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Hi there!
I'm anticipating the future purchase of my first car. I've been doing what I consider "extensive" research on cars that I'm considering for a while now. And I just recently looked into Saabs and loved what I saw with the 900. In particular, I'd like a 900 SE 2.0t. I've looked on Autotrader to get an idea for price, and I was amazed. They were in general cheaper than the Olds Intrigue I was looking at just a week ago. Not to mention the 900 has leather, heated seats and all that good stuff where the Intrigue was basically a base GL. Also they had relatively lower miles.
I found the 900 that I want. A 1998 SE 2.0t with 88,000 miles for only $3,999. Beautiful car and sounds like an unreal bargain. Pictures checked out nicely.
So I went on to Edmunds today and read some reviews. The expert overview looked very promising. However when reading the consumer opinions, I was devastated to see that many have had small electrical failures (eg power seats, wipers, and even a starter failure?). But otherwise they loved the car. So it raised the question:
Is the 900 unreliable and should I avoid it?
I thought I would first get answers from you fine folk before looking back.
Thanks much! I look forward to hearing from you.

I'd just like to add that I did do a search before starting this topic. I however, did not see anything of general relavance to my question. But I apologize if there has been a similar topic in the past that I looked over.
 

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I'm of the mindset that a perfect first car is that one that is slowly deteriorating, with minor things going wrong first and more important things going wrong after. This instils a sense of DIYness and mechanical know-how. The only downside to Saabs in this respect is that the parts are generally more difficult to get (in the USA atleast) than domestic or even any other import cars. On the plus side, the community support is AMAZING. I'd take the latter over the former any day.

At 88,000 miles (and for that price) sounds like minor things SHOULD be going wrong, which is ideal. You can start by changing every fluid in the car.
 

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I've found that mechanical disposition and funding available are inversely proportional in the Saab formula. If you have neither then I would probably consider a different car. This is my second Saab, and although me and my dad are lucky to be mechanically inclined, I've had constant problems with both, and don't expect them to ever really stop. But they're priced accordingly--for two grand + some extra invested in it I have a european car that is faster and more luxurious than 3/4 of the cars on the road. Just look on the bright side...you'll never be bored over the weekend because there will always be something to work on. :cheesy:

PS: Don't let me scare you though, major repairs are rare, and 88k miles is quite low.
 

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They're reliable.. its not like they are going to fall apart on you. Electrical issues with the ng900 is nothing new, you'll have them.. and you'll be able to fix them. Go for it, they're great first cars!
 

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They are solid and well built cars and have no more problems than any other car of this age. As a first car though - unless you are prepared to do the repairs and sevicing yourself they could be an expensive choice. 98 is probably the best year for the NG900 - it's basicaly an early 9-3 with most of the problems on the NG900 ironed out. If it's a 5spd you even loose the troublesome cable clutch which was perhaps the only major mechanical weak point on the NG900.
 

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I think they are a spectacular car, but I need to mention, the 2.0 turbo is a pretty quick machine. The power can be used for good, and evil. It is a safe car, but if you aren't carefull can get you into trouble quick.

As for mechanical repairs, the lower resale of the car, makes finding parts relativly easy at the junkyards. I found a starter for mine for $18, and it looked brand new. It was also pretty easy to put on the car.

At 80k miles, I would start to look at the exhaust, and possibly plan on replacing the alternator within the next 20k miles. Fuel pump should last till about 160k.

The little red(or black) thing on top of the engine controlls the spark plugs, if it fails, the dealer will want close to $400 for it, but usually ebay ones start at $20.
 

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I'll add on to what Tweek said. When things do go wrong, you have two choices. Go to the dealership and pay out the wazoo for parts and repairs.

OR

Buy the parts yourself, and install them yourself (if you can, but there are TONS of guides on here to do almost anything).

Best places to find replacement parts for VERY cheap are:

ebay.com
car-part.com (huge resource)
eeuroparts.com
thesaabsite.com
genuinesaab.com

And there are a few others..
 

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I have a 1997 900 SE with about 82K. From what i've experienced so far, they are good cars. The chassis isn't the greatest and neither is the steering, but it is a good reliable SAAB. I mean for an everyday car or daily driver it is very comfortable. It is much more comfortable than a 9000, but it doesn't handle nearly as well without upgrades.

1998 is a good year because SAAB replaced the cable clutch with a hydraulic one and it is the last year of the 900. It has some benefits that the 9-3 has. All and all, I say go for it. Under 4k seems like a great price if its in good condition. Like everyone else said, change all the fluids and keep up on maintance. If the car comes with records then its even better!
 

