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Saab 9-3 Coupe (2002 and earlier)



  • godeacsgodeacs Posts: 481 shows "Dealer Cash" of $4,300 thru 7/31.....on all 9-3s......
  • snaab93se1snaab93se1 Posts: 69
    No idea what to do about your lease....everyone i know gets screwed when they turn it back in..I never lease. From what I understand there was a invoice price increase of about $400 at the end of march and the incentives are down about $1200 from when I i don't think you did so bad..I also got a break cause it was a service loaner. You probably could have got them to go lower...but hind sight is 20/20. I was not even planning on buying a car..I was messing with the salesman at two dealers seeing who would go lower and was offered a price i couldn't refuse. Although I have to say the test drive is what did me in....according to their research 70% of people who test drive a Saab buy one
  • Moved my '99 9-3 from VA to CA... gas mileage cut in half, power steering fluid line "ruptured" and all leaked out while on interstate, battery went dead immediately in the heat. I understand that it's brutal on cars in the Summer desert heat, but what's normal? THE CLOSEST SAAB DEALER TO PALM SPRINGS IS 125 MILES!
  • I have broken 5 or 6 "cable" mechanisms that are used to change the air from defrost, to vent, or to floor. I think the design is flawed. The dealer has replaced it several times. The last time after removing the center console, I have problems getting the automatic transmission out or "PARK". I have to use a pen to "mechanically" override the safety catch. Anyone else have this problem? Either the air diverter breaking or the gearshift sticking?
  • Hello, again. I posted a message here back in March when I first purchased my "service loaner" 2001 9-3 and thought I would give the readers an update.

    I have put about 10,000 miles on the car so far, almost all of them on the highway, but have had many more problems than I care to admit.

    In a word, I would sum up my Saab experience as "disappointing". Here is a list of items to date that have been repaired/replaced:

    1) CD player. (replaced twice). Once for excessive skipping, second time for failure to eject CD's.

    2) Horn stuck in "on" position. This was due to the cover over the horn expanding when the car interior was hot causing the horn leads to make contact. (Very annoying driving down the street in 90 degree weather at rush hour with your horn blaring away).

    3) AC compressor replaced at the beginning of the summer.

    4) AC fan resistor replaced last week. (AC would not turn on and fan only ran at high speed).

    5) Automatic locks froze up on driver side. Locks were programed at the dealer to lock automatically when the car was in "Drive" then unlock the passenger door only when the key was removed from ignition. Driver door would not unlock, could use the electronic lock to open the other doors but could not open the driver's side. Had to crawl out of my car through the passenger side until I was able to get the problem repaired.

    Add to this list the wind noise, sharp pulling to the left at highway speeds, hatch cover that holds water and then drains out all over the sides and rear speakers of the car when opened, etc. and you may understand why I long for the reliability and quality of my Acura Integra again.

    My only hope is that I never will be in a situation where I will need the safety features of the vehicle, (air bags, ABS, etc.) First of all I never want to be in that situation and secondly I worry in the back of my mind if those components of the car will be as unreliable as some of the others.

    My personal advice after owning (2) new Acura Integras and putting almost 200,000 miles on each of them without a single mechanical issue: Think very long and hard before considering a Saab.

    Thanks and let me know if you have any comments to share/add to mine.

  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    Just came across this article in today's News/Auto Headlines that I thought some of you might find interesting: Take a test drive of a Mercedes or Saab without going to the dealer. Happy Motoring!

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards

  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    E-Your post says it all, you're 125 miles from the dealer. If you're still in warranty and not 'upside down', I'd get rid of the car, seriously.
    If you are out of warranty, time to find a mechanic (I have such a command of the obvious, no?). As far as the heat reasoning goes, this car is TWO years old, and it's not as though it's cold in Virginia, right? I couldn't put up with this crap, I don't know how any of you do. I've had Saabs (older, from the 80s) that I really liked and were reliable transportation, as long as you could put up with other things not working (I remember clearly driving in 95 degree heat in my 3 door black 900 tubro, no a/c, left window and idiot power sunroof wouldn't open--lots of fun). This is understandable in a ten year old car, but not in a $30k car that's two years old. Amazing that a marque with a less than stellar reputation gets bought by GM, who also has a somewhat different, but still less than stellar reputation, would make a lousy car, eh?
    I'd say ditch it.
  • I am currently looking at two 1997 5-door Saabs.
    From my reading of the posts a good mechanic is key in the upkeep of these cars. Anyone out there know of any mechanics you would recommend in New England? I am new to Western Massachusetts, and I am willing to traveling a little ways if the service is worth it.
  • Thanks for the advice on my sad Saab situation here in the desert. I've arrived at the same conclusion, however I haven't found another car that I want (within my $ range). I had 2 Honda's in the past with absolutely no mechanical problems. I don't really like the look of the new Honda's though. Any suggestions on a dependable, reasonably priced car with a little more character than a Honda?

