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Saab 9-3 Sedan



  • I have significant wind noise coming from the areas of the front driver and passenger doors at highway speeds. This has been since day one. I have a lot of confidence in my Saab dealer in the northern Baltimore County area of Maryland. I brought this up during my service checkups. I have over 34k on the car. I was told it is the characteristics of the aerodynamics of the side mirrors causing the wind noise. Has anyone else had this problem? It seems excessive for such a great car. The only significant problem I had was with a bad fuel pump needing to be replaced around 12k miles. Other than that, I love it.
  • Well, I'm glad you Saab owners are still out there and kicking. I hadn't gotten a response to my post for awhile so I was beginning to wonder.

    3and14: Thanks for your honest appraisal. I know about a year ago Saab was offering some VERY tempting incentives on the 9-3. Surprisingly, though, this year they've upped the MSRP to the point that a 9-3 equipped the same as a TL w/ Nav is almost $4K more than the TL. I didn't think they were in such demand as you don't see all that many on the road. And, believe me, when I see one I do a double-take.

    skysaab: You speak to what I think are the main reasons people buy Saabs. Individuality and the spirit of the car. I know that feeling can't last forever but you've given me a sense for how long it has hung in there for you. Glad to hear it.

    I'm going to make my decision by this Friday. I'll let you know how it turns out.
  • There is a water leak into the right rear passenger footwell. It has to rain long and hard for this to occur. The dealer replaced the moisture barrier. I thought it was fixed for awhile, but there was not alot of rain. Any thoughts on this?
  • hbc75hbc75 Posts: 37
    You say there is a 2.8T coming out? When is that due? 2006? What models, the 9-3? Where can I find out more about that? TIA!
  • 3and143and14 Posts: 36
    Regarding the 2.8T. I think I read about it in Car and Driver a month or two ago... It would be a 280hp turbo version of the 2.8L v-6 that is the new for '05 base engine in the Cadillac CTS. The article speculated that torque steer would be too much which might be true with FWD but is the 9-3X still a possibility? I do believe it was for '06.
  • I had a leak on the drivers side rear door. Dealer fixed. I have had plenty of rain since, and it hasn't leaked
  • Thanks for your input. Over the weekend removed the door panel on the leaking rear door and ran water into only the area of the bottom of the closed door window. I saw a small trickle of water coming from the bottom of the vapor guard, which is a water proof black cover between the door and the door panel. This is held on by an adhesive around the edges. This had been dealer replaced once but still leaks. The car is in the shop today for another vapor guard installation. I suspect the leaking area was not cleaned enough for the adhesive to hold. I will let you know.
  • Well, I made my decision between the 9-3 and the Acura TL . . . I went with the safe choice and bought the TL. Although the TL does have a ton of great things going for it, in my heart, I know it's not as fun to drive as the 9-3. But at these prices I just couldn't bring myself to take the risk on the 9-3. Also factoring into my decision was, with no current incentives available, the 9-3 is quite a bit more money than the TL. Go figure. I think GM's making a huge mistake with their pricing, unless they're selling all the 9-3's they want to. Oh well, maybe next time.
  • Congrats, the TL is a very sweet car.
  • swizzswizz Posts: 1
    Ladies and gentleman, I GUARRANTEE you that this will be the most adventurous post you will ever read regarding my 2003 Saab 9-3 SS.


    Let me begin by saying I have the launch package on this car *big mistake*. Car was a college gift from parents, it's my first car, I thought if I selected Launch instead of ARC I'd get basically the same car as arc minus the engine. So you KNOW I was upset about soundsystem right off the bat, straight lied to me telling me it was 300watts then after I get the car, oops it's 150.


    I've owned this car for a little over a year, put 37,000 miles on it. *College student, 20* So you know, been going to college parties, but that's besides the point:


    1)Within first 2 weeks onstar did not work

    2) Car rejected my key, had to have it towed to dealership, they replaced steering wheel lock column, ignition control module and gave me new key.

    3)Winter came, car sound system/computer system went dead, said it was fiber opics freezing nonsense, so they reprogrammed system, still kept happening.

    4) SQUEAKING breaks. They said SAAB's from launch package had bad brakes and SAAB issued new type of brake pads free of charge for all owners with issue.

    5) I had radio issue described in past post in which I lost the last row of pixel displays, my speed level for music adjuster was not working, never has by the way, or the traffic reports.

