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  #1  
Old 7th December 2008
mc69 mc69 is offline
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Default reliability of saab cars vs US cars

I was just thinking how reliable these cars are. I purchased mine in beginning of 2004, used, 45k miles, $14.5k at that time, i have put like almost $8k in it and now sits in front of my garage, not driving, last time i have put $1200 in it. all at 120k miles. and the mechanic told me I need complete front brake work. and I belive there are more to come. I have a ford escape that I do regular oil and maintenance, changed rfront otors at 90k, no major repair, never let me down, never towed. saab has been towed 3 times. I love my saab but is getting me tired and, most important, worried I am getting stucked on the highway when with my family. any toughts on this topic? how reliable are the european cars when we compare them with US ones?
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  #2  
Old 7th December 2008
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RyanDale RyanDale is offline
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I cannot say much about long term expenses for a Saab since I am a new owner but I have put about $400 into maintenance/repairs since purchasing 3 weeks ago. Although, I expected to be confronted with these expenses no matter what make or model.

I think if we are going to make a US vs. Euro comparison the vehicles should be comparable. For instance, does the ford escape include similar features, performance, comfort etc as the 95? If so than it's a good make/model to compare with the 95.

The reason I mention this is because I am currently selling a Saturn SC2 that my wife and I purchased new. The car cost little in maintenance or repairs but at the same time it is underpowered, unattractive, feels cheep, has less then half the HP, less options, etc. Even though it's treated me well I would never seriously compare this to the Saab for one simple reason. The Saab is a pleasure to drive and driving the Saturn is a chore. It's belongs in a different category.

I'm not sure what vehicles, maybe the Lincoln LS, Chrysler 300M, Cadillac STS, and Dodge Intrepid are a good start. Get some feedback about expenses and repairs on these and go forward from there.
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Last edited by RyanDale; 8th December 2008 at 12:08 AM.
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  #3  
Old 8th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mc69
I was just thinking how reliable these cars are. I purchased mine in beginning of 2004, used, 45k miles, $14.5k at that time, i have put like almost $8k in it and now sits in front of my garage, not driving, last time i have put $1200 in it. all at 120k miles. and the mechanic told me I need complete front brake work. and I belive there are more to come. I have a ford escape that I do regular oil and maintenance, changed rfront otors at 90k, no major repair, never let me down
So you do maintence on your Ford but not your Saab? no wonder why you have paid so much to maintain it. Also this has been discussed many times that if the car wasn't maintain properly from the start then this will happen regardless what name brand it is. Saab doesn't charge anymore for parts or labor then anyone else so it isn't a name brand thing. But if your parts are from any dealer then you are going to get the shaft! So we can't tell you if one is more reliable then the other because in 2 years my Saab has never left me stranded but my Audi did!

Last edited by SaabScott; 8th December 2008 at 12:50 AM.
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  #4  
Old 8th December 2008
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In 1.5 years i have yet to be towed.
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  #5  
Old 8th December 2008
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Yeah I don't know what to tell you...

...My dad has a 9-5 (2001) that he bought with 28k miles. He has about 95k miles now and he's done very little besides regular maintenance. Just some little things like seat memory switch, and a few other tiny things. I think the only mechanical thing that he's had fail was the blow-off valve.

That car has only died/stranded once, and that was DI Cassette.

My dad isn't exactly fanatical about maintenance either. This is the first car he's ever taken to the mechanic before it was broken (That is, first car he's done preventative maintenance on) and his "maintence" schedule basically means go see the SaabTec every 5,000 miles for oil change+whatever else.
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  #6  
Old 8th December 2008
Moekazi Moekazi is offline
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After you read about all the common problems e.g. CPS, DIC, motor mounts, sludge, crank cover replacement every year or two (really?),etc. it's hard not to wonder about the reliability of these cars.

I had a '88 Corvette, and it was rock solid. At 150k miles, it'd do burnouts all day. The car was almost 20 years old when the brake booster went out. All I did was routine maintenance (oil, plugs, flush coolant, change brakes). The thing was falling apart, though. The seats fell apart ($725 just for the covers), the dash cracked all up ($400 not installed), the weatherstripping rotted away ($700 plus labor), various interior plastics cracked ($100+ at the wrecking yard per piece), the leather cover came off the steering wheel ($180). Luckily, my digital dash didn't crap out ($300).

