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Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2003 21:13:43 -0400
From: "Kenneth S." <>
Subject: Re: should a buy a saab

Johannes H Andersen wrote: > > "Kenneth S." wrote: > > > > Johannes H Andersen wrote: > > > > > > Linus wrote: > > > > > > > > My wife has been wanting a convertible for some time and I was > > > > planning on getting her a late 90's model Mustang. I came across some > > > > listings for some mid 90's Saab 900 converibles and am pretty struck > > > > by that European styling and image. Doing a little research, I see > > > > that a lot of people have major complaints with reliability. > > > > > > > > I'm currently driving a 91 F150 with 150k+ miles and my wife has a 97 > > > > Explorer approaching 100k. The explorer has been flawless in > > > > reliability and the F150 not far behind. I'm not used to shelling out > > > > money for a vehicle that needs frequent repairs and would be pretty > > > > upset if that turned out to be the case. What can I reasonably expect > > > > in purchasing a well maintained Saab 900S with 100,000 miles on it? > > > > Are there people here with similar model year vehicle that can claim > > > > little or no repair needs? > > > > > > Unfortunately, no one can guarantee that any car of 100,000 miles will be > > > perfect, so the questions are premature before you've seen the car that you > > > want. If you want certainty, then buy a new car. I have a well maintained > > > 1993 Saab 9000 CSE. It's a joy to drive, so the important thing for me > > > is that the car drives perfectly; any necessary repairs gets done along > > > the way. So far it hasn't been major, but still has to be budgeted for. > > > > > > Things such as battery, brake pads & discs, CAT, clutch, exhaust (muffler), > > > gearbox overhaul, timing chain, tires, water pump, wiper blades are normal. > > > Expensive if needed all at once, yet bearable if spread over the mileage. > > > > > > Johannes > > > > > > > I've just spent $1,500 to have a new evaporator core in my 1996 900SE, > > about $1,000 of which was the cost of parts. The central locking on my > > car doesn't work properly. During the 3 years that I've owned this car, > > I've had persistent problems with the check engine light. A new exhaust > > system cost about twice as much as the exhaust system on a U.S. car > > would have cost. I have invested a considerable amount of money and > > time on keeping this car running. > > Hmm, the evaporator core of the climate system? The climate system is non- > Saab sourced, so an AC specialist can fix it. All I had was a recharge. > Had also some 'check engine' lights but this has all been fixed. Check > vacuum leaks at the ends of all pipes and hoses and check sensor connections. > Exhaust - you don't need to use Saab parts, I have a kwickfit exhaust part > for over 4 years now. I find my 93 9000 CSE well build and long lasting. > > Johannes You may be right, Johannes, that I could have saved money by hunting around and finding a non-Saab evaporator core. The repair shop did tell me that, as part of this repair, they could put in an after-market receiver-dryer, and save me a whole $100 by doing so. While saving $100 out of a repair bill on this scale is no cause for rejoicing, I of course told the repair shop to use the after-market part. (Incidentally, I DID have the exhaust system replaced at Midas, which is a U.S. chain equivalent to Kwikfit, but it still cost twice as much as a U.S. car would have cost. If I'd had the work done at a Saab dealer's, goodness only knows what it would have cost me.) However, the basic problem for me is that nearly all of the things that have gone wrong with my 1996 900SE during the three years I have owned it didn't go wrong on OTHER cars I have owned and that I also bought used. So, with the other cars -- including a 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass that I bought some years back for $200 -- I didn't have to spend time and money on getting the repairs done, or hunt around for the cheapest possible parts. Perhaps current model Saabs are more reliable. It seems from the U.S. publication Consumer Reports that they are. But the question here was about mid-90s Saabs. On the basis of my experience, and what I have seen elsewhere, it seems clear to me that Saabs of this vintage are significantly less reliable than other used cars. They are also more expensive to repair. That's a fatal combination, and it goes a long way to explain the high rate of depreciation of Saabs. A high rate of depreciation is something that is of concern to me, because I expect very soon to be trading in this car, and I will be looking around for another used car that I can expect to be more reliable, and less expensive to maintain.

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