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Saab 9-5 Sedan



  • Hi all,

    A little bit of background (for context), then a question for anyone who cares to listen.

    A few years back, I owned an Audi 200 quattro. It was by any measure a very enjoyable car to drive, but frequent, high maintenance and repair costs eventually lead me to sell it, in favor of a more "practical" Honda Prelude. I knew that someday I wanted to own a well made sporty sedan again.

    The Honda is "okay" to drive, but it's not exactly inspiring. However, it has served me better than I could have ever imagined.. I purchased it with about 45k miles, and in 5 years of daily driving and occasional abuse, it's never once broken down. Literally -nothing- has failed on the car until very recently, when I needed to replace the master cylinder. Other than that it's run like a charm every single day.

    But the time has come to replace the venerable Honda. I need more room for cargo, and although I imagine the Prelude could continue to serve me well, I'm not sure that I want to be driving a car with its best years behind it.

    In researching what's available, it seems to me that the 2001 9-5 Aero fits the bill almost perfectly. It's got plenty of space, power, good mileage, etc. etc. and is reasonably priced (in the 25k range). And as it turns out there's a low mileage specimen at a dealership not far from me.

    So I'm looking for some advice from recent owners/ex-owners, enthusiasts, and/or pundits. Is the '01 9-5 going to be the ideal car? Or is it going to be another Audi-like experience, where in one loves the car but hates having to deal with an endless stream of repairs? By way of comparison, Honda Accords don't excite me in the least as a car enthusiast, but I know if I buy one the chances are good that I won't know the service manager on a first-name basis.

    This is sort of the classic "fun versus reliable/practical" issue, but I'm wondering if/hoping that the 9-5 Aero might be both.

    Any thoughts, feedback would be greatly appreciated!
  • ffb13ffb13 Posts: 181
    if you read my post and the above post you will get an idea of what you are in for.
    so far my 2000 aero which is rated by consumers report as very reliable has had 3 or 4 computers replaced ,an electric fan,an oil leak,and disc brakes.

    60,000 miles .so far.

    a much fun to drive car and good range...about 525 miles or more i get 600 on long trips at about 80 mph.

    if you want reliability stick to honda.
    if you want reliability and fun check out infinity g35.

    also most saab owners are kind of fanatics.........see posts above.....because the cars used to be unique and charming.......currently they are german opels with a saab name..........if you ever drive an ipel in europe you will understand.


    if you want fun fun go saab but you will pay........

    if you want the reliability of honda,lexus and infinity....stick to those.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    One thing (of many) to keep in mind is the 9-5 is much more practical than most of the cars it competes with. The interior is huge with plenty of room front and rear. If you carry people frequently or want/need a roomy car, the 9-5 is terrific.

    The 9-5 has a huge trunk and offers flip & fold rear seats which turns it into a fantastic hauler. I know for a fact the G35 doesn't offer this and its trunk is tiny by comparison.

    So the 9-5 is equal parts fun and practical. Just depends on what's more important to you.

    And while I've never driven an Opel or Vauxhall, I am somewhat familiar with their product lines. I can't think of a single model from those companies that have any tangible similarities to the 9-5. Yeah, there's some parts sharing and some platform sharing but that's a million miles from making Opels and Vauxhalls the same as Saabs.
  • buddhabmanbuddhabman Posts: 252
    Consumer Reports noted that the quality of the 2001 and later models is much improved over the earlier models. Believe it or not I think GM money has helped with this. We have a 2003(7800 miles) with no problems at all. The only wish I had for the car is a little stiffer springs.
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    Too bad you don't have a dealer like mine. Sounds like yours is clueless. If mine wanted to charge me the cost of a scheduled repair without doing all the work.. explaining it didn't need it.. but we're charging you for it anyway.. I'd be completely done with him! That's insane!

