Currently looking at a 2000 RHD Saturn station wagon 4sale for less then 2k. The seller has told me that it won’t go into reverse once it warms up but will engage if on an incline. So before I seriously consider this I would like to know what the approximate cost would be to rebuild it.
Is there some reason why you don’t call transmission shops in your area? Anything you get from here is just going to be a guess. My guess is that it will require a rebuilt transmission and could be more than the asking price of the car. That is why the present owner did not fix it.
OP, is your Saturn an automatic transmission or a manual? If an automatic, and the problem is related to engine temperature and how much the car is sloped, that might be something simple like the transmission fluid is low or it just needs a proper transmission service.
A complete transmission rebuild, if that’s what’s needed, I expect that would be in the $2000 to $3500 range.
As said above, just a wild guess. The experts here recommend to pay your mechanic to do a pre-purchase inspection before buying a used car. It costs around $100 and is money well spent in most cases.
Thank you GeorgeSanJose, I truly appreciate your answer. It’s an automatic.
I apologize if this was a silly question. I was just wondering the price range as the car seemed a great price for a person getting ready to drive a rural carrier route in a car totally NOT compatible for the job. Unfortunately funds are extremely tight(as in non-existent) but just wanted to know an estimate for my own informational purpose. I’ve never had to replace/rebuild a transmission nor have a clue of the cost since my family always had manual vehicles.
Were I looking for an inexpensive car for that type of use I’d prefer a manual transmission myself. More reliable and simpler and cheaper to repair.
George-A manual transmission for a rural contract mail carrier is just not going to work.
If I were to drive that car to a transmission shop, I’d have at least $2,000 in the bank to cover it.
Many Saturn’s suffer from this and Saturn owners have come up with what they call the reverse slam procedure. It mostly involves doing an ATF and filter change, then putting the car in reverse for a half hour with the parking brake set and letting the new ATF flow through the valves and passages that are only used when in reverse.
If that doesn’t work, then the valve body will need to be replaced, which is easy on this vehicle. It is located on top and you can get replacements on eBay for the $100 range.
BTW, the ATF change is just like an engine oil change. You unscrew the drain plug and let it drain. The filter is a spin on just like the engine oil filter. You fill through the dipstick.
Do a search on this forum, this is covered well there and there are links to You Tube videos of each job.
Heres a thread that you might be interested in.