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I'm looking into buying this car -> http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.j...008&doors=&transmission=&max_price=&cardist=4

We went in and test drove it and everything, and upon looking at the service reports, there were 3 incidents where the car was (under warranty) taken in and gotten the battery replaced. It happened twice shortly after the car was first purchased (early 2004 i think were the first 2 times) and then again in january of this year. Should I be worried about this? Obviously yes, but i'm wondering if it's maybe a reoccuring issue? The car will NOT be under warranty as it's an '03. We're going to call the dealer that originally had the car to see if they can provide us with details regarding the problem, but I was just wondering if anyone has any info they can provide about this specific problem, or any problems to look out for in general.

If it helps, we're paying $13500 for the car before taxes.

Thanks!
 

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The OE batteries are made by Exide and prone to failure. Who knows who made the batteries installed by the Saab dealership. It is very unlikely that they are the same as the OE battery, but could still be made by Exide.

A charging system problem could overcharge the battery but that should be evident by checking the charging voltage, if it is over about 14.5 volts (could be as high as 14.8V but only in freezing temperatures) then it may be overcharging the battery. The other way to tell is to check the battery's electrolyte level, an overcharged battery will lose electrolyte quicker (which must be replaced with distilled water). Unfortunately the OE battery does not allow you to add water to it.

My suggestion would be, if you do decide to buy this car, would be to take the dealer-installed battery and trade it in on a Johnson Controls battery such as an Autozone Duralast, Costco Kirkland Signature, or Advance Auto Autocraft battery. Johnson Controls batteries are quite good and have removeable vent caps so you can check the electrolyte level and add water if you want. Because of this they can last longer than a "maintenance free" battery. If you never check or add water to these batteries they will last just as long as a maintenance free battery would.
 
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