Busted Transmission Cables Let the Aura Roll Away

You finally found on-street parking next to your favorite coffee shop, do a marvelous job with the parallel parking, shift into park and turn off the engine – bring on the chocolate croissant! Not so fast. Are you sure your car is actually parked? Unfortunately if you own a Saturn Aura, the shifter might say “P” but the transmission could still be in reverse, drive or neutral.

The transmission shift cable in the 2007-2008 Aura has a nasty habit of breaking, something that prompted a federal defect investigation in 2011. The investigation was upgraded to an engineering analysis – a fancy term for “yep, this looks serious” – in 2012. Now GM is recalling 56,000 vehicles to prevent this from happening again.

This must come as a relief for Aura owners who, for a long time, have been telling CarComplaints.com that with as little as 40,000 miles:

  • Their shifter cable’s protective outer jacket would fall apart, leaving the cable exposed and vulnerable
  • Their engines failed to start because the transmission was still in reverse when they shut the car off, even though the shifter said park.
  • Their cars rolled away

GM hasn’t announced when the recall will begin. As you might have heard they have their hands full with federal investigations, class-action lawsuits and a whole slew of other recalls. Once things start moving along, dealers will replace the shift cable assembly and mounting bracket. Concerned owners can contact GM at 800-553-6000 and refer to recall number 14152.

In the meantime, remember to use your parking brake. And buy yourself an extra chocolate croissant, you deserve it.