The morale of the story here is that a car is gonna cost you money one way or another. Rarely can you get away with the price of admission and maintenance. That's just the way it works.

The only car i had that came close was a Toyota Supra Turbo, but the major maintenance was just that, MAJOR. You either paid an arm and a leg for the shop to do it, or spent the entire weekend doing it yourself.

I once had a friend tell me how reliable their Honda Accord was, but they ended up replacing everything on the car. They just did it before the stuff broke. I guess you could say it was reliable, but i think any car where you replace parts well in advance of failure would be.
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  #7  
Old 8th December 2008
jcjdavis1 jcjdavis1 is offline
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Hi. I don't think there is much difference between US and Euro cars. I have not had mine for a year yet and it has been dragged home twice and have spent a fair bit of money on it,CPS,Oil Pressure switch,rear gearbox mount,Subframe mounts,sump drop,alternator belts +pulley replaced so hoping that's it for a while.You love them or hate them I think,I haven't made my mind up yet. Jim
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  #8  
Old 8th December 2008
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Default Saab reliability.

my two cents.

I have owned 6 Saab's starting with an 85.
I do have to say if you are very picky about the way things work and also tend to be a dyi guy these cars can give you plenty of things to do. I am very picky I like everything perfect and when it isn't i will correct it. SO that said i work on my saab a lot not because its unreliable but because it is my hobby to tear **** apart and fix it. Or just to see how it ticks. towing all depends on the person. out of the 6 i have had to tow my cars in a total of 4 times.

1. GM900 timing belt.
2. GM900 timing belt.
3. GM900 timing belt *byebye gm900* dang early opel v6
4. I drove my 9-5 into a flash flood at night and had to climb out the window to push it out. This car still runs I think the space in the intercooler saved the motor as it choked before it hit the motor. How the turbo survived is probably a miracle.

I have to agree with the above post. I do think electrical wiring did take a good stride with the later models as the og900 looked like a kid from a stereo shop wired the things *though they worked fine* it was ugly.
But overall the cars seem to have more problems. traded a tranny issue for other issues.
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  #9  
Old 8th December 2008
Saabtopia Saabtopia is offline
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The 9-5's are generally a bargin in the used performance sedan car market and a pleasure to drive, but the repairs are right up there with the BMW's and Audi's which may be a surprise to bargin hunters. The owners who seem to be the happiest, are the ones who do as much of their own work as they can, fix the known problems ahead of time, and generally enjoy having a problem to figure out and fix. I manage to get 150K or more from most of the cars I own, including the three Chrysler minivans which all have gone to 200K. One thing I've learned is the economy cars fall apart faster since they were designed and made the cheapest way possible. The more expensive ones did better. The 9-5 is the first Saab I've had and in 18 months and 50K miles it's stranded me three times. Twice because of the erratic fuel gage/tank baffle issue (ran out of gas, duh! ) and once due to an alternator (93K). So, I'll be OK with this if not too many other unexpected things happen as I get into the 100's. Optimistic for now....
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  #10  
Old 8th December 2008
mc69 mc69 is offline
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we have had the saab serviced by the dealer (up to 95k) and saab specialist (115k in NM) and now in NY, regular oil change (synthetic), all miles on highway, car never pushed hard, the ford we drove it a lot on dirt roads in the mountains, so the bottom line is, we got stuck on the highway with a car "born from jets" and never been let down by the ford escape.
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  #11  
Old 9th December 2008
Jssaab Jssaab is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mc69
we have had the saab serviced by the dealer (up to 95k) and saab specialist (115k in NM) and now in NY, regular oil change (synthetic), all miles on highway, car never pushed hard, the ford we drove it a lot on dirt roads in the mountains, so the bottom line is, we got stuck on the highway with a car "born from jets" and never been let down by the ford escape.
I guess what you are hearing here is that it seems your multiple dying events are kinds rare and those you read about here are the many people who visit this site a few times ( liek yourself) because they have a problem.