    Also - How can I ditch the 9-3 when it isn't popular out here? And to boot, I took it to a local mechanic to have it serviced for a whopping $500 bucks. The check engine light now illuminates. Go figure. It is still under warranty for another 5k miles, but where can I have warranty work done? I called up a service only Saab establishment (80 miles from here. The service dept was so rude that I was ready to drive the car through his service shop and leave it.

    I'm a little frustrated and am running out of warranty time. Any advice on getting rid of the 9-3 and/or what I should get next would be great.

  • I'm getting the idea from your last post that you are not quite yet willing to part with your 9-3. As far as cars that have character like the 9-3 the list is short..but depends on what exactly you are looking for in a car. The VW golf GTI turbo will have 180 hp for 2002 and was a blast to drive when it had 150hp but the freeway ride is much worse than the Saab. But trading your car in on anything is going to cost you more so here is another idea:
    If you don't mind driving...take the car to a reputable Saab dealer and leave it for a week and rent a car. It won't cost that much to rent a car and at least you will get the car repaired properly. I'm in Phoenix which is a 4 hour drive from palm springs and the best service in town is at Kachina Saab. The service advisor has 17 years experience with Saabs. I have had nothing wrong with my 2001 except for a few rattles which were found and corrected. I'm sure you can find some dealer in Ca that would be closer and treat you better..but if i were you I'd leave the car for a week and give them time to fix it....fixing your Saab will cost less than buying a new car.
    If you do want suggestions on what to look at if you do sell your 9-3...let me know what you look for in a car and I'll suggest some. Tell me what you like about your 9-3 and what you don' of luck
  • I recently traded in my '94 Saab 900S on a new Hyundai Elantra GT... I liked the Saab very much. With 165K miles, though, repair bills were huge (If I hadn't traded it in, my yearly bill would've been $3400--not much less than the car was worth). On a whim, I checked out the GT, a very similar looking car. It stickers for $14500. A few less unique features, but my Saab had been a very basic Saab, while the Hyundai comes standard with side airbags, CD, alloys, leather seats (and cup holders). And performance is equal--the Saab's 2.3 was 150 HP compared to 140, but weighs 400 lbs. more. Seems about the same on the freeway, nearly as good of handling (same as the Tiburon).
    And of course, a 10 year warranty clinched the deal. As a grad student, with a 60 mile commute, I needed something more reliable, but can still flip the seats down and toss my bike in the back.
    Yeah, I guess I'm Benedict Arnold, but I drive 5 doors for their practicality and not for their originality.
  • I'm looking at trading in my Jeep Wrangler (too many problems) for a 97 Saab 900. I wanted 3 door with leather and stick, but I have found a deal I can't pass up on a 900s 5 dr., cloth, auto with 36k. The car drives great, and I would be getting a warranty that would cover it for 4 years/48k more miles. I've heard to stay away from turbos because of too many problems. Can someone please give me advice as to how good of a car this is going to be. I appreciate it, thanks.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    Cebst--I've had a Saab turbo, and the actual turbo is hardly ever a problem. They're fun to drive and fast. Saabs in general are unique (great hatchback room, fun to drive, classy, interesting design in an era of bland styling). It's just all the other things. I can't imagine wanting a Saab if your main goal is to get a car with fewer problems than a Jeep Wrangler, IMHO. The deals on used Saabs are great (you get a nice, fancy European car for not much money) but upkeep can be a chore. They're unique, in good ways and bad. If you have a warranty, that's a big help, but make sure you have a dealer close by (this is a big problem in some areas, see earlier posts). Check the bulletin boards on, this is a great forum for anyone new to Saab ownership. Good luck, whatever you decide!

    ealtizer, I would just try the usual routes to sell the car if that's what you want to do: put it in the paper at a fair price, or try to trade it at a dealer. I know what you mean, once you've had a Saab, other cars seem bland and no fun to drive by comparison. Try out a few, I definitely would look at Volkswagens; I don't know what you want to spend, but even a base Golf at like $15k is a pretty nice car.
    If you're in a higher range (say 25-30k), look at an Acura CL or TL or a Passat. Jettas are also nice, the Hyundai Elantra GT is nice (4 door hatch), though admittedly people might think it's strange to go from a Saab to a Hyundai. If you can deal with a smallish car, check out the Mazda Protege ES, nice car for the $. I'd say see what you can afford and test drive lots of cars, you will undoubtedly find some pleasant surprises.
  • I'm the current owner of a 95 900s that's had a partial engine rebuild and it now on its 3rd clutch. It currently has ~54K miles.