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I've owned three cars, a 1987 mazda RX-7, a 1992 saab 900 (classic 900, mind) and a 1986 bmw 325es. The saab was the best car of call three, despit the fact that I spent only $800. It's important that you have someone that knows saabs check it over before you buy it though.

My saab was:
dirt cheap
fairly reliable for having 260,000 miles on it
comfortable
adequately powered (naturally aspirated 144 hp 2.1 liter engine)
useful (transported giant couch in the hatch, not to mention numerous catering jobs)

I recently sold the BMW and at the first opportunity I get I'm going to buy another saab.
 

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There are few cars that are DIY-friendly As Saabs and older Volvos.

I've found, in the last couple years of owning my saab, that as things break, (as they would on ANY car) it's usually something I can fix in a couple hours, and on my own. in the rare instance that I can not fix something own my own, whether it be time or skill limitations I know of 3-4 local garages that know the cars inside out. and charge ~1/2 of dealer's hourly rates.

The safety is top-notch, and build quality is up there as well.
you just have to understand that purchasing a turbo-4 DOES require more care/time than any V6 american cruiser. you don't have to walk on eggshells with a turbo4, but you'll have to tend to it a little more than most expect.
 

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There are 3 major factors to consider.

a) You should be DIY inclined unless you are financially independant.

b) If you DIY, this forum is the best! Very informative and full of helpful souls to advise on anything Saablike. The car is relatively easy to work on with the help of SaabCentral.

c) If you want reliability, buy a Toyota and be bored:cheesy:
 

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I have had my '99 9-3 for about six months now. Still love the car. Decent gas mileage. Fairly fast when the turbo kicks in. Very comfortable while still being fun to drive and most importantly not everyone else in the world has one. With the low price keep in mind you will most likely have some initial repairs of things that the old owner didn't notice or care about.

Saabs aren't bad when it comes to reliability but they aren't what one would expect of a Toyota / Honda either. When they do break very few places outside the dealer know what to do with them and parts prices are crazy. I do all my own work and have another car so if something is way to expensive I can just park it until I can afford the part. Are you or a family member mechanically inclined? If not you really have to take that in to consideration when deciding what to buy.

All in all I love the car. Our weather just changed in Florida and I haven't put the top up for a week now!
 

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My 90' 900s 16v is my first car and I love it. slow as a geo but for $1300 you cant go wrong.:cheesy: Only trouble was the gas tank being cracked at the top and leaking all over but fixed with a used unit and my A/C button just broke:x
 

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In 2002, I bought my daughter a drop-top 900S as her first car. She really enjoyed it. She likes to be a bit different, and in the parking lot of her high school (in an affluent Houston suburb), she had the only Saab.

However, it did have a few reliability problems, though none of them left her stranded as far as I remember. She kept it for about 2 and a half years.

Parts are more expensive than for a Toyota or American car.

My son plays double bass, in the orchestra, so he needed a hatchback. He wanted something different than Dad, so we landed on a Mazda Protege 5. After 6 months, he's still happy with it.

You can save a lot of money if you're willing to turn a wrench, at least on the easy stuff.

Good luck!
 

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i have a 96 900se 2.0turbo 5spd manual for my first car and i think its perfect. ive had to change the starter and the seat warmer need to be replaced, a few other little things but thats my opinion of a fun car: runs great and fun to work on
 

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i have a 1997 se 2.0t....its great first car....ive had cars before this...i had a camry and a camaro...but neither of them i worked on, on my own...always to the garage...but my saab do alot of the work myself that i can...i mean there are somethings i cant do....thats where my saab friend come in and help me out...but its a great first car...different looking (your friends will be amazed where the ignition key goes)...quick....and very comfortable to drive....youll never be bored at driving it...good luck



drew
 

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Drew'sSaab said:
your friends will be amazed where the ignition key goes
Haha! So true, everyone who gets into my car think thats the coolest thing EVER! Its fun to give the keys to someone else to let them drive....they'll be so confused.

Having something different is definetly cool....i'm the only NG900 in my highschool parking lot. Deffinetly a quick car...kid in a mustang pulled up to me and kept reving his engine....I just smiled...Light turned green and needless to say he wasn't next to me for very long :) Do not know what engine it was tho...
 

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i wish i had this car when i was high school....but i got it after i was alreadi in my first yr of college...lol...my hs had alot of kids who were all show and no go...lol
 
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