None of my Saabs ( 6 in all) ever died on the highway and only one was ever towed ( faulty ingintion ) and that wa under warranty by sab roadside service who came in 10 minutes.

Maybe you just have a bad one ( and there are those as you have seen) Do you thinnk if we went to the Ford escape site we woudl find people there who's cars have died on the highway?
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  #12  
Old 9th December 2008
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My 9-5 takes more maintenance when compared to other cars that my family members own. That said the parts don't cost as much as for for imports and it has never left me stranded.

I haven't had any big dollar repairs like mention thought. The worst was the power steering lines that rotted and all in all cost 700 bucks to replace.
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  #13  
Old 9th December 2008
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RyanDale RyanDale is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mc69
we have had the saab serviced by the dealer (up to 95k) and saab specialist (115k in NM) and now in NY, regular oil change (synthetic), all miles on highway, car never pushed hard, the ford we drove it a lot on dirt roads in the mountains, so the bottom line is, we got stuck on the highway with a car "born from jets" and never been let down by the ford escape.
You've convinced me to trade my Aero in for an Escape. I can't wait to sport that potent duratec V6. Your Saabs CAN'T TOUCH THIS.
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  #14  
Old 8th December 2008
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Default My opinion on Saab vs. domestic

I purchased my 2002 9-5 Aero from my father, which he bought new. It currently has 168,000+ miles on it. It has been properly maintained.

It has had two major problems in all the time we've had it. At some point some kind of sensor went in the fuel system and the car died (while being driven...not by me). I believe that was under or around $500.00 US. This came well after 100,000 miles.

Second problem had something to do with the heating/cooling system, when all the fans stopped working. This was much more expensive, I believe in the $3,000.00 range. Again, well after 100,000 miles.

Its had a few smaller issues: light bulbs dying, faulty auto leveling sensor, foggy headlights, etc. However, each of these has been under $300 to fix, and projects such as restoring the headlights I do myself and derive a certain satisfaction from, so not really a problem. Still the original Xenon headlights, but I'll have to change these soon. Dealer wants about $200 per bulb.

Considering how hard this car is driven in New England, the Aero is still a great value. I come home every day thinking how much I love driving it, and $3,500.00 in repair work when you're creeping up on 170,000 miles driven is more than acceptable.

Some of the repairs are more expensive than a domestic would be, such as the headlights. However, these are also Xenon bulbs which have lasted a very long time, so its fair for a premium to be associated there. All cars are going to have issues - some minor, some major - and when you purchase quality (Saab) you'll pay more than when you have to fix non-premium vehicles. Comes with the territory. The key is maintaining your car properly so you minimize your future investments repairing it. And hoping you don't get a lemon.

**As a side note, growing up my family owned three domestic vehicles. These were a '97 Ford Expedition, an '00 GMC Yukon XL, and an '02 GMC Envoy. The GMC's were fantastic cars that took a pounding and had almost no problems - no major repairs I can remember. I miss those cars.

The Ford broke down every time it snowed.
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  #15  
Old 9th December 2008
Ld_rider Ld_rider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mc69
I was just thinking how reliable these cars are. I purchased mine in beginning of 2004, used, 45k miles, $14.5k at that time, i have put like almost $8k in it and now sits in front of my garage, not driving
Somehow this thread has morphed from reliability to <maintanence costs>. Two entirely different things. If you were to say, scoot over to Edmunds and punch in a 2003 Saab 95 and a 2003 Toyota Camry you can find the TCO or Total Cost of Ownership of each of these vehicles.

Forget about the falling rock depreciation of Saabs for a moment and just concentrate on the repair and maintenance aspect of TCO you will find that the Saab costs about twice as much to repair and maintain as the Toyota over a typical five year period. I'm pretty sure that isn't a surprise to anyone. Are Saab reliable? Certainly not as reliable as many cars. But they certainly are fun, sporty cars and worth driving, warts and all, to many people.
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  #16  
Old 9th December 2008
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Also I have never seen a broken down saab on the motorway ever!
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