    6) Had a vacumm pump leak in car after an oil change, that was fixed

    7) They replaced my radiator in car because for some odd reason, my car's coolant fluid wasnt being used, only emergency fan after shut off.

    8) Sunroof refused to close during summer on hot days, had to have that reprogrammed. The only way to close it was to through the car into neutral for some odd reason and it worked.

    9) Early on in ownership on rainy days, the car's steering wheel would lock WHILE driving after 5-10mins of turning on. Only way to alleviate the issue was to throw the car in neutral, shut it off and turn it on again while driving of course.

    11) Tires stink. Rear blew out at 17,000 for no apparent reason. Replaced all four completely by 25,000

    12) Telephone did not work, I spent literally 6 months getting this sucker to be fixed by onstar repeatedly until I finally gave up with the understanding of the car not being a gsm type phone or even digital. It's an analog phone that cannot be upgrading in the future so I am under assumption that all 03's will be out of luck using car phone within next year or so.

    13) Have brought the car in over 20+ times based on all I have said above. Most took place before year 1 / 20,000


    The conclusion: I fought with saab to give me a new car and they refused, the dealership kept bs me talking bout they gonna help me this and that, the head guy did nothing. I assume it was because of my age and I really couldnt go to my father for help because I was fortunate enough to even get a car, wasnt about to complain about it. Although now he knows but I told him Imma stick it out because when the car DOES work, it is one of the BEST cars to drive on the road. I am young but in my home we have a few other options that I've had the oppourtunity of driving "c230 benz, volvo S40, range rover, jag conv etc" and with those options, I really like driving my saab the most.

    The car has been good to me last couple of months so I'm no longer complaing.
  • Hi, I have a 2001 9-3 SE convertible (automatic). Lately, when I'm at a complete stop (red light, traffic, etc...) there's a terrible burning smell. It's kind of like oil burning or something like that. I've gotten out of the car and sniffed around to try and find out where it's coming from but haven't been able to narrow it down. There engine looks dry, i.e. no leaks, and it only happens after I've been driving for a little while. Unfortunately I can't entirely predict when it's going to happen so I've been hesitant to bring it into the dealer (still 1,200 miles left on factory warranty). Could it be the breaks? Transmission? It's definitely more of a burning oil smell than an exhaust smell or something like that. Any input would be appreciated!


    On a side note, I can pinpoint when this started happening. And this is going to sound odd but I had brought the car to the dealer because the passenger power seat stopped working (loose connection apparently) but ever since I got it back from the dealer, the burning smell has appeared.


  • naponapo Posts: 1
    I have had my 9-3 Linear since last September and with 19,000 miles, am delighted with it. The only problem was a minor one with the cruise control lever. Otherwise, absolutely no problems. The car is fun to drive, comfortable, gets good gas mileage and draws a lot of compliments on its styling.


    After reading so many messages from people who have had problems, I'm wondering how many have had the kind of experience I've had.
  • I have 30k miles on my 2003 Linear manual that I bought new almost 2 years ago. It has probably been the most reliable car I have owned to date. It did have an ABS sensor go out in one of the front hubs and the lumbar support broke in the drivers seat. Both happened early on and since these problems were fixed I have had no problems. It does not use a drop of oil in 7500 miles, shifts smoothly, and all electronics work as they should.
  • Hello,


    I just wanted to share my experiences. I lease a 2003 9-3 arc with 6-speed transmission and all options. It currently has almost 10000 miles. I am quite happy with it. The problems I encountered were quite typical:

    1. Stalling had to be fixed.

    2. Brakes make a lot of noise while reversing.

    3. One of the keys was rejected and had to be reprogrammed.

    4. Driver side window would not close automatically and was re-programmed.

    5. Sunroof had to be lubricated in order to make sure it closes every time.

    6. Currently I hear a click while turning the steering wheel to the right.


    The dealer is quite helpful and fixed most of those small problems while I waited. I am very happy with value, performance, power and style of this car. The looks is very understated and elegant, but it somehow changes into more aggressive when you see it in motion. It may be very quick if driven properly. Brakes are amazing and once saved my life on the I-95.


    I wish Arc had a little stiffer suspension. Perhaps changing the tires or switching to 17-inch wheels could do. Pirellis are quite good however and even snow traction was much better than in my prior car (97 protege ES).


