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NG900 & OG9-3 Workshop NG900 (1994 to 1998) & OG9-3 (1999-2002) & '03 Convertible Technical Forum

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  #1  
Old 17th October 2006
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Default How expensive are these things to maintain?

Alright, so I'm new here, and I'm going to be looking to buy a car someday soon (within a few months probably). Currently, the only car I really like is the Saab 900 (NG). And I can afford to buy one, but my only concerns are the costs of owning one.

My parents aren't going to be paying for anything. I'll pay for gas, insurance, tickets(), and all mechanic costs. It's the mechanic costs that I'm curious about.

I've heard Saabs are really expensive to take care of, but just how bad are they? I'm kind of familiar with repair costs on Hondas and Volkswagens if you feel like comparing.


Thanks
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Last edited by Young Twig; 17th October 2006 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 17th October 2006
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Repair costs:
Saab = VW and only slightly > Honda.

How's that?

Regarding insurance:

Honda > VW > Saab

Honda isn't expensive to insure, but as they are a favorite of thieves, you will find a Saab is actually CHEAPER to insure.

Bottom line: Find a well taken care of Saab... this criteria above all else... and she will take care of you.
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Old 17th October 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CleveSaab
Repair costs:
Saab = VW and only slightly > Honda.

How's that?
That's great, thanks.
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  #4  
Old 17th October 2006
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Quote:
Bottom line: Find a well taken care of Saab... this criteria above all else
Excellent advice. Try to find one with full maintenance records, etc. You are already on the right track, I bought a SAAB then found Saab Central. LOL

Last edited by jonnyfgroove; 17th October 2006 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 17th October 2006
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The man from Cleveland has made a nice presentation..

A tough question - so many variables.
The car must be inspected by a tough and thorough mechanic, the service history must be known..
For instance , a new clutch can cost $750 to $1,500...

Generally - stay away from the dealer..

But then I was doing some reading on the Axiom email "forum" - the economy car is a thing of the past.. I ran the old VW for less than one penny per mile....(running costs)
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Old 17th October 2006
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Here is a great positive.
Resale is low, so even a small accident totals these things.

Just this past sunday I went to a every type of car pull your own parts junkyard. I walked away with 2 important parts for less than $12 when bought new would cost over $1,000

So be resourcefull and visit the site often. We can give you a good idea what broke on your car, where to find it, what to pay and how to fix it.

And the 2 parts from above? $160 Light controll relay and $850 Automatic climate controll box. Both for $12. But I had to remove them from the car myself.

*Side note, I used to live 90 miles to the west in Utica NY. Just off the thruway is a junkyard that lets you pull parts, and is super cheap.
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Old 17th October 2006
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Cleve has had better luck with his than I, but his cars are far newer. I think repairs cost me maybe 800-1000 per year. I agree though that the repair costs will be similar to a VW.

The most important thing though is to check out the particular car well. It's almost definitely worth getting a mechanic's second opinion, and certainly ask questions here.
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Old 17th October 2006
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Holy cow!! Young Twig was born in 1990. I am old.
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Old 17th October 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnyfgroove
Holy cow!! Young Twig was born in 1990. I am old.

It's all relative, jonny .
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Old 17th October 2006
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I was actually wondering the same questions about my newly baught saab. thanks for the info.

I am a pretty resourcefull person, so i think I'll do just fine with saabs.
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Old 17th October 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweek's Turbos
*Side note, I used to live 90 miles to the west in Utica NY. Just off the thruway is a junkyard that lets you pull parts, and is super cheap.
Ahh, I know a few people that go to school in Utica (SUNYIT).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnyfgroove
Holy cow!! Young Twig was born in 1990. I am old.
Nah, I'm just young and stupid.
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Old 17th October 2006
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Well, my opinion on this isn't always a popular one around here, but if you are looking for a car that is cheap to maintain, go Japanese. If you have the knowledge, tools, and time to do repairs yourself, then the price differential of maintaining a Honda vs. a Saab is a lot less (only the minimal cost difference of parts, plus the more frequent intervals of things breaking).Unfortunately for myself I have been spending more time in the office than at home lately, so time for car repairs or modding is growing thin.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Saab and Saabs in general, but the Japanese cars I have owned have been infinitely more reliable. My 97 900se was a one owner car and has been immaculately maintained, both aesthetically and mechanically (previous owner was a family member so I know its history), and now with 108k miles has already had countless expensive repairs.