    I hope you find better service soon. Good luck.
  • ffb13ffb13 Posts: 181
    of course i will never go back to that dealer in vermont.except to get the new wheel he owes me.

    i have an excellent dealer in connecticut. he is expensive but i do trust him because i know him for a long time.
    and,also have an excellent mechanic here in florida who has a very large operation and works only on saabs'.

    dealers do not get it .and ,i do not mean saab only but almost all of them. their prices are 3 to 4 times higher than anyone else out there ( i do undeerstand their overhead ,etc....) but,and at times they fake the work. i think that they rely mostly on warranty work.

    most of the people i know ,once the warranty expires they go on to local mechanics,usually after their first non-warranty work to a dealer.

    last month my vette broke a tiny piece of plastic in the clutcch pedal. a $1.25 part.-----the clutch became very hard and difficult to engage.

    i called my mechanic in fla. and he told me what was wrong,namely the clutch pedal went out of alignement when this plastic piece broke off.

    i removed the panel that covers this area and took it to my local dealer in conn.--i told him exactly what was wrong with the car.and went home.................
    he called me 2 hours later and told me that i needed a new clutch assembly at $800. and a new clutch pressure plate at $1400.----(not including the clutch ).....
     i told him to do nothing and came to pick up the car.
    i then explained to him that this was a case of gross incompetence or other way around it..........

    i then went to the parts dept, and ordered the plastic piece and a week later i had the same mechanic replace it........the car now works fine.

    but i got hit with a $125. diagnostic charge and a $ 190 charge for 2o minutes of work the next week.

    i can fight it and win ,but ...rather forget it and go on....
    so, it is difficult when you keep cars to over 250,000 miles like i do.......mostly because it is hard to find honest people out there to work on it.
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    They may not be dishonest.. It could be that they are just stupid.

    In either case.. they should be out of the business.

  • mdashimdashi Posts: 6
    My friend at work has a 2000 Saab 9-5 Wagon that had the "bike" package and came with 225/45/17 tires. The originals were Michelins and they wore out in 15K miles. He had them replaced with a set of Kumhos and had an alignment done. They lasted another 15K miles. He bought a third set of tires and had another alignment done. This time he asked to see the alignment results. They said that the front had been out of alignment and they fixed it, and that the back was just a little out of alignment and there wasn't anything they could do about it. Is this type of tire wear (15K for a set) normal for a wagon that is driven in a non-sporting manner around town only??? I drive a M3 with the same size tires on the front, and I'm getting longer life out of the same Kumho tires and I drive extremely fast and hard and even do a little autocross racing. It just doesn't make any sense. Can anyone help??

          -- Matt
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    Two things to find out: Does he have an Aero Version and how often is he rotating?

    The Performance tires used on the Aero are low profiles that do not last nearly as long as traditional tires do. 15K might be normal if he's not keeping pressures and rotations up.

    With either 9-5 version, he should be rotating every 5,000 miles. Ignore what Saab says about 10K or not at all with the newest versions. Thats insane! IMO I followed the 10K recommendation with my first 9-5 and my tire wear was not as good as it should have been. BUT... I got closer to 25K before one tire became unacceptable for wet roads.

    Our 2002 9-5 Wagon now has 15K on it and no sign of significant wear. I rotate every 5K now.

    Aside from his rotation interval, he needs to make sure he keeps his tire pressure in check. That will kill these tires very fast and MUST be checked when the tires are cold or sitting idle for at least 3 hours.

  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    I've heard plenty of stories from 9-5 owners of rapid tire wear on 17's. Heck, the 16's on my SE wore out at 28K.

    Gotta run higher than normal tire pressures, rotate often, and pay close attention to them. Even still, they're gonna wear faster than a RWD car.
  • Guys, I'm at 41K and rolling on the OEM Pirelli Scorpion 16" tires on a Volvo XC. We've rotated once in all these miles, drive in ice and snow with the attendant wheel spin (and I presume abnormal wear), and cruise at 75 MPH on I95 with the back full of dogs, bikes, and other weekend must-haves. So, what's up with the short tire life on the 9-5, even the non-Aero?
  • evantoddevantodd Posts: 11
    the SAAB 95 linear is a car I am seriously considering. However, my friend says the 4 cylinder engine only lasts around 100k while a 6 cylinder engine lasts 150-200K. Is this true? Also he said the turbo will only last 60K before needing replacement. Is this true or not.
  • evantoddevantodd Posts: 11
    I am looking at the 2003 Saab 95. It is a 4 cylinder turbo charged 185hp. It is recommened in Consumer Reports. I am also looking at BMW 325xi which is 6 cyl and 184 hp. Saab is 7K cheaper. But I was told by a friend that the 4 cylinder engine will not last as long as the 6 cylinder. He also said the turbo will only last 60K miles. Do you agree with this. I often drive my wife's 1999 Saab 93. I enjoy it. It is a 4 cyl turbo and is quick. Also the BMW is AWD while the Saab is FWD. Opionions, comments welcome.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    This is one of those eternal debates within the Saab 9-5 community. The fact is that both engines are very reliable. Your friend's mileage figures are 100% arbitrary and seem to have little or no basis in reality. I wonder how your friend became such an expert in Saab engine durability.