    I am also quite happy with audio. It seems sufficient for listening to public radio and my kind of music (no need for heavy bass).
  • lcp1lcp1 Posts: 14
    Where did you get your info on '05 rebates?$3000

    consumer cash on all 9-3 sedans...Linear,Arc and Aero since 12/01/04 through end of year.In addition it's not hard to find a leftover '04

    Aero and take advantage of $6,000 !
  • lcp1lcp1 Posts: 14
    WOW!A parent obviously doesn't get the kind of return on college tuition as they used to! LOL!
  • hbc75hbc75 Posts: 37
    You say your brakes squeak in reverse, mine do terribly. Did they correct that problem, and if so, how??

    I am having a rattling noise under the passenger feet area as if the muffler system is rattling, of course they couldn't find the cause.

    I did have that clicking noise, they took the tires off and showed me the problem in the garage, it was some ball bearing gone bad. You may want to have it looked at, and I will find my paperwork and post solution.


    So, I still have squeaky brakes in reverse, a rattling, and my key does the same thing, keeps not working. Also, my memory seats reset, and they have already replaced the switch within first month of owning it!


    What is the real time to change the oil, is it by the internal gauge? I know tires about every 3-5K, but how long can the oil last? It's winter here in New England and the car was great in the snow yesterday, the traction control worked when needed, but I drove quite carefully too. Tires gripped well it seemes.
  • The oil change interval seems a mystery to me. I paid for the first oil change at 7000 miles after the dealer send me a remainder. I thought it would be reasonable to do that. Since that time I have only done approximately 3000 miles.


    The brakes used to make a lot of nice, especially in cold weather while going slowly in both directions. Dealer probably replaced some pads and it resulted in great improvement, however it still makes noise while reversing. It happens only occasionally and only in the cold. I guess I can live with that, but it may be ambarassing sometimes. The breaks are very potent and perhaps the noise and dust are just a side-effect of that.


    The steering wheel noise is a new issue and I have to call the dealer for that. The longer I think of it the more concerned I am.


    My previous mazda protege had an annoying noise in the dashboard which has never been repaired. It has been a flawless car otherwise. Saab 9-3 is a much more complicated machine. I am willing to live with occasional odd noise, as long as it does not cause a major problem.
  • Icp1: I had been checking the Edmunds listing of incentives at the time I bought and there was nothing showing for the 9-3. The current listing does show the $3000 mfg-to-customer incentive and indicates it started on 12/9/04. However, I bought my TL on 12/7/04 so it was too late. But, even at the same price, I probably would've gone with the TL anyway. Maybe I just haven't reached that "state of independence" Saab talks about. Some day, perhaps. Incidentally, I remember the salesman at the Saab dealership saying that people shouldn't rely on these third parties (e.g., Edmunds) for accuracy when it comes to manufacturing incentive information. Maybe he's right, I dunno.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    When I got my 9-3, Saab had been running major incentives for a few months, but Edmunds never listed them. The incentive lasted another two months, IIRC, and Edmunds still didn't pick it up.
  • yes, I have a similar issue on my 03 9-3 SS. The coolant level has been dropping unusually fast and the dealer has to top up the level with water whenever I complained. They are still monitoring the drop although no external leak from the coolant tank, hoses nor pump has been detected using tracer. One speculation was internal leak in the engine cylinder! I'll share if there is any conclusion on this.
  • Hey guys... I'm currently deciding between a 2005 Volvo S40 or the SAAB 9-3 Arc. Off hand it seems like I am getting more with the Volvo for the price, but part of me is thinking that it is because it bases for less and there is more room for me to get options and packages. I am planning on keeping the car, so reliability is VERY important (I am spoilded as I currently drive a '99 Infiniti G20 without a single problem in 80k miles, but I am getting rid of it for safety reasons). Also, the sound system is REALLY important. Everyone says that the sound system isn't good, but are they talking about the base 150 watt one? What does everyone think about the one on the ARC (300 watts).
  • Neither will be as famous for reliability as the G-20, which, some say is THE most reliable car ever built.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    If reliability is "very" important to you, neither the S40 or 9-3 may satisfy your requirements. The 9-3 is probably the better bet than the S40 because it's been out longer, but it's not going to match most of the Japanese brand competition. From a statistical perspective, you're more likely to hit more glitches with the Saab or Volvo.


    For sound quality, it's so subjective on what is "really" good sound that you should really try to listen to it yourself to decide. The 300-watt system is definitely better than the 150-watt, but that's not saying much because the 150-watt is, by my ears, mediocre, to some others, horrible.


