Saturn oil change near disaster

softball_80November 5, 2007

I was changing the oil in my daughter's 95 Saturn SC1. I have done this many times but never on a Saturn. When I unscrewed the oil filter I discovered that it wasn't an oil filter at all, but an external automatic transmission fluid filter. The red ATF fluid that dripped out was a dead giveaway. I put it side by side with the replacement oil filter; same size, same screw threads. I just put it back on as I didn't have a replacement, and topped off the ATF. I later found the actual oil filter and finished the oil change.

I told this story to the guy at the auto parts store and asked if I could have used an oil filter as an ATF filter. He said no, that they were different. I know now that I'm going to have to do all her oil changes from now on because I can see the kid at the Jiffy Lube making the same mistake and not owning up to it.

POOR design!!!!!!

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john_g

Don't blame the design on the fact that you neglected to approach this simple job without proper instructions, and yes, training. It may be arguable that you also had inadequate lighting because the external spin on tranny filter of course looks similar to an oil filter. If you could have seen better, you should have recognized the fact that the first filter that you saw was on the transaxle instead of the engine. In case you neglected this, there is also a drain plug to drain the transaxle which means them minimum transmission service is no more difficult than an engine oil change is.

Poor design? NO.

Now the quick lube. The "KID" is going to make mistakes, hopefully good training will keep them to a minimum. Good business means when a mistake occurs, you do what you have to to make it right. If someone makes too many mistakes, then of course a change is in order. But the ones that learn quickly, and don't make a lot of mistakes usually move on to other careers, some of which may even be full automotive technicians. If your so afraid "the kid" won't be any more technically competent than you were, why don't you take your car to a shop where the techs take their careers seriously?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 9:35AM
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chad_said

Careful there, John. By not validating the OP and telling him what he wants to hear, you risk being reported and banned from the site. It's the same way with other forums here: anybody who is not part of the main clique or has a differing opinion, must be run out at once!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 1:30PM
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john_g

LOL Chad...

Although it is so close to true I see your point. Of course being as "uneducated" as I am, maybe the powers that be will simply just excuse my uneducatedness.

Although if they did run me off, I'd spend just a little more time working instead of confusing some here with correct answers....

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 2:54PM
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bames

I like that Saturn idea. Changing the tranny fluid and filter is not one of my favorite maintenance chores. So the Saturn has a drain plug then and a spin on filter so this means you never have to remove the pan, right? If So, I may just think about a Saturn the next time I need a car. I wonder if the Sky uses this method?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 8:01PM
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vahomeowner

They are still using that design on different vehicles. A GM duramax for example uses a external ATF filter AND a internal filter. A "spin on" makes for alot easier maintence.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 9:22PM
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bames

Do you happen to know what GM cars these trannys are used in?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 10:34PM
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