    The current 2.3L 4 cyl is based on an old design which has been upgraded many times over the years. Its almost over-engineered and is very robust. With proper maintenance 200K+++ is easily attained.

    The current 3.0L V6 is sourced from Vauxhall (GM England) and is heavily modified by Saab. While its only been in the line since 1999 its proving to be very reliable. About the only beef people have with the V6 is that it uses a timing belt instead of a chain, and the belt needs to be changed every 60K (Saab pays for the first replacement). Comments from dealers show the V6 to be less troublesome than the already reliable 4 cyl but that's prolly due to there being fewer V6 Saab's on the road.

    As for 9-5 vs 3 series, both are great cars and either is a fine choice. Obviously if you want/need AWD, the decision is made as the Saab cannot compete. But if that's not an issue you'll find the 9-5 to be roomier, more versatile, more passenger friendly, and probably safer - the 9-5 is simply one of the safest cars on the road. The 9-5 offers a much larger trunk, 82% larger, and the rear seats flip and fold increasing the cargo capacity even more. The 9-5 has a larger fuel tank which means more miles between fill ups. The interior noise and braking performance are about equal.

    The BMW is certainly a terrific driving car and the BMW name holds a lot of cache with folks. So it really depends on where your priorities lie. I suggest you drive them both extensively and decide which works better for you, day in day out. Have fun shopping!!
  • jerrys2jerrys2 Western massachusettsPosts: 189
    I have a thumping or clunking sound from the front end when I drive over bumps. I also get a feeling in the steering column that something is loose in the front end when the wheel is turned or when I go over bumps.

    The dealer replaced the left front sway bar link at 5k, also "checked all suspension components, retorqued front suspension bolts and lubricated bushings". This seemed to help for awhile but the problem resurfaced.

    Returned to dealer at 7k, they then"removed and replaced control arm bushings"

    This did nothing to alleviate the problem. Before I go back to the dealer I want to be certain that there is in fact something wrong...

    My question to my fellow Saab owners is ... is this a characteristic of the Saab? Do you have similar noise?


  • dskidski Posts: 414
    Your friends comment about the 6 vs. 4 is bogus. The Saab 4 is a GREAT engine and will probably out last the 6 currently in use. He made a general statment about 4 cylinder engines which is just not correct IMO.

    The previous Saab 6 in '94 & '95 was horrible and dropped very quickly. I had one and even though I didn't keep it long enough to experience too much was not a very desirable power plant.

    One thing to keep in mind is that Saab is DROPPING the V6 for 2004. If I were buying a 2003, I'd go for the 4.

    Another thought... You mentioned that your shopping the BMW 3 series.. I would highly recommend taking a serious look at the newest Saab 9-3. The Arch version of this car is Aweseome.. the linear version is a steal. Remember that Saab has about 3K in incentives right now which puts a 9-3 linear down around 26K.

    Good Luck
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    We have 17K on our 2003 and have not noticed the noise your referring to.

    Hope you find the problem soon.. good luck.

  • rob999rob999 Posts: 233
    Check this link (and its related posts):

    Does this sound like yours?
  • stu15stu15 Posts: 9
    I drove both the 4 and 6 and I preffered the 6 (auto trans). 6 is a much smoother engine....the 4 cyl was a bit buzzy and the torque of the 6 (vs the 4) meant that there was less downshifting. I leased my Arc 3.0t so I don't care about resale value in 2006...Saab's problem.

    There are some killer deals right now on 2003s..OMG....$6K to $7K off MSRP on window stickers...who knows what you'll get if you negotiate. I would have waited until Aug to buy mine but the 3.0t Wagon was the last one they had so I bit the bullet (still had $5K off sticker). I really don't think I would have bought the 4cyl at all.