    Safety-wise, the 9-3 may have an edge on the S40 unless AWD is a boost in safety for you. The 9-3 has a clearly better IIHS side-impact score ("Good" + "Best Pick") than the S40 ("Acceptable").
  • 3and143and14 Posts: 36
    I agree with the other post regarding reliability; if you are going to keep your car a long time then neither of these are best picks. As far as the stereo, I have the 300W stereo in my Arc and it is just OK... A bit bass deficient and, strangely, the rear speakers are very muted in comparison with the fronts--the first time I have had a car like that. is full of ideas on how to upgrade the sound system however, and since you are keeping the car I'd think this would be an option for you to consider.
  • I've read a lot of posts on saying that the sound system in the 9-3 Arc and Aero is inadiquite. I've also read some posts saying that it was upgraded for '04 and/or '05 model years, and that currently Bose supplies the systems. Is that true? I've searched all over the Saab website and broschure and found nothing about a Bose sound system, or even an upgraded sound system. Is the sound system the same in the Arc and the Aero models?

    Thanks for any information.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I've driven both back-to-back now, and while i think the saab is "cooler" i overall like the s40 more. Slightly cheaper even with AWD, spunkier engine, and a more refined yet sporty ride. Hard to say why i still consider the 9-3, but it just has a certain je ne sais pas.
  • Hi everybody,


    This is my first post on this discussion board and I'm hoping to get some advice on buying my very first car. I've test driven the Acura TL, Jaguar X-type, Saab 9-3 Arc, and Volvo S40 T5 (all auto trans). I've basically narrowed it down to the Volvo and the Saab. After spending hours reading postings on this site, I'm starting to feel concerned about the long term reliability of the Saab. While I was waiting in the showroom for a test drive, a gentleman approached me and said, "Are you interested in buying one of these?" I said yes and he said, "they're beautiful cars, but watch out." He explained that since he bought his car, he's had a bunch of "stupid and annoying" little problems with it, like rattling doors and squeaky parts. Basically he said it was a lot of fun to drive, but for the price, he expected it to be better built. I personally don't know anyone who has owned/leased a Saab and I only know one who has owned/leased a Volvo. She got the XC90 when it first came out, and at the end of the lease, she turned it in a bought a brand new one. She raves about Volvo. I've driven the Arc three times and I must say, it's a joy to drive and I personally think it looks much better than the Volvo. I drove the Volvo once but I was quite suprised at how much I liked it after I was done. The lower price (with a Ford X plan discont) also doesn't hurt its chances. Has anyone else out there considered these two cars, and what made you choose one over the other?


    And a second, unrelated question: I just recently started following the Saabs, so I'm not familiar with the incentives they've offered in the past. Is anyone out there who drives a 9-3 from Southeast MI, and if so, what kind of deals did you get? I've got a GM In the Driveway discount and they're offering $3000 rebate on a purchase until 1/3/05. I priced one out with the dealer, and for an Arc with sunroof, auto trans, heated seats, xenon, and metallic paint with the GM-ID discount and the rebate, it would be $32,962 out the door. I'd like to try and see if we can get it to $32K though. Do you folks think this rebate offer will come back in the next few months, or is this rare for Saab? Thanks in advance for your advice!
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Do you folks think this rebate offer will come back in the next few months, or is this rare for Saab?




    It is not rare at all. The 9-3 has been heavily discounted since the 2003 models. There isn't massive demand for it and there is plentiful supply, so incentives will continue.


    It'll likely be the same way with the Volvo S40. It's a somewhat newer model so Volvo will be able to hold the price on it for a bit. But with the possible exception of their SUV, all recent Volvos have sold eventually for very deep discounts, with obvious hits on resale value.


    When we got our 9-3, the S40 wasn't out yet but we looked carefully at the S60, which is still a higher model than the S40. We liked the S60, but would never buy one because of the terrible resale value and "just average" reliability. We found 1-2 year old S60's at huge discounts that seemed to be better buys.


    We looked at the leases but at the time, Saab was offering big incentives on the Launch Packages with leases, whlie Volvo's lease deals weren't great.


    Ultimately neither the Saab or Volvo will give you the reliability or resale value of a TL. They will provide a more European driving experience and, subjectively, more "fun," and better safety features.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    The $3K rebate is pretty common on the 9-3. Unfortunately, Saab's tend to have rebates on them all the time and that kills the resale value on them. Right now the S40 has $1500-$1800 dealer cash on them IIRC to boost end of year.


    One place to follow the Saab incentives is on Those incentives are available to everyone.
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