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Hey guys, new to the forum and to Saab cars. I'm checking out this 2004 Saab 9-3 Aero this Saturday. It's got 101,228 miles on it and they're asking roughly $4,700 for it. Last service was at 92k miles according to CarFax, but the service doesn't specify what exactly was done. What should I be looking for when I go to check out this car? They said they got it as a trade in and have no knowledge of what maintenance has been done. I understand to look for the right ignition coils and I do see the dash buttons are worn (though I understand that is a cheap and easy fix). Other than that, not too sure what to look for, especially if I'm looking to haggle the price somewhat.

Thanks!
 

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2006 9-3 Aero SportCombi (V6, 6AT)
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I would just do a quick inspection of the engine bay (bring a flashlight) and look deep down to see if there are any leaks coming from the heads, turbo, transmission, power steering pump, etc. Check the axle boots for rips.

And definitely drive the car! Clunking over bumps is usually sway bar related (end links, bushings, etc) and is an easy fix. Make sure the tire wear is even. Check for steering wheel vibration under heavy-ish braking. Also, make sure the car boosts fully (at the red) in 3rd and 4th gears (boost is limited in 1st and 2nd).

Also, make sure the car has 2 working keys. I'm not sure if this car was affected by the Takata airbag recall, but check and see because that could be used as a bargain chip.

Overall, I think you should take the car for a PPI (pre-purchase inspection). It's simply the most hassle free way to get some piece of mind before buying a car. Usually costs an hour of labor at any shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I would just do a quick inspection of the engine bay (bring a flashlight) and look deep down to see if there are any leaks coming from the heads, turbo, transmission, power steering pump, etc. Check the axle boots for rips.

And definitely drive the car! Clunking over bumps is usually sway bar related (end links, bushings, etc) and is an easy fix. Make sure the tire wear is even. Check for steering wheel vibration under heavy-ish braking. Also, make sure the car boosts fully (at the red) in 3rd and 4th gears (boost is limited in 1st and 2nd).

Also, make sure the car has 2 working keys. I'm not sure if this car was affected by the Takata airbag recall, but check and see because that could be used as a bargain chip.

Overall, I think you should take the car for a PPI (pre-purchase inspection). It's simply the most hassle free way to get some piece of mind before buying a car. Usually costs an hour of labor at any shop.
Thanks so much! I really appreciate the advice :) I did check for the Takata air bag recall and fortunately (or unfortunately) the 2004 Saab 9-3 is not affected by this recall. Though important to note that 9-3s from 2006-2011 are affected. I'm not entirely sure how to go about doing a PPI, but I'll certainly look into it. Thanks again for the info!
 
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