    My intel says that the 2004 arcs get a 225hp version of the 4 cyl; so they will have more power than the linear to help justify their price.

    I drove a 325 wagon and prefered the Saab. Feels much roomier overall and $3K less.
  • jerrys2jerrys2 Western massachusettsPosts: 189
    Thanks may be the same clunk in steering column. I am back to dealer for drive with tech tomorrow.

    As a Subaru owner I automatically go to Edmunds, I forgot about the other Saab cite.

  • rob999rob999 Posts: 233
    Funny, I have a Subaru, too. I'm a regular at both Edmunds' Subaru topics and the 'other Saab site'
  • ffb13ffb13 Posts: 181
    i got 61,000 miles out of my original michelins 17 inch tires on my aero and still had another 2/32 of wear left or about 5 to 8,ooo miles.

    i do a lot of hiway tires at 80 mph plus and still got this wear.
    heat is what kills these tires ,and low pressure ,below 41 does them no good.

    now,when these tires/aero cars first got here a lot of consumers complained about the harshness of the ride,so, saab brought the tire pressure down.........this is what kills these tires.

    i think the trick is that i run them at 41 psi and rotate them once a year only.

    read the owners manual and you will note that they do recommend higher press. for heavy loads and hi speeds............ but if you read the tire sidewall for press. info . you will note that you can go to 41 plus......

    and,by the way ,you will not get the "overinflation " abnormal tire wear at these pressures.the tires ,low profile ,are made for higher press. than normal.
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    Well.. if you say you got over 60K on your 17" Tires... I'll believe you.

    I can maybe agree that increasing pressure on these will increase life.

    But.. the once a year tire rotation is not a correct statement to make. Time has nothing to do with increasing the life of your tires... It is the MILES.

    How many miles are you putting on these tires before you rotate them at the end of a years time?

  • capratcaprat Posts: 6
    I have a 9-5 V6 Wagon. A couple of weeks ago the 'check engine' light came on. I brought it to the dealer who replaced some valve somewhere and sent me on my way. The next day, the light was back on as I drove out my driveway on a long trip. Over the course of the next week, while filling the tank, gas started to drip from the fuel pipe leading to the fuel tank. The drip turned into a gush.

    It's back at the dealer's now getting fixed.

    Has anyone else heard of a serious fuel leak like this?
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    Ouch! Never heard that one yet. Glad you caught it before it became a real problem. That situation can be dangerous.

    There are literlally hundreds of things that can cause the Check Engine lights to come on in all modern cars. The most common and simplest is from not tightening your Gas Cap. Yours is probably the most dangerous. Shame the dealer didn't catch that.

    Good luck
  • capratcaprat Posts: 6
    My car is still under warranty. A couple of columns on the LED (for radio/temp controls/etc) are out. It's not a big deal, but has anyone had it replaced under warranty for this simple reason?
  • rob999rob999 Posts: 233
    The LED display (commonly known as the SID, or Saab Information Display) is known to lose pixels due to the failure of adhesive on an internal contact strip.

    If yours is still under warranty, go for a replacement at the dealer. It should be covered.

    For those of you out of warranty and are competent DIY'ers you can remove the SID and repair the defect without having to spring for a new one. Check the following link:
  • capratcaprat Posts: 6
    Thanks, Rob. I will get it fixed when I send it in for other work. Nice job on the work-around though. Thanks for posting it.
  • ffb13ffb13 Posts: 181
    i rotate only once a year because this is when i install my winter tires.
    and because i keep the winter tires on for only 4 weeks--while i am in vermont and conn. i do the rotation then and it has worked for me.
    by the way the winter tires have only about 2000 on them and thus the 61,000 miles should be reduced by 2,000 miles or 59,000 miles is more accurate for my actual wear on the 17 inchers.

    as to the tires per year.

    the car was bought on november 1999.
    so 3 years and 4 months before the new tires went on this translates into 18,300 miles per year.
    i really do about 50,000 miles per year or more but in my other cars also.

    so far i am happy with the tire wear and the 32 mpg i get on the highway at 80 plus mph
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    I understand.. my only point was that a rotation interval is based on miles not on time. I am surprised that you get such long wear on a FWD rotating at 18K though.

    I used the 10K interval on my '99 and the tire on the drive wheel went way to early. I'm doing 5K now.. we'll see if it's better.

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