness of the shifting. Is this the way it is going to be or should I take it somewhere else? Or am I better off bailing and getting a better used car like a Toyota or Subaru?

Get the computer scanned first. That clunking could be because the computer has detected a problem and has commanded the pressure control solenoid inside the transmission to apply full line pressure to the transmission to protect it. Your problem could be something as simple as a sensor on the engine or transmission. I had a customer walk into my shop last week carrying a Honda transmission he said was bad. I tore it down and found absolutely nothing wrong with it. I rebuilt it and $2200 later his problem was still there. He drove it to my shop after he had it installed thinking I did something wrong. I pulled out the MODIS and scanned it and got a TPS code. Scoped the TPS and found it maxing out. He took it and had a TPS installed at his shop. He called me later and told me that it was running great. Lesson here: Dont condemn the car yet.


saturn transmissions are notorios for something called “reverse slam” usually starting with slamming into reverse. this causes the input shaft nut to become loose and other problems in shifting start to occur. usually the valve body in the transmission goes bad. it will most likely take some sort of rebuild to get it fixed or it will only get worse over time. search the internet for 'saturn reverse slam"