I have had Nissans and Hondas from various years in the 1990s, with both more and less miles than my Saab, nearly all of which were driven very hard routinely for auto-x, and every one of them has needed perhaps 1/5th (or less) the repairs as my Saab, which is only driven gently to and from work 98% of the time. My one exception here with Japanese cars was my FC RX-7, which was an enormous money pit, but I digress.

I guess what I am getting at is that if you are mechanically inclined and have time, or have extra money, go for the Saab, they are very cool, unique cars and you will likely love it. If you don't have time, extra money, and are not mechanically inclined, I would keep looking for something a bit more reliable.

Last edited by redrum; 17th October 2006 at 11:08 PM.
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  #13  
Old 18th October 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redrum
Well, my opinion on this isn't always a popular one around here, but if you are looking for a car that is cheap to maintain, go Japanese. If you have the knowledge, tools, and time to do repairs yourself, then the price differential of maintaining a Honda vs. a Saab is a lot less (only the minimal cost difference of parts, plus the more frequent intervals of things breaking).Unfortunately for myself I have been spending more time in the office than at home lately, so time for car repairs or modding is growing thin.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Saab and Saabs in general, but the Japanese cars I have owned have been infinitely more reliable. My 97 900se was a one owner car and has been immaculately maintained, both aesthetically and mechanically (previous owner was a family member so I know its history), and now with 108k miles has already had countless expensive repairs.

I have had Nissans and Hondas from various years in the 1990s, with both more and less miles than my Saab, nearly all of which were driven very hard routinely for auto-x, and every one of them has needed perhaps 1/5th (or less) the repairs as my Saab, which is only driven gently to and from work 98% of the time. My one exception here with Japanese cars was my FC RX-7, which was an enormous money pit, but I digress.

I guess what I am getting at is that if you are mechanically inclined and have time, or have extra money, go for the Saab, they are very cool, unique cars and you will likely love it. If you don't have time, extra money, and are not mechanically inclined, I would keep looking for something a bit more reliable.
Yeah, it'd probably be a lot smarter to buy Japanese, but they're so... gay, really.

I mean I'm kind of open to Japanese cars, but I really really really prefer European.

As for mechanical things, I've never done anything. I've never owned a car. I wouldn't mind learning how to do stuff, and I think I'd be a lot more willing to do things on a car I cared about. A car like a Sentra I'd be more likely to push across the street to the mechanic for everything.

I guess the wise choice is Japanese, and the choice that will make me really happy is European. That's a tough decision.
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  #14  
Old 18th October 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Young Twig
Yeah, it'd probably be a lot smarter to buy Japanese, but they're so... gay, really.
Strange, I've been driving my partner's Altima on and off for months and I have yet to see the car display any sexual preference at all.


That aside, I haven't put a dime into my 9-3. I've only owned it for six months, but the only thing I had replaced was the SID and that was simply cosmetic, but also warrantied. I think you would be able to get away with paying very little to maintain the car if you learn how to DIY. For example instead of paying for oil changes I do them myself. I pay about 1/4 what I would at the dealership.

Even with my old classic 900s I didn't have to put a lot of money into them, like Tweek said junkyards and u-pull-its are your friend. My $500 Saab only cost me about $100 in parts over a year and a half. Not bad for a twenty year old car.
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  #15  
Old 18th October 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by escalator guru
Strange, I've been driving my partner's Altima on and off for months and I have yet to see the car display any sexual preference at all.
I had a feeling I was going to hear something like that. Sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by escalator guru
That aside, I haven't put a dime into my 9-3. I've only owned it for six months, but the only thing I had replaced was the SID and that was simply cosmetic, but also warrantied. I think you would be able to get away with paying very little to maintain the car if you learn how to DIY. For example instead of paying for oil changes I do them myself. I pay about 1/4 what I would at the dealership.

