TTAC’s own Ronnie Schreiber writes:
My mom’s ’02 Saturn’s SL1 power locks freak out sometimes, sounds like solenoids are having spasms. I’ll go to lock or unlock them and they’ll start fluttering. Sometimes slamming a door will stop it.
My guess is that there’s a dirty switch somewhere, might be weather related too because it started happening in late autumn. It was easier to diagnose things when they didn’t use logic circuits for everything.
Slamming the door will stop it?
Perhaps the sales pitch where a Saturn salesperson hits the door with a baseball bat wasn’t such a bright idea after all?
After some googling on the Saturn forums, this is a common problem. That said, this shockingly thorough post covers my two possible faults: a bad relay or a busted switch. Considering the door slam fix, the switch is bad.
Much like a well-worn record, the internal (copper) connections in switches can wear out over time. Or the springy action of the button can disappear, making it activate when least expected. Considering the quality of GM interiors from this era, a worn out switch is also more likely than a bad relay.
So I’d disconnect the driver’s side power lock switch and see if the problem comes back. If it does, attack the relays in the link above. If not, there are plenty of new door lock switches on eBay for dirt cheap. I saw a brand new switch for $22…$27 shipped. Nice.
Done and done: off to you, Best and Brightest.
Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.