2002 Saturn SL series shift cable problem

Started losing gears

I bought this car about a month ago, about 2 weeks ago I started losing gears, 2nd and reverse. I had a friend look at it and it is the gear shift linkage cable. So he cut the cables that were already broke in order so it will slow down the process until I had the money to fix it correctly. Which he told me he could do and it would only be about $30.00. But he wanted to take it to his car mechanic friend who has his own business in mechanics. Well we did. He gave me a $475.00 estimate. My friend made a comment to me about losing all my gears at once and being stranded.

Well not even 12 hours later after his mechanic was looking at it, I lost all gears. And the friend that said would fix it is now telling me to have it towed to his mechanic friends shop and have him do it. After he said he would fix it for me. I’m just a girl and easily taken advantage of. My friend even said that I could be taken for a ride. Everything just seems fishy to me. Anyway, is it just me being paranoid or can it happen like that and is that a correct estimate?

Shift Cable Replacement Cost

It is common for the shift control cable to fail and need to be replaced. The labor time involved for replacing the shift cable is 3.0 hours according to Chilton Manual. So if the mechanic is charging $100 per hour, you are looking at $300 labor plus parts cost. Here is the cable you need. I double checked to make sure it is the proper cable for your specific car. It carries a cost of $101 (02/2024).

2002 saturn sl shifter cableShop Automotive

Now it is normal for a shop to charge a mark up on parts. The shop would probably want double so we will say about $88 for the part. Now we are up to $388.00. Then you add in some shop supplies and possible a diagnostic fee(which you don’t need done because you already know what is wrong with it) if applicable. Still the $475 seems a bit high for the job unless it includes a stiff tow charge.

You may want to call around to some different shops and get some quotes for the job. Remember to get the QUOTE, not ESTIMATE in writing before you agree to have the work completed.

Shift Cable Replacement

(best viewed in Google Chrome or Firefox)