Even with my old classic 900s I didn't have to put a lot of money into them, like Tweek said junkyards and u-pull-its are your friend. My $500 Saab only cost me about $100 in parts over a year and a half. Not bad for a twenty year old car.
Hmm... What would you say you need in order to do some DIY things? I mean I don't have much beyond basic tools, and I don't really have anyone to show me how to do anything, either. I'm sure I could pull off an oil change, but if things start to get complicated, do you think I could pull much off by myself?
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Old 18th October 2006
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I just bought my 96 SE about two months ago, i've put a couple of hundred dollars into it already, but i was all general upkeep like buying a new battery, and tires. I absolutely love the car though. I almost bought a Japanese car but, I believe that I wouldnt be truly happy with one, and I wanted something unique, and a car that I would actually care about. I've already become a Saab advocate
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Old 18th October 2006
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I dunno. Everyone says Japanese cars never break down, run 4 ever, cheap to maintain.

In my experience those are ALL myths.
I have 4 friends with Asian cars.

Some really old mid-80's Toyota Van. Kind of cool. Never seen another one like it. Reliable, yes, but it only gets about 2,000 miles on it a year.

1996 Honda Accord, I'd guess about 120K miles, CONSTANTLY breaking down. I mean CONSTANTLY. Not to mention it was stolen once.

2001 Nissan Sentra, replaced entire tranny at 90K miles. On a 5 year old Asian?!?!

2005 Toyota Corolla. The only one trouble-free. Come on... it's only a year old!!


Twig... you live in NY. I'd guess fully 8% (which is a lot when we have over 5,000 members) of SaabCentrals' Membership lives within a one hour drive of you. I think you can find some help if/when you need it.
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Old 18th October 2006
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to give you an example of being able to DIY with no experance...

My first car was a 96 chevy beretta z26 that I paid $3000 for. (this was 2 years ago). well, 2 months after getting the car, the engine developed a knock and died... I couldnt afford to have it rebuilt, as I was still paying off the car itself.

I knew NOTHING about mechanics. I read as much as i could online and a few months later baught a newer and BIGGER engine, not meant for the car, and put it in BY MYSELF. still 17 years old none the less.

it all comes down to dedication and takeing the time to learn knew stuff. I am so glad I did it myself now, because I learned so much from the experance. I now make it a point to do ALL of my own work on cars and anything else, because it is possible and you can have a great time doing it. the best part is the satisfaction.
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Old 18th October 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CleveSaab
I dunno. Everyone says Japanese cars never break down, run 4 ever, cheap to maintain.

In my experience those are ALL myths.
Well, I wouldn't say it's all myths. We've had a few Hondas in the family that've been mixed in terms of reliability.

We used to have a 1984 Accord. I don't remember much about it, which means it must not have lived too long since I was born in 1990.

We had a 1989 Civic that we just got rid of this year. I actually liked that car. It had 243,000mi on it, was on its second engine and transmission, but it was really easy to drive. Tons of visibility and really really loose steering. It was auto, but the transmission shifted when I told it to. It was really dead when we got rid of it, though, and the engine and transmission died premature deaths.

Now my mom's got a 1999 Civic with 58,000mi on it. It runs pretty nicely, actually, but it does only have 58,000mi on it. We've only had it for a few months, and there was something messed up with the radiator fan right after we got it. (Thermostat or something? The fan wouldn't come on.) Was under warranty.

My brother drives a 2002 Sentra. It used to be my dad's, but he gave it to my brother about three weeks ago when his Passat developed a massive oil leak. That car has had the timing belt replaced several times, and it still squeaks. The ECM died recently, and it failed inspection. Everything's been replaced under warranty, and everything that's been replaced has been minor. (A fan switch died, too.) It now makes a horrific rattle at 1500RPM, but drives well otherwise.

Japanese cars don't seem to be nearly as bulletproof as people make them out to be, but people believe what they want to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CleveSaab
Twig... you live in NY. I'd guess fully 8% (which is a lot when we have over 5,000 members) of SaabCentrals' Membership lives within a one hour drive of you. I think you can find some help if/when you need it.
Good point.
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Last edited by Young Twig; 18th October 2006 at 07:52 PM.
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  #20  
Old 18th October 2006
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I bought mine (2000 9-3 se) at 99k in Feb 2005. So far the only money I have put in (excluding all mods) are :

-front transmission mount 70$
-water pump 130$
-batt 100$
-Headlight bulbs 12$

Thats how reliable these cars are. She now has 143k.
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