    I love it when it runs, but it is by far the least reliable car I've owned for the past 20 years.

    My advice is to absolutely take the warranty. But here's the important part: the fine print says that "wear items" are excluded and are only covered for 1 year. Demand an *exact* list, by part number, in writing, of each and every one of these excluded parts.

    Pay particular attention to the manual transmission. My repair records show different part#'s on each of my rebuilds, which indicate running Engineering design changes.

    IMO, the design flaw apparently is in the bearing/bushing system that the clutch cable mechanism activates through inside the housing -over time, it begins to bind until it causes another failure, such as the clutch cable.

    Pre-failure symptoms include: a slowly increasing clutch pedal force, a non-smooth feel, and/or a feel that changes figuratively every 10 minutes.

    It is as if the self-lubricating bushing isn't self-lubricated and sometimes corrodes, or creates burrs that then cause binding.

    Also note that this mechanical failure is **NOT** something that can be caused by the customer's driving habits. Don't even accept that excuse.

    The good news is that Saab will sometimes cough up and pay for clutch repairs after the warranty has technically expired. But you'll have to lean on them to do so.

    On my engine rebuild, the cause was believing the manual that the oil only needs to be changed every 10K miles. Do it every 5K, use pure synthetic, and find the aftermarket oil filter that's an inch larger in diameter than the Saab OEM filter. Finally, don't rely on the internal display to remind you when to do it...they're notoriously unreliable.

  • GBrianKGBrianK Posts: 211
    Hey fellow Saabers!

    I just traded out my 1999 9-3 SE auto for a silver 2001 9-3 SE manual...What a difference!!! I never really appreciated manual until now! The power difference is amazing not to mention the increase in fuel economy.... I should have gotten manual before, but I guess I needed to learn from my mistake.

    I was also how amazed at how much the dealer got for my car. I thought I was going to eat the trade-in, but instead I was a little above break even. Not bad!

    Anyone else out there in Saab land driving a manual? Any advice? Hills are still my achilles heel, but I am getting better...

    If any one is looking to get a Saab, I definitely recommend my local dealer (Sewell 800-352-2002) and sales guy (Mike Larkin). They are definitely the best!

  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I couldn't exactly tell from your post, but am I to infer that you're currently learning to drive stick on your new Saab? If so, do yourself and your new car a favor: buy an old, cheap *beater* (Hondas and Toyotas are the easiest) to learn stick. I would never want anyone to learn stick on a brand new car. You might, I don't know, burn out two clutches in 54k miles or something. BTW, I've had two older Saabs with manual transmissions, both original clutches lasted over 100k.
  • GBrianKGBrianK Posts: 211
    Actually, I learned how to drive manual several months ago but haven't been driving one on a daily basis until now. I have been relatively careful these last few days and haven't stalled. My shifting could use a little more refinement, but my best friend and the salesguy both concurred that it takes time. Since my driving habits have changed (no full throttle starts) and most of my time is spent on the highway, I do not believe that I will burn the clutch out.

  • jonw2jonw2 Posts: 49
    I couldn't help butting into the conversation to say that our 1987 Saab 900 has the original clutch at 180K miles. After owning two Saabs over the last 16 years, I've never been thrilled with Saab's notchy shifting, but the rest of the car's positive points make up for it. With proper care and maintenance you should get a lot of mileage out of the clutch and transmission. Good luck.
    Jon W.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628 take a bit of getting used to, but they were better than VWs of the day (though the reverse up and to the left is nice on VW). I don't know if this is still the case. I've always liked the way Saab clutches engage anyway.
  • I am new to the Saab experience and am wondering about reliability. I am interested in replacing my Honda Accord EX with something fun to drive. I had a great test drive and am seriously considering a purchase of a used (1999) 9-3 with manual transmission. The Honda had bullet proof reliability, but boy was it boring! Loved the feel of the 9-3 and all of its great engineering. Our other car is a 98 Volvo V70 AWD and its reliability has been spotty (just purchased extended warranty) I am a back yard mechanic and enjoy like to do the basics my self. Any and all advice would be